A Tale of Two Sisters, Bergeron Springs Vickie

To say that Bergeron is angry at hearing Vickie has been arrested understates his reaction.

When she informs him of it, Bergeron stares at Mrs. Mayfair for several long seconds then says slowly and in a carefully measured tone, “Why did you allow her to go to that part of town?”

“I didn’t so much allow her as follow her. She was determined to go with or without me. I figured she’d get in less trouble if I was there.”

Bergeron nods.

“Give me a few moments to ponder this.”

“Certainly sir.”

She leaves then sits on the top step. She can hear Bergeron inside the study throwing things around and smashing things. He’s also yelling, mostly in a language that sounds like Latin, but every once in a while, Mrs. Mayfair can hear him yell “Low class whore!” or “Ungrateful bitch. I should kill you again and again and again.”

Halfway through the diatribe, Giles appears on the landing below with a tray containing a teapot and some finger food. Mrs. Mayfair gives him a serious face and waves him off. Giles nods and sits on the bottom step after setting the tray on a nearby table.

After ten or fifteen minutes of ranting, Bergeron suddenly quiets down. Another five or ten minutes pass before the door to the study opens a crack and Bergeron says, “Mrs. Mayfair, where are they holding Victoria?”

Half an hour later, Bergeron, accompanied by Mrs. Mayfair, enters the local precinct and identifies himself to the sergeant.

“It is my understanding that you have Victoria Seely here. I want her released into my custody right away.”

“I’m not authorized to do that, sir,” the sergeant says. “I’m afraid you’ll have to talk to the captain.”

“I’ll talk to the commissioner if necessary. Miss Seely will not spend another hour behind bars.”

“Why all the concern?”

“I will only discuss that with someone who has the authority to assist me. Now I want to see that person immediately.”

A few minutes later, he’s talking to the captain.

“Captain, I realize it’s easy to look at someone like Miss Seely and see only the bad things about her. I’ve been guilty of that myself. But I’ve spoken to her and she has shown a genuine desire to turn her life around. I realize I’m taking a chance, but I’m prepared to do so if it means helping this young woman live up to her true potential.”

“Sounds to me like she was showing her true potential for all to see this afternoon. This isn’t the first such altercation she’s been involved in and probably won’t be the last.”

Bergeron presents Mrs. Mayfair to the captain.

“Captain, this is Elizabeth Mayfair, who’s been a dutiful and trustworthy employee of mine for over ten years, and she is considered by all who know her in the household and around the neighborhood to be an honest and hardworking woman. She’s prepared to testify that it was those men who were harassing her and Miss Seely without any prompting from either woman. Any violence perpetrated by Miss Seely was done only to protect Mrs. Mayfair from those two hooligans.”

“Is this true, Mrs. Mayfair?”

“It is, sir. As I tried to explain to the constable at the scene.”

“Are you aware, Mr. Bergeron, of the unsavory reputation of Miss Seely? She’s been on the streets a long time and is not likely to be reformed easily.”

“I assure you, Captain, I have plenty of time and patience to devote to the task, and Mrs. Mayfair has agreed to help with every step. You may rest assured that Miss Seely is in good hands and will no longer be a concern of yours.”

“All right. We’ll release her into your custody. But if she pinches your silverware and makes off in the dead of night, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

The captain says something to one of the patrolmen and a short while later, Vickie is brought out.

She hugs Mrs. Mayfair, saying “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine, dear. Thank you for protecting me.”

“Let’s get out of here, Victoria and put this incident behind us, shall we?” Bergeron says.

As soon as they get back to Bergeron’s home, he excuses Mrs. Mayfair and confronts Victoria in her room.

“Mrs. Mayfair says you were looking for a friend of yours.”

“That’s right.”

“You have no friends outside of this house. Do you understand?”

She nods.

“You need to realize, you don’t belong to that world any longer. Steer clear of any of your old haunts, and do not leave these premises, even with Mrs. Mayfair, unless you have Giles or another male servant with you, is that clear?”

“Very clear,” Victoria says. “Please tell Mrs. Mayfair I’m sorry for what happened.”

“You can tell her yourself. I’ll send her in.”

Once Mrs. Mayfair returns, she says, “Couldn’t we have just ignored those men?”

Victoria pats Mrs. Mayfair’s cheek. “You know the world you inhabit, I know mine. We had a good walk ahead of us and those boys were getting more worked up as we went. I don’t want to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t spotted that bobby.”

A short while later, some of the dresses arrive, and Mrs. Mayfair spends the afternoon helping Victoria try them on.

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