Thinking of Lucius being with her as they grow old together, a smile suddenly graced her lips, and that smile remained even as she took in the view of the garden.
“Miss—!” Rosalynn, who had just arrived, finally caught sight of her mistress and ran to her immediately. Not having seen each other for several days, the maid’s face was filled with glee.
“Miss! How have you been?”
Deatrice schooled her expression and looked at her. “I’m fine. Have you taken a look around the mansion?”
“Yes, miss. I was already assigned a room, but I came back to organize my luggage.”
Rosalynn bowed and then looked at the scenery in front of her, exclaiming. “This garden looks so beautiful! Miss, haven’t you heard? This garden was already very pretty in the first place, but then Sir Elliot hired some people to renovate the majority of it because of you.”
Deatrice looked around the garden silently for a moment, but she did not feel anything extra special. Instead of admiring Lucius’ supposed sincerity, Deatrice corrected the maid.
“Address me as ‘Lady’, not ‘Miss’.” Then she added, “And it’s ‘Lord’, not ‘Sir Elliott’.”
Rosalynn had rarely made a mistake during the time she had served Deatrice. This time, she simply didn’t notice because her usual form of address was a habit she had brought from all those years.
Her cheeks heated. “I’m sorry, m’lady. I’ve already practiced all the way from the carriage and my tongue still slipped.”
She nodded and turned around to walk towards the mansion. As per usual, Rosalynn followed behind her.
Except for when Fredhi had died, Deatrice had always been busy. Even when the well-maintained duke’s residence had a lot of servants she could order around, there would still be a lot of work left on her table, such as organizing their finances and hosting social gatherings.
This was what Rosalynn was used to seeing, her mistress bent over the table, fussing over some papers. But when she followed her to her room, she was a little surprised.
The door to her terrace was wide open, overlooking the forest and the lake. The sight was very breathtaking. However, that wasn’t what surprised her. It was the fact that she couldn’t see any trace of her mistress being busy anywhere.
Not a crumpled paper in sight, nor was there a stack of documents on her desk.
The only signs that she could see that Deatrice had done something in this room was the piece of fabric she was embroidering. It seemed like she had just started because it still had paper sketches of the patterns attached to it.
As she was the attendant who had always been with her, it wasn’t difficult to read her thoughts. Therefore, Deatrice could read Rosalynn’s surprise just by looking at her expression.
When she removed her hat and took off her gloves then placed them on the table, a moment’s silence had passed afterwards, and Rosalynn quickly assumed her role of being an attentive and skillful attendant. She then grabbed her mistress’s belongings and put them in their rightful place.
Rosalynn helped Deatrice wash her hands and patted them dry with a clean handkerchief. Once they were done, Deatrice naturally grabbed a book and headed for the sofa.
“The butler didn’t even come to me with a single document, and I’m not feeling completely well yet, so I guess it’s too early to ask Lucius for a bit of work. With that, I simply decided to enjoy some rest that I lacked in the past.”
When she opened her book, she asked the maid, “Do you think I’m being lazy?”
At Deatrice’s words, Rosalynn hastily shook her head. “Of course not, m’lady. You’re still in your honeymoon.”
For a moment, Deatrice looked out at the view through the open terrace, the wind lightly blowing against the curtains.
“You’re right, I’m still in my honeymoon.” She said as soon as she woke from her thoughts after having blankly held onto her book for some time. “I’ll meet the butler in a little while, so be prepared.”
After that, Rosalynn gave her greetings and immediately left the room.
Left alone once more, Deatrice admitted that she had been too caught up in her own thoughts to even admire the vast forest and the shimmering surface of the lake. She thought she would be busy after taking a walk in the place Lucius had suggested and then spending time in the nearby forest. But now that she was here, she was barely even doing anything.
Hence, she thought it was time for her to do her duty without hiding behind embroideries or books.
Lucius is keeping himself busy, isn’t that what she’s supposed to do as well?
It would’ve been different had she married someone else, but it must’ve been because she had become too comfortable with her current situation given her past with him, even though it ended up scarring them both, and that she actually enjoyed the time she wasn’t tired to death.
The butler found her on time.
Deatrice initiated a question, hoping she wouldn’t be seen as being too indolent or incompetent.
“Don’t you think it’s important to introduce formal matters to me?”
“May I see some documents from the manor? How are things like financial papers managed here?”
Because the estate was located further south of the peasant family, she knew that the atmosphere would be a bit more relaxed than being in the center of noble families.
But even if it was lax, she knew it wasn’t okay for her to act like she had—lazy, as if she couldn’t even be bothered to pay attention or show a bit of interest in the affairs of the manor.
When Deatrice looked at the butler with an inquisitive gaze, he smiled shyly for a moment. She thought the butler would nod and tell her that he would come back with the documents.
But then, the butler said in an ambiguous manner.
“I’m afraid I can’t help you with that, m’lady.”
She frowned, “Why is that so?”
“The lord hasn’t granted me the authority to let you look through those files.”
What nonsense is that? Deatrice was too flustered to even say anything. For her, the authority to govern and inspect matters regarding the manor were supposed to have been given to her from the very moment she had married Lucius. It was already part of her duty as the lady of the house.
A foreboding feeling filled her gut and Deatrice frowned, asking, “Is that an independent judgment you have made without prior instruction, or was it because Lucius himself disallowed it?”
If it was the former, the butler should apologize immediately because her status was higher than his. But he had only stood there with an ambiguous attitude, looking straight ahead. His silence and his attitude were enough to answer Deatrice’s query.
“So… it was Lucius who instructed you…”
At Deatrice’s monotonous reply, the butler deeply bowed his head. “I’m aware that the madam has been through a lot. Therefore, how about taking a break?”
“I think I already took a long-enough break.”
Still bowing, he uttered. “There may be people who lack rest, but there is no such thing as having too much rest, madam.”
When she was baffled by his nonsensical response, the butler obediently shut his mouth. Deatrice realized she would never win this conversation. Abruptly, she could feel the pain in her bones acting up again.
“Then, before I came, who managed the internal affairs? Lucius certainly wouldn’t have the time to do that.”
“The lord’s attendant is managing them, madam.”
“And who is that?” Deatrice couldn’t recall that such a person existed, “Why didn’t he come to greet me when I arrived?”
“Answering the madam, the attendant’s name is Tom Wilson. He has already accompanied the lord for four years. As he was too busy with the garden project the lord ordered him to finish as soon as possible, he couldn’t meet the madam on her first day here. It wasn’t his intention to slight you, so please forgive him for that.”
“Then tell him that I want to see him.”
If I can’t meet Lucius, I guess it’s enough to meet the person in charge of the work I’m supposed to be doing and then deal with it from there.
The butler, who heard the struggle in Deatrice’s voice, remained still for a brief moment. He could already see the inevitable fight that was bound to happen sooner or later.
Eventually, he bowed his head deeply and left.
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