Pride (6 of 6)

(Credit: DrewTheUnquestioned on DeviantArt, drewtheunquestioned.deviantart.com/art/Manifestation-of-Sin-Pride-85079689)

(Credit: DrewTheUnquestioned on DeviantArt, drewtheunquestioned.deviantart.com/art/Manifestation-of-Sin-Pride-85079689)

It was typical, just typical. Leonard rubbed his cheeks. The annual family dinner was coming up and they were down a maid and a cook. He had known from the start that the maid could not be trusted, he had seen the greed in her eyes. But Mrs Monté had said she knew the girl’s family and that they really needed the money, so they should give her a chance. He snorted at the memory. That was what they got for giving her a chance. She could at least have waited until after the dinner before grabbing everything and running for it. She would be picked up soon of course, but although they would get the jewellery back the maid would still be a thief, and a thief was not fit to serve the ladies.

And Henry too. Now that had surprised him. He had thought that Henry knew his place. It was a good thing it was caught before it went any further. Leonard shook his head. Not everyone was as virtuous as the ladies.

He slapped his thigh. Enough mulling over what could not be fixed. As butler it was his job to make this work no matter how much staff was missing. And it was more important than ever to let the poor ladies know that no matter what happened at least they could always rely on him. He just hoped the rest of the staff would follow his good example.

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Greed (5 of 6)

The door creaked when she pushed it open and she cursed herself for forgetting to oil it during the day. She stood in the empty hallway listening to her heartbeat and waited to see if someone had heard. She could still turn back at this point; she had not yet entered Lady Aurelia’s dressing room. The hallway remained empty, but was she really ready to give up her position?

She remembered the sting from lady Aurelia’s fingers on her cheek. But that had been the only time and for a maid’s position the pay was quite good and her mother said the money she sent really helped them. Also, she had been lucky to get the position in the first place, since there had been five others at the tryout which the butler and the housekeeper held. Then she remembered the large golden rings on Lady Aurelia’s fingers, the pearl necklace she wore that day and the emeralds she wore the day before and the maid stepped into her mistress’ dressing room.

She crept up to the dressing table and one by one she slid open the drawers and emptied everything of value into her bag. With all this she would become rich. She just had to be far away by morning. When her bag was full, she still had not taken all the earrings, so she put the rest in her pockets. She could begin a new life in France, say she was an heiress. Maybe she could marry a noble’s son?

And when the fuss had died down, she could send her family money again. Of course it might take a while before it was safe, but they should be able to get along on her father’s pay until then. In fact, her father’s pay would probably be enough for them indefinitely, if they were a bit frugal. And of course they would want her to be happy, so there was actually no reason to put herself in danger by sending them money.

She sneaked out of Lady Aurelia’s dressing room, her heavy bag over one shoulder and went on towards Clara’s dressing room. If she was going to be an heiress, she would need some dresses and Clara’s were the only ones that might fit.

Envy (4 of 6)

(Credit: DrewTheUnquestioned on DeviantArt,  drewtheunquestioned.deviantart.com/art/Manifestation-of-Sin-Envy-84326679)

(Credit: DrewTheUnquestioned on DeviantArt, drewtheunquestioned.deviantart.com/art/Manifestation-of-Sin-Envy-84326679)

Gary slumped onto the bed with a grunt. Why did Henry always get all the attention? He wasn’t even that good a cook. In fact, he wasn’t even fully trained because his stupid master died too early. But even though he was just an apprentice the family still agreed to hire him, the lucky bastard. And now Laura was favouring him. And why? Gary had been there longer. Was he not dependable? Was he not always ready to do her bidding? And had he ever complained even when she gave him undesirable tasks? It was unfair, so very unfair! He pulled his hair. If only he has a picture of Henry to rip apart. If only he could rip Henry apart without consequences.

The door to his room slammed open and he jumped. The doorway was filled by a furie, he even thought he heard sparks crackling in the air.

‘Gary!’ said Aurelia.

‘Ladyship,’ Gary went down on one knee.

‘I hear you’ve seen something.’

‘Seen something, your ladyship?’ Gary looked at the hem of her dress with wrinkled brow.

Aurelia looked behind her and his room seemed to lighten slightly. Then she stepped inside and closed the door.

‘At lunch,’ she said, ‘did something happen? Something out of the ordinary?’

He could feel her eyes scorching the top of his head, but suddenly it was not entirely unpleasant. The only question was how to tell Aurelia about the terrible thing he had witnessed. And he would have to suppress the smile until she was gone.

Wrath (3 of 6)

(simonprocter.blogspot.dk/2012/09/simon-procter-portrait-of-astrid-berges.html)

(simonprocter.blogspot.dk/2012/09/simon-procter-portrait-of-astrid-berges.html)

The slap echoed down the hallway. The maid stepped back, hand to her cheek, her eyes were wide.

‘How dare you?’ said Aurelia. Her cheeks were pale in stark contrast to the rouge on her cheekbones.

‘But ladyship,’ said the maid.

‘How dare you!’ Aurelia raised a bejewelled hand again. The piles of hair gathered on her head resembled a storm cloud, complete with pearl droplets.

‘But it really happened,’ said the maid.

‘Slander!’ Aurelia shook and a pearl fell. Her blood felt aflame, ‘I’ll have you flayed!’

‘I’m telling the truth!’ The maid fell to her knees and covered her face with her arms, ‘Lady Laura kissed Henry on the cheek. I saw it!’

‘My daughter would never.’

‘I’m sorry m’ ladyship,’ said the maid, ‘she did. Gary saw it too.’

Chest heaving, Aurelia lowered her hand.

‘Was anyone else there?’ she asked.

‘No,’ said the maid in a small voice, ‘just Lady Laura, Henry, Gary and me. And I wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t been told to clean the drapes.’

Aurelia stared at the trembling figure before her, jaw clenched.

‘If I find out that you’ve lied to me,’ she said.

‘I swear,’ whimpered the maid.

Aurelia gathered her skirts and swept down the hallway towards the servant’s quarters.

Sloth (2 of 6)

Just five more minutes.

Clara saw images move behind her eyelids. They turned red, when she turned her head towards the window. So she turned her head into her pillow and sighed.

She imagined lying on a beach, the sun baking her back. But outside the rays of the sun were at their most dangerous, while her personal rays were only pleasant.

She took another deep breath with a smile.

Her stomach growled.

Breakfast time was long gone, but maybe lunch could still be had?

She could ask Henry to make her eggs if Laura was done with him.

She scratched a rib, stretched, yawned and rolled into her eiderdown.

Just five more minutes.

Gluttony (1 of 6)

(Credit: www.sketchoholic.com , Magnozz)

(Credit: http://www.sketchoholic.com , Magnozz)

Laura poured it all down her throat, honey glazed pork, roast chicken, pasta with tomato cream sauce. Her slurping and smacking of lips mingled with the heavy smell of food held back by the velvet curtains. It all conspired to make the air in the room practically solid even though there were many meters to the ceiling. Reaching for the potatoes, she saw Henry standing beside the table, hands folded in front. There were marks from his toque where his straw coloured hair was plastered to his forehead. His half worried half hungry eyes followed each morsel from her plate to her voluptuous lips. She decided to throw him a bone and beckoned. He blinked at if woken up mid-dream and came closer, shoulders hunched.

‘The chicken is especially good,’ she said, dabbing her mouth with a napkin, ‘well done, Henry.’

‘Thank you my Lady,’ Henry bowed his head.

She beckoned again and when he bent closer, gave him a smooch on the cheek.

‘Thank you, my Lady,’ Henry’s eyes shone, ‘thank you.’

‘You can return to the kitchen,’ she said and he backed away from her bowing, one protective hand over the wet mark she had left on his cheek. Her chuckles sent ripples down her chins, across her breasts, over her stomach to her thighs enveloping her chair. Then she felt a rumbling which had nothing to do with her laughter.

‘Gary, the bucket,’ she said. He was there at once and up came pork, chicken and pasta with tomato cream sauce and honey.

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