Jeanne de Lachennais uttered a gentle cough, and Peggy Burnett substituted "-foot" for the rather more colourful term she had been about to employ.
"I suppose she could be," Sharlie Andrews said doubtfully, a frown of concentration on her face as she attempted to correlate the numbers with what she knew of Nancy's career. "If she's been teaching for a total of ten years now-"
"Then she'd have had to graduate at nineteen," Peggy interrupted. "Not possible."
"Maybe it's magic?" Sharlie suggested solemnly.
"Maybe she was an infant prodigy, and that's why she was so many forms ahead of you at school, Peggy," Ruth Derwent offered, smiling sweetly at her exasperated colleague.
"Or maybe Nancy's well on her way to forty, and Hilda just can't count!" Peggy proclaimed. "Hi! Kathie Ferrars! Come over here and tell us exactly how old Nancy is!"
Kathie grinned. "What's the why of all this?" she asked, dropping into a convenient chair. "What has Nancy's age got to say to anything?"
"Hilda, in her infinite wisdom, has been going round telling people that Nancy's only twenty-nine!" Peggy's voice rose in tone and volume until she was practically squeaking with indignation.
"And you don't believe her?" Kathie's lips twitched as she struggled to hold back a giggle.
"Everyone," Peggy declared bluntly, "knows that Hilda's arithmetic would disgrace even the most junior of juniors!"