Chapter Two

"Get out you incompetent imbecile!" Alex shouted. "You'll be paid till the end of the week. Get out of my sight!" Good god! Alex thought. Can anyone save me from these idiots!

The now ex secretary, had forgotten to put an appointment in the book, for a meeting with a wealthy supporter. When Alex got a phone call to inquire if a representative of the charity was indeed coming to the meeting, the secretary got a taste of the foundation chairman's temper. Alex hated to be embarrassed like that. A stickler for time and responsibility, Alex expected the same in others. The phone was quickly grabbed out of the cradle and a number dialed.

"Good morning, Woodward residence. How may I help you?"

"May I speak to Mrs. Woodward please? Alex Dalton calling." The anger was slowly dissipating.

"Of course Lord Dalton, one moment."

Alex waited a couple of minutes then a lilting female voice asked, "How may I help my Lord Dalton this fine morning?"

"Very funny Lotty." Alex replied.

"I need your help; can you look out for a new secretary for me? I'm not using that agency again. They send me nothing but idiots!"

Lotty sighed, "Not another Alex! How many have you gone through. I think you need to be a little more patient with them."

"I can do patience but I cannot work with idiots. You must be able to find someone with connections at the orphanage?"

Her friend, Charlotte Woodward did some work with an organisation that helped find work for young girls getting too old for the orphanage system.

"I'll keep my ear to the ground, but some of my girls I think would find it difficult to cope with you My Lord." Lotty said with a sarcastic note to her voice.

"Well please try, for me?"

"I will of course. Are you still coming to dinner this evening? Poni says she has an old bottle of port with your name on it."

"I'll be there, but I may pop into the club later."

"We'll see you at half past seven then. Bye Alex."

"See you later Lotty."

Beth marched down the street, suitcase in one hand, and a piece of paper with the address details of her interview in the other. Butterflies were whizzing around in her stomach. She didn't have any experience in the workplace but she had helped her father catalogue his work. She was well educated and a very hard worker, but was so glad Reverend Clement had pulled a few strings for her. It was never easy for a young girl to get her foot on the ladder. Beth finally arrived at the address on the paper. She was in plenty of time, and hoped that looked good. Beth watched the workers that were entering and leaving the office building. 'They look so smart, I am so glad I took the time to freshen up at the train station!'

Beth plucked up her courage and walked into a large foyer and walked up to the desk directly in front of her. She went forward and handed her letter of introduction to the security guard.

"Elizabeth Bentley to see Mr. Wells."

The security guard looked at her letter and then looked Beth up and down with an air of superiority that made her feel about two inches tall.

"Follow me."

As Beth walked down the corridors she moved past glass cases with model ships in various states of construction. The company was a widely known in the shipping world. Mr. Wells was a middle manager, who was a distant cousin of Reverend Clement and had worked for them for some time. The security guard came to a stop and asked her to sit in a waiting area outside Mr. Well's office door. After ten minutes or so a middle aged rather frumpy woman appeared out of the office.

"Miss Bentley? Please come in." She seemed to almost scowl as Beth walked past her into the office.

'I must be imagining it. Put your best smile on Beth.'

"I'm Mr. Wells' secretary, Mrs. Watson. Please take a seat."

Beth sat down feeling very nervous and out of place. Mrs. Watson remained standing in front of Beth.

"Mr. Wells was called away this morning to an urgent meeting so he asked me to conduct the interviews in his stead." she stated.

Beth suddenly had a bad feeling. Interviews? I thought it was only I who was being seen for the job.

Mrs. Watson continued, "I'll keep this brief so as not to waste your time Miss Bentley. The position was filled earlier today, an impeccable and very experienced candidate emerged who I felt I had to offer the job to before we lost her to another company."

Beth was shocked, and her stomach seemed to fall down to her toes. She tried to grasp some words for a reply. "Mrs. Watson, Reverend Clement from Ambleton arranged this with Mr. Wells." she said as she felt her throat tightening with panic.

"Mr. Wells led Reverend Clement to believe that I simply had to come up for an interview and the job would be mine!"

Mrs. Watson smirked. She recalled this morning's events as she felt a surge of power that she very seldom felt in her employment. That morning Mr. Wells had been called away, some crisis or another over at the docks. As he rushed out the door he shouted, "Mrs. Watson, the interviews for the assistant post are coming in today, could you please handle it for me? I think there are four girls in total but I promised the job to a young girl my cousin wrote to me about. Just give her the once over and if everything is in order offer her the job." With that he rushed way.

Well! Mrs. Watson had thought. No country bumpkin is coming up here and walking into a job when young Nancy needs a better position. Mrs. Watson quickly phoned her sister, Nancy's mother, and got her niece in as quickly as possible. She would simply tell Mr. Wells that Miss Bentley was very late and in very shabby appearance. That should do it.

"Miss Bentley, you have zero experience working in an office environment. Mr. Wells left the decision to me. I've made my decision. The job has been filled. Thank you for coming in. Good day Miss Bentley." she said as she held open the office door hoping that Beth would quickly exit the building.

Beth sat there, motionless and mouth hanging open for what felt like an age. Panic consumed her. She had left everything, all security to come for a job that had now been taken away from her. She was all alone in a strange city with virtually no money. The money she had saved had gone for her train ticket, the first month's rent for her lodging, and an outfit for her new job. Suddenly the girl bolted from the chair and was running for the exit of the building in sheer panic, tears running down her face. As she came running out onto the street without looking up, she never saw the Rolls Royce hurtling toward her. The driver of the car screeched to a halt. As the chauffeur jumped out of the driver's seat to see if he had hit the young girl, Beth fainted and her world slipped into blackness.