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FROM THE PRIVATE DIARY OF MAIA CARLISLE
We had blackberry jam and scones for tea. Asya said we should go up to the ballroom and pretend we were at a grand ball with gowns and invitations and ambassadors but Chloe said please no and she just wanted to go for a walk by the lake.
So we did.
At first we thought it was a swan or perhaps a dress that had blown off the clothes-line and into the water. We saw the white.
"It's a lady," said Chloe. She is the oldest of us, and says this means she has the sharpest eyes.
We thought she was alive. I mean, I did. I thought she was thinking. Asya said she thought she was alive too. Chole said she knew she was dead all along.
We walked out a little way and pushed her back to the shore with sticks, like a toy boat.
I said, "It's Miss Palmer."
Asya said that the strains of being a governess must have got to her, with all the French and grammar and everything, and she expected that Miss Palmer had succumbed to brain fever.
Chloe didn't say anything at all. Not then.
The bruises on Miss Palmer's neck were the colour of blackberry jam.
Then we went up the hill to the house to tell people what we had found.
When we were waiting to tell them, Chloe said she saw Miss Palmer kissing someone in the scullery, two nights ago. Asya and I asked her who it was, but she said she did not know the gentleman, and only caught a glimpse.
We all agreed that a governess who died for love is a most romantic thing; but who will teach us pianoforte and sewing and composition now?
We had poached eggs for supper and then to bed. Asya and I listened to Chloe crying quietly in her bed, and eventually she stopped crying, and then we slept.
In the morning Miss Palmer was no longer to be seen, and Mama said the matter was not to be mentioned again. For tea we had gooseberry jam and toast.