Do Tell!!
Lilly was quite excited to have a new roommate. Edith had left several weeks ago. Ran off with a man, was the titillating rumor going around. But Lilly knew better. It weren’t to run away with a man, but to run off and see to the trouble a man had got the poor girl into. Went to a home for mums without husbands, that were the real truth of the matter. But out of respect for their friendship and the affection and regard she had for poor Edith, Lilly kept her mouth shut. The Benbow probably knew the truth too. But that one’s lips were as tight as her….well, a nice girl wouldn’t use that word.

In any case, Lilly was thrilled to once again have someone to possibly chat with after the lights were supposed to be out. To giggle and gossip in hushed whispers – maybe this’un would even relish the juicy penny novels that Lilly herself devoured whenever she could lay her hands on one. That would be ‘mazin’, she thought hopefully, as she sat down on the edge of her own narrow cot like bed, and began to undo the ties of her shoes.

She’d clapped eyes on the new girl already, ‘course. Nellie, the new one, was working as a kitchen maid, same as Edith had been, and Lilly had smiled in a friendly way at her over dinner. But they’d not had the chance to chat just yet, so Lilly was really looking forward to learning all about the newcomer. Maybe she was from York, or even farther, though she’d already heard tell the girl was just from a local farm not too far away from the village. That would be a bit disappointing. But maybe she had a beau, or had encountered one of the local spooks – who knew what tales her new roommate could share? It was exciting just to speculate on the possibilities.
The door to the stark basement room creaked open and Lilly looked up expectantly, a smile on her face. ”’Ello!” she said brightly.
Nellie had arrived a day earlier than when she was expected to start. Her mother had instructed her to do so and to take the time to learn the estate and the kitchens so that she would have an easier time remembering it come the first day of true work. It was a smart idea and, as much as she would miss her siblings Nellie knew she that her mother was correct. So that afternoon Nellie had hugged her Brothers and sister goodbye, taking extra care to kiss her youngest sibling, Tim, on the head for whether or not she would see him again was uncertain. But she didn't like to think about that. 

So Nellie had hugged her mother goodbye and promised to send some of her wages, but not all of them for her mother wanted her to start saving up and to also take care of herself. She had ridden on horseback with her father and as they exited her families land she saw for what she could only pray was the last time her uncle. He had lived on the family farm for a few years now after he lost sight in one eye while working in a factory. He had come back a different man. She and her father stopped so she could say goodbye and he fixed her with his one good eye. 

"Try to be better help to them then you are around here lassie, and don't listen to your mother. Send back all you can, you and your siblings ought to start payin' us back for all that food ye eat." he had said in his gruff voice. Her father reminded him whose food it was that the kids eat before they road off again but Nellie had stayed quiet for a while after that which was more than odd for her.

The rest of the trip ran smoothly and now Nellie found herself entering her room a little after dinner and exploring some of the property, only to see the girl whom she would be sharing a room. Nellie smiled largely at the girls greeting "'Ello, it's great to finally speak with you!"
”I’m Lilly,” she said, grinning and extending her hand for a shake. ”I’m that pleased t’ave’ ee ‘ere, Nellie. Been right lonely since Edith be gone.” She nodded at the other narrow cot. The room was scarce big enough for the two tiny beds and the one small table that stood between the headboards. At the foot of each was a wooden box with a lid, that served as space to store all their worldly belongings.

”There be your bed, Nellie,” she explained, unnecessarily, seeing as there were just the two cots, and two of them. ”I made it up fresh for’ee this morning.” Lilly finished untying her shoes and eased her feet out of them, then began unrolling her stockings, trying to be at least a little discrete about undoing them from the garters around her thighs, above the knees.

"I want to hear all about you Nellie! Where are’ee from? I grew up ‘ere, in Madsmoor. Nothing excitin’ ‘bout that.” She made a little apologetic grimace for being so boring.

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