Monday, March 10, 2008

Wednesday 15th June 1938

Returned from Saffron Walden (a new corner of my district), and Colchester this evening and after some rapid office work, reached Oakdene at 8 o’clock.

“I want to speak to you” said Lois ominously, although her eyes sparkled as they nearly always do. (Surely, surely, she hadn’t changed?) We strolled along the track to Nobles Green and through the woods. We walked doggedly, about a yard apart, whilst Lois coldly raised every possible objection to our “gay adventure” Her age, my past philandering, the fact that she was not deeply, deeply stirred. In the future – who knows? – my replies may assume some importance, perhaps, so I’ll record them:-

Although she was the elder, that was a trivial matter and I was afraid, afraid that if nothing definite was settled, we’d drift apart and I’d never again meet anyone like her. Physical attraction would come, was coming. The “other lips”? They were all in the past and yes! – some of those old loves must remain beautiful memories. But – they were only ghosts!

We came to a fence at the edge of the woods. “Don’t stop here,“ I said as Lois hesitated. “There is a ghost here but nothing beyond.” So, in the evening sunshine we went on into a field of buttercups… The next few words spoken were frightfully important but I only remember what was meant, not what was said. Perhaps I said, “If you’re afraid to risk it…” Perhaps Lois said, “I’m not afraid, Stephen.” Anyhow, as she spoke, she moved nearer and slipped her arm through mine as we walked.

And – everything – became – peaceful - and - quiet.

Later in the evening I temporarily stunned her people by telling them (not asking them!) that we were engaged. Eventually we received their blessings. Milady took me down through the orchard, (silken spiders’ webs touching our faces) and to a gate beneath the moon. The ring? Ruby and emerald. “Red for life, green for grass and trees and nature.”


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