Chapter Ten: Proposition

“Thank you for meeting me, Mr. Jenkins,” I whispered in hushed tones. “I will make my request as speedily as possible.”  He was standing before me with a half smile playing on his lips.  I paused, not quite sure how to proceed.

“Go on, Ms. Douglas.”  He sighed impatiently and folded his arms across the dark brown fabric of his suit vest. 

“I have a servant in my employ who is in need of assistance in a rather delicate matter.  I…I thought maybe you would be a position to give me some advice.”

“A servant you say?”  I did not like his tone.

“Yes, a maid!” I replied sharply.

He looked amused.  He pulled out the silver watch that resided in his left pocket, flipped it open, glanced at the face, then snapped it closed and replaced it.

“She is with child and you…she… does not wish to deliver?”  I was relieved that he had spelled it out simply for me, but again irritated at the implication that I was the one in need of the services.  Still, in his defense, I am sure that there had been many ladies of my station who had requested his assistance.  Perhaps he was trying to “help” me understand that it would be OK to be honest if I were actually pregnant as certainly he was going to know in the end anyway. 

“Yes,”

“Fine.” He waved off the discomfort with a flourish of his hand.  “I can be of assistance, however I require something of you first.”  He waited.  Was he waiting to hear how much I could pay?

“Certainly I will find a way to pay you.  How much do you charge?” 

“Maybe more than you want to pay, truthfully, but we will see.  Bring your servant to my rooms day after tomorrow.  It is probably safest to come after dark.”  He passed me his card.

“Thank you,” I said softly.

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