I begin cautiously and try to be diplomatic, so they don’t think I disapprove of Miss Smail—even though I do. “Unfortunately, Miss Smail arrived with an unrealistic set of expectations. I believe India was a great surprise to her, as it is to many new arrivals. I think perhaps Miss Smail thought an orphanage in Calcutta would be like an orphanage here. And it can’t be. India isn’t like Scotland.”
“You’ll have to do better than that, Miss Pigot,” Mrs. Stevenson says. “Every teacher we’ve sent before has done very well. Miss Smail is the first to move out of the mission. Why did she move?”
I inhale deeply and tell the truth. “I told her to leave.”
The room flutters with a collective intake of breath.
“You told her to leave?” Mrs. Stevenson looks shocked. “How did matters reach such a point?”
How did they? “I can’t say exactly.
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