Around seven-o-clock, Bergeron looks at his watch and says to Vickie, “We’ll be dining in an hour. You should get washed up and try on some clean clothes.”
He walks to the door and opens it. Giles is standing outside.
“Have Mrs. Mayfair come up,” Bergeron says.
A few minutes later, Mrs. Mayfair enters and presents herself to Bergeron.
“Have you had any luck in rounding up clothes for Victoria?”
“I have, sir. It’s kind of a mixed batch, but they’ll do until we can get her some proper clothing.”
“Very good. Show her to the guest room and draw a bath for her.”
Mrs. Mayfair nods and goes over to Vickie. “Well, now, Miss, let’s see what we can do for you.”
Vickie follows her down the stairs.
“How long have you been with Mr. Bergeron?”
“‘Bout ten years now. I came to work for him right after I lost my husband, Walter.”
As they reach the landing, Vickie says, “Have you noticed anything peculiar about him? About how he looks, that is.”
Mrs. Mayfair stops, leans toward Vickie, and speaks confidentially. “Are you asking me if I’ve noticed he doesn’t seem to be getting any older?”
Vickie blushes. “Yeah, that’s what I was gettin’ at.”
“All his closest servants know. He tells them about a year or so after they come to work here when he knows he can trust them. The rest of the staff rotates in and out and they’re not to be told.”
Vickie nods. “Then maybe you should also know—”
“That you’re like him?”
“How’d you know that?”
Mrs. Mayfair starts walking again but continues in a loud whisper. “It’s not every day he brings home a young lady. In fact, it’s almost never and the almost is you. He seems to be taking an interest in you and the only reason I can think of is that you’re like him.”
“I guess that makes sense.”
“So how old are you?” Mrs. Mayfair says as they come to the door of the guest room.
“Mr. Bergeron says I’m fifty.”
Mrs. Mayfair shakes her head. “You would have to be older than I am. You look like you could be my daughter if I had one.”
Mrs. Mayfair shows Vickie into the guest room. “You get out of those clothes and try on some of those over there. They should do for this evening and tomorrow we can go out and get you a whole new wardrobe.” Looking at Vickie’s feet, she says, “How long’s it been since you had those shoes off?”
“Couple o’ days ma’am. I slept in ‘em last night.”
“You slept in your shoes?”
“Had to, ma’am. Where I come from, if you don’t, you wake up and they’re gone. Sometimes you still wake up and they’re gone along with your feet.”
“You don’t ever have to worry about that again,” Mrs. Mayfair says shaking her finger at Vickie. “Now I’m going to get you some fresh towels. You get ready for your bath.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Vickie curtsies. “I appreciate all you’re doing for me.”
Mrs. Mayfair leaves. Vickie takes a moment to look around the room then sits on the bed and bounces a time or two. She unlaces her shoes then pulls them off. When she removes her right shoe something heavy drops onto the floor. Vickie bends down and picks it up. It’s the gold sovereign Bergeron offered her. She holds it up to the light and smiles.
“You may just be my lucky coin after all.”