Thomas Smith

Lady Penelope's Hall Boy


Tom never knew his parents. He was found at the steps of the orphanage as a baby. It was a rough life, and while the matron was strict, the cook was always kind. And of course he had his fellows. Some orphans, like any children, can be monsters, but there was a certain camaraderie among them. They looked out for each other.

No parent would ever take him though. Some kids came and went, Emily, Beatrice, but Tom was always passed over. He became the unofficial headman of the kids, having been there so long. Even the older orphans respected him. When Tom was 16, the matron had a meeting with a Butler, Roger Haines, who was looking for a hall boy to fill out the household servants of the newly married Wise household. Tom was suggested and overnight became a ward of Roger Haines.

It’s been almost three years since then and Tom should be in the trenches. His friends from the orphanage are all in the trenches. John and Simon left Lady Penelope’s service and volunteered. Tom should be right their with them. When he first came to work for the Wises he didn’t pay any heed to the whispers of the housekeeper. Who cares if Mr. Wise isn’t a peer. That’s not a problem for the likes of him. However when war was declared and one by one the staff started peeling away to fight or work long hours in a munitions’ plant, Mr. Wise’s aloofness has started to grate on Tom.

Oh he has a young child and family to care for, but he could absolutely afford a commission as an officer. Do his bit in logistics or any of the millions of roles away from the mud of the front line. And yet, he insists on lawyering as if it ever helped anyone. But the worst part is not Robert, but Haines.

Last year, Tom turned 18, and asked Haines for leave to enlist. If only his birthday had come a month sooner, before Mildred went off to the shell factory. Haines flatly refused, saying that they were understaffed as it was. He couldn’t legally stop him mind, but he offered to double his pay if he stayed on. That kind of money was nothing to sneeze at, so Tom bit his tongue and took it, but his resentment only grew.

For now he continues to wait on the wises, playing the good servant, but should his number come up for conscription, he would drop them in a heartbeat.

Thomas Smith

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