she was often dismissed from her posts for dropping and breaking things.
but she always managed to find a new post because the housekeepers who interviewed her were impressed with her humble ways - so different from the manners of the saucy creatures they had to deal with these days.
the housekeepers also liked that she was not likely to attract attention from the master of the house, or any young masters who might be on the premises.
yolanda performed her duties promptly if not always efficiently.
she never spoke unless spoken to.
yolanda had a dream, which she never shared with anybody.
she dreamed that someday she would meet herself.
her other self would be the mistress of the house, or perhaps one of the daughters.
and when they met, and recognized each other, they would trade places.
and yolanda would no longer be a servant but mistress of the house.
or at least, a young miss who spent her days taking drawing lessons and music lessons, instead of carrying objects up and down stairs, and sometimes breaking them.
one day, shortly after yolanda had found a new position, the housekeeper told her to take a tea service up to “miss claudia”.
miss claudia was a daughter io the house who had just returned from the continent, and yolanda had not seen her before.
she knocked on miss claudia’s door and was told to enter.
picking up the tea service, she pushed the door open and went in.
miss claudia was looking out the window at the rain, and yolanda placed the tea service on the tea table.
when miss claudia turned around, yolanda recognized her immediately as herself.
and miss claudia recognized yolanda. “you!” she exclaimed. “i have been waiting for this moment.”
“as have i,” yolanda managed to stammer.
when miss claudia just stared at her without saying anything further, yolanda timidly ventured. “are we to trade places then?”
“no,” miss claudia answered slowly. “i know that that was the original plan. but on reflection, i have decided that i would rather remain miss claudia , and that it is better that you remain a servant girl.”
yolanda could only nod in agreement.
she looked past miss claudia out at the rain.
the dream was over. she would always be a servant.
“i only hope,” miss claudia added kindly, “that you mend your clumsy ways, so that you do not finally get turned out of doors, and perish miserably in the streets.”