The master is so very clever, she was told. A mind like that comes only once in every ten generations!
Isabel would smile sweetly when they explained what a generation was. Their condescension annoyed her, but she allowed the gentle pats on the head and thought of her mother.
She also had a special smile, which she used in similar situations. And if she caught Isabel’s eye, Mama would tip her a wink and tap the side of her nose.
Like her mother, Isabel soon learnt to hide beneath the lace and froth of society’s expectations.
Doing it so well, neither the master nor his students minded when Isabel slipped into his lectures and sat at the back. There she would quietly sew and listen.
She was just as attentive when she helped Mama serve the master his dinner. Too long had he muttered and raged as he sought to prove his latest theory.
The poor man was beside himself, and only Isabel could help, but how? She wandered into the garden and sat in her favourite spot beneath the apple trees.