Cyril Wickremesinghe and Esme Goonewardene married in 1919, and were stationed in various places in the country over the next seventeen years, before finally settling down in Lakmahal at the beginning of 1937. Their eldest son, Cyril Esmond Lucien, was born in 1920. Interestingly, they moved thereafter to Ceylonese names, Tissa in 1923, Lakshman in 1927, and in between their only daughter Mukta, named in memory of the pearl fisheries Cyril had supervised when he was stationed in Puttalam.
He had risen rapidly in the service, becoming the first Ceylonese Government Agent in 1930. This was in Sabaragamuwa, and there is a wonderful portrait of him and his wife seated in state along with the Sabaragamuwa chiefs in their traditional costumes, headed by old Maduwanwala Dissawa with his flowing white beard. But even more evocative for me of that bygone age is a photograph of a much younger couple, stunningly attractive both of them, taken it seems in Puttalam, which would make it the early twenties. They are surrounded by young men in studiedly casual European sports clothes. The womenfolk are much more formal, staid almost, with my grandmother looking almost ethereal in the middle.