While I was deep in my thoughts, the carriage stopped in front of Penelope Bronson’s house. Jake got off to open the carriage and let me off, and Amy came out after me.
The Bronson mansion was at the edge of the Teresa division, close to the merchant division. Normally, the mansions in Teresa division became bigger the closer they were to the palace, so this wasn’t a good location. However, judging by its clean look and the size, the house must have been bought for the husband’s convenience to work.
As I went into the house escorted by a servant, I could hear a child’s giggles and screams through the door. A half-naked girl came out, her hair and person were drenched. She glanced at me and stopped. The child came up to my thigh, but as I wasn’t used to children, I could not accurately gauge her age.
“Who are you?”
The child asked. And behind her, I could hear Penelope and another woman.
“Claire! I told you you’ll catch a cold running around all wet! Come here!”
“Miss! You can’t go around….”
Penelope had her hair casually wrapped up in a pin, her sleeves rolled to her elbows. Her face was pink from embarrassment and probably exertion. The front part of the middle-aged maid’s clothes was also wet and she was panting while holding a large towel. The servant who escorted me coughed. Penelope then found me and her face blushed even more.
“Oh my, Alice! You’re here already. I was giving her a bath. Can you escort the lady to the drawing room? I’ll dress the child and come shortly.”
The two of them tried to approach the child. But still in her playful mood, the girl giggled and tried to run away again. If I let this be, it would probably take forever. After all, the child seemed to enjoy running away from her mother and nurse and treated it as a very fun play.
I grabbed the child before she had a chance to run and the latter laughed as if she thought this was a new way to play. Penelope looked at me surprisingly and the nurse approached me with a towel in her hand while sighing. I handed the child to the nurse.
“Miss, you can’t do that. This is very embarrassing.”
The nurse wrapped the child in a towel and nagged but the child just giggled in her embrace. The nurse thanked me with her eyes and lifted the child, and Penelope ordered her to take the child away to dress. She turned to me and sighed.
“Thank you for catching her. Once she learned how to run, she wouldn’t walk. She’s so agile,” Penelope said.
“It’s no problem. How old is she?” I asked.
“Two and a half. She causes all kinds of trouble. She was rolling around the ground in the yard – ruined her dress and was dirty and all! So we had to quickly give her a bath.”
Penelope was clicking her tongue but there was the soft joy in her face. I waited patiently and didn’t interrupt. Thankfully, Penelope seemed to come to her senses. She covered her mouth, her eyes wide open.
“I talked too much again… I’ll get changed so please wait in the drawing room. Tom, tell the kitchen to bring some snacks out for Miss Alice.”
Penelope quickly went in and the servant led me to the drawing room. Jake was mumbling behind me while we were walking.
“You were very agile. And strength… Mm, strong? No, mm….”