The First Night

It was getting dark as she walked up the path to the gate of Roseberry Manor. She was lucky to have caught that taxi after leaving the harbor. Her thoughts were running wild with anticipation of what she would find. As she drew near, she saw the house. It was run down a bit. Definitely could use a coat of paint, and the lawn was in bad shape. “I thought she had a caretaker”, she said to herself. She pushed the gate open and walked through to look closer on her way inside.

Making mental notes of all she saw, she walked to the front door. She removed the key from her bag, and before she could put it into the lock, the door swung open. She stood face to face with a man who looked as run down as the manor itself.

The man spoke as he took her coat and bags. “I am Nigel, the caretaker/groundskeeper of the manor. You must be Miss Malinda. Lady Roseberry’s attorneys informed me of your arrival. Please do come in. I shall warm your dinner. Would you care for some hot tea?”

As she stepped inside, she saw the beauty that could be brought back to the stately old home. The floors needed polishing, along with all of the woodwork. Then her eyes fixed on an elegant painting. It was a portrait at the top of the grand staircase. “Who is that?”, she asked. It surely must have been someone of status. The woman in the portrait was very beautiful.

“Why, that was Lady Roseberry. She was about seventeen when that portrait was done, before the scandal with her fiancee and her friend. That is all I shall say on that subject. It certainly isn’t kind to speak of the affairs of the dead. Have you decided on the tea, Miss?”

“Yes, I’ll have some, thank you.” Malinda walked into the parlor as indicated by the waif of a man, and took her seat on an antique settee in the Queen Anne style. When Nigel brought her tea, she took notice of his eyes. There was something about them that she thought he must be hiding something. He never looked her directly in the face. “Sugar Miss?” “No, thank you” “Dinner will be served in about ten minutes, Miss.” “Thank you, Nigel.” With that, the old man left her alone. She looked around the room. She stood, and spotted an envelope on the table by the window. She walked over and saw her name on it. She opened it and took out the letter within. It was a letter from her great-aunt’s attorney. She was to be in his office at eleven the following morning at Trafalgar Square to find the details of the will.

“Dinner is served, Miss” Nigel led her to the dining room. She sat at the end of the formal dining table. This room was the only one not covered in an inch of dust. The mahogany mass gleamed in the light from the chandelier above. As she ate her dinner, though not tasting it, she wondered at the beauty of this room over the unkempt others. After dinner, Nigel led her to the master suite at the top of the stairs. “This shall be your room now, Miss. Lady Roseberry’s things are still in the rooms as I have not been told as yet what to do with them. Sleep tightly, Miss.”

Despite her exhaustion, Malinda could not sleep that night. Not a sound was heard, but her excitement of things to come kept her mind racing.

The First Night


North Vernon, United States

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Artist's Description

More to the story of Malinda as she chases down the secrets to Roseberry Manor. More to come.

Artwork Comments

  • Lehane
  • MotherPoet
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