Introducing a new character that will play an important role later.
If I liked Jenny with all my heart, the same could not be said for Cathy who was an English girl. It was as if I were a nauseating fly to her. She would often scrutinize me in minute detail, always in the same hypocritical, scornful way. At other times, she would turn her nose up at me and ignore me totally.
On the other hand, Cathy liked Jenny, even though she disapproved of Americans-I had even heard her say she thought that they were too vulgar!
Cathy's father was a peer, the 13th Earl of something or other- I never got his name- and of whom she was immensely proud. The sad thing was that he was an impoverished lord, so Madame told me, and that one of her rich relatives paid her school fees, or else she would never afford to finish her education.
Thus, it was only when I was with Jenny that Cathy teamed up with us. I could quite imagine what she said to Jenny when I was not around, something on the lines of:
"What do you see in that Adele?"
And Jenny's answer would probably be something like:
"Oh, I just take advantage of her. She is a pet, she's always doing small favours for me."
Anyway, in the evening Cathy and Dominique joined us to smoke cigarettes and to drink a glass of Porto wine together. All this, of course, was forbidden, but it was not very likely that someone would catch us as Madame respected our privacy.
Dominique was a sweet, French girl, and she was Catholic like myself. She was the daughter of a factory owner who had married into the old French aristocracy.
We sat round in a circle by the window seat on the lavish Persian carpet, having one of those silly chats and in the process getting slightly drunk.
Jenny had bought the cigarettes from the old Turkish man who wandered about the school's gates, and this time she had bought American cigarettes, what a luxury!
As usual, the smoke burned my throat and went right into my lungs which made me cough excessively. In such a panic, I threw the cigarette out of the window. How I hated smoking, but I wished so much to please Jenny.
"You idiot, one day you are going to set the house on fire!" Jenny exclaimed, her face blazing with anger.
"Or, what if it falls into the courtyard and Mme Neuville or any of the other mistresses catch it?" Cathy demanded angrily.
"Or even Father Leopold?" Dominique giggled, "I'd better go downstairs and pick the butt up before someone notices it."
But, Jenny managed to catch hold of the stub that was dangerously balanced on the rain gutter. Luckily, the wind was too weak!
"Adele, you are always so clumsy," said Jenny, and the other girls chuckled.
"She will never learn how to smoke."
I saw Cathy's chilly eyes staring at me, and I froze.
Why did Jenny humiliate me in front of the others, I wondered? I was so angry that I forgot my recent worries and decided to confront her as soon as the other girls left the room.
She stood by the mirror and made a face as if she had detected an unwelcome wrinkle, at her age!
"Jenny, may I talk to you, please?"
"Yes, Adele." She smiled, but her voice rang false.
"Why do you humiliate me when the other girls are around?"
At once, she turned away from the mirror to face me, smiling pleasantly:
"My, Adele, why should I do such a thing? You know you are my dear pet."
"Maybe, it's because I am your pet." I retorted.
"Now, now. Come closer. Look at yourself in the mirror. Aren't we alike?"
I saw two girls standing side by side, one blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and the other red-haired with puffy eyes. Really, I was having problems finding any similarities between us.
"We could be sisters," Jenny said.
"Half-sisters, maybe," I remarked.
"You would only have to dye your hair."
Right as usual, she had the solution for everything. Then, I saw her picking up a pink, bonded, leather-covered notebook in which she began to write.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Oh, I just bought this pretty notebook because I want to keep a diary," she replied nonchalantly.
"Will you write about my having made a fool of myself tonight?" I asked.
"One never knows."
I was too tired to bother and soon I fell asleep.