And so Sophia left the tightly packed streets of the city for the life of a maid in the Earl's manor, leaving her drunkard father to panhandle alone.
She had tried to reason with him too many times to try to stop him any longer. He was determined, she had learned, to ruin himself. The man wanted to die but had been too god-fearing to commit the deed outright.
Besides, there was no place for him to take away her only opportunity.
The Earl's estate was beautifully lavish, the pay was good and the staff all treated her well.
Her life could have gone by peacefully that way, if she had only refrained from the mistake that cost her everything.
No, it would have been alright if she hadn't cost her everything.
"Sophia? I've asked you a question, you know?"
Alice's voice broke Macdonald from her thoughts and she gave the girl an apologetic smile.
"Sorry Alice, I've just been caught up reminiscing."
"I could tell as much," Carrol said haughtily, carefully putting her curls over a shoulder, "And here I thought you would be at least a bit more sociable than these other bores. My mistake, but believe me it will not happen again."
Sophia was not at all troubled by Alice's crossness but instead looked out the window beside her, feeling the early light and a breeze caress her cheek.
She remembered the Earl. His smiles, his gaze. The many trays she dropped when she was on the receiving end of them.
No matter how many teapots and china plates she ruined a word of complaint didn't leave his mouth. In their stead he asked if she was unhurt and helped her gather the pieces of whatever it was that had met its end in her hands.
He was undoubtedly the kindest man she had ever met. She cared for him, perhaps more than a maid should have cared for her employer.
Where others looked down at her because of her name and status, he spoke to her as an equal. He asked her opinion on matters beyond her rank, even bade her use his first name to address him.
Sophia couldn't, of course. The very idea was unseemly.
Their conversations grew longer and wider in breadth. They spoke of art, plays, religion and politics. Everything the world was afraid to speak of they discussed freely.
Even then she could never have foreseen what was going to happen.
The rolling green hills of the countryside reminded Sophia of his eyes.
Endless, serene and pure. So pure that they was almost inhuman.
Despite the fact that their eyes were similar in colour, they couldn't have been more different.
Hers were full of apprehension and pain, trying to hide from contact. But his were open, giving, comforting...with only a distant sadness lingering in them. Sophia could forget herself in those eyes. Forget that her family was dead, and her father was somewhere in the streets of London passed out or worse.
She knew it was wrong, but she grew to love him. It shouldn't have mattered anyways. Macdonald had promised herself she would never reveal anything so unprofessional, and would keep within the boundaries of her place as a maid.
But, of course, it mattered.