'Here you are, miss,' said the red-faced cabby, putting his head in at the cab window, 'this is Miss Melford's school.'
It was a large, many windowed, white house on Hertford Green, in sight of the famous spires of Silverbridge, and was for some six months to be both home and school to me, Gloria Dene.
I was late in my arrival, and I was tired, for I had come all the way from Erlingham in the heart of Norfolk, and moreover, I was hungry, and just a little homesick, and already wanted to return to the old homestead and to Uncle Gervase and Aunt Ducie, who had taken the place of my parents.
The cabman gave a loud rat-a-tat with the lion-headed knocker, and in due course a rosy-faced servant maid opened the door and ushered me in.
Then she preceded me through a broad flagged hall, lit by crimson lamps. And as I went I heard a sweet and thrilling voice singing,
'Home, home, sweet, sweet home,
Be it ever so humble there's no place like home.'
The words naturally appealed to me, and I exclaimed:
'How lovely! Who is singing?' only to be told that it was Mamselle Narda, the music mistress.
I thought of the nightingale which sang in our rose bush on summer nights at home, and found myself wondering what Mamselle was like.
The next day I saw her-Bernarda Torres; she was a brown beauty, with dark rippling hair, soft dark eyes, and a richly soft complexion, which put one in mind of a ripe peach on a southern wall.