The night at the Tissawewa Resthouse I spent alone. Jeremy had asked me whether I minded, and of course I could not refuse. The previous night we had all three been together at Polonnaruwa, in the large room with four beds which the Queen had occupied. Why she had required four beds I could not understand, but it proved useful for groups like ours. Before that, we had been with friends or relations where the conventions held sway. It clearly made sense for Jeremy to grasp at the opportunity our one night at Anuradhapura offered.
I stayed up for some time after he and Jane had retired. Alcohol is not served at Tissawewa so you have to take your own, which does not at all make for moderation. We were upstairs, and I sat on the lounge that juts out over the porch so that you can see over the garden on three sides. The seats are old fashioned and comfortable, and the garden reverberates with the sounds of the night. Shadows pass through it that might be those of monkeys, and through the branches of the massive trees you can imagine that you see the lakes gleaming in the moonlight.
I had all the time in the world. I thought of Oxford then, and of everything that had led up to whatever it was that was going on in this quiet retreat within the sacred city. At that very moment Charles was still probably in Oxford, that other sacred city, of aquatint and illusions. It was less than two years since it had all begun; though Jane had already moved on, both Jeremy and I would be returning to Oxford in a couple of months. Yet we were all so very much older now. At the same time I supposed we would all continue wanting what we had always wanted, if in any way it was possible to preserve our youth from slipping through our anxious hands.