Taylors Tea Garden – by Ajit MuttuCumaraswamy CHAPTER (19)  The party moved into the hotel…………

Taylors Tea Garden – by Ajit MuttuCumaraswamy



 The party moved into the hotel. There was long queue of persons waiting to be introduced to Thomas Lipton. The introductions were made by the Government Agent. James and Robert were at the end of  the queue, deliberately placed there because Thomas Lipton had expressed his intention to have a long chat with James.

              When James was introduced, Thomas Lipton’s eyes lit up.

“ James Taylor. Very pleased to meet you at last. I was told that you will be at the bridge but the stop was too brief.  We will be sitting next to each other at dinner.” said Lipton.

“ Very good to meet you Mr. Lipton. Meet Robert Jones Mr. Lipton. Robert has been very helpful with the nursery for tea plants in Ceylon.” said James.

“Nice  to meet you Mr. Jones. i was briefed on the excellent work you have done with the tea plants that were brought from India. I will need your assistance with the Dambatenna  Estae which will be built this year” said Lipton.

“ Nice you meet you Mr. Lipton. I will certainly help all i can with Dambatenne Estate ” said Robert.

  Robert is the man we are depending on to give us the right start with the tea plants. He did so much at  Loolecondere to make sure that we had the right nurseries and the best soils for the tea plants.” said James.

“I’m glad that things have worked out well. As you know the previous plantations were a disappointment. The quality of the tea had also been a disappointment. But it’s all looking good James. We are placing a lot of hope on your continued good work with Robert helping with the nurseries.” said Thomas Lipton.

              While they were talking Thomas Lipton kept looking across the table towards Savitri who was seated along with another Ceylonese lady. Lipton drank his wine rather quickly and poured himself more wine. There were only two Ceylonese  ladies in the the dinner party. Savitri sat with the wife of a Ceylonese planter, a Sinhala planter with a Portugese name Francis De Soysa. Daisy was seated next to them with her husband. Thomas Lipton’s eyes kept glancing at Savitri. James was concerned. If Thomas Lipton fell for Savitri, there could be a problem.

              As the dinner progressed, it became more and more clear that Thomas Lipton was taken up with Savitri. He was downing his wine in two or three gulps and pouring himself more from the new bottle of wine. His eyes darted towards her while he spoke to James distractedly. Savitri had become aware of it as well because her face had taken on a deeper pink hue. Towards the end of the dinner, the government agent in charge of Kandy got up and spoke welcoming Lipton. He described how Lipton was changing the drinking habits of the British workers by introducing tea into the workers houses. Tea was replacing beer as the beverage of the workers. Tea was no more the drink of the upper classes. The temperance movement had advocated the end of beer but could not offer an alternative until tea came to be sold in Thomas Lipton’s stores, available to all classes of society, delighting the leaders of the temperance movement. It was a serious challenge to the breweries. He proposed a toast to  Lipton.

              Thomas  Lipton replied by proposing a toast to the Queen. He spoke about the great interest in tea shown by Queen Victoria. She gave her support for weaning the working class British family away from alcoholic drinks. Lipton’s  face scanned the tables but his eyes paused a little as he scanned the table where Savitri sat, causing James much discomfort. James was even wishing that Lipton had never come to Ceylon. But he reconciled himself with the thought that Lipton will be leaving shortly. 

              After Lipton sat down, he spoke to the government agent for Kandy in a sort of whisper. James noticed that the government agent had got up from his seat and walked towards the other side of the room where Savitri was sitting. The government agent  seemed to know the lady seated next to Savitri. He bent down and spoke to her. James noticed that the lady shook her head in agreement to what the government agent was saying. The lady turned towards Savitri and said something. Savitri’s face seemed to be turning even more pink but she looked towards the government agent. He moved over, shook hands with Savithri, stood next to her and spoke to her. There was an embarrassed smile on Savitri’s face. She smiled with a shyness but shook her head in agreement. No words came out of her. The government agent walked back to James table and sat down on his chair next to Lipton.     

              James felt angry. He could see that Lipton had said something about Savitri to the government agent. The message was conveyed to Savitri by the government agent. She looked embarrassed. He could see that on her face and in her smile. He felt like getting up and walking away. He wanted to walk across to Savitri and ask her to come with him. Then he calmed himself. He would have made himself look a fool if he walked out. He was after all a forty year old white man lusting after a twenty something young Kandyan girl. He would offend the British community of planters and civl servants as well as Thomas Lipton. Savitri was a young woman who was placed in his charge. She was hoping to improve her chances of getting a job in the mercantile sector if she had worked for James even in the capacity of house keeper. Here I am , he said to himself, trying to behave like a jealous husband. His eyes gazed at Daisy. He looked very pale and very tired sitting next to her husband. Now it was his turn to feel jealous. He did feel jealous, he had felt a rage building up, enough to make him get up and shout and ruin the dinner party. Yet, it was possibly only a simple request by Lipton to meet up with Savitri. Lipton maybe only wanted to look at Savitri at close quarters, enjoy her beautiful face and figure. Take to England the memory of a Kandyan beauty that he met during his visit to Ceylon.

              It was becoming clear to him that his fit of jealousy was unbecoming and totally unacceptable. Savitri was not his wife. She was not even a girl friend. Their relationship was not acknowledged even by his own household. They met at night in secret and enjoyed having sex and each other’s company. This did not mean that he could expect Savitri to be loyal to him. She was a young woman with a future. A future with a young man. He had no right to expect her to stick to him. She was right to look around and choose a man that she liked. She had a right to choose someone much younger than him. She was doing the right thing if she wanted to meet other eligible men. Thomas Lipton was a batchelor. He felt ashamed. 

              James sat thinking about his situation. Robert was talking to the person sitting next to him, a planter. Robert was not aware of the turmoil going on in James’s mind. James was calming down, coming back to normal. He was even thinking of saying something to Thomas Lipton to draw his attention away from the government agent. 

              As the dinner came to an end, some got up and walked towards friends and were chatting and the sound of laughter could be heard all around the dining hall of the hotel. James wanted to take the opportunity to rush up to Savitri. But he checked himself from doing it. He did not know what he should be doing. he decided to take himself to bed. Maybe Savitri would ask around and find out where he would be sleeping and come to his room. Daisy might also think of visiting him. This thought frightened him. The two ladies visiting him at the same time. Daisy seemed very unlikely to want to visit him. She seemed quite weak, not the same vivacious person that he knew and desired. Besides she was with her husband.

              He also recalled  that Savitri was supposed to visit her family after the dinner. In fact her cousin had also wanted to her to visit her and spend the night. It was just as well that he won’t be seeing her during the weekend. He looked around for Robert. Robert was with a group of civil servants and Thomas Lipton. James decided to join the group. He could avoid thinking about Savithri. He joined the group and listened to them talking about India and Thomas Lipton’s arrangements for visiting India. Just then, a planter came up and joined the group. He moved close to Lipton and they engaged in a conversation and the two of them moved  away to have a private conversation. James felt a rumbling in his tummy and wondered if he had eaten something he should not have.

              Robert came up to James.

“ I want to call it a day James. Time for me to get home.” said Robert.

“ Alright Robert. I’m feeling a little bit tired too. Might get to my room in a little bit. I will come over to your place on my way back home tomorrow.” said James


              They were about to say goodbye to each other when they both noticed Thomas Lipton walking across the dining area with the government agent. The two of them walked briskly towards the place where Savitri was standing and talking to another lady. They seemed to shake hands. James wanted to join the group but had second thoughts. He may not be wanted there, James felt.

“ Lipton has fallen for Savithri’s charms.” said Robert. 

“ It does seem like it” replied James.

“ He looks be smitten. Maybe she will promote his tea ” said Robert.

“ I guess Lipton can’t be faulted for his choice. She is a beautiful woman.” said James.

“ One of those civil servants  said that he overheard the government agent say that Lipton wants to arrange for Savithri to go over to England.” said Robert.

              James was shocked. He felt shaken. Does it mean he will never see Savitri in his house. She won’t drop into his room at night and make him happy.

“ Are you joking? How is thing going to be arranged?” asked James.

“ I’m not sure what arrangements are being made. It’s maybe just a rumour.”

“ Okay. i guess it’s not my place to ask questions. She is not my wife. Not even an employee of mine.” said James.

“ Yes. i’m glad you can see it that way. Most people don’t know that she is staying at your place.”

“ With me it’s all a temporary arrangement. If Lipton is offering her a job it’s not something to be ignored.” said James

“ Exactly. Maybe Lipton wants to put her in his tea advertisement. She would look good as a tea plucker.” 

“ Yes. I can see why Lipton is so excited. I guess you are right. She would look the perfect tea plucker, standing in the tea garden with her basket slung behind her.”

“ Yes. Now you see what Thomas Lipton can see. She would look great in one of those Lipton’s tea posters.” said Robert.

“ I guess you win some and you lose some.” said James. But he felt a sense of confusion.            James seemed unable to let go of Thangam. He felt a sense of loyalty to Thangam. He felt she was his woman.Maybe because it was the first time for him and Thangam. They were both in love for the first time. He felt confused because he wanted Savitri to want him. It was something he could not justify. There was no doubt in his mind that Thangam was his choice. She was his companion when he was lonely, far away from his home and family. His life was transformed when she became his lover. 

“ You do sound a little upset James. Are you in love with Savitri.” asked Robert.

“ That’s a good question. I don’t think I am in love with her. I won’t be very upset if she goes away with Lipton. It would be alright. She deserves a good break. She was very loving towards me. I should be thankful. I am thankful.” said James.

“ There you are. I can see you are being sensible now. If Thangam had not gone away and you were at a loose end, I don’t think you would have got involved, would you?” asked Robert.

“ That is another good question. Yes I agree with you. It would not have happened. it was some thing that happened because i was hanging around doing nothing after work. If Thangam had been there i would have been busy. Samuel keeps me busy and makes me happy. But he has to get to bed early. And the weekends are boring.” said James 

“ That’s because you are always stuck in the estate. Try going around the hill country. Or better still try to bed a few women. Plenty of them are willing.” said Robert.

“ i guess you are right. i just don’t want to known as the Dorai(chief) who chases after women in his own estate.” said James.

“ Try another estate. Dolosbage estate is supposed to have loads of pretty girls from some part of the Tamil Nadu. Tinneveli I think. They are fair skinned and quite attractive.” said Robert.

“ Looks like you have tasted the dishes from Tinneveli. But I’m a little worried about accidents happening.  i’m happy to look after Samuel. Any more children and i will not cope with all the problems.” said James.

“ The Catholic church teaches you how to avoid pregnancy. Savithri’s cousin Nanditha knows about it because I practice it. But she wants to get herself pregnant even though the parents will be very upset. I must be going.It’s getting late for me.” said Robert.

“ I’m ready for bed as well. Seems like Savitri has gone.” said James.

“ Yes. I’m off now. See you tomorrow if you stop by on your way back.” said Robert as he walked off, waving goodbye. 

              James headed towards the staircase leading to the rooms upstairs. Most people had gone. He walked up the stairs and headed off to his room. He used the key to enter the room. He remembered the excitement of his meetings with Daisy. He remembered that they had met in the same room. Now she was no more in his life. It happened so suddenly. He never imagined that it would happen so suddenly and with finality. She was somewhere in the little town. But he did not want to cause a disruption to her settled  life. She is with her partner. Leading a peaceful life. It was a good thing for her and for him. He did not feel that excitement that he had felt when they were lovers. The blood rushing to his organs. The excitement of looking forward to their holding each other. The kissing and the tasting.  It was something he could not forget. Yet he did not feel the urgency any more. Things had cooled down. He was not entirely happy that things had cooled down. He felt that she made him feel excited about their meetings more than any other woman. He wished he could feel the same excitement again with Savitri. Savitri did make him happy. They enjoyed their time  in bed. it was joyful and tender. But the same frenzy was not there. He missed that frenzy. The madness. He fell asleep trying to recall the frenzy with his hands on his organ. He was asleep before the frenzy happened again.


                                                          *                                  *


              The next day was a busy one for James. He woke up and recalled that he wanted to remember  his meetings with Daisy. But it did not happen. He had no time to be recalling the frenzy and reliving it once more with his hand on his organ. He had things to do. He washed and brushed and went to the dining room and had breakfast. The bacon, eggs and nicely fried tomatoes woke him up and energised him. 

              He arranged for a carriage. He enjoyed the freshness of the hill country morning  and stopped at the Peradeniya gardens. Robert came out to meet him.

“ How are you feeling. not too much beer and wine last night I hope.” said Robert.

“ No. I slept well. Had a good breakfast. I did not see Lipton at breakfast.” said James.

“ I’m not surprised you did not see Lipton at breakfast.” said Robert.

“ You mean the wine got the better of him?” asked James.

“ No. It was not the wine that got the better of him. It was not Savitri.” laughed Robert

“ What do you mean ?” asked James his eyes enlarging as he spoke.

“ Lipton had been enjoying the company with a young waiter.” said Robert smiling. 

James smiled as well.

“ Ah, well. We have face facts. Different folks , different strokes.” said James.

“ That’s the spirit James. We have to be prepared for these things. We should not stand in the way.” said Robert with a smile playing on his face.

“ Agree. My health is not as good as it was you know.” said James, his eyebrows raised.

“ What happened. Nothing serious I hope.” said Robert his smile fading away.

“ My tummy has been playing up. i’m wondering whether it’s something temporary, something to do with the type of food i have eating. Or something serious, like Daisy had.”

“ Yes. one must be careful. It’s not normal to have tummy problems for more than two or three days. Do you have prolonged bouts of the tummy problem?” asked Robert.

“ It’s on and off. i get over it in a couple of days.” said James.

“ Might be a good idea to see a doctor.” said Robert.

“ I must get around to making an appointment. Maybe next time i come to Kandy. Time to head off ” said James getting up.

“ Okay. Make that appointment the next time you come to Kandy.” said Robert walking behind James towards the door.

              They waved to each other as the carriage moved away.


                                                                 *                      *


              James went to the tea factory to make sure that everything was up to date as Thomas Lipton was coming to visit Loolecondere the next day. He made sure that all the estate buildings  were clean and fit for inspection. His mind was not as well settled as he would have expected since he had decided that Savitri was no more his lover. He had told himself that she was a free woman who decided what she wanted to do with her life. He felt restless. He walked to his favourite place overlooking the valley and gazed at the hills, some blueish and some brownish. He walked briskly to the house and found Samuel in the bed having his afternoon nap. 

              He felt a sense of relief looking at Samuel. Here was someone that he loved. Someone whose affections will always remain steady. Someone who will be always there for him. He looked closely at Samuel’s face. Samuel was fair skinned but he had so many features similar to Thangam. He seemed to look more and more like Thangam as he grew up. That face with the tapering jaw just like Thangams. He was walking away when Samuel made a crying sound and James came back to carry him from the bed. Punya came in to attend to Samuel. She went away seeing James carrying Samuel.


              Thomas Lipton visited Loolecondere the next day. He was accompanied by the government agent. James took Lipton around the estate. There were estate workers lined up to welcome Lipton. There was a banner held by children which said “ Welcome to Looleconere” . After walking through the tea factory Lipton was taken outside to see the water mill. Lipton was impressed by the water mill.

“ This mill is very much like the mills in Scotland James. i heard that you designed it yourself” said Lipton

“ Yes. i remembered the mill we had in the village in Kirkardshire” said James.

“ It’s certainly doing good work in this estate. My congratulations to you and your staff.” said Lipton.


“ My staff are very cooperative Mr. Lipton. I owe a debt of gratitude for their hard work and commitment to the tea growing and tea making.” said James. 

“ I was told that you have very good relations with your staff. They are very loyal and cooperative I’m told.” said Thomas Lipton.

“ My estate workers are very dedicated and the estate is is doing well because of their dedication to their work.”

“ Keep up the good work. I want you to do something for me. Please extend the plantations as much as you can. You can choose which plantation you want to extend. But I need more tea of the quality you are producing.” said Lipton.

              “ Certainly I would be working on extending the plantations in both estates. But the extension of the plantations is not going to be that easy because of the terrain. ”said James.

“ I need results. I need the tea. The demand is increasing and I cannot wait for increased production. I must now return to Kandy and make plans for my return to England.” said Thomas Lipton. The group moved towards the house where the carriage was parked.


                                                          *                                    *


              Savitri arrived after a few days.  He met her in the evening . Savitri was with Samuel. James was very keen to see if she looked any different. He was obsessed with wanting to know if  Thomas Lipton had made love to her. Did she look any different, were there any marks on her which showed that she had been made love to? Were there marks on her lips. Were there love bites on her body. He would need to see her without her cloths during the day, if he was going to check for marks on her body. James was not convinced that Lipton did not sleep with Savitri even though Robert had said it.

              James played with Samuel. But his mind was on Savitri. To break out of his mood , James told Samuel that they were going to play hide and seek, a favourite with Samuel. Samuel covered his face and James ran to the tree at the far end and hid behind it. Samuel ran to the nearest trees and then to the flower bushes. Savitri stood smiling enjoying the game being played with the little boy. 

              The game played between father and son went on for a while, Savitri whispering in Samuel’s ear sometimes to give him a clue.

              James looked at Savitri while hiding behind the tree. He wanted to detect any changes, any sign that she had made love with Lipton. There was nothing he could detect. He wanted to ask her but it was really not possible. He waited until Samuel was tired and the Sun was setting. Punya came to take Samuel for his wash and dinner.

“ How was your meeting with Thomas Lipton?” he asked.

“ He was alright. He asked a lot of questions about me and asked me if I wanted to travel to England. I told him i will talk it over with my parents and think about it.” she said. 

“ Yes. You need time to think about it. It’s not easy to agree to such a big change in your life. Do you want to go to England.”  asked James.

“ Yes. i would love to go to England and help with selling tea. it’s a chance that i will never get again. But I’m worried about leaving the family.” she said.

              James could not believe that Savitri will be going to England. He felt  she was leaving him for Thomas Lipton. He felt he was in limbo. He was not in a position to tell her that he loved her and he wanted her to stay back. He was so much older than her. She needed to do the things that she wanted to do. Her adult life was just beginning. 

              While he was thinking of a response he felt a pain in his stomach, the same pain he felt when he had been with Robert. He excused himself and went to the toilet which was just outside the back door. He returned after the pain subsided. 

“ You don’t look well at all.” said Savitri.

“ I have been having these pains for a few weeks” he said.

“ Can you go and see a doctor or send for a doctor?” she asked.

“ I must send for a doctor.  But it’s better if I went to Kandy. It’s too late to go to Kandy today. It’s got be tomorrow.” said James. 

              In the night Savitri came into James’s  bedroom and slipped into his bed. He felt the slight movement in the bed. She did not wake him up. She lay on the bed, her body barely touching him. He felt good. He had missed her the last few nights when she had been away. He felt as if he was back to normal, his illness giving way to a feeling of peace.  He had not slept very well when she was away. It was like when he  came back  from India. He had felt lonely with Thangam away. He had not felt so unsettled since he had first arrived in Ceylon. 

              Lying in his bed, sensing Savitri’s presence, he felt  the same sense of satisfaction. He turned over and placed his arm around her. They kissed. He felt himself relaxing. He realised that he had been very tense since arriving from Kandy. The tension left him as he hugged her and they both got out of their night cloths. He felt a sense of peace and fulfilment when they fell back in bed after he had made love to her, hugging her tightly, moving gently, looking at her face, her eyes open, looking at him. Both lost in moments of bliss.    

              When he woke up, he was alone. Savitri had slipped away. It was clear that their love making was to be a secret between the two of them. It seemed foolish. After all, Punya would know that she  visits his bedroom. Yet it made sense. Savitri was still a single woman, much younger than him. Her future was uncertain. Thangam could come back. She was there for the time being. James got out of bed, got his towel and headed for the bathing area. The day had begun. The days work had to be done. The peace and bliss of the night was a gift from God. As he walked to the bathing area, he could see that Savitri was in the kitchen helping Punya with  the breakfast.  

              He had his wash, pouring water from the drum with a small bucket. He felt refreshed. He got dressed  and sat at the table. The fried eggs and bread arrived with fried tomatoes and potatoes. He ate his breakfast. His mind was already in the factory, preparing the days work. He had to spend more time on the clearing and planting more tea bushes. Samuel was still asleep. The household was busy with the days chores. 

              Sinniah walked in. 

“ Is the clearing work going on alright.” asked James.

“ The workers are there and the clearing is going well.” said Sinniah.

“ Good . i’m happy about it. We need to work harder as Mr. Lipton is wanting more tea sent to England very quickly.  I want to report the progress by end of this week. How many acres were cleared and are ready for the bushes.” 

“ I will find out. I can ask the nursery  people about how many plants are ready for planting.”

“ Thats good Sinniah. Check it out. I might go to the new plantation tomorrow. See you later.” said James getting up to go. He walked out and headed for the factory.


              When James returned after work, he could see Samuel tending to the garden. Savitri had given Samuel a wooden shovel and he was busy digging. James felt happy and also sad. It was nice to see Samuel looking content, working in the garden with Savitri. It was also sad because Samuel’s mother was not there. But Samuel was having good company. He was with someone who loved him and enjoyed spending her time with him. James helped Samuel to dig the garden until it was dinner time. 

              Samuel had eaten his dinner and had been taken by Punya to have a change and to get ready for bed. James and Savitri  sat at table and they had their dinner. James went to his bedroom, in anticipation of Savitri visiting him. He had a feeling it was going to be another enjoyable night. And he was right. She tiptoed to his bed when all had gone to bed and they made love. She was more active than usual. He felt her tongue in all the right places and he reciprocated. 

“ You were very loving tonight” he remarked.

“ So were you. It was very nice. I want to tell you something: I won’t be going to England.” she said. They spoke in a whisper. 

              That was something he never expected. He turned over and kissed her on her lips and  all over her face. He felt he could not express his joy fully. He went under the sheets and licked her all over again, just to show how happy he was.

“ I’m very happy you won’t be going. I don’t think I would have survived it if you had gone away.” James whispered. 

“ I missed my periods. I know it’s not always due to pregnancy. But I feel different. I’m definitely pregnant. Your  withdrawing after we made love did not work this time” she said .

              A negative thought that came to James’s mind .Was Savitri pregnant because she went out with Thomas Lipton? He wanted to ask her but decided that it was not the right time. He was happy that she was not going.  It seemed peevish to keep worrying about whether the child she was carrying was Thomas Lipton’s child. He cheered himself by thinking about how awful he had felt when he returned from India and found Thangam had gone. Maybe she had been interested in someone and had taken the opportunity to run away to be with that person. He had felt desolate and abandoned. He desperately wanted to be with a woman. He nearly broke all the rules and wanted to make love to a woman in the tea bushes. He knew it would have been bad for his reputation in the tea estates. Luckily he had fought off the urge.                                                                                                                                    Savitri has entered his life and he had someone he cherished. He had no right to ask questions about her meeting with Lipton.  What mattered was that she had decided to stay back. His life was back on track. He had his beautiful Savitri staying with him. Another child was not going to be a burden. In fact Samuel will have a brother or a sister. That was going to be very good.      

              “ My withdrawing did not work with Thangam either. I’m happy about your pregnancy because Samuel will have a brother or a sister.” he said.

“ I knew you would accept my pregnancy. You are a very nice person.” she said.

“ What about your parents?” he asked.

“They would make a fuzz but will come to accept it. After all, they will have a grand child to pet.” 

“ That’s true. They may object but secretly welcome a grandchild.” he said.

“ What about your parents. What will they say?” she asked.

“ Oh. I did write to them about Samuel. I can write to them about the new baby..” 

“ Will they want to come to visit the grandchildren?” she asked 

“ You see my mother passed away when I was a small boy. My father got married again.”

“Tell me about your father.”

“ He was okay but he wanted me to  become a farmer like him.”

“ And you did not like it?”

“ i did not want to be a farmer. Tending to pigs was the worst. You people don’t have pigs.

I don’t see any pigs.”

“ Thats true. We don’t like to have pigs. We like goats in the farm. And cattle and buffaloes” she said.

“ Tell me about your family” he said.

“ My grandfather was a village chief. People used to come home and make complaints about other people. How the fence was broken by bulls. Or some boys throwing stones at mangoes and stones damaging the roof.”

“ Did he settle the disputes?” 

“Yes. If they were not satisfied, they could go to the village courts.” she said.

“What about your family. Did your family have a big farm” she asked.

“ It was not a big farm. But there was a large field where my father grew crops like wheat and barley” James said. 

He asked her if her parents had a farm.

“ They have a paddy field. Rice grows on it. Some vegetables also grow on the sides of the paddy field.” 

“ Do you go there?” he asked.

“ Not now. When i was child we all went there sometimes to watch the rice being sown and the vegetables being planted and then harvested. Our mother used to go there and take us with her. My younger sister and my brother went along.”  

“ So you didn’t work on the farm?” he asked.

“ No. We were not supposed to work. Another person used to do the work and his family helped him. My father and mother got a share of the rice and vegetables because we own the land.” she said.

She asked him whether he had a girl friend in Scotland before he came over.

He replied that he did have a girl friend that the family wanted him to get married to. 

“Did you love her?” 

“I liked her. I now know that I did not love her.” 

“ So       Thangam was your first love?”

“ Yes. ”

“ Liar. You must have made love to estate girls. Estate girls never say no to their bosses.”

“ i guess i did fondle some girls. But never took them home.”

“Never took them home but took them to the bushes” she said.

“ i guess i did. But it was like i never made proper love”

“ It was all over quickly” she said.

“Yes. it was a very quick one.”he agreed.

“So Thangam was your first proper woman”

“ Yes. She was my first proper girl. We made love every day.” he said.

“ Do you wish I was your first proper girl.”

“ Come to think of it, I do wish you were my first”

“Are you angry with Thangam?” asked Savithri.

“ I guess I am angry with her. She went away. I was left in the lurch. I was  feeling upset. I was asking myself, what is wrong with me and she had to go?”

“ Are you going to do something to her?”

“No. i am not interested. I feel fine now that you are going to stay with me. You are very nice to me. i feel loved again.” said James.

“ I can see that. You were very sad. i wanted to make you happy.”

“ Thank you darling. I can feel that. I was worried that you might run away from me, after all you are very young and you could be attracted to younger men.”

“ i love you James. I really love you.”

“ Thank you darling. I really feel your love. Now there is a baby we need to care for.”

“ Make love to me again.’

“ My pleasure”

              James felt Savitri’s gentle touch on him. It was magical. Her fingers seemed to brush against his rod. A feather like gentle brushing and gentle  touching of his marbles and he was up again. He slipped himself in and looked at her face. She had a magical smile on her face. The more he looked at her face the stronger he was getting. He moved gently and heard her moan. He had never felt happier.


                                                                                        *                          *


              Nine months later, Savitri was rushed to Kandy,  to her parents home. James was not there when when the baby was born. It was the first time that he visited Savitri’s home. He was met by Savitri’s brother and sister. They took him to Savitri’s room to see the baby. Savitri woke up when he arrived. He held her hand and looked into the cot. A lovely baby looked at him. The baby had blue green  eyes just like him. He loved the baby and could not take his eyes away from the baby boy. Thats good he told himself . Samuel is going to enjoy playing with his brother. Savitri looked very tired . She had her eyes open for a few minutes and fell asleep again.

              He was taken to the verandah. Savitri’s brother and sister were smiling all the time. They seemed to be embarrassed. They asked him to sit in halting English but he said he wanted to get back. He had some work to attend to. But he will come tomorrow. Savitri’s parents came to the veranda. They were introduced to James. James apologised about having to go but said he will come the next day. The parents understood his English and smiled and shook their heads in agreement. The way they shook their heads was different from what James was used to. But he understood the meaning of the movement of the heads.

              James visited Savitri in the house the next day. The doctor had come in the morning and examined Savitri. He was happy with Savitri’s progress. When Savitri asked James if he wanted to get back to the estate, James said he wanted to get back and come back at the weekend. She agreed that he should get back to work. James returned to Loolecondre and visited Savitri at the weekend. Samuel went along with James. Samuel was introduced to his brother. Samuel stared at the baby and was curious about the baby. 

              Savitri and James  discussed the date of her return to the estate. Since she was feeling alright she would return after another week had passed. Savitri would mention her return to the estate to her parents and would settle on a date. Savitri returned to Loolecondere after three weeks. Her parents agreed to her return but extracted a promise that she will return in a week.  

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