Lady Olivia Chapman
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By: Lady Olivia Chapman
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The staff was being assembled by the land agent. Each arrived, having answered an advertisement for their specific role which outlined the details of their responsibilities, and all seemed very ordinary, except there they sat, giving their letters of reference to an ordinary man by whom they might be hired but who would not be their employer.

The groundskeeper and groom were the first positions to be filled by William and James; two young but able lads, who found the mystery worth more discussion.

"D'ye suppose e's a sailor? Maybe e's off in the colonies or maybe a merchant?"

"Aye could be that, right enough or may be e's orf in Lon-don!"

The two would laugh at the prospect of working for someone of the blood royal and then get on with their work until their paths crossed again, and the same conversation, or near enough to it, would take place.

Horses had been sent ahead. Furniture, china and linens began to arrive, and the land agent conscripted two men temporarily to see to the proper placement.

Day after day, the house went slowly from empty to filled, excepting for its main occupant, and day after day, William and James concocted stories of ridiculous proportion as to whom he might be.

Two weeks or so later, as James rested his chin on the hand holding his shovel, and William sat on the edge of his wheelbarrow, both laughing at their latest fantastic contrivance, the top of a parasol became visible from the footpath leading from the old chapel. William stood and James merely lifted his chin.

"Afternoon, Miss"

With a nod of her head, she continued past the two, around the stable and up the hill towards the house.

"No sense in goin' up Miss! The master ain't arrived yet!"

The two exchanged a look of exasperation at the woman not speaking so much as a "how'd ye do" and peeked around the corner to see her closing her parasol and being greeted by the land agent. The wind carried his deep voice to them,"Lady Chapman, I believe you will find your house in order..."

It seemed that 'the master' was not arriving anytime soon, but the mistress was home.