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    Mark92
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The Legacy - 18. Chapter 18

A Very Good Day

Two months later Adam and Jenny were married. It was a grand occasion, it needed to be seen that this was a marriage of love and not convenience.

Both Adam and Jenny knew it wasn’t to be a sexual marriage. James had left his mark on both of them, but he had forever altered Adam. Adam could be friends with women but he could never bed one now.

Another few months had passed as Jenny’s pregnancy progressed. The estate settled down again, and things began to seem normal. Adam was seen as the helpful partner to Jenny who with her being heavily pregnant found it harder and harder to get around the estate.

 

Jenny

Today I dressed with care; I was to have a visit from “The Panel”. A visit I didn’t welcome, just the thought of it gave me butterflies. Though I had become Mistress of the Estate they knew James had once taken me as a slave. Would the Grange estate have a new Master? Just who would take over the run of things? They had requested to see me, before they addressed Adam. This in itself gave me cause to worry, and wonder why that should be.

I had a quiet breakfast with Adam; he then went off to do the daily rounds of the estate. I was glad for the fact he would be out of the way, although I would have never admitted to it. I went into the study and sat sorting through the day’s mail. As far as anyone else knew it would be business as usual under my guidance.

An hour later and Nichole showed in two members of “The Panel.

Nichole curtsied as she introduced them; she knew to keep her posture and her eyes lowered at all costs.

“Master Jason Chapman and Mistress Davina Travis to see you ma’am,” She curtsied again and left backwards, and closed the door silently.

I stood and smiled and then offered my hand. James had taught me a few important lessons in dealing with people. Always be firm with a handshake, make those you plan to control sit before you. It was all the little tricks of being in control and I couldn’t afford to look weak before these two, too many people were depending on me.

“A warm welcome to both of you, please sit down,” my voice trembled a little, but I made an effort to look in control. I had noticed the surprised looks at my bump, but said nothing further.

Jason and Davina sat down where I directed and then I sat. I had no idea of the protocol for this sort of meeting. James had never allowed me near any of this, and all I did know were whispered rumours among those who had been here a while.

I decided to take control of the beginning of the meeting and addressed my bump; I stroked my hand over it and smiled.

“I hope for a boy in the next two weeks, an heir is needed to follow in James footsteps,”

Davina smiled and Jason shuffled in his seat.

“So it is the offspring of James you carry? Apologies, but we must be sure,” Jason said quietly. I noticed he seemed uncomfortable with my pregnancy.

Davina nodded and said firmly, “May we deal with the matters we have come to address, rather than these pleasantries’?”

I nodded quickly, unsure of what she expected. I wasn’t sure I wanted to let her take control of this conversation, but I needed to know exactly why they were here. Jason rose, took a step and finally addressed me directly.

“We, being The Panel have gone over this at great length. We have also kept a close eye on proceedings since James passed away. The estate virtually runs itself, which is a good thing.” Jason said in a firm no nonsense voice.

“We wish this to continue, so we shall leave things as they are at present. You and Adam will be left in charge,” Davina continued.

I felt a moment of relief. It was however to be short lived as Jason began again.

“You are both slaves, so the important decisions will be made by us. But the day to day running of the farm will remain the same. You and Adam are Lord and Lady here, you can hire and fire as you see fit. You can also expand the business and the estate as you wish.”

Jason walked over and stood beside Davina, forcing me to acknowledge them both. Mentally, I realized that I hadn’t learned everything from James. These two took control to a whole new level.

“Monies are in place for expansion, everyday living expenses and wages and housekeeping funds. This is a substantial amount of money, and you and Adam are responsible for spending it wisely.”

“Sit Jason. It must be uncomfortable for a woman in her position to try to keep following you.”

Jason stalked back to his spot beside Davina and sat down again.

“Any major decisions will come from The Panel,” Davina continued, “but from how things are being handled that shouldn’t be too often.”

“Just don’t do anything foolish,” Jason added quickly.

My head moved side to side as each one of them gave their instruction. I could only nod and agree.

Jason moved forward in his seat and looked intently at me, before he continued.

It was at that moment Adam chose to join us, my eyes closed as I waited for the interruption to be dealt with.

Adam gave a small bow and addressed the two visitors.

“Forgive my interruption, it is not meant to give offence, I only wish to request that my wife should be given the lead in all matters to do with the estate and its running.” Adam lowered his head and his eyes in complete submission.

Jason and Davina looked over Adam and then back to me. In unison they both nodded.

“We already knew that Jenny was the stronger of you two Adam, your wish shall be granted, now leave at once!” Davina barked none too gently.

Jason gave Adam a stern look and he backed away to the door.

“Thank you,” were his parting words.

“Well then that settles it, you are in charge Jenny,” Jason smiled.

“If we are needed at any point, please contact us immediately, Davina added.

“We, being the Panel Jason continued.” They both stood and made themselves ready to leave.

I took in a deep breath and stood myself.

“Forgive my rudeness, but this is not acceptable to me!”

There I had said it, and watched in awe as they both took their seats again. Davina’s eyes narrowed and Jason sat there staring at me in shock.

“If I am to be in charge, I would like to make a few changes.”

I sat and looked at first one then the other. Their faces became empty and they sat there watching me. I wasn’t sure they had heard me so I began to repeat myself.

“If I am to be in charge then I am to be in charge,” I waited for a response but didn’t get one and so I continued.

“We have here, Aphrodites and Griffons; they will not be addressed as slaves. I am fully aware you have contracts for us all, but that is what they are “contracts”. Not labels hung around our necks pronouncing us as slaves.” Again I waited for a response and it took several seconds before I received one. Jason and Davina looked at each other and then Davina spoke calmly and softly.

“We can neither say yes or no before we address the full Panel, Jenny. Change takes time.”

I could see that I was being considered. Davina nodded then deferred to Jason. .

“As reigning head of the Panel I would like to hear more, just how would you do things Jenny?” He then sat back and folded is arms arrogantly.

“James was cruel and heartless, so many feared him, and disliked him. Why not have a more caring attitude? The …..Staff would be happier, calmer and more willing to give their all, because they want to without force or fear.” I looked at Davina, her face was blank. Then I looked at Jason and he smiled. I had no idea what impact my words had been taken.

“How exactly would that work then Jenny?” Davina smiled.

I could see that idea amused Davina.

“The …staff will just do their work and do it for the bare minimum wage and still offer their other services willingly?” She sat looking at me rather smugly.

I knew unless I put forth some sort of offer, Adam and all the others who lived on the Grange might soon find themselves in a worse situation than we had under James.

“I believe they would ma’am, there is little work, or good living conditions in the villages and towns. The Grange offers comfort, warmth and a happy atmosphere.” I smiled and sat back in my chair. “Give me a trial period of one year, if by then I haven’t proved it will work, then I will hand myself in for use as scullery maid.”

Jason laughed and received an admonishing look from Davina.

“We shall put this forward to the Panel Jenny, I can add nothing more, things are to remain as they are until a decision is made.”

Davina then stood and waited for Jason to stand.

“Since the child is James’ we shall continue to keep a close eye on everything.”

I nodded knowing my child was part of the reason they were even listening to me at all. Jason took Davina’s hand before turning one last time to face me.

”Good day to you Jenny, we shall leave things in your hands for now.”

There was a polite nod from both of them, and then they left without a backward glance.

I leaned back and fanned myself, and smiled. Nichole came in with an expectant look on her face.

“You look pleased ma’am? Do I gather the house staff into the ballroom?”

“Yes please Nichole, and if you can find Adam too? That would be of great help.”

I smiled as she giggled.

“Ahhh, yes ma’am it will be my pleasure,” She gave a curtsy and hurried away. I stood and stroked over my bump, before calmly walking into the hall.

“Kitty Watkins how many times have you been told to use the stairs, and not slide so unladylike down the bannister?” I admonished. I hid my mirth as she wiped her nose on her sleeve.

“Ay up Sheba dunt gets tha knickers in a twist,” she scowled. “I does that every mornin, not just when thy is about.”

Kitty then looked round to see everyone heading for the ballroom. She stared opened mouth for a moment before turning back to me. There was a look of surprise as started to talk to me again.

“What’s goin on now then eh? Ya not havin a bloody dance is tha? Not like that anyroads tha babby will pop out!”

“No, no dance Kitty, I wish to talk to the house staff, that is all.” I smiled.

“Why does tha talk so posh all the time? I has a hell of a job understandin ya!”

Kitty frowned and flounced past me holding up her skirts, with her nose in the air.

“Ya want me in t’ballroom to keep an eye on the lay abouts, that’s what ya mean Sheba, cos they take more notice a me then they ever will you,” She added with an air of arrogance.

“Of course Kitty dear, one would never get in the way of mistress Kitty would one?” I found myself smiling as I watched her walk slowly toward the ballroom.

“There ya go talking all flash and lardy dah again, ya need a week in the kitchens you do Sheba, that’ll knock the poshness outta ya.” Kitty then nodded and walked into the ballroom.

I followed her in and nodded to Jake, the young boot boy, who closed the door after me. The staff sat in chairs on either side of an aisle they had formed. My nursing chair sat front and centre with Kitty standing beside it.

I turned to face them all and they stood watching me. I then smiled and waved for them to sit, Kitty made everyone giggle by sitting cross legged beside my chair. As I stood there she pronounced rather loudly, “Well sit thee self down Sheba, you’ll have me neck bloody hurting if ya dunt.”

“Thank you for giving me permission too, Kitty,” I giggled and carefully sat down.

“First of all let me thank you all for your attendance, and I shall go through the reasons as quickly as possible.”

I smiled as I looked around the worried faces and gave a small nod. News on the Grange always travelled fast so I doubt there was anyone who didn’t realize who the visitors this morning had been.

“I have been put in temporary charge of the estate; I have also put forward changes that should allow for a happier household. These changes also affect the outside staff so please inform them as and when you can.”

The room was perfectly silent as everyone sat waiting to hear all of my news. I cleared my throat before I continued.

“The term slave is no longer to be heard or used, as from this moment. You are staff, Aphrodites and Griffons. I hope you will be proud and happy to serve me and Adam and of course this entire estate.”

A muffled mumble of voices from various parts of the room and then Nichole stood to face me.

“I think I speak for us all ma’am, when I say we are very happy and proud and thoroughly enjoy our work here.“

There were nods and mumbles of approval from around the room. I waited a moment before I spoke again.

“Thank you, thank you all, I will keep you informed of any necessary changes, but for now carry on as you are. But remember no use of the word slave or I will have no choice but to fire you.”

More whispers and mumbles and then Kitty stood and I covered my mouth as I giggled.

“Well you all heard Sheba, so get off ya arses, get to work and be ‘appy about it.

The laughter around the room faded as they all went back to their places of work.

 

Adam

After I had done my morning visit to the stables, and received my usual treatment from Sam and Mathew. I walked up to Peartree farm. Conner was sat in his usual rocking chair on the veranda. It was situated that it looked down over the two farms.

“Good morning, Unc,” I smiled I knew he liked the name so I had stuck to using it. “You look like you’re in deep thought this morning?”

I sat down on the step to the side of him.

“Aye lad,” He nodded. “And rightly so, those folks you have visiting are important people. While I am not a ruling Master I would have liked to be there.”

“They didn’t really want to see me either Unc, and I’m the Lord, Jenny has everything in hand we should trust her.” I replied, neither of us looked at each other. Neither of us needed too.

“I agree with you there, men wear the trousers lad but we all know who really rules the roosts, Master or not.” He looked at the progress that had been in the time Jenny had been in charge before he spoke again. “Jenny is a fine upstanding woman, and she’s taken on a hell of a lot after James died. She will need to be strong, and stay strong if things are to continue.”

I nodded. I didn’t need to look at him to confirm he was right. I stood and laid a soft pat on his shoulder.

“We always have you to turn to in an emergency Unc, whether you’re our Master or not.” I smiled at him then slowly walked away.

Jenny did have everything covered. She had totally surprised me when she simply took over. She knew what to do, and what to say. From the very moment life slipped from James, she was in charge. I had gladly let her take over. I was in no state to look after myself, let alone a whole estate of this size.

Jenny had not only sorted the funeral, she had informed everyone and just kept everything moving. She had taken over the job as housekeeper as well as Lady of the Grange. I wish I had an ounce of her strength and will power. It had taken me three days before I managed to come back to myself and by then James had already been buried.

As I walked back to the Grange, I was grateful for all she had done. I could never repay her. Whatever she asked of me, I would do. But there was one thing I was sure of, one thing I would take full responsibility for. And that was to make sure the child Jenny carried would be the complete opposite of James. Whether male or female they would one day rule, but not as a Master or Mistress but, under orders, told what to do and when to do it by the Panel.

The Panel? What a terrible title that was, surely something more pleasant could be thought up? What about a Guild? It still had the same powerful force behind it. But it sounded much friendlier and more of a partnership of minds, instead of a force to be reckoned with. I would put the idea to Jenny to put forward.

We could expand to a London office too. If the funds were made available it could become a training college.

We could make our own clothes, grow our own food and even teach our own children. I chuckled at that, there would be none parented by me. The idea’s came thick and fast to me, as I hurried my pace. I had to write this down; I had to talk to Jenny. She was the leader of this new enterprise, but I would support her every step of the way. For the first time since James died, I had a spring in my step. I had a reason to be here. I had plans, so many plans.

I bounced into the kitchen; it made quite a few of the girls jump. Not just because I had startled them, but because I had a smile on my face; it wasn’t just a smile, it was a grin that totally altered my sullen expression.

Nancy took one look at me and smiled, “Good to have you back, Sir; I hope your appetite has improved too. We have a nice lunch prepared. And dinner tonight there will be a celebration!” Nancy giggled like a little girl. Her large chest bounced, as she laughed.

I kissed her cheek and smiled.

“A celebration indeed Nancy and everyone is invited.” I waved my arms as I looked around the kitchen, “even you Ele, please all wear your Sunday best, and we will all eat in the ballroom.”

Nancy slapped my hand as I slipped a ripe cherry tomato from the laden plate of salad. She really wasn’t upset as smiled and shook her finger at me. I grinned back and then left to go find Jenny.

Jenny was once more in the study and I walked in quietly, closing the door behind me. I sat at the opposite side of her desk and coughed to get her attention. She frowned at first unsure why I should be grinning at her. I soon made her laugh as I did an imitation of Kitty,

“Well I’ll be buggered Sheba, tha’s lookin grand today, ‘ave ya got fresh knickers on?” I too laughed then, as she first smiled, and then laughed and then she clutched at her stomach as the first contraction hit her. The colour suddenly drained from her face as she looked at me in alarm.

“Adam! It’s too early isn’t it? Ohhh, Adam I think ….I think I need Nancy.”

I was around the desk before she finished her sentence.

“It’s OK Jenny everything is ready, we have had this planned for weeks. You know there is no need to worry. Let me help you upstairs and send Nichole down for Nancy.”

I quickly ran to the door, spotted one of the maids on her way to the kitchen and stopped her.

“Go tell Nichole it is time!”

The girl nodded once and vanished to find Nichole. I hurried back to where Jenny sat, the colour slowly returning to her cheeks.

She smiled then and took my arm; the other clutched her bump, as we slowly made our way upstairs. Various staff ran around the house to gather what was needed.

Before I had steered Jenny to her bed, several of the maids took over. They helped her to undress and put on a nursing gown, and I was hurried away. I passed Nancy on the stairs. She had rolled up her sleeves and put on a clean apron. There were several more maids behind her that carried clean towels and bowls of hot water.

Today was a good day, the sun was shining, everyone seemed happy and a new heir was to be born. Oh yes it was a very good day.

 

MltlM

 

That afternoon Jamie Thomas was born, his name was a gentler form of his father’s. His legacy to one day rule over the Grange Estate, but not as his father did. He would grow up benevolent and kind, with a heart as big as his parents had. Adam and Jenny Thomas, Jenny had kept the family name.

Time moves on and we must move with it. So let us move on in time. Eighteen years would pass. When young Jamie Thomas would learn of his role in life and the Legacy will live on.

Copyright © 2012 Mark92; All Rights Reserved.
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A lot happening in the last 2 chapters. Fast forward? Off to read next...must know what is going to happen!!!!

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On 05/06/2012 11:38 PM, K.C. said:
A lot happening in the last 2 chapters. Fast forward? Off to read next...must know what is going to happen!!!!
LOL trying to move it forward to the new modern Master of the Grange estate. And trying not to move too quickly. Thank you so much for reading and the reviews :hug:
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