“Ahh, Sabrina, my dear lady!”
She recognized the overly pleasant tone in Lord Red’s voice. He wanted something from her. Ciel’s favorite uncle or not, if he had any further intentions proposing an employment venture as his “artistic muse” he was going to disappear for a very long time and it would look like an accident.
“What might I assist you with today, Master Durless?”
“Formal as ever, Miss Michaelis. That is precisely what I expected of you, and why I must call upon you for a favor of sorts. You know my chambermaid Gladys, right?”
“We have been introduced, yes.” Truthfully, she could barely remember the incident; there had been a stuttering, quiet girl dressed in brown who ambled about the Durless estate ostensibly doing her chores, as close to invisible as a human being could possibly make themselves. She may or may not have said hello, but even Sabrina couldn’t be bothered to remember; the girl was just that dull.
“She’s such a dear, but not very bright or well bred. Truth be told, she was a helpless, penniless waif when I took her in; it was more in charity than necessity. But she has shown ambition to improve herself and so perhaps, if you could find it in your heart to allow her to learn from you. She is dreadfully lacking in etiquette, and who better than a skilled governess to teach her?”
“You would have your niece’s studies suffer for the betterment of your servant?”
“Pish! Gladys won’t be a bother, and Ciel is already too smart for her own good, the poor dear. Let Ciel take an extra dessert while you help Gladys study her courtesies. Just a little favor, it’s the Christian thing to do.”
Sabrina hoped her eyebrow hadn’t visibly twitched as she managed a placating smile.
“Indeed.” She said with a sigh of resignation. “When can I expect to begin seeing Miss Sutcliffe for lessons?”
“She’s already here.”
Lord Red stepped aside to reveal Gladys who had apparently been slouching behind her employer for the entire duration of the exchange. She straightened up uncomfortably, cast her gaze aside and softly muttered,
“M-much obliged, Ma’am…”
“You see? You’re already off to a good start. Be a good girl, Gladys, I expect marvelous things from you.”
And with a flourish of red, they were left alone.
“Well then, Miss Sutcliffe. What other education have you had prior to working for Master Durless.”
Gladys seemed to concentrate very hard on something as invisible as her own personality, her eyes closing as she began to whisper determinedly,
“It all began when I was a small child of eight, cast into the wretched streets of Whitechapel without a penny to my name or a single-“