Sarah explained to Aunt Caroline how she had persuaded Desmond to teach her and the twins to row at Kingham on the lake, how keen he was, and what a splendid time they all had with the boat.
‘Well, you’ll enjoy watching the bumping races at Oxford,’ said Aunt Caroline. ‘They’re tremendously exciting, as well as lovely social occasions.’ She went on to explain the system of bumping races at Oxford, how the boats raced one in front of the other as there was not room to race side by side; and how, over the six days, a boat which bumped the one ahead moved up to that place on the next day. One boat was always top dog, as it were, known as ‘Head of the River’.
So the journey passed quickly enough and, just as it was getting dark, they drove into the back quadrangle of Sherborne College. Before long Sarah was being given food, a hot bath, and tucked up in a snug bed, assured that when she woke in the morning, her window would be overlooking the Rector’s garden. All over Oxford clock bells chimed and struck, sprinkling the hours far and wide; and this was the last happy sound she remembered before falling into a wonderfully deep, refreshing and dreamless sleep.