Polly waited for Susie to catch up with her on the upper landing. She spotted Susie's cap was askew; her hair stuck out at the sides untidily.
"What did Dudman say?" Polly asked.
Susie paused for breath. Looked at Polly with a childlike expression. "To get the dinning room prepared," Susie said.
"That all?" Polly asked, turning around and walking off along the passageway. Susie stood gaping at her. "Anything else?"
"No," Susie said, running in little steps to catch up with Polly again.
"I did the dinning room earlier." Polly looked ahead of her, her feet pacing along the polished passageway.
"So where are we going?" Susie asked. She blinked. She stared at Polly's back, at the black and white uniform swaying in front of her.
"Out of Dudman's way for a bit," Polly muttered. She paused at a door; looked both ways along the passageway, then opened the door and dragged Susie inside the room with her.
"What we doing in here?" Susie bit her lower lip; clutched her hands together; her eyes scanned the room quickly.
"Hush," Polly said in a lowered tone." Do you want Dudman waltzing in here after us? Susie shook her head. "Well keep your voice down."
"It's cold in here," Susie moaned in a whisper.
"What did you expect? This room's been empty for ages," Polly said. She rubbed her hands together and walked to the window.
Susie walked to the stripped bed; sat down hugging herself. "Don't think I've been in here before," she muttered through chattering teeth.
Polly stared out of the window. She gazed up where Master George's car was to arrive. She put her hands in the pockets of her apron and clutched them tightly.
"What we waiting for?" Susie asked looking over at Polly's behind at the window.
"I'm looking for someone."
"Who?" Susie sighed.
"Master George," Polly said softly.
"What you looking out for him for?" Susie said. She gripped her arms round her body. "I'm blooming cold."
"What do you want me to do, cuddle you?" Polly muttered without turning around. She breathed against the windowpane. Then rubbed a message on the glass with her finger.
Susie watched her. "What you writing?"
"You'd know if you could blooming read," Polly said, rubbing out the message. She stood back, sighed, and then sat on the bed beside Susie.
"You ain't going to creep along to his bed again are you?" Susie asked.
"If he invites me, I will, "Polly said quietly. She turned to gaze at Susie. "That's if he comes," Polly added with a sigh.
Susie nodded. The cold was creeping into her shoulders; her arms ached from clutching her body tight. "I get cold when you're not in bed with me," Susie muttered.
"Well he won't want both of us in bed with him, will he?" Polly said. She breathed out; watched her breath rise like smoke in the cold room.
"Don't be crude," Susie said, pulling a face, moving closer to Polly; putting her arm through Polly's.
Polly shook her head and smiled. "I hope he comes. I feel like a blooming virgin again."
"Polly!" Susie said in a loud outburst.
Polly put her hand over Susie's mouth. "Hush to noisy cow. Do you want Dudman to come here?"
Susie shook her head; pulled away Polly's hand from her
"No, sorry." She laid her head on Polly's shoulder. "Dudman's a right so-and-so for a butler."
"They all are," Polly whispered. "All reckon they're above their station."
Susie said nothing. She wiped her nose on Polly shoulder. She felt cosy. She wanted this feeling to last, but she knew it wouldn't. It never did. "You will stay with me tonight if he doesn't want you won't you?" Susie asked.
Polly nodded and sighed. No sounds. Just the sound of Susie's breathing and her own in the room. She kissed Susie's head; then put the white cap straight. "Best be off before old Dudman comes looking for us like a blooming bloodhound," Polly said.
The two maids rose up from the bed and walked to the door. Polly opened it gently and peered along the passageway. No one. Quiet. She pulled Susie after her out into the passageway; closed the door softly until it clicked shut. Taking Susie's hand, she walked her long the passageway way as she listened for sounds or signs of Mr Bloodhound Dudman sniffing around the house in search of them. No sign. No sound. Safe. At least for now, she mused, squeezing Susie's hand, thinking of Master George, his wandering hands, his warm cosy bed and they snuggled up close like fleas on a sweaty dog on a summer's day.