"Rise and Shine!" Chirped Mary Lou into Lizzy's ear.
Lizzy was sprawled on her bed, her hair and nightgown touseled from the restless night. She popped open an eye and glared at Mary for waking her in this ungodly hour.
"It's still dark, it can't be more than 5 in the morning."
"It's 4 in the morning actually," Mary said smiling in the dark gray room.
"Up, up" Mary pulled Lizzy off the bed.
Lizzy stood there with her chin on her chest, wavering on her feet drowsily.
"C'mon, wash up and get dressed or you'll be late."
Lizzy dragged her feet to the basin, poured the jug of water in, and splashed her face. After scrubbing her face and neck. She walked over to the dresser. Mary had lit a small candle when she awoke, and its golden orb gave enough light for her to find her uniform and put it on.
"Mrs. Gilford wanted to speak to us today and formally introduce you."
Lizzy smiled and was glad to finally see her Aunt. There hadn't been time yesterday with all the commotion with Darius's important guests.
When Elizabeth and Mary reached the servants' hall. Mrs. Gilford was talking to Ms. Dodgeson and could overhear Ms. Dodgeson complaining about Elizabeth's lack of culinary skills.
"What kind of kitchen maid, doesn't know how to cook? What is she some special charity case? Well, I suppose she could always wash the floors."
Mrs. Gilford had seen the two girls appear and smiled sunnily to them though her eyes darted back to Ms. Dodgeson involuntarily.
"Good morning girls, we were just uhh.." Mrs. Gilford waved her hand about trying to coax her memory,"...going over today's menu."
"Good morning Aunt," Elizabeth sidled over to Mrs. Gilford who kissed her cheek.
Ms. Dodgeson raised her eyebrow to Mary Lou, who just shrugged.
Then Mrs. Gilford pointed Elizabeth and Mary Lou into the kitchen. It seemed there were two new arrivals who were in their coats and hats and already making introductions with the whole crew.
One of them was a young man with ebony hair, light hazel eyes, medium build with handsome features but with slight imperfections in symmetry with his long jaw and a nose that had a slight bend, as it had been broken in a previous fight. The other was a pretty girl with hazel curls, round frame with an hourglass shape, her blue eyes were large and seemed even larger on her small face.
The male was animatedly telling some tale while the rest of the servants looked on laughing. They all turned when Mrs. Gilford showed up with the girls.
"Ahh, you must be Mr. Barlow, and here is, of course, our Rose." Mrs. Gilford walked over to them smiling. Mr. Barlow bowed and Rose gave Mrs. Gilford a kiss on her round cheek.
"And how are you, my dear?" Mrs. Gilford patted her gently on the girl's back.
"I'm good, I'm feeling glad to be back." Rose smiled as her cheeks colored pink.
"And it is good to see you back Rose!" Jos sprung up from his seat next to Ms. Dodgeson and Frederick the footman, skinny, sandy blonde young fellow and gave her a hug. Rose seemed taken by surprise from his bear hug and her feet shuffled back. Frederick likewise raised his glass and winked to her.
"Now then, we should get on to see the Master. C'mon" Mrs. Gilford led the Glen, Rose, and Elizabeth upstairs.
"It is good to see Rose again." Jos grinned.
"Especially after having the baby." snickered Frederick.
Ms. Dodgeson elbowed him in the ribs. "Quiet!"