Chapter 10: The Mystery Guest
Christopher, having finished his meal, sat at his desk and listened to Rufus’s report.
Christopher Archibald Bellmore was a peculiar person in the eyes of Rufus Oliverander.
“Don’t use children in the factory. Increase the skilled workers.”
His master never revealed his inner thoughts. He never got angry even in bad situations, and of course, he never showed joy in good situations.
He always had the right answers for everything, and Rufus trusted him completely.
“Sir, that woman did indeed work at the tavern. She didn’t work there for long. On her first day, she ran away, and the owner was furious. The problem is…”
Rufus trailed off, and Christopher’s interest was piqued.
“Member Gordon visited the tavern before me. He repeatedly asked if the nun-educated girl worked at that tavern. It seems he even paid the owner.”
The Prime Minister was facing an upcoming election and despised getting involved in gossip. Member Gordon was the Prime Minister’s adversary, and his actions needed to be closely monitored.
“The righteous Gordon seems to be up to no good.”
The possibility that he would gather information about Bellmore, who was rumoured to be engaged to the Prime Minister’s daughter, was an expected scenario. Member Gordon already knew that he had threatened the convent. It seemed that Member Gordon had targeted the convent, with its mysterious death of a nun and the hidden secrets.
“What should we do with that orphan girl? Is it safe to leave her like this? Gordon may try to buy her.”
Rufus spoke with a serious expression.
The appearance of the girl who lived in the convent suddenly showing up in the Red Light District was already scandalous enough. If the cause of her corruption was traced back to the Bellmore family, it would surely escalate, even if it wasn’t true.
“Leave her. We’ll ensure that she won’t fall for any cunning tricks. Bring the manager.”
He said, looking at a letter placed on his desk.
* * *
“Did you call for me, Mr. Bellmore?”
“The hotel received better ratings than expected.”
Christopher looked at the Crystal Palace model and spoke to the manager. It was delicate and beautiful. A building identical to this model was being constructed in the suburbs.
“It’s all thanks to you, sir. The hotel’s reputation will continue to rise.”
Christopher glanced briefly at the letter and the hotel rating report placed on his desk. The manager spoke with a humble tone.
“Mrs. No in Room 307 was the mystery guest. Among the staff, no one guessed correctly.”
“She used to be the editor-in-chief of Vernaculus. If I had seen her, I would have recognized her right away.”
Christopher casually replied, remembering the lady who had come to see him.
“Christopher Archibald Bellmore. I never imagined you’d grow up to be such a fine young man.”
Mrs. No, dressed modestly, greeted him with his name pronounced clearly.
“Abigail No. I heard you retired, but I didn’t know you were working in this area.”
Mrs. Abigail extended her hand as if to say his superficial greetings were unnecessary. The stern-faced lady’s eyes sparkled.
“What you’re probably more curious about than my recent affairs, Kyung, is the talk about the hotel, right? I’ll be straightforward. Since it’s a newly built hotel, cleanliness is a given. The food is excellent too.”
In response, Christopher nodded and greeted her.
“But what truly impressed me was something else. I decided because of that maid who brought ginger cookies to my room. I’d like to believe such thoughtfulness isn’t just an individual talent but a result of education.”
Abigail watched Christopher as she spoke. Christopher silently touched the crystal palace model. Smooth, transparent, and delicate.
“A maid who brings laundry. A young lady as lovely as my youth. When she came in drenched from the rain, she took notice of the ginger cookies I usually eat and brought them along with warm milk. If she shows such kindness to someone like me staying in a cheap room, there’s nothing more to see.”
Miss Abigail also mentioned entrusting Elizabeth with late-night dress laundry.
“Inflexible laundresses often say it will be done the next day or complain about mixing laundry. But this clever lady used clips to mark each garment.”
Miss Abigail spoke with an incredulous tone, asking if he didn’t already know.
“The ratings are out, and my decision is made. We should adopt the young lady’s way of handling things. Oh, she even took my mud-stained cane to clean. Quite an exceptional maid, wouldn’t you say, Christopher? As kind and charming as I could hope for personally.”
“After Mrs. Abigail talked about Elizabeth…”
After Abigail turned away, Christopher observed Lily working at the hotel.
He noticed expressions and efficiency he hadn’t seen from her before.
She moved around like a small bird, appearing quite busy as she gracefully navigated the premises with her long legs.
Every guest she encountered seemed to smile, including young children with their parents. Some guests even left brief notes for her upon checkout.
Everyone referred to her as “Lovely Elizabeth.”
“What? Who’s that? Oh, that orphan girl. We hired her temporarily because we were short-staffed. I was thinking of letting her go soon anyway—”
“I praised that girl.”
The manager’s mouth hung agape. It was an unexpected turn of events.
“Let her work officially. Have her stop laundry and keep her as a room maid. It might be a good idea to provide some training as well.”
With that level of competence, she wouldn’t be a liability to the hotel. Neutralizing Phil Gordon’s influence was a bonus.
The manager quickly concealed his surprise and echoed Christopher’s words, “Ah, yes, of course. I’ve heard she’s good at her job.”
Christopher nodded as if to encourage further, “She has a good memory… she’s good at picking up on guest preferences and such. I hear she even created a time for the laundry staff to share guest interactions.”
“Really? That’s interesting.”
Christopher listened attentively to the manager’s story.
“Yes, thanks to her, there have been fewer mistakes in our work, and the head of the laundry staff praised her as an intelligent girl.”
The manager struggled to recall the details of the conversation with Summer. There was a lot of information, but much of it had slipped from his memory.
“Also, make sure she gets the prize money.”
“Yes? Ah, understood.”
The manager double-checked with Christopher twice to ensure his decision was certain.
It was a radical move. The job of a flight attendant was one where graduates of vocational schools lined up for positions.
“But she’s an orphan?”
He withdrew with an expression that showed he never quite understood his master until the end.
* * *
Lily accepted the gold coins from the manager, unable to hide her astonishment. She had written “Mystery Guest” for Room 301 on the door, but she never expected to receive this money.
For the first time, the manager spoke kindly, and Summer embraced Lily, spinning her around.
“The Mystery Guest praised me?” Lily asked in disbelief. Handling such a large sum of money was new to her, and the idea of receiving praise from that cold, enigmatic man was unimaginable.
“Everyone! This is our youngest member. She hasn’t even been here for long!” Summer proudly announced, interrupting Lily’s thoughts. Applause followed, though most of it seemed cautious.
Amid the awkward atmosphere, the head chef suddenly burst into hearty laughter and applauded loudly. “Come down to the kitchen. As a gesture of celebration, we’ll prepare something for you.”
Only then did the applause grow louder. The manager waved his hand as if to say it was getting annoying.
“Elizabeth? Starting next week, you can stop doing laundry. Lady Bellmore has requested you as a room made and intends to employ you officially.”
“What did you say? But then we’ll be short-staffed in the laundry department!” Summer interrupted with a scream. The manager ignored Summer and, for the first time, looked directly at Lily.
“Don’t worry, she spoke directly. Lady Bellmore herself requested it.”
At the mention of Lady Bellmore’s direct request, Summer stepped back, and Lily nodded slowly.
Summer’s envious gaze felt strange. Lily had never been the object of envy before. She couldn’t believe that such luck had come to someone like her, who had only been the recipient of pity from others.
“Lily, what are you going to do with the money?” Summer whispered. She hadn’t even thought about how to use this unexpected windfall. Lily carefully replied while touching the rocket she had in her pocket.
“I’m planning to put it all in the bank.”
Summer sighed openly at the rather frugal answer. “Money is meant to be spent. How about using it for something you’d like?”
“Well… in that case, I’d like to make pretty clothes for the girls at the convent.”
Lily often thought of the little girls at the convent whenever she saw small ladies in fancy clothes coming to the hotel.
“It’s not for you, it’s for the pretty clothes,” Summer objected. “I can get good fabric from the scrap shop since we can’t afford ready-made ones.”
Summer shook her head vehemently at Lily’s stubbornness. “You’re going to make the clothes yourself? You could find quite nice clothes in Petticoat Lane.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want to keep going back and forth there forever. Isn’t it better to live life beautifully and luxuriously? I’ll earn money and eventually open a hat shop.”
Summer pretended to wear a wide-brimmed hat in the air. “I’ll go to Paris to learn hat design and open a shop. If I stock only the latest fashionable hats, I’ll become rich quickly.”
Summer was lost in her daydream and seemed to pay no attention to Lily.
Lily counted the train ticket to East Longfield and the gifts she planned to take with her. With this money, she could even place beautiful flowers on Sister Bridget’s grave. Her pocket felt heavier due to the substantial sum of gold coins from Florin.