Taylors Tea Garden – by Ajit MuttuCumaraswamy CHAPTER (18) James made arrangements……………….

Taylors Tea Garden – by Ajit MuttuCumaraswamy



 James made arrangements for Savithri’s coming . He inspected the guest room and made sure that the room was ready for Savithri. He asked Punya to look out for Savithri and show her the room when she arrived. Punya seemed pleased that she will have company. Savithri  arrived in the carriage with a little bag and was helped by Punya and the house boys. James was away in the estate. 

              James did not forget Savithri’s arrival. He wanted to downplay his excitement. He had a strange feeling about Savithri being accommodated in the house. He felt as if he was unfair to Thangam. Thangam made him feel comfortable and relaxed. He was a young boy when he met Thangam. Those days were fresh in his mind. But Thangam was gone. She may never come back. She may be married in the traditional way. Still, he did not feel comfortable about Savithri being in the house. It was as if he was disturbing the cherished memories of his relationship with Thangam. She was his solace, his joy when he needed it very badly. He had arrived in a strange country thousand so of miles way from home and he felt lonely. When Thangam became friendly with him, his problem was solved. She was his love, his companion, his saviour. Simply sitting with her on his lap was a joy he could not describe in words. He became complete. Thangam filled a void in his life. He adored her. And she adored him. He was all she wanted. He was her first love and she was his first love. He did have a friendship with a girl in his village in Scotland. But it was tentative. Meeting Thangam was a turning point.

              James arrived for lunch. Samuel came out of the kitchen and ran towards James.

James carried Samuel and kissed him on both cheeks and hugged him.

“ You have been in the kitchen. Are you helping the ladies?” asked James.

Samuel did not reply. He was thinking and sucking his thumb.

              Savithri was in the kitchen, helping Punya to get lunch ready. James was in a meditative mood. Punya did not come to announce that lunch was on the table. She sent Savithri.

              Seeing Savithri, James said “ Hello. Hope you a good trip.”

              “ Yes Thank you. It was comfortable. Lunch is ready Mr. Taylor” said Savithri.

“Thanks” said James and walked to the dining table with Samuel. Savithri stood while he and Samuel sat down. There were only two plates on the table.

“ Please ask Punya to bring another plate. You must join me for meals.” said James.

              Savithri walked to the kitchen  and brought a plate and sat down facing James. He served Samuel some rice, fried fish, dhal and the potatoes cooked in coconut milk.

“ Please serve yourself” said James.

Savithri served herself some rice, dhal curry and a piece of fried fish.

“ Do you cook the same dishes at your home Savithri?” asked James.

“ We use the same ingredients but the dishes are prepared differently.” 

“ That’s interesting.” said James.

“ The spices are used in a different way.” she added.

“ Maybe you can do some dishes and I can see how you prepare them.” said James. He remembered how he used to hang around the kitchen watching Thangam do some cooking.

“ Alright. I will prepare some dishes for tomorrow.” said Savithri.

“ Don’t start cooking tomorrow till I come back from my rounds.”

“ Yes. I will get all the ingredients ready. And start cooking when you get back.”

“ That’s great. I can see how you combine the various ingredients. Let me know if you need any additional ingredients.”

“Yes. I will” said Savithri 

              They ate their lunch. James drank some water. Samuel drank hot milk. 

“ I’m told by my friends that I should not drink water unless i know it’s been boiled.” said James. 

“ We are a bit careful about water. We get water from the well. We sometimes go to the river for bathing and washing.” said Savithri.

“ A friend of mine is very ill and the reason seems to be drinking water that’s not clean. I must return to the tea factory. See you later” said James getting up and giving Samuel a kiss.

              Samuel made protesting noises as James walked towards the door. 

“ See you later Samuel and Savithri” said James.

“ See you later. I want to work on the garden.” replied  Savithri.

 “ Daddy will come early, before you go to sleep.” said James and walked out.

              James was impressed with Savithri. She was a good person to have around the house. She was keen to do things. That was the impression he got. He was excited by her, her presence  added a new dimension to the house. But he was confused by his thoughts about Thangam. This little house has Thangams presence everywhere. If Thangam came back, it would be his perfect moment. He had everything he needed. Daisy was great. But he could not feel comfortable and content without Thangam. Samuel would be very happy too.

              He could feel Savithri’s presence. It made his heart leap. Savithri was a beautiful woman. Perfectly shaped face. Perfect complexion. Perfectly shaped body.  He wanted to hold her tight and kiss her. He would love to see her naked body. He would make love to her in the perfect way. Kiss every bit of her body before he entered her.  But it could cause many problems. She may pack up her bags and his reputation around Loolecondere would be ruined. The estate workers would assume that he forced himself on Savithri. It was all too much to bear. Thangam could come back. He will be patient. All will be sorted out. In the meantime, Samuel had someone to keep an eye on him. 

              He went to the tea factory and walked around checking how the work was progressing. Sinniah was busy as usual talking to the workers. The first shipment of tea to London was making progress. He left the factory and walked towards the new clearing where a new tea garden will be growing very soon. It was near his favourite place, near the stone where he always sat gathering his thoughts. 

              He was happy to think about Samuel and how Samuel makes him feel alright. With Samuel in the house there was cheerfulness. With Samuel on his lap there was happiness. It seemed a perfect happiness. But there was something missing. He had to admit that there was something important missing. He could see that  Samuel missed Thangam and he missed her too. If only he did not go to Darjeeling Thangam would still be here, he thought.   His being out in Darjeeling created the opportunity for Thangam’s  family to step in and do things to clear the family’s reputation. Now they had retrieved the lost reputation. Thangam was no more a kept woman. No more a white man’s concubine. 

              James got up and surveyed the inspiring views. It was making him forget his troubles. The first shipment of tea to London was taking shape but he had worries about how the tea will be received in London. He walked home. He was greeted by Samuel and Savithri when he arrived in the house.

              Samuel ran towards James saying “Daddy, Daddy”. James carried him and threw him up in the air and caught him as he came down.

“ How was Samuel with you. Was he behaving himself.” asked James.

“He has been running away from me a lot. Every time I wanted to carry him, he would run away.” said Savithri.

              “ He will get used to you. It was the same when Punya came to work here. He would not go to Punya. Punya would attract him with fruit but he would not be persuaded. It took a long time for him to get used to Punya.” 

              “ I did some cooking, Kandyan style of cooking.” Savithri said.

“ That’s very nice of you. I look forward to the dinner.” said James.

              Punya came to the sitting room with a bowl of food for Samuel. She stood there and called to Samuel. She spoke in Tamil. Samuel got down from James’s lap and went with Punya to the dining table.

              Samuel sat on one of the chairs and took a mouthful of food from the spoon.

“ Good boy.” said James pleased to be relieved of feeding Samuel. There was no eating food when Daddy tried to feed him. He wanted to play and run and very little food was eaten. Samuel was taken to the bathroom for a quick wash before getting ready for sleep. 

Punya brought the food and placed it on the dining table while Samuel was sitting with his father. He went off to sleep while sitting on James’s lap. Punya came and took him away for bed.

              “ Lets have dinner” said James.

Savithri and James sat at table and served their food.

“ This a delicious” said James tucking into a yellow coloured dish.

“ It’s a Kandyan speciality. It’s breadfruit.” said Savithri.

“ How do you cook this. Thangam used to cook breadfruit in a different way.” said James.

“ Yes. This is quite different dish from how breadfruit is cooked in the North of the country or the South.” said Savithri.

“ How do you cook it?”

“We use mustard seeds ground down with coconut as our main ingredients. The breadfruit is boiled with this paste as the base.”

“I see the main difference is the mustard and the ground coconut.”

“ Yes. In the North and South they use green chilled or dry chillies” 

“ It’s was delicious dinner. Thank you.” said James.

              He got up and sat  on the two seater settee. 

Savithri went to the kitchen and helped Punya to wash the plates and put them away.

She came back.  James was looking at a magazine. 

“Please sit down”  said James pointing to the two seater.

              Savithri sat down on the two seater, next to him.

“ Did you read this magazine.” asked James.

“Yes. I did. I noticed that there was picture about tea drinking in England.” she said.

“ That is a picture about Mr. Thomas Lipton opening a tea shop. He is trying to make people drink tea in a restaurant. Normally people drink beer. Tea drinking is quite new. Come and sit here and look at this photo.” said James. 

              The house was very quiet. Everyone had gone to bed.

              Savithri moved close to James look at the   picture.

              James felt  happy and wanted to hug her.

“ Yes. I saw that picture. Those ladies are dressed very nicely and are seated on both sides of the table holding cups of tea. Nice picture.” said Savithri. 

              James wanted to hold her and kiss her. But he held back. She seemed to be quite relaxed about sitting next to him. Images of Thangam flashed through his mind. Thangam would have been wearing her jasmine in her hair and the smell of jasmine would have made James want to draw her close to him and kiss her hair.

“ Mr. Lipton might come over very soon. He has bought some of the tea estates and he is expected to come over and see how his estates are doing.” said James.

“ That will be a busy time for you “ said Savithri. Her hand moved over and touched James’s hand briefly before moving back to her lap. James felt a calmness. It was exciting to feel the gentle warmth of Savithri’s hand. He felt intoxicated by the gentle touch. It may have happened accidentally, thought James. But he wanted to feel the touch of her soft hand again. He had felt an emptiness ever since he returned home and found Thangam gone. He did not realise that Thangam had made him feel contented. This realisation dawned on him only after she left him. 

              His hand moved almost without his knowing and rested on her hand. She did not move her hand or move away. He felt the warmth of her hand. They sat next to each other feeling the warmth of each other. They knew that there was a liking for each other. They need not say anything. They felt it. They sat there looking at each other, gentle smiles playing on their faces. 

“ May i kiss you.” asked James. He did not want to be brash. He may be asking for something which was not acceptable at an early stage of their relationship.

              Savithri moved closer to him and kissed him on his lips. It was a beautiful kiss which sealed their liking for each other. He kissed her on her lips and they closed their eyes, enjoying the softness of each others lips.

              When they stopped kissing, they held each other’s hand tightly. James felt that wanting to go further  may result in rejection. Let things happen at their own pace, he told himself. 

“ Do you want to go to sleep?” he asked her.

“ You must sleep too. You had a busy day.” she said. Her voice was soft.

“ Alright. I will go and sleep.” he said. He kissed her cheeks, got up and walked to his room. She walked towards her room.

              James changed into his pyjamas and got into bed. Soon he was fast asleep. A smile played on his face as he went off to sleep.

              In the middle of the night, James felt someone was getting into his bed. He guessed who it was and moved aside to give room. Savithri lay next to him, holding his hand in hers.  It was  a delicious feeling. He had an immediate erection, a strong one. He wanted to take it slow and easy. He guided Savithri’s  hand . She held it and gently felt it, moving up and down. He moved his hand and felt the smoothness of her breasts. He could have spent all night fondling her breasts. Her hand was holding him at the base and squeezing it.  She turned and kissed him without letting go. His hand moved down. He felt her softness and his fingers felt the wetness. He could not hold any more. He entered her and felt the smoothness . They made love many times. He woke up every hour and made love. He saw her eyes open and looking at him as he kissed her and they made love.

             Savithri whispered in his ears that she will go back to her room and left the room in the early hours of morning. Her departure made James feel deprived but he appreciated her feelings. She did not want to Punya and Sinniah to feel that they need to regard her as James’s partner. The relationship was still in it’s early days, even though it seemed as if James and Savithri felt close to each other. Her family may react negatively and ask her to return home. There were reasons to be cautious about others coming to know of the relationship.

              In the morning, James had his breakfast of bread and eggs. Savithri joined him. She sat opposite him and ate her breakfast. Her foot touched his ankle and her toes fondled his ankles  above his shoes. James wanted to respond but he had his shoes on . He moved his legs to show that he appreciated the intimacy. They did not show any signs of of their new relationship.

              After breakfast, James got up and said “Thank you” and walked out with a quick smile directed at Savithri. He felt he had found a new paradise. A newly found continent. A different hemisphere. She was a completely different person from Thangam. When he entered her, it was a different feeling. He felt cocooned in a different delicious paradise. a feeling of contentment enveloped him. No words were spoken. The intimacy was mutual.

              James went to the tea factory. Work was in progress. Green tea leaves were being brought in. The women wearing sarees were standing in a queue with their baskets hanging at the back, full of green tea leaves  and the rope from which the big baskets were hanging resting on their foreheads. They spoke in Tamil to each other while waiting in the queue to weigh the mornings picking of the tea leaves. They had woken up at four in the morning to go to the tea gardens and pluck the tea leaves , two leaves and bud each time. They had filled their baskets as the Sun rose and were standing in the queue to deliver the leaves in time for the tea rolling machines and drying machines to start working. The tea leaves were poured into a metal container on the weighing machine. Each tea plucker’s pickings were weighed and recorded against their names so that pay could be calculated based on the weight of the pickings. 

              James inspected the work inside the tea factory and walked out to check on the mill and the water flowing to turn the mill. Sinniah was at he factory supervising the weighing of the tea leaves. Satisfied that the factory was working and the tea was being produced for his firs shipment, James took a walk towards the area where a new tea block was being cleared.  The clearing of the vegetation was progressing as planned. The roots of the trees were being dug up and put out. The tea plants needed a fresh start without other vegetation getting in the way. The new tea plants were growing in the nursery. After inspecting the nursery, James felt he needed a few moments to gather his thoughts. He walked to his favourite spot and sat down on the rock. He gazed down at the valley. It was a beautiful day. The clouds were like cotton balls floating in the sky. The sky was blue, the Sun gently gave out it’s warmth. He was always amazed by how pleasant it felt to be in such a mountainous place. His thoughts drifted like the clouds. He thought about Savithri. She was such a passionate woman, without inhibitions. He was lucky to be allowed to make love to her. He forgot all his troubles. He forgot about missing Thangam. He was puzzled by the situation he was in. Thangam was his long term partner. He missed her very much and had asked her father to bring her back. And now suddenly he was offered something nice, the affection of a beautiful woman. Her offer was unexpected and it made him feel good. He enjoyed being with her. She was good company. She was sensuous in her love making. He almost forgot that he loved Thangam and wanted her around him all the time. There was no question about it. Thangam was his woman and he wanted her to be around his house, close to him. But what should he do about Savithri?

              Savithri was a gift to him. A most unexpected gift. He enjoyed her company and he enjoyed making love to her. And she enjoyed making love to him. She was the person who walked into his room in the middle of the night and held his hand in the bed. He can’t spurn such a beautiful gift. He got up and walked towards his house. He felt dazed. He had only met Savithri a few weeks ago. But she was already somebody important  in his life .    

              He walked towards the house. The mango tree was full of mangoes. The smell was wonderful. Made him bend down and pick up some mangoes lying on the grass and on the ground. He thought about Thomas Lipton saying that he would be visiting his tea estates in Ceylon. It would be good to meet Lipton, he thought. Lipton was selling more tea than other companies. Lipton was even opening tea shops selling cakes and tea. It was a new idea but it was getting popular. People had a choice of going to a pub or going to a tea shop. The small packets of tea were selling well in his shops.

              At a distance he could see Savithri and Samuel outside the house. The oleander tree was in full bloom with it’s red flowers brightening up the scenery. She was holding Samuel by his arm and they were walking along the path in front of the house. Both sides of the path had flower gardens. Red and white canaas on one side and yellow and purple canaas on the other. They looked like a mother and son taking an evening walk. Punya stood at the doorway, looking at Savithri and Samuel. She saw James walking towards the house and went inside the house to get the tea ready.

              Samuel was walking along slowly followed by Savithri. She held him by his hand and spoke to him and pointed towards James walking at a distance. Samuel started running along the path towards James.

              Savithri ran along with Samuel holding his hand, making sure that Samuel did not stumble on any stones and have a fall. The father and son met. James lifted the boy and placed on him on his arm.

“ How are you Samuel?” said James planting kiss on his cheeks. Samuel kissed James and placed his arm around James’s neck, holding him tight.

“ He has been a good boy. He’s not running away from me any more.” said Savithri.

“ That’s good. Maybe he gets the feeling that we are good friends.” said James.

“ Maybe he suspects that we are more than good friends.” said Savithri laughing, her gleaming teeth captivating James and making him excited.

              “We can go for a walk, the three of us” said James. 

They walked along the path and along the track towards the far corner of the track.

“ How was your day?.” asked Savithri.

“ Busy but not too busy.” said James and continued “ How was your day?”

“ I’ve started on the garden. I’m getting some marigold and jasmine plants.” said Savithri.

James was surprised and taken aback. Jasmines were what made him almost insanely in love with Thangam. The smell of jasmine never failed to remind him of her.”

“ That’s good”he mumbled and to change the subject he said:

“ A person called Thomas Lipton may be arriving from England next month. He owns this estate and many others. He’s a very rich man. He owns a lot of stores in Scotland.” said James.

“ Is he coming just to see his estates?” asked Savithri. She entwined James’s hand with hers. James felt elated. This was something he never expected. They walked along with James holding Samuel with one hand and Savithri with the other. He felt good. He felt happy about Savithri. But he was also felt confused about his situation. His face assumed a worried look. 

              James’s worried expression was in contrast to his feelings of elation. He was thinking of Thangam. Thangam was a different story. When he thought of Thangam, he knew he would behave in unexpected ways. With Thangam it would be a feeling that he could not control. His heartbeat would be quickened. He might rush and grab her, carry her to his bed. Make love to her. He would be out of control. With Savithri, he was acting like a normal man would. Enjoy her company, enjoy her body, enjoy her pleasant ways. With Thangam, he would be acting like a mad man. Rush and grab her. Carry her to the bedroom. Make frenzied love to her. He felt he was out of control when he thought of Thangam. It was like he suddenly felt an uncontrollable urge and the emotion took hold of him and he had to make love. Thangam enjoyed his violent urges and she went along joyfully and made love to him with equal ardour, sucking, kissing and biting him, leaving red marks on his pale skin.     

              It was different with Savithri. She was a quiet lover. James was a quiet lover to her. Savithri  did things more gently. Made him make love to her gently. He enjoyed it . He enjoyed the quiet love making. He enjoyed making her happy. 


              While at the factory the next day, James was called to come and meet a visitor.

“ Mr. Robert  has come to see you Sir.’ said the estate worker.

James came out and Robert and James  walked to the house while the horse keeper took over Robert’s horse and led the horse to water and feed.

“ Great to see you Robert. It’s something important I’m sure. Or are you checking up on how Savithri is doing?” asked James with a smile as they walked towards the house.

              “ I came to let you know that a very important man is expected to arrive in the country next week. The news is all over Kandy. I know you have not been out to Kandy. You never go to Kandy without dropping over to see me.” said Robert.

“ Yes. I haven’t been to Kandy for a while. I’ve been a little busy with the clearing up for the new tea bushes. But I did hear some news” said James.

“ I thought it might have been Savithri keeping you busy.” said Robert.

They laughed and walked on.

“ Thomas Lipton is visiting Ceylon. He is known to be a hard business man. He may want a lot of tea, a lot more than we are manufacturing here. He is going to put a lot of pressure on you. You know all about Lipton’s donation to the Queens fund, don’t you?”

“ No. I did not hear about it.”

“ Well, Lipton has so many stores and tea houses that he has started making donations to various charities, including the Queen’s. He has even sponsored a boat to take part in the yacht race between England and USA” said Robert.

“ That’s a great honour. He is a great man. I am very envious of him.” said James.

“ Never mind. I’m warning you that he is a very tough man. You had a great time planting and having  a family. Sadly all is not well.”  

“ Savithri has been very good to me. it’s been a great consolation.” 

“ Ah. Yes. I forgot. I guess you are not expecting Thangam to return.” 

“ Yes. It’s clear now that Thangam has fulfilled her family’s wishes and got married to a man from her village.” 

“ It’s been hard on you. Company rules are pretty hard for us. They should relax it. After all getting married is a personal decision. I’m managing okay because the family and the company thinks I’m a morally sound man who will not have a relationship with a local.” said Robert

“ Agree. It seems that way with Savitri too. I don’t think there will be pressure from Savitri. The family are not too worried. But of course it could be different if there is a child , the story may be very different.”

“ Yes. I’m sure it will be different. i’m now very good at practising birth control the Catholic way.” said Robert

“ So I’m I. I’m good at it too. But it is a bit of an anti climax i must admit.” said James.

“ Yes. i agree. But I’m used to it.” said Robert

“ Savithri is very nice. It’s so different now. It’s all gentle and relaxed. With Thangam I was all fired up and rushing and making love as if i had not made love for months on end.”

              They could see the house now. Samuel was standing in the garden watching Savitri doing weeding. She did not notice Robert and James at a distance and continued weeding until Samuel shouted “Daddy”  aloud  and ran towards James. The father and son embraced. James carried Samuel and cuddled him.

“ I can see you are enjoying yourself Savithri” said Robert looking at her.

“ I enjoy working in this garden.” said Savithri, her face turning pink in embarrassment.

“ I must go now.” said Robert.

“ But you must have some dinner.” said James.

Dinner was laid out. They sat down and had their meal fairly quickly.

“ If I leave now, i will be in Peradeniya before it gets too dark.” said Robert.

“ Okay then. Thanks for letting me know about Thomas Lipton wanting vast supplies of tea. I will have to cope with the problem.” said James.

              Robert bid farewell and rode away.


              James went to his room and washed himself with the water in the wash basin. He changed into his bed cloths and lay down. He wondered whether Savitri would come soon. He was fast asleep within minutes. He woke up when the bed moved and Savitri was lying next to him, with her breasts placed conveniently close to his face. He could see the smooth breasts and tasted their smoothness. 

“ Is somebody coming from England” asked Savitri in a whisper.

“ Yes. Thomas Lipton is coming. He has many grocery shops and likes to sell tea  as the best beverage. In England, there are many people who want to replace beer with tea. It’s called the temperance movement. Beer has been the safest drink for all. But with tea, it’s all changing.”

Savitri was stimulating James as he was stimulating her.

“ When is he coming “ she asked.

“ Next week.” said James.

“ Will there be many people.” she asked

“ Maybe. Depends on who gets to know. A don’t expect local people to attend.”

“ Ah. You will be surprised. Local people are very interested.” she said

“Then they can come and see him, even meet him.”

“ Some are saying that they want him to share his money with them.”

“ Really. Who are they. The land is given by the government.”

“ Yes. But it’s their land.”

“ No. It’s open land. Nobody was living on it.”

“ Yes. But some people consider it to be part of their land holding, even though nobody is living on it.”   whispered Savitri.

“ Why are they saying these things just because the British are running the country? What did they demand when the Indian rulers like Rajasinghe were in Kandy before the British took over?” whispered James.

“ But the Indian rulers were invited to rule Kandy by the Council of Chieftains. Rajasinghe was welcomed here by almost all of the chiefs. Some did not agree with the decision to bring Rajasinghe. Those who disagreed made trouble and communicated with the British. That’s how you British came here.” said Savitri.

“Well. That was Rajasinghe’s fault. He should have stopped his chiefs from coming to Kotte and getting the British to come over.” 

“ He did  his best. He even executed one of the chiefs in a cruel way. This chief  was caught going to Colombo . The chief was executed by his legs being tied to two strong palm trees. The two palm trees were bent down and one leg was tied to each tree. When the ropes holding the two palm trees down were released, the man was torn in two. This was to show everyone that treason will be met with a cruel death.” said Savitri.

“ Alright. Let’s not worry about all that. We are not responsible for all that happened. Come closer I want to kiss you.” said James. Savitri moved close to James.

              James removed Savitri’s clothes. The moonlight fell on her breasts. He kissed her marble like body savouring the softness of her orifices and she in turn savoured the smoothness of his rod before they made love and  fell asleep.      

              James got up early on the day of Thomas Lipton’s arrival. Savitri was excited to be able to go to Peradeniya. James would ride out with Robert to meet Lipton. Savitri was to come by carriage.

              James rode to Peradeniya and met up with Robert. They made their way to the Peradeniya bridge and had a banner to welcome Thomas Lipton. A crowd had gathered and there was excitement. The British officials had prepared a welcome for Lipton in Kandy. A crowd had gathered in Kendy to witness the event.

              The Mahaweli River flowed far down below, running in a torrent. The sound of the water rushing past could be heard as a backdrop, like rain falling. The trees were in bloom, many trees with red flowers. Others with yellow flowers. The area seemed like a vast flower garden, except that the flowers were all on tall trees well above the road. Looking down, James could see that there were pretty plants growing on both sides of the river, way down below. 

 “Did the workers in Peradeniya Gardens throw down pretty plants down below into the rocks on the sides of the river?” asked James.

“ No. We don’t do that. But it’s just that the wind blows the seeds of the plants in Peradeniya gardens down towards the river sides.” replied Robert.      

              There was a small stall erected on the left just past the bridge. Some officials from the Kandy Government office had erected the rough stall. There was a large red garland ready on the table for Thomas Lipton. The traditional welcome for foreign dignitaries was a garland of flowers. It was the way the people welcomed persons of eminence.

              A party of English persons stood under the stall’s roof  which was made of coconut leaves woven together, a temporary shelter against the Sun. It would also keep the rain out, if it was a passing shower. The local people stood near the stall, chatting and smiling, excited to see an eminent visitor from England. Savitri was with the local people. Her tall figure was noticeable. Her long hair was tied in a neat bun. She was smiling while talking to the others and her teeth looked attractive against her pink gums. James  saw her fair skin and  round face. It was as if he had just seen her for the first time. She was a beautiful woman. Her graceful presence among the local people made James realise that he was extremely lucky to have her as a lover.

              Savitri looked across and saw James standing with Robert. She was pleased that he stood tall and handsome among that group of white men. His fair yellow hair was a striking. If she did not know him, she would have wished to touch the hair and feel it. It could be soft hair. It could be different. But she already know it was soft to the touch. She knew how his lips felt. She was happy that she had slept with him. She was not sure if her family would accept him. If she were to become his wife. It would be unacceptable to her family. But they will have to accept the situation. After all he was a man well known in the area as a famous planter who had set a new standard for everyone . Many white women would have wanted to be his wife. But he was content to be with local women. And he was happy with children born to local women. She herself was not sure that she would be able to accept that her children would be of mixed Sinhala and English parentage. Her parents would be troubled by such a situation. They would find it difficult to come to terms with having children of mixed English and Sinhala parentage ss they were from a family of chieftains and important persons,. She would be happy, even if her family disapproved of her marriage. But it was all dreaming, she felt.

              “ Savitri looks so lovely standing among those ladies.” said Robert.

              “ I was thinking the same Robert. She is definitely a woman who stands out from the crowd. I can see several pretty girls. Most very fair skinned and attractive. But Savitri is something else.” replied James.

“ You might want to have her for a wife James. After all you do need some help with looking after Samuel.” 

“ I was thinking along those lines. So many thoughts take possession of me. Life would have been much simpler if Thangam had not gone.” said James.

              The sound of a carriage coming around the corner  interrupted their conversation. Thomas Lipton had arrived and the carriage was coming across the bridge. The welcome party stepped out onto the road and waved the carriage down. The carriage stopped and the child holding a rose garland stepped out of the shady hut. The carriage door opened and a tall gentleman with a walrus moustache stepped out followed by another white person.  They wore a tropical hats. It was clear that the first person was Thomas Lipton.

              The child stepped forward followed by a lady. Thomas Lipton stepped forward urged by the other person. When Thomas Lipton bent down, the boy placed the garland around the neck of the tall gentleman. Everyone clapped.

              The two gentlemen got back in the carriage and the carriage moved away towards Kandy. The carriages that were waiting for Mr. Lipton’s arrival followed. The carriages moved along and reached Kandy town and came to a halt at the Queens Hotel. The Queens was decorated with flowers and a board above the entrance said: “Welcome Mr. Lipton.”. 

There were drummers and dancers and the loud music seemed to interest Mr. Lipton.  He stood looking at the scene until it was all over. 

              Thomas Lipton must have been briefed about the Queens Hotel and the temple of the tooth. He stood at the entrance to the hotel and asked:

“ Is that the temple they talked about” he said pointing towards the building far away.

“ Yes Mr. Lipton. That’s the temple of the tooth. It’s has Lord Buddha’s tooth inside the temple, in a safe place.” said the government agent.

“ Thanks. I will be going there in the morning. I can see the far end of the lake. I can take a walk in that direction tomorrow.” said Lipton, turning towards the hotel. 


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