Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Front Matter
 A unique Diocese
 My first river expedition
 In a schooner amongst the cays
 The consecration of a bush...
 Amongst the bananas
 Earthquakes and volcanoes
 Floods, landslides and wash-ou...
 Services at sea
 The perils of Nicaragua
 Costa Rica
 Easter Day at Panama
 The greatest engineering enterprise...
 White and black
 The rebuilt churches of Jamaic...
 A few words to laymen

Group Title: Bishop amongst bananas
Title: A bishop amongst bananas
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078286/00001
 Material Information
Title: A bishop amongst bananas
Physical Description: xvi, 236 p. : front. (port.) plates ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bury, Herbert, 1853-1933
Publisher: W. Gardner, Darton
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: [1911]
Subject: Missions -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: Herbert Bury.
General Note: Illustrated t.-p.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078286
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000933526
oclc - 22482755
notis - AEP4541

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Title Page
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Table of Contents
        Page xiii
    List of Illustrations
        Page xiv
        Page xv
    Front Matter
        Page xvi
    A unique Diocese
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 8a
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    My first river expedition
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    In a schooner amongst the cays
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    The consecration of a bush church
        Page 46
        Page 46a
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 60a
    Amongst the bananas
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 78a
    Earthquakes and volcanoes
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 92a
    Floods, landslides and wash-outs
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 106a
    Services at sea
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 122a
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 136a
    The perils of Nicaragua
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
    Costa Rica
        Page 154
        Page 154a
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 166a
    Easter Day at Panama
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
    The greatest engineering enterprise in the world
        Page 182
        Page 182a
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
    White and black
        Page 196
        Page 196a
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
    The rebuilt churches of Jamaica
        Page 212
        Page 212a
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
    A few words to laymen
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
Full Text










Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., Ltd.
3 & 4, Paternoster Buildings, E.C.




30th September, 1911.

My dear Bishop,
I readily accept the Dedication of your book,
for I am only thankful that I have had this privilege of
being allowed to help you in your work by such advice
and sympathy as I could give.
You know how fully I have trusted your judgment
all through this very trying Mission, both in accepting
the office, and resigning it when you thought the right
time had come for you to do so.
I believe that you were sent there to do a particular
thing at that particular time, which few but you would
have attempted, and which has stimulated and directed
Church work in that country of bananas in a way which
will very soon be plainly seen and last for many a long
I hope the book will be widely read, and gain in-
creased interest and support for the work, which I know
you will hold dear, and help in every way you can, as
long as you live.
Yours affectionately,


MY time of service in Central America can
hardly be called an episcopate in the ordinary
sense of the word. With no home, no centre
of work, no abode of any kind, but always
moving on from place to place in a huge jurisdic-
tion, I have had to fulfil what I may more fitly
call an episcopal mission.
It will be abundantly clear from the following
pages that the Bishop of British Honduras ought
to be a man, under ordinary circumstances, of
between thirty and forty, but three years ago
it was important that he should be one of both
age and experience, if he was to obtain a hearing
from those, both at home and abroad, whose
consent and approval would have to be obtained
if certain very necessary rearrangements in the
work were ever to be carried out.
It was from the special character of the work,
therefore, that at the call of my revered Primate,
the Archbishop of the West Indies, and of the


Provincial Synod, I consented to undertake it,
although I had declined, when elected unani-
mously to another Diocese, where all was in
good order, four years before.
I think I may venture to say that the special
work I was called upon to do has been done, and
"in far less time than could possibly have been
expected," my Primate has more than once kindly
and reassuringly told me; and though I cannot
say more at present, I am hoping that in a few
months, perhaps even less, its results will be
officially and publicly made known, both in our
own country and in the United States.
It will ever be a disappointment to me that
I could not pay a farewell visitation to my
Diocese, but though I have touched-as is right
-with a light hand upon certain privations and
exposures to which one was subjected both in
1909 and 191o, yet they have had their effect,
as one is no longer young, and I was warned by
the medical authorities I can best trust, that if I
did return the probability would be that I should be
incapacitated from any other work in the future.
As all was duly arranged, therefore, and the

4 Preface
way made clear for a younger man to take up the
work, and have a home, and a centre of work,
and other advantages such as of necessity had been
denied to me, after consultation with the Arch-
bishop and the bishops of the Province assembled
in full Synod, I decided to resign, and it was
finally arranged that I should do so in the July
of this year.
I feel that this personal explanation is neces-
sary to those who read my book and see how
keen and full of interest I have been, and still
am, with respect to the work described, and who
may wonder, therefore, why one's connection with
it has been so short. I shall always thank God
for having been called to it, and shall ever con-
tinue keenly interested in it and help it all I can,
and shall always regard the clergy and laity I
have known in connection with it as close per-
sonal friends.

The illustrations are printed from photographs
which I have taken myself, except my own por-
traits at the beginning of the book, reproduced
by permission of Messrs. Russell and Co., the
coach-house dining-room in Jamaica, and the illus-


trations to the chapter on the Panama Canal
which have been furnished to me by friends in
the States.
I am indebted to the friendly Editor of The
Treasury for having enabled me to give some
of these experiences and incidents in the pages of
his excellent magazine, and thus interest many
people in the work both in our own country and
the United States.
And I cannot refrain from adding to my preface
the following extract from Ex-President Roose-
velt's kind letter accepting the dedication of the
American edition:
I took a very keen interest in your experiences
in that unique diocese of yours, and I am glad
that we are to have not only an account of these
experiences, but a knowledge of your ideas as
to what is the right type of work to be done
under such strange conditions. It is a work both
interesting and difficult, a work which only a
thoroughly competent as well as a devoted and
disinterested worker can do; but a work of
supreme value when rightly done. As an Ameri-
can, I feel a very real sense of gratitude to you,

because we Americans are more deeply concerned
in Central American problems and affairs than
the people of any other country, even your own.
Moreover, I am touched by the cordial sympathy
of your interest in what we of this country have
been doing on the Panama Canal Zone. My
dear Bishop, I am able to testify, from my own
knowledge, to the value of the work you did in
Central America, from the standpoint of Chris-
tianity and civilization, and I wish all possible
success to your book and to you yourself."




















* 32



* 79

* 93

. 107

. 123

* 137

* 154


















S 196





Frontispiece. The Rt. Rev. Herbert Bury, D.D.
In the Bananas.
In Church.

The Rectory at the Cayo.
A fallen Tree across a River.

STobacco Cay.
Blessing the Schooner, at the Cay.

IV. Returning from the Consecration.
The Church built for 50, at its Consecration.

V Making a light Railway through the Bananas.
The part already made.

Carved work nearer view.
A Guatemala Church.

On a push-car.
Leaving the Landslide.

VIII. My first coloured wedding.
A Service on board.

List of Illustrations
A View in Guatemala.
Muy cansada."

Along the River.
With Indians in Guatemala.

Making a Swamp into a Town.
Over the River in a cradle.

Entrance to Canal.
Steam Shovel at work.

Watching our boat go by on the old River.
XIII. The Bishop, the Rev. P. B. Simpson and some of
his people.

XIV. The Archbishop and his Coach-house home.

X. Receiving the Bishop.
With Englishmen on a Banana-boat coming home.

As I stood one morning, according to custom, at the door of one
of my timber churches in Costa Rica, to say good-bye to the
people after the Early Celebration, before leaving them for that
year, a tall, strong negro came out, leading his little boy of seven
by the hand. When he and I had expressed our mutual good-
will in the usual God bless you and God speed" he glanced
down at his little son, who at once, looking timidly up at me as
he did so, redted a text, Early in the morning will I direct
my prayer unto Thee, and will look up." It was a text I had
taken weeks before at their Children's Serice, and the father
wished his bishop to see that one small person out of the con-
gregation remembered what had been said. But I place the
incident here because it will always be to me typical and
emblematic. Whenever Iam thinking of the future of the dark
race, I shall see again that little black face turned wistfully up
into mine, and I skallfeel that it is thus that the negro race is
looking up into the face of the white race all over the world
to-day, and especially in our great Empire--" looking up to us
for example and leadership and responsibility fulflled, for sym-
pathy, friendliness and inspiration; and if I can awaken such
feelings in my readers where they do not exist, or strengthen
and deepen them where they do, then these pages will not have
been written in vain, though many of them have been penned with
great efrt, and amid the scenes and incidents, the perils and
vicissitudes they are meant to describe.





I MUST, at the very beginning, carefully describe
my Diocese! That is certain! It will not do to
have any one reading on and all the time think-
ing, as one of my clerical friends, a Canon and
Rural Dean, admitted to me a short time ago, he
had always thought "that British Honduras is
an island."
Neither should I like any to be saying to them-
selves, "I am not sure where these places are,
though I know they are somewhere south of the
Isthmus of Panama"; and that has often been
said to me, also, with other vague and uncertain
It is quite extraordinary to think how com-
pletely we Englishmen have lost all touch with

A Unique Diocese
Central America and knowledge of its position;
for in the Elizabethan age I suppose it was as
well known and as full of keen interest to us in
this country, with so many of our best and most
adventurous spirits going to and fro, as it is to
the people of the United States to-day.
No one, however, with us seems to know any-
thing at all about it or where it is. Sometimes
when I have mentioned it I have seen a look as
blank and uncertain come over the face as if I
had spoken of some place as remote as the middle
of the Great Sahara.
A great Church Dignitary, who has been most
warmly interested in my work from the first,
startled me very much at the end of my first
Visitation, when I was describing it in his presence,
by taking down an atlas and saying, "Show me
where your Diocese is before we go any further,
for I must own that I am very hazy about it."
I must try, therefore, to anticipate such a per-
fectly reasonable request on the part of those
I want to interest in the work, and will therefore
in this first chapter describe it as fully and care-
fully as I can, for it is indeed "A unique Diocese."
The jurisdiction extends from the southern
boundaries of Mexico-that great and prosperous
Republic-down to the Isthmus of Panama,

A Unique Diocese
stopping short by about five miles of the Canal
which the Americans are making there.
It consists of British Honduras and the Spanish
Republics of Guatemala, Spanish Honduras,
Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
It has a coast line of from 100ooo to 1200 miles,
but I should hesitate to go into exact figures as
to this, or as to the area or the population, for it
is at presenxunsurveyed. A very few words of
description will, I think, explain the situation.
British Honduras is an ordinary British Colony
about the size of Wales, with but a small popula-
tion of about 40,000, of whom 2 per cent only
are white and the rest black-the negro descen-
dants of the slaves of other days. It is for the
most part entirely unsurveyed and unexplored,
and consists of tropical forest ever luxuriantly
growing, and so impenetrable that every foot of
one's advance into it would have to be made by
cutting one's way with axe and sword. Mountains
as high as and higher than Snowdon can be seen
not far away from the coast, but I have never
yet met or heard of any one who has been there.
The Colony remains for the most part quite un-
known. This was the original Diocese.
During the last ten years, however, a great
development has taken place. The six Spanish

A Unique Diocese
Republics I have mentioned possess some of the
most fertile soil in the world and especially suit-
able for the cultivation of fruit, and, particularly
along the coast, for the banana; and great tracts of
country in Spanish Honduras, Guatemala, Costa
Rica, and Panama-and far down beyond the
Isthmus-have been acquired and are being used
for this purpose by the United Fruit Company of
Boston and New York.
But when they began their operations, the
labour question, as all through the Tropics, was
for them a serious one, for the natives of the
countries, descendants of the old Spanish con-
querors and colonists and the aboriginal Indians,
a mixed race of course, were already employed
in coffee growing, etc., and could not furnish,
even if they had been willing to work on the
banana plantations, anything like the large num-
bers of labourers required, as the demand for
them steadily increases year by year.
Recourse was had therefore, at this juncture,
to our British West Indies so conveniently near,
Jamaica being only three days away from the
southern border of the Republic of Panama; and
thousands of West Indian negroes, especially
Jamaicans, are now at work for the Company,
and are continually coming and going throughout

A Unique Diocese
the year. These negro labourers are our own
fellow-subjects, and a very great number of them
are our own fellow Churchmen, and they are
very loyal and persistent in character.
It is good to see one of our Jamaicans draw
himself up and say, "I'm a British subject!"
-sometimes he inadvertently says "object," but
his meaning is the same,-full of intense self-
respect as he does so.
And it is no mere figure of speech either, as
those find out who take an undue advantage of
him. He has a very disagreeable way of turn-
ing up, under those circumstances, at the British
Consul's office or at the British Legation, if there
is one, and claiming his rights in a manner ex-
tremely disconcerting to the foreigner who has
been attempting an injustice. And those who
know our Civil Service will be sure that he
always finds himself "backed up when his claim
is a just one.
And the negro is just as persistent-I should
say that persistence, though some call it obstinacy,
is one of his leading characteristics-in claim-
ing the rights and privileges to which he feels he
is entitled as a member of the Church of England.
He will have them if it is at all possible to get
them, a determination entirely to his credit.

A Unique Diocese
My predecessor therefore, Bishop Ormsby,
found before he had been long settled down in
the comparatively small see of British Honduras
some sixteen years ago, that he had "to enlarge
his borders so as to take these negroes in. The
Diocese was extended in consequence far beyond
what was first intended for it, and by an Order
in Council in 1894 it was made to include Guate-
mala, Spanish Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa
Rica; and again in 1895 it was pushed still
further and made to reach to the Magdalena
river, far south of the Isthmus of Panama.
When the United States, however, bought not
only the property of the old French Company, but
the adjacent land itself, as I have more fully
explained in a later chapter, an act of Cession
took place to the American Church and the
southern boundary of the Diocese was with-
drawn to a line five miles north of the Isthmus
The position therefore is this, that the Diocese
consists of the Colony of British Honduras, in
size resembling Wales, and worked much as any
other Diocese in the West Indies is worked;
but in addition it includes the Central American
Republics, into which the Bishop goes, without
in any way interfering with the people of the

A Unique Diocese
country or their clergy, for they are all Roman
Catholics, in order that he may provide for the
spiritual needs of the imported labourers who
are our fellow subjects and fellow Churchmen.
This is an object with which I cannot but think
that my readers will find themselves for the most
part in full sympathy.
It would be a very hard thing for those loyal
Churchmen, black though they be, when practically
driven away from their own homes by industrial
pressure-in Jamaica a negro labourer has Is. a
day and in Central America 5s.-to find them-
selves on the vast banana plantations to which
they go, without any of the means of grace or
opportunities of entering into the duties and
responsibilities of public Christian life. Think
of them coming to such places, with a very low
standard of morality all round them, drinking, lust,
gambling and practical heathenism on every side
-for the Roman Catholic Church is at its weakest
and worst in that part of the world, I have been
told by some of its own clergy there-and with
nothing and no one to help them; no church
to go to, no clergy to teach them and conduct
their worship, give them the Sacraments, marry,
visit, and advise them,-it would be a terrible

A Unique Diocese
Thirty-five years ago, at the end of my first
year at Oxford, I had to go and live for the greater
part of two years in that same hemisphere, only
lower down, for health's sake, and during that
time on the cattle ranch, where I was then a
guest, every one of us had fifty miles to go to the
nearest church, fifty miles before we could have
a service of any kind conducted by a clergyman,
or receive the Holy Communion. Nor did any
clergyman during that time ever pay us a visit.
I feel, therefore, that I do know a little of what it
means in a man's life, and especially in the life of
a young man, to have neither Church nor Parson
within reach, and I can only say how thankful I
am that our English Church has not left, and
does not mean to leave, our negroes in Central
America, so far away from their own home, in that
desolate and unhappy condition.
The country I have now described I do not
hesitate to say is one of the most interesting,
romantic, adventurous and beautiful in the whole
world. It is the country to which we were
always taken in thrilling stories of the Spanish
Main, in the ardent days of boyhood, the land
which we associate with the names of Columbus,
Cortes, Pizarro, Alvarado, Sir Francis Drake
and other British heroes. It was the scene of



A U Aque Diocese
the noble efforts and self-denying labours and
really great achievements of Las Casas, the
great Apostle of the Indies.
There is no more beautiful country on the face
of the earth, with its tropical forests and rivers
such as Kingsley describes in his chapter, The
Banks of the Meta, in Westward Ho with
magnificent flowers, fruits, butterflies and birds,
its fearsome-looking volcanic peaks towering up
to the height of 13,ooo feet, and great lakes and
wide lagoons. There are still most interesting
survivals of the old races, as in the Indians of
Guatemala, their pottery, gold and silver orna-
ments, their idols and ruined temples.
No more magnificent churches have ever been
built than those placed here by the early Jesuits
and other Orders, and their ecclesiastical treasures
in the shape of sacred vessels and vestments,
missals and carvings of the choicest wood and
stone, are still to be seen, and many more no
doubt are waiting to be discovered.
But these countries have governments some of
which it would be simple flattery to describe even
as mediaeval, so unblushing are they in their cor-
ruption and oppression; though they certainly
give a great flavour of romance and mystery, a
spice of the adventurous, to life within their own

A Unique Diocese
borders for those who, like one's self, have felt
quite safe comparatively, knowing that the British
Minister is a strong man and will stand no
But all kinds of strange stories are always
coming to one's knowledge, and one knows
that one is surrounded by spies in some of
the worst of the countries, as one travels along
the railway-when there is one-or over a lonely
road upon a mule, or seated at a table in inn or
hotel where the servant who hands one's food is
probably in the pay of the Government. I could
give some thrilling instances of what I am saying,
but one has to think of the possibilities of the
future, and so it is best to give neither instances
nor names.
Ever since the first extension of the Diocese
it has been impossible for the bishop to have any
real centre or home. Belize is of course the
capital of the Colony, with its cathedral and
cathedral parish; the Synod meets there, and the
Standing Committee and Corporate Body hold
their meetings there, but it is near the northern
boundary of the jurisdiction and the great bulk
of the clergy can never go there, and so the
bishop has not been able to live there either.
He can in fact, while things remain as they are,

A Unique Diocese
have no home at all, though he may try and
make an attempt at a centre, for if he visits every
station and all his clergy once a year he must be
ever on the move.
I have travelled over the country I have
described in almost every kind of way in which
one can travel, in big liners and small steamships,
as many of the stations are on the coast, in
schooners, sloops, gasoline launches and river
steamers, in large and small canoes, in every kind
of ship, I often say, except an airship, on railway
trains and trolleys and carriages, upon horseback
and muleback, and, though not often, on foot;
and as I think of it all, I can only say again that
I feel sure there is no more attractively beautiful
or excitingly adventurous country in the whole
I have some hope that I am leaving the next
bishop a place that he can call a Home and from
which he can make his annual Visitation in sec-
tions, returning after each one to rest and "get over
it"; and no doubt this will be far better than going
steadily through it all from beginning to end and
taking the greater part of the year, but I feel
that a certain part of the romance will be gone.
There can be a real spirit of enthralling
romance in spiritual life and work, and both

A Unique Diocese
St. Paul and Las Casas must have had it; and I
can't help feeling very happy that a taste of it
has come into my experiences also, and I humbly
thank GOD for it, as one thinks how many better
men than one's self have to be content with the
trivial round, the common task," and know no
change nor variety of work.
I shall never cease to remember with keenest
interest of retrospect my arrival with my son
three years ago, when I first reached the capital
of my Diocese. It is a very bad harbour, and
steamers have to anchor far out and unload into
launches and small boats, and so the Governor's
barge was kindly sent out for us.
It was the loveliest of mornings; the sun was
shining in a cloudless sky upon a sea of tur-
quoise blue, and as we steamed over the shallows,
there before us was Belize, all white buildings
and green palms, "rising," as an American
writer has truly said, "like another Venice from
the sea."
As we drew near there came into sight a great
gathering of folk of all ages filling up the fore-
shore-all black, of course, but in white and many-
coloured raiment. All the shades of the rain-
bow were there. One could see nothing more
picturesque, and I don't suppose I shall ever see

A Unique Diocese
such a sight again. "It is like the landing of
Columbus! said my son.
It was Belize's reception of its new bishop.
How grave and serious those dark faces looked,
wondering what sort of a bishop they were
going to have! The Standing Committee, the
Dean and Archdeacon, had all come out to meet
me, and the reception seemed as if it were going
to be a very solemn and serious matter, out of all
character with place and people and surroundings;
so I took off my bishop's hat, the only time
I have ever had it on when in my Diocese,
waved it in the air, and cried out, "Good morn-
ing !" How kind in you all to come and meet
me like this!" I'm so glad to see you!" and
all the cheery and friendly things I could think
of; and, at once, as by magic, all those grave and
serious looks had vanished, and brilliant flashing
smiles and sparkling eyes and rows of shining
teeth had taken their place.
Willing hands were stretched out on all sides to
help one ashore, and if one had had a hundred
hands they would all have been seized and
eagerly shaken. All wished to bid one welcome
in this way and to shake hands. Did you get
him, Ma'am ? said one dusky matron to another.
"Oh, yes, Ma'am, I got him good!" and so on.

A Unique Diocese
Then we all moved on through the little lanes
and along the roads of what has been called
"the cleanest and prettiest town in the West
Indies" to the Cathedral, where with most kind
forethought they had prepared a Service, feeling
sure one would wish to go there first of all to
give thanks to GOD for one's safe arrival, and
pray that His grace, guidance, and blessing
might be given from the first to the work.
Of course, it was impossible for that great
crowd to get inside the Cathedral, the large parish
church of St. John's which has stood there
nearly a hundred years, and has many touching
memorials of the past upon its walls; but that
makes no difference on great occasions, for the
huge doors and large window spaces stand wide
open to let in the fresh air, and it is as easy to
see and hear outside as in, and sometimes even
better, so great numbers that day stood outside
in the large churchyard and entered heartily into
the service.
It began with a Processional Hymn, and as
I stood there with my Archdeacon on one side
and my son on the other, in the Governor's pew
at the top of the nave, and watched the choir
men and boys passing up into their places, their
black faces above their white surplices and violet

A Unique Diocese
cassocks reminding me what a new life was
beginning for me; and then, as I sang the well-
known words, and looked over the huge con-
gregation, all black faces on every side, and out
into the churchyard to meet the eager expressions
of those who were standing there;-although one
was full of the devotion of the Thanksgiving
Service we were offering to the Great Eternal,
I found myself thinking also: "Well, whatever
my Episcopate in the Providence of GOD may
be, it will be as far away from the commonplace
and conventional as anything can be, or I'm very
much mistaken."
I feel sure that any one who will patiently and
thoughtfully go with me through these pages will
feel that was a true premonition of what was to
come, and that it was not as presumptuous as
perhaps some might be disposed at first sight to
think, to head my opening chapter "A Unique



WE have no roads in British Honduras! The
chief means of communication in the interior, as
one proceeds from the coast, are the rivers; and
as Belize, with its two well-worked parishes of
St. John's, under Canon Davies, who has lately
undertaken it, and St. Mary's, under Archdeacon
Murray, now in his twenty-second year of service,
does not differ from an ordinary town at home
as to methods of working and results, I will
take my readers with me therefore for a river
Let us take the Rio Viejo, or Old River. I
give its Spanish name because, as the Spanish-
speaking country of Guatemala is close at hand,
many names are expressed in that language
along the rivers, and many of the labourers
are of that nationality, though the prevailing
language throughout the Diocese, of course, is
We will go in a little gasoline launch, with




My First River Expedition
a permanent wooden canopy overhead as a pro-
tection from the sun, and a space for ourselves,
just sufficient for two people to sit by day, and
have a little canvas camp table for food, and to
contain their little camp beds by night. We have
a crew of four: the captain who steers, an
engineer, a cook, and an odd boy.
We don't propose to give the cook anything
to do, though the men will need him, for we our-
selves take a travelling basket in which there
is a kettle for our tea, and a saucepan to boil
eggs, and knives and forks and plates, etc. etc.
We pack cooked food also into little enamel
receptacles which fit easily inside the basket, and
so are quite complete. Just a word or two about
the food, for it is always the same: eggs, cold
roasted fowls, bread, and Bartley's tinned pears.
And I dare say some of my readers may be
thinking, And they do themselves pretty well,
too "; but I can only say that there are fowls and
fowls, and that the fowls of British Honduras
must be very fair athletes from a very early age,
if one is to judge from the strength of their steel-
like muscles when they are killed and cooked.
Often one has had to press one's hardest with
one's knife upon the breast of the creature, only to
see the flesh spring back into its place again, like
b 17

My First River Expedition
indiarubber, when one has taken the knife away.
Still, one can get on very fairly well with pears
and eggs and bread, which are all good, and
bear with composure another roast fowl, sure to
appear as the piace de resistance upon one's
host's table when we arrive at our destination.
How delightful those river expeditions are to
recall! We go swiftly up stream, making a re-
freshing breeze all the time as we meet the air,
the banks full of interest and variety on either
side, and stopping now and then to see some
interesting form of life-for my son is an ardent
naturalist-or to deliver something brought up
by the crew for friends they know.
It is my own boat for the time being, as I
have had to hire or charter it at my own expense,
or otherwise some twenty-six or twenty-eight
people would have been forced into that space
which, when our own little camp beds were put
up side by side at night, left no further room!
This hardly seems to be credible, I know,
but the proprietors told me that it would be so if
I went as a passenger. "We would take you
for nothing, Bishop," they said, "as an ordinary
passenger, but as Churchmen we advise you not
to go, for you have not the least idea what it will
be like." I took their advice and hired the boat at

My First River Expedition
considerable expense, and when later on I saw
the twenty-eight people, men, women and chil-
dren, and their dogs and parrots and parcels and
bags, which were going up in her on the boat's
next trip, I could only feel thankful I had done
Later still, on the Nicaraguan coast, I was to
learn what it means to be in an open boat upon
the sea, with so many crowded together that it is
impossible to sit, lie, walk, stand, sleep or eat
with anything approaching convenience, and in
which there is no provision whatever made for
the ordinary decencies and necessities of life.
We go on steadily, up towards the Guatemala
frontier, along our winding river, sometimes
through miles of mangrove on either hand (the
tendrils of which come down into the river, and
then, taking root, again grow upwards), butter-
flies and brilliantly coloured birds fluttering
through their branches; and, as the country opens
out a little, pretty houses painted in different
shades of red and green, white predominating,
with negroes now and then coming to the banks
to see us pass by.
It is full of interest and variety, this first river
journey. Canoes, or doreys, as they are called
when of the "dug-out" order, with picturesque

My First River Expedition
occupants, laden with fruit or household stuff, are
always meeting us or being overtaken, for the
paddle is no match for our little gas engine.
At times we come to shallows, where even our
very flat-bottomed boat has to be carefully
steered lest she gets aground, and sometimes we
come to rapids where the engine is not enough,
and strong poles have to help us along; but one
never gets tired of looking out on either hand.
At last the night comes on, and our beds
have to be put together and rugs drawn up and
we go to rest. The moon is up-we have had to
reckon upon that, or travelling by night would
have been impossible-and the last we see before
going to sleep is as beautiful as it would be if
seen by day, though colour now is gone and all is
black or silver-white.
Such is a river journey, and in due time we
arrive at our destination, El Cayo-eight miles
from the frontier, and a place which will be im-
portant some day if the Colony gets its due
development. There is a large gathering of folk
to meet us. A doctor friend had lent us his
house, but it only contained two beds, we found,
and we had to send off the willing boys, who had
carried up our belongings, to borrow the various
things which were needed to complete even a

My First River Expedition
very elementary mdnage; and speeding off in
all directions they soon returned with the chairs,
table, and fresh water and other things required.
Our food we were to have with a Barbadian,
a sidesman of the Church, and his kindly and
hospitable wife.
It may be occurring to my reader's mind,
"Why didn't they stay with the clergyman, I
wonder, orat least go there for their meals?" But
here is the rectory, which shall speak for itself.
It rather recalls the historic minutes of a certain
Colonial Diocese which, when being read, con-
tained the entry, "A grant was made to the
bishop for 20 to provide a palace "; but humble
as it looks, the Rev. William Hope and his wife
have lived there with their eight children for
many years, and have brought them up as well,
I venture to think, as sons and daughters are
brought up in any rectory or vicarage at home.
Mrs. Hope especially is a noble woman, a perfect
heroine, and I cannot attempt to express the
respect and regard I feel for women such as she
is, who in lonely parts of the Empire all over the
world to-day, are year after year doing their
work in the home, church, school and station,
with nothing at all to redeem what so many
would feel the deadly monotony of it all, except

My First River Expedition
the one ever-sweetening and supporting thought,
"It is my duty."
It had long been an understood thing at El
Cayo that, when it was known that the bishop
had arrived, a Confirmation would follow that
night without further notice. In many stations,
as soon as one Confirmation is over they begin
to have instruction for another, and so in a sense
they are always prepared. In the afternoon I
went to look at the church and shall never forget
it. It was in a perfect "slough of despond"-
with mud round about it on every side. Boards
were laid down with a certain amount of fore-
sight, but I should imagine it would be difficult to
keep upon them at night, and, as a matter of fact,
I had to mount a horse just before seven o'clock
and go plunging through that thick and clinging
mud in a way that reminded me of how mares
are made to tread similar mud for brick making
in Argentina. It was badly situated, that little
church, and it was a meagre little building in
itself, used for church, school, social gatherings,
everything, though a great deal better, of course,
than nothing.
In the afternoon I paid calls upon some of the
people, the District Commissioner and others, and
then came the Confirmation at seven o'clock.

My First River Expedition
When the plunging steed aforesaid had delivered
us in turn at the steps of the church, we robed in
a tiny little space at the west end of the church,
and then hurried out so that the little black boys
could go in and put on their rags which went by
the name of surplices. We sat down, to wait, on
boxes which had contained kerosene, just out-
side, and looked at the little handful of children
evidently full of curiosity, and the few candidates
on the front seats, who made up all the congre-
At this moment good Mr. Hope came up and
said indignantly: "Just think, Bishop, one of my
best candidates, a married woman, has sent me
word that she can't come, as she has to put the
children to bed!"
I don't think I have ever felt more dejected
in my life at the prospects of a Service than I did
that night when going up the centre of that little
shanty church singing Onward, Christian Sol-
diers." But you never can tell! All the
candidates but two, I found, were there, and the
church had filled up-was crowded, indeed-when
I began the first address. There was no mis-
taking the spiritual earnestness that soon made
itself felt in that little eager gathering, and I
have never felt more moved in pleading for the

My First River Expedition
great neglected Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, than
I did that night in the second address to the newly
confirmed and those who were present with them.
I noted one old negress particularly, frail and
feeble and almost crippled with rheumatism, as
she made her way in, coming rather late, and
moving with difficulty up to one of the front
seats with the candidates, sinking down with
evident satisfaction and relief. With what devout
interest she followed that service! how eagerly
she listened to the message as embodied in the
invitation, to be repeated again in the early
morning, "Come unto Me, all ye that travail"!
That eager face I shall not soon forget, and I
was to hear of it again.
At the early Celebration she was there again,
and all the confirmed, and many others with
them. It was a goodly gathering, and one to
rejoice the heart.
"Do you think," I said to my host as I sat
at breakfast in his little hut, "that there were
many there who had not been before for any
length of time? "
I'm sure of it," he said; "and one man, I
know, had not been to Communion for fourteen
years." And then he added hesitatingly and
shyly, "And that man, Bishop, was myself!"

My First River Expedition
We at once grasped hands across the table,
and I spoke my few words of congratulation and
good cheer.
It was most encouraging, and as I finished
breakfast I said to myself, "I'll go round now
and see what my friend is like who wouldn't come
because she was putting her children to bed."
Just outside a girl of seventeen came up to me,
eager and almost breathless, and looking very ill,
and at once began :
Oh, Bishop, I'm so sorry. I was to be con-
firmed last night, but I was down with fever and
could not get up, but I've come this morning."
How far, my child ?" I said. "Three miles,"
she answered. Under the hot sun, with the
fever on her, she had toiled painfully along
the river-side lest she should miss her Confirma-
"Come with me," I said. "Of course I'll
confirm you, and gladly." And then, going on,
I reached the little abode of that over-solicitous
mother of the night before.
How little one can judge by what one hears !
She began at once: "Oh, Bishop, I'm so glad
to see you! I ought to have come last night,
but I have an old mother, crippled and feeble,
and who hasn't long to live, and who had set her
B 2S

My First River Expedition
heart on coming to hear you and be at the Con-
firmation. One of us would have had to stop
at home and take care of the children, for they
can't be left, and as every neighbour wanted to
be there I thought I ought to give way. I hope
you'll think I did right, for you don't know what
those services have been to my old mother."
I did know, for I had already seen that "old
mother's face" in Church, and one entered
very thoughtfully upon the confirmation of her
In the afternoon a young man of twenty-two
came to see me, having heard far away in the
woods that there was a Confirmation, and who,
I could see, had had little or no instruction; but
the. leading and direct question, "Why do you
want to be confirmed ?" brought such a straight
and earnest answer, that I thought it quite worth
while to give up the greater part of the afternoon
to his instruction, and at Evensong, he also pro-
fessed Christ before men "in the presence of God
and of that congregation."
These are the incidental experiences of a
bishop in a Diocese like mine, where occasional
and individual Confirmations are quite as interest-
ing and encouraging as the usual and ordinary

My First River Expedition
And so the time at the Cayo passes away-
business, receptions, committees, services, special
calls, and so on. One gets a ride in a marvellous
forest high above the river, one's steed taking
sudden leaps in noticing dangers such as snakes
unnoticed by one's self, but causing imminent
peril from branches overhead, and on coming to
an open space dashing across at an exhilarating
gallop. Then the chief landowner decides that
he will give me land in a better position, away
from that appalling mud, and bordering upon the
future main road, for a new church, and thank-
fully I help him to measure off the space.
Since then I have got the money required-
3oo-and long ago those rags of my first
night's Service have been replaced by red cas-
socks-a black face looks so odd above a black
one, and it charms the negro boys to feel that
they are attired like the boys of Westminster
Abbey-and new white surplices, and all other
kinds of additions and improvements have been
added to the little church. One has much to
be thankful for since that first episcopal visit!
The District Commissioner appeared just after
the marking off of the land, and proposed that
I should accompany him on an expedition to the
Guatemala frontier only eight miles away, but

My First River Expedition
I found it would take eight hours because of the
mud, and had to decline.
Instead, I had to pay a sick visit which is
worth remembering. There are two men down
with fever, Bishop, and the doctor" (we were
occupying his house) "is far away. Will you
come and see them ?" Off we went to a little
hut where the two negroes were lying upon their
beds, in opposite corners, very weak and evi-
dently in great pain. One was a fine, strongly-
built fellow, and the other less robust, but both
of them greeted me with very wistful and rather
hopeless looks. I talked to them and cheered
them up, and then gave them my usual remedies
in such cases, phenacetin to lessen the tempera-
ture and relieve the throbbing headache, and
then tabloids of quinine to be taken regularly
after about three hours to tone and brace up.
When I went in next day the strong fellow was
up and smiling. Before the door had closed
almost, Bishop, I was asleep, and when I woke
up my headache had gone, and I began to
take the quinine, and now the fever is all gone
to-day." I turned to the other, and he too said
cheerfully, "And I'm better too"; but I saw
through the effort and felt it was a serious
case, and so, after consulting his mates, decided

My First River Expedition
to take him down the river with us that
night. His gratitude was very touching, and
having chartered the boat and being able to do
what one liked with it, we were able to take
him with us, for he would certainly have died
if left.
His friends carried him to the boat, and we
took every care of him and got him into the
hospital at Belize, where he had a long time of
it, but eventually recovered; and a year later,
when I was again at the Cathedral for a Con-
firmation, he was one of those upon whom I had
to "lay hands." It is a great thing to feel that
one has had the privilege of saving a fellow
creature's life.
When we left El Cayo it was as picturesque a
sight as one could ever wish to see. The moon
was at the full, a small band had escorted us
down, the people were gathered together, nearly
all in white, their usual dress for going to church,
standing on a great bluff above the river. Our
little boat looked very pretty with its hurricane
lamps all brightly burning. Even the sick man
on his spring mattress, which we had been able
to supply, was full of interest and animation, and
all kinds of salutations and "Good-byes" and
"God bless yous" were exchanged as we first

My First River Expedition
shot up the river past the bluff in order to turn,
and then went swiftly down, this time greatly
helped by the stream; and soon El Cayo had
faded from our view.
We talked over our stirring experiences (and
it was that night I determined that I must write
a book like this), and then our little camp beds
were unpacked, put together and set up, our rugs
drawn over us, and by ten o'clock we were fast
One sleeps soundly in the tropics in the open
air in a river or coasting boat, but we were not
destined to do so that night. About half-past
one we were roused by a startling crash, and I
found myself sitting up, covered with the wood of
the broken canopy overhead, wondering what had
happened. A great flare went up from the little
gas engine, and then went out. From the river
came the panting of a man swimming for his life,
for it swarmed with alligators.
We had suddenly smashed into a tree which
had fallen across the river since we had passed
up, and which a slight mist above the water had
prevented our captain from seeing. Its branches
had swept our sleeping cook in his hammock
straight into the river, and it was his effort to
regain the boat we had heard. The shock had

My First River Expedition
destroyed the engine and injured our wooden
canopy, but mercifully no further harm was done.
With a similar experience, a little later, three
people lost their lives, so we have ever since
felt devoutly thankful for our own escape. The
negro mechanics on these boats are most handy
men, and it was astonishing how ours was able
to repair that hopeless-looking engine and so
enable us in a few hours to go on, and reach
Belize again only a very little later than our
expected time.
This is a fair sample of an episcopal visit to a
lonely station, just as one would go up the New
River also, though it is narrower than the Old.
There, however, the steamer simply rips its way
in places through the foliage, strewing its deck with
leaves and branches, up to lonely Orange Walk,
where the Rev. F. E. Smith and his devoted
wife-and a large family-live and do just the
same good work with nothing to keep them up
but that simple wish to do their duty which one
met with at El Cayo.



LET us now go for an expedition of special
interest, in a small schooner, amongst those cays,
or small islands, which are dotted about the waters
of British Honduras, within that great reef which
extends in a long line down the coast, though
some eighteen or twenty miles away, and forms
a great protection to the small craft of the men
who live by fishing and catching turtle.
As in our river expedition we charter the boat,
but this time at a very moderate rate, a day.
It is a delightful little schooner of some thirty
tons, and with a crew of four again, Alec Swazey
the captain, and Tom Gill and his two brothers.
Alec and Tom had built the boat themselves at
their own little cay, and are justly proud of it.
They call it Le Dernier-the last built-which I
thought a very futile name, but have not been
able to suggest another as yet, for all the names
of boats are registered, whether great or small,
which are sailed beneath the British flag, and it





In a Schooner amongst the Cays
is very difficult indeed to get a good name, which
has not been used before. I wanted Hope, or
Fair Hope, or Good Hope, for special reasons, but
all three were already in use, and so our schooner
remains Le Dernier for the present.
One's outfit is just as it was before, with the
exception of the camp beds now left behind.
There is a cabin in the Dernier with two bunks,
and so this time we take mattresses to put in
them, chairs and tables as before, and of course
the travelling basket duly replenished with cold
roast fowls, bread and pears, and other good
things. It was delightful to set out for an ex-
pedition over the sea, which was to be indefinite,
in a sense, with no time fixed for our return, and
feeling at liberty to keep our clean and bright
little craft till our work was done.
The Governor-Sir Eric Swayne-took us off
in his barge, coming himself to inspect our boat.
He is an ardent sailor, and subsequently built a
sloop which surpassed our Dernier, and in which
I have enjoyed a sail or two with the keenest
pleasure. He was very pleased with our little
boat, and wished he was coming with us; and
certainly the auspices were good that bright,
clear sunny morning as we drew up our anchor,
though a black and horrible-looking triangular
F 33

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
fin moving slowly past us, just standing clear of
the water but not showing the shark himself,
relentless and ill-omened looking, reminded us
that we were launching forth upon a perilous
But what a change from the gas engine of a
little river launch, and its vibrating movement
and pungent smells, to the quiet, graceful, sweep-
ing, swan-like movement of our schooner as it
glides over the sea, almost noiselessly except for
the little rippling swish of the waters parted by
our bows! We sweep grandly on for a time with
the Coxcomb Mountains on our right, stretching
away into the unknown interior, the sea quite
gay with other craft, the shores of richest green,
cocoanut palms, bananas, mangrove-all different
in shade, but always green.
The wind drops a little, and we have to begin
to tack, taking large sweeps as we do so. A red
cross flag-St. George's-with a mitre in one
corner, is flying at our mainmast and is intended
to announce that the boat is engaged for an
episcopal visitation. Such days are indeed a
renewal of one's youth, and the air one breathes
seems to be a veritable elixir of life, and again
and again I shall have to say of them that they
will never be forgotten," and I mean just what

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
I thus say. It will be impossible while memory
holds good to forget either the days themselves
or their indelible impressions.
It will not be possible to describe at length the
places to which one went for Confirmations and
other Services. Space would not permit. I will
therefore describe two only, one upon the sea and
the other on the mainland, and from what one
says of these two an idea can be formed of what
one found and experienced in other places.
Tobacco Cay is a little island of white sand
measuring about six acres, and some ten or
twelve miles from the mainland. Six hundred
cocoanut palms grow upon it and cover it com-
pletely over, coming down to the very water's
edge and giving it the appearance, as one draws
near, of a beautiful green bouquet held up above
the waves. Not till one draws quite close does
one see the white sandy edge of the shore, even
with the water-a few high waves apparently
would sweep clean over it-and under the palms
the few houses and the little school church, all
of timber and painted white, raised high up on
strong wooden posts to keep things dry in case
of high water or flood.
There are some sixty or seventy people, men,
women and children, here altogether, and any

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
one who wants to live the simple life could hardly
do better than try it at Tobacco Cay. It seemed
to me an ideal community.
Here on the island our four men lived-we
visited their families-and here they had built
their little boat only a very short time before,
and ours was its first charter. It was early in the
morning when we arrived, and our crew told us
we need take no food ashore, as they would have
made every hospitable preparation for our recep-
tion, so we gave them all our bread and the
remaining roast fowl, and landed. I remembered
as I was doing this that it was a somewhat
incautious "burning of our ships," but put the
thought aside as unjust to our worthy islanders,
and forgot all about it. But I was to remember
In a little station like this one has a school-
master who is also a licensed lay reader, and he
teaches and conducts services in a school church,
and has the clergyman from the mainland to
come over from time to time during the week,
and give a special service and Celebration of
Holy Communion.
They are a simple, quite clean and straight
living people-all black, of course-and "follow
the sea" for a livelihood, either by fishing or

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
catching the small turtle which give us tortoise-
shell." I have a beautiful shell, all complete
above and below, with a wonderful polish put
upon it by an English firm, hanging up before
me in my study in England, caught in these
waters and sent me by my former crew. Their
"shell" they sell, of course, in Belize; fish they
eat when fresh, and dry quantities in the sun for
use in time of stress and storm, and as I went
about exploring I found a large quantity hung
up to dry on a kind of clothes line, the smell of
which was rather strong.
The lay reader, a very fine, capable and
modest young fellow, took me everywhere, and
helped me to make calls and see everything;
but as it drew near to noon we began to feel
those pangs of hunger which are only to be really
known by those who are just living on the very
bare necessaries of life; and so I at last took
courage, and inquired,
Mr. C- will there be any food for us ?"
"Food!" he said in a startled way-" food!"
"Yes," I said more firmly, "food, for we have
none aboard, and I should be very thankful for a
meal, however simple."
"Well," he rejoined, I'm afraid we shall have
nothing for you, Bishop, till to-night."

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
"And what are you going to give us then?"
I asked, thinking perhaps we might last out for
something really satisfying.
"It will only be a little light pastry and ice-
cream, I'm afraid," was his reply.
I could hardly believe my ears-" light pastry
and ice-cream" on that small and lonely island!
But it was perfectly true. They had sent to the
mainland for half a hundredweight of ice-only
half of it survived the journey-and were mak-
ing little cocoanut tarts as well, so that they
could have a first-class "Ice-cream Social" in
honour of the Bishop's visit.
Of course it was impossible one should wait,
and so I proposed that, like St. Peter, we should
"go a-fishing." What an afternoon that was in
our frail canoe! We looked over its sides deep
down into what seemed infinities of ultramarine,
gem like, clear, still water of palest green it
seemed at one moment, and then, as the light
changed, of faintest glittering blue. It was
fascinating and astonishing, and in a sense alarm-
ing, for one realized what a shark could do if it
understood, and chose to come under and upset
our light canoe as it danced upon the water. We
saw strange forms moving below as we gazed
down; great fishes came and quietly ate off our

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
bait, avoiding the hook. My son pulled up a
strange creature shaped like a fish, stout and
bulky, but all shell, like mother-of-pearl, with
great goggle eyes looking indignant reproach.
We were told it was poisonous to touch, and
it was skilfully unhooked and put back. But
at last we were rewarded by a beautiful large
fish called amberjack being caught, which Tom
Gill pronounced to be good to eat. We at
once put back to our little cay, and twenty
minutes were sufficient to roast it, and see it
upon the table.
In the evening we had our Service with every-
body present-eager, reverent, attentive,-and
notice and invitation given for Holy Communion
next day. Then, somewhat late, our Ice-cream
Social" followed, in the open air, of course, under
the cocoanut palms, followed by speeches of wel-
come and goodwill. Paper lanterns lit up the
scene, the murmur of the sea, so close at hand,
accompanied our voices. It was a little idyll of
simplicity and good feeling-a little picture of
"Brethren dwelling together in unity" such as
I have seldom seen before, and probably shall
never see again.
A little wooden house had been lent us, and
so we slept ashore that night with doors and

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
windows wide open, the wind blowing almost
fiercely over us, but giving us good and refresh-
ing sleep until the dawn. We had two Celebra-
tions: one for the convenience of an old sick
creature after the seven o'clock Service, and forty
received Communion out of that small population
of between sixty and seventy men, women, and
children, and of course all our crew.
After breakfast I blessed the little schooner
for them, as this had not yet been done; the
people all gathered together on the shore full of
interest and attention. It was with a feeling of
real regret that we sailed away later in the day
from Tobacco Cay, the people sitting on the
roots of their cocoanut palms about the landing-
place and singing rather sadly, GOD be with you
till we meet again." The whole visit showed us
the dark race at its best-their low, rich voices,
their quiet, dignified movements, their refined
and courteous bearing to one another, for our
negroes always impress me at such times with
their very good manners-all seemed to blend in
with the quiet life they lead in the shade of their
ever-waving palms upon the cay.
Next we passed on over a calm sea, with much
tacking to be done, to Stann Creek, with its
Rector, the Rev. Henry Cooke, who had come

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
to fetch us, on board. He had been there, an
Englishman and his wife and children, for seven
years without a change, though since then, I am
glad to say, he has been moved to a cooler place,
four thousand feet above the level of the sea, at
San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Stann
Creek will in time be a very important place if
our Colony of British Honduras gets its due and
full development. It is only a few hours from
Belize, but has good water in which even liners
can come up alongside the pier and discharge
passengers and cargo, and-it has a railway !
This has been a very important enterprise, and
I cannot help thinking that the Government will
find themselves well repaid in the future for theii
foresight in making it. I will give the rest of the
chapter to the railway, and ask the reader to
picture to himself the Confirmation, Holy Com-
munion, and other Services-we were there over
a Sunday-going on just as I have already de-
scribed, our crew coming ashore to attend them,
though we were not sleeping on board ourselves.
On the Monday we started off to inspect the
little railway-to be completed for the present in
twenty-five miles-on a trolley. Of all the modes
of travel which have fallen to my lot, for pure en-
joyment, give me a trolley! Two or three stalwart
G 41

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
negroes work a pumping arrangement; there is
support for the back, and one goes gliding through
the fresh, pure air, as the motion of the car stirs it
to a breeze, with a delicious sense of freedom as
different as possible from the confinement of a rail-
way carriage. On through the tropical forest one
went, with brilliant birds and butterflies and
flowers on every side. A large tiger-cat came
bounding out from our left, and after running
along for a little while with a perfectly indescrib-
able grace, bounded again into the forest on the
right, a suggestion of the wild and savage life
with which we were surrounded.
We passed over rails laid upon marble, for
when the engineer and constructor were wonder-
ing how they would be able to lay a firm track
for the metals across the swamps, they found a
small hill of marble quite close to their projected
line, which only had to be hewn out and carried
I went to see it, and gazed in astonishment at
this strange upheaval of pure white stone (covered
partly over with maidenhair and hart's tongue-
shaped ferns and flowers) which had been found
so opportunely.
We were under the care of Mr. Boyle, the
engineer of the railway, a most capable and well-

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
informed man and most hospitable host. He ex-
plained all the difficulties they had to encounter
in the construction of even that small line-a
bridge had just been swept away by a flood and
replaced. At Railhead we saw all the clearing of
the tropical forest going on, the weird steam-
shovel at work, and all the interesting things
connected with railway construction under such
circumstances. Walking away clear of everything
and taking me with him, he turned to me and
said, "And now, Bishop, you have been further
into the interior of British Honduras in this part
than any living man." So little is known of the
country as yet!
We are hoping great things from that railway.
Already stations are being formed along its
course and the forest cleared. Roads will be
made, though the rapid growth will always be
a hindrance to their maintenance, and land will
be let out on easy terms by the Government for
banana and maize cultivation, and other forms of
I hope the possibilities will soon begin to
attract some of our steadiest and most thrifty
Jamaicans from the Central American plantations
down the coast with the prospect it holds out of
their being able to get little places of their own.

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
The Government intends also to help them by
buying their small supplies of produce, and selling
them themselves to the Fruit Company; which
will be a very great boon to them, and a great
encouragement, at any rate at the start.
British Honduras is very fortunate in having
a really public-spirited Governor in Sir Eric
Swayne, whose one great object in life, whether
his policy vexes or pleases, is the good of his
Colony. I have a great regard and respect for
him, and also for Mr. Collet, the Colonial Secre-
tary, and owe them much for their great kindness,
hospitality and unvarying friendliness. May the
British Honduras Railway be a great success, and
all that it is expected to be *
After our stay at Stann Creek was over, the
night came, at length, on which we had to bid
goodbye to our crew. It was to us a sad part-
ing. We had really grown quite attached to
them, and they apparently to us. I shall often
think of those nights beneath the stars when I
would begin to talk first with the brother who
was steering; then the others would join us, and
all would question and comment in their rich,
deep, low voices, as we talked about religion
I have had to put the illustrations of this railway, partly made
and in the making, in Chapter V.

In a Schooner amongst the Cays
and the spiritual life, with a naturalness and
freedom and simplicity which I have never yet
known in my own countrymen. Everything
connected with that expedition will ever be de-
lightful to recall, but especially those wonderful
nights and earnest conversations under the stars
amongst the cays.



SOME days in life are never to be forgotten!
One day in the early part of this year will rank
amongst such days for some of us, who live and
work on the shores of the great Gulf of Hon-
duras, near the Caribbean Sea.
It was between four and five o'clock that
morning, February 17, while it was yet dark, that
we were splashing the sleep out of our eyes in our
cold baths at Monkey River, on the coast of British
Honduras, and soon after, just as the day was
breaking, we were gliding swiftly in a dorey, or
dug-out canoe, down the coast to Punta Negra,
some twelve miles away. I and my son, the Rev.
P. B. Simpson, and three of his people formed
the party, and we were the guests while the
other four paddled our large and comfortable
craft over the rippling waves.
A young Creole, Solomon, lithe and slender
as a panther, stood upon the bow, now paddling
and now poling-for it was often shallow; next



The Consecration of a Bush Church
him came Mr. Simpson, one of the best dorey
men on the coast; next him "Dode," a Creole
with a little of the Carib in him; we were placed
next, and in the stern sat another Creole, Adol-
phus. The four sent the dorey swiftly along, the
fish shooting out of the sea and through the air
in all directions as we went. Then came the
sunrise, and the most wonderful tints following
it, and in due course we were at our destination.
Punta Negra is one of the most delightful
places I have ever seen. It is a small collection
of timber and wattle-houses at a very stormy
point on the British Honduras coast, but is a
quiet and peaceful little place in itself. When-
ever I have been there the clean white sand, and
the waving cocoanut palms overhead, the blue
sky and sapphire sea, with the pure fresh air
blowing in from the sea, have made one feel that
it was like some little corner in the Garden of
The lives of the people there are as clean and
wholesome as their surroundings. "There are
no nasty vices lurking in the shade here," said
Mr. Simpson to me when I went there with him
for the first time from Monkey River, where he
is Rector; "no bad habits and things to find out.
All is just as you think it to be, when you see

The Consecration of a Bush Church
them assembled to welcome you, in their white
Last year I had a Confirmation in this place-
three young fellows just going out in life, to
begin fishing for shell-and the little timber-room
that did duty for church and school could not
hold the people. It was then that Mr. Simpson
asked if I could help him to a Bush Church, and
the result has been a wonderful little building
which holds a hundred people.
It is built of "cabbage," which seems to me
a most unsuitable and unworthy name to give
to the wood which one gets from the trunk of
the royal palm, and which is so very splendid for
its purpose, in resisting both the effects of the
weather and the attacks of insects.
The frame, of course, is of ordinary "lumber,"
and it is raised well above the ground on
tall uprights; it has good windows, is well
floored and prettily painted, and has a grand
roof of palm-leaf thatch-far the best to have
at that part of the coast--and without the
benches and all the other necessary fittings
it cost only 50. It is expected to last at
least from fifteen to twenty years, and, if-
carefully repaired, will probably last a great
'deal longer. Of course, the people themselves,

The Consecration of a Bush Church
including the Rector, have worked hard at the
erection of their new church, but still the actual
technical labour is included in the cost above
It is a most dainty and attractive little build-
ing, and it was very touching to see the thankful
and innocent pride with which the people looked
on as I made my first inspection of it after
my landing. It was to them a cathedral! "How
wonderful it is!" "It's grand!" "What a place!"
"Splendid!" with deep breaths to emphasize the
words, one heard on all sides; and certainly it
did look very attractive in the morning light,
especially the interior, which was fitted up with
gifts from friends at home, and linen, etc., from
the guild of my former London parish.
A large red cross rises from one of the gables.
Nothing was wanting! And that perfect day!
I shall never forget it, following immediately
upon a wet and dull one; but as I spoke of it
to little groups of women they replied at once,
and in a most matter-of-fact tone, "Yes, it is,
Bishop; but we have been praying for it for
weeks "-to them a full and sufficient explana-
The people of Punta Negra are cocoanut
growers and fisher folk for the most part. A
H 49

The Consecration of a Bush Church
"cocoanut walk" is quite profitable if properly
tended, each tree yielding a profit of about four
or five shillings a year, as cocoanut oil is in
ever-increasing demand; but the Punta Negrans
have but a few palms each, and are not on the
way to fortune yet. Fish is very abundant, and
the Caribs and others live principally upon it,
with the yams and other vegetables and roots
they grow. Eggs and fowls now and then, with
turtle occasionally, are their only other dishes.
As soon as we had made all the necessary pre-
parations the Consecration followed, everyone-
man, woman and child-who could possibly get
there .being present. The Rev. P. B. Simpson
led the way, then my son, bearing the pastoral
staff, and I followed, pronouncing the Peace be
to this House of GOD" as we entered, all then
joining in our Processional Psalm, "The earth
is the LORD'S and they that dwell therein." It
seemed as if all beautiful influences from the
world of Nature entered with us to assist at that
Consecration service!
A Creole gathering for Divine service is always
picturesque. Everyone, of both sexes, tries to
come in white; the women like to have a bit
of colour also and the men a flower if it is a
special service; and they love to worship. One

The Consecration of a Bush Church
can't have too many hymns, they can't have too
much to do, and the Sermon can't be too long,
especially if it has any interesting reference to
the occasion.
It was a most reverent and beautiful service,
and we all realized that day, I think, the solemn
presence of Him Who, "though the Heaven of
Heavens cannot contain Him, much less that
house which we had builded," yet is ever "in
the midst of those gathered together in His
Name," and continually fulfils His promise, when
worshipped in spirit and in truth, and in the
place where His Name is placed, to "come unto
us and bless us."
Every communicant in the place and neigh-
bourhood received the Holy Communion at that
service, and I verily believe that that little church
will be more and more consecrated, as the years
go on, by the prayers and worship of its simple
people. The accompanying photograph was
taken just after the service, and before we all
went our different ways to breakfast.
* In the afternoon we had an opportunity of
seeing what the coast is like a little further down,
and all three went for a six miles' walk, to visit
Blue Bight, or "Little home," as it is called by
some. The tropical sun was very fierce, and we

The Consecration of a Bush Church
were bathed in perspiration, but the fresh air
blowing in from the sea kept one feeling cool,
and it was delightful to sit at the end of our walk,
and rest and chat in the hut of some old Creoles
who had lived there practically all their lives.
The articles of furniture were very few, the floor
was white sand-"a carpet which never needs
shaking to get the dust out of it," I remarked,
which brought tremendous laughter from those
simple folk. They had nothing to offer in the
way of refreshment except a fresh cocoanut or
two, from which we drank the water; but we
could desire nothing better, and the whole scene
was one of simple, clean, honest life and domestic
duty and peace.
We must try to give them a little place of
worship in time. It is far for the old people to
go up to Punta Negra, though they were all
there that day, of course, and at present they
have their services, when they can get them, in
the house we visited.
In the evening at Punta Negra, once more, we
had our Confirmation, with all the same people
there. Everyone present was there to share in
the service, not to look on! In the "short space
for silent supplication one felt that everyone was
saying "Come, HOLY GHOST," and that every

The Consecration of a Bush Church
soul was "inspired" that night with new desires
of service. All this made one feel the reality
and beauty of the prayer after the Confirmation,
as it brings out the ministrations of the whole
Body of CHRIST, in the act and person of the
bishop, when he says, "upon whom after the
example of Thy Holy Apostles we have now laid
our hands."
The service ended about half-past eight, and
one stood at the door shaking hands with those
warm-hearted people, receiving their "GoD bless
you, Bishop! and "A safe passage back!" and
laying a hand of blessing on the little children's
heads as they were carried past by their mothers,
fast asleep; and then we all turned our thoughts
to our return. We had been looking forward to
it all day-our return over the sea by moonlight
when the wind had dropped-but, unfortunately,
it had not dropped, and was blowing half a gale,
and return was impossible until it had ceased,
and we must wait.
There were no spare beds in Punta Negra,
though there were a few forms and a canvas
trestle arrangement, facetiously called a cot, which
fell to me. My son and I elected to sleep out of
doors by the sea, I on the cot and he on forms,
under the cocoanuts. We were reminded, when

The Consecration of a Bush Church
a great nut came crashing down and bruised my
elbow, that we must be careful in such a place.
If it had been my head I might not have been
writing these lines.
But we rested well on our rough couches,
muffling up our heads when the mosquitoes
became too numerous and too attentive, and
snatched some sleep ere we were roused, just
before five, with the welcome news that the wind
had changed. Soon we were launching our dorey
through the heavy surf, and then speeding back
to Monkey River, gazing at the wonders of
another golden sunrise out of an opal sea!
Monkey River is a characteristic little bit of
British Honduras, and gives me the opportunity
of describing a little station on the coast and
offering my tribute to a good man's work there,
though I fear he will be very cross with me
should he ever read these pages.
The Rector in question went out to British
Honduras at the age of twenty-three, and is now,
I believe, about thirty-seven, and has never, as far
as I know, had a holiday all the time, nor desires
one. He has stuck to his work and kept to
Monkey River, though he was once transferred,
for a short time, to what would be considered
a far more agreeable place, but on the first

The Consecration of a Bush Church
possible opportunity hastened back to Monkey
This is his day. In the early morning he sees
his people on their temporal concerns, giving
them advice and information, signing papers, and
so on. At nine o'clock he goes into school, held
on the ground-floor of his large Rectory in a room
which has to do duty for church also, the altar
being curtained off, and there he teaches some
eighty or ninety children from nine to four with
an interval at mid-day for a meal.
In the short time which follows, as it grows
suddenly dark immediately after six o'clock he has
to do his visiting and other pastoral work. He
can have no leisure at all, and when I have been
with him I have been very much exercised both
as to the food he ate and the time he got for
Sunday he has for church, and week nights
also, and there are four places, to my knowledge,
where he gives services and visits his people.
These are all of the labouring class, fisher
*folk, banana and cocoanut growers and the like,
and they form his only society, as they have done
for years. He is their trusted friend and con-
stant companion, and though their conversational
powers must be strictly limited by the surround-

The Consecration of a Bush Church
ings of their very simple lives, he remains in all
his tastes and development and interest just what
one would have expected an educated man to be
if he had had all the advantages and resources of
our modern civilization, instead of the many and
serious deficiencies of Monkey River.
I have never seen the "simple life" lived as it
is in that Rectory by the sea, and never been more
conscious of its effect and power. Who would
not back up such a man, and thank GOD for him
and for others like him all over the Mission Field
of our Anglican Communion to-day ?
I have not ventured to lift the veil of his daily
life because I think him entirely and altogether
exceptional (and therefore I hope he will pardon
me for not respecting his dislike of publicity, as
he will certainly think I ought to have done), but
because I look upon him as typical of some of
our best men whose work is often only really
known and understood and appreciated by their
bishops in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and
every part of the Empire, as well as in the vast
area covered by the work of our daughter Church
in the United States of America.
It will always be a sad thought to me, now
that I have been called to other work, that there
is little or no probability of my ever seeing

The Consecration of a Bush Church
Monkey River or Punta Negra again, but I shall
ever take and show, as opportunity offers, the
very keenest interest in the work Mr. Simpson is
carrying on there, as indeed one will in other
parts of the Diocese, as well.
There is now a little Rectory at Punta Negra.
I believe Mr. Simpson was a little concerned, his
people were greatly shocked, at his bishop having
to sleep out in the open, on the Consecration day
of their little church, and so he set to work and
built a little Rectory, which like the church itself
cost another 50. Imagine a church and Rectory
for Ioo! This Rectory was to be my abode on
my next visit, and though I shall probably never
see it I can picture it exactly in that pure air on
the white sand, the cocoanut palms above it, and
the beautiful sea washing the shore close to where
it stands.
And the church too, so near at hand. I must
add an encouraging experience about that as I
conclude this chapter. It was on February 17
of last year, it may have been noticed, that I
consecrated it, and then it was thought to be
commodious enough for all purposes, for every-
one who could get there from far and near was
present that day, and all were comfortably seated.
But this year, on my return from Jamaica, I had
1 57

The Consecration of a Bush Church
a letter from the Rector saying that the church
was now too small and would have to be enlarged,
and he was preparing to set about it at once, and
had already sent to the Standing Committee of
the Diocese for permission to begin, giving them
a rough sketch of his plans.
He didn't say where the money was to come
from, and I knew that he himself must have
drawn upon his own resources for the little Punta
Negra Rectory-my clergy as a rule had about
6I50 a year, and that in a country where wages
are rather high and food dear-his people too
were all poor enough, and therefore I could not
help wondering how he was going to provide the
Nor was I greatly surprised when, in his next
letter, he briefly said that the Standing Committee
had refused him permission, in accordance with
the Canons of the Diocese, as he had no funds,
which of course was quite the correct thing to do.
But I was just beginning my last round of
sermons and meetings on behalf of the Diocese,
and I determined to start with the Punta Negra
enlargement. The following Sunday, accordingly,
in a little country church not far from London,
I made my appeal.
At the end of the morning sermon, I took my

The Consecration of a Bush Church
congregation out in thought to the white sands
of Punta Negra and those clean-living people,
and told them of that miserable little shanty in
which I had my first Confirmation, which would
not hold twenty people, all the rest having to
stand outside, a place of which I said to them:
"Hardly any of you here would think it good
enough to use as a bicycle-shed, and they have
had to use it for years as a church."
Next I told them of the 50 church and how
it was built and equipped, and how much it was
appreciated. "And now," I went on, "it needs
enlargement, but at what cost I don't know, for
the Rector does not mention it, and indeed does
not beg at all; but if a church only cost 50 to
build, I should imagine it could be enlarged for
25. I hope I may get a good help towards
that amount to-day."
The people were all interested, but I did not ex-
pect a very large collection, and when it was spread
out on the vestry table before me while I was un-
robing it did not look much, and I had to share
it with the S.P.G. My share, as a matter of fact,
came to 5 for the two services when it was all
reckoned up. But then came our little surprise!
Just as the amount for the morning collection had
been entered into the vestry book, a young man

The Consecration of a Bush Church
came in from the church with the offertory-bags
in his hand, which he had been taking away, and
holding up a tiny scrap of paper-
This," he said, I found sticking out of one
of the bags as I was putting them away. I don't
know if it matters."
I took it and opened it out, and read-
"I shall be happy to give the 25 required,"
and the name of a parishioner followed.
The enlargement was secured at the first appeal,
and I don't know when I wrote a note with greater
pleasure than I did next day when sending out
a cheque for the amount required to the Rector
of Monkey River.



I lg,rl



THE coat-of-arms of the Diocese shows four
banana leaves, one in each corner, and an open
Bible in the centre; and the motto underneath
is, Hoy, no Mafiana," which translated from
Spanish to English is, To-day, not to-morrow."
I do not know who is responsible for it, curious
heraldry as it seems to be, but it is certainly very
appropriate and to the point, if we come to
examine it in detail.
The curse of Spain, and of every Spanish
colony, is represented by that one word in the
motto, Mafiana." It is always To-morrow"
when you want to get a thing done, and you get
exasperatingly tired of hearing the word. The
native idea of ordinary duties is Never do to-
day what can be put off till to-morrow," and so
the motto just reverses this and says, "To-day,
not to-morrow."
The open Bible does certainly, in the next
place, seem to stand not only for the Gospel of

Amongst the Bananas
our LORD, but for that moral law of GOD, the
plain acceptance of which is the great need in
every part of the jurisdiction.
And then there are the banana leaves, not very
well drawn, typifying the life's work of the great
majority of those who were formerly my people.
Hence the heading of the chapter and the title
of this book, for my work and experience have
indeed been "amongst the bananas."
It is hardly too much to say that the banana
has brought about a real revolution in the world
of labour in Jamaica and Central America, in
the present generation. I myself can quite well
remember the time when it was hardly ever seen
in out own country, except when brought there
by travellers coming from abroad, who could, I
was told, thirty-five years ago get sixpence apiece
for them. I never saw, or tasted, the fruit until I
arrived at the Cape de Verde Islands on my first
sea voyage, in 1875.
What a difference since then! On February 4,
this year, when leaving Jamaica for New York,
I saw that a whole bunch, containing from 200
to 250 bananas, was selling at from 6d. to gd.;
and when one reflects that this would, even at
that price, with planter's profit included, realize,
if sold wholesale in the States or the British Isles,

Amongst the Bananas
from 4/- to 5/-, or retail as much as io/-, one can
see that there is still "a fortune in bananas."
Some would not even hesitate to say "a gold
The banana is grown from a sucker which,
when planted in the ground, produces a full-
grown bunch in about nine months, and so
entirely differs from either rubber or the cocoa-
nut, which require from five to six years before
they begin to yield to a profit.
On paper, worked out according to the most
careful calculations, there is a fortune in cocoanut
growing just now, when the demand for cocoa-
nut oil so far exceeds the supply ; but the tree can
only be grown well near the sea, and is usually
very much exposed to the terrible cyclones of
the tropics, and there could hardly be a more
disheartening experience for young planters
than to have their whole cocoanut walk utterly
destroyed, just when it had begun to bear, and
know that they have to begin all over again and
wait another five years. It is for this reason that
I speak of the profits of cocoanut growing "on
But to return to our bananas. "The romance
of wheat," it has been said,* is commonplace
Palmer in Central America and its Problems.

Amongst the Bananas
beside this as an industry in its larger sense.
This one is more recent than steel, and its growth
more rapid." (He might have added oil as
well.) "Twenty years ago the United States
ate 5,000,000 bunches in a year, ten years ago
15,ooo,ooo, but in 1909 the quantity had risen to
6o,ooo,ooo! .. The Caribbean Islands share
the bounty. Jamaica, her sugar plantations in
ruins, was saved from economic despair by the
banana trade. England has trebled her con-
sumption in the last five years. Germany and
France are beginning to receive importations in
The banana trade, however, could never have
had this tremendous expansion if enterprising
minds had not recognized their opportunity and
determined to launch out into big schemes and
have special vessels built to carry the fruit. A
bunch of bananas is cut down with a great piece
of the stem running through it, full of sap, and
therefore goes on ripening if the fruit is still
green. It is never left to ripen on the tree, even
if not intended for export, but will be hung up on
the verandah, or some other convenient place, the
fruit being broken off as required.
The vessels for the export trade are fitted up
with refrigerating plants which keep the tem-

Amongst the Bananas
perature down to 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and
which bring their 45,000 bunches, or more, into
Bristol or Manchester, after a sixteen or seven-
teen days' trip, with sometimes less than 5000
ripe, and all the rest still green.
On passing the Fastnet Rock, to the south of
Ireland, the number of bunches "ripe or turning "
is telegraphed, and, long before the vessel is in
dock, these are sold off first to the merchants, as
being ready for immediate consumption. The
United States, with the ports of New York,
Boston, and New Orleans, provide markets
easily reached from Jamaica and Central America
in about four or five days.
But isn't it very unhealthy," I am sometimes
asked, "in that climate in the lowlands, with
malarial fever and other ailments so common?"
But in reply one has to answer at once that by
taking precautions against mosquitoes, and avoid-
ing the use of alcohol as much as possible, one
would find the banana plantations as healthy as
one could desire. I judge from the experiences
'of my clergy, who have worked on year after
year without a holiday, and kept in good health.
Screening the whole house-that is, filling every
window and door space and the verandah with
fine copper netting-is effectual for keeping out
K 65

Amongst the Bananas
the mosquito, and renders the net unnecessary for
the beds. It gives one a sense of being shut in,
but still one eats, reads, dresses, etc., in comfort,
and escapes fever. But I believe the use of
stimulants to be especially bad in the tropics,
though I know many people will disagree with
me. I avoided them entirely myself, and my
son also, and we never had an attack of fever.
Sometimes a kind host would be especially press-
ing, and say, "Whatever you do elsewhere, you
must take a little whiskey here in the Tropics
if you want to keep well, and you are sure to
get fever if you don't."
As a set-off to this, I may mention that in
Nicaragua we had the representative of the
Standard Oil Trust travelling with us for a little
time, and in the course of conversation and com-
paring notes together, he told me that he had
travelled in those Central American Republics
for the last eighteen years, as a life-long tee-
totaller, and been in very unhealthy places where
food, etc., were of the worst, and had never once
had fever. Also, that he had usually had a man
with him to help him with his luggage, etc.,
and had never had one who was not a whiskey
drinker, and never had one who was not often
down with fever.

Amongst the Bananas
It is not wise, of course, to attach too much
importance to such experiences, but I should say
the tropics are the worst of places for the habitual
use of stimulants. There is always a reaction
afterwards, I suppose, and germs and infected
water or bites would always find their best oppor-
tunities at such a time. Everyone who has
lived in those parts knows also what the effect
of alcohol is in exciting the passions and impair-
ing the moral sense. It is almost a truism, by
this time, to say that there would practically be
no one in the prisons if it were not for drink.
The same is true of many of the hospital wards,
and of the "bad lots" one has to encounter from
time to time. Drink is the invariable explana-
tion, and especially, I repeat, in the Tropics.
And now for a little about one's work among
the bananas. Naturally the reader will find a
good deal about Confirmation in this book, for
it is the joy of a missionary bishop's life in the
earlier years of his episcopate, as giving him
entirely new experiences in the spiritual and
ministerial life, and giving him entirely new rela-
tions with his fellow men of all classes.
With a mystical being like the negro no one
will be surprised to read that my Confirmations
have been most moving experiences. There

Amongst the Bananas
have been times when I can only say that the
great timber church, with its huge window
spaces open to the night air, filled with an eager
and attentive congregation, as many outside as
in, ready to respond to any spiritual appeal, has
seemed just to be the place where one might
hope to hear the sound as of a "rushing mighty
wind," and feel that the HOLY SPIRIT had filled
the whole place where we were met together I
I remember once going into a little timber
structure-very dilapidated and tumble-down it
was-where we had had a most moving and
impressive Confirmation, only an hour or two
before, and sitting down to think it all over.
It was empty now; the rough seats were in
disorder, with a few hymn-books lying about;
there were the strips of white and red cotton,
which had adorned the rough wooden stand from
which I had spoken, texts of cut paper, faded
flowers here and there-all seemed so piteously
poor and unworthy now-and yet in that place so
short a time before we had all been lifted up by
faith and devotion into Communion with the Great
Eternal, in the most moving and affecting way.
"Truly," I said to myself as I looked about
after the first flat feeling had been got over, "it
does not require much in the way of material

Amongst the Bananas
things to enable a devout soul to feel 'This is
none other but the House of GOD, and this is the
Gate of Heaven.'"
Confirmation and Communion are very real
experiences to the negro. As far as I am able
to judge they will not come to those services as
a mere matter of form, or because it is expected
of them; and especially, one is thankful to think,
is this the case when there is anything very
seriously wrong.
One day, for instance, in a little church in
Costa Rica, I confirmed a mother and her son
together. She was a most refined, well-bred
woman, with particularly good manners, and
later in the day when I happened to meet her,
I asked, rather thoughtlessly I am afraid, for
I ought to have guessed:
"How is it that you haven't been confirmed
before, Mrs. D-, for you have always been
a Churchwoman, I believe?"
She hesitated a little, and then said rather
S"Well, you see, Bishop, I was only married
last year." And her son was fifteen.
At another place in Guatemala, after a very
early Celebration, where they had not had one
for at least a year, as I stood at the entrance

Amongst the Bananas
saying "Good-bye to the people as they came
out, for I had to make an early start, a woman
who had been very reverent and attentive, but
had not communicated, came out, and so I
"You didn't receive with us ?"
No," she answered, I'm not married to my
man, and have not been confirmed, but I'm going
to be now and as soon as I can, and if GoD
spares us you shall lay hands on me, Bishop, the
next time you come."
The Sacraments of the Church mean much to
people like these, who are determined to make
their lives correspond when they venture to
approach them. I could fill my chapter with the
most touching and instructive incidents of this
character, if space would permit, to the great
credit of the candidates, young, middle-aged and
old, whom it has been my privilege to know and
to confirm.
There are two serious charges which one hears
continually brought against the negro. He is
said to be lazy, and a thief I would like to deal
with these two serious accusations in turn, speak-
ing, it must always be kindly remembered, only
from my own experience, and giving the opinions
I have formed in consequence.

Amongst the Bananas
"Your negro is born tired, isn't he?" I was once
asked by a man whose own profession didn't call
for any particular exertions, or at any rate did
not produce them. He had a remarkably easy
life himself, and yet he didn't scruple to ask that
slighting question.
"Born tired!" I said indignantly. "Do you
know what life on a banana plantation is like,
and loading up at the quay ?"
He listened as I told him at length.
"And," I added, "the United Fruit Company
is a sound business concern, and one of the most
successful, and when I tell you that they pay
their ordinary labourers in most of our planta-
tions 6 a month, with other privileges, you may
conclude that the men who are paid those wages
have to 'step lively' and earn them."
Born tired," indeed! I don't know any class
of labourers in the world who could bear the
burden and heat of the day as the negro does
in Central America, a life all bed and work,
often losing his Sabbath altogether when the
vessel has to be ready to clear the landing-
place on the Monday. And as I think of them
as I have seen them, cutting and loading, plant-
ing and clearing, carrying their loads along the
wharf in all weathers, wet or shine," but especi-

Amongst the Bananas
ally as I recall them in those breakdowns on the
line, and such emergencies as I have described
in the chapter on "Slides, Floods, and Washouts,"
working to clear the line, carrying heavy loads,
nearly up to their middles in the mud as they
struggle across the slide, putting forth every
fraction of their great strength, drenched with
rain, but always smiling, cheerful, jocular and
happy, I feel that I can hardly repudiate suffi-
ciently forcibly enough that flippant expression of
being "born tired."
Then with respect to his dishonesty. If I
were to deal with this charge properly and fully,
I should have to write a book on "Mysticism
and Morality." As it is, I can hardly hope to
convince my own countrymen, for I shall have to
be brief and I shall have to make admissions.
The negro does very readily help himself to
certain things that are not his own. How shall
I persuade my reader that this is not stealing, or
that taking and thieving are not the same things ?
There is a difference to the negro mind. In
Jamaica just now, for instance, there is a very
popular post card showing a young negro on his
way to church on Sunday morning, dressed in
his best, prayer book in hand, but, as he passes
a bunch of bananas hanging temptingly by the

Amongst the Bananas
wayside, he is saying to it, "I tief you to-night,
please GOD." I am sure that could easily hap-
pen, but that he would have said "take," not
"tief" or thieve. Fowls, fruit, eggs and the like
are GOD's gifts for all; if, therefore, he is hungry
and needs them, he takes them. I'm not defend-
ing the point of view, but explaining it.
An old negro I knew carried off a prayer book
after a service, and yet it was marked on the back
"Not to be taken away." When remonstrated
with for stealing it, he indignantly answered,
"Stealing! I'm no thief! It was marked outside
that it was not to be taken away, I saw, but it is
a good book, and GOD's book, and so I took it."
Perhaps the following will even more astonish
the ordinary Western reader who feels that there
can be no distinction possible for right-minded
people between taking and thieving. A West
Indian woman, not in my Diocese, who had
taken a duck on the Saturday morning, was
visited by her Rector the same evening and told
that he had heard of the theft, and had come to
'forbid her to go to Communion next day, as he
knew she meant to do.
Her indignation was extreme. She called in
the neighbours, whose intelligent sympathy she
knew she could rely upon, and told her story.
L 73

Amongst the Bananas
"A duck!" she repeated with fine sarcasm.
"A duck! Think of his coming and talking to
me about taking a duck, when my mind was full
of my Communion! What's a duck to come be-
tween me and my Maker, at a time like that!"
I can hardly hope that an ordinary reader will
think her anything but an old humbug; but the
discerning ones will look a little deeper beneath
the surface, I think, and see that there is some-
thing very solid to build upon in a nature that
wants touch with the spiritual at all, and feel also
that the distinction between taking and thieving
marks a stage on the upward course of pro-
I can truly say that all through myjourneyings,
when my baggage consisted always of at least
ten pieces, I never once locked up a bag or a
box. I left things about continually, of a par-
ticularly tempting and attractive character to the
dark race; I never slept in a room of which the
doors and windows were not wide open, and I
never had one single article of any kind stolen.
I do not consider that the negro is as dishonest
-taking food excepted-as some other races I
have known, and when he is dishonest there is a
real sting in his proverbial remark, Negro man
steal a quatty (about ijd.), buckra man (white)

Amongst the Bananas
steal a hundred pounds." This proverb is some-
times varied by Buckra man steal the whole
Our people amongst the bananas live very
simply as to food and lodging, for in my Diocese
they used to save and send home large sums for
their families and relations in Jamaica. Their
little homes of timber and corrugated iron con-
tained, as a rule, a box for clothing, a table, a
chair or two, a bed, a shelf for china, knives and
forks, etc., and a few texts and pictures, without
frames, upon the walls, and nothing more in those
with which I myself am most familiar.
Very little food and of the simplest is the rule.
Yams, rice, plantains, bananas, bread, very little
fish or meat, fill up their bill of fare. A banquet
at a wedding, when great efforts to be profuse
are made, only provides apples and oranges as
extras, cakes and jelly, and possibly ice-cream.
Extravagance in food is a thing unknown in my
But they simply love to be well and smartly
dressed, and show excellent taste. White mus-
lins and laces, and ribbons of the paler shades,
and large hats with bright flowers are affected by
the one sex; well-cut black clothes with white
waistcoats, bright ties, and even silk hats and

Amongst the Bananas
brown boots can be produced by the other on
great occasions, though, with their remarkably
good figures, they always look best in a com-
plete suit of white drill, with hat and boots to
All the members of a church are expected to
contribute regularly to its support and towards
the stipend of their priest or catechist, and
according to definite rules laid down in the
canons of the Diocese, quite apart from collec-
tions at the services. It is best always for
people to have to make real efforts and sacrifices
for their church, and nothing can be worse than
relying upon the grants of some Home Societies.
At one place-Cahuita in Costa Rica-after the
Confirmation and other services were over, I was
asked to preside over a meeting in the church,
summoned to discuss what means should be taken
for its repair, of which I must say it stood badly
in need.
Let's do it ourselves," someone said as soon
as I had opened the proceedings. "I'll give so
much timber."
"And I'll give the same," said another.
"And I'll give so many yards of corrugated
iron for roofing," said another.
"And I so many pounds of nails."

f. .*

Amongst the Bananas
"I can't give anything at all," came from a
sturdy-looking man in a corner, "but I'll put in
some work."
"And I'll give a dollar or two," said a girl
beside him. And so it went on. There was no
difficulty. The work of repair was soon assured,
and I could not help thinking of a similar scene
in old Jewish history, when the "king rejoiced
because the people offered willingly." And
Cahuita has no grant from any Society!
Religion is very real to the negro. He likes
his little home, when he has one for the first time,
to be blessed; the mothers bring their little ones
to church, when the Bishop comes, that he too
"may lay his hands upon them and bless them."
They do greatly need, as I have tried to make it
clear, more backbone, fibre and grit in character,
those people of ours amongst the bananas; but
they have loyal hearts and devout and affection-
ate temperaments, and though a great deal more
is needed for what we have learnt to prize as
high character than love and reverence, yet they
are a very good foundation upon which to work,
and I greatly doubt if anything worth calling
high character can ever be reached without love
and reverence as its foundation.
There are many questions already suggesting

Amongst the Bananas
themselves at the end of this chapter to the
minds of some of my readers, I feel sure, if, even
so far in the book, they have begun to read a
little between the lines of what I have written.
.If so, I would suggest that they pursue their
S inquiry, and react Booker Washington's Story of
the Negro, Du Bois' Soul of the Black People, Sir
Harry Johnston's last book; but especially would
I recommend the Archbishop of the West
Indies' article in Mankind and the Church, edited
by Bishop Montgomery, and containing a series
of short papers by a number of Bishops of our
Church on the contributions made by different
races to our common Christianity.



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