Still, I winced when I sat on the rough wooden bench. Louisa asked me in a whisper what was wrong. I replied in the same fashion that cramps from my pending cycle were increasing. Conversation wasn’t forbidden during meals, but most of us concentrated on assuaging our hunger. The entire staff couldn’t fit all at one go, so we were split into two half hour shifts. Unless needed for an urgent task, the upstairs/downstairs served as a natural demarcation. When we’d scraped the bowls and plates clean, Louisa pulled me aside and directed me to the storage cupboard of supplies.
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