We walked that evening through a big arch and into the small, rather wild La Maison Gardens overgrown with red roses, with Judas trees and bougainvillea. There was a long wall looking out across an inlet of Sliema harbour where the destroyers had their pens, and we leant on the wall into which soldiers had cut names and had carved their badges, some very beautifully.
The sun was dropping quickly over Citta Vecchia and this was the perfumed hour, when the flowers smelled sweeter and the world seemed lovelier. It brought us close. We talked of each other; it is the oldest story in the world, of course, and thousands of others must have done the same thing in the same way in these gardens and will go on doing it every year. But to us ours was the most wonderful of all because it was OUR love story.
We cut our initials in the wall, intertwined. U and R. They must be there today, and long after we have ceased to be, the sweet memory of an evening when we were so much in love is carved there for the world to see.
‘Whenever we come to the island we will visit it,’ we promised each other, and we always did.
U and R. For ever.
From Down to the Sea in Ships by Ursula Bloom (1958)