“There,” he said with satisfaction. “I can tell we will have a great deal of pleasure together, Mary.”
“Mary?” Alice said in a quavering voice, looking up at him in astonishment.
“Yes, Mary,” Roderick said. “I know that you have been under the strange impression that you are an earl’s daughter named Alice Lourcy, but it is time for you to learn that your real name is Mary Herter, and that you are a new chambermaid, out of the goodness of my heart and despite your very bad behavior to your family, here in Lormoran Castle. As long as you obey me, your uncle the butler, and Mrs. Grant the housekeeper, we will be patient and kind, and teach you your station and your duties until you are ready to be my special maid. But if you show us disrespect, or persist in the foolish notion that you are anyone but Mary Herter, we will punish you with a severity you can, I think, hardly imagine.”
Alice’s mouth hung open in shock, as if she felt she must say something, but had no idea at all what words to speak.
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