The Diary Of Pamela D. (Chapter 4, page 1 of 12)

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Chapter 4

Pamela slept remarkably few hours (for her), waking up at one o'clock in the afternoon. Getting out of bed she noted belatedly that she was dressed in warm bedclothes, a realisation that caused her to flush with embarrassment. 'Someone undressed me completely and put me to bed!' Yet at the same time this discovery brought out feelings she hadn't experienced since she was a little girl. That someone, probably Ellie and Doris, had taken care of her, had dressed her in a heavy flannel nightgown and put her to bed. She found that it was a good feeling, like being picked up and held in someone's arms.

She wanted to thank Theo for lending her his strength and support the night before, but found she didn't know how. She was spared having to try, however, because upon going downstairs she discovered that Theo had left for London at eight that morning, obviously without sleep; she was told he would be gone for two weeks. Feeling strangely disappointed, she threw herself with renewed vigour into the housework she had begun, spending whole days cleaning the kitchen before moving on to other parts of the mansion.

A few days later, while Pamela was standing on top of the dining-room table polishing the cut-glass prisms of the chandelier, Doris answered the front door when the bell rang. She returned a few moments later, sorting through several envelopes. 'There's something in the mail here for you, Pamela,' she said, her voice belying nothing. 'I'll leave it here on the table for you.'

Too engrossed in what she was doing to stop, Pamela finished cleaning the last of the grime from the chandelier and tossed her rag in the bucket, its sloshing contents a murky yellow-brown, attesting to years of accumulated cooking grease and smoke stain. Only belatedly she remembered the letter and picked it up. To her delight, she discovered that it was from Tessa. She tore it open, and read:

Dear Pamela:

Would you mind very much if I called you Pam? Everyone calls me Tess, except for my aunts and uncles. There's no need for formality between friends, now is there?

I got your letter only today. Sorry I didn't write sooner but we only got back from Danby last night so I didn't have much of a chance.

How are aunt Ellie and aunt Doris getting along? They are special, aren't they? I can't imagine why they never married, except that they've always been perfectly satisfied with their own company, at least, that what I've been told. No place for a man in their lives, it seems, unless it's a visit from the gardener.

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