The Pocket Watch(17)

By: Ceci Giltenan

The previous afternoon and evening, Bearnas had checked on her several times, as had Lady Carr. Lady Carr also sent servants up with food and fresh pitchers of water for the wash stand.

Late in the evening a young woman had knocked and timidly entered the room. “If it pleases ye, my lady, I’ll help ye get ready for bed.”

Maggie was at a loss. “Is there some reason I need help getting ready for bed?” At the girl’s confused look, Maggie said, “I’m sorry, what’s yer name?”

The girl’s eyes grew wide, “What they’re saying is true then? Ye’ve lost yer memories?”

Maggie smiled. “Aye, it is true. So would ye mind very much telling me yer name?”

“Nay, I’m sorry, my lady, I’m Freya, I have served as yer maid since ye arrived at Castle Carr.”

“It’s nice to meet ye Freya. Please pardon me if this seems like a silly question, but what do ye do to help me get ready for bed?” Maggie had been putting herself to bed for quite a few years. She couldn’t imagine needing help.

“My lady, I help ye out of yer clothes and put them away. I comb and braid yer hair, and I empty yer wash basin and chamber pot.”

Ah, the chamber pot. That had been a whole new experience today. As a nurse she had helped a great many people use bedpans or bedside commodes, but the idea that someone had to do this for her was embarrassing. “Surely I can do that myself. Perhaps you can just show me where?”

The girl couldn’t have been more shocked if Maggie had suggested dancing naked on the battlements. “By the saints, my lady, ye can’t do that. I would be mortified. It is my responsibility. What would people say? I know ye wanted a better maid than me, but please, ask Lady Davina to assign someone else. Don’t shame me so.”

“Freya, I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shame ye. I just…never mind. Of course I won’t ask Lady Davina to assign someone else. Please, help me get ready for bed.”

Now, in the morning light, Maggie had to make use of that convenience once again. When she had finished, she washed and looked in the wardrobe for something to wear. She was awed by the number and variety of garments Margaret had. She found another white silk léine like the one she had worn yesterday. There was a huge variety of overdresses, but most required either help or dexterity to lace up. With some difficulty she finally found a pale green one with laces up the sides. Surely she could manage this.

By the time she had it on, she was reminded of a child who had misbuttoned her coat. One side was laced tighter than the other, making the dress fall awkwardly. She was frowning, trying to adjust it when Lady Carr knocked and entered the room with Freya behind her.

“Margaret, dear, ye are up earlier than usual.” On seeing her predicament, Lady Carr stifled a smile.

“My lady, let me help ye with that,” said Freya.

“I thought I could manage to dress myself,” said Maggie, embarrassed.

In just a few moments, Freya had evened the tension of the laces so the dress hung properly.

Lady Carr asked, “How are ye feeling this morning?”

“My ribs are sore, but otherwise I am well.”

“Does yer head hurt?”

“Nay, it doesn’t, but I still don’t remember anything.”

“My lady, sit here please and I’ll comb out yer hair,” said Freya, guiding her to a chair.

“Are ye feeling up to Mass then?” asked Lady Carr.

Mass? Yes, that would be good—something familiar. “Aye, I would love to go to Mass.”

Lady Carr smiled. “Very well then. When Freya has finished with yer hair, she’ll bring ye downstairs.” With that Lady Carr left the room.

Maggie closed her eyes and sighed as Freya began combing her hair. “I love to have my hair combed.”

Freya stopped. “What did ye say?”

Maggie looked over her shoulder. “I said, I love to have my hair combed.”

“Nay, ye don’t, my lady. Ye always complain that I pull too hard or that I’m doing it wrong.”

“Do I?” Maggie shrugged. “Well I like it now. Thank ye.”

Freya looked astounded. “I don’t think ye’ve ever said that.”