Emma looked up from the page she had just finished reading and found that she had followed the trail of papers out of the library and into the main second floor hallway. Continuing past rows of closed doors, the trail of papers continued, then finally seeming to turn into one of the rooms. She wanted to continue reading the pages as she walked, but she was now in a main hall of the house. She didn't want someone to slip on any of the pages or (worse yet) ask what they were. She couldn't help but feel that despite the fact that the papers were littered everywhere in plain sight, possibly only her eyes were supposed to read them.
Her mind made up, she followed the papers down the hall, picking them up as she went. When she came to the area where it looked like the papers disappeared into a room, she was surprised to see that behind the door was the staircase to the attic. At the foot of the stairs was a small pile of pages. Emma reached down and saw that the ones she had just picked up were actually the next ones written. She didn't see any more papers on the stairs, so she decided that it may be safe to just close the door, sit on the stairs, and continue reading. There was enough sunlight coming through the circular window on the one wall that it was easy to see.
Emma turned, silently closed the door, sat on the fifth stair up, and continued reading.
January 17, 1868
We have arrived in New Orleans. The train dropped us off at the station this morning, and there was a carriage waiting for us. The footman helped us load our bags, and then we drove off towards the hotel where we will be staying until we see if Grandfather's old house is in good enough condition to be lived in.
I haven't written about Grandfather yet, have I? I had never heard anything about him until I asked Ramsley while we were on the train why my family has land in this country. Well, apparently Grandfather was a merchant sailor, and he was very skilled at what he did because he made himself a fortune. His name was Ambrose Gracey, and he was born here in America in 1793. Apparently, the home I have lived in until now (the one in London) was the one that my great-grandparents lived in before they moved to America in 1790. Apparently the London property has been in the family for generations, but I am getting off the point I was trying to make before. Yes, well Grandfather made a good sum of money in his shipping industry, and he married a woman named Emily; my grandmother.
I also learned that Father was born here in New Orleans, but Grandfather moved the family back to England shortly after he was born. Father has lived in England ever since.
I really would like to know why nobody ever told me anything about my grandfather, and quite honestly, until the other day I had never really considered that Father had a father. I know Mother's parents, but we never saw them often. No one ever even mentioned Grandfather's name, or Grandmother's for that matter, and it all seems a bit strange. I asked Ramsley for more information, but he said that he didn't know any more because he has only served Father for ten years and only had the chance of meeting Grandfather twice.
I am so confused. I know I said a few days ago that I would try to accept the changes in my life now, but this has all been too much. I am exhausted from traveling, I miss England, and I miss Mother. I miss her so terribly.
Nothing else interesting happened for the duration of the train ride, but I have decided that I want to explore this new place, this new country when I have the chance. It's very, very different from England...
I am tired, I was supposed to be asleep over an hour ago, and I have found that it is hard to write in secret in a hotel room.
January 18, 1868
We explored the town a bit today. I must say that this city is full of life. The people all seem very happy here, and I even found another young boy my age to play with for a while today. I can't remember the last time I had someone my own age to play with. The servants at home had a few children around my age, but Father would not let me play with them. He said that they were there to learn to serve me, not play with me. When I responded that I wanted them to serve me by playing with me, he just sent me upstairs to my room..."
Here Emma stopped reading for a moment; lost in thought. Poor Master. George Gracey was always the very strict type... I remember when Momma and the other servants used to sit in the kitchen and complain about him while the other children and I played together on the floor. I was scarcely older than seven, and the Master was not even born yet!
Emma's mother had been George Gracey's housekeeper. The woman had immigrated from America over to England with her husband when the two of them were looking for work. This was a strange thing to do when so many people were doing the opposite and heading to America. Emma's father had died shortly after she was born, but her mother managed to find a job with the Gracey family around that time in order to support the two of them. When George sent Edward over to America after Lillian Gracey's death, Emma was twenty, and she was assistant housekeeper. Her mother was kept at the house in London, while Emma herself was sent to New Orleans to become the housekeeper there.
Emma shook herself out of her reverie as she heard footsteps in the hall outside the door. She hurriedly ran up the stairs and placed the papers on a conveniently-placed-but-dusty table, having just enough time to hide herself behind some old junk as she heard the door open.
"Emma? Emma! Are you up there?" a high pitched, slightly squeaky man's voice called. "For goodness sakes where could that woman be? Ramsley is not happy that we can't find her, and if we don't find her soon who knows what that man will do! EMMA!" There was the sound of the door being shut, and Emma's name faded away as the man walked farther down the hall.
Emma rolled her eyes at the voice which she easily recognized as belonging to Ezra. Does that man ever stop worrying? I swear he doesn't.
But he's probably right. I should get back to work before anyone else starts looking for me. I'll have to come back and finish reading these later...
Emma shuffled out from her hiding spot and made a mental note of where she had set the papers as she hurried down the stairs once more.
She was in such a panic followed by her hurry that she didn't hear the footsteps emerging from another hiding place in the attic as she retreated. The figure gave a low chuckle at the scatterbrained housekeeper and proceeded to place a book on the table next to the papers Emma had left...
This story is getting harder and harder to write as it gets more involved. I feel like I can't tell Master Gracey's story without going into the pasts of some of the other members of the Mansion. Not to mention the fact that writing backgrounds for characters is very hard when you have a ton of people living in working in one house when only two of the people there have English accents, and the rest of them don't and... yeah, let's just leave it at that. (I mean, really though! Edward and Ramsley to an extent both have English accents, but no one else in the Mansion does. Yet, I feel like Emma and Ezra would have worked for Edward most of their lives...)
Anyway, this may be the longest single chapter I've ever written for a story (excluding one shot stories of course), and I'm pretty proud of it.
Finally, I feel that it is only fair that I warn you that this story will not have a happy ending. I mean, it's not really possible seeing as we all know what Master Gracey did shortly after Elizabeth's "suicide", but I shall warn you nonethelesss.
Please review! I really need input on this if you can give it because I feel like I may not have made sense in a few places...