Seras Victoria sat in the open-style train station, nervously waiting. She’d just arrived from London to a small village in the county of Devonshire, to look over the estate her uncle had left to her. The young woman had never before left her small town on the outskirts of the English capital, where she’d lived in an orphanage most of her life. Though as she grew older, she had been in the establishment’s employment.
But a few weeks ago, Seras had received a telegram informing her of a relation, who had been without an heir to his large estate. Nothing was said of how he died, only that she was to become master of a grand old Tudor manor with surrounding lands and title. The writer, who was the lawyer of her late uncle, also advised her to not delay in inspecting the newly acquired property.
Now here she sat, wondering when her coach was to come for her and her small amount of luggage. Her uncle’s lawyer, a man by the name of Thomas Morley, had kindly arranged for the ride, along with procuring money for her travel expenses.
Hearing the sound of hoof beats, Seras turned her head and watched with joy as a small cart came to view. Rising from the bench, she gathered her luggage and walked quickly toward the waiting transportation. The driver, noticing the young woman approaching him, stepped down from his perch and removed his hat, addressing her.
“Hello, ma’am. Are you being Miss Seras Victoria?” Seras nodded, giving him a smile. The driver returned a toothy grin of his own, then kindly took hold of her luggage bag. “My name is Biggs, Lady Victoria. Mr. Morley asked for me to take you ta yer new home.” He held out a hand to help her into the carriage box, which Seras gladly took. The dress she wore was difficult to climb in, having been starched earlier in the morning.
“How far to the manor?” she asked curiously, seating herself beside the driver.
“Not too long, miss. Only about a few miles or so outside the village, going along the moor road o’ course. We’ll be there before nightfall.”
Smiling to herself, Seras settled down in her seat. The young woman enjoyed the ride immensely, watching the picturesque countryside slowly roll by. She attempted to start a conversation with the driver, but he seemed more interested in reaching the manor by nightfall than talking to her.
Seras was still gasping at the beautiful sun to her right, setting on the moors, when the driver turned onto the lane of her new home. Looking ahead, her jaw nearly dropped in shock and glee. Before her lay a large manor, the setting sun glistening off its turrets. Vines twisted and wound their way across the three-story high stone walls, while high bushes surrounded the house. She could barely see a hint of a yard with a path in the back, when the driver came to a halt before the door.
Carefully stepping down from the cart with help from Briggs, Seras eagerly walked up the stone steps and put her hand on the handle of the large wooden door. Opening the heavy door, she cautiously peeked her head in. Seeing nothing because of the gloom within the house, she opened wide the door, casting light into the interior.
A grand hall shown in her view, with a large staircase leading to the second story. She could see several rooms off to her left and right, leading to deeper areas within the manor. Walking in, she stared in awe at the obvious wealth the building held. Portraits lined every wall, nearly masking from her view the expensive print of flowers behind them. The furniture, what she could see, was darkened with age and matching in style, while the rugs were large and Persian of descent. Her footsteps echoed forlornly through the house, as she peeked into a room that appeared to be the parlor.
“Is anyone here?” Seras asked, turning back toward the driver. The thought of spending her first night alone in such a large and old house was a little frightening for her.
“Only you, miss. Your uncle didn’t like people, and generally kept to himself.” After placing her luggage within the hall of the manor, he lifted his hat and climbed back into his cart. “I’ll be seeing you, miss.” With a snap of the reigns, he was out of the drive and going down the road.
Odd Seras thought, watching him go. He almost seemed to be fleeing from the manor. With a sigh, she turned back toward the dark interior of her new home, wondering where the candles could be.