- - -
Sometimes a Butler's work was never done. Sighing dramatically Walter Corey reluctantly left the relative sanctuary of his office and headed up to the guest wing where the latest little problem awaited him. Grousing under his breath he scowled at any fellow servant he passed, in particular his skiving footmen who seemed to be cowering in the stairwell for some reason all their own; barking at them did little to ease his own bad mood but it was gratifying to see them jump out of their skins at the slightest provocation. Striding down the wide corridor he heard the situation before he could see it, a loud booming posh voice was delivering a tongue lashing of some magnitude, and there was only one possible candidate, an aristocrat with the vocal capacity of Tappleton's marching band only less pleasing on the ear, and that was definitely saying something as the local town was certainly not famed for it's musical talent! In fact if he recalled correctly the highlight of the musical calendar was the annual belching and whistling competition.
Pushing open the door he certainly wasn't expecting the antique and incredibly expensive Ming vase that came hurtling towards his head. Acting instinctively he dove for the vase grasping the base with the tips of his fingers and as if in slow motion realisation dawned, as the half full vase continued to spin and a stream of stagnant water caught him plum in the face. Spluttering as he wiped the dregs from his face and flicked the mulch from his jacket Mr Jarvis risked a glance up at his audience. Her ladyship's furious red face was evident but it was Mrs Ryan's conflicted expression that caught his attention, as she couldn't quite decide between concern and hilarity.
"Your Ladyship Mrs Ryan…"
However the rest of the sentence was lost as the twenty stone aristocrat decided to transfer her ire to a new victim and the part of his brain that governed speech slowly shut down in terror and ran all the way home. Bearing down on him at a good seventeen knots, surprisingly fast for a woman of her girth, Jarvis found his only avenue escape cut off as he backed terrified against the wall. Glancing across at the housekeeper he pleaded silently for assistance, but his pleas were ignored as Mrs Ryan took advantage of her ladyship's distraction and made for the door.
"Daffodils….Daffodils!" The irate aristo fumed waving the poor flowers under the butler's chin, practically whacking him about the face with the offending flora. "Do you know who I am, fobbing me off with Daffodils!"
Unable to speak, to even think of a suitable reply Jarvis drowned out Lady Violet's rants, his gaze locked on the drooping flowers as they were thrust like a rapier towards him and a rather sadistic part of his brain wondered just where her ladyship was planning on sticking the offending vegetation. However at that very moment his salvation arrived as the door opened and in came a panting Flora Ryan, her arms laden down by the biggest tea tray he had ever seen. That certainly got her ladyship's attention, and in that moment when the poor forgotten daffodils fell to the floor the butler could have kissed Flora Ryan. Backing towards the door he waited for the housekeeper to finish pouring the tea and retrieve the dead flowers then taking her elbow they both beat a hasty retreat from the room.
It became quickly obvious from the way so many members of staff just happened to be hanging around in the upper corridor that they were just waiting with baited breath to find out what had happened, and the sight of a rather damp and flushed butler only added to their curiosity. Tightening his grip on the housekeeper's elbow Jarvis forced a smile on to his face, muttering between gritted teeth. "Not a word Mrs Ryan!"
- - -