After my rounds I paced the grounds thrice before retiring to my cottage beside the greenhouse to read stories I knew by heart. Little room in the Orangery meant the guardian's library was limited. The books on my shelves I had chosen as a young woman: stories of adventure and romance, stories that left me with a pitted longing.
I’m the only person honest enough to chronicle what happened to Madam Coates. The hotel concierge, a bald and ever-sweating British man, gathered us staff in the Jewelled Nawab Jungle Retreat and swore us to secrecy about the rules that she had ignored. If we so much as breathed a word to a private detective or a pale-faced guest with glasses that turned out to be a journalist, we would be kicked out on the street with only the clothes on our back.