Rose of Eaton Hall

by Abigail Chase

Once upon a time, back in the 1940s, there was a gorgeous mansion called Eaton Hall. There lived a kind family with two children.

Rose, the housekeeper, was also a nanny to the two children that lived at Eaton Hall. Jack was a tall, well-mannered 17-year old boy who had a growing love for plants and animals. Alison was a shy 12-year old girl who spent much of her time with Rose, who cared for her from infancy.

Rose cared for the children as though they were her own children. In the summers, when the children were home from school, Rose would take Alison on long strolls in the gardens, teaching her the names of the flowers.

It was on a stroll like this that Rose became friends with John, the property’s gardener.
Now that fall had arrived, Alison missed these walks and missed spending time with Rose when she was at school.

“It’s warmer outside today, would you like to eat breakfast on the terrace?” Rose, asked Jack and Alison. The children loved the idea. Rose made the children eggs-benedict.

“Rose, will you play with me afterwards,” asked Alison.

“There’s a Fair and Pumpkin Harvest Contest in town today. We should ask John to take us. Would you like that?” asked Rose.

“Yes, yes, yes!” exclaimed Alison. “Let’s ask mom.”

Catherine, Alison’s mom, was happy for the children to enjoy the day’s warm weather. Winter was coming quickly.

In the recent days there were a lot of newspaper articles about a sickness called Scarlet Fever. It was making some people very sick, but Rose and the children still wanted to go to the contest. They agreed the risks of danger would be low, so they raced over to John who was pruning the rose bush and asked him to drive the family car to the contest.

Jack never said ‘no’ to Rose. He happily led them toward the car and drove off into town.
The four walked around the fair’s grounds saying hello to everyone they met. Alison and Jack played games, enjoyed candy, and sampled pumpkin pie, while John and Rose watched.

As the sun was starting to set, the four decided to head home. They had fun at the Fair. They were tired from the day’s activities.

A few days later, Alison awoke with a sneeze and runny nose. As the day went on, she started to feel worse. Her throat became sore, she got a fever, and every inch of her body hurt.

Rose and Catherine, Alison’s mother, took turns watching over her in a beautifully decorated bedroom.

“I’ll call Dr. Andrew. He’ll know what to do,” said Catherine.

Dr. Andrew brought with him a medical kit full of medicines and gadgets. He examined Rose.

“It’s Scarlet Fever, I’m sorry to say,” said Dr. Andrew. “We must keep Alison isolated for two to four days.”

Saddened by the news, Alison’s mother began to cry.

“Oh dear,” said Rose. “I can take care of Alison. No one else should see her because they can get sick.”

Alison and Rose moved to the west wing bedroom. Only Rose visited to provide food, refreshments and care. She gave Catherine updates on her daughter’s illness.

Gradually, Alison got better. Rose was relieved. Alison was ready to return to her family.

“We’re so happy that you’re feeling better,” said Jack. “We really missed having you around.”

In the days that followed Rose grew quiet. She was beginning to feel unwell, but did not want to tell anyone.

One day, she fell to the floor. The doctor was called to examine her.

“Rose is very unwell,” he said. “She must have been hiding her illness for some time. Perhaps for too long, so she could continue to help the family. I am afraid she may not make it.”

Shocked, the family gathered and called John inside because they knew how friendly the two were. By Rose’s bed, John said, “I love you Rose. I always have.”

Eventually she died. Heartbroken John asked the family’s permission to bury her near the rose bush, under the Cherry Blossom tree.

“She loved this family and property more than anything. Can we bury her here?”

The family agreed.

Afterwards, whenever visitors came to Eaton Hall they always visited the Rose bush planted in Rose’s honour.