On the eastern side of the lake, where Jane lived, the villagers were plain and did not come from much wealth. They lived in simple cottages with little furniture and some convenience. For food they ate what they grew in their backyards. For fun they sat around the fire late into the starry night. For work, most of them looked after their fields, few worked with the Church and others walked across the rickety wooden bridge to the western side of the town to work for the aristocracy.
Jane would wake up every morning, take a bath, put on freshly laundered clothes, dab a little perfume on her neck and wrists, and tie her shoes neatly. Then along with the men who too were dressed neatly she would cross the rickety wooden bridge to the land of the aristocrats.
The aristocrats on the western side of the lake held power, influence and other glittering things. They dressed impeccably in colours white blue red green and golden. They walked with the air of kings and they seemed to bathe in perfumes. You could sense an aristocrat from a mile away, such was their aura.
Jane worked for Alfred Montgomery.
Mr. Montgomery lived with his three children in a five storied brick house, a little away from the sky blue lake. The ground floor was a parlour for visitors. It was lavishly furnished, it even had a fireplace. Jane had never been inside the parlour. She was neither a visitor not a guest. She was a clerk, a secretary who handled Mr. Montgomery’s paperwork.
In the office on the first floor she would sit at one end, far away at the other end sat Mr. Montgomery behind his large wooden table, his head buried among the papers. He would speak only when needed and he would never hand her the files. He would just give a slight nod when he was done with signing the paperwork and push the file to the centre of the large wooden table. Jane would then walk over to the table, take the file and get to work.
She thought he smelled fantastic. It was too sad that she could not be near him any more than distance social decorum would allow.
Know why the Western Aristocrats stay away from the Eastern Villagers in the next post.