James’s classical tutor, also in charge of athletics at Eton, Merriot becomes something of a mentor to James. Although part of the Eton system, he admires independent thinking.
‘He was a tall, thin man with grey eyes, untidy hair and a big, hooked nose sticking out of the front of his face like a fin. His black gown was too small for him, barely hanging down to his waist, and he was rarely seen without a pipe in his mouth, as often unlit as lit.
James liked Merriot. He was friendly and kind and was very fond of saying that he was there for the boys and not the other way around, as some beaks seemed to think was the case. He was excited about what he taught and easily distracted into talking about one of his favourite topics rather than what they should’ve been studying. And he was absolutely fanatical about athletics.’