Too excited about India to be embarrassed, Susan opened it. ‘It’s a stone...’ she smiled faintly. It was a smooth stone, in a weird shape with a mark running round it.

‘It’s a shiva lingam. You’ll see them a lot when you’re there. It’s lucky. In India it’s considered mystical. Come back safely. It’s your lucky totem.’

‘That’s jolly kind of you Thomas.’

‘Actually I was hoping when you get back we might go out punting. It will be treacherously cold. We could take blankets and a picnic.’

‘Sounds nice.’ Susan smiled, understanding his implication but not quite knowing what to do. She certainly liked him and they had had many wonderful talks about India, but she was inexperienced in dealing with compliments. She found herself blushing but couldn’t flirt. Her high cheekbones turned red and she sucked in her lip. It was almost too much at this point to hope she could join in his romantic fantasy, when her own mind was full of India. Thomas was charming and funny and had big brown eyes which sparked when he was talking about India where he had been born, as they had often recently but -


‘Actually I have a funny feeling about us,’ he tried again.


‘Well yes, I do. Do you remember sitting in St Mary’s graveyard after church, looking at wild strawberries growing through the gravestones?’


‘Well it’s just I had such a funny feeling then. I’ve a funny feeling now. That I shall see you in India before you leave to come home.’

‘Well perhaps you’ll suddenly come out on work. That would be so nice.’

‘Perhaps. That’s what I thought. Do you remember what I told about my childhood in India – in Calcutta?’

‘Some of it.’

‘Your mother said you’d be passing through Calcutta.’