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She’s had less time to spend with Iala, since the Christmas holidays; so it comes as a surprise to Proserpina to find that her friend has an enemy.

“She did start it,” Iala points out.

“She couldn’t have known you were new money,” Proserpina says.

Iala’s eyes crackle. “Oh, are you going to start now too, Macnair?”

“I’m teasing, Iala.”

“Well, Ernestine Batten wasn’t,” Iala declares. “She’s a prig and a snoot and I won’t spend the next three years looking up her aristocrat’s nose!”

Proserpina says nothing more: it isn’t her affair. Until Radiane brings the girl to boxing practice.