Marion Amy Carew, or often referred to as Manny as a child, was 10 years old, living at 110, Rue de la Paix, Boulogne, when, one day, she was sent on an errand. She arrived with her governess at the quayside in Boulogne harbour where she spotted the tanned young man with very dark eyes and a large black beard. Nine years her senior, W L Wyllie looked up at her from the deck of his boat, when the little girl said: “Hullo, are you Bill Wyllie?” “Yes.” “Mother has sent me to tell you that Mrs Sadler can’t have you to supper tonight and you’re to come to us instead” The Carew family lived two doors down from the Sadlers.
Vice Consul Captain Hayes-Sadler and the Carews were good neighbours and friends who often helped each other out in emergencies.
This was the first ever meeting of the two youngsters. Before this first dinner meeting, Marion’s mum debated which of the older daughters, Kate or Eva, would to sit next to Bill. When they couldn’t agree, it was decided that, instead, young Marion would be William’s dinner companion. The two got on marvelously and an initial friendship was established which, years later, grew into a lifelong companionship.
Around the age of 15, Marion grew closer to her friend Bill and a love affair started to blossom. In 1876 Marion and Bill decided they should announce their intentions and so Bill came to Marion’s house to ask for her hand. Marion had already told her sister Kate about her feelings for Bill and Kate had agreed to make their mother believe that Bill’s frequent visits to the house were for Kate’s benefit instead. When Bill arrived, Marion’s mother’s first cousin, Mrs George, was in an adjoining room and overheard the conversation:
Mother asked ‘well Willie, what can I do for you?’ Bill, in his bashful way, answered, ‘I have come to ask for one of your girls, Mrs. Carew.’ ‘Kate?’ Questioned her mother. ‘No,’ said Bill. ‘Eva?’ “No,’ was Bills answer again. “Not that child Mannie?!’ ‘Yes,’ said Bill. That evening, Mrs George repeated the conversation which caused fits of laughter amongst the sisters.