It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality…Virginia Woolf
It was impossible for her to spew forth banalities. Adeline Beebom was not that type of woman. She was a serious thinker—a person who demanded anything but the commonplace. Every word she spoke, every action she made was meant to teach, to enlighten, to empower. That she, as a governess, had little control of her personal life was a given.
“Miss Beebom, I must pee,” little Reginald said.
Adeline’s back bristled. “My dear, boy, that word is not proper.” She raised her chin and sniffed her disapproval. “Go ahead and close the door carefully behind you.”
Turning toward the paned window, she gazed at the clear, cloudless sky and the field of billowing snow. If only she could bring herself to go into that field and spread out, waving her arms and legs like an exotic, oriental fan.
A carriage approached. She stepped back and glanced at the calendar. December 15th, 1799. Yesterday the president had died. Today she wanted more than anything to live as she was meant to, but she feared she had given up that opportunity.
The door opened. Expecting to see Reginald, she looked over her shoulder, then gasped.
A woman in a white dress stood in the doorway. When she spoke her voice was a specter’s whisper, “Adeline.”
Adeline’s heartbeat quickened.
The visitor nodded and extending her hand, beckoned.
Wide-eyed, Adeline intertwined her fingers and shivered.