“Was that the nurse,” he asked, sitting at the small round table where Mrs. Reinhardt had a light breakfast prepared.
Lady Beth sat across from him and poured herself a cup of coffee. “Yes, it was. Her name is Roberta Rush, and she will move in tomorrow. All I have to do is schedule the ferry to transport her vehicle. You wouldn’t mind picking her up at the dock, would you?”
“Whatever you need, Mother,” Victor said, taking a slice of cold buttered toast. “Tomorrow is going to be quite a busy day, with the arrival of the nurse and Father’s return home from the hospital. I trust that Mr. Miller will be picking him up in the van.”
“That is correct. When he finishes fixing the dripping faucet in Ms. Rush’s bathroom, he will go to the hospital and wait until your father is discharged. He should be back home tomorrow afternoon; at about the same time the nurse arrives.”
“Even though I am not looking forward to someone with whom I am not familiar with being in our home, it will be a relief to have someone here to take care of Father.” He sat down the toast with only one bite taken from its soggy crust. “I trust that Mr. Miller got the buzzer working in the nurse’s room, goodness knows we do not want her missing any of Father’s calls.”
“It’s working fine, Victor,” Lady Beth said. “It has been tested several times. Whenever your father needs assistance, all he has to do is press a button that he wears on a cord around his neck, and Ms. Rush should go running.”
“What about the aide?” Victor wrinkled his nose.
“With your father’s acceptance, Ms. Anderson will be allowed to stay in the nurse’s room during the day so that she will be available to care for his needs. However, at night, she must leave and retire in the cottage, away from the manor.”
“I also trust that you will still lock the entrance gate?” Victor raised his eyebrows, waiting for his mother’s reply.
“Of course, Victor. Don’t give me that look. You know the gate is always kept locked at night as well as most of the day. Having one outsider in the home is bad enough. You know that not only I, but also Count Moldovan, want no strangers nosing around inside the walls, even the outer ward. Our lord said that the count instructed him to make sure that both the nurse and the aide stay fixed in the main rooms of the manor house and no place else.”
“And who is going to be monitoring their behavior? People—at least the ones brave enough to come here—can be quite curious about what goes on inside these walls and I am sure they can become quite meddlesome.”
“Both Mrs. Reinhardt and Mr. Miller have agreed to keep an eye on both of them and to report any suspicious activity to me immediately. And if they cannot be kept under control, then I will call their agency and report them, and then promptly discharge them. But I must say, it will be nice having the help, at least for a little while.”
“I agree. Short of sending Father to a nursing home—which is at all not acceptable—this is the only answer.” He sipped his coffee and sat the cup on its saucer with a China clink. “Six months . . . right?”
“The contracts for the both of them is for six months; that is how long the doctor said we may need live-in help. And at the physician’s suggestion, I did add that the contracts could be extended as required.”
“What if we only need them three months? Isn’t the usual length of those types of contracts for a shorter length of time?”
Lady Beth shrugged. “The doctor said the lord’s declining condition will require at least half a year’s worth of care. He said . . .”
Victor’s eyes widened. “What? What did the doctor say?”
Lady Beth stood. “He said that he may not fully recover from the ailments and that eventually even his mind will go and that we need to be prepared for that.”
“Well, I do not know about you, but if his mind goes then I am in charge of this house and no one, not even Father, has clued me in on the secrets inside the inner ward.”
“I am aware of the situation,” Lady Beth said, brushing crumbs from the front of her linen blouse as she prepared to walk out of the parlor. “Our lordship has assured me that when he becomes mentally incapacitated, one of the visiting monks will inform Count Moldovan, and the next steps in our family’s legacy will begin.”