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MY DEAR ALYS,
Do you remember a certain cold February morning, when you got up very early and joined me on the bus . . . And we had coffee at Mason's, then walked past the old crooked steeple to the station, and you wished me luck and waved to me as the train pulled out ? That morning, I showed you the early chapters of this odd tale. On the first page was a formal little dedication beginning : " For Alys Edwards, la fille aux cheveux de lin . . ." And you smiled and your eyes shone, and you said how glad you were to know you'd helped so much. Well, a lot of water has run under many bridges since then, and those stilted words won't do any more.
But this was your story, right from the start. For Lucia is so much entwined with all the things you are. So here it is, the new book we talked about so long and so often. You won't find Chesterleigh or Bierlow on the map, but among your memories. Even the little brown dog may be there ! And your old friend Mr. Ambo, sipping a very dry sherry in the Wheatsheaf, is saying with a grave twinkle in his eyes, " Thank you, my dear, for giving our author a new story about us." And I thank you too. For you did help. And still do.
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