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Time For A Change

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Summary: Everyone at Gosford Park had something to hide. What was Elsie hiding?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Other-DramagrundyFR131586015058 Aug 128 Aug 12Yes
Disclaimer: Joss created Buffy. Bob Balaban, Julian Fellowes, and Robert Altman created Gosford Park. No money is being made here, it's all in good fun.

It already hadn’t been a good night when she made it to her room, but then it had taken a turn for ‘much worse’.

Elsie hadn’t really been that worried about being sacked. Head housemaid wasn’t the job that really mattered, after all. She’d put on a good show, of course, but she’d expected to be driven to the station to be put on the first train in the morning. Someone would meet her at King’s Cross, no doubt. They’d have another assignment for her.

Except now Sir William was dead. Normally, that would mean she should investigate, but under the circumstances, she could hardly slip about as she usually did at night. Not with Mrs. Wilson keeping her evil eye out for her. On the bright side, being stabbed with one of the serving knives was a bit direct to fall under her jurisdiction….

If she didn’t know better, Elsie might have thought she was included in Lady Sylvia’s malice at dinner that night. She wondered who Sylvia McCordle’s real venom had been aimed at this evening. In Sylvia’s rarified world, housemaids were only acknowledged if strictly necessary. They certainly didn’t have feelings. And if William McCordle had to relieve himself with some woman not his wife-well, that was what servants were for, after all. Sylvia had probably been aiming for her sister. Or possibly she was just so vexed with her husband that the main purpose had been to deprive him.

Not that it mattered. Elsie hadn’t been sleeping with him- not that she hadn’t purposely led several people to believe the opposite. It was much more convenient to drop hints and let people misinterpret than to have anyone get properly suspicious and do something dangerous like follow her some evening. But she wouldn’t have slept with him. Nor he with her. She was the one female in England aside from Isobel who was out of bounds to him.

If only she could be sure he’d had time to telephone before he was killed. If he hadn’t- well, she had no idea if anyone would know to look for her, much less where she was meant to go if they didn’t. After all, it wasn’t normally up to her what she did next. And even if it was now, she was working blind. The best information she got at the moment was coming from Lady Trentham’s little Scottish girl- too nice for this nest of snakes, that one- and George, who had been kind enough to share that the police were investigating it as a murder.

‘Tough luck on whoever’s got any secrets to hide’, indeed. She could have smacked George for that, but it would have raised questions. In a house full of secrets, she had one of the biggest of all to keep. It was one of the first rules she’d learned as a young girl, when she’d been taken into ‘service’. No one must know. It had been drilled into her as firmly as how to fade into the background unnoticed, keeping her temper while playing servant to those of her own class, or any of the martial arts that might be the difference between life and death.

If the Council didn’t find her when she got to London, she’d just have to make her decisions on her own. Perhaps she’d be good at it. She hadn’t made it to her twenties by being a complete idiot, after all. That was something most Slayers didn’t live long enough to say.

The End

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