Have been wondering for months where my staff scurried off to. It began with having to seat myself in the back of the Daimler one afternoon (with no one to open the door for me, mind you) and realize that the driver simply wasn’t coming,and not only was I going to have to pour my own Mimosa. I would have to actually sit up front and work the gears. Get myself to my own destination, in fact. Mind boggling. Was I even licensed for this? And would I be expected to (shudder) pump my own petrol? And what about directions? Did I even know the correct exit for Bergdorf’s? I went back inside to consider my options.
Soon after, I noticed a loose button on my wrinkly Italian linen trousers. Wrinkles?! Loose button?! I rang for help immediately and was ignored. I kicked off the offending item of clothing and changed quickly, and when I returned to the bedroom after my appointment later that afternoon, it was STILL THERE. NO one had picked it up. My suspicions began to grow that something was amiss.
I was faced with an enormous sense of frustrated ennui strolling past the 60 or so hatboxes in my dressing room filled with, albeit delightful confections, hats I must have worn at least twice. But alas, my milliner was nowhere to be found. I checked the crofter’s cottage on the edge of the estate that she had taken over as her studio but there was no sign of her. No sign either of my personal maid, my hairdresser, the laundress, my buff Swedish masseur or personal trainer. The cabana boy was missing, along with the previously absent chauffeur. The gardener was nowhere to be seen. Could there have been some sort of horrific mass murder while I was out having lunch?
Days passed, weeks even. Time began to blur as I noticed cobwebs floating down from ceiling fans, and a suspiciously thick film of…could that be DUST?? A broom had been left propped in a corner of the breakfast room. Was I expected to wield it? To, dare I say, SWEEP? A small contingent of cats approached me with a written complaint that their boxes hadn’t been seen to since late spring and they had been forced to do their toilette in the rear gardens. Yes, I too caught the delicious irony of this. Especially as the gardens had been sadly neglected and roses left to die on the vines rather than grace the previously glossy surface of the dining table in a previously sparkling crystal vase.
It was all too exhausting to contemplate. I sent a note down to the kitchens, tied to one of the cats’ collars. I am weakened with hunger, the note said, send up some basic sustenance. I was feeling so peckish that I felt entirely flexible about my preferred food. Blanched asparagus, the note specified, with a a light hollandaise. Followed by truffles in a madeira sauce. I would accept a small filet mignon, accompanied by a selection of fruits de mer, grilled and seasoned with a piquant lime seasoning. I waited. Soon after, a cat returned. No tray of food followed, no explanation, no enticing aromas. Just a crumpled and expired coupon from Subway. Quel horreur.
So here I am, finally understanding that my staff seems to have disappeared. Murdered by passing scoundrels, their bodies left in the bogs to be discovered by archaeologists many years hence. Or perhaps they all had a family emergency and shared a bus to the provinces.
I understand that as funds have dwindled, I can’t pay them the extravagant recompsense I used to, but really, to all disappear at once and leave me to launder my own clothes, clean the rather dusty manse, cook my own meals (shudder) and yes, change the litter boxes myself: shameful behaviour on their part. Where is loyalty, I ask you. Could they have even left a casserole or two in the freezer? The number of a reliable daily? The personal mobile number of a good chef?
I am bereft.