Chapter 02: The Relationship Between the Earl and His Wife
The relationship between the Earl and his wife has gone completely cold because of his wife, she hated her husband for some reason, even though everyone was envious that she had such a good husband, she got herself a lover in less than half a year of their marriage, spent a lot of money, and does whatever she wanted while ignoring her husband’s warnings.
She was such a bad wife that many people in the upper class frowned at the mere mention of her name, so it was natural that he sought comfort in his blind cousin, and many people felt sorry for him.
They said, “He should just divorce her.”
Earl Rosenstein is a wealthy man.
They also wanted a part of his fortune, so if possible, women wanted to become his second wife, or marry their daughter or relative to him.
And those rumours were also true.
In fact, the couple’s relationship was so cold that they didn’t even talk on a daily basis, and the wife did whatever she wanted without getting her husband involved.
She goes out every day, spends a lot of money, goes to gambling dens, and treats the servants poorly.
She still showed no signs of changing her behaviour despite her husband’s repeated warnings and her reputation reaching rock bottom.
It was only natural for people to laugh at her, saying that she was a dumb, brainless woman who was heading for her own destruction.
However, there was one thing ――― one thing that was different from what the people are saying.
She doesn’t hate her husband.
Rather, it was the opposite.
The Countess Rosenstein ――― I love my husband.
I love him more than anyone and anything.
I love whim with all my heart, so much so that I would be willing to give everything I have to him and become unhappy in exchange for his happiness.
I will not stop behaving foolishly even when people ridicule me to make my husband happy.
Every time I look in a mirror, I wonder what it means to be beautiful.
My mother was beautiful.
That was why men flirted with her nearly every day.
She looked really worn out just before she died, but for me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
When I blink, the woman in the mirror blinks in the same way.
When I tilt my head, she also tilts her head. Her black hair, which had just been tied up, swayed and her blue eyes stared back at me.
I certainly inherited mother’s features.
But I wasn’t beautiful.
My mother was gorgeous, but I, who looked like her, wasn’t beautiful at all.
――― What’s different?
What does it mean to be beautiful?
How does someone judge this?
I was disgusted with staring at the gloomy woman in the mirror and turned away.
There was a wasted gorgeous room behind me, and the interior was decorated with items that a rich, young woman would probably like, but looking at it made me feel restless.
To be clear, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
I was the one who had chosen the furniture, wallpaper and curtains, so I couldn’t complain to anyone. But I think I made it too flashy every time I look at it calmly like this.
It is probably because of this design that I wake up every morning feeling like I’m in a room I don’t recognise.
I inhaled the aroma of the sweet roses that filled the room while regretting that there was nothing I could do about it now.
At first, the aroma made my head hurt, but my nose is probably paralysed to this smell now, so I don’t feel uncomfortable anymore.
Humans are adaptable.
I adapt even on the days when I continue to wear my mask, even if people ridicule me or even if they look at me coldly.
“I don’t like it. Do it again.”
I sighed on purpose and glanced at the maid through the mirror.
To be more precise, I glared at her.
It was not a friendly gaze.
The young maid, who was doing my hair, shuddered and stared frighteningly back at the gloomy woman in the mirror.
Anxiety appeared on her adorable freckles on her face, and her red hair shook above her shoulders.
The maid, ――― Claire, was bewildered, and I knew what she wanted to say, but I deliberately asked coldly, “What?”
That alone caused Claire to shrink back, and she couldn’t say anything else.
But I knew that she wanted to say, “This is the fifth time I’m re-doing your hair. Can you tell me what the heck you don’t like?”
Truthfully, from what I could see, the way Claire did my hair is perfect, and I wanted to applaud her.
Claire is skilful, and she could quickly do any hairdo, even if it were from an old trend or new trend.
I’m envious of how good she was with her hands since I’m clumsy and can’t even embroider.
In other words, it wasn’t her fault that I was ordering her to re-do the hairdos.
She did my hair exactly as I asked it to be done, but I purposely asked her to do it again.
For irrational reasons like ‘I just don’t like it’.
“Didn’t you hear me? I told you to do it again. Hurry up, nitwit.”
“Y-yes. I’m sorry, Madam.”
She bit her lips, looked down and untangled the hair-do that took her ages to put up.
I was driven by the urge of wanting to hold her thin hands and apologise, but I held it down and stared at her with stern eyes.
I stared at the mirror again, and this time, I gazed at the flaxen-haired maid who was standing in the corner of the room. She was older than Claire and had a calm aura.
“Renee let’s stop this. Bring me the sapphire necklace I bought the other day. And replace the hair ornaments. The pearl hairpin will do.”
“Certainly.” Renee didn’t disobey me.
She bowed slowly and went to get the jewellery.
She is a servant who had started working here three months ago. Her expression never changed, no matter what I did or how selfish I was. She responds indifferently and is a calm woman. She never gets agitated no matter what I do or say. She is very patient.
I gazed at Claire, who had magnificently handled my hair, and was touched.
Claire aside, Renee really puts up with it and serves a woman like me.
There shouldn’t be many despicable masters like me in the capital.
Generally, getting ready for about an hour in the mornings, ――― or should I say just after noon, ――― has made me lose my senses.
I heard that separated ladies take an hour to get ready, so I copied them and ended up regretting it.
Every morning, I’m painfully aware of how long an hour is.
If I don’t change clothes numerous times, re-do my hair a lot and change my jewellery, then the time wouldn’t pass.
However, putting on makeup and dressing up didn’t make me beautiful, so no one praised me.
I was only wasting my precious time in the mornings.
Because I’m always like this, the maid, who had served me before Renee, quit and said she had to go and take care of her parents.
Claire knew of my situation, so that was probably why she put up with me, but Renee worked here for three months without knowing anything, so I would like to ask her why she’s still working for me.
“You can’t even do my hair the way I want it done. Why are you this useless? The morning’s tea wasn’t good, and I don’t like the way you wake me up. The maid who was working here before you was much better. I didn’t like how she looked, but she was a fast worker.” I complained to Claire while Renee was looking for jewellery.
I didn’t have to say those things but saying it would make me seem more nasty.
“I’m sorry, Madam.”
“All you do is apologise. You’re not progressing at all. Are you really reflecting on this? I can fire you and hire a new maid, you know?” I was astonished that I could say such awful things and clenched my fist in my mind.
Claire looked a little surprised, and then she immediately looked sad and shocked.
“Please don’t Madam.”
“Madam, I’ve brought what you wanted.”
As if Renee couldn’t stand that Claire was turning pale and shuddering, she brought the jewellery to stop the conversation.
Her action, which casually protected her colleague, deserved respect. This was a testament to her excellent abilities as a servant.
“You’re slow,” I complained as I looked at the necklace that Renee had brought.
The sapphire which sways in the centre was glistening mysteriously and was surrounded by diamonds. It was a piece of art that drew people in.
I nearly sighed because of its beauty, but I swallowed it down. I said more selfish things and put Renee on the spot, “What’s this? Was this necklace this heavy? This silver chain is over the top and doesn’t suit this dress at all. Bring me some other necklaces.”
Renee nodded blankly. She took out necklaces from the jewellery box and brought it to me.
However, I would say that I didn’t like any of them and sighed pretentiously. Then, I rested my chin on the dresser as if I was dejected.
After thinking a little, I said as if I’d just come up with an idea, “I’m going out to buy jewellery to match this dress. I’ll go out after lunch, so get the carriage ready.”
Renee and Claire looked at each other. Their faces said, “What is she thinking?”
“Madam, you just bought this necklace the other day…”
I had expected this reaction, and I scowled at them unpleasantly.
Claire turned away awkwardly, and Renee closed her gaping mouth.
The sapphire necklace that Renee had brought me was costly, and the price was enough to buy decent land on the outskirts of the capital.
Furthermore, I had only bought it five days ago.
They probably couldn’t believe that I was going to buy another piece of jewellery after having just made an expensive purchase.
But I was still on the soft side.
The ladies, who are crazy about jewellery, try to purchase expensive jewellery by taking out massive loans.
This House was rolling in money, so this amount of wastefulness wouldn’t make a dent in the finances. Also, despite how I act, I accurately calculate how much I could spend while shopping.
It would be distressing if my wasteful spending greatly affected the finances of this House.
“I want to buy something because there’s nothing I like! I don’t like any of these necklaces! I don’t like them! I want a new one! Anyway, it doesn’t matter what you two say. I’ll go out after I have lunch and rest for a bit!”
When I throw tantrums, the two would quickly lower their heads and sigh quietly.