Georges and Agnes, of course, complement each other in turn.
They both provide a bit of light relief – their down to earth attitudes forming a comical counterpart to any highflown sentiments on the part of their ‘master’ and ‘mistress’. They were a delight to write about too, and I became very fond of them.
Georges is willing to do anything for Émile save say a good word about him, and Agnes with her Tarot set and earthy predictions was always fun to depict: –
‘As if I would encourage the advances of a rascal, Agnes!’
‘You won’t be able to help yourself, Miss Sophie. You will fall for him like a ton of coals being delivered.’
Émile’s companion in villainy reverted to his former position as valet, and Sophie’s lady’s maid confidant are well suited.
As the conflict in beliefs develops between Émile and Sophie, Georges and Agnes align themselves behind their indulgent ‘master’ and ‘mistress’, Georges’ rascally delight in incredible strength and semi mortal powers against Agnes’ invariably matter–of-fact spiritual convictions come to the fore.
Agnes has her own views taken on from her grandmother (who in those days must have been in danger as being reported as a witch). She doesn’t share Sophie’s innocent views about sexual love and is happy to take the swaggering, dark, handsome Georges on as a lover.
This despite her having had a former unfortunate love affair which left her with baby daughter Eiluned (now cared for by her mother). Only prompt family action and a prolonged trip down to her sister in Swansea protected her from the disgrace awaiting any ruined maidservant who had a baby outside marriage.
But the insouciant Agnes cheerfully takes on Georges, thinking of him as a temporary amusement while she keeps an eye out for a solidly respectable man, who will be willing to be a stepfather for her child.
Georges greatly admires Émile – and strives hard to hide it. He delights in calling him ‘Monsieur Gilles’ reminding him of his criminal self.
He doesn’t think much of having to return to his old status as Émile’s valet – and he is purely outraged when due to a shortage of footmen he has to wait at table during Émile’s first dinner at Plas Uchaf. He entertains himself, however, in typical Georges fashion, looking down the ladies’ cleavages. Sophie notes:
‘He had the most awful expression on his face, a combination of self satisfaction and lasiviousness as if congratulating himself on the pornographic nature of his thoughts.’
She finds that Georges improves as she gets to know him better. But as to whether he will make a suitable stepfather for Agnes’ daughter…