THE BROKEN CUP

A cup is broken...the contents spilt out over the roadway...to pick it up and, perhaps, to put it back together is one of this morning's more unexpected tasks. The servants gather to shake their heads and dispute the proper way to do the job. The upstairs servants seem to be of one mind and the downstairs, of another. The coachmen and gardeners also have their own ideas. Lastly, of course, there is the crew of carpenters, masons, glaziers, etc., who aver that it cannot be done at all.

The lord and master, of course, does not yet know that the cup is broken. He assumes that the household labor is being performed as usual this morning...totally for his own benefit... and according to his desires and has not yet been apprised that anything unusual has occurred. The butler would probably so apprise him were it not for the difficult task of explaining how the container got to be outside in the first place, and, in the second, that it is, in fact, broken. At any rate, the lord and master is in his drawing room checking over the household accounts with his secretary...a rather pleasant, if somewhat dull, chap.

How did the cup come to be there? Perhaps it was the young master, the lord's only, very precious child, some argued, who brought it out and, in a spirit of revelry and characteristic unconcern, dropped and left it, contents spilled across the roadway, where it lay. He would deny it, of course, the young scamp. Though the servants discussed this matter well, the question remained unresolved to all but one for among the servants there was one who did not take part in the speculations because she, alone among them, knew the truth.

It was a young chambermaid, new in the household, who, the night before, unable to sleep despite the weariness of the day of labor at the beck and call not only of his lord and ladyship but also of the servants ranked above her, knew of the events leading up to and after the breaking of the cup.

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Copyright (c) 1983, Allan Bazar