The next morning I was woken up by Carlotta’s screeching. I have already started asking myself why I took up this job and it has only been my second day as her maid thus far. I will keep telling myself that if I didn’t have this job I would be on the streets either begging or selling myself to survive. I shook my head to clear these negative thoughts from my mind and so I quickly got dressed before proceeding down the stairs towards the kitchen to prepare her breakfast. I soon got it prepared and placed on a tray so I took it upstairs to present it to her; one of her many demands was to give her breakfast in bed every morning at 7:00. Why she woke so early was beyond me and I just followed her instructions so I wouldn’t have to face her wrath.
“Madame; your breakfast is ready.” I said politely after knocking the door three times.
“Come in and place the food on the table. Then go about your duties! I want this house clean from top to bottom!” She demanded and I opened the door and placed the tray on the table then leaving the room as quickly as possible to start cleaning the house. I can’t believe I had to do such a big task by myself. At least I didn’t have to see Carlotta for the whole day as she was singing at that opera house; I’ve heard rumours that she can’t actually sing that well but the managers keep her there as they don’t want to face her temper. Also they would be losing money if they got rid of their ‘Prima Donna’. Whilst I was cleaning I proceeded to begin humming to myself; I guess I picked up my talent from my mother. Some say she had the voice of an angel and they say I now have her talent for singing; I have always dreamt of one day singing at the Opera Populaire but I knew that dream would never come true. I mean they would take one look at me and judge me to be no more than a beggar and common low-life rather than a talented singer.
Soon I realised the entire house was cleared and my stomach growled and it made me realise I hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday; how on earth did I work so long without food? I went to the kitchen to prepare a bit of supper before my mistress came back. After eating a simple meal of some cheese and bread I cleared my plate and just as I put the dish on the rack I heard the door open and several voices could be heard. Oh don’t tell me she bought guests home; now I would have to cook some big grand meal for them just so Carlotta could show them what a good hostess she was. I however didn’t recognise any of the voices but knew they belonged to two men. I immediately went about preparing some vegetables and meat for tonight’s meal.
“Angélique! Where are you child?! You’ve better have finished those tasks I gave you or I’ll....” I heard her screech and I casually turned around to see her standing in the doorway breathing heavily with two gentlemen standing either side of her.
“How was your day Mistress Carlotta? Dinner will be served momentarily; I’ll just check to see if the meat and vegetables are cooked and see if the sauce is ready.” I replied and I turned back towards the meal that was being cooked.
“If you’ll all make your way to the dining room I will serve you dinner now.” I said politely and I dished up three plates before putting them on a silver tray and heading carefully towards the dining room. I then placed them gently on the table and poured wine into the three glasses. I then stood to one side and waited for Carlotta and her two guests to enter the room. I pulled out each of their chairs and they took their napkins off the table and laid them on their laps or under their necks in the cases of the gentlemen. Every so often I would refill their glasses with more wine.
“Come, clear the plates and serve us some coffee; be quick about it!” I heard Carlotta screech so I took their empty plates and went towards the kitchen. I quickly boiled some water and added it to the ground coffee beans. I took them on a tray and I caught the tail end of a conversation so I stood silently by the door for a moment.
“She’s a pretty little thing isn’t she? Where on earth did you acquire her?” One of the gentlemen asked; he sounded the younger of the two; father and son perhaps?
“She is nothing more than a common low-life; she knocked on my door only just yesterday asking to fill that vacancy I put in the paper. I hired her since I needed someone right away. I wonder how long she will stay before realising what things I would make her do; I mean she is such an innocent little thing when you look at her.” I growled inwardly to myself for a moment; how could she say that about me?! What did she mean when she made that last comment? I shook my head and knocked lightly on the door; I heard a quiet instruction to enter from Carlotta so I opened the door and entered the room with the tray of coffee.
“Here’s your coffee mistress. Will that be all this evening?”
“Thank you that will be all. You may retire for the night.” Carlotta replied and after giving a slight curtsy I left out of the door. Little did I know that tomorrow would be the day my life changed forever.....?