|Reunion at a Funeral
Author: bookishlaura PM
A follow up to my previous oneshot Edward and Daisy Come to Tea. The year is 1953 and the former residents and staff of 165 Eaton Place have gathered for a special occasion.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,917 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-02-12 - id: 8278213
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I don't own Upstairs Downstairs
So the BBC decided not to renew the new Upstairs Downstairs so I thought I'd write something to tie up the loose ends a little. This is a follow up from my other oneshot Edward and Daisy Come to Tea. Some of the characters from there are in this so please go and read that. This has all the characters that could be alive from the original series and the 2010/2012 series.
Please look at my other work Hanneli a Pride and Prejudice 'What If'
Please rate and review
Reunion at a Funeral
The Drawing Room of 165 Eaton Place was full to bursting. It was 8th September 1953 and the funeral of one of the most dedicated servants in history. Miss Rose Buck. From the Duke and Duchess of Buckminster and Agatha St Lewis daughter of Lady Prudence Fairfax to Martin the paperboy. All were gathered to celebrate the life of this woman that they all knew and loved.
Rose Buck had served the Bellamy family for over 40 years and the Holland family for just shy under 20 years. She'd spent her whole life in the service of others and never truly realised how much she was valued by everyone around her.
There was a distinct divide between those attending the wake. Those who had known her before 1936 and those after 1936. Only Mr and Mrs Barnes dared to go over and see those from 1936 onwards as they had visited the house in 1939 for tea and had met the new servants of 165.
The war had changed them all. Both wars had touched the house. The Duke of Buckminster had aged 20 years. His house turned upside down and taken over by the RAF. Luckily his Duchess was there to steady him. The children were thriving but barely knew Rose. They didn't know how much Rose had shaped their mother as she grew up in 165 Eaton Place from 1912 to 1930.
Rupert the Marquis of Stockbridge was very much taken with the girl he had grown up with. Miss Polly Rose Barnes. Some would say that the butler and housekeepers eldest daughter knew from the moment she had followed Rupert to Cambridge that both were smitten. During the wake they never veered far from each other and the two 22 year olds trying to control themselves. The family secret would soon be revealed.
At the piano Mr Amanjit and his wife Sylvia the former Miss Fuller were quietly playing the instrument. All of the selections were Miss Buck's favourites. Mr Amanjit was secretary to Sir Hallam and Dr Mottershead but lived in Balham where his wife ran a school. They had no children of their own but both were contented. They had the children at the school and the 3 German girls from the Kindertransport Heidi, Ava and Hedda. All had grown up beautifully. They had embraced living in England. They knew that they could never go back to Germany and knew what happened to their families but they had each other that is what mattered. They also had Lotte. Lotte like Polly Barnes had gone to Cambridge and coincidentally had shared a room and become great friends. Lotte had studied German and History while Polly had just studied History. Lotte had a sense that she was lucky and she wanted to help other children like her. She'd found love in Mr Amanjit and the former Miss Fuller. She'd begun to teach English in the Russian sector of Germany.
Mr Pritchard was always on duty. He served canapés to the other guests despite there being caterers. Keep Calm and Carry On. The wartime mantra was what Mr Pritchard stuck to. It would have been what Miss Buck would have wanted. Mrs Thackeray had done them proud. She'd come out of retirement to make some violet macaroons. Miss Buck's favourites.
In a corner sat in a winged back chair was Elizabeth Wallace. She'd come to stay with her son in law William Hamilton who was also her father's stepson. William had loved Rose and was sad to see her die but she'd had a good life. Hard but good. Much like Edward and Daisy had named their children Polly Rose, Angus and Kate. William had honoured the old staff of 165 by naming his youngest daughter after his favourite servant Ruby. Ruby Hamilton seemed to match her namesake by being rather slow but William loved her for it.
Elizabeth was sad to hear of the death of her old friend and former maid. While in America she'd missed Rose and was sad that she never got to see her after she'd left in late 1911. When her step-mother Virginia had visited her in 1933 Rose had left her service to begin her agency. Elizabeth looked around her old home. The Holland's had changed it beyond recognition from her days living there. The house was lighter and brighter. Her mother Lady Marjorie Bellamy would be astonished at the changes but she was at the bottom of the sea as she had been for 41 years. That time waiting for her mother to get off the Carpathia was the hardest time of her life. She'd never seen eye to eye with her mother but when she didn't appear off the gangplank she collapsed in grief until she heard the news proper. She looked at her eldest daughter Lucy. She was the picture of her grandmother with beautiful red hair. Lucy was still the best revered hostess in New York. It was a shame that Rose never knew Lucy.
The Viscountess of Chesterfield nee Alice Hamilton was also keeping Elizabeth Wallace and her brother William company. Rose and the old cook Mrs Bridges were a huge inspiration for her. She kept a good kitchen as was known for it. Society loved her and by all accounts it was due to the table she kept, even in the war she kept a good table when rationing began to bite. When Mrs Clarice Thackeray came to her just before she retired in 1949 for a job she compared her to Mrs Bridges. Everyone was compared to Mrs Bridges and Mr Hudson.
The Vicountess and the Duchess were still great friends who reminisced every so often about the old days. The Duchess' youngest Michelle and the Vicountess' eldest Georgina were playmates. There would be no match between those two families as the Vicountess only had daughters. Her only son had been killed at D-Day. He'd been 19 years old.
Over the other side of the room two couples were happily chatting about this and that. Mr and Mrs John Proude and Mr and Mrs Harry Spargo the former servants of Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes Holland. Both John and Harry had served in the war. John had been at Dunkirk and Harry had been one of 'the Few' flying spitfires. Both were lucky to get out with their lives. John's wife Eunice had stayed in service while Harry's wife Beryl went to work in the WAAF if only to try and get a chance to see him more often. Neither couple had wanted to leave the other but there were many days where down in the south of England many a young couple in love were seen rolling in the hay.
After the war John and Eunice moved to the North to be closer to John's ailing parents. They ran a hotel and restaurant together. During the war Eunice had ran a soup kitchen in the basement of 165. It was the best known soup kitchen in all of London. She had become a fantastic cook. Even with rationing Eunice turned molehills of food into mountains of food. John was the face of the business while Eunice was the brains. They had three children together. Both wanted to give their children the life that they never had. Eunice never had a family. When she came to 165 she was an orphan with no family but the servants became her family. Her mother was Mrs Thack, father was Mr Pritchard, Beryl was her sister, Mr Amanjit her Uncle, Miss Buck her Aunt, Harry was her brother in law and John was her boyfriend. They were a very close knit family. Even when the war sprung them to the far reaches of the earth they all ended up at 165 Eaton Place every year.
For Harry and Beryl they had seen the war through together. He'd been a pilot and found that he could fly a plane as well as he drove a car. He'd risen through the ranks quickly becoming a Squadron Leader. His plane of choice had been the Spitfire. He had been known to give a good boxing match while being the champion of the squadron. He wasn't someone to mess with. After the war he stayed in the RAF preferring planes to cars for a while. Beryl had also kept working in the WAAF's then in the WRAF when that came into fruition in 1949. She had also risen to the officer rank of Squadron Leader. They'd stayed together through thick and thin with Beryl also giving birth 5 times in the previous 14 years. They'd both come out of the RAF the year before wanting a stable family life for them and their children. They settled on the south coast near Dover where they often remembered seeing one or the other flying into the sunset. They'd gone back to their original passions. Harry opened a garage while Beryl did the ladies hair in the village while looking after their children. Both still had ambitions but they were contented. Harry was in his 40's while Beryl was in her late 30's. They wanted to travel but they had obligations to uphold. They would save their travel plans till they retired. Driving around America was what they both dreamed of.
As for Lady Agnes and Sir Hallam Holland they stayed together through the war but separated then divorced after the war had ended. Lady Agnes had fallen in love with another St John's Ambulance volunteer. A man who gave her the chance to express herself. She'd re-kindled a childhood talent for history. She'd done something after the war she never thought possible at her age. Trained to be an architect. She lived quietly with her two children and her new husband an Oxford Don. They saw their father every weekend as they grew up. Sir Hallam had been an equerry during the war something he continued to be after the war. He hadn't married again. He lived with his Aunt in Eaton Place but couldn't help noticing the beauty of one of Agatha St Lewis' unmarried daughter. Dr Blanche Mottershead never had another lover. She kept herself to herself and wrote books. She became the woman to change the perception of women archaeologists for the better. Her story was eventually forgotten but she never was.
These people had been touched by Miss Rose Buck. Her era was over. A new era was beginning. A new Queen a new Look a new World. This woman had brought them all together in one room for one day. Something that would never happen again.