After that I looked on Marie’s lonely years at Palm Court with even greater awe. As time passed the loneliness had increased. For some years after Hugh’s death staff from the estates had continued to work at the house; but with land reform the estates had become smaller, and the rest of the family sold their sections off, and the pool of labour available to her became smaller. Still, in 1975, when I stayed for a few days during my visit home, her situation was reasonably satisfactory. Siya, who had come in for years to milk the cow in the mornings, now spent most of the day there even though there was no cow any longer. His wife came in to cook lunch and help with dinner, and there were even a couple of nephews to do any heavy work.
Feudal fidelity I though at the time, with a sort of satisfaction. But I was wrong. A year later I heard that Marie had found him stealing paddy from the store, and the parting had been acrimonious. After that hardly anyone from the estates came in to help her. Siya it seemed had said that she would never manage, and would have to leave Kurunegala in helplessness.