Unlike her two older sisters my grandmother had married when she was just eighteen. Sometimes I wonder whether, though she remained convinced all her life that hers had been a great romance, she had not accepted the first person proposed to her because she could see the fate of her older brothers and sisters, all six of them still unmarried. Certainly there had been some sort of an arrangement involved. Her father as a youth in Galle had known my grandfather’s mother. Family tradition had it that he had wanted to marry her but been too poor, and she had married someone else while he went off to seek his fortune. It was quite likely that, forty years later, the thwarted couple would have thought it a good idea to bring the most eligible of their children together.
My grandmother had four children and, though one died unmarried in his thirties, just after we got back from Canada, and another became a priest and never married either, there were eight in the generation that followed. So there was destined to be some lasting use at least for all that old Hector with his tremendous energy had acquired. Yet none of these descendants bore his name. A hundred years after his first child was born, there was only Marie who did that; and by then the Bishop had died and Palm Court had been sold and even Marie was about to move to Colombo. When she did, our connection with the town ended.