The Irish Mail, bound from Holyhead, that quaint fingernail of Welsh soil, rattled its journey over the sleeping miles towards London. Meli, alone save for a carriage companion, allowed her mind to float across the last few years of her marriage.
She realised that, originally, the Irish Sea – indeed each of its seventy-four miles – had been a gulf that her love and infatuation for Alec had bridged quite simply. The guns of Flanders were not audible in Tipperary, although a million khakied men had ploughed through muck and torment to the tune of the same name.
The rhythmic click of the carriage wheels beat out the strain once more.
Why then had their life together changed so much? Could the fault be hers? Here on English soil, she could ponder anew. To her, Alec had become so self-contained. A true sportsman, he lived for the interests that dominated every Alec through the centuries.
Yet, enmeshed from birth in the custom of her class, there had come to burn in Meli’s heart a flame of a different hue.