I had watched from a distance the naming ceremony that Trubshaw had led at the folly, much to my displeasure. It was bad enough that the school had a folly at the far end of our playing field that looked exactly like a Greek temple, except it had no roof, just columns. But the presumption of my pupil, for I was his form master, to want to dedicate it as a temple to Wisdom was a challenge I had opposed. My church was the place where all of the religious activities people had should take place. The Headmaster had given his permission, and so I had to accept his decision with as much grace as I could muster, but that did not make things any better. And to think that six evenings a week I gave this precocious boy extra private lessons in New Testament Greek in my vestry here. I decided to challenge him again at the next opportunity.
“So, Trubshaw, you have gone against my wishes after all.”
“Well, sir, the Headmaster was keen to raise the profile of the Socrates Club which always meets there.”
I paused to let him go on with his explanation.
“And it is dedicated to Hagia Sophia now.”
“So that is the name you have chosen, is it?”
“Yes, sir. Holy Wisdom. Following the example of the early Christians in Constantinople. They built a church there that was one of the most magnificent buildings of the ancient world.”
“No, sir. Just following the teachings of King Solomon in the Bible. He told us to love Wisdom.”
“I suppose if it has this biblical background it may not do much harm,” I said, beginning to accept that perhaps I had been wrong to oppose this young lad's enthusiasm for something essentially very worthwhile.
I knew that in the staff common room, among my colleagues, I had been in a minority of one about this issue. There are four much older chaps who teach here, all too old to have been caught up in the war, whereas I had been an army chaplain till six years ago. I did sometimes feel a bit of an outsider, though the arrival of a ridiculously young chap as Games master lessened my isolation dramatically. He had no degree, and had not even been to university yet. No doubt the Headmaster had an eye on the economics of such an appointment, for surely his salary would be minuscule, and he did reduce the amount of unwelcome games activity for the rest of us.
And now the summer term was nearly over, and we could all look forward to a long summer break. Marsden I knew would spend his entirely in France, so that his French accent would be perfect in the classroom. I would have no difficulty finding a locum for parish work at this time of the year, which would ease the strain on my pocket.
Meanwhile Trubshaw must continue with his Greek. His father had kept him at home till he was eleven, supervising his education, if that is what it may be called. He simply gave him books to read. But the boy had taken to it like a duck to water. He even had taught himself Latin by reading the Latin translation of John's Gospel with only the aid of a dictionary and a grammar book. And now he was doing the same under my easy supervision (I dare not call it teaching) with the original Greek of Mark's Gospel. His questions were rarely about the grammar or syntax of what he was reading. He was more likely to ask a theological question, some of which actually set me thinking too. He kept me on my toes intellectually, and for this I was grateful. My four older colleagues all sat in our common room wrapped in their own thoughts, in an atmosphere polluted by their pipe smoking. A sad state of affairs when the best company I had here was a twelve year old boy.
I suppose I should not grumble.