The Fourth Story – The Unfortunate Little Bear
Note: What is this ungodly mix of ennui and lack of motivation? Anyway, enjoy the chapter. The ship has sailed, and even the servants are onboard.
Covering her eyes with one hand, Agnes burst into tears.
Bernard became aware of the looks from their surroundings.
Intermittently, inquisitive eyes turned towards them.
He hesitated for just a moment.
Taking Agnes’ basket from her hand, Bernard grabbed her wrist and departed from that place.
While pulling her hand, he walked briskly.
Fortunately, because she was not wearing the movement-inhibiting dress or the high-heeled shoes, Agnes was able to follow Bernard’s pace with a trot.
Bernard had been commuting to work with a street carriage.
To return to his estate which was at the outskirts of the Imperial City, he had to ride a streetcar that took him to the neighboring town.
However, becoming aware that he could not risk taking her back in that fashion, he spoke to her while walking.
“Oi, what about your luggage?”
“I-It’s at the inn.”
“It’s in the Cottage of the Mountain Goat.”
Bernard, upon hearing the name of the inn, stopped walking and turned around with an astonished face.
The Cottage of the Mountain Goat. Located in the lower parts of town, it was said that it was the most run-down cheap hotel in the Imperial City.
“W-Why were you in such a place!?”
“Because it was cheap……”
He had imagined that she had surely been staying at a reasonably clean inn in the center of the district.
It appeared that after being expelled from her house, she had gotten along by doing tasks like washing dishes and cleaning rooms.
He found out that she had been living very economically.
Agnes, whose tears had stopped, had been telling the story of how she had been living up to that point, with eyes that were deep red from crying.
“……Though, since I haven’t gotten used to washing dishes or cleaning rooms yet, I have been failing at times.”
–That the dazzling, high-class Agnes Le Verges would be washing dishes? And also cleaning rooms?
Despite matter-of-factly ordering her to do the same thing a few minutes ago, he had been shocked by her revealing the fact that she had currently been doing subordinate work.
Bernard came to his senses when he was called by Agnes.
For now, they would have to take a carriage to the lower parts of town.
After finishing greeting the people in the inn that she had been under the care of, Agnes came out with a big suitcase and a small bag.
As if snatching it away from her, Bernard pulled the large suitcase from Agnes and held it in his hand.
“Um, I can carry that by m-”
“If I waited for you to walk at a snail’s pace while carrying this, it would be the dead of night before we arrived home.”
“Ah, err, yes…”
Though Agnes was shaken up, she approached Bernard, who was rapidly proceeding forward, and expressed her gratitude by telling him, “Thank you very much.”
Right after getting on the streetcar that traveled to the neighboring district, they arrived in front of Bernard’s residence.
After paying railway fare for two, they got off.
“The fare for the streetcar”
“Don’t need it.”
He had gotten the better of Agnes, who had pulled out her purse from the inside of her small bag.
“Um, is the estate this way?”
The place the streetcar had stopped was in right in the middle of a forest.
Laborers got on and off here because there was an apiary in the vicinity.
Even earlier, there were men who had finished their work riding in the car.
Agnes was looking around at the thickly overgrown trees surrounding her with wonder.
Without paying attention to that situation, Bernard, carrying the luggage, started steadily walking ahead by himself.
After walking sufficiently. They finally arrived at a place that was opened up.
What was deep in the forest was a white-walled estate.
With a blue roof and an appearance that was like it had just come out of a fairy tale, there was a modest rose garden in the garden.
“–My, it’s absolutely charming!”
“Of course it’s tiny compared to your house.”
As he was unable to understand what she had meant when she had said that it was lovely, Bernard, who had taken Agnes’ impression of the estate as sarcasm.
Approaching the entrance, he shouted out the names of the servant.
“Gigille, hey, Gigille!!”
The one who came out from the mansion was a blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful middle-aged female.
Her name was Gigille Balzac.
While she was formerly Bernard’s wet nurse, currently she was working at the mansion as a servant.
“Master, that luggage……”
She had immediately noticed Bernard’s large luggage, but it took another three seconds after that for her to notice the figure of the woman who was there in the back.
Seeing the seemingly abashed Agnes standing there, she erupted in delight.
“–A-A miracle has occurred!”
Delightedly taking Bernard’s luggage, Gigille called her son’s name.
The black-haired male in his late twenties who had come out earlier was Gigille’s oldest son whose lovely appearance had taken after his mother.
“Master, welcome back home.”
Gigille’s son, who had come out in uniform, was currently the butler. His name was Eric.
With a business-like smile, he carried Agnes’ luggage inside the mansion.
He did not show any interest at all in the girl who had suddenly come to the mansion.
Although he had a sociable expression, he was an indifferent young man.
Unable to contain her curiosity, Gigille asked a question regarding the mysterious girl.
“So, Master, could you introduce that lady over there?”
“She’s not a lady.”
“She’s a new servant.”
“No, t-that can’t be~~!”
“Anyway, that’s how it is.”
Gigille had been delighted because she had thought that Bernard had finally brought a woman along, but her big expectation was way off. Crestfallen, she had dropped her shoulders.
“This person is the head of servants, Gigille Balzac.”
While lowering her eyes, Gigille greeted her with a nice to meet you.
“Nice to meet you, my name is Agnes Le Verges.”
While grabbing the hem of her skirt, she bowed with a perfect curtsy.
That was an elegant greeting that Nobles’ daughters would perform.
“Miss Agnes Le Verges, huh.”
Upon hearing the name, Gigille came to an understanding in her mind with a, “So that’s how it is.”
Even in the newspapers, the scandals of Agnes’ father, Sherard Le Verges, had been reported to a grand scale.
She instinctively sympathized.
However, no matter how much she wondered why her master would employ the former noble girl as a servant, she was unable to comprehend his intention.
Though Agnes was an unparalleled beauty, she did not have a prideful appearance, and on the contrary, she seemed to be a reserved and docile girl. Gigille pitied Agnes, as she probably had not ever done anything like subordinate work.
Why was he unable to say the simple statement of, “Become my wife!”
Gigille turned to look at her eternally childish master with a chilly gaze.
Even though he felt the pressure of criticism upon him, his attitude of ‘this is no concern of mine’ refused to crumble.
Being unaware of the exchange of silence between the two, Agnes quickly lowered her head.
“It might be rude of me, but please take care of me.”
“Eh, eh, Miss Agnes, I leave Master in your care!”
“What kinds of unnecessary things are you requesting!”
As there was bustling in the mansion, Gigille’s husband, who was in the back of the mansion, came out.
He was taller than Bernard and had a tough body. His black hair surrounded even his eyes, and he had been growing his beard as if he were hiding the features of his face.
“That is the husband who works as a gardener, Dominic. Isn’t he like a bear?”
Upon hearing bear, Agnes’ eyes lit up.
After lightly nodding, Dominic went back to work.
Agnes saw off the retreating figure while grasping her hands tightly in front of her chest.
“In the past, my husband was called the big bear, and master was called the little bear–“
“Hey, don’t say anything unnecessary!!”
The angry Gigille made a humorous face in a way Bernard couldn’t see it and shrugged.
Observing the situation, Agnes smiled softly.
Though she had only displayed a gloomy face until now, she had finally smiled. When Gigille turned around to see if Bernard had seen that pitiful smile, that figure had already disappeared. It seemed like before she had noticed, he had already gone inside the mansion.
“……Um, I’m sorry. Our master is still just a child.”
“No, that’s not the case.”
To Agnes, who was shaking her head furiously, Gigille bowed her head.
Thinking that she was such a good girl, her chest fired up.
“I’ll do my best.”
“Mm, I’ll be cheering you on!”
Inside her mind, Gigille had arbitrarily decided what objective Agnes was planning on carrying out in the house.
“–to quickly get married to him.”
“Nah, just something I was thinking.”
While saying that it was nothing, she showed Agnes around the mansion.
The former noble girl’s life as a servant had just begun.