Chapter 8 Moody historian
Bernard Fischer is an old historian and a very difficult man.
He doesn’t do it himself but wants to drink tea at fixed timings and is particular about how his tea is brewed. Not only in the study or living room but anywhere in the house, if things are slightly off from the place they belong according to his rules, he would be in a bad mood.
On top of that, when he hits a wall in his research, he is more likely to get upset over small things. No one could serve as an assistant to such an old man for a long time, and although he is self-sufficient, he was troubled because neither his assistants nor servants continued working for long.
At a time when he was searching for an assistant, Victoria Sellers came for an interview after seeing the job offer at a job agency. She is fluent in four languages and claims to be able to do housework such as cleaning and cooking. He wondered if there was such a convenient person, but her self-report was true.
“Mr. Bernard, I have finished translating the document you entrusted to me yesterday.”
“In just one night?”
“Yes. Please check if there are any mistakes. I will finish cleaning in the meantime.”
After saying that, Victoria handed over the documents without hesitation to Bernard and started cleaning up the desk. She really knew how to tidy up. The papers previously piled up in a jumbled manner would never be out of order, and the papers tidied up into three piles were put together with clips for each content and attached with headings to make them easier to read.
Bernard, who had a weak respiratory system but still lived with a ton of dust, was nagged by his niece to be living a ‘slow suicide’, but after she came, the house was tidy and the dust was gone.
(I can’t let such a capable assistant go) thought Bernard after a few days.
At first, he thought it was ridiculous because she wanted to bring a child with whom she was not related by blood to work, but the child was very intelligent, and quietly read in the corner of the kitchen without making a fuss. Victoria seemed to be teaching her how to read and write.
Bernard, who thought he didn’t like children, started having thoughts of (I don’t dislike well-disciplined children).
One day, he gathered the courage to ask Nonna, who was helping with cleaning with Victoria.
“What food do you like?”
He thought and asked. That was the only question that came to mind. Talking to children was a big venture for Bernard. The girl thought for a moment.
“The roast lamb Vicky makes.”
Coincidentally, roast lamb was one of Bernard’s favorites, so he couldn’t help but propose ‘If you don’t have any plans tonight, why don’t you make some roast lamb for me here? We can eat together.’ and made an uncharacteristic offer.
“Why, that’s wonderful. I’ll gladly make it.”
Victoria replied with a smile and quickly went shopping and bought the ingredients.
When he tried to pay for extending her work hours in addition to the food cost,
“Nonna would be able to experience dining with other people so I can’t accept that.”
She refused. No matter how many times he asks, she wouldn’t take the extra pay.
“You’re a very stubborn woman.”
“I’m often told that.”
He even enjoyed that banter since it’s been a long time since he had such a conversation.
Victoria skillfully arranged herb-grilled lamb with carrots, green pea potage, and creamy mashed potatoes. And added crunchy buttered toast that Nonna requested when she was halfway through cooking.
It was the first time he had this kind of food at home since his wife passed away. In other words, it’s been eight years.
The previous chef wouldn’t make such a labor-intensive dish. After the chef quit, he ate out in the neighborhood for lunch and dinner, but choosing from the same menu every time made the food bland.
Victoria and Nonna ate heartily and they had a good conversation. Victoria said that she came from the Kingdom of Randall, but she also had a wealth of knowledge about this country. Even when Bernard talked about history, she listened with a look of great interest. After the two had cleaned up and left, he felt the sudden silence in the house. Bernard, who had always considered people’s presence as annoying, was puzzled by this change.
“I thought nobody would want my company. I’m glad I wasn’t obstinate and talked to her. It led to such an enjoyable meal. Her cooking was delicious too.”
Bernard spoke to his wife’s portrait in the now quiet room.
Partly because of this, Victoria and Nonna would sometimes accompany the old historian for dinner.
His niece Eva, who visits once a week, was surprised. It was so tidy and polished that when she opened the front door she thought it was a different house than the one she had last visited.
Her uncle’s study which once looked like it hid evil spirits had been transformed into a clean and orderly scholar’s study.
“Uncle! What the hell happened? Did you find a new housemaid?”
Eva is Bernard’s younger sister’s daughter and a lively woman. A caring woman in her thirties with reddish brown hair.
“Eva. You’re still as boisterous. I put up a job offer for an assistant at the agency and an excellent person applied.”
“Assistant? Not a housemaid?”
“An assistant who is fluent in four languages and good at cleaning and cooking.”
Eva had a bad feeling about that.
“Uncle, how much do you pay that person? I hope not but it’s not just the amount you pay for an assistant, right?”
Bernard is largely ignorant and not a sensible man, so he only paid what he would pay an assistant, just as Eva feared.
So he panicked, thinking (maybe it was thoughtless of me?). Even his wife would often warn him that he lacked common sense despite being a scholar.
Bernard silently stroked his brown hair, which had more white than brown.
“Uncle, no matter how you look at it, that excellent assistant is doing three people’s work. If you pay them such a low wage, they would be poached by another employer.”
“No, that can’t happen. That would be troubling. It would be really bad if she’s not around.”
“She? A woman? Anyway, please let me see her. I have to thank her and apologize.”
Because of that, when Victoria went to work the next morning with Nonna, Eva was there to greet her. And she said, ‘I’m sorry my naive uncle made you work for such a ridiculously low wage.’ she bowed her head and tripled her wage.
“Triple? Isn’t that too much?”
“No. Before you came, we hired an assistant and two housemaids. Even so, the house wasn’t as clean as it is now. And none of them lasted more than three months. But you even became a conversational partner for my uncle. Even four times as much would be fine. After all, my uncle has no other use for the money. You don’t need to be reserved.”
Eva, who made big gestures, knocked over a vase on the table while saying that.
However, Victoria, who was sitting across from her, didn’t change her expression at all and quickly extended her arm to support the vase without letting it fall over. All the while Victoria didn’t even look at the vase and her eyes remained on Eva.
Eva thought (Such a talented person. I would like to hire her at home), but she knew her uncle would not let her go.
A few days after Eva and Victoria met, she informed her that Bernard’s 65th birthday party would be held at his house.
“My relatives will be gathering. That said, there will only be a total of four people, me, my husband Michael, and two cousins. Could we leave the preparations to you? We’ll pay you extra for it. It doesn’t have to be too grandiose.”
“Of course. If you are okay with me.”
Victoria replied and accepted with a smile. If Victoria would take care of everything, that would be a great help to Eva, as she was busy as the Count’s wife.
And their fate was intertwined in a surprising twist, as one of Eva’s cousins who will attend the birthday party is the Commander of the Second Knight’s Order, Jeffrey Asher, but Victoria wouldn’t be aware of that until that day.