“There’s some kind of school on the other side of the lake,” remarked Leslie Carrick idly. Mrs Carrick, evidently supposing that no answer was required, carried on polishing her nails, while Captain Carrick once again buried himself in the newspaper. Juliet, however, had frozen at the careless statement, and it was a moment or two before she resumed adding jam to her roll. She was burning to ask questions, but too afraid of opening the subject to voice them. Instead, she silently ate bread and jam, excusing herself as soon as possible.
Free of her parents’ company, she wandered down towards the lake from the Kron Prinz Karl, the hotel they were staying at. Leaning on the fence, she scanned the opposite lakeshore, searching for clues of a school. And there it was, set back a little from the lake, the row of girls walking towards it a clear give-away. Juliet’s knuckles were white as she clutched the fence. Not again. This couldn’t happen again.
She’d run away. She’d steal her mother’s jewellery and… Well, that wouldn’t work for a start. Juliet was too well aware of her parents’ lifestyle to suppose that Mrs Carrick’s jewellery was worth anything. What there had been of value had been sold years ago, no doubt to fund Captain Carrick’s gambling. Gambling that was the cause of their being in Austria now – for Juliet was under no illusions about why the family had left India. In a way, she was glad they had, for no longer would she have to endure the knowing, sideways looks of the English community. At the same time, it was more frightening, now, when she wasn’t at home any more. Already she had found that life in India was quite different to life in Europe, and the changes were unsettling.
Would her father pay the hotel bill? Juliet wondered, as she noticed Herr Braun talking to one of the maids. She flushed red as she thought of it. How horribly awful if he didn’t. The thought of Herr Braun, finding the Carricks gone, finding their bill unpaid, telling his friends about it, made her cringe, and she hurriedly turned back to the lake.