Chapter 38 |
This new coachman was determined not to repeat his predecessor’s mistakes. Carynne had no intention to cause a ruckus anyhow, so she was just sitting on her carriage seat quietly as they went towards Missus Deere’s house. This seemed to make the servants feel even more uneasy.
“I’m not going to run away.”
“I don’t believe you, Milady.”
She shook her head in resignation, and so too did Donna, but determinedly and with her lips closed shut.
“Tell me about Missus Deere.”
“Milady should know her better than I do.”
Yeah, that should be the case. Carynne twirled a lock of her hair with one finger.
“What can you tell me?”
All too soon, the carriage arrived at its destination. They were now Missus Deere’s residence. She had to suffer so much just from trying to get here last time.
It was a quaint little house, but it was too modest to be the house of a governess who once took charge of the fief lord’s daughter.
“Why is this place so old?”
“…Milady. Even still, it’s a pretty nice home, you know… And it’s near the downtown area.”
“But it’ll only be noisy being at a location like this.”
“It’s a convenient location. You wouldn’t need to ride a carriage to go anywhere, and security is better here.”
“Is that so… But since there’s so many people living around here, how is that more secure?”
“People keep watch of each other, that’s why.”
“How is that different from just hiring many servants?”
“Um… It’s… The money that…”
Unable to keep listening to the two girls who kept whispering to each other, Borwen spoke up.
“Let’s head in.”
Borwen went ahead and knocked on the door without even waiting for Carynne’s go ahead. An exhausted-looking maid came out and asked who it was, then her eyes soon widened before she hurried into the house. After a short while. A middle-aged woman came to the door.
Donna was the first to greet her.
This woman was Missus Deere? Carynne folded her parasol and raised the hem of her skirt slightly to curtsy. After the short greeting, Carynne looked at the woman from head to toe. She was someone she had never seen in any of the past timelines.
She wasn’t an important character, so what’s the use here? It was a little discouraging that even the woman’s appearance was ordinary. It’s nice for expectations to be broken, but encountering the unexpected wasn’t always going to be satisfied with what she’d see.
Missus Deere was a plump middle-aged woman who had brown hair, flushed cheeks and a few gray streaks. The fact that she was so ordinary was what’s so surprising. Her impression seemed to be the furthest from something like a secret or a conspiracy.
“Oh my goodness…”
She was a middle-aged woman with a gentle demeanor. For a governess, she did look the part.
Missus Deere rushed towards Carynne, running almost as fast as she could. Then, without even any time to speak, she pulled Carynne into an embrace.
“Carynne? Oh, it really is you.”
Carynne was so taken aback that she raised a hand to try and push away the woman, making her stop. The woman held her so tightly to the point that she couldn’t breathe, but as she finally loosened her hold on Carynne, she looked at the younger woman with such emotion in her eyes. She took Carynne’s hands and held them tight.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
Carynne had never met this woman before, so all she could do was smile.
“Do you remember me?”
It was a difficult question. This time, there really was nothing to do but smile, so she did.
“It’s because we haven’t seen each other in such a long time.”
“It hasn’t been that long though.”
Donna also definitely said that it hadn’t been long.
“Yes, Missus Deere.”
“You don’t remember me.”
The missus spoke with a serious face. The woman’s demeanor of gentleness quickly froze. This look on her face certainly had a meaning behind it. Carynne couldn’t respond.
“You still can’t recall?”
Then, with a small voice that Donna and Borwen wouldn’t be able to hear, she continued,
“You’ve lost your memories, haven’t you.”
The simple sentence rang in her ears. Lost memories. The woman seemed to already know about it. What was she saying. You’ve lost your memories. All the memories she had until now turned inside out.
Who was this woman. Why was she saying something that Carynne had never heard of before. Did this woman know just how much she’d affected Carynne with just those words.
“Come on in. It’s been a while. Truly a while.”
Carynne followed the woman into the dark house’s interior. The exterior looked old, but inside, everything looked neat. However, cleanliness could only go so far.
If one were to take a closer look, the wallpaper was evidently faded, and the wooden floor creaked with every step. The sound made Carynne even more antsy. This was a place she had never been to before. It’s the first time she’s seeing this. Everything was uncomfortable. Her mouth was dry. She was parched for tea.
“Bring out some tea, and the best teacups!”
When the missus shouted out this instruction, the maid hurriedly disappeared into the kitchen. Carynne turned to Borwen and Donna, who were just standing by the door.
“Donna, Borwen. Why don’t you go out and enjoy the festival?”
“Milady, how can we trust you?”
Donna replied in a gruff tone.
But Carynne’s expression hardened. She didn’t want to deal with them both right now. She couldn’t afford to.
“We have a lot of catching up to do, privately. It’s been so very long. Then you can just stay in the guest room for a while.”
“…I’m sorry, Carynne, but there’s no guest room. How about they stay together at the maid’s room instead…?”
Looking over to the missus’ maid, whose clothes were dirty, Donna was appalled.
“A-Absolutely not. I’d rather go to the market.”
Donna flatly refused. Fortunately, Borwen grabbed Donna’s shoulders and pulled her back before she could say anymore. Carynne made a mental note to tell Helen about Donna’s behavior once they returned to the manor.
Frowning, Carynne pointed towards the door for Borwen to see. Get out.
“We’ll be sure to come back around the time for afternoon tea. Donna, let’s go.”
As the two finally left, the missus’ maid came out with some tea and refreshments, her expression having come undone. And the reason was immediately apparent—the teacups were of low quality.
Missus Deere, still holding Carynne’s hands, led her to the seats and sat down together. Carynne could now finally focus on the task at hand.
“Don’t you remember who I am?”
Carynne thought, how much could she say to this woman? Carynne closed her mouth and blinked. She felt uneasy.
“I knew it. You became this way after Madam Hare had passed away. His Lordship is…”
What’s this woman talking about now? Carynne’s eyes stayed trained on Missus Deere. She had to ask.
“Why have you mentioned my mother?”
Her voice came out much sharper than she had intended.
“How much do you know?”
She hated that her question was answered with another question, but she was directed with only pity. Carynne took initiative and changed the way she worded it.
“Missus, I’m just immensely… at a loss right now.”
Carynne lowered her gaze. Considering the woman’s standing and how her house looked here, Missus Deere didn’t seem to have gotten a proper pension from the fief lord.
In general, if a governess was still single and hadn’t yet married, she would be referred to another household if they’d been let go. Even more so if their position had been permanent. If there was no suitable place, then it’s natural that she should have been given a pension. If not that, there were also some cases that she’d continue living together at the household.
However, looking at the condition of this house, it could be inferred that the missus did not go out of this house on a normal basis. It’s obvious that some circumstances had led this former governess, who used to teach the only daughter of a fief lord, to live a life like this now—entirely out of the lord’s sight.
“I would like it if you’d save me the effort of trying to fish it out of you and just tell me what you know.”
“I’ll tell you everything, as long as you tell me the extent of what you know.”
Even if Carynne was flustered right now, she had lived for a hundred years and had experience handling dozens of maids. So, Carynne widened her eyes and stared directly into Missus Deere’s eyes.
“I’ve lost my memories. Now, tell me what you know. I am terribly distressed. If you help me here, I shall surely repay you.”
“…You’re still the same.”
Missus Deere lowered her teacup and fidgeted with her fingers. She was nervous as well.
“You’ve been like this ever since you were young.”
Then, she talked about a past that Carynne did not know about.
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