Alice waited in bed.
She couldn't believe Mary
was to be her new lady's maid.
he nanny had told her
the ni!ht be"ore.
Stern loo#in!
she had told her
that Mary was to be
her maid "rom now on.
here seemed a #ind
o" relie" in the nanny's voice.
hrou!h the ni!ht$
Alice thou!ht o" it.
he lim%in! thin !irl
was to be her own maid.
he thin red hands
to undo and do u%
her dresses
and bathe her
and wash her
and ta#e her %laces.
Mary was in
her own room
in the attic.
Nervous$ she was
all "in!ers and thumbs.
he child was now
her res%onsibility.
No more washin! u%
and wor#in! in the #itchen
o" the bi! house.
Mrs &roadbeam
was not ha%%y about it.
She would have
to have another now
to train as #itchen maid.
Mary was ha%%y about that.
Maybe her red hands
would have a chance to heal.
She was dressed
in the maid's dress
the nanny had !iven her
the ni!ht be"ore.
It was a bit too bi!$
but it "itted and was better
than the dresses she wore
in the #itchen which smelt
o" coo#in! and sweat.
She loo#ed at hersel"
in the old mirror.
She lic#ed her hair dam%
to !et it to lay down.
he white hat
she had %inned
to her hair.
She smiled
at her re"lection.
Alice sat u% in bed
as Mary entered.
She loo#ed di""erent$
but she still lim%ed
to the bed.
'ave you heard(
Mary as#ed.
Alice said$
you're to be
my own maid.
Mary %ulled bac#
the bed covers
with her red thin "in!ers
and too# Alice's hand !ently.
&est !et you u%
and washed and dressed$
Mary said.
Will your hands
!et less red(
Alice as#ed
loo#in! at the maid's hand
holdin! hers.
'o%e so$
Mary said.
Alice wal#ed with Mary
to the wash bowl
and Mary %oured water in.
Mary undressed Alice
and so be!an
the washin! %rocess.
he warmed water
was better than the cold water
the nanny used
when she did the tas#.
he washin! was !entle
and calm$ not "orce"ul
and hurt"ul as it was
when the nanny did it.
Alice missed her mother
bein! there. No news
o" her since
she had !one away.
Mary was #ind
and thou!ht"ul.
She had washed Alice
and dressed her.
hat's you all s%ic# and s%an$
Mary said.
S%ic# and s%an(
Alice said.
Neat and clean$
Mary said.
She loo#ed
into Mary's eyes.
here was not
the an!er or dar#ness
as was in
the nanny's eyes.
And when Mary
too# her hand
there was not
the %inchin! or s)uee*in!
li#e the nanny did.
As Mary lim%ed
to the window
to o%en it u%$
Alice watched her
"rom behind$
the loose "ittin! dress$
blac# and white$
the hair and white hat %inned$
the red hand reachin!
"or the window latch
to let in air
and Alice smiled
to hersel"
at the maid
li#e an an!el
standin! there.