Miriam's Tutor


In The Deadliest Lie, we learn about Miriam’s tutor, Hector, and why her father purchased a tutor for her. Aunt Hannah explains:

When your mother realized she was dying, she made your father vow that no matter what happened to her, he would see to it that Binyamin and you—despite your being a girl—would have the best possible education. So, your father purchased a slave to escort your brother to a school that would prepare him to enter the Gymnasium as an ephebe, and he purchased Hector to tutor you at home. I can still hear Hector bragging to your father about you, that you knew Latin so well that you could masquerade as the emperor’s wife.

Miriam remembers how Hector would tutor her along with Phoebe:

Who could forget Hector, our lovable gorilla, his black hair sprouting everywhere, peeking above his tunic; climbing up his neck, chin, and cheeks all the way to his eyes; spilling out of his nostrils and ears; tumbling down his arms; spreading across the backs of his hands; and cascading down each finger. When Phoebe would botch a recitation of Homer, which she often did, the veins on his forehead would stand out like the tributaries of the Nile. He would stab the air with his cane while the iris of his right eye would spin in an orbit of its own, and she would collapse in a fit of contagious giggles. But Hector did more than make us laugh. He knew everything, not just the language and literature of Homer, but everything else, from Aristotle’s natural philosophy to Theophrastus’s treatise On Stones. Hector described it all, every detail in a patient baritone that could make even a stone cry.

Who among us cannot remember the precious influence of a beloved teacher?

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