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Pearson Mary E, “The kiss of deception”, public translation into English from English More about this translation.

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While I acquired the skill of sweeping easily enough, others chores proved more challenging. I had seen maids at the citadelle turning the washing drums with as little as one hand. I thought it to be an easy task. The first time I tried, I spun the drum and ended up with a faceful of dirty soapy water because I’d forgotten to secure the latch. Pauline did her best to suppress her laughter. Putting the laundry up to dry didn’t prove any easier than washing it. After hanging a whole basket of sheets and standing back to admire my work, a stiff wind came along and sprang them all loose, sending my wooden pegs flying in different directions like mad grasshoppers. Each day’s chores brought new aches to new places—shoulders, calves, and even my hands, which were unaccustomed to wringing, twisting, and pounding. A simple small-town life wasn’t as simple as I thought, but I was determined to master it. One thing court life had taught me was endurance.

Evenings were the busiest, the tavern filled with townsfolk, fishermen, and guests of the inn eager to close out the day with friends. They came for brew, shared laughter, and an occasional snarl of words that Berdi stepped in and settled roundly. Mostly they came for a simple but good hot meal. Summer’s arrival meant more travelers, and with the annual Festival of Deliverance quickly approaching the town, would swell to twice its usual size. At Gwyneth’s insistence, Berdi finally conceded that extra help was needed in the dining room.

On our first night, Pauline and I were each given one table only to tend, while Gwyneth managed more than a dozen. She was something to behold. I guessed she was only a handful of years older than us, but she commanded the dining room like a well-seasoned veteran. She flirted with the young men, winking and laughing, then rolled her eyes when she turned to us. For well-dressed men who were a bit older, ones she was sure had more in their purse to lavish on her, her attentions were more earnest, but ultimately there were none she really took seriously. She was only there to do her job, and she did it well.

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