Preparations for a Journey (Part 2)

Mathew came up the stairs first, followed by the trunk and then by Jason. It was quite apparent the stairwell was a tight squeeze for it. Still it didn’t take them long to set the trunk down beside the bed. As they took a moments rest Lady Abigail glided up the stairs to join them.

“Now let us see,” Lady Abigail looked at the clothing on the bed. “You will want to wear something comfortable for traveling tomorrow.” She picked out just that and handed it to Sarah, “Just set it aside.”

Jason and Mathew quickly made their way back downstairs. Moving around to the other side of the bed Sarah set the clothing she’d been handed on the chair. Lady Abigail continued to talk as she separated out the clothing. They set out a few work things and a couple market things, the embroidered dress and, of course, undergarments.

Lady Abigail studied the piles as Sarah put away what they wouldn’t take. “We’ll have to immediately get started on a wardrobe as soon as we reach Verdas; starting with a court dress. The rest will suffice until that has been done.”

“Isn’t what I’m wearing a court dress?” Sarah spoke without thinking. Her mind, having been trying to take in all that Lady Abigail had been saying, could no longer keep silent.

Lady Abigail looked at her with mild shock. “Oh child, it would do for Rosaline, Gods keep her safe, as it did for her mother, Gods rest her soul, but not for you.”

“Why not?” It certainly seemed fancy enough to Sarah.

Lady Abigail smiled. She held out her hand. “Oh child, my son may be a Scout Sergeant but his heritage is that of a Lord. The family would be shamed if you went to court looking so poorly.”

Sarah bit her tongue to keep from making a tart reply. Lady Abigail hadn’t really said it meanly, but more as a fact of life. So Sarah changed the topic.

“How long does it take to get to Verdas?”

“It is a good three day journey. You do feel up for that do you not?” concern colored the woman’s voice as she looked at Sarah.

“I’m quite sure I’m up for it,” Sarah replied. Despite her rest she was still in good shape from all that walking with the scouts. “Do we go by horseback?”

“Oh goodness no!” Lady Abigail’s hand went to her mouth a moment before being flourished. “A Madam might use horseback to travel nearby, but even she would take a carriage for such a long trip.”

“I’ve never ridden in a carriage before.” Sarah stated as she placed the last item in the trunk.

“You have never ridden in a carriage?” Lady Abigail seemed shocked as Sarah nodded. “But you have ridden horseback?”

“Yes,” Sarah nodded again, “but it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden.” She sighed as she plopped on the bed.

“Your family fell upon hard times then?” Lady Abigail spoke kindly.

Sarah looked at her hands, then up at Jason’s mother. “You could say that.” Sarah remembered how the government had given them incentives to convert the Ranch to a farm. But as the war continued those incentives were dropped one by one, leaving her family struggling to make ends meet. Sarah blinked back the tears threatening to trickle from her eyes.

The bed shifted as Lady Abigail sat beside her. Jason’s mother laced her arm through Sarah’s and patted her hand. “My son told me you lost your family, I am sorry. I do hope you find yourself at home with us. I know my son does seem to disappear sometimes, but he does mean well.”

Sarah gave Lady Abigail a half smile. “I know.”

Lady Abigail didn’t say anything, though Sarah could feel her gaze.

“Well,” Lady Abigail broke the silence as she stood. “I have quite a few letters to write tonight. I expect Walter will be a gracious host as he always is.”

Sarah rose and trailed after Jason’s mother.

“Are you staying for dinner, My Lady?” Martha asked as they passed through the kitchen.

“Oh no, too many preparations to do, Goodwoman Martha.” Lady Abigail replied with a sigh.

“Pity,” Martha looked up as the kindling caught fire, “Sarah makes a good stew.”

Sarah looked shocked that Martha had mentioned such a thing when she’d been all about upper class manners earlier that day.

“You know how to cook?” Lady Abigail asked turning back towards Sarah, an unfathomable expression on her face.

“Some,” Sarah admitted.

“Well,” Lady Abigail looked relived, “I am sure I will be tasting your stew when we get to that point in your tutorage.”

“So you will be tutoring her?” Griffon appeared at the back door, arms full of wood.

“Yes, cousin, she shall be coming with me to master the art of being a Madame.”

“A Madame?” Both of Griffon’s eyebrows shot up. “But…”

“I know,” Lady Abigail flourished a hand, “but the Gods have spoken,” and with that she left.

Martha turned to Sarah. “Well while the fire builds, let’s get you out of that fancy clothing.”

The End

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