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CHAPTER THIRTY TWO

With those words, Colonel Race left. I stood, staring after him, until Harry spoke. ‘Anne, forgive me.’ He took my hand.

‘Why did you not tell me the truth?’

‘I was afraid. I wanted you to love me for myself - for the man I was - without the wealth.’

‘You mean you didn’t trust me?’

‘You can put it that way if you like. I’d become bitter, always believing I would be cheated - and it was so wonderful to be loved in the way you loved me.’

‘I see,’ I said slowly. ‘How did it happen?’

‘Lucas and I were ruined and it turned us mad. We went rushing into danger without thought. One night we exchanged our identity discs, for luck! Lucas was killed the next day - blown to pieces.’

I shivered. ‘But why didn’t you tell me this morning? You must know that I love you by now!’

‘Anne, I didn’t want to spoil it all. I wanted to take you back to the island. What’s the good of money? It can’t buy happiness. We’d have been happy on the island. I’m afraid of that other life - it nearly destroyed me once.’

And your father’s millions?’

‘Race was welcome to have the money. Anyway, he would make better use of it than I ever would. Anne, what are you thinking about? You’re frowning a lot.’

‘I’m thinking,’ I said slowly, ‘that I almost wish Colonel Race hadn’t made you tell me.’

‘No. He was right. I owed you the truth.’

I laughed. ‘Harry, it’s you I want - and that’s all that matters.’

As soon as possible we set out for Cape Town. There Suzanne was waiting to welcome me. When the fighting was finally over, Colonel Race came down to Cape Town. At his suggestion the big house at Muizenberg that had belonged to Sir Laurence Eardsley was reopened.

There we made our plans. I would return to England with Suzanne and be married in London. Everything for the wedding would be bought in Paris! Suzanne enjoyed planning these details, and so did I. Yet the future seemed strangely unreal. And sometimes I felt as though I could not breathe.

It was the night before we were to sail. I could not sleep. I was unhappy, I hated leaving Africa. Then I was surprised by a knock on the window. I jumped up. Harry was on the verandah outside. ‘Put some clothes on, Anne, and come out. I want to speak to you.’

I stepped out into the cool night air that smelled of flowers and that special smell that is Africa. Harry’s face looked pale and determined and his eyes were bright. ‘Anne,’ He caught me in his arms. ‘Anne, come away with me - now - tonight. Back to Rhodesia - back to the island. I can’t stand all this foolishness. I can’t wait for you any longer.’

‘What about my French dresses?’ I demanded.

To this day, Harry never knows when I am serious, and when I am only having fun with him.

‘I don’t care about your French dresses. I’m not going to let you go, do you hear? You’re my woman. You’re coming with me now - tonight - and damn everybody.’

He held me to him, kissing me until I could hardly breathe.

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