The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 02

GRACE left Rowena with her hair swathed in a towel and carried the green gown off to the workroom where she and housekeeper Emma sewed and ironed the vast variety of garments required to maintain the appearances of the lady of the house and her daughter.

Soon, she was flying down the back stairs and through the tradesmen’s entrance into Berkeley Mews towards the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street.

“Where are you off to, this fine morning, then?”

Startled, Grace paused outside the fishmonger’s to look up at Matthew, the household’s under-chauffeur and sometimes valet, sometimes butler, depending on what Mr Alfred Hicks, his uncle, delegated him. Matt wore a flat cap on his curly fair head and carried a bulky package tucked beneath his right arm.

“Selfridges,” she said. “To purchase ribbon, if you really must know.”

“Mrs Potter sent me to buy Dover sole, thanks for asking.”

“You’d better get back while they’re still fresh, then. Her ladyship’s entertaining her best friends to lunch.”

“A witches’ coven, is it? Woo woo…” He gave a chilling impersonation of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Grace did her best to keep a straight face although she knew Rowena would have laughed out loud.

“Don’t be impertinent, Matt. It doesn’t become you.”

He doffed his cap with his free hand, allowing the bulky package to shift slightly. Grace dived to rescue it and as she looked up at him, their gazes locked for moments before she stepped back.

“I must go. Try and get those Dover sole home before they turn into pumpkins!”

“Cheeky! We still on for the flicks tonight?”

“Yes, of course. I’m free as soon as Mr Hicks drives the family off to the Ritz.”

“I’d better wait outside the kitchen door for you. Uncle Alf’ll skin me alive if he catches me hanging round the front entrance. We could see ‘The Thief of Baghdad’ if you like. That Douglas Fairbanks bloke’s in it.”

Grace glanced back at Matthew as she set off.

“It’s fine by me. But please don’t get any ideas about sitting in the back row.”

“No, your ladyship. Whatever you says, your ladyship.”

Grace hated it when Matthew teased her. She couldn’t help the way she spoke, any more than he could disguise his East End roots. She’d never known any world other than that of Seymour House. As a child she’d shared Rowena’s tutors, though not required to attend dancing and piano lessons, much to Rowena’s annoyance.

Grace’s way of speaking didn’t match her practical attire, though she knew her place, a place that frequently left her feeling as though she inhabited a no-man’s-land between gentry and domestic staff.

In Oxford Street, she stood outside the prestigious store, admiring an eye-catching window display of mannequins wearing bejewelled and beaded cocktail dresses, before she headed for the haberdashery department.

While she examined the spools and skeins of colourful ribbons, Grace pictured in her mind’s eye the rich azure of the Mediterranean Sea sparkling in the sunshine. When a saleswoman hurried forward, a welcoming smile on her face, Grace knew the young assistant appreciated Lady Carmichael’s custom and would treat a lesser member of the household with as much courtesy as she would Rowena or her ladyship herself.



Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, I have found my perfect place on the “Friend” as I’m obsessed with reading and never go anywhere without a book! I read all of our stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!