Mrs. Jones sighed. “When we agreed to let you go to Madame Elise wedidn’t see you becoming a professional cook. We only saw it as being agreat advantage for you when you married.”“Oh, it will be,” Miranda assured her, “and it will be a greatadvantage for me while I’m single too.”Forestalling any further comment, Miranda gave her mother a hug,silently counting the days until their Kensington flat was closed and shecould move in with her friend. Barbara had little time for worrying parents;an orphan brought up by an unloving cousin, she had, over the past fouryears, carved out highly successful career for herself.“My cousin only sent me to Madame Elise,” Barbara had once told her,“because she wanted to train me to be a cook housekeeper for her. WhenMadame asked me to stay on as her assistant, I thought heaven comedown to earth!”It was during Barbara’s time as a teacher at the school that Mirandahad come there, and though she did not have Barbara’s flair as a cook,she was considerably better than average. The two girls had remainedfriends even after Miranda had qualified, and six months later Barbarahad also left the school, though in her case it had been to start her ownbusiness. Six months after that had come a call for Miranda to join her.