Secrets of West Grove Manor

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The year is 1890 and Cristiana walked the gardens surrounding the manor where she was hired as the new Lady's maid. The salary was sufficient, earning about 20 pounds a year. Cristiana was hired on the fact that she was well educated and a genteel woman.The Lady made an exception when hiring Cristiana as a Lady's made since Cristiana was only 23 and the normal age to fill that position being 30. She smiled with wonder as she finally came upon the river that laced through the Lord's property. Carefully Cristiana stepped to the edge of the bank and held the skirt to her purple dress so it wouldn't dip into the water. Her dark brown hair stayed perfectly back in her braided bun,except for a few tendrils, as she leaned down towards the water so she could run her fingers over the cool surface. Once her fingers broke the surface her green eyes twinkled with happiness. This spring afternoon was perfect with sounds of the Lord and Lady's children giggling with the governess, the horses whinnying to each other in their stalls, and the sparrows flitting playfully. Soon hooves striking the gravel path broke the serene environment. Cristiana soon recognized the young, handsome, new Lord from Forest Oaks manor striding up the steps towards the front door. Lord and Lady had called upon him to try and convince him to court their eldest daughter once she had her coming-out ball in a fortnight since she turned 18.

OOC: I left names blank , as you can see, so if people wish they could jump into those positions. Don't feel like you need to. Feel free to make your own characters too!
Anya took a deep breath as she paced around the living room of the manor, one hand placed on her stomach. Why on earth did the corsets have to be so tight!? "Darling, please calm down" Her mother said. "Mother, why was I not warned?" Anya asked, she had only been informed this morning that the new Lord was coming to see her, leaving her with little time to make herself look her best, she knew what her parents were like, if they had called upon a Lord to come and vist them then no doubt they wanted him to court her, and perhaps even marry her. "Mama, I have enough stress with the ball" She said to the woman, everything was so busy at the moment with her coming-out ball, it seemed like every time she turned she would have another appointment or dressing fitting to attend, and after a while, it got beyond a joke. "He's here" She heard her mother say. She nodded and took a deep breath before heading over to the chaise lounge and sitting down, watching as her father stood to greet him at the door, her mother moved to sit beside her and she smiled weakily, pushing a few strands of her brown hair behind her ear, deciding it best to play with the bracelet around her wrist. "What's he like?" She asked softly, she just hoped he wasn't like the others, that he wasn't big headed and that he didn't think of only himself, she had met far too many like that, she wanted someone who was kind and caring, someone who wouldn't mind putting her first every once in a while, who wouldn't think of her simply as a trophy or something they could show off.

She took a deep breath as she watched her mother for a few moments, what did she think of that man? She didn't know what to do when her mother seemed to ignore her. She decided to look out the window at her siblings, how happy they looked, how care free they were, she wished she was that age again, when the only worry you had was if Grandmama was coming for tea or not, not having to worry about balls and apperances, and about the pressures of finding and husband, as as quickly as possible as her mother said. She glanced down at her lap as she heard her father talking to his footman as they waited on the new Lord, she took one last deep breath, slipping the mask on as she turned around to watch her siblings and their governesses once more as she waited for him to walk in.


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Lady Harriet fanned herself nervously, hoping that this Lord would be good enough for her daughter. She knew that most of the suitors that came Anya always turned down for one reason or another. It vexed her terribly when her daughter did this. Harriet heard Anya ask a question, but she was too wrapped up to really listen. She chewed the inside of her bottom lip softly as worries spun through her head. Would he be handsome? How about proper? Would he meet expectations Anya has set? Her husband has already seen this new Lord, which prompted him to call upon him immediately, that must mean he was honorable and respectable. Patting her daughters leg, she whispered, "look forward Anya. You do not want him walking in and having your attention be elsewhere."
Cristiana longed to at least have the attention of a man. Her mother had always put Lottie, her younger sister, in the public eye since she was a "rare beauty." Now, she is off in some manor busy with her children, barely keeping in contact with her family. Cristiana had always expected that to happen because her sister had kept her eyes on men. Heaven forbid soldiers came through their town and Lottie heard about it. Sighing, Cristiana shook her head dismissing the thoughts. Books were better friends anyways. Gracefully, she sat on the ground and spread her skirts out around her. Placing her chin in her hand, she stared into the water, lost in thought. She did not envy Miss Anya, she actually felt sorry for her. It seemed as if Lady Harriet enjoyed putting her daughter on display just for the sake of having something to gossip about when the rest of the ladies came for tea.
Erin leaned on the shovel as he stared out at the blue sky. A black stallion poked the boy's side and he looked down at the beautiful creature." What do you need?" The horse stared up at him before ambling away in search of food. Erin sighed and thought to himself," Who needs friends, I have horses to talk to..." With a sigh he got back to work but every few minutes he stared back out into the sky he couldn't reach. Finally finishing caring for the horses he stepped out of the stables and stretched. He was now free for the rest of the day until he was called for. He glanced towards the manor and shook his head, the news of a new Lord coming had spread quickly, and all, except for himself were eager to see the man. With a shake of his head he turned toward the garden and walked away.

Anya turned to look at her mother and smiled weakily. "I know, I'm truely sorry" She said to her mother, she turned her head and looked straight ahead of her, soon getting lost in her own thought, what was taking them so long? Was her father warning him? Had he decided to change his mind and turn around again? Why was she even worrying? Just this morning she had been totally against the idea of even seeing the man, let alone accepting the change of perhaps courting him, she turned to her mother and smiled weakily, she knew what the woman was like, she would want him to meet her expectations, she doubted anyone could meet her expectations, at least not anyone in their class, all the men she had met didn't care about her, they just cared about having someone to give them son's and someone they could parade around as a trophy, she hoped this one would be differnet, simply so she wouldn't have to go through with this anymore, she had two weeks to find someone to escort her to her coming-out ball, and she had already seen enough possible suitors to last her a life-time.
Erin smiled as he walked up to the small bridge, this was always the best place to think whenever he needed space. He walked across staring down at the crystal clear water . After walking a little bit father he stopped, surprised to see someone there... especially a woman of all things." I would think everyone would be in the manor... oh well." He walked up beside her and after a moment realized who the woman was." Good day Miss Cristiana."
The Lord laughed and Harriet looked towards the door. "I wish your father would not drag out this meeting," she complained "going through the same ritual every time a suitor comes is rather tiring." Harriet shook her head. Her mother turned towards Anya, giving her a sympathizing smile. "Do not fret my daughter. The right man will come in time." With a sigh the Lady slouched, allowing her posture to be ruined for a moment. Lines of worry deepened on her face as she retreated into her thoughts.
Hearing a man's voice, she startled into reality. Looking up she then smiled. "Good day to you too Mister Erin," Cristiana said as she stood up to greet him respectfully. She ran her hands down over her skirts to knock of grass and straighten them out. "Are the horses treating you well?" Her eyes twinkled with amusement at her weak attempt at a joke. A deep laugh sounded from the front of the house. It was the unmistakeable laugh of the Lord, no doubt talking to the new Lord. "I believe they put too much pressure on Miss Anya," Cristiana whispered, knowing a comment like that would be too bold to say and might even get her a scolding.

(( The new Lord will be coming in soon I promise. Sorry for the wait))
Erin laughed and rubbed his head," Well enough until they're hungry, then it appears I am walking food." His smile vanished for a moment as he heard the Lord laugh and he shook his head. He nodded to what Cristiana whispered," Yes, much more than the poor child should be put under." He whispered back. He looked back toward the manor and he felt his heart ache a little for the Lord's daughter," Poor thing having to go through all this..."
"She is so young," Cristiana looked towards the manor, picturing Miss Anya and Lady Harriet. "It is rumored that I am to be under Miss Anya's charge soon. I might be leaving West Grove if this suitor works out" She nodded then decided to change topics. Hooking arms with Erin, Cristiana began walking towards the stables "Care to show me your stables? I have yet to step foot among the horses. I find them such graceful creatures, but my fears keep me from riding them." A small blush appeared on her cheeks after admitting such a thing.
Erin smiled as he and Cristiana walked toward the stables." I would love to, and if you'd like to learn how to ride I would be glad to teach you though there is no shame in fearing them." As they neared the stables the black stallion poked his head out from the door and neighed happily." That beauty there is Mime, he is my own personal horse I brought from home with me. If you'd like you could ride him."
"Ohh he is gorgeous." Cristiana let go of his arm and went up to him, putting her hand out for him smell. "I am sure you are proud of him." She smiled brightly but once he said she could ride Mime, it disappeared. Nervously, she bit her lower lip, the horse suddenly appearing huge. With a small nod, she turned to Erin "I would like to try to ride him." Her smile came back "will you help me?" Once she asked that question she felt foolish. Of course he would help her ride. He had to or else she would be totally frightened.
Mime sniffed Cristiana then pushed his nose into her hand. Erin laughed," Most of the time I am but he can be birdbrained sometimes." Mime snorted and glared at Erin before looking back down at Cristiana. Erin walked over to the door of the stables and opened it letting Mime out." Of course I'll help just let me get him ready. Come on boy." Erin walked into the stables with Mime right behind him. He returned with a fully geared Mime behind him. He mounted the horse then held out his hand for Cristiana." Come on"
Cristiana giggled with delight as Mime's velvety nose pressed into her palm. As Erin opened the stall door, she backed up giving the horse some space as he came out. "He looks really good tacked up," Nervously, she placed her hand in his, allowing him to help her onto Mime. She settled down on the horse, refusing to look down. "He is so tall," Cristiana mumbled as she gripped her skirts.
Erin laughed," He is tall but I won't let you fall." Erin nudged Mime into a slow trot and laughed." It may seem scary but I promise you'll have fun." As if Mime read his rider's thought he neighed happily." Tell me where you want to go Miss Cristiana."
He won't let me fall, Cristiana repeated in her mind and smiled "I put my trust in you mister Erin." As Mime went into a trot, she squeezed her skirt tighter, her knuckles starting to turn white. "Surprise me Mister Erin." Cristiana settles comfortably back against him, beginning to like the feeling of being on a horse and starting to feel safe with Erin.
Erin grinned," All right then... come on Mime." He turned the horse and nudged him into a faster trot. They rode toward the garden and ran into their first obstacle, a rose bush. Mime jumped over the bush with ease and sped to a gallop. Erin gave the horse his head and smiled to Cristiana." He knows where to go and he won't let us get hurt along the way." He could see how scared she was despite her seeming comfortable and he tried his best to reassure her. Mime cleared two more bushes and galloped out of the garden and onto the bank, water splashing behind him.
Cristiana closed her eyes tightly as Mime launched into the air, she waited to hit the ground but it never happened. She sighed with relief and actually began enjoying herself. It was freeing feeling the wind in her hair. Soon, she smiled and easily followed the rhythm of Mime's gallop. "This is amazing," Cristiana said enthusiastically, finally feeling happy for the first time in awhile. Deciding to let loose just a bit, she reached back and let her hair down. At this moment in time, Cristiana didn't care about her status as Lady's maid, whether or not this new Lord would meet Miss Anya's expectations, or if Lady Harriet's dress would be made in time for the coming out ball. Right now, her life consisted of Erin, Mime, and the feeling of freedom.
Erin laughed feeling proud of himself," Well at least I made someone happy today." he thought to himself as Cristiana let her hair down. He hadn't expected to have so much fun himself but here he was enjoying himself as much as her. After several minutes Mime slowed to a trot, finally showing signs of exhaustion. Erin leaned to the right and patted the horse's neck." It looks like Mime is getting tired so I am going to cut this trip short Miss Cristiana." He turned the horse and Mime headed back for the stables, his pace slow but steady.
"I wish we did not have to go back," Cristiana sighed and once again leaned comfortably against Erin. Once back at the manor, she lingered around the stables with Erin and Mime. "Thank you," She smiled brightly and idly twirled a tendril of hair around her finger. It was weird having her hair down in front of people. It was not proper, she was no longer put together, but oddly she didn't care right now. "Maybe, we can do this again?" Cristiana looked at him intently, hoping he would say yes.