"I'll take you to your room and ask one of the servants to bring up your clothes as soon as possible," Grace decided. "You need to get out of that hideous dress, and I'm sure the maids would like to be introduced to you. Besides, I expect you'll want to see where you will be sleeping, won't you?" Mutely, I walked with her down a long corridor towards a wooden door at the far end. "And this is your room."
"It's ... big," I said, looking at it. The carpet was thick enough for me to sink my toes into and the bed was enormous--a four poster, the thing I'd always wanted when I was a child, but somehow it didn't feel quite right.
"I'm so sorry." I didn't know what she was talking about. "You must be completely overwhelmed, right? It's probably been a very strange day for you, so many new things to take in and a completely new lifestyle to adjust to. I hope we’re not overdoing it with all these cloths. If you want to stop for a minute, take some time out, just let me know.”
Far stranger than she would ever know, that was for sure. For a minute, I was overcome with the urge to tell her the truth about who I really was and where I really came from, even though she would never believe me and would probably ship me off to the nearest loony bin, adopting some other child instead. No, I was going to have to stick it out, at least until everything sorted itself out and I was back in my normal time again.
“It’s alright. I’m okay for the moment.” I wondered why she hadn’t commented on my accent, and suddenly realised that I was doing what I always did subconsciously when in the presence of people far more posh than me—putting on airs, speaking properly with all my ‘T’s.
“Well, if you’re sure.” She backed out of the room. “I’ll send Annie to you. She’s one of our newest maids, but I’m sure she would be delighted to wait on you. Perhaps it could become a permanent thing. Yes, that’s actually quite a good idea,” she said, starting to mutter as she walked out. I was left alone in the huge room that felt so strange … the room I couldn’t understand.
It wasn’t the bed. The bed was amazing, so soft and such a beautiful design, with curtains like green veils. And the carpet was deep and a dark, mossy green—the entire room, in fact, was decorated in my favourite colour, with long curtains of the same and naturalistic wooden furniture. So there was nothing wrong with that, either. But what could it be that so disquieted me?
And then I realised. It was because of the lack of technology, of gadgets—no central heating, no plug sockets, no wires lying around … certainly no computers or televisions or digital clocks. That was why I was so unnerved: suddenly, everything made sense and I was no longer uncomfortable. Perhaps a break from the Internet was what I needed, if this was indeed real. I still wasn’t sure about that one.
I sat down on the bed and settled down to wait. I was in no particular hurry to struggle with clothes but, figuring it would be helpful and speed up the process considerably, I removed all of my upper layers until I was sitting in my petticoat. Then I lay back and without even realising it, dropped off to sleep.
I stayed like that until the maid, Annie, came in. She paused by the bed. “Miss?” I opened my eyes, startled, and looked up into her pretty face.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I must have dozed off.” She said that it was nothing, but I felt like a fool anyway. Standing up, I suddenly realised that it must be very indecent for a Victorian lady to be seen in so few clothes. But I didn’t care. “So, I hear you’re here to help me dress?” She nodded. Right, might as well get this over with. “Okay then, let’s get started.”