Isabel and Saint-Claire sat waiting in the parlor for what seemed like an age. Though the doctor had been down there for about ten minutes (according to the clock in the far corner near the door), it felt like forever.
From what Isabel had been told about the household earlier on in the week, Mrs. Parks was one of the highest ranking servants in the house, up there with the butler and cook. She kept a reign over the maids and answered only to Grace. If she was out of commission for a while, it could affect the rest of the season.
Isabel watched quietly as Saint-Clarie paced. Was he known for impatience? Apparently not. Maybe he was just nervous about Lady Harrows coming?
And what was up with the chain of command in this place? It was very different from what Isabel had expected. Jocelyn had been designated as her maid, but Lydia was often around, too. Did she just happen to be around a lot? Isabel guessed that Lydia was in training, or something.
Whatever. Better to put that aside for now. She would have a lot to learn in this house. Why hadn't Christopher prepared her better? He had given her a tiny bit of information and sent her back. He never said that anything like this would happen!
God, please help me to know what to do. Lady Harrows can't really be that bad! Can she? Isabel found herself praying. Please just let her give me a chance. I can't screw up! I have to find out what happened to those documents!
Suddenly, Saint-Claire stopped pacing. "Doctor Whikam." he said.
The doctor had entered, as well as Grace and Ellen, who stood by nervously.
Isabel stood up, anxious. How was Mrs. Parks?
Whikam made some small talk, asking after Isabel's house.
"Everyone is well. Now, how is Mrs. Parks?" Saint-Claire asked, clearly not in the mood for chit-chat.
Whikam shrugged. "It will take her some time to fully recover. Her fever may last a few days. Her wrist is sprained, and she should keep off that ankle for a while, as well. I have given instructions to your wife and servants on how she should be taken care of."
"So, it's nothing serious?" Isabel asked.
"Nothing serious at all, Miss Saint-Claire. Now, sir, about my fee. . ."
Isabel looked at Grace, and they both rolled their eyes. Doctor Whikam was a good doctor, and he was pleasant enough. . . .until he mentioned his fee. Then he was like a wolf. Isabel slipped over to Grace's side and whispered.
"Do all doctors grovel for their fees?"
Grace shook her head, and tried not to smile. "Not many. Whikam is an exception. However, he is given grace due to his remarkable skills."
Oh, so he's one of those types. Isabel thought. The ones who have an annoying quirk that has to be overlooked because of something important.
Saint-Claire called for Vance and paid Whikam, who thanked him with a flourish for asking for such a humble person's service.
Once the doctor had gone, all eyes turned to the clock.
It was less then an hour until the arrival of Lady Harrows.
"Darling. . . ." Grace turned to her husband.
"I know." Saint-Clarie said. "We'll have preparations finished-"
"Sir. Lady Harrows' carriage has arrived. We're putting her luggage in the usual room." the butler appeared as if form nowhere. Isabel had jumped at the sound of his voice.
The three of them froze. Grace sighed in exasperation, muttering the words "She's always early." under her breath.
"Thank you, Jarvis." Saint-Claire managed. "Isabel, try and stand as straight as possible."
"Oka-. . . .I mean, yes." Isabel stammered.
"Well, where are they?!" a loud voice demanded. "Let me see them at once!"
Isabel felt herself shrinking, and suddenly felt very nervous. But this wasn't even supposed to be happening!