The engagement took place, and I went down to Colombo for the occasion. My mother had earlier indicated a softening of attitude in that she had told Iris she would come, and had indeed invited Tara and Nimal to come up together to stay at the Old Place after the engagement, but as it turned out she failed to put in an appearance. To me the illness that she pleaded did not seem grave enough to warrant her absence. I could not forget either that the more she and Michael had discussed the matter during his visit, the less likely it seemed that either of them would countenance the marriage.
In Colombo however, Michael and Nimal seemed to be as close as they had been in the past. On the night before the engagement Michael had organized a sort of stag party which seemed to have been a very successful event. Nimal scarcely made it to and through the next evening, though it only fleetingly crossed my mind that that might have been deliberate. Iris, who told me that Michael had been quite difficult at the start, was relieved. His demeanour that evening was impeccably enthusiastic.
Nevertheless I still harboured my suspicions. My mother had always seemed to me the most determined member of our family, and during his visit it had struck me how very much like her Michael was. However, it was not for me to upset things when everyone else seemed content. Besides I was not myself yet entirely satisfied about the marriage. At the same time, as I got to know Nimal better, I grew quite fond of him, so that it was not entirely out of selfish consideration for the family that I welcomed what seemed a solution to the problem.