This school was first in Mecklenburgh Square and was run by a Miss Eliza Gould, a very patrician lady who always wore a white lace cap. She was very regal, not unlike one’s impression of Queen Victoria, whom she resembled very much indeed. She had an extremely white parchment-like skin and her imperious manner instilled fear in me always. She had a cane which she used often and with great strength, on boys and girls alike.
The school was a large Victorian house and when I first went there at the age of seven there were three teachers – Miss Gould only took religious instruction, deportment, and generally ruled the establishment. For a while there was also a male teacher – a German, Herr Gravenlager, who fell in love with one of the three other teachers, a Miss Morris, and usually for the whole hour of our supposed German lesson and conversation, these two (if Miss Gould were well out of the way) would sit on the stairs talking and flirting until the noise in the classroom became too loud. Then Miss Morris would put her head round the door and say ‘hush, children, Mr Gravenlager and I are discussing your next German lesson.’ One or two bolder spirits (not me, for I was always more timid and a conformist) would open the door slightly and report the progress of the lovers – ‘He’s got his arm round her…they’re kissing…’ This situation was brought to an abrupt end when Miss Gould got to hear of it and Mr Gravenlager suddenly disappeared, never to be seen again.