Fräulein Rottenmeier is Herr Sesemann's stern, unbending housekeeper. She is firmly in charge of running the household where Heidi has been invited to stay as companion to Herr Sesemann's invalid daughter, Clara.
Right from the moment she lays eyes on Heidi, it's clear that Fräulein Rottenheimer's determined to give her a hard time. First of all, she doesn't care much for Heidi's appearance. With her plain woolen dress, her old shawl, and her tatty straw hat, she looks completely out of place in such a palatial home. And as for her name, Fräulein Rottenheimer doesn't think much of that, either; Heidi's not a proper name at all.
When the grumpy housekeeper asks Heidi what kind of education she has, Heidi gives the honest reply that she's never been to school and can't read. Fräulein Rottenheimer is aghast; she thinks that Heidi's lack of education makes her wholly unsuitable to be Clara's companion. Thankfully, Clara likes Heidi and thinks it will be fun to watch her tutor trying to teach her how to read.