Michael’s return had been eagerly awaited by everyone, the engagement having even been postponed until after he got back. He had been a great favourite at the Old Place too, which he had visited frequently during his school holidays, to spend some time with my mother and myself. He had usually come by himself, but occasionally he had brought the odd friend along, and a few years before he left for England he had wanted to bring Nimal. My mother had made some sort of an excuse and Michael had never repeated the proposal. I do not think however that that had any bearing on the fact that the visits had tailed off towards the end. As he grew up, we could not expect him to be quite as fond of the older generation as he had been before. Nevertheless, it was the earlier times we remembered when we thought of him; and he himself had written that he intended to come to spend a few days with us upon his return.
Not even for Michael though would my mother agree to go to Colombo. Obviously this was primarily because she did not want to meet Nimal in his present situation, but I also suspect that there was some sort of residual resentment against Michael for having initiated the attachment in the first place. Certainly when I told her that Michael had in a letter to me referred to the engagement with disbelief, she had simply sniffled and remarked with asperity, ‘What does he expect when he brings him into his own house and treats him like an equal?’