3. The Maids Story (1 jan 1920)
When my mistress, the heiress, Daphne Bougainville, told me on New Years Eve, she was marrying Jack Jenkinson, and then moving to America, It took me a few moments to see the possibilities. Jack is an out-and-out rotter after all.
But then I thought, “I’m going to New York!” and besides I still felt loyalty to her, the dimwit couldn’t even run a bath, she’d need me more than ever, especially with men like him around.
Besides, I had something on him. Back in the day, when we both worked for Daphne’s father, God rest his wicked soul, me and Jack had a fling, and I still had the receipt from the termination he’d paid for.
I reckoned that if I played my cards right, with them to certain to have kids I’d soon be promoted to governess and from their my influence would grow. New decade! New Prospects! Yes Maudie, I thought, things are looking up.
I stood in her emptying flat while footmen tried to carry a display case of moulting Sabre-toothed Tigers downstairs. My job was handing out a large pile of dear John notes to the series of gents who’d come to beg for her hand in marriage. Blow me though, when I got to the bottom of the pile I found one addressed to me, in a cheap brown Manilla envelope. I made a cuppa and opened it.
“Dear Miss Smith,” it read “your employment as maid will cease with immediate effect as your employer is going to America- sincerely, Crabtree Solicitors.”
I lost it then, how dare she treat me this way after all I’d done!
Suddenly all I could think of was revenge. I knew where she kept her jewels and her gun. Then Jack came in and I locked him up in her dressing room! I took the Sapphire, that’s all, I ain’t greedy.
I left him opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish, dumbfounded. If anything makes this escapade worth it, it’s that alone. Anyway, I had bigger fish to fry.
To the registry office by tram, with the Sapphire round my neck, making me feel brave. She was surprised to see me, alright.
“I’ve a message from Jack” I said, “He ain’t coming but he’d like to leave you this!” I said. Then I got out the gun and pointed it at her.
My hand quivered slightly, but I was determined to go through with it. I pulled back the trigger.
There was a huge bang.
And then I was grabbed by two witnesses and a passing policeman and wrested to the floor. They grabbed the gun from my hand.
I looked up to see Daphne standing exactly where she had been, her blue eyes twinkling like fine cut-glass. The registrar lay in a heap before her on the ground, quite dead.
She stepped forward in front of me making sure not to get blood on her beautiful wedding gown, held her hand out, and said one word, coldly, which was “Sapphire!”. One of the witnesses removed it from my neck and handed it over.
As I sit here in a black Moriah on my way to gaol, I am now thinking that my outlook for the coming decade ain’t quite as sunny as I hoped it would be.