‘Sarah,’ said Aunt Caroline, ‘you know the Rector and I will be going away. I’ve heard back from your mother, and she would like you to go out to India. We shall arrange a companion and tutor to travel with you and look after you out there.’
Sarah was surprised, taken aback.
‘Will they remember me?’ she asked. ‘It’s so long since they’ve seen me.’
‘Of course they will. You’ll have a wonderful time, and it will be a great experience travelling out to India.’
Sarah had very mixed feelings. On the one hand she hardly knew her parents, and she was having such a marvellous time at Sherborne College. On the other hand, she did miss having parents like other young people, and felt that perhaps she ought to get to know them again.
However, it was back to studying with the Rector most days which she enjoyed tremendously; and that went from strength to strength. Uncle Alexander was very pleased with her work over the vacation, and she was able to forge ahead with Greek writers, with starting Hebrew, and soon making a start on theology. This proved more interesting than she expected, especially when she was able to converse with the College Visitor, the Bishop of Sherborne.
As the college had been founded by a Bishop of Sherborne, Walter de Montival, early in the fourteenth century, the current Bishop was expected to visit from time to time and preach in the chapel. After chapel and before dinner, he met Sarah at the Rector’s Lodging. When he discovered she was studying with the Rector, he was immediately interested.
‘Latin, Greek, Hebrew and theology!’ He was surprised. ‘So what have you learnt in theology that has interested you?’ he asked.
‘Well,’ said Sarah, ‘it is all interesting. But Uncle Alexander – I mean the Rector – preaches more about God’s love, and about life and joy. So his theology is based more on the Greek writers, and especially Irenaeus. They talk more of the goodness of creation, so we start from a different point, our good creation in the image of God. Of course, there are no Greek manuscripts of Irenaeus so we have to read him in Latin.’
‘You read Irenaeus in the Latin!’ said the Bishop. ‘That is advanced.’
‘I had a head start,’ said Sarah, ‘and the Rector is such a good teacher and I do enjoy learning.’
‘Well, it’s good to find someone so enthusiastic,’ said the Bishop. ‘We must talk more of this, perhaps after breakfast tomorrow.’
At that point it was time for him to go to dinner with the Rector, and Sarah was able to sit down to a quiet supper with Aunt Caroline.