Coralie arrives at the Colville Palace...
"Goodbye, Mademoiselle. Good luck," he said as a tear escaped his sad eyes. He let go of her small, cold hand and Coralie felt abandoned once more. She unlatched the gates to the Palace and stepped onto the grounds. The cold night air stung Coralie's face and she tried her best not to cry as she walked up to the double doors and knocked hard, hoping that someone would answer soon. Everything was happening so fast for her that she didn't know how she would be able to handle it all. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn't realize that the door had been opened.
"Yes?" the doorman questioned looking down at the girl.
"I..." Coralie scuffled her feet slightly, not quite knowing what to say, "I'm th-the new maid here," she responded.
"Ah, yes. Come in," he opened the door more widely so that she could get through, "Madame Colville will want to meet with you." And with that the tall, big boned man left Coralie alone. Finally a woman dressed in a beautiful maroon velvet dress, walked into the foyer.
"Coralie, isn't it?" was the first thing she said to the girl. Coralie curtsied a little and tightened her grip on her brown leather bag.
"Hmm..." Madame Colville shook her head in disapproval. Coralie looked through one of the doorways to see another girl, walking towards the two of them. As the girl got closer and closer Coralie realized in surprise that it was Jacqueline from her etiquette lessons. Jacqueline apparently hadn't noticed Coralie however, since she continued to walk her gaze to the floor.
"Mother," she said, her eyes to her shoes and her hands folded in front of her. The woman snapped her almost black eyes in her daughter's direction.
"Jacqueline!" she snapped, "Do not interrupt. You know how I feel about that." Coralie stepped back slightly, not expecting this outburst. The woman sighed and clenched her teeth before grabbing Jacqueline's chin, forcing her to look into her eyes.
"Now...this will never happen again, yes?" she said more like a statement than a question, and in a low, intimidating tone. The girl sighed somewhat inwardly.
"Good. Now, show our new servant to the basement room," she said indifferently, "Get unpacked and you can start on your first task. The cook spilled something in the kitchen," she directed to Coralie with an unkind smirk, waving them off before leaving the room. It wasn't until her mother had stepped out that Jacqueline looked up.
"Coralie?" she asked. Coralie smiled at her slightly.
"Hello, Jacqueline." Jacqueline grinned a pretty smile that complimented her rosy lips.
"You're our new servant...? But I thought..." she trailed off, not wanting to say something rude, "Well, you look tired," she said instead, "Let me show you to your room." She took Coralie's little hand in her slightly bigger one and Coralie liked the feeling of a big sister figure. Jacqueline led her down many stairways and passages until they finally entered a small room. There was a fairly small bed with a musty looking patchwork quilt, an old rocking chair and a table that held the only oil lamp to light the whole room.
"Well," Jacqueline started, sounding a little guilty, knowing that she had her own splendid room waiting upstairs, "This is your room." Coralie stepped inside and set down her bag delicately. Jacqueline sat on the rocking chair.
"Coralie...if you don't mind me asking, why are you here?" she asked quietly. Coralie sighed and willed herself not to cry again. In a meek voice she began to explain to Jacqueline about what had happened to her parents. By the end, Jacqueline had enveloped her in a hug, something that Coralie had greatly needed.
"Your mother said I had to clean the kitchen. I'll go do that now, I suppose," she said and Jacqueline followed her out of the room. They made their way to the kitchen where what looked like soup was spilled all over the kitchen floor. Coralie robotically grabbed the dishrag on the counter and began mopping up the mess.
"Oh, let me help you," Jacqueline said and she took one of the other rags.
"Thank you," Coralie said with a smile. Before they were finished Madame Colville stepped almost silently into the room.
"Jacqueline...what are you doing?" she asked through clenched teeth. Jacqueline stood slowly from the disarray on the floor.
"I was just helping Coralie," she said. Madame Colville chuckled slightly.
"She doesn't need any help. She's a servant and I never want to see you helping her again. Now go to bed," she yelled, pointing out of the kitchen.
"You," she said looking back at Coralie who sat on the floor looking up with those wide, blue eyes at her, "Did you ask her to help you?"
"No Madame," she said looking down at the floor. Madame's eyes told Coralie that she didn't believe her. Madame Colville motioned for her to stand. She obeyed but was met by a rough hand hitting her face with such impact that it almost burned. Coralie's eyes snapped shut and she held her cheek with her hands.
"Don't you dare ask anyone for help. You being here is a privilege. Go to your room," she ordered. Coralie stumbled out of the kitchen, down the many stairs and back to her bedroom. She collapsed onto her bed in tears where she then fell into a fitful sleep.