1964: Anthony and William leave the manor for Sri Lanka

1964: Anthony and William leave the manor for Sri Lanka

The autumn sunshine filtered through the red gold canopy of the ancient lime trees. The dry autumn leaves drifted down on the bay gelding hunter and added to the thick brown carpet on the ground under the horse’s hooves.

Anthony rode with his fingers soft on the reins. The muscles in his leg rippled as he nudged his mount. The horse neighed and tossed his head. The thick almost-black tail twitched. “Whoa! Pegasus,” Anthony ran his hand over the shining brown mane. The horse grew quiet under his master’s touch. He trotted along the avenue. Rider and horse had been together for the four years that Pegasus had been part of the manor stables. He was Anthony’s personal horse. Anthony continued to fondle the strong neck. “I’m sorry old friend. I’ll be gone tomorrow.” He felt the firm muscles tense under his fingers. “You’ll be well looked after. I’ve asked Janet to take you out. You know her.”

The horse tossed his head. “I know boy, I don’t want to go either. But, it’s time. We have to take charge of the plantations.”

Between the lime trees, he had glimpses of the formal garden with stone pathways leading away from the house to the river. The manicured high yew hedge was a tribute to the manor gardeners’ skills. Beyond the garden were the green patchwork fields of the Ashley-Cooper estate. Further away the picturesque hills and dales of Derbyshire faded away in a purple haze.

This was where he and William had played as children; brothers, just eighteen months apart but alike as peas in a pod his father announced to all who would listen. They had grown up here in the manor with their mother while their father ran the plantations. His father had moved back to England when Anthony was eleven to run the London offices of Oriental Produce. Their uncle Irvine had run the Sri Lankan plantations since then, but now, it was time for Anthony and William to take over.

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