Love, Remember Me

Love, Remember Me by Bertrice Small Read Free Book Online

Book: Love, Remember Me by Bertrice Small Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bertrice Small
Tags: Romance, Historical, Historical Romance
bathwater was gone and her hair was merely damp. Across the small room her bodice, gown, and petticoats were spread neatly over a chair. There wasn't a wrinkle in them. Tillie must have been up half the night, Nyssa thought guiltily, pressing them out so that her mistress would make a good first impression at court. What a treasure the maidservant was. Her mother had always said a good tiring woman was invaluable, but Nyssa hadn't given it much thought until now.
    Tillie bustled back into the room with a tray. "Well, I didn't have much hope when I went downstairs," she said matter-of-factly, "but lord bless me if there wasn't a one-eyed old woman in the kitchen who said she was the cook for this place. She gave me a nice bowl of oat porridge, some bread fresh from her ovens, butter, honey, and mulled, watered wine for you, mistress." Tillie placed the tray on Nyssa's lap. "Now you eat it all up. From what Maybelle tells me, you'll be lucky to get fed the rest of the day. They don't eat much at court, she says."
    "What about you?" Nyssa asked her servant. "Did you get something for yourself to eat, Tillie?" She spooned porridge into her mouth.
    "I'll eat when you've gone, mistress," Tillie told her. "Maybelle says you'll probably be back here for the next few nights since the new queen ain't arrived yet. The maids with family nearby will usually come home to rest. Once the queen has come, though, 'twill be a different thing, Maybelle says."
    "I'm glad Maybelle is such a font of information," Nyssa said, her eyes twinkling with humor.
    "Pea-green with jealousy, she is." Tillie giggled. "Oh, her mistress is a countess, but at court countesses are a ha'penny a pound. Lady Bliss ain't never served a queen, but my mistress will be serving a queen. Poor old Maybelle is torn between envy and her natural inclination to tell me what to do because I'm just a girl like yourself, mistress."
    "Glean what knowledge and gossip you can from her, and any others you may become friends with," Nyssa instructed her serving maid. "I'm not very wise in the ways of the world, Tillie, as you well know. I think I will have to become so to survive at the court. Mama has said this is such a wonderful opportunity for me. I cannot disappoint her."
    Tillie nodded her head sagely. "Don't you worry, Mistress Nyssa. We're going to do just fine here at court. Now, finish up your breakfast before your aunt is in here scolding us both for being late."
    Nyssa swallowed the last of her bread and wine then climbed from her bed. The room was still cold, but she felt better now that she was clean and fed. Tillie helped her into a soft linen chemise with a standing collar edged in lace. Then she slipped a pair of delicately knitted stockings on her mistress's legs, gartered with silk rosebuds. Next came a satin corset and several petticoats over which was set a shakefold, a delicate wire frame with stiffened pads. Her cream satin underskirt, which was embroidered with gold thread dragonflies and daisies, fell over the little hoop, spreading itself out smoothly. Next came the peach velvet divided overskirt, which displayed the underskirt to its best advantage. Finally Tillie fitted a peach velvet bodice embroidered with gold thread, pearls, and tiny, glittering topaz over her mistress's corset. The bodice had a low neckline and wide bell-like sleeves turned back at the lower edge.
    It was the fashion for young girls to wear their hair parted in the middle and loose. For neatness' sake, not to mention elegance, Tillie fitted Nyssa's long hair into a pretty gold caul. Then the maidservant bent to fit narrow, round-toed shoes of cream-colored kid upon the girl's feet.
    Tillie stood up to survey her handiwork, and nodded, pleased. "I'll just get yer jewelry casket, mistress. 'Tis all that's needed now to supply the finishing touch to your garb."
    When Tillie returned with the jewel case, Nyssa chose two beautiful strands of pearls of a creamy hue. One was longer than the

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