Three years after the sudden disappearance of Emily the servant girl, daughter of local farmers and only really remembered by them, there was great merriment up at the hall. Lord Eustace Shaw was married again. His previous wife had died, along with their baby girl, in childbirth, just 6 months before, but the gentleman was bringing home a new bride from London. It was said she was very wealthy and would bring much richness and finery to the home. The more cynical among his friends whispered that this was the reason he had married her, but they said nothing of the sort in his hearing.
The truth was that she was exceptionally wealthy in her own right, her father laying a very good dowry on her marriage of £1000 and also giving her a private allowance of £50 per annum whilst she lived.
As the carriage drew up to the great hall, carrying the Lord and his new bride, the servants quickly lined up down the steps to greet them. The Butler slapped a scullerymaid and sent her packing to the back of house again. This was no place for her. He bustled around, inspecting their livery and uniforms for dirt or creases. Sending one footman back into the house after finding a lost button, he quickly made his way to the bottom step just in time to greet Lord Shaw as he jumped from the carriage, holding out his hand to help his good lady down from the coach.
All the female staff leaned forward eager to see what a lady of London looked like. They had heard tell of her wealth and hoped she had brought some of the latest fashion with her. Mary, a local girl, quiet and just 14, had been brought in to be her lady’s maid and was almost wetting herself with excitement. A short, quickly quietened gasp broke out from the collected staff, male and female alike, as a small, dainty, almost fairylike woman alit from the carriage in a waft of lavender. She wore a domed skirt of lilac and cream Deep flounces finished with satin ribbon bows. A petite tiered cape-jacket and a deep bonnet with long ribbons tied with a large bow under a delicate chin, with wisps of golden hair escaping from small buns on either side of her cherub face, The new Lady Agnes Shaw smiled at the assembled servants and the whole compliment of staff fell instantly in love.
Lord Eustace grinned and led his new bride into the hall.