Miss Brodie now played the accompaniment, sitting very well at the piano and sometimes, with a certain sadness of countenance, richly taking the second soprano in "How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot," and other melodious preparations for the annual concert. Mr. Lowther, short-legged, shy and golden-haired, no longer played with Jenny's curls. The bare branches brushed the windows and Sandy was almost as sure as could be that the singing master was in love with Miss Brodie and that Miss Brodie was in love with the art master. Rose Stanley had not yet revealed her potentialities in the working-out of Miss Brodie's passion for one-armed Teddy Lloyd, and Miss Brodie's prime still flourished unbetrayed. It was impossible to imagine Miss Brodie sleeping with Mr. Lowther, it was impossible to imagine her in a sexual context at all, and yet it was impossible not to suspect that such things were so.
During the Easter term Miss Mackay, the headmistress, had the girls in to tea in her study in small groups and, later, one by one. This was a routine of enquiry as to their intentions for the Senior school, whether they would go on the Modern side or whether they would apply for admission to the Classical.
Miss Brodie had already prompted them as follows: "I am not saying anything against the Modern side. Modern and Classical, they are equal, and each provides for a function in life. You must make your free choice. Not everyone is capable of a Classical education. You must make your choice quite freely." So that the girls were left in no doubt as to Miss Brodie's contempt for the Modern side.
From among her special set only Eunice Gardiner stood out to be a Modern, and that was because her parents wanted her to take a course in domestic science and she herself wanted the extra scope for gymnastics and games which the Modern side offered. Eunice, preparing arduously for Confirmation, was still a bit too pious for Miss Brodie's liking. She now refused to do somersaults outside of the gymnasium, she wore lavender water on her handkerchief, declined a try of Rose Stanley's aunt's lipstick, was taking a suspiciously healthy interest in international sport and, when Miss Brodie herded her set to the Empire Theatre for their first and last opportunity to witness the dancing of Pavlova, Eunice was absent, she had pleaded off because of something else she had to attend which she described as "a social."
"Social what?" said Miss Brodie, who always made difficulties about words when she scented heresy.
"It's in the Church Hall, Miss Brodie."
"Yes, yes, but social what? Social is an adjective and you are using it as a noun. If you mean a social gathering, by all means attend your social gathering and we shall have our own social gathering in the presence of the great Anna Pavlova, a dedicated woman who, when she appears on the stage, makes the other dancers look like elephants. By all means attend your social gathering. We shall see Pavlova doing the death of the Swan, it is a great moment in eternity."
All that term she tried to inspire Eunice to become at least a pioneer missionary in some deadly and dangerous zone of the earth, for it was intolerable to Miss Brodie that any of her girls should grow up not largely dedicated to some vocation. "You will end up as a Girl Guide leader in a suburb like Corstorphine," she said warningly to Eunice, who was in fact secretly attracted to this idea and who lived in Corstorphine. The term was filled with legends of Pavlova and her dedicated habits, her wild fits of temperament and her intolerance of the second-rate. "She screams at the chorus," said Miss Brodie, "which is permissible in a great artist. She speaks English fluently, her accent is charming. Afterwards she goes home to meditate upon the swans which she keeps on a lake in the grounds."
"Sandy," said Anna Pavlova, "you are the only truly dedicated dancer, next to me. Your dying Swan is perfect, such a sensitive, final tap of the claw upon