A/N: A new prologue has been made so that it is obvious Rebecca is not the only protagonist in the story.
Rebecca was doomed from the day she
She had no way to know then that he would be the eventual destruction of her. She would not have believed in it even if someone had told her. She only saw him as what stood before her, a boy whose beauty surpassed that of any other male she had ever seen, grown or young, large or petite, prosperous or impoverished. So entranced was Rebecca, that she did not take note of the defiance, the pride, the cool, calculating ways that, even at the tender age of ten, was brewing within him.
The handsome boy cast a contemptuous glance over her before exiting the kitchens, taking a bite out of the apple that was his pre-luncheon snack.
"Now, that was Lord William, the younger son of his grace, the Duke of Wentworth." Posy, the merry-cheeked housemaid who had been delegated the task of showing the new kitchen maid about said in a low voice. "He's quite a pleasant creature when he puts his mind to it, but he can also be a most troublesome lad."
"Does he come into the kitchens often?" Rebecca inquired interestedly. She wanted to know if she would have the opportunity to lay eyes upon his angelic face once more, for he truly was a magnificent and impressive creature.
"He meanders into the kitchen whenever he is hungry." Posy shrugged. "It is hard to predict with boys of that age, but especially with him. His elder siblings, Eaton and Mary, are much more easy to accommodate…anyhow, here is the corner where the mops and brooms are kept. This will be your job mainly, at least it will unless you learn how to be a regular maid…" The older girl once more began to describe the bleak surroundings, and Rebecca retreated into her own thoughts, nodding every so often to indicate to Posy that she was attentive.
How lucky it was for Rebecca, and her family, that a cook in the household of the Duke of Wentworth had stopped in at her father's small bookshop! For the elderly woman had been in pursuit of the latest works of Lord Byron, and had been recommended by a local vendor to try the Phineas' bookstore. The cook had found her book, and had even stayed a while, chatting pleasantly with Rebecca's elder brother, David. It was through this conversation that the cook learned that there was a little girl of nine years in the family. Two weeks later, the kindly cook had returned to the store, asking if the Phineas' would consider hiring Rebecca out to be a kitchen maid in the household of the wealthy Duke of Wentworth. They accepted joyously, for the Phineas' were in financial straits, and Rebecca was of no particular use around the small bookshop, easily manageable by her father and brother.
Thus, she had come to the House of Wentworth as a measly kitchen maid. Her duties entailed her to clean in the kitchens, and serve and assist the cook. These were not overly strenuous, as the cook was kind and thoroughly enjoyed children. Rebecca would sleep in the servants' quarters of the house during the week, and was allotted one day of the week to return and visit with her family. It would be an easy and interesting life, staying in the home of one of the richest men in London, not to mention that she would be regularly contributing to her family's pitiful income.
Rebecca looked forward to it.
Beatrix Foster, the Duchess of
Wentworth, stood at her window, gazing lovingly down at the four children who
frolicked in the yard.
There were her three children, fourteen-year-old Eaton, twelve-year-old Mary, ten-year-old William, and the only daughter of her husband's closest friend, Clara Edgemont, who was of the same age as William. How full of promise they all were!
Mary sat daintily in the swing, her hands gracefully clasped about an etiquette book. Even from her window, Beatrix could see that her daughter was perusing the book carefully, preparing herself for the most important years of her life, in which she would debut into society and attempt to find a suitable husband. Then there was William, who sat beside his older sister on the garden swing. He looked to be bored and impatient, and attempting to engage his elder sister in conversation. But Mary would not be swayed from her book.
My darling daughter, Beatrix herself had been one of the most successful debutantes in her younger years, and she saw no reason as to why her daughter should not follow in her path.
Last, but not by far not least, was her oldest son, Eaton, who sat speaking quietly to little Clara. The sight of the pair made Beatrix's heart swell in pride and hope. How wonderful it would be should there be a match one day between the Marquess of Wentworth and the only child of the Earl of Barrington! And to Beatrix Foster's eyes, it appeared that an early romance between Eaton and Clara were already blooming. Did her older son not gaze fondly at Clara Edgemont? He was a gentle being, to be sure, but he seemed to be most gentle of all with Lord Barrington's young daughter.
The Duchess of Wentworth could only pray that it would be so.