Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Having thanked the butler Stanley and Hardman prepared to leave, saying that they would return if they had any further questions or if there were any news. By Gardner's face they saw that this was not a pleasant prospect for the butler. When the police officers were approaching the door, followed by the butler, they were intercepted by Kate Reed. The young maid asked if she could have a word, alone, with Stanley about a matter of his interest.
“Certainly, Miss. Was there anything you remembered?” saying this he got slightly away from Gardner to be able to talk without the interference of the butler.
“To be honest it was something you asked me before. The answer that I gave you was not entirely true. But I didn’t know how to answer you.”
“And you thought things better? Do you want to add something to what you have already said?”
“It is not that I had to think things over… I asked Miss Elaine what she thought and she said it was better to tell you what I know.”
“It really seems to me that Miss Trevelyan is right. In order for us to know what went on here today it is better for us to know everything that is possible. Even if it seems to you to be of no importance. What is it that you need to say?”
“You asked me if Mrs. Trevelyan had dismissed anybody in recent times, didn‘t you?”
“Yes, I did. Did you remember anyone? Mr. Gardner had just said that there was no one sent away recently.”
“Indeed there wasn’t… At least no one sent away by Mrs. Trevelyan. As for Mr. Trevelyan he dismissed a girl about six months ago. Jane Robbins. At the time we, downstairs, speculated the reason of why she was sent away. Of course that between us, servants, some things were known… Jane and Mr. Trevelyan … do you understand? Jane was quite pretty, an eye-catching and smiling girl. And the boss liked her. As much as is possible a gentleman to like a servant.”
Stanley knew what that meant. In their society, women, wives, were seen as fragile pieces, untouchable. But men had instincts and desires, as they always had. And these desires could be achieved in two ways, with prostitutes, which usually they did not do with fear of catching any venereal disease or, worse, being caught by police, who tried to control and extinguish prostitution. Or, those who had the chance took advantage of the servants of the house, usually pretty girls, many from the countryside in search of a better life, to meet their needs, the same needs which they denied having in order to pass an image of a good, perfect family leader. The maids had not the courage to deny their favours to their employers because, in a country with nearly one million domestic employees, those who wanted to maintain a job and escape the factories and prostitution had to make concessions.
“Thank you Miss. It may be that this information will be of some help. Thank your mistress for me, for allowing you to share this information with us.”
“What are you suggesting? It is more what natural that a person with the sense of justice of Miss Elaine wants the truth to emerge. I just didn’t tell you before because I owe too much to Miss Elaine and I like to always ask permission when things concern the family... and ask her personal opinion when things concern me.”
“Do not get upset with me Miss Reed.” Stanley was smiling at her after her explosion “I was telling the truth. I admire very much your mistress. Another person in her place would not want to mix in a police matter. And, another girl in her place, even before speaking with us, would need to request permission to their brother. But I believe that Mr. Trevelyan does not know that you came to talk with me, sent by his sister. And I even think that it was your mistress that told you that it was better if her brother know nothing about this conversation.” the way Kate blushed and lowered her eyes left no doubts that Stanley was right in his assumptions “I would like to confirm the name of the girl dismissed.” turning to Hardman, who, once again remained aside during the conversation “Take note Hardman.”
“Her name was Jane Robbins. She was a tall and thin girl, with black hair and black eyes. She had a beautiful, full mouth, and very white teeth. She was always smiling and playing.”
“Do you know what happened to her?”
“No. I believe she must have ended up in the East End area, or in another of the sort.” Kate shuddered at the mere mention of London’s well known prostitution area, feared by young women, whose future, sometimes uncertain, would lead them there.
“Thank you, Miss. Do not forget to thank your mistress. We go Hardman.”

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