Book One: Yii – Chapter Four (continued)

The Inn was warm and welcoming, and before long they were tucking into platefuls of ham and eggs, with plenty of toast and honey to follow, and a good pot of tea. Sarah was ravenous and the food was the best she had tasted since leaving Kingham Manor – and all the better for the relief of being safely out of St Raphael’s.
While they ate, Aunt Caroline asked Sarah about herself; so much had happened since they had last seen each other. So Sarah – between mouthfuls – explained how life had been with the twins at the manor, the fun they had had, the scrapes they had got into, the adventures, the riding, the rowing, and the considerable learning. Then how miserable it had been at St Raphael’s – the bullying and insults, the unkindness of the teachers, the dreariness of the lessons and the chapel, and the unfairness of everything.
‘I hope you won’t feel too cramped in Oxford,’ said Aunt Caroline. ‘There’s heaps of room in the Rector’s Lodging, of course, but I’m not too sure we can find much in the way of young company for you. We do have plenty of friends with children, but they all seem to be either older than you or rather younger.’
‘Oh Aunt Caroline, I’m sure I shall be happy anywhere away from that school. I’m really happiest with older ones; the twins are three years older than me you know, and we all got on tremendously well at Kingham. But will I not have to go to school in Oxford?’
‘Yes, I suppose we shall have to do something about your schooling. There are one or two good girl’s schools in Oxford – day schools, I hastened to add. But we don’t have to worry about that yet. Let’s just get you safely there and settled in first’’
Sarah still had a nagging worry inside her about coming to Oxford, and living at the Rector’s Lodging in Sherborne College, even though Aunt Caroline seemed so welcoming and friendly. When they stopped for a brief lunch, Sarah plucked up courage to ask the question which had been worrying and puzzling her, about the professor, Aunt Caroline’s husband, the Rector of Sherborne College, Oxford. The Rector, Sarah had learnt, is the head of the College. How would he feel about Aunt Caroline’s niece invading the Rector’s Lodging and perhaps getting under his feet? He sounded such a distinguished person, and must have a great deal of important matters to attend to, as well as important visitors to see, and then all the students to deal with.


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