Marie returned to the maid’s chamber, leaving Amelie alone once again with the young man the Colonel had brought into the house.
She wasn’t sure if she liked this Johnny Holiday, though she had to admit that he was a handsome fellow, tall and strong with a smooth complexion.
He was just the sort of young man that Amelie was fond of, and Marie thought it was dangerous to have him living in the house, even if he was in the guest quarters.
Amelie had already asked her for the key to his room, and she would have to give it to her even though Nils, the head butler would be upset with her if he found out.
Marie would much rather face Nils’ anger than Amelie’s.
Marie was worried for the Colonel’s older daughter. She had not been herself for months, neither of the girls had, but Amelie seemed particularly unpredictable, she even seemed to be surprising herself. There were times in the past few months when she had come to Marie to ask her what time she had come home, who she had gone out with, what if anything had she said about the things she was doing.
Amelie had become paranoid, and she drank strong liquor throughout the day. This troubled Marie.
The other servants had noticed as well, but none of them were as close to Amelie as Marie was. They enjoyed their gossip, but Marie thought of the girl as a daughter. She wanted her to be happy.
The common wisdom was that she had driven her husband, Bjorn Elmquist away, but Marie believed that something terrible had happened to him, though she did not know what it might be.
Amelie had begun to behave strangely shortly after the two of them were married, and it had been a short engagement. Bjorn was a gregarious and fascinating man, Marie loved to eavesdrop on him when he was regaling an audience with his stories, mostly the Colonel, who ardently admired him.
This new young man, this Johnny-boy, he had been hard on Amelie, and Marie did not like that. He had exacerbated her nerves causing her to spill her drink. Marie was happy to come in and clean things up, but she could tell that Amelie was deeply embarrassed by the mishap.
And it would not have happened at all if Johnny Holiday had simply been more polite. He must be something extra special to the Colonel to think that he could get away with that kind of behavior in the Forrester Mansion, Marie thought. And if that were the case all of the staff should know to let the boy have plenty of space.
It would be best if Nils handled his needs while he was a guest at the mansion, Marie said to herself.
She wanted nothing to do with him.