Dark thoughts of being taken by my lover.
I have an apartment above the carriage house." He said watching her. "Come look at the grounds."
Devonny joined him at the window.
"There used to be geometric gardens here when I was a child but they're gone now. Mrs. Davenport wanted a more natural looking environment. Trees, hills, etcetera."
Devonny's gaze roamed over the land as Prince pointed out various structures in the distance that were also part of the estate. There was the North lodge which was built in the form of a triumphal arch. There were also entrance lodges in the village, a bridge, cascade and the Fishing Room situated on the edge of the upper lake.
The Fishing Room, Prince told her, contained a cold bath and boat house below. There was also hexagonal summerhouse and an orangery. The Long Walk was planted with flowering shrubs and ornamental trees.
"Goodness," Devonny sighed when Prince was done.
"Indeed," Prince said grinning turning at the commotion that could be heard downstairs. "The carriages must have arrived. Shall we? I'll introduce you to the rest of the staff."
Devonny nodded and followed him back through the maze of hallways and rooms.
She woke the next morning later than she had ever woken since coming to the Davenport household. The sun had already risen and there was a sense of quiet about the house.
Devonny slipped out of bed, draped her shawl about her shoulders, and went to the window. There was movement on the grounds. She was sure everyone was bustling about getting ready for the Davenport's arrival.
She went to her suitcase and opened it. She had precious few dresses that she came to the Davenport household with. They all needed mending and had definitely seen better days.
She moved to one of the trunks placed next to the armoire. She lifted the lid and sighed. It was one of two trunks that contained everything that Elijah had bought her from Madame Baskett's. Moira had insisted that she bring it and that Eli was right, she shouldn't go about looking like a ragamuffin.
Devonny opted for a fashionable yet conservative silk afternoon gown. However, dressing was a new task in itself. First came the chemise and drawers next to the skin and then the corset to shape the figure. Over these came under-petticoat, with a corset cover. Then came a stiffened petticoat, crinoline, or bustle. The skirt support was then covered by a decorative petticoat which peeked out of the bottom of the dress.
Devonny looked at it all in dismay. This was the minimum number of petticoats that could be worn. It was fashionable to wear more but she had no interest in being fashionable, nor could she imagine carrying that much weight on her body.
It took her longer than it had ever taken in her life to get dressed. When she was finished she stood before the mirror. The woman standing their was almost unrecognizable. The deep hunter green gown fit her body perfectly. Her waist looked impossibly small though she had laced the corset herself as best she could. The great bell skirt swished when she moved. She left off the hoop petticoat not wanting to worry about her skirts while she walked about the grounds or possibly chose to sit and read.
She pulled her hair back into a simple bun before grabbing her gloves, bonnet and a book before making her down way to the kitchens. Breakfast was already being served to the staff and Moira, Miles, Prince and Matthew were already sitting, taking their tea, and chatting animatedly.
Sadie and Ursula were the two cooks. Sadie was a middle-aged woman and rail thin. She had a closed solemn face and dark hair just beginning to become streaked with grey but her eyes were warm and she smiled faintly when Devonny entered. Ursula was a bit older and round. Her hair was all grey and she had a merry disposition.
Devonny grabbed an apron from the hook on the wall and quickly tied it over the afternoon gown. She immediately went to join Sadie in making biscuits. "Oh no," Sadie shooed her. "I won't have you ruining that beautiful dress in the kitchen."
Devonny laughed but did not stop rolling up h