Sean Gallagher was straight backed but he was carrying a bit. He went to see the head of sport. Jim Thorough.
”So I need to contribute to sport. Rugger is my sport. Played for my college. I want to coach as I did before. My team never lost a match.”
”Love to get you involved but Andy Murphy says not to. He needs you do to a lot of preparation and paperwork.”
”What a pity. I really like rugby but I hate hockey and cricket.”
”Well no can do with rugby this term. I will probably give you hockey next term.”
”I am sorry but I am rubbish and hockey and I hate it.” Sean’s hand eye co -ordination were poor. He was beginning to suspect he had dyspraxia. He had an elephantine long term memory and no short term memory. He lacked fine motor skills. He was under sensitive to some things such as heat on his skin. He was over sensitive to noise. He urinated very frequently. He had no aesthetics.
Sean was coming to know Will Stoke better. Stoke was in his tutor group and of course in St Olaf’s. Sean also taught WIll Stoke History.
Will was a junior prefect in the house. Doing evening duty Sean saw Will a bit. Will was an enthusiast of the Countryside Alliance. Sean also supported this cause though he had only been beagling a little. Sean thought it sage to build a rapport with his pupil. Here was some commonground. He expressed his support for hunting with hounds. Will took this well. Will said they had been sending things reverse charge post to the League Against Cruel Sports. Sean said ”I have an old dud telly you can send them. Will cost them a fortune. This way we can bankrupt the leftie cretins”
Will’s face was wreathed in smiles.
Stoke was silent in class. He opened his class merely to laugh at others if they got the answer wrong. He never braved answering one himself. In a sense he was mute of malice. He would try to join in the gang but not to lead it. His one pleasure seemed to be schadenfreude. Why was he so sardonic?
Will’s work was a farrago of misspelling and syntactical errors. His work was jejune but he paid some attention and learnt a few facts.
Sean was beginning to get the measure of this youth who so aspired to be an army officer like his pater. He had a complete lack of empathy. He could turn on the charm when he needed to. A little finesse. He liked to attack those who were feeble. He was incurious especially about other countries. He was very conceited and unreflective. Perfect officer material! Yet the boy boasted of Catholicism. Every day the pupils heard about the Christian ethic. This was compassion and generosity. Do not despise the needy but help them. The man with two shirts must give on to the man who has none. Despite all these many of the pupils were crashing snobs. They hated the impecunious and showed no mercy. There was no humility just wanton cruelty.
Sean soon had his first lesson with Fifth Form. It was an all boys set and he had been warned they were very low ability.
Sean had been through reams and reams of documents; curricula, learning objectives, assessment objectives, lesson plans, short term plans, long term plans, medium term plans, target grades, SEN plans, schemes of work and whatnot. His mind was in a state of total disarray. He had to teach which thing to what group? It never seemed to be about teaching the History. It was always about labeling it and producing stacks of futile documents. He could not see the wood for the trees.
He knocked on the door of Miss Dana Cavanagh’s office 10 minutes before the lesson was due to begin. He had better not risk announcing the wrong course to the class. She was at the computer in her frighteningly tidy classroom. Her back was to the door and a bit of her lower back was exposed. He noticed a tattoo across her lower back.
”Good morning how are you?”
”I am all right and how are you?”, she said defensively
”Great thanks. Now Fifth form which course is it for them? Is it that Middle East thing?”
”Yes the Arab Israeli conflict. teach them that for coursework.”
”Ok brilliant. Just wanted to double check. Thanks”, and he popped out.
The class then filed into his classroom. He greeted them and gave them the usual list of instructions. There was Pinfold. The grubby little urchin had a ‘fuck you’ facial expression. This child indubitably believed that education was a footling waste of time.
Sean called the roll and got to know them.
”Jacob Cloudley?” called Sean. There was no response. ”Cloudley?” he called again. The boys muttered to another and had to give him a prod. ”Jacob Cloudely” said Sean looking around.
”Oh yes sir, Um sorry, Yeah. That is me” said a boy quietly. There was Jacob Cloudley. He was porky and had reddish cheeks. His mouth was permanently agape. His head was twisted to the left – as in chin left, upper part of the head to the right; diagonal. His expression was utterly vacant. He was almost catatonic. He wore fingerless gloves though it was only September and not at all chilly.
”Yes sir that is me” said another youth. This boy was almost 6 foot tall though only 15. He was skinny as a rake and seemed to be Tim Nice but Dim. He had a mass of dark brown wide curls. His face was pale. His upper deck of teeth were several sizes too big for his mouth. Those were bad teeth in a peculiarly posh British way. There was a gormless expression on his inbred visage.
A red haired boy put up his hand ”yes sir” he said looking embarrassed. His skin was as pale as paper. His dark eyes were very small. He never made eye contact. Despite being well above average height he seemed to have no self-confidence.
An Oriental boy nodded. He never said a word the whole year.
”Yes is me” said a tanned boy in a strong French accent. His face was thin and his manner was diffident.
”Are you from France?”
”No I am from Belgium”
The boy smiled – pleased that someone had heard of his region. ”Yes la Wallonie.”
After calling the role Sean finally got onto the topic
”So the Arab Israeli conflict. Anyone know what an Arab is?”
”It is a type of horse” said one boy. He was not joking. Sean only just managed to prevent himself laughing.
”Well yes it can be but in this case we are talking about Arab people. People who speak the Arabic language.”
It was a challenge to explain this to these low ability boys. They were very incurious especially when it came to ethnography.
Seamus was another boy in St Olaf’s Lower Sixth but not in Sean’s tutor group.
At lunch Sean sat beside him. Seamus Moran was small for his age and seemed much older. he had little round glasses and messy blond hair.
”How are you doing?”
”Oh great thanks really liking Biology this term.” he spoke with quiet assurance.
”Is that your strongest subject?”
”Probably yes. I want to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge. Dad is on at me to read Medicine like he did.”
”Ah so he is a doctor then?”
”Well yes a surgeon and my grandfather too.”
”Fantastic. You clearly have Irish background Seamus”
”Yes my grandparents moved over from Ireland to Manchester”
”I see. Well you are different from some of the others – take it as a compliment.”
”Yes, like some in your tutor group. Stoke for example. Wants to be an army officer. I know why. Plus he gets a kick out of shooting small animals. What does that say about him?”
”A uniform is a great comfort to those with low self esteem”
”Precisely” said Seamus smiling. He was clearly on the edge of the group in the house but was confident enough not to care. His stellar academic record had them in awe of him.
Sean then got into a conversation with the boy on the other side of him
”Hello what is your name?”
”My name is Stanley”, said the boy. He was average height and had a mound of very dense wide brown curls. He had braces and brown eyes.
”Right and your surname?”
”Winstanely – Wynn”
”No you just told me your Christian name. No need to repeat it. So your surname is Wynn?”
”No sir it is Winstanely-Wynn.”
”I don’t get it. Winstanley is your surname?”
”No, sir. It is a double barrel surname – Winstanely – Wynn”
”And you Christian name is Wynn?”
”No sir it is Stanley.”
”I thought you were saying your surname and then your Christian name.”
”So tell me your Christian name and surname together.”
”Stanley …. Winstanley-Wynn.”
”I get it. I saw that on a list and I thought it was a misprint.”
”Not my fault my dad was drunk at my baptism and gave me this comedy name.”
When he was on duty Sean had to dine with the boys of the house in their house dining room. He sat on the table for Lower Sixth. Houses ate in sessions. A girl’s house ate in the dining room before the boys. There was a fruit bowl on the table. Sean began to see that the girls had written obscene messages on the fruit. Particularly the bananas. Use your imagination. Sean did not mind – harmless teenage flirting.
DOWN THE PUB.
On Saturday Sean went down to the village pub.
There at the bar was Ray RYAN. His colleague from the History Department. Sean greeted him and Raymond RYAN spoke cheerily. Ray Ryan had an upright mien and He wore dark blue jeans and a polo shirt. A rolex watch shone incongruously from his wrist. Ryan was of ordinary build which was odd since he necked beer and never exercised.
”How is it all going?” asked Ray Ryan.
”All right but just trying to get my head around all the bureaucracy.”
”That can be a bit of a challenge”, said Raymond Ryan in his bourgeois Yorkshire accent.
”Sounds like you are from around here.”
”Yes born and grew up in Leeds. I am Irish though”
”Oh great me too obviously”
”Well dad was an accountant in Ireland. Decided he wanted to be a doctor and he could study for free here so he came over. All four of us were born here. Mum is Irish too but she qualified as a doctor in Ireland first.”
”By the way you were at Oxford at the same time as me”
”I was – at Queen’s but no one knows anyone from Queen’s. Rowan Atkinson is our only famous old member – well since Bentham anyway” he smiled self deprecatingly.
”Classics and History you did.”
”yes I did. I was at Westminster for a year teaching Classics. I wanted to do history so i cam here.”
”I cannot believe you left Westminster. Such brainy pupils. I would give me right arm to be there”
”Quite a contrast I can tell you. But the headmaster there was calamitous so it was the right decision. Plus I am a deputy housemaster here. free accomm, free food, no bills. Financially it is very good.”
”What do you do in the hols?”
”I just go back to my parents place.”
”Single are you?”
”Yes, I am. I am looking for a girlfriend but I wonder if I have a vocation. If I do not get a girlfriend maybe that is God’s way of saying to enter the priesthood.”
”So what are the rules about alcohol?”
”Well the boys and girls if they are over 16 are allowed wine or beer in the presence of their parents or another adult if they are having full meal. They are only allowed two max and no spirits.”
Just the a boy came up and ordered a double whiskey. The barmaid served him.
”Hello Titus how you doing?” said Ray Ryan cordially.
”All right sir and what about you?”
”Very well indeed. Heard you did well for yourself at rugby today.”
”Yes thank you sir I scored one try but we still lost.”
”What a pity. Better luck next time.”
”Thank you sir” said Titus taking his whiskey and heading off.
”Bye” said Ray Ryan
”Shouldn’t you have said something about the whiskey/?”
”I will tell his housemaster tomorrow.”
”But then he will resent it. Surely better to confront him now prevent him drinking it and doing any harm.”
”This is always the way I do it. I get them later”
Sean soon discovered that the pupils particularly resented Raymond Ryan’s modus operandi. He could have told the boy to cancel the order. He could have caught him then and there – a fair cop. But having a friendly conversation and then dobbing him in next day: that was underhand. Ryan was unpopular with the pupils. He was also old fashioned and something of a mommy’s boy. The pupils detected this. Sean found him to be the most likable member of the department. Sean began to suspect that Ryan was a miser – not that he resented it. He had no living costs, no car and he never went on holiday. He had no woman to spend on. He had that flash watch but he clearly spent little on clothes. What did he spend on? He had no mortgage. Ryan seemed to be born middle aged – like Confucius. He was very apt to be a priest with that odd combination of fogeyishness and childishness. Though he was a very amiable chap it was no surprise that Ryan was unsuccessful with women. He was decent looking but there was something goofy about him. Sean could well imagine Raymond Ryan being adored by elderly Irishwomen – ”Isn’t our new priest a lovely boy?” they would say. Ray Ryan would know how to butter them up. It was blatant that Ray Ryan was much more comfortable around people a generation older than himself than he was around people of his own age.
There at the bar was The WIFFEN. ”Hi Sean” she said half cut. There was an empty shot glass in front of her. She smiled guiltily ”Another vodka please” she said much too loudly.
”How you doing Emily?”
”Oh brilliant. Really enjoying it and the drink!” she tittered. ”How is it going for you?”
”Not that well. Some of the classes are all right but some are difficult and as for Murphy – do not get on with him at all. He is so uptight. Such a nit picker. Obsessive compulsive – some sort of personality disorder. He is a control freak and so pessimistic.”
”Oh God I know the type.”
”How is it with your boyfriend?”
”Oh very good. He drove over the other day to see me.”
”But you are an assistant housemistress. You are not allowed to have men to stay overnight”
”Yes, I know. He came in the afternoon.”
”CAME in the afternoon?” he said naughtily.
”Oh shut up Sean”
”Well now you have found Jesus you have to be virtuous. You are not allowed to until you are married.”
”Well…. we can do everything but ….”
”And do you?”
”That would be telling.”
”You are saying you have never lapsed?”
”We are not entirely pure” she said with glee.
”So I hope you go to confession about it.”
”Oh yes of course I insist on receiving the blessed sacraments.”
”And do you admit your falls from grace?”
”Yes, I fully confess my sins and repent.”
”So what does your father confessor say?”
”Well he says do you love him? And I say yes. Then the priests say that is only half as bad and try not to do it again.”
” So you firmly resolve to sin no more.”
”Yes I do.”
”But I bit you sin all the more”
”True!” – they both burst out laughing.
”Where is your boyfriend?”
”Oh Mitch? He is in Manchester so not far away. He is a head of department already. He went to Cambridge and he is in the TA. He wants to be a headmaster.”
Emily soon downed her vodka and was swaying on the chair. She ordered another.
The conversation soon tapered off. She was getting too drunk to articulate.
Sean fell into conversation with Abel Kennington.
Sean was drinking bitters. He liked northern English beers – went down easy. No lager or anything gassy.
”We are a school of the Lord’s service” said Abel Kennington.
”I see quite right. Are you ultramontane?”
”I most certainly am. The Pope is the Servant of the Servants of God, the Metropolitan of Italy, Patriarch of the West and Bishop of Rome. He sits on the Throne of St Peter.”
”So do you agree with Vatican Two?”
”Second Vatican Council? That was a terrible error. I am a member of the Latin Mass Society. We have a papal dispensation to still hear Latin mass in England.”
”Isn’t it about intellectual exclusivity? Surely Catholicism is for everyone whether clever or not?”
”We must preserve our sacred traditions. Some things do not come across in English. Latin unites the world” he said supping a beer.
”I see. All going well in your department?”
”Well it is for me. To be honest Emily fucked up. She missed her first lesson.”
”She missed her first lesson!”
”Yep did not show up. We found out. No notice someone had to go in and cover it. Then she missed her second lesson.”
”Missed a second one this is bizarre.”
”It is bizarre. On her PGCE she did really well – was the first one to get a job. In January the job was advertised. It was so snowy here. I applied and came up as well. They made an offer to her. A month later they gave me a job to. By the way the students have been saying she has been bringing in a clear liquid to drink in lessons. She says it is water but they reckon it is vodka. Some of them smelt the empty glass when she left afterwards. They said vodka and these teenagers would know what they were talking about.”
AROUND THE SCHOOL.
One corridor was named Big Passage. It was outside the library and was very broad. It sloped downwards as the school was constructed on the side of a hill. At the top of the passage hung a huge portrait of Dom Octavian Chamberlain. He had been headmaster for 25 years and died at his desk. Now there was an image of monkish devotion.
Hugo Codd had not attended the school – a source of huge bitterness to him. His father had been there in the 40s but had not had the moolah for Hugo to go. Hugo had instead gone to a Catholic day school in London.
”When my father was here there was assembly in Big Passage. Whole school could fit there. And if a master was late the boys would scold him. Tapping their watches – you are late sir. Because the war was on and boys took a lot more responsibility. I mean in a few months time these 18 year olds would be army officers in charge of a platoon – many of them men under them were younger than these schoolboys.”
”Was it like that when you started here in the 80s?”
”Well it was a bit. I was a lay master obviously. Was here to teach my subject and that was it. Not allowed inside the house. It was full time money for part time work. It was wonderful but now we have more and more duties with games, societies and houses. I was the first lay housemaster. I am the non monastic face of the place. My wife works here too you know. My kids are here. I have lots of sisters and brothers so had loads of nephews and nieces here now. The 80s was amazingly different. I mean the boys were way more powerful than they are now. We trusted them to get on as adults and they basically did. They were allowed to drink and smoke in the house in sixth form at certain times in the week. Housemaster used to say to the house captain – right I am going away for the weekend you look after the place. And he would. In fact there was much better discipline because he was willing to hit the juniors if they stepped out of line. The house prefects would help him. ”
HOW HAD IT COME TO THIS?
Sean began to think it was all going wrong. How had he reached this low impasse. To think he had won a bursary to Winchester. Whom the gods with to destroy they first award bursaries. It had all gone so well up to Finals – getting his First. Then he had failed the Master’s degree – twice.
On his first phone call to his sister he said that Murphy was not as bad as he had feared.
Sean was an afficionado of the Waugh dynasty. He cast his mind back to Decline and Fall. Was he Paul Pennyfather? He was not God bothering but he was sincere. He had not been sent down but he had failed a Master’s. Was this his Llanaba Castle?
Sean remembered when he was living in southern England only a few months before. He shared a house with Charlie Chuckles. Chuckles had said that there were many schools like Dickens’ Dotheboys Hall. ”A failing school is an inherently comical situation” said Charlie. He was damn right. Sean once had had ambitions to write. Could he mind this place for material? What a farce it was.
Sean was starting to revile Mrs Arrowsmith – that person of indeterminate gender. He could not help but feel ennui for paperwork.
There was a mid week quiz in a pub. Emily was known to go to that and get bladdered. She ordered deliveries from the supermarket. This always included a few bottles of vodka. Was she on a big bender at home every night? Rumours abounded about her quaffing alcohol in lessons. Sean thought it would not be surprising.
That second weekend she was on a debauch down the local pub.
On Friday mornings there was a lesson for Sean to speak to his tutor group. He would run through any admin. He would go over their subjects to try to remember who was doing what.
Magnus continued to be a non-entity.
Stephen Erwin- Montague made snide remarks at the expense of others but not Harry Burley Wookey. Burley Wookey was well built do Erwin Montague dare not provoke him. Stephen E W liked to ridicule Geoffrey from Hong Kong. Erwin-Montague had taken to wearing his hair in a pompadour – as though this would make up for his lack of stature.
Will Stoke would laugh bitterly at Stephen E -W’s barbs towards others. Stoke was an accomplice but did not have the intelligence or audacity to make up epithets himself. Stoke’s quiff was always perfect. He plainly spent an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror.
Wittelsbach continued being tranquil and dreamy. ”By the way when I write to your parents what do I call them? Your Royal Highnesses?”
”No, no. Mr and Mrs Wittelsbach is fine” he said. Sean was struck by his modesty. It was a winning quality.
Seeing Stephen E-W’s constant verbal bullying Sean became ever more aware of the dissonance between faith and sin. These boys all professed Catholicism and seemed to believe it. They would be in the church hearing about how they must be kind to others. The minute they were out the door Stephen E-W would insult those weaker than him.
On Friday Sean had to do house duty. There was the lunch time study period and then going to lunch with them in their section of the refectory.
In the evening he would come to the house after dinner. The housemaster’s study was open to boys. The housemaster had to lock his desk lest boys peek at confidential documents.
There were newspapers and boys sometimes hung around there. Sean would ring the bell for prep to begin. He would then patrol.
At first the boys got down to work. Sean would sometimes read Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer.
Sean greeted boys in their own languages such as Polish and Chinese.
After prep time had ended the boys gathered in the common room for house prayers. It was also a time for parish notices – announcements.
Fr Augustine would lead some of the prayers. Some of them were the same each time. There were also cards that were distributed because certain prayers varied from one night to the next.
”Dear Lord Jesus keep us far from the snares of the enemy.” It seemed odd that there was an enemy. Were all men not brothers?
”I asked you for health but you gave me infirmity to teach me humility” and suchlike tripe.
Sean nonetheless noticed that every single boy took house prayers very seriously. He studied the faces and there was no questioning the sincerity on them. How could they offer up these heartfelt orisons and in some cases then be beastly to their schoolmates a minute later?
Sean would have to walk home to the village. He had not passed his driving test which really stranded him and was another blow to his self esteem. He had to walk back at 11 pm along an unlit and unpaved farm road. House prayers put steel in his house. He needed this to go through the darkness.
He would hoof beats and loud snorting – it scared him. He remembered there were cows and horse s in the fields on either side of the muddy lane. He could well understand why people imagined that the devil had hooves and made such snorting noises.
There was school on Saturday.
THE AUSSIE GAPPERS.
Sean had seen some young people around who were not teachers but clearly not pupils either. They wore casual clothes not school uniform even in the morning.
One was a good looking 18 year old with dark brown hair called Nicole. She was tall and lissom. Sean would like a crack at her. Should he ask her out/? He never got any positive signals.
There was Eddie Ancona. Eddie was an Italian- Australian hence the surname. He had a mass of thick black hair that hung down to his chin. His square face had rather too much sebtum but was still somehow handsome. He was a decent chap and clever. That was why he assisted the headmaster’s secretary.
School years finish in December in Australia. These people would then come to the school in January and work. They were paid a pittance. The Catholic Church is a very moral organisation and never exploits people!
Sean was puzzled as to why these youngsters would want to work at this school in the middle of nowhere. Come to the United Kingdom by all means but to come to this remote school? Not fun. Each to their own.
There was Bob. He was a a chubby young Aussie with spikey black hair and a blokish manner. Sean got on well with him. He was a little naive. Nicole had played a prank on him phoning him up and pretending to be from the bank – doing her best to put on a British accent. Telling him that his account was 10 000 in the red and he needed to come into town and discuss it with the manager. Bob fell for it hook like and sinker.
Boyd was an Aussie whom Sean did not warm to. This lad was 18 like the rest of them. His mid brown hair was swept across his forehead. He was cocky and thought himself very well clued up. He was openly disrespectful. Sean know Australians could be forward but this chap took the biscuit.
THE SCHOOL SHOP.
Sean was walking to the shop. It was inside the main school building. The central area was very modern with tiles and many windows. A Catholic lady’s house had stood on the sight. She had brought the order to her house. She wanted a Catholic chaplain way back in the 18th century. The monastery needed an income so opened a school. The house had been torn down in the 1980s when it was structurally unsound and this modern building erected in its stead. It gelled quite well with the 1920s building on either side of it.
As Sean approached the shop he saw the rotund figure of Fr Jerzy, ”Den dobra” he said in Polish. Fr Jerzy shot back ”Hello nice person” with his usual weirdness.
Sean was shocked that he had to buy pens himself. Other schools issues them for free. These were needed for work.
”Hello I am Father Henry” said a swarthy skinned middle aged man with very short hair. This monk spoke in the campest voice ever.
”Hello Fr Henry my name is Sean”
”Yes, I know” he purred. Fr Henry appeared to be an amalgam of every known race – black, white, Oriental and Indian.
”I am looking for some pens.”
”Ah over there. By the way may I introduce you to my lovely assistant – Brett.”
”G’day” said a tall 18 year old with embarrassment. ”How you going?” Brett continued in an Australian accent.
”Hello Brett” Sean shook his hands. ”Are you from Australia?”
”Yeah I am an Aussie on my gap year.” Brett was svelte and 6’2”. He had black hair and was clean shaven. He was very tidy. He wore a white shirt, a dark blue tie, a sky blue jersey and grey flannel trousers. He was strikingly handsome.
Sean went to look at red pens to purchase. Fr Henry started humming an up tempo tune.
”I am so happy” said Henry apropos of nothing. ”You see I have a holiday next week. I was here all summer and father abbot has approved my annual leave. I am going back to Bahamas that is where I am from.” His tombre and manners were distinctly gay. It was small wonder that of all the Australian gappers he had picked the best looking one as his assistant.
”Ah I see” said Sean. ”Terrific. Good for you. I would love to go some day.”
”Yes, some people say they do not want to go. They are bullshitters”
Sean could not believe he had heard a monk swear.
”Well – you are right” Sean struggled to contain his surprise. ”um what did you do before you became a monk?”
”I was a hairdresser”. It came as no surprise.
House mass was not usually on his duty day. But for some reason it had to be changed on week. So during Sean’s luncheon duty he had to attend mass. The common room in the house also served as a chapel. There was a lockable tabernacle.
Fr Augustine donned his sacerdotal vestments. Mass was said briskly.
Then a mobile phone rang. ”Galian turn it off” Fr Augustine shouted before continuing, ” and we may forgive those who trespass against us. ”
For all his outward piety Augustine did not spot the hypocrisy. He had seemed like a thoroughly nice guy but Sean was beginning to see through him.
BECOMING A MONK?
Sean was in the staff room a few days later. No one else was around but Fr Jerzy.
”Fr Jerzy what makes a good monk?” he asked
The monk though for a moment before replying in a very serious tone: ”Someone who is not proud and someone who loves prayer.”
”Ah I do not think I would make a monk”
”We don’t either” he said mischievously.
RAFFISH OLD MONK.
Sean was walking outside the back of the main school building. He saw an elderly monk who was not involved with the school.
”Hello there how are you?” he said cheerily.
”Good evening. I am top hole” he old monk had a naturally smiling face, a little thin grey hair, purple capilliaries showing in his face. He was smoking a cigarette. ”Tell me are you a boy or a master” he said in a cut glass accent
”I am a master” said Sean trying not to smart at the mistake. Take it as a compliment he told himself. 17 or 26 was all the same to this coffin dodger.
”Ah I see. Well masters are getting younger these days. I was a boy here you see. My name is Fr Hilarius.”
”Well I am pleased to make your acquaintance Fr Hilarius” said Sean shaking his hand firmly. ”My name is Sean Gallagher.”
”Gallagher another Irishman. Sometimes I feel I am the only Englishman here” he chuckled.
”Quite. Well I shall not report you to your housemaster for smoking”
”To contact my housemaster you would need a ouija board.” he joked.
Sean was surprised that the monk was willing to crack a quip about devil worship. ”I have been in the valley for 60 years now.” said Fr Hilarius, ”I was at the prep school. Then I moved to the senior school. I was here till I finished school. I joined the monastery straight from school.”
”Fabulous good for you. Found a place you really like and stability. I hope I manage that” said Sean.