Through the window it stood, tall and imposing. An estate that she might not have imagined, were it not before her very eyes.
Victoria Jamison sighed from within the carriage that had been sent for her by the Earl of Hanover. Mentally preparing herself for everything that was to come, she waited for the coachman to open the door before she alighted from the coach.
She paused and took a deep breath, wondering what was to come for her. Would she be happy? Would this work out? Was there any chance that she might be able to keep her past a secret?
She gazed at the estate with wide, blue eyes. She knew well that there would be days in which this house might bring her sadness and pain; the pain of memory. But she could handle that. She was ever striving to be better than both her circumstances and the past which she was trying so hard to forget. A past that had completely changed three years prior.
This was to be her new home. This was the place in which she would spend her days as a governess. Of course, it was much like the one she had grown up in, having a governess of her own and a place to call home.
But the estate in which Victoria had grown up no longer mattered. It was now in the hands of a grand Duke who had taken over it with his name far greater than her own. The titles that were once bestowed upon her family no longer existed and she was simply another woman in England searching for employment.
Having happened upon this opportunity had been good fortune indeed.
“Miss, I shall take your bags inside,” the coachman told her as Victoria reached for them herself.
“Yes, thank you,” she replied.
“I believe one of the maids is going to come and show you about the estate. But I shall make sure these reach your bedroom first,” he told her.
Victoria nodded, somewhat shyly.
“Are you nervous, Miss?” he asked.
She looked at him and smiled as calmly as she could.
“I should think anyone might be nervous at the prospect of a new home and new work. Life is not always kind and we cannot control the fullness of our circumstances,” she remarked.
“That is true. But I think you should be happy here. Honestly, it is a good place and the Earl is a good man. True, there are times when it can be difficult working for nobility, but you should do well to remember that this estate is…well, it is a good place indeed,” he told her.
Victoria was relieved to hear all of this, but it did not change the small, nagging feeling inside her.
She allowed the coachman to take her things ever though it was strange to allow someone to do something so simple on her behalf.
Indeed, she had learned a great deal about taking care of things on her own and not relying on others for help. She had been forced to in the midst of all that had happened of late. There was very little that she wished to rely on others to handle for her.
Since the fall from grace that her family had experienced several years ago, nothing had been the same for Victoria. That rude awakening that she had gone through was more than enough to give her a strength that she previously hadn’t thought herself capable of.
No, indeed, now Victoria was at a loss and her name meant nothing to anyone of importance. That was a thing she did not mind so much.
Brushing the thick, brown curls behind her ear, she hoped that the rest of her hair had held in place, pulled back tightly as a proper governess should have. But with the wildness of her own hair, she had never managed quite to tame the locks that framed her face.
Victoria wondered what the Earl might be like. Was he a good man? Would he judge her for her appearance? She had grown rather thin in the days since her family had lost their place in society. What if he deemed her weak as a result of it?
She could not help but think back to those days of luxury, now that she was once more faced with the luxury of others. When she had exquisite foods set before her and gowns far superior to the simple dress which she wore now.
Truly, Victoria had tried to move on from that loss, but it was not easy when she found herself missing those things and now having to understand that she would not be the owner of them again. Rather, she would be working for those to whom they belonged.
Her father had been such a fool. A man of the landed gentry, known for his wealth and position in society, he had been an indulgent and foolish man in the end. Squandering the family fortune on his vices, he had housed his mistresses better than his own family. And his gambling habit had been his great downfall.
By the time he owed money to half the nobility of England, everyone knew that he was done for. Victoria’s mother had done all she could to get her daughter out of the environment, but it would have cost her own reputation. After all, a woman who left her husband would be deemed the villain.
Thus, she was left to figure out her own path.
Having been tutored by the best in the country, highly educated and intelligent, it seemed only fitting for Victoria that she might seek work as a governess. She could hardly find a match with a nobleman of her own considering the shame of her family.
And without the prospect of marriage and hardly having the option of remaining at home, Victoria was content to spend the remainder of her life working for others. She was prudent enough that she felt confident she could save money for her old age.
And in the meantime, she would make every effort to be of value.
Having found this position advertised in the papers, Victoria immediately applied to work for the Earl of Hanover as a governess to his daughter. The child, apparently eleven years of age, would be a good fit for Victoria, she felt.
Of the widower, she knew nothing, but she hoped that he was a good man. She hoped that this would be a good fit for her and that all would be well now that she had this home to call her place of employment.
And certainly, work as a governess was better than that of a housekeeper or maid or any other thing that she might find herself doing. She had considered the possibility of such positions, but knowing that she was capable of educating gave her an advantage that she was grateful for.
Truly, Victoria deemed herself fortunate despite the circumstances that had led her to this position.
Nevertheless, as her feet trod up the stairs and to the door of the estate, she could not help but wonder if this had all been a mistake. Was she making the right decision? Did she want to be a governess? Did she even have a choice in the matter?
A housekeeper appeared at the door to greet her as the coachman went past with her bags.
“Miss Jamison, I presume?” she asked.
“Yes, thank you,” she replied.
“My name is Delia Franklin. I am the housekeeper here at the estate,” the young woman explained.
“It is very nice to meet you, Miss Franklin. I am glad to be here,” she replied politely.
“And we are glad to have you. The Earl of Hanover has a lovely daughter and it is certainly time that she has someone to tutor her. We have been quite concerned about her education, but now that you are present, all shall be well,” Delia said.
Victoria nodded, believing that for her own sake this was indeed the best solution.
“And you are happy working here?” she asked frankly.
“Oh yes, Miss Jamison. This is a wonderful place of employment. I have had a great number of friends take up work in grand estates like this one and they have had horrible masters. But the Earl is a good man,” she remarked.
Victoria felt ill of ease that the maid and the coachman had used the exact same phrase and she wondered if they were trained to say such things. Was he really such a good man? Or was he someone that they feared enough that they spoke highly of him, despite poor character?
She couldn’t help but wonder. And everyone was speaking of the Earl, but she still knew nothing of his daughter.
Victoria imagined that the answers would come in time and she was better off calming herself and trying to simply get used to the new home she would be living in. She did not have to have all the answers at once. She could enjoy getting the hang of this new life without being aware of everything, even if it did leave that niggling anxiety in the back of her mind.
“Well, I am glad to hear that,” she told Miss Franklin.
“And you have a great deal of tutoring and experiences?” Miss Franklin asked.
Victoria smiled once more in that shy way.
“I suppose you might say that. I was fortunate enough to have learned well from a young age. I am certain that I can be of use for the young lady of the house, although I do hope she and the Earl are satisfied with what I have to offer,” she replied humbly.
“They shall be. I’ve no doubt about it. You seem quite the kind young woman and truly I think the Earl would prefer that over intelligence anyway. And if you have learning, he will be satisfied. I, myself, had a good learning. But not enough to be a governess,” Miss Franklin said.
“Oh? Why do you say that?” Victoria asked.
“My mother taught me. She was well learned by her own mother. But being taught by your mother isn’t usually enough to convince anyone to give you a job as a governess. What sort of tutors did you have?” she pried.
“Oh, as I said, I was very fortunate. My father was…he knew of good people,” she replied vaguely.
Victoria knew that she could hardly share the fullness of her story, but it mattered not. She was here for a position, one she knew that she would be able to do well. And if it meant hiding facts about herself in the meantime, she didn’t mind that so much.
“What else do you enjoy?” Victoria asked Miss Franklin, curious to learn more about the housekeeper she thought might become a friend.
“Well, I am quite good at singing,” she replied happily.
“That is lovely to hear, for I am far from the best at such. Perhaps, I might be so lucky as to hear you sing some day?” she asked, trying to encourage the young woman.
“I should be ever so delighted, Miss Jamison. Anytime you wish it, I am here,” she replied.
“Wonderful, thank you so much. I love a good song now and then,” Victoria smiled. “And the pupil I am to teach?”
“She’s a good girl, Miss Jamison. You shall like her a great deal, I am sure. Obedient, kind, and sweet as can be,” Miss Franklin replied.
Once more, Victoria hoped that Miss Franklin was being honest and not overly kind about the charge. After all, she knew what sort of student she had been back in those days of fortune and having everything at her fingertips.
Yes, she had studied and been intelligent. But only because she wished it. She had also been quite troublesome at times when she wished for that instead.
Whatever was to come ahead, Victoria knew that she ought to be ready. This life that she was entering into was new and rather frightening. But she could do it.
More than anything, she hoped that she could do it well.
With Miss Franklin leading her inside, Victoria was unsure exactly what was to come next. She had learned a small portion of things from the maid at the door, but there was still something inside her that felt unsettled.
“Miss Franklin…” she started.
“Yes, Miss Jamison?” she asked in reply, appearing somewhat anxious.
“Am I wrong in suspecting that there is something I’ve yet to be told?” Victoria asked forthrightly.
Miss Franklin froze and looked at her guiltily before her shoulders slumped and she looked at the ground.
“Perhaps, Miss. I’ve told you what I know I’m supposed to say. But I cannot pretend that it was the full and honest truth,” she said with a sigh.
Victoria eyed Miss Franklin who looked away, unwilling to fully make eye contact. Her gut twisted, wondering what it was that had been hidden from her, and hoping she might be able to handle it.
“Alright, well, I should like to know what this full and honest truth is then. What is it that has you so skittish and evidently uncomfortable?” Victoria pushed.
“Well, Miss, I think you shall be meeting the Earl and his daughter right after you sort out your room and change into something more comfortable for you,” Miss Franklin began.
“Yes, and then?” she continued to press.
“Well, and then you might see that we’ve all been less than forthcoming about things,” she replied vaguely, still avoiding eye contact
Victoria was growing frustrated. She wanted answers but all she was getting from Miss Franklin was dancing around the subject and being told that she’d been lied to. Whatever the truth was, Victoria wished to know it. She was tired of people telling her that everything was alright and would be wonderful if that was, indeed, not the case at all.
“Can you please be out with it?” she asked, her irritation showing.
“It is what I’ve said to you about Marian,” she confessed.
“Marian? Is that my charge?” Victoria asked.
“Yes, Miss Jamison. Miss Marian Fairfax is the young lady for whom you are meant to be a governess. And what I’ve told you about her being sweet and whatnot? Well, I cannot say that I was entirely honest about that,” she confessed.
Victoria’s heart began to sink. The truth was, apparently, that she had agreed to be the governess for a child who caused trouble and was not the angel that everyone would have had her believe. Just as she had secretly wondered.
Regret filled her chest and Victoria wondered if she ought to have applied for different positions even if they did pay less than this one. She had no desire to be the governess for a troublemaking child. Once more she thought back to her own days as a wealthy brat, and about how she had treated those put in care over her.
If Marian was anything like Victoria had been, it would mean that she was somewhat difficult, but that she would still be able to handle her. If she was worse than Victoria had been, she would forever live with the regret of having accepted this position.
“I see. And will you please tell me the full extent of the truth and how difficult this child is going to be for me?” she inquired rather openly.
“Don’t you think it’s best if I get you settled in your room first?” Miss Franklin offered, anxious that they might be overheard.
“I think I should like to be prepared,” Victoria replied.
“Right Miss, but why don’t we get you to your room first? It is quiet there,” Miss Franklin suggested again, adding the last part in a whisper.
Victoria sensed that Miss Franklin was too nervous to tell her the full truth out in the middle of the hallway, and wished for privacy if she was to divulge this sort of information.
More anxious than ever, Victoria sighed and agreed. She followed as the maid led her up the staircase for two floors and down the hall where her room was.
“This is your room,” she announced, showing Victoria the small space.
“It will do just fine,” Victoria replied, looking at the desk and dresser that accompanied the bed.
There were two large windows which she was glad for. More than anything, Victoria hated to be in the darkness. And while she didn’t mind the small space so much, the windows made it seem a good deal larger.
Her bags rested on the bed and she knew that she would have plenty of time to unpack later. For now, she had questions and they were far more important to her than anything else.
“Alright, so will you now tell me the reality of what this child is like?” she asked, pressing her eyes towards Miss Franklin who fiddled with her hands.
“Well, Miss Marian has been difficult with other governesses,” she confessed finally. “In fact, she has been difficult enough that they have all quit. The Earl has to put an ad in the paper every four or five months because no governess has lasted beyond that. Actually, I think that is probably the longest that Marian has kept one for.”
Victoria’s shoulders sagged in defeat. Of course she had happened upon such a difficult child as this to be her charge. It seemed that nothing in life would ever turn out for her again.
“I see.” Victoria released a breath she had been holding. It did little to settle the tension in her muscles.
“But perhaps you might be able to change her, Miss Jamison. All she needs is a strong hand and someone to care for her long enough that she gives up on her behaviour. You might be just the thing for her,” Miss Franklin tried to encourage.
“Yes, well, that is what I shall strive for. Thank you for being honest with me about this, Miss Franklin. I do suggest in the future that you refrain from lying to me, however. I do not take kindly to untruths and I should prefer to be prepared for a difficult charge than caught off guard by it,” she said in reply.
“Yes, Miss Jamison,” she conceded.
Victoria considered her options for a moment. It was not going to be easy. But in the end, she knew that she had few other options.
This had been the most profitable opportunity she had found and she was confident that she could make an effort to connect with Marian and possibly overcome the child’s behaviour. Indeed, she felt confident it would work.
And if it didn’t, she would push through nevertheless. She needed this position and would not abandon it easily. There was very little that could keep her from getting past all of this and being the sort of governess that she knew herself to be capable of.
“Well, now that all of that is out of the way, do you think I might have an opportunity to meet with the Earl and my charge?” she asked.
“Do you not wish to arrange your belongings?” Miss Franklin inquired.
“I shall deal with all of that later. I think it is best that I meet with the two of them now and get a handle on things before moving into the house. I should like to know my employer and have an opportunity to meet with Marian at their earliest convenience,” she replied.
“Well then, I believe they are in the parlour. Come with me,” Miss Franklin said.
Victoria followed behind, wondering what it was going to be like to meet these two new people who were going to be such a large part of her life.
Would the child give her problems from the very first moment? Was the Earl truly kind or had they lied about him as well? She would learn the answers soon enough.
Miss Franklin knocked on the door of the parlour and they heard the low voice instructing them to enter. When they did, Victoria noticed the beauty of the room, but was far more struck by the Earl and his daughter.
The Earl of Hanover was a tall, broad-shouldered man with an elegant stance. His hair was dark and shadowed his face, which held such perfect features as she had scarcely seen. With a jaw that was edged sharply and grey eyes that seemed like ice amidst his face, she was caught immediately by the distinction of him.
There was a large, jagged scar along his cheek, but it did nothing to detract from his appearance. In many ways, it only caused her to find him even more fascinating and handsome.
Tearing her eyes away, she saw the child, an exact image of her father. Marian was beautiful with the same dark locks and light eyes. She bore a pretty, feminine face in comparison her father’s masculinity, but there was no doubt at all that the two were father and daughter.
Victoria curtseyed and the Earl bowed. He looked at his daughter in disappointment and harshly whispered for her to curtsey, which she did with a rapid descent and spring up. It was clear that she had no desire to show any sort of respect to Victoria. Victoria didn’t mind so much, for she knew that things would change soon enough.
“Miss Jamison, it is lovely to finally meet you,” the Earl greeted.
“And you, my lord. And Miss Marian, I am glad to finally make your acquaintance as well,” she said to the little girl, who rolled her eyes and pretended to yawn.
The shocking rudeness of it hardly impacted Victoria and she tried not to laugh at the attempts of Marian to cross her. She knew that the girl was still a child and that this behaviour was her way of attempting to push her boundaries.
Looking Marian in the eye and speaking directly to her, Victoria continued her dominant, yet friendly manner.
“I think we shall get along very well and that under my tutelage you will understand how a young woman is meant to learn and to behave,” she said in a clear, concise manner.
A smirk that had begun on the child’s face faded as she apparently understood the gravity and sincerity of Victoria’s words. It settled in Victoria that the child was already recognising that this would not be such an easy situation to assert herself over.
“And what makes you certain of that? Do you have the proper credentials for being my governess? The others have all proven quite unworthy,” she retorted, openly and crossly.
Victoria felt a smirk of her own rising at the corner of her lips.
“My dear Miss Marian, I trust that it shall not take you long at all to learn that I am the sort of governess who sees to it that her charges learn quickly and without difficulty. I believe you and I will understand one another better than you might expect, and certainly better than your former governesses,” she alluded.
“”I can’t see how you’re any different,” Marian accused.
“Marian!” her father scolded.
“Do not worry, my lord, I am not concerned in the slightest. As I said, it shall not take long for Miss Marian to understand me and she shall prove herself to be an excellent and worthy student,” Victoria said with a grin.
“A worthy student requires a worthy governess,” Marian retorted again, defiantly. Victoria saw something in the girl’s eyes; a longing to be scolded. It was not the rude defiance that was easily visible; it was a desire to be spoken to.
Indeed, Marian Fairfax did not seem simply to be driven by her brash behaviour, but rather to be wishing for someone to give her the sort of attention, affection even, that she had been stripped of.
“And what do you believe makes a worthy governess?” she asked with genuine curiosity about what the child might value.
Marian’s expression told Victoria that she would never have anticipated that question. She was shocked and at a loss for what to say.
“There is nothing to worry about, you needn’t strain yourself. Just inform me once you have thought it through and I shall evaluate my methods according to your expectations, then we can decide whether or not we are a good fit for one another. How does that sound to you? Is that agreeable?” she asked, a hint of compassion in her voice. Victoria sensed the silence in the room and saw that even the Earl was in awe of her handling of his daughter.
“I must say that I have never seen my daughter at a loss for words when facing a governess before. I shall have to learn the secret of your wit,” he laughed.
Victoria smiled in reply, trying once more not to be distracted by the Earl’s appearance, but she was delighted at having impressed him. She hoped only that she might manage to continue and prove her worth.
Perhaps this position was right for her, after all.
“Miss Franklin, would you mind ever so much taking Marian upstairs?” Reginald Fairfax, Earl of Hanover asked.
“Yes, my lord. Come,” she said to the Earl and then to his daughter.
Marian crossed her arms and looked at Miss Franklin with an attempt at disdain, and Miss Jamison mimicked the motion while keeping her eyes trained on the girl’s face until she conceded and took Miss Franklin’s hand to depart from the room.
Yes, this new governess was intriguing indeed. There was something about her that held him quite at interest. She was respectful to his daughter, yet unwilling to accept the attitude which she so frequently chose to give. It was fascinating. It was as though she recognised that his daughter needed more than just a governess. She needed a caring woman in her life.
Once the two of them stood alone together in the room, he felt he had a bit more freedom to try and get to know her. He could ask her the abundance of questions he had just formed in that short period of observation. But more than that, he was caught by the way she held such a frank gaze.
Miss Jamison was not like most governesses who would look away shyly or keep their eyes down. She held herself with a strength and poise that was more akin to a noblewoman. Indeed, she was nothing at all like what he might have expected from her.
And then there was the matter of her beauty. Hardly the first thing that caught his attention about her, it also could not be denied.
“Miss Jamison, I am glad to have seen you interacting with my daughter. I have to admit that I did not expect such frankness from you,” he remarked.
“I hope that does not disappoint you, my lord. I am not the sort of woman who backs down easily when she sees that a different track might be useful,” she told him.
“You are apparently an excellent judge of behaviour, for it seems that you knew exactly what might cause my daughter to show a bit of respect. That is a skill in which she is generally found lacking,” he remarked.
“Then I do believe it is time to right that small flaw,” she replied, as if forgetting herself. Then, with a sudden realisation, she spoke again. “Forgive me, my lord. I did not mean to suggest that your daughter is flawed. Only that there are certain aspects of her character which we might find ourselves able to work through.”
“Of course, Miss Jamison. I understand what it is that you meant and I do not take offense at it. The truth of the matter is that my daughter does, indeed, need to work through her behaviour and poor manners,” he said.
“It would seem that there is something underlying it. I understand that children have their ways of behaving, but I must ask if something has happened to cause a change in her?” Miss Jamison inquired openly.
Reginald was further impressed by her. She was extremely observant of behaviour, and it made him slightly hesitant about showing his own character.
“Well, in fact, the loss of her mother certainly increased her restlessness,” he answered.
A look of sadness came over Miss Jamison, as if understanding now what it was that had influenced Marian to demand so much attention, even if it was unfavourable.
“I understand, my lord. I shall keep this in mind and ensure that I speak with her accordingly. It must be very difficult for her to have lost so much,” she said.
“I am glad you see it so,” Reginald said.
“A child should not have to experience such a loss, but I shall do my best to ensure that she improves her behaviour. A loss should not impact one’s reputation,” she told him, quite boldly.
Reginald could not help but find himself somewhat fascinated by her frankness and apparent brazenness.
When Miss Jamison looked back up at him with that direct gaze of hers, he wondered if he ought to clear the air on another issue.
“I must ask you, Miss Jamison, if my scar frightens you?” he questioned.
Many times throughout his life, he had seen the way young women looked at him with fear or disgust for the scar. Even past governesses had found him frightening with just a glance.
“It does not, my lord,” she replied, almost in confusion as to why he would even ask.
Reginald chose not to say anything in reply to that, but he was quite relieved and pleased to hear it. It was good to know that she did not find him terrifying or hideous due to the mark.
“I must inform you that I am aware, somewhat, of your history,” he said then, knowing that it would not be an easy conversation to have with the young woman and that she likely would not wish to discuss it.
For a moment, an appearance of fear struck the face of the governess. Fear and, perhaps, even dread. He watched the emotions cross over her and, finally, Miss Jamison’s lips parted in readiness to speak.
“I am relieved to hear that, my lord,” she replied, although she remained hesitant as she did.
“You are?” he questioned.
“Yes. It means that you can be confident that I am well learned and I have nothing to hide from you. I wish only that you would understand that the mistakes of my father and the shame of my family are not the sort of character flaws which you will find in me,” she assured him, speaking slowly and deliberately. He sensed that she would rather not discuss the issue further, but was willing to if necessary.
Reginald nodded, appreciating her humility and the recognition that character flaws were hardly limited to his daughter.
“I was not certain if your past was something which you would rather have hidden,” he said.
“It is difficult to hide in London, my lord. Particularly with matters of family shame and scandal. I should hardly advertise the mistakes of my father or the ways in which his behaviour affected us, but if you are aware then there is nothing I might do to hide the matter,” she noted.
“Is it something you would rather have hidden?” he asked.
“Would not most people in my position prefer to hide their shame? Certainly, I wish that it were not something which must be discussed. Once more, as I said, it is difficult to do in London because scandal leaves such a fascinating ripple throughout society that it would be difficult for me to deny,” she acknowledged.
“Yes, I suppose that is so,” he nodded.
“But as it is, you know about it and there we are. Regardless of my family’s past and history, I am thankful for the opportunity to teach your daughter. I appreciate that you have given me this chance despite knowing that my family was disgraced and has such a poor reputation in London,” she said rather directly, trying to settle the matter.
Reginald was still surprised at how open and honest she was being. There was nothing about this young woman that needed to be hidden, and it seemed as though she understood that she wouldn’t manage to hide it anyway.
He appreciated her direct frankness about it all as well as the reassurance that she was nothing like her father. There was very little about her that Reginald might find distasteful.
“I am confident that there is nothing you might do to pollute my daughter, Miss Jamison. Please understand that my trust is with you and I cannot imagine anything other,” he said with a sigh.
“I am glad to hear it, my lord. But if there is even a whiff of scandal about me, I shall understand whatever decisions you might have to make,” she told him.
“I cannot imagine you being the cause of scandal. Aside from the fact that my daughter might change rather rapidly under your watch, I think there is nothing that might be said of you. And anything that is said shall surely be positive if you continue as you are,” he noted.
“I am thankful for that observation,” she replied statically and without emotion.
Reginald observed her, perhaps longer than he ought to have. Yes, in addition to her beauty and wit, her past had done a great many things to her; that he could see. He wondered if her ability to interact with his daughter was the result of her own upbringing and wealthy parents.
But he had no desire for Marian to know this and he would refrain from telling her anything about this new governess.
“Is it difficult? Being demoted to the role of governess when you were a woman of great means and fortune?” he asked out of curiosity, watching her closely.
“Certainly. But our family fell before I became a woman, and I think in many ways, that was to my benefit. You see, if we had fallen now, for instance, it would have been quite a struggle for me to have come to terms with it all. By now I might have marriage prospects or wealth of my own,” she noted.
“But as it was, my family was disgraced when I was young enough that I was able to overcome the shame and accept my lot in life. I do not mind hard work and I am happy that I have secured a position. That is the best I can now hope for and I am unwilling to mourn that fact,” she continued.
“I must say you have a stronger character than many if you are so willing to move on from the past that had a promise of fortune and title,” he said.
“Truly? I believe some would deem it a weakness of character that I have made this choice. After all, would not most young women choose to fight for their lot in life and make a match that restored them to their former glory?” she asked.
“Most likely, they would. But you are different and I can respect that. Rather than seeking your former glory, one which you were merely born into, you have chosen to make a name for yourself without the assistant of pedigree. And in my mind, that requires a far stronger character than the other,” he replied.
Reginald was quiet and he noted that Miss Jamison grew silent as well. He poured a bit of tea for her, despite that not being something he often did. But he was curious and wished to know more about this young woman, although he knew that it would be difficult to learn more of her. She was quiet and private and there was evidently a great deal underneath the surface of what she had shown him.
No matter how open and honest she had been, he was certain he could learn more and he would be glad to know who she really was underneath her brave exterior.
“My lord, I have also learned a bit about you, although not so much as I might have wished to know before coming to stay here,” she began then.
Reginald was taken aback, and not prepared for that. As the master of the house, he was unused to his employees trying to learn about him in return.
“Indeed? And what is it about me that you know?” he asked, uncomfortably.
“Well, I knew very little about your daughter, which I do now regret a great deal. But I am also aware of the tragedy surrounding the loss of your wife, Miss Marian’s mother-”
Reginald raised a hand to cut her off and Miss Jamison went silent, waiting for him to interject with whatever it was that he wished to say.
He cleared his throat, upset and unsure how to tell her what it was that he wanted her to know. This was not the sort of conversation she was welcome to have with him.
“Miss Jamison, I appreciate your directness when I inquired about you, but I must ask you to recall that you are an employee in my home and it is not your duty to learn about me in return. You would do well to not bring up the subject of my wife ever again and I hope that that is very clear,” he said in a steady voice that betrayed very little of his emotion.
It was clear to him that Miss Jamison wished to continue in her line of discussion, but she was hesitant now that he had spoken so strongly on the subject of not wishing to discuss it. No matter how she might have wanted to learn more, he would not allow it.
Miss Jamison nodded slowly.
“Forgive me, my lord,” she said quietly, setting her tea on the table.
“That is enough for now,” he said in reply, perhaps a bit louder than he would have liked his voice to be. But he could not stop the seething breaths that came in and out of his nostrils at his hurt from the topic.
“You are dismissed, Miss Jamison,” he said her, waving her away with his hand.
The governess nodded and stood, giving a small curtsey before taking her to leave.
True, she had been open with him about her own struggles, but she would have to learn her place now. She was not in a position to ask him about these things and Reginald needed her to know that. She would learn in time. And he would be strong.
“The Precious Secret of a Loving Governess” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Victoria Jamison is a woman who knows the benefits of wealth and society. However, after her family’s fall from grace, she is forced to find work as a governess. When she is hired by a charming Earl, she strives to win his daughter’s affinity, but she is soon to find herself in a terrible position, after making an unpleasant discovery. Will she choose to keep the secret to herself despite what her heart commands? Or will she let a lie destroy any chance she has for happiness and love?
Reginald Fairfax, the Earl of Hanover, is haunted by the death of his late wife and the engagement to a woman he does not love. When the new governess he has hired for his daughter appears, he is stunned by her beauty. Getting to know her better, he will get captivated by her kindness, but the reality is harsh and will not allow his feelings to bloom. Will he eventually choose society’s rules and let his heart down? Or will he find the courage to admit something he has been denying all this time: that he is in love?
When their paths cross, Victoria realises that her secret is so strong that could bring them together or separate them forever. Will their love overcome society’s expectations? Or will they back down to a dull life, far away from each other?
“The Precious Secret of a Loving Governess” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.