SVol. 3 .. .. .. Noi 1f
I Y- ,~? -
O: OV tr"
SMID- _EAR, 1951. .
SPen Portrits of Articles on i
: Grantley Adams, Christianity & History
(E R, L. Ward). (Cameron Tudor).
Philip Sherlock, Jamaica in the Nodel,
(A. A. Thompson). (Lilian Dewar)..
Arthur Lewis, The Drama of Sa& c1iBise,
S (St. George Cooper). (W. H. L. Also .
Poems by Keane, lan Carew, A. N. Forde, Owen Canipbell.
S -- Reviews; Short Stories -.
Published by the B.G. Writers' AaWocitlon in conjuqqgtn wit. .
the Db.P. Adverftisfi:Sarvice.
; I ... 'i
and continuing ss'
is 1Heish Guiana's most prppwive daily
Subscription Raes~a $l0 per -snth-
Advertising Rates on apicaon
-6;, A~obbs & S~iegrltreets,
umms-----.-h--a--a---us m : h-
".- -. -
AND COMPANY, LIMITED.
WE HAVE IT!
THIS COMPANY IS EQUI
ITS "SALARY SAVING"
POLICIES TO FIT THE
Endowments payable at age 60 or 65.
Income beginning at age 60 or 65.
Whole of Life Convertible.
Deferred Annuities beginning at age 60
or 65, and other popular forms of
Modern in Provisions-
Liberal in Terms.
The British Guiana & Trinidad
Mutual Life Insurance
Robb & Hincks Streets,
~ __ __~
The Season's Smartest
Portuguese Mutual Pawnbroking Co..
OF BRITISH GUIANA. LIMITED,
Carry a Fine Assortment of Jewellery Suitable for...
WEDDING GIFTS, BIRTHDAY
PRESENTS & SEASONABLE GIFTS
TOURISTS VISITING DEMERARA
are invited to see the large range'of Native Jewellery
made of the finest British Guiana Gold
The Portuguese Mutual Pawn-
OF BRITISH GUIANA, LIMITED.
Robb & Hincks Streets, -:- Georgetown.
BELOW CABLE OFFICE.
Outstanding features compel you
OBTAIN YOUR REQUIREMENTS
D. M. FERNANDES, Limited,
Georgetown and New Amsterdam
A. J. SEYMOUR.
Richard Allsopp Celeste Dolphin Horace L. Mitchell
Eugene Bartrum J. W. Harper-Smith Lloyd Searwar
Published by the B.G. Writers Association in conjunction with
the D.F.P. Advertising Service.
Vol. 3, No. 12 ..
.. Mid Year, 1951.
West Indian Pen Portraits
Grantley Adams ..
Red Light (story) ..
The Cities (poem)
Jamaica in the Novel
New Day (poem)
Amalivaca (poem) ..
Sam Chase as an Educationist
Alien in Guiana
Sea Bird (poem)
Books and Places
James Joyce's Dublin
The West Indian ..
Christianity and History
The Old House (story)
Fourth West Indian Conference
The Sun and West Indian Art
The Writer's Dinner
Adventure on Art ..
Torment (poem) .
A W.I. Fortune
The Writer's Situation
Shadows Move Among Them
The British West Indies
The Pioneer Press
West Indian Bookshelf
..E. McG. Keane
.. E. R. L. Ward
.. Adolph Thompson
..St. George Cooper
. Eugene Bartrum
. A. J. Seymour
. A. N. Forde
.. Maicolm Delph
.. W. H. L. Allsopp
.. C. M. Bernard
.. F. Counihan
SOwen Campbell 126 &
. A. J. Seymour
. M. Sadeek
.. Eric Roberts ..
. Otho Sylvester
.. Cameron Tudor
.. C. L. Byass ..
..St. George Cooper
. Hilda McDonald
. (J.D.) .. ..
.. Ian Carew
..Vaughn .. .. 172
..Pares .. 175
.Jameson .. 177
. Mittelholzer .. 179
. Burn .. .. 187
.ed Marson .. 182
Professor Whitehead has pointed out that the present is always an
occasion which has as a cargo the past and the possible future; in the same
way Kykoveral always attempts to preserve the tradition of the Little
Review in the West Indies and also to roll back the frontiers of the
creative spirit. This is an ideal to which the present issue holds closely.
Perhaps the most important new feature is Kykoveral's attempt to
portray the qualities of leaders of our West Indian Community and to
give us pride in our famous men the series of three pen-portraits of
prominent West Indian personalities. We have been lucky to persuade
Mr. Justice Ward to write on Grantley Adams, the Resident Tutor Mr.
A. Thompson on Philip Sherlock and St. George Cooper on his former
school-mate, Professor Arthur Lewis. The springs of exceptional
endeavour are here for all to see.
With Mr. Thompson's permission we have rifled the files of the
Extra-Mural Department's broadcasting activities and provided for your
enjoyment extracts from the series Books and Places which deal with
"Palestine", "The American University", "The Poetry of Tennyson" and
"James Joyce's Dublin".
The study of "Christianity and History" by Cameron Tudor is one
we commend to thoughtful readers; in "Jamaica in the Novel" Lilian
Dewar writes in her deliberate and incisive way on the social function
of the West Indian Novelist and Allsopp merely whets our appetite in
his discourse on Sam Chase as an Educationist.
There are gains as well as losses in the section we can term Com-
munity Review. We have added comments in art and music but lost
them in films. The book review section is again full, to reflect the increas-
ing number of books being written about the region. New names appear
beneath short stories and above the poems. We commend them to you
together with the old and trust you find 116 worth of entertainment and
perhaps something more in this issue of Kykoveral.
We are grateful to the Editor of the "Daily Argosy" for permission
to reproduce the pictures in this issue.
Contributions and letters should be sent to the Editors "Kyk-
Over-Al", 120, Fourth Street, Georgetown, British Guiana. Business
communications should be addressed to J. E. Humphrey, Esq.,
Manager, D.F.P. Advertising Service, 4A, Hope Street, Georgetown,
British Guiana. P.O. Box 267.
E. McG. KEANE
Fling me the wind
I am the winged seedling
Ripe for resurrection
From the tree's old season
Burst is my pod of dreams
I have a hundred breaths to brandish
Cracked my seedbox
Mature the pink fibred pinions
And the proud buoyant blades
Greened into manhood
Thinking of their career in the clouds ....
Seed in the wind
Reckless speck of quick dust rollicking
I have lived in a thousand flowered seasons
When nature makes her bargains in regeneration
I have seen yellowing in gardens
A thousand little contracts with soil and sun
And God's green investments maturing on the hills.
I have watched the waves foaming like wine
As the river touched glasses with the sea
And I too have been witness at
The marriage of moon and waters
With under the cape cadenzas in coral
Five wise stars trimming their lamps
But here always in this warm soil of our air
I have kept waiting for the moon to grow roots
And wondered what sickle honours the upper
Harvest of the stars ...
Seed of light
Freckling the clear-skinned sea
Into dawn's early complexions
My valley drunk
With the yellow rum of the sun
Sky in a red shivers
Ocean foaming at the mouth
Walking the ploughed eternal day
Scattering timefuls of frenzy
Time does not age
For God and the sun are of one seed
And faith does not look twice
Into the eyes of time for recognition
For God and time and faith are of one seed
And I learning in this season
How the soul of the leaf feeds only where
The roots feed
Have known that the prime cellars of the brain
Are one with beyond where are smokeless fires
Brewing gallons of rock and a black hoarded time
Reeling like an intense deed
Convict in the hot central cell
But the cell is God
And the egg of the brain breeds green universes
Keener than the burst pod
Prosperous in the wind's encouragement
And as sure as the ripe time rising from the soil's altar
Will find faith reaped pure
As prayer in the clasped hand.
West Indian Pen Portraits
The Honourable Grantley Herbert Adams, Leader of the Labour
Party in the Barbados House of Assembly and virtual Prime Minister of
the Island, President of the Caribbean Labour Congress, Elected Member
of the Caribbean Commission, British representative to the International
Labour Organization and delegate appointed by His Majesty's Govern-
ment to the United Nations, has travelled far since he first saw the light
fifty-three years ago. His detractors and they are many attribute
much of his success to the smiles of fortune. He has certainly had a fair
share of luck, but his prominence in labour politics in the Caribbean rests
on a firmer and more secure foundation. His father, a stern disciplin-
arian schoolmaster, trained him in the old-fashioned way, sparing not the
rod in moulding his mind and character. At Harrison College he
excelled in classics and cricket, winning the blue riband of local scholar-
ship in 1918, and representing the school as wicket-keeper. At Oxford
he was not a shining success like his contemporaries, Manley and Van
Sertima, but he practised assiduously the art of public speaking. On his
return to Barbados he won immediate success at the Bar, and even today
when he appears in murder trials he is a great defending counsel. But
politics is his love. His career as a politician, has been curious. He
started in opposition to the labour party, scarifying Dr. O'Neele during
an uneasy partnership with local conservatism as editor of the small, but
influential Agricultural Reporter. When death and other circumstances
had removed the militant leaders of labour, O'Neele and Wickham, he
jumped into the leadership of the Labour party and has never faltered
since. Twice he has been near to failure once in 1937 when the riots
in the West Indies roused political passions, and again in 1940 when the
Labour Party almost split into fragmentary pieces through lack of
organization. In 1937 he took the bull by the horns and went to England
where he interested labour leaders in West Indian conditions; and in 1940
salvation came through the organizing ability of Hugh Springer. The
later years have been years of solid achievement. Springer's decision to
place his ability at the service of the infant University College removed
the only threat to his continued leadership, and today he is firmly
entrenched as a courageous, militant and businesslike labour leader.
His success has been due to an unusual combination of qualities: an
amazing ability to sway crowds with his rhetoric and a suppleness in
political manoeuvre which leaves friends and foes aghast. No leader in
Caribbean politics is better at pulling strings than Adams; and it, would
not be surprising if, when the Federation of the Caribbean colonies
becomes an accomplished fact. he emerges as the first Prime Minister
of the Caribbean Dominion.
-E. R. L. WARD.
Philip Sherlock's keynote speech at the 1930 annual conference of the
Jamaica Union of Teachers settled all. the doubts in my family about the
right school for me. Already admitted to the famous school he later
served as headmaster, I had come to town with my mother for the final
interview. In the general scramble for a word with the distinguished
speaker, my mother secured his help in placing me, instead, at the school
where he taught English, his alma mater. This was my introduction to
Philip Sherlock. I was in my fourteenth year.
It is natural for a pupil to resist his teacher. It is healthy and can
be invigorating to them both. Resistance to some teachers at our school
hardened into hostility. But this happened to the bad teachers. Never
to Philip Sherlock. How did he avoid this?
First, and most necessary of all in a teacher, he knew his subject.
He threw open window after window into the future, showing us what
we could learn at the university and how the great writers of the past
and present have lived and worked. In his treatment of Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress that year he revealed a profound knowledge of the
upper ranges and the inner depths of that great work. "If you prick
Bunyan, he bleeds bible for his very blood is bibline."
Next, he liked his subject. Young people hate grown-ups who are
insincere, deceitful and hypocritical. A teacher must believe in the
value and interest of his subject as a doctor believes in health. The
neglect of this principle is one of the chief reasons for the bad teaching
that makes pupils hate schools and universities and turn away from valu-
able fields of knowledge.
Whenever young people meet a man who does not always say what
they expect, who tells them novel stories about strange aspects of the
world, who throws unexpected lights on what they sadly know as ordinary
dull life, who seems as completely alive, sensitive, energetic and zestful
as they themselves, they usually admire him. Philip Sherlock was well
beloved by the boys and by his colleagues.
Not infrequently in those backward days, negro schoolboys heard
themselves, their past, their present, their future and, especially, their
dialect disparaged by imported European teachers who sought to make
little Englishmen of us. Philip Sherlock was and is a leading student of
Jamaican dialect and West Indian folklore. His well-known love of
Jamaica proverbs has preserved this valuable treasure, cloaked it in
re. pectability and given Louise Bennett a place in the sun.
A teacher of the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare and King George,
with a fluent command of Jamaicanese is accounted a hero by all Jamaica
schoolboys. It takes a combination of scholarship with patriotism and
with good breeding to produce such versatility. Philip Sherlock thus
paved the way for the new dialect writing of the Caribbean region, and
especially for Vic Reid's "New Day."
He enjoyed facing the young, individually and in large groups. He
mixed with them off duty, gave them an outing now and then, and
shared in their games. He knew their names and nicknames and so
could influence them. He was at his best at the weekly Student Christian
Movement meetings in his tiny bedroom where we sprawled all over
everything. At annual SCM conferences which he organized, many
adolescent students from many educational institutions in the capital
met and made lasting friendships.
From these beginnings. I went on to active leadership in the SCM in
'England; attended many international conferences of students, and
played a part at the World Conference of Christian Youth in Amsterdam
in 1939. Later in my career, I was to join the staff of the Secretariat of
the United Nations to work with several old SCM friends in the cause
of Peace and International Security, and Philip Sherlock was to summon
me back to service at the territorial level under his leadership.
Philip Sherlock is unquestionably a fine leader, formerly of boys,
latterly of men. As befits a leader, his sense of adventure is
strong. Whether he will ultimately hold the record for transferring
from one post to another, or whether I will, cannot be certain at this
stage. I do not enter my record of achievement through obedience to
new calls and new challenges into comparison with his. We are still
"Tommy" and "Mr. Sherlock" and it will ever be the same.
Each of Philip Sherlock's changes of milieu has synchronised with a
new emphasis and new gearing in colonial development in the Caribbean
region. He has always been the man of the hour. His tenure at the Insti-
tute of Jamaica, his acceptance of the mantle of Professor Simey in the
management of the Caribbean-wide programme of social welfare training,
the opportunity afforded him to break new ground in community educa-
tion as Director of Education of Jamaica Welfare (1943) Ltd., his appoint-
ment to be the first Director of Extra-Mural Studies in the University
College of the West Indies and his subsequent elevation to the post of
Vice-Principal of the College in 1949, fit into the pattern of response to
My very distinguished friend, Hardy Wickwar, of the United Nations
Division of Social Activities, at one of our last luncheon chats in January
this year asked me to confirm a fact which he had discovered through
research on documents describing present trends in social organization
in the British West Indies. He had observed many evidences of a Metho-
dist hand at work. Without hesitation I confirmed his findings. It was
the hand of Philip Sherlock.
Leadership in any field is a complex affair and leaders are highly
complex individuals. They differ from non-leaders, not so much in kind,
as in degree. They have the same basic aptitudes, skills and personality
factors possessed by all men in some degree. And it is the balance of
varying amounts of different abilities that makes them outstanding, not
any particular ability standing alone. Success is achieved in a number
of ways. Only one thing stands in common control in an interpersonal
situation. Philip Sherlock has this control.
Speaking roughly, in leadership, personality factors are probably ten
times as important as all aptitude and proficiency factors combined; yet
these are relatively unknown scientific qualities. Psychologists suspect
that personality can be broken down into four or five areas of difference.
But they have not reached universal agreement as to what are these
four or five basic factors. The majority see evidence in favour of (1)
an energy-drive factor; (2) a social adaptiveness factor; (3) an emotional-
control factor; (4) an ethical factor "conscience" for short.
Today, more than ever before, leadership in education programmes
is group leadership. An education leader cannot function in a vacuum.
Philip Sherlock's hold on the programme of extra-mural studies is
founded largely on his associates' respect for behaviour that carries,
besides self-assurance and competence, a marked regard for group wel-
fare. Any appreciation of Philip Sherlock becomes eventually a study
of a personality socially adaptive, willing and able to say and do the
things that influence the behaviour of others.
Professor Arthur Lewis.
I knew Arthur Lewis in the third or fourth. That was in the early
twenties. He was a gifted schoolboy. At 13 years of age, he had taken
the Senior Cambridge with Honours when some of us did the same at
15. He could not sit the London Matriculation on which the local
biennial Scholarship of St. Lucia was awarded until he was 17; he
therefore left school to earn a living as a typist clerk in the local Depart-
ment of Agriculture-an experience which must have served him well
in later years-and he came back at 17 to walk off with the Scholarship
in the First Division.
Genius is a word that should be used sparingly, certainly with caution;
for it connotes a quality of dominance, dimming by its splendour all
subsidiary lights. I think Lewis' scholastic records fully justify the
application of the term 'o him, for it was not only at St. Mary's College
in St. Lucia that he menaced the future careers of us lesser lights, but
at the great 'hub' of learning in the Empire, he set up academic records
which I understand will be very difficult to excel. I have grown to
believe that geniuses are born and not made, and Lewis came into the
world from a family of teachers on both his parents' sides, blessed with
extraordinary brain power. I remember in the Sixth, in the thrust and
parry of high argument, how we discussed the maldistribution of wealth
in St. Lucia, the social and economic dominance of the handful of power-
ful white French creoles, the iniquity of making our Island Scholarship
biennial etc. Yet no one guessed that these were the beginnings of
that economic and social thinking which he was to expound so bril-
liantly and perhaps so incisively later in life.
We marked him out as a future legal luminary, and we were sur-
prised at his decision to channel his great gifts of mind in the footsteps
of the master-Adam Smith.
We had kept close together in our school days. Never much of an
athlete,-he must have been the world's worst-I remember him rather
clumsily attempting football where "we urged the flying ball together",
but he had to be cautious with his eyes, then weak from wide reading.
We indulged in long afternoon walks, and although brilliant, I never
found him formidable or awe-inspiring company, for he was always
calm and gracious. We discussed literature, for that was my strong
point, but he was strong in the disciplines of Classics and Mathematics.
His weekly card reports in the form of graphs must have been absolutely
linear, for I do not remember his ever coming second in any exam. I
think he thought me a bit offensive for proceeding to win the Headmaster's
Essay Prize for English Literature which was opened to the whole school
and also for bringing it off again in the Cambridge Senior examination
Always quiet and retiring, he never cared much for social life and
when I met him in England twenty years later, he was just the same.
The Island Scholarship and then to London at the impressionable age of
17, where he entered the London School of Economics there to be exposed
to the influences of Laski, Shaw and the great men of the thirties. Soon
we heard of his exceptional performances and extraordinary brilliance.
Laski, of course, was quick to recognize these exceptional powers and
soon Lewis was a lecturer at the school.
I am told he was a brilliant and stimulating lecturer with a rare
command of his subject and relied very little if at all on notes. I did
not think however, he was blessed with a good lecturing voice. Yet
I was to hear him later lecture on Colonial Development at the Senate
House of Cambridge University to a packed hall of Colonial office officials,
representatives of foreign powers and Colonial administrative officers.
In typical professorial style, he paced the room, halting now and then
to emphasise a point and sitting on the table to expound current econo-
mic problems. Lord Milverton was in the Chair, and he described that
lecture as the most stimulating on Colonial affairs that he had heard
for a long time. He received a tremendous ovation at the conclusion
of that lecture.
I am not expected of course to write of his contribution to Economics
I can only quote the opinions of his colleagues and the other distinguished
economists I met. One told me in Cambridge that Lewis was going to
make a big name for himself as he was doing what few, if any other
economists were doing that is, he was interesting himself in the fields
of the Industrial economics of Great Britain, in colonial economics, and
international economics. Thus his recent Economic Survey 1919 39 has
been described as "a magnificent book of which there is no other (so
far as is known) which covers the inter-war period so completely and
briefly". It is most effective in 'placing' the inter-war years in the
wider panorama of world economic history.
In his book "The Principles of Economic Planning", he discusses the
problems arising from a mixed economy, and offers guidance to those
people who are puzzled or alarmed at present trends. This book was
recommended to be read by everybody interested in the political and
economic difficulties of Great Britain. Since however the appendices
deal with Planning in Backward Countries, the recommendation applies
with equal force to the Governments and people of the Caribbean. A
third work 'Overhead Costs' is a technical discussion of the social control
of public corporations, approached from an analysis of some of thc
difficulties of costing and price formation that arise out of the existence
of overhead costs. No doubt these books have focused attention to the
need of having minds like his own on Public Corporations, and he is now
a Director of the Colonial Development Corporation.
Lewis generally writes with some incisiveness and seems to have the
great gift of approaching a problem from angles which never seem to
occur to other people. Many will remember how he wrote scathingly
in the controversy with Benham over Benham's work in Jamaica but
without malice or ill feeling. The search for truth and human welfare
is his purpose. My own humble view is that his greatest contribution
so far to West Indian economics is his industrial blueprint, published by
the Caribbean Commission under the title "Industrialization of the British
West Indies" a work of considerable magnitude and importance, for
in that treatise, he has perhaps swung the traditional viewpoint of the
industrialisation of under-developed areas to an entirely new axis of
though:. In his own words industrialisationn is an investment which is
very costly in the first generation. and pays dividends only after many
years. They are very handsome dividends when they come, but their
period of gestation is longer than most private entrepreneurs can reason-
ably be expected to finance".
One wonders why he never returned to serve the West Indies. 1
think the answer is that he feels he can better serve them at the "hub'
than in the parochial atmosphere of Colonial circles. Engaged as he
is in the task of training men who are likely to be our future Colonial
Governors, he has the grand opportunity of 'indoctrinating them in the
new and liberal approaches to Colonial thought and philosophy.
England has had her brilliant families her Huxleys, Darwins,
Trevelyans, Galtons and Frys. They have been nurtured in the great
cultural heritage of their country and honoured by their countrymen.
History will no doubt record the achievements of brilliant West Indian
families, nurtured, however, without the atmosphere of a Bloomsbury
or an Oxford or a Cambridge. But that atmosphere is in sight for the
light is now shining in the west "Oriens ex occidente lux".
King's College, Cambridge, holds the name of Lord Keynes in great
reverence. No doubt, the little College of St. Mary's in St. Lucia holds
Lewis in the same light, for in my humble view, there will be found
in the course of time, much similarity between Lewis and Keynes. It
has been said of Lord Keynes that he was greater than Alfred Marshall
and the equal of the master, Adam Smith. Manchester will one day
pass its verdict on Lewis, and the West Indies will be proud for though
he belongs to Manchester University, he also belongs above all to the
In this connection, it is not often that one hears of West Indian Pro-
fessors in European seats of learning. Among those who come to mind
(not necessarily in Europe) are Professor E. M. Du Porte (St. Kitts) of
the Entomological Faculty of McGill University, our own Professor Eric
Williams of Howard, Capildeo (Trinidad), Brian King (St Kitts) a Fel-
low of Pembroke College, Cambridge, Mervyn Campbell (Barbados) a
recent Cambridge Wrangler and now of the University College of the
Gold Coast, Dr. Dudley Huggins of our Social Research Institute, and
To be a Senior Professor at a famous English University, and to have
served on the Board of Trade and on the Secretary of State's Colonial
Economic Advisory Council-all in one's late twenties or early thirties-
and to be coloured at that, is a tribute to the intellectual freedom of
England and the intellectual power of Arthur Lewis. And so colour
prejudice breaks down on the intellectual plane. May it always be so
in the interests of learning.
West Indians, a cynic once said, can be certain of two things-the
first, that if they work hard they won't always get the palm; the second,
if they do not work hard, they definitely won't get it. But all this is
changing. West Indians like Lewis. Williams, and Huggins are blazing
the trail and soon these thought impositions and inhibitions will give way
to the dictum "Possunt quia posse videntur."
St. G. C. COOPER.
A Thing of Beauty,
A joy forever !
WOULD BE BEAUTIFUL
if it be
DISTINCTIVE and ARTISTIC
FOR THE BEST IN PRINTING
(Prikting Contractors to the Government of British Guiana
and The Mayor & Town Council, Georgetown.)
BEL AIR PARK, VLISSENGEN ROAD.
Good News for all Rootes
Cheap and Efficient Service is
now available to you and all
Call and arrange for Free
Inspection, Advice and Quota-
tions from our newly arrive
SCONSULT US AND SAVE MONEY
I SPROSTONS MOTOR CAR
NUMBER, HLLMAN & COMMER
Lombard Street Phone 660.
by EUGENE BARTRUM
"Hello Dave! Aren't you going to ask me for a dance?" A voice said
near to David Bruce's shoulder.
David turned around to look into the eyes of Maizie Greene, a girl he
was very fond of before he left for the Imperial College of Tropical
Agriculture.They were chummy then but David never encouraged a
deeper feeling. He had fel. it would be better to wait until he had grad-
uated and she had grown up a little more.
Tonight she had given him his first disappointment since his return
to British Guiana. Not seeing her with the other guests he asked Percy
Walcott whether she was invited and Percy said "Yes, but she may be
a bit late." There was a twinkle in Percy's eyes when he added "Maizie's
a beautiful girl, David, very popular, too."
Not long afterwards while he was dancing with Dixie Walcott
Percy's sister, he saw Maizie dancing with a wealthy Doctor he had
known in Trinidad. Percy's reference to Maizie as a beautiful girl was
perhaps a bit casual. He thought her beauty devastating and did not
take his eyes off her until he was chided by his partner for not paying
attention to the music.
"It's no use either," Dixie cautioned "the Doctor's got a crush on
Maizie and Maizie's all crushed up herself."
Now here Maizie was accusing him of not being attentive to her.
As he looked into the two large brown eyes which held the same
questions as when he kissed her good-bye four years ago, his first im-
pulse was to rehearse that farewell scene, but he remembered how rapt
Maizie seemed as she danced with the Doctor. He remembered Dixie's
words and he kept himself within bounds.
"Hello Maizie," he said "It's really nice seeing you again. At first
I wondered whether it could be you. You look so enchanting. Now that
I am .ure, shall we dance?"
He smiled as winningly as he could and as they danced he tried to
forget his escapades with Maizie, the little dare-devil imp at school who
brazenly tossed her unruly plaits over her shoulder one day and said to
old "Cocerite" the Maths. master "If Dave Bruce can't solve that rider,
no ene else can."
He could not forget. Instead he started to recall every little prank
they played together. Then he had regarded her as a pal and not as a
After they left school that camaraderie continued. When there was
tide they swam together in the muddy Atlantic. When the tide was out
they collected shells on the beach. They rode all the donkeys on her
uncle's farm in the country, climbed mango trees, genip trees, dunk trees.
He even taught her to use a shot gun and often they went hunting vicissi
ducks which invaded the rice fields at the back of the farm during the
rice cutting season.
One day about six months before he left for Trinidad, as she rushed
into the rice field to pick up ducks which they had shot she got stuck
in some soggy mud. When he took her out he saw her eyes smiling
wickedly in spite of her plight. They stared at each other for a moment
and suddenly he kissed her full on her mouth.
Immediately he was sorry that had happened.
"Oh David," she said "This will spoil everything." And he knew
that their innocent friendship had ended. He liked her as a play mate,
but he was not prepared for anything as serious as that kiss. He knew
that she was not prepared either, so he determined to stop seeing her.
It was a cruel decision but, for both of them, he thought it better and
did not see her again until the afternoon before he left for Trinidad.
At college he tried to forget her, but instead he built airy castles of
what they would do together when he got back home.
The orchestra changed its rag time tempo to a waltz and those
thoughts which were racing through his mind now became a medley of
The tide was coming in and a cool breeze played gently against his
hot forehead. Maizie was in his arms. beautiful, bewitching, desirable.
But he dared not see her. He saw the wraiths of his airy castles dancing
like demons in the air around him.
While they danced neither of them spoke, but, as he took her to her
seat, Maizie said quietly "Dixie's a nice girl, David."
He wondered why she said that. Did she realise how very much he
was in love with her? Was she being kind, realising the futility of it all,
and offering Dixie as a substitute?
Again he had a mad impulse but again Dixie's words checked him.
They were standing before the Doctor and Maizie was saying,
"Ronald, this is David Bruce, an old school mate. David this is Ronald
Duke......Ron and I are engaged, but we want to keep it to ourselves
for a while. So please be a dear and "forget that we told you."
The Doctor's eyebrows lifted slightly. David noticed this but he was
too stunned to think of anything else but the stark truth he had just
"Congratulations, Duke," he said almost curtly, "you should be a very
For the rest of the evening he danced most of the time with Dixie.
He too thought Dixie a nice girl and he wanted Maizie to know it.
When he got home he pondered over upsetting Maizie's engagement.
He knew that when he kissed her four years ago she was in love with him.
He saw that same look in her eyes tonight. Was it for him, or was it a
simulation of her love for Duke? Ronald Duke, the name felt like
dirt in his mouth.
Had it been some o:her fellow, even Percy Walcott he may not have
minded so much. but not Ronald Duke!
The next day he called on Duke at his surgery.
"Hello youngster," Duke said blandly, "a bit sore at me I expect."
"Sore!" David's voice was bitter with contempt "You dirty rotter.
You didn't think there was someone in British Guiana who knew about
you. Now you've gone just a little too far."
"Mr. Bruce," Duke said smugly "Am I to assume you came here to
insult me. When Miss Green introduced us last night, I thought you were
a gentlemen. I understand you went to college in Trinidad...... Surely
travel should have improved your manners. Instead it seems to have
spoilt you. Calm yourself Bruce."
David's temper got the better of him.
"Damn your blasted platitudes, Duke. You know damn well that I
know why you were kicked out of Trinidad. After that Delaine mix up
not a single person in Port-of-Spain would have given you a case. Being
a "famous Frederick Street Doctor, your name was kept out of the press.
You know that. Every student at Icta knew about the mess you made
of Mrs. Delaine's life. Several fellows there were ashamed to think that
they sat near to you at Queen's Royal."
He looked at his rival squarely.
"Duke," he said "Will you break that engagement, or shall I air your
filthy reputation in all the clubs in Georgetown?"
Duke listened unflinchingly then he said "Blackmail, Bruce. It never
pays. What you are saying you could never prove. It may hamper my
career a bit, but it would ruin you if I brought you up for slander. But
rather than going so far, let me show you something."
He took a note from his wallet and David flinched when he recog-
nised Maizie's handwriting.
"Read this," he said, folding over a part of the letter.
David read "Ron, darling, if I had heard from anyone else I might
have minded. It did give me a shock, but now I love you nothing you
did in the past could ever matter. No one else knows about Mrs. Delaine.
No one in Georgetown. And, darling, no one will ever know.........."
David did not read further.
He looked at Duke "So there's still something decent about you. You
He shrugged his shoulders "Well its none of my business anyway."
For weeks afterwards David battled with his desire and his reason.
He remembered Duke's eminence as a Doctor in Trinidad. He heard of his
progress for the short time he was in Georgetown and he considered it
took some good in a man to rank highly in his profession, especially as a
Doctor. Maybe the Delaine case was an unfortunate lesson which had
made Duke a better man. He considered that he could never be able to
Keep Maizie as comfortably as Duke could. And, if as she said, she loved
Duke, he would only be a cad to stand in her way.
He started visiting Dixie regularly perhaps to forget Maizie or perhaps
Dixie was really a nice girl. He didn't know which. He soon realized
however that Dixie knew of his love for Maizie and yet she was so sweet
A few months afterwards, Dixie invited him to a picnic and to his
surprise it was a foursome with Maizie and Ronald Duke.
He was a bit angry with Dixie, but as the day went on he felt him-
self being so attached to her that Maizie's presence didn't seem to matter.
In the afternoon when the tide was up, Duke said suddenly "Maizie,
you have often told me what ace swimmers you and David were a few
years ago. Wont you entertain us a bit?"
Maizie said "We could, if David doesn't mind."
As they swam out to sea, David noticed a set expression on Maizie's
face. They were a good way out and she swam on untiringly.
Splashing on the left of them attracted their attention and David said
"That looks like Dixie."
There was a wry smile on Maizie's face when she said "This is it!"
"This is what?" David asked angrily "Dixie's no swimmer. She
shouldn't go so far out. She seems to be in difficulty. I'm going to her."
Maizie's voice was as calm as a ripple of air.
"No," she said "You aren't. If you do I'll swim right out to sea."
When David looked at Maizie he did not see Ronald Duke's fiancee
but the little wench who swam alongside of him five years ago and he
knew she meant what she said.
"Hell, Maizie, "he said lamely "You can't do that. Dixie'll drown."
"No," she said "She won't. Ron's a good swimmer himself. He'll save
"No" David frowned "No, Maizie. Sorry I can't agree with you. I'm
Maizie said "Good-bye Dave' and she continued swimming.
David swam a few yards towards Dixie and stopped. He saw Dixie
struggling about a hundred yards to his left and he looked back to see
Maizie heading for the Atlantic.
For a split second he wanted to tear himself in two. It was obvious
that one would drown. Which one must he help?
He changed his direction and swam desperately out to the Atlantic
and was in time 'o overtake Maizie just as her strokes became weaker.
He rested her head on his chest and stroked backwards to shore
wondering guiltily what had happened to Dixie. They were a long way
out and after some time Maizie looked at him and smiled weekly.
"Why did you do that?" he asked grimly.
"David," she said softly "Dixie's a better swimmer than you or I.
While you were away she swam across the Demerara river. Did you say
she was no swimmer?"
David did not answer. He remembered Dixie saying to him earlier
in the day that she could easily drown in a few feet of water.
"Why did you want to swim out to sea?" he asked "Were you running
away from someone?"
"Yes," she said "From David Bruce. You made me run away from
you six years ago."
"I can't understand, Maizie," David said "God knows I can't. How
does Duke come in. That might help."
"David," she said "I'm going to be exactly what I was long ago -
a little hussy I'll tell you. I didn't know how friendly you were with
Dixie before you left for Trinidad, but she always spoke about you while
you were away. She gave me the impression she had you ear-marked.
"I got fed up. I thought she was the reason why when you kissed me
you decided not to see me again. I met Ronald at her house and he per-
sisted in paying me attentions. You know what happened at the Carib
the night I introduced you to Ronald. Dixie seemed to have upset you
much. Oh I was so mad. When you danced with me you were in another
"That's why when I introduced you to Ronald I accepted his proposal.
He proposed to me several times before and I had refused. He told me
the same night about the Delaine case and asked me not to be rash
in accepting. He must have had some suspicions about us. The next
morning I wrote telling him that I didn't care about his past. And
honestly, I would have accepted him then if he was the worst criminal.
All I wanted was to be away from you.
"A few days ago he told me you went into his surgery shortly after
he had received my letter and wanted to eat his head off. If he had
told me the same day I would have known that you......Oh perhaps it's
She took a deep breath.
"This picnic was Ronald's idea. I think now he knows what he
wanted to know."
As they approached the beach they saw the others in a distance. As
they got nearer Ronald waved first, then Dixie, but when they reached
the beach it was deserted.
A familiar shrug of David's shoulder gave Maizie the assurance she
"Seems as if our friends have left us," she said.
"So it seems," David said "perhaps they meant good-bye, when they
The tide was receding leaving wavy rivulets in the sand. Here and
there patches of white shell glimmered on the beach as if mutually aware
of the water's nakedness, they both looked towards the green expanse
of courida trees, so stalwartly guarding their country from the ravage of
David's head turned slowly and he looked into two big questioning
"Darling," he said "my darling".
In his voice there was the assurance that the red light had changed.
I have been to the cities,
The old cities,
Rome, Paris, Vienna,
London, Brussells, Amsterdam,
And indestructible, fragile man
I have seen
Living the flash bulb filament span
Amidst convex and vertical stones
And old monuments....
The old cities,
Where age is worshipped
And age is the worshipper....
The age bound cities,
The fog bound cities,
The stone bound cities,
The twilight bound cities,
Where age is worshipped
And age is the worshipper.
And across the Atlantic seas
I have been to the new cities,
Epilogues of the old,
The light bound cities,
The steel bound cities,
The sky bound cities,
The stone bound cities,
Where mirrored spectre of the past
Is vista of the future,
And the brooding of the old cities
The mirrored spectre of age was there again.
I have gone in my searching
To the cities,
The old cities,
And to the new cities
Across the Atlantic seas.
Washington, New York,
Chicago, Los Angeles....
Radar-pronged antenae of my searching
The old cities....
The new cities....
But the faces were the same.
In snow, bleak rain,
Fog and miraculous sunshine.
I have searched
I have searched
I have searched,
But the face of the cities,
The old cities,
And the new cities
Across the Atlantic seas
Were the same.
Jamaica in the Novel
by LILIAN DEWAR
A novelist has o'her functions than the provision of entertainment.
All art has a social function, in that it widens and deepens our conscious-
ness of ourselves, our awareness of our environment, and in doing so
helps us to make more and more appropriate responses to the world
about us. The artist paints a night scene at the Bourda Market: the
huckster wrapped up and asleep, the fruit laid out on sugar-bags the
carbide-lamp. At once the scene gains social significance. A new
relationship now springs up between the huckster and ourselves, our
consciousness has been directed along a new channel; ever after our
response to the huckster will be conditioned by our emotional response
to the painting. The every-day scene has been held up for our admira-
tion, it has gained social sanction, a social sanction that life in the West
Indies with its imported literature, imported films, imported broadcasts,
but rarely receives.
Art is thus one of the most powerful influences controlling the social
behaviour of man, and since the artist is the first to react to changes in
the cultural pattern, it is he who can save us from making the old
response to an entirely new set of conditions; it is the artist who can
carry us forward, and save us from looking back to Africa, India, China,
to justify ourselves, a looking back which seems like infantile regression,
and is as barren. The artist can give us that sense of community, of
shared experience, which is what we hope to find in Africa, India, Chipa.
Since reading, of whatever quality, is a far more widespread activity
than any of the other art forms except the cinema, it is largely through
our reading that we are intellectually conscious of ourselves. It is part
of the novelist's business to make us more conscious of the cultural pat-
tern, not in the flat, as the sociologist would do, but as the various
elements in it act and react on one another. A novel has not achieved
much if it has not shown us the reaction of individuals to the accepted
attitudes of a society. In doing this, it of course holds up certain attitudes,
and says in effect: "These are your attitudes, these the aims of your
society, these your ideals, this is how you feel."
Now since the writer can widen the area of our consciousness, and
make us intellectually and emotionally conscious of ourselves, and since
it is a prerequisite of planned social change to know not only what we
feel, but why we feel it, not only what we want, but why we want it,
the attitudes and assumptions of writers who hold us up for inspection
must be subject to careful scrutiny.
De Lisser's novel, "The White Witch", was published in 1929 the
date is important from the point of view both of history and of literature.
At that time in the Caribbean what happened in Jamaica was hardly
anybody else's business. Social problems had not been investigated,
therefore they did not exist. Social forces could not have been at a
standstill, but the emancipation, though nearly a hundred years old
could still be looked back to with satisfaction as the acme of British
achievement. There is, of course, much virtue in looking back except
when indulged in because there is nothing to look forward to: then
perhaps we run into the danger of being turned into pillars of salt.
However, de Lisser chose the period just before the emancipation.
His theme may with kindness be summed up as the spiritual perils of a
free white man (Rutherford) in a slave society. He is an Englishman,
a future plantation owner, who has come out to the West Indies as a
book-keeper in order to learn the ropes, and Jamaica is seen through his
eyes. He stays about three months, when he leaves he is asked: "Do you
think you will ever come back to the West Indies?" "Never", was the
We cannot blame him, except in so far as "he had expected in his
youthful ardour to find strange adventures in Jamaica. He finds
Jamaica "a strange land of slavery and passion, beauty and mystery."
The perfunctory treatment that de Lisser gives to the land itself is the
same he accords the society; they are both backgrounds to a lurid story.
Neither the land nor the society are to be lived in: that is the basic
attitude, one which we who live in the West Indies cannot adopt, if only in
the interests of self preservation. The land has all the hard brilliance
of a tourist postcard, the society is there to provide the source of "strange
adventures." It consists of the whites on the estate, the most important
being the witch, Annie Palmer, the owner of Rosehall. There are the
estate slaves, who are restless because they have heard that freedom is
on the way. Beyond the estate in Montego Bay there is a merchant
community, shadowy in the extreme, and a community of free Negroes.
Most of the passion, beauty and mystery are provided by Mrs. Palmer,
not by Jamaica. The passion is for Rutherford, the mystery the deaths
of her three husbands, the witchcraft she has learnt in Haiti. Her love
for Rutherford is thwarted by Millicent, a free Negro, who is also in love
with him. Were it not for this we feel there could be no contact between
white and Negro beyond the violence of occasional whippings and illicit
The Negroes are habitually referred to as "these people", and we
do not see very much of them.But we gather that "these people have
skins as tough as their dispositions," and that they are keenly alive to
ridicule etc. They are, of course, superstitious, and try to counter Mrs.
Palmer's witchcraft by their own obeah practices. But what seems to
strike Rutherford most of all is their "happiness." After a whipping
they gather to a meal with gusto: "they could not be really unhappy
if they could take life like that", and his conscience, disturbed by the sight
of the whipping, is at once laid at rest. Or again; "the feel of life was
perfect. Something of this must have been felt even by those in bond-
age, for while he stood and looked about him, he heard a chorus of merry
noises, which seemed to come from carefree hearts". But these "care-
free hearts" remain an entirely unexplained anatomical phenomenon.
The slaves are in fact about to revolt, but that is to be no part of this
story, and when revolt does come. it is dismissed in a few lines.
The "West Indian ethos" begins to affect Rutherford on his second
morning on the plantation, when he "flung to the winds every shred of
prudence......He felt at once inclined to live gaily, riotously, danger-
ously today, and let the morrow take care of itself." But the commentary
on white society is supplied mainly by Rider, an unfrocked parson who
has succumbed to the spiritual perils that are besieging Rutherford. "These
tropics, with their large servile population and small aristocracy of pro-
prietors who lived in a world of the narrowest mental and moral horizons
what a horror they actually were! If they did not become physically
the white man's grave, they formed for him as deadly a spiritual sepul-
chre." This spiritual death is occasioned partly by fear and boredom:
"Fear is in the very texture of the mind of all the white people here: fear
and boredom, and sometimes disgust. That is why so many of us
drink." Rider is shot, and his epitaph: "one........who had become a
slave to circumstances, and a derelict in a land where human life and
happiness were held so cheap."
An unhealthy and dying society. No wonder Rutherford thought
the West Indies not good enough for him. De Lisser has ploughed over
barren soil, which has yielded but a barren conclusion. We must sup-
pose that the emancipation released new social forces, and was the tonic
which kept the patient alive.
But still unhealthily alive. In fact Miss Bottome wonders: is this "a
civilisation coming to birth, or a civilisation crumbling into decay?"
"Under the Skin" bears some resemblance to "The White Witch". The
plot is equally lurid. There are 'wo women and a girl all in love with
Philip-not that there is anything to be said against that in itself, but
that the improbabilities of life can always be accounted for by love
-at least in fiction, and especially on a tropical island. And we are
given many improbabilities, most improbable of all the subplot wherein
a Deputy Principal of a girls' school, seven-eights white, practises obeah
(with the aid of a pupil) and attempts murder (with the aid of a pupil)
to get rid of a new Headmistress. But what is this novel if not "facti-
tious local colourism?" and how write about Jamaica, where human life
is held so cheap, without obeah and without murder?
Again we are shown an outsider's reaction to the accepted attitudes
of a Jamaican society. An Englishwoman (Lucy) comes to Jamaica
as a Headmistress, and this is the Jamaica she finds. She too falls in love,
but with a Jamaican a coloured doctor (Philip) so she does not reject
Jamaica, but decides instead to give "her clearskinned white body into the
dark stream of the Island's life."
However, this Jamaica has been investigated by a Royal Commis-
sion and by Simey, and many of the conclusions we are used to are re-
peated: "they're utterly irresponsible, these natives". "On the Island
the sense of responsibility was weak and infantile, because responsibility
had been for so long denied its native people." "They have so little of
their own on their Island, these dark ones,-only what belongs to other
people. No language, no tradition, no religion.... I sometimes wonder
what is in their hearts that is their own." "Yes", Jessica said, in the
soft uptilting drawl of the Island, with its hidden depth of questioning,
as if a human being had no fixed right, even to his own speech. His
sole defence against the cruel prejudice and snobbery of the white race,
which had trained him to value what it would not let him share. "Even
now what are they freed for? To be destitute? To be uneducated? To
There is. in fact, the need to make emancipation something positive,
and not a mere negation of slavery. This Lucy feels she can help to
do, for it is not only love that forces her to abandon her own Island and
adopt Jamaica. It is the conviction that only the English can release
Jamaica from its bondage: in England children won't turn "to her with
vigour and passion for new life........she had been able to give them
(Jamaican children) what they needed most, and what only a white
woman .... could give them: an innate respect for human beings.... If
Lucy, who was white., could make each one of them realise that they
were of equal value, then all life was open to them, all fear behind them."
The premise so slight, the conclusion so cosmic! Again: "Without Lucy
the younger children would not be real to themselves any more, they
would have to try to win toleration by pretending to be like what they
didn't understand .... a white teacher who respected them as Lucy
had respected them imparted a new magic. They had found themselves
at home with life itself'. We do not pretend to understand this magic
It may be the old assumption already remarked by Barnes, "that all back-
ward peoples are automatically improved by contact with the British."
Or it may be that, like Dr. Little before her, Miss Bottome conceives of
our salvation as lying in psychological and social accommodation to the
English way of life. If we may be allowed to repeat ourselves: "We see
salvation in adjustment to our own environment, historical and geogra-
phical, because only through such adjustment can we ever hope to create
our own way of life and it is only in accommodation to our own way
of life that we can achieve balance," and find ourselves at home with life
After all. the American Negro, in spite of colour prejudice, does not
seem unreal to himself, nor does he have to try to win toleration by pre-
tending to be like what he doesn't understand. He is part of the cultural
pattern he lives in, and, far more important, he contributes to it. He
is not taking something to which he has not contributed, and to which
he cannot contribute. He is within the scheme of values he lives by, or,
as Miss Bottome puts it, "at home with life itself".
The main preoccupation of the book, as its title implies, is the problem
of colour prejudice: "It makes all the difference on the Island, Elvira
said, with tragic intensity". The whole disproportion of the book lies in
this tragic intensity about everything. After all, this is a subject for
jokes at the breakfast table, and we suppose even Jamaicans must be
able to laugh at themselves occasionally. But there is no humour in
Miss Bottome's Jamaica, only "a house full of laughing servants" some-
where, those carefree hearts again. She seems incapable of seeing more
than one thing at a time, a concentration that has the limitations of stills,
and forces us to introduce our own ribaldry, often at moments when we
should by rights be feeling most sorry for ourselves. Consider seriously,
if you can, Philip's description of the most successful mixed marriage he
The situation as regards colour prejudice has in fact changed some-
what in recent years; skin colour is no longer quite so much of an
economic or a social hindrance; certainly it plays little part in determin-
ing the elite, either political, intellectual or artistic. But there is always
a time lag between social change and our adjustment to it, and colour
prejudice will persist socially long after it ceases to function economically,
if only for the ease with which it can be applied. In spite of this it is
a doubtful question whether, by mature standards, this subject has
enough moral and human interest to merit treatment in a full length
novel. "Under the Skin" does not dispel a particle of this doubt.
The Jamaica of "New Day" is a Jamaica that has been lived in and
loved. To say this is to say, perhaps, all that is important. But critics
have pointed out the imagination and power both in language and in
conception of the first part, and the comparative failure of the second
part. We feel that the reason for this failure may point to a major
failure in West Indian life today.
Reid's theme is the fight for political liberty, and the first part of his
book is taken up with the Rebellion of 1865, the immediate cause of
which was hunger due to long drought. The Campbells are a nearwhite
family to whom Jamaica is unmistakably home. They own and cultivate
the land themselves, they live by its produce, they have been uncon-
sciously assimilated by Jamaica. The second son, David, attends the
meetings of the discontented in the neighboring village of Stony Gap;
he himself becomes one of the leaders of the Rebellion, and the whole
family identifies itself with the cause of the hungry. Blood is shed, of
course, by the people during the Rebellion, and by the Government
afterwards. Three of the Campbell family are shot. Then we are shown
the family gradually gaining wealth (from plantations) and consequence,
until it produces in the fourth generation another leader in Garth
Campbell, a leader who has studied law in England, and who comes back
to continue the fight for political liberty by organising labour.
But after three generations of preparation Garth Campbell the
lawyer is not after all so heroic. We are meant to applaud the refine-
ment of the methods of achieving political liberty the rejection of force
and bloodshed, the resort to group organisation instead. What we see is
that the people and spirit of 1865 have been rejected along with their
methods. The Campbells have moved away from the land, they have
moved away from the people. David Campbell was one among several
who thought they saw what was good for Jamaica, and who were willing
lo fight for it. Garth starts out on a lone fight, and is later joined by
a cousin of his. What has happened to the people of the barracks and of
Stony Gap? Did they have no grandsons? The right to political liberty,
like any other right, involves duties. What are the Jamaican people
themselves going to contribute to political liberty? It seems that they
are to contribute their willingness to be led, that the Garth Campbells
will give them what is good for them before they even ask for it. In
losing sight of the people with whom he set out so buoyantly, Reid has
lost sight of social reality.
Reid's dilema is that of the West Indian writer today. The West
Indian middle class has very little of its own that is worth writing about.
Its achievement is reckoned in terms of its adjustment to western European
civilisation. It is therefore conscious of two standards of value. This
results in rental abortion, in a literature of self explanation instead of
self discovery. Seymour's picture of West Indian writers writing for
each other as audience, is stultifying, and can develop into nothing but
a circle within whose ring magicians murmur dark incantations. Without
being ungrateful to those who in their very limited leisure make the
effort to improve our social being, an effort in itself immensely difficult
to make and yet so little rewarded, we may fairly say that not a little
of what has been written already partakes of the nature of incantation,
individual fantasies without social realism.
The middle classes must re-establish contact with the "somnolent
masses" from whom they have cut themselves off, those masses who
have at least subdued our environment in so far as it has been subdued.
They must write for them and about them. Only in this way can they
maintain contact with social reality, for in the people, and not in the
middle classes lie the new social forces that will shape the future.
T Get a package
from your Grocer
T 1"A TO-DAY!
Wieting & Richter, Ltd.
these Carib altars knew:
nameless and quite forgotten are the gods;
mute and alone,
their silent people spend
a ring of vacant days,
not like more human years,
as aged and brown their rivers flow away.
yes, pressing on my land,
there is an ocean's flood;
it is a muttering sea,
here, right at my feet
my strangled city lies,
my father's city and my mother's heart:
hoarse groaning tongues,
children without love,
mothers without blood,
all cold as dust, nights dim, there is no rest.
mine was a pattern woven by a slave
dull as a dream encompassed in a tomb.
are the fields
covered by the floods;
and those rivers roll
over altars gone;
naked, naked loins.
throbbing deep with life
rich with birth indeed,
rouse, turning to the sun.
and more fierce rain will come again tonight,
new day must clean, have floods not drowned the fields
killing my rice and stirring up my wrath?
A. J. SEYMOUR
A darling of the sun the great canoe
Riding across the unquiet sequined sea
By day and through the blowing velvet night
Charting a path from the slow star ballet.
The startled Esseauebo still lay drowned
In its own channel and the sullen waste
Usurner heaved beyond its far commands
When Amalivaca came.
The circling sun had not yet swung his wheel
Leaned still his light out of the eastward sky
The day the fabled spate came to an end
And the mantling flood contracted from the earth.
First King Roraima brought his forehead clear
Towering behind with seaward-looking eyes
And his huge shoulders rising from the waste
Of seething waters steelfaced like a shield
Which slowly sank.
And next Wei-assipu- they caught the sun
And Ayanganna. so splendid in its pride
And many a mountain more, whose name to tell
Would make a hoarse deep music and would beg
The storm for thunder,
And while these islands stood
On ocean-hooded resurrecting land
Men called the place Amalivaca stayed
The Tramen cliff above Imbaimadai
And there he carved upon the mountain side
Strange figures of maids dancing in the sun
Shining above them. These timehri loom
Today above the shrunken river courses
With the dance frozen still within their limbs
As that prime artist conjured them-the virgins
Leaping in reverent rhythms to the sun
Blazing his power upon the patient earth,
Husband of all the earth's fertility.
And with these strange rock signatures he declared
The idiom of his coming, that he would write
Upon men's hearts imperishable poetry.
Behind Amalivaca's eyes dwelt lore
And national legend long forgotten and still
While in his fingers slept a skill of craft
Learnt through the powerful limbs from the calm brain
President, a craft that rifled wildwood
Bark for unguent balm and sooth-sense herbage
And searched the choreography of the heavens
Or aromatic shifts of wind before the Trades
A felled tree he could take and with slow fire
Shape to a hollow instrument of grace
To move with rippling power upon the river.
Rough land, flood-widowed, he engineered it smooth
The snaking paths pulled straight to villages
And threw a circle around the huddling huts
Within whose ring the forest should never stride.
Those broad and coffee-coloured water-roads,
The swiftly tumbling rivers, with a breadth
Beyond the flight of a birdling, he decreed
A federation of ways for villages
Throughout the pauseless centuries for link and trust.
(To be continued).
Dear Ann and Joan,
I told you this story of Amalivaca once before when we were
sitting around the dining table but later I found myself wondering
whether I shouldn't write the story all down and give it to you as a
Christmas present. You see, other girls and boys may want to read i.
too-and perhaps a few grown-ups also-and there is one reason why
this story of Amalivaca belongs to all the children in Guiana and to
children living in other places too. The men who study these masters
and who have written great heavy, brown-covered books with gold
lettering on Shem, tell us that the name Amalivaca is found sprinkled
all over the Caribbean sea, an area of thousands of square miles. It
keeps cropping up in the legends of the Caribs that a mother tells her
children while the sun is going down to put them to sleep, and now
and then she would add, "Now dear, go to sleep and Amalivaca will
watch over you."
So perhaps Amalivaca did exist long long ago and we're taking
scraps of stories that the Caribs have left, perhaps some in Antigua and
some in Belize and knitting the fragments together. This is just another
piece of unrecorded history that the Amerindians have given to us here
in Guiana It has come down by word of mouth and been mingled with
so many children's dreams.
Sam Chase as an Educationist
Some time during 1950 it was reported that Sam Chase had given
our local public 25 years of mirthful service. Now I do not know much
about Sam though after seeing a few of his productions and having met
him on a few occasions, I have some idea of the nature of the man. To
my way of thinking however, it is just as well that I cannot give a reader
- who may perhaps have been attracted by the title, and will I hope not
be disappointed by the contents-the facts of the man's upbringing, date
of birth, parentage, etc. I cannot even recall the first time I heard of
Sam Chase but I can remember distinctly the first show I saw.
It is notewor hy, and I believe authentic, that Sam was at School with
the present Public Information Officer, and from what I gather, was quite
keen, alert and bright. Whether he acted in the little school plays, or
used to make monkey motions of the teacher, or precisely what inspired
his developing into a sort of Public Entertainment Officer, is unknown to
me; but such he is: and his speech, script writing, wit, puns and so forth
are indicative of a fair basic education and a penetrating understanding
and insight of the local community.
Now seeing that I am neither equipped to tell you the facts about
Sam Chase, nor to give you a literary or dramatic criticism of his produc-
tions, I am afraid that, having lured you on thus far, I can only give you
a few impressions that have been collected after having seen nearly a
score of his sketches.
I saw first his "Matron Broomes" and "Men of Several Worlds." I
considered the show to be immensely amusing but tedious because of
the long pauses; the inevitable encores of mediocre singing and calypsoes;
and the unschooled attitude of the audience. Sam needed a good pro-
ducer and a co-operative audience. His productions have improved,
they now start more or less punctually, the fluorescent lights do not have
to be fixed after the first act, the playwright now incorporates the re-
moval of stage property with some act such as a levy by the Police; and
you get away very well before midnight. With a more understanding
audience, everyone would enjoy the show and sequences would follow
The evolution of his plays over a short period too is quite cemark-
able and while it has always been said that you can listen to calypsoes
or Sam's scrip.' and not detect anything lewd-depending on the level
of your mind, his inuendo has apparently, become far more subtle and
clever as it generally eludes me! I think that at his shows some of the
local calypsoes, I mean of course Shantos, pardon me! are not yet
wholly fit for gentle ears, but Sam does not resort to the obscene as a
secure of amusement but relies on ridicule and lampooning of the inter-
esting public happenings of which everyone has heard something.
It is here to my mind that his strength lies in captivating an audi-
ence. The basis of his humour is its lack of finish; he assails the revered
political and governmental bosses and the pit loves it; and not only the
pit! It points perhaps to an undesirable element in colonial life, that
of dragging down "the great", if not in actual fact at least on the stage.
They revel in the fact that "the Mare" was beaten up in Sam's version
of the Municipal Bonds' Issue or that the Doctor who leaves his patients
for a tennis engagement gets a severe thrashing on the stage! A study
of Shakespearean and Elizabethan drama would show evident similarities
in the way he caters for the vulgar desire and yet tries to get over an
idea. Some may even go so far as to say that Sam Chase's drama is at
the Elizabethan stage of development.
It is not however just merely the lampooning of those whose down-
fall cannot otherwise be obtained, that interests him, because he has
of late resorted to drawing morals verbally from the proceedings. He
would implore his audience "to laugh and stop", to have their fun and
then listen to the serious part. Thus he moves perceptibly from hilarity
to morality, thus he cautions the women to beware of back talking and
slack living, thus he admonishes the obeah addicts, severely, cruelly,
but with good intent. He pokes fun at the great or the small,-provided
they have attracted public attention. He deplores the housing condi-
tions; he eulogises the merits of skinfish;'he castigates the administration
for the Soft drinks tax and explains that the "Dictator of Finants" was
decorated with K.I.L.L. D.E. P.O.O.R., not because of what it spells,
but because he keeps increasing Levies and Licences and Deprives Even
Poor Orphans Of Riches. In "Gentlemen the King" he is a racialist, a
moralist in "the Dreamer and the Jar", in "The Ruler and the Boo Boo
Man" a satirist, in "Guardroom Jitters" a typical blustering but obse-
quious policeman,-Corporal Sargeant Blight, an idealist, in the "Mare
and the Bonds" and an excellent parodist in "the Collapsible Bride-
groom". He is a versatile comedian. His feminine portrayals in his
Lizzie Series, Matron Broomes. Tiny Davis, the Collapsible Bridegroom,
etc. were completely satisfying to both sexes of the audience, and his
voice control and modulation and emotional depiction would gladden the
heart of any ventriloquist. What if his remarks are seditious or even
slanderous, he has been careful to warn his audience that names, appear-
ance and portrayals "have not even the remotest connection with people
who have ever lived, wished they were alive, or would like to live."
His advertisements are explicit, true they are part of his dialogue,
but they never fail to amuse, and what better advertisement to the
impressionable mind is there than amusing instructive information. The
expression of admiration for another actor's dress evokes the boisterous
comment that the material came from Lall's Camp Street Bazaar while
she loudly declaims the direction and latest price quotations; or that it was
an old piece of material which (loudly) "was washed with Zex Soap
which makes white clothes whiter and coloured clothes brighter". He
is a good publicity agent as he has his audience assured. They laugh
with him, but listen to him, and he reaches a level of popular understand-
ing that perhaps cannot be otherwise scratched.
Yes, there are many weaknesses in his productions still, but I have
noticed that during the short period I have attended his shows, that
apart from getting a more docile audience in the more austere surround-
ings of the Empire Cinema, the levels of the audience like the admission
fee has been raised. There have been groups of people filtering in from
the most squeamish cliques of society, and there have been those who go
not only for ribald jests-the intelligentsia, educationists; and I venture
to suggest to you, patient reader, that Sam Chase too, like Pepys, in
his own particular way, is an Educationist.
comes from much more than
"being in the fashion." It
is the look of distinction cre-
ated b!j taste expressed in an
attractive ensemble and im-
You too may obtain the
envied poise of elegance In-
spect our ready-to-wear
morning and afternoon
frocks: they will please you
with their fashionable styling
....and their low prices.
I NOW IN STOCK
For those who appreciate mecha-
FOR OVER 75 YEARS THE ARISTOCRAT OF
|z Call and select yours today from HUMBER
PRADASCO CYCLE STORE,
Phone 616. 19, Hincks Street, Georgetown. P.O.Box 135.
.......... ....s.................. .....................
A. N. FORDE
Scrawling a signature across
The map of the sky you fly
With the grace
Of a warm memory
Touched with the scalpel of time past.
In the mosaic of the clouds
At sunset you fold proud
Wings to lie
Upon the palpitation of the waves
Leaving behind a tender trace
Of your lightness on the sand
For the careless sea to trod
On and erase.
Or in powered dives
With taut limpness down
The shafts of air your limbs
Sink in a sharp plunge
To the rocky ground.
Or rising from the catacombs
In an equipoise of wonderful
Propulsion your arms
Climb the tiers of the air
With an upward roll.
Your nest left huddled
In the ear of a rock
Mid the blast and wrack
Of fretful billows
Clamouring to be heard
You ride into the silence of the sky.
And far below you
As you soar
I envy your freedom
From the tug of time
In the welfare of the air.
Alien in Guiana.
The 'plane lost height slowly. She peered out of the window, seeing
the neat fields, so many different shades of green and some gold, the
earth was deeply marked in rectangular lines, and she thought "how neat
and pretty". But she couldn't see both sides of the picture. On the
other was water, a whole ocean to be exact, and here the sea-surface
moved lazily, sluggishly, an unattractive dun brown with a line of lighter
brown resting uneasily on the thick water.
She was glad to be at rest even in the strange room, whilst outside
the one-o'clock sun cast a short shadow and the immense trees created
an illusion of cool shade. The guide book had said it would always be
cool, but then guide books were sometimes, like Eve's apple-the pretty-
pretty covers enclosed black and white print which gave nothing away.
She was growing more critical as weariness left her, and now she
looked about, measuring and comparing everything she had experienced.
The food, strange but palatable. The houses, like shoe boxes on stilts-
how tiresome to climb all those steps, and the floor unpolished, the stairs
She began to feel angry-she had gone out to do some necessary
shopping and everything was so expensive, the quality was so poor!
She remembered some of the things said to her: "A beautiful city;
marvellous entertainment; wonderful weather; a fertile land". Viciously,
she swore, She hated the flat small crowded living space, she felt choked
and restrained. The beauty of the flowering trees, the blazing colour,
the call of the birds, the cooling rain at night, nothing soothed her.
The sharp rise and fall of the foreign voices, the dust rising in clouds
prickling her face and arms, meshing her hair with particles of fodder
from the square where the animals fed caused her to wheel suddenly in
the road, thrusting a woman aside. She walked quickly and with purpose
to the office of the Airways, and emerged with a smile-she was going
S-A. M. L.
Books and P!aces
The Poetry of Tennyson.
Nor, is the Victorian Age or its chief poetic voice however much
abused in any danger of being forgotten. The fame of the great Vic-
torians has not, making allowances for changes and differences in taste
and the shifting of perspective, perceptibly diminished. The position is,
in fact, rather an amusing one. We are Noah's naughty sons who, having
stripped the garments of pretence and outward conformity from an age
which loved to clothe itself in shams, now subject its imperfect body to
a scrutiny which it would have found embarrassing and above all else
eminently distasteful. We are, I fancy, more destructively critical of the
Victorian than of any other age in English history. Their once admired
Queen is the subject of indelicate gibes; their morality the target of
attacks which vary from the most imperceptible of sneers to invective as
virulent as the twentieth century imagination can make it; their states-
manship (or their lack of it) and their economic theories are blamed for
many of our present-day ills and their literature has been condemned
as formless, insincere, evasive of the deeper issues of life, lacking in
psychological insight, and as giving a completely false picture of the
relationship of the sexes to each other.
Tennyson, who stands forth in some modern minds as the poetic
exemplar of all that was smug and artificial in his age and who was the
acclaimed laureate for. the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries,
has not escaped the onslaught of tribes of hostile critics. He was certainly,
judging by worldly standards, a very successful poet, graduating from
his birth place in a country parsonage to the peerage in which he died,
respected and respectable, and thereby qualifying for burial in West-
minister Abbey. Some critics seem to have found the odour of respect-
ability generated by these surroundings a little nauseating and more
than a little suspicious. What they have had to say may undoubtedly
be true, much of it, perhaps, is only too well justified. But, nevertheless,
while the critical and, as so often with the critical, the destructive eye
perceives nine-tenths of the truth, seeing faults by the score and dragging
them into The glare of broad daylight or pushing them under the micro-
scope of analytical observation and ruthlessly applying the scalpels of
critical dissection, yet it is, after all, the eye of love which, when it is
equally discerning, alone sees the remaining tenth and fills in the canvas
which the ingenuities of captious criticism may have left a blank.
The American University.
The foreign student especially if he comes from a little known
country, (and more especially if it is an intriguing country which some
place in Africa, some confuse with New Guinea and others insist on call-
ing Honduras or Jamaica) such a student is really in the position
of a plenipotentiary in that the fullness of his powers of describing, sell-
ing or disparaging the merits of his country is limited only by his con-
science. He is frequently called upon by the YMCA's and YWCA's,
International organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs,
Church groups, political parties, women's organizations and so forth, to
talk to them, dine with them and in other ways to entertain them. His
time is rarely his own, more so if he proves to be friendly and a good
talker, and apart from the work of the sundry committees on
which he is put, he has to maintain a high scholastic level of work or else
he would be thrown out. The University not only charges higher fees
for students who are not residents of the state in which it is established,
but will tolerate dead-wood only from the State itself, so that the foreign
student trying to learn a lot about people and his work, is very hard put
Of the 27 Universities which I had the pleasure to visit in the United
States the one I know best is the University of Wisconsin. Though by no
means the largest American University, Wisconsin had a student enrol-
ment of over 21,000 in 1948. Such a University which has one large
rambling compound, more commonly known as a campus, is in itself a
city, for it has all the services which are essential for the modern living
of a civic community today. The University has its police and fire
brigade, bus service, road maintenance service, pure water supply system,
telephone system with a student directory about four times the size of the
B.G. telephone directory, daily newspaper, bank, hospital, housing scheme
- apart from student dormitories, housing and employment bureau,
observatory and weather bureau, radio station which is incidentally the
first established in the United States, "the oldest station in the nation",
bakery, restaurants, co-operative student book-and-clothing stores; chapel
bakery, restaurants, co-operative student book-and-clothing stores; chapel
and churches, library, cinema and theatre as well as YMCA and YWCA.
Then, of course, they possess their own orchestra, military band and, for
students only tennis courts, baseball fields, football stadium with a
seating capacity of 45,000, basketball indoor stadium for 15,000 and an
athletic gymnasium. Also for the students' pleasure, entertainment, and
education in the extra-curricular field, there are available either free or
at nominal charges numerous opportunities such as concerts, plays and
lectures featuring world famous artistes, dances, the cinema, intervarsity
football, baseball, basketball, skiing, boating, folk dancing, hiking, photo-
graphy and crafts of various descriptions. These things though Univer-
sity-sponsored are mostly arranged by. interested students with faculty
When I once expressed my surprise at finding such an autonomous
and almost completely independent community, I do recall the following
rejoinder: "Yeh, we try to have everything here, we even have a com-
munist party and a president!" I suppose that when an institution sets
out to prepare students for every phase of activity in life, it must have
facilities for such training and as the acquiring of such facilities is subject
only to a financial limitation in the final analysis, the American University
is at an obvious advantage.
-W. H. L. ALLSOPP.
It is a strange experience to visit a place that you know already from
books. In reading, you are inclined or at least I am myself to forget
or disregard the commonplace details of ordinary life, and think only of
the 'heart of the matter.' So it came as something of a shock to me,
when I was in Palestine seven years ago, to meet on every side places
and names that I had known from childhood, mixed up with the ordinary
trivialities of modern day-to-day life. A sign-post saying: 'Nazareth 4
miles', or a bus announcing its destination as 'Jerusalem': these things
seemed incongruous, even a disillusion, as they reduced to the scale of
everyday reality the pictures my mind had formed of the Holy Land.
Then there was Gaza where Sampson pulled down the temple of the
Philistines; but now Gaza to me is also a railway station, where we had
to leave the train for a quick meal, which was always an obscure mixture
known as Gaza stew.
At Jezreel there was a higgledy-piggledy Arab village, with houses
built of mud bricks; while over the valley, beyond the road to the
Jordan, lay two neatly-designed Jewish settlements, well kept and
evidently flourishing. The inhabitants themselves were as much in con-
irast as their homes; the Arab shepherds and farmers looked much as the
shepherds who 'watched their flocks by night' must have looked nearly
two thousand years ago pastoral, primitive, unchanging: but the Jews
appeared as a new type of farmer, almost a contradiction in terms a
modern peasantry, whose younger members tilled the fields by day, and
changed into shorts for tennis in the evening.
-C. M. BERNARD.
James Joyce's Dublin.
y Joyce has put it very clearly: "I will try to express myself in some
mode of life or art as freely as I can, as wholly as I can, using for my
defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile and cunning."
"I do not fear to be alone, or to be spurned for another, or to leave
whatever I have to leave." Joyce was very young in years when he wrote
that. Being young he was an idealist. Listen to this description of a
young student emerging after sheltering from rain on the steps of the
"Stephen walked on alone and out into the quiet of Kildare Street
opposite Naples hotel; he stood to wait, patient again. The name of the
hotel, a colourless polished wood, and its colourless front stung him like
a glance of polite disdain. He stared angrily back at the softly lit draw-
ing room of the hotel in which he imagined the sleek lives of the patri-
cians of Ireland housed in calm. They thought of army commissions
and land agents; peasants greeted them along the roads in the country;
they knew the names of certain French dishes and gave orders in high
pitched provincial voices which pierced through their skin-tight accents."
"How could he hit their conscience or how cast his shadow over the
imaginations of their daughters, before their squires begat upon them,
that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own? And under
the deepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which he
belonged flitting like bats across the dark country lanes, under trees by
the edges of streams and near the pool mottled logs."
Could a purpose be more vast more difficult than to inspire a
people to beget a race less ignoble than their own?
By the slow moon you saw
The living sea and the jewels,
Bright on each wave in the light,
Hung soft in the breathing night.
In the still air the hills
And the sloping capes are silent.
Only the sea moves, wishing
In wind of the waves' washing.
Your ship slid softly in,
And was bright in the day before
It stood still in the quiet
Pool of images it brought.
Visitor to islands,
Feel depth of the sky in your heart,
Peer at the hills huddled there,
Find peace in the moonlit air;
For here is no Korea
Where thunder is the softest word,
Where daylight meets casualty
And the blown smoke heartlessly.
Here is the dance of light
On the speaking sea, and meaning
In the calm of craft that lie
With tall masts searching the sky.
"La bouche garde le silence
Pour ecouter parler le cour;"
And the jewels by moonlight
Flash swiftly on in the night.
Remembering the song of the coins in the palm of her hand.
Noretta sits waiting
In her wreck of a room
Near the half-broken door
In the night.
The stare of the stars from the solid grey sky is as still
And as silent as she;
And the tear in her heart
Glistens wet at her eyes
In the light.
From the famished wick and the perishing life of the lamp.
Shame grew her quantity
Of tears; and she would weep
Till from the dark she hears
In the hush of the night she answers and the creaking door
Is tales of the tear dried
For the task shameless now,
And the unfaithful coin
That dupes her.
The nervous hand with the song of the coin turned to howlin
As it falls in exchange
For the coveted meal
When her guilt is complete,
THE MEANING CHANGES......
The West Indian.
by A. J. SEYMOUR
Poised as we are on the verge of nationhood, it is paradoxically a
creative impulse that leads the people of the West Indies to dwell upon
the recipes for nationhood prepared by social theorists and thinkers of
the past. The West Indies are moving with dramatic swiftness from the
community conditions common to the Ancient World in which a master
race under a King ruled over conquered and subject peoples, a condi-
tion described in the histories of Assyria and Persia and in the annals
of Rome, and we are approaching that state of social organization in which
the will of the majority is the sole, active and energising principle. The
paradox lies in the fact that the European mind while applauding the
part that nationalism has played in knitting together the elements of a
society stands dismayed before the intolerance, the exclusiveness and even
hostility that are the products of the later stages of nationalism, so that
the hope of West Indian community and nationhood belongs to a climate
of opinion that has fallen out of fashion in Europe. But old-fashioned or
not, this process of becoming a nation is at work in the Caribbean and
we will learn if we look, though only briefly, at one or two statements
of national theory.
Herodotus sought blood, language, religion and temperament as the
four criteria of nationality, although Renan two thousand years later
rejected these, claiming that a nation is a fusion of peoples and that
nationality is derived from two roots, common memories especially those
of failure and defeat and a common desire to maintain a common way of
Examining these statements, Harold Stannard has suggested that the
inward impulse of nationalism tends to find an external home in an
individual a Henry VIII, a Louis XIV, a Washington and he has
added another statement to the effect that early European history displays
this struggle for national sentiment mixed with struggles for religious
beliefs whereas in the later pages of that history economic motives begin
to emerge. So we find the European struggle against Napoleonic domina-
tion taking place in a world into which the Industrial Revolution was
introducing new issues.
The swift switch that is necessary to take us from the metropolitan
governments to the outfield of colonial administration is best accomplished
along these new economic forces introduced by the Industrial Revolution
and Eric Williams of Trinidad has clearly demonstrated how these forces
cooperated with humanitarian impulses to free half a million of slaves
in the British Caribbean in the first third of the 19th Century
Our short account of the West Indian character properly begins with
the words written from Trinidad in 1846 by a governor to Colonial Office.
The writer is Lord Harris and the words are "A race has been freed
but a society has not been formed." These words have attracted the
attention of commentator after commentator as being a summary of the
problem which confronted the freed populations in all the West Indian
colonies, suddenly finding themselves the property of no-man and set
to live in an environment, made hostile by the instruments of political
power in the hands of their former masters. It does seem from the
records that apart from the Church, once the British Parliament had
broken the chains of slavery, all public sentiment evaporated and
economic forces held their sway.
I have before me a few accounts of the West Indian social scene
in the years immediately after emancipation and whether the writer is
D. D. M. Thorpe, writing of Barbados, or Hugh Paget writing of the
Free Village System in Jamaica, or Cecil Clementi or A. R. F. Webber
referring to the sullen resentment of the planters in Guiana, the pattern
is clear that in these years the planters in the W.I. colonies organised a
campaign against freed labour. Barbados and Jamaica in 1823 had
openly defied the British Parliament resolutions for improving the con-
ditions of the slaves and both Thorpe and Paget provide numerous in-
stances of the wholesale ejec.ment of the freed labourers from their
former homes on estates as the planters proceeded "from prejudice or a
mistaken idea of their own interests to wreck the policy which had been
imposed upon them by the force of public opinion in Great Britain." The
words are Paget's and apply to Jamaica, but Thorpe records that "as
the Barbados estate manager wanted labour at no cost or the lowest
possible cost to the estate .... for the rent of a cottage, every individual
member of a family group, including little children capable of labour,
was required to pay his or her own quota of dues in service on the estate."
In Guiana, Webber records that a compulsory labour law passed as early
as 1838 by the legislature was promptly disallowed by Her Majesty.
It might be possible to summarise the reaction of the Colonial Office
by two extracts, one by Lord Oliver and one by the Duke of Buckingham,
Olivier writes "In mixed communities in which there is a small dominant
property-owning or employing class and a large politically uninformed
labouring population, the considered principle of British policy founded
upon experience is that the Crown must reserve the power to act as
Trustee for the interest of that less advanced majority, and that the
official view of policy is more likely to protect their interests."
This principle was at the back of his mind when in 1868 in a circular
despatch to the W.I. Governments, the Duke of Buckingham, Secretary of
State for the colonies, outlined the true political situation that had arisen
in these colonies. The despatch pointed out that the W.I. Planter
Assemblies elected by a very limited number of the colonists performed
their office of Legislation under no real or effective responsibility; since
the population at large consisting of uneducated negroes neither had nor
could have any political powers and were incapable of contributing to
the formation of any intelligent public opinion. A historian of Jamaica,
Gardner, records the end of representative institution in Jamaica in 1866
after an existence of 202 years with the promise that when education had
raised the mass of the people to a higher standard, when all prejudices
and animosities had been forgotten, then but not till then, would repre-
sentative institutions be advantageously restored.
In Barbados and in Guiana the pattern of Crown Colony Government
was not imposed during this century and Clementi in his prologue to his
constitutional history of British 'Guiana displays partiality rather than
judgment when he claims that an "oligarchy of sugar-planters came to
be a negro demagogy .... and an autocratic executive could no longer
Since the Duke of Buckingham wrote those words in 1888 we have come
a long way and the very word West Indian has changed its meaning-
a change which bears some relation to the grant of political power to the
classes and masses and to the overall advance of education in the W.I.
In the old days the West Indian interest stood for the English Plan-
tation owner who owned many slaves and had colossal wealth. In 1698
the West Indies were sending back annually to England about 300 children
to be educated, the difference being according to Davenant, that the
fathers went out poor and the children came back rich. In Capitalism
and Slavery Eric Williams has a chapter describing the wealth acquired
by sugar planters resident in England, the Beckfords, the Hibberts. the
Longs, the Gladstones, the Codringtons and the Warners, and he tells
us of a very popular play in 1771 "The West Indian" where the reception
was being prepared for a planter coming to England on the scale we
associate with the coming of Princess Alice. In the play one of the
characters soliloquises "He's very rich . They say he has enough
rum and sugar belonging to him to make all the water in the Thames
into punch." I think too that we all know the story recorded in Ragatz
of King George III on a visit to Weymouth with Pitt, coming upon an
imposing equipage, complete with outriders decked in livery. The King
turned and asked what might the owner be, and when he heard it was
a wealthy Jamaican, His Majesty was displeased and said "Sugar? Sugar
eh? all that sugar! How are the duties, eh Pitt, how are the duties."
In the 18th Century the West Indian interest in England was a
powerful combine of the English mercantile community and the absentee
proprietors of the W.I. plantations who lorded it in England. They
bought pocket boroughs and so got into Parliament and until American
Independence struck the first great blows at monopoly and the Lancashire
cotton interest appeared with the slogan of laissez faire, the West India
interest exerted a powerful influence upon English politics.
But perhaps we are anticipating. The word West Indian, as we say,
attached first in the English language, to the forceful and resourceful
Englishmen who came into this area, developed their fortunes and
returned to England as the centre of arts and pleasure where they could
buy large estates and pass sensibly or insensibly into the landed
aristocracy. Thereafter they were West Indian in name only and to
their neighbours as the term explained the source of their wealth, but
they hardly ever again travelled south across the Tropic of Cancer.
That they left to their younger sons (the elder being engaged on learn-
ing the arts of peace proper to a landed aristocrat) who paid periodic
visits to the West Indies to oversee the managers and who would eveA
settle there, intermingle their bloods with that of the basic population
and become creoles-that is if the circumstances and the climate con-
spired to that end.
As late as 1831 this exodus of younger sons was still taking place
if we trust the authenticity of H. G. de Lisser's novel "The White Witch
of Rosehall" which tells Ihe story of Robert Rutherford the heir to a
Barbados sugar plantation who is sent to Jamaica as an overseer-book-
keeper in order to learn the planter business from the bottom up. So
we may note that from the year, 1776 onwards, when the rich West
Indian families lording it in England in absentee splendour began to lose
their grip upon English trade, there is a wavering identification of the
term West Indian with the planters in residence in the area where the
younger sons, the poorer owners and the managers had gradually become
creoles and were in effective possession of W.I. sugar estates.
It is important to remember that these would be members of the
English middle class but removed from contact with their people at home
in England and in the words of Henry Nelson Coleridge, cousin of the
first Anglican Bishop of Barbados, "regarding the colonies as a temporary
lodging place where they must sojourn in Sugar and molasses till their
mortgages will let them live elsewhere", while they remained in the W.I.
they were intent on making money for a comfortable retirement in
England, and not at all concerned with building a sense of community
values in the British Caribbean. After the days of the Triangular Trade
had died, it is this second type of "West Indian" that we have to remem-
ber when we read of the sullen and at times unplacable opposition to
the British Government's measures now known to be half-humanitarian,
half-economic for making better the lot of the slaves. This is the West
Indian who if he knew the words would endorse Shylock's bitter
rejoinder "You take my life when you do take the means whereby I
live". The "West Indians" are defying England. But it is one of the
successful applications of the economic interpretation of history that
the defiance was in vain, that emancipation ordered from England broke
the old social order while the resentment and negligence of the planters
who dominated the political assemblies in the West Indies ensured that
a new social order was not supplied in its place.
In his short History of the British West Indies, H. V. Wiseman has
provided a summary as useful as any, of the trend in the economic and
social conditions in the 19th century. Because our purpose stresses the
human relationships, we must note the poverty into which the area sinks,
the gradual subtraction of political power from the planter assemblies
and the substitution of Crown Colony government in order to protect
the interests of the new subjects of the realm, the search for labour
forces in other continents to replace the working power withheld by
the emancipated people of African descent, the gradual assimilation of
racial stocks, the growth in education under the initial stimulus of the
churches, the failure of the mulatto and coloured people to form an
effective middle class. The centre of gravity and the core of meaning
which had shifted from the British Isles to the Caribbean began then to
adjust further in order to take in the half million slaves and the con-
siderable minority of coloured peoples who knock at the gates of
The first half of the 20th Century has witnessed the firm identifica-
tion of the meaning of the word West Indian with the descendants of
the slaves in the British Caribbean. When we say "W.I" today, we
think principally of the cricket team just returned from a triumphant
tour of the playing fields of England, a team in which Ramadhin and
Valentine with their respective Indian and African origins are merely
outstanding types of the interwoven racial strands. Or we think of the
team of politicians who pleaded the cause of the W.I. sugar interest
against the unsympathetic ears of the British Ministry of Food-a team
where names like Adams, Gomes, Edun, Raatgever with their African,
Portuguese, Indian and Dutch origins and associations measure the dis-
tance travelled since Wm. E. Gladstone made his maiden speech in May
1833 in defence of slavery on the family estates in Guiana.
I think it is perhaps the whirligig of time bringing in its revenges
when we note the coincidence of Sir Pelham Warner's (of the important
and historical West Indian family of Warners) being the President of
the M.C.C. in 1950 when the W.I. defeated England in the Tests. But
it is certainly indicative of the great change in meaning of the term "W.I."
when we consider the composition of that team and realise the centuries
of endeavour and suffering necessary to bring about that change.
May we say that for us Renan is right as the W.I. approach to
nationhood lies through a fusion of peoples with common memories
especially those of failure and defeat and with a common desire to
maintain a common way of life.
ANOTHER PROFESSOR" SPEAKS :
"The West Indian is creating a literature of his
S own.... He is writing his own poems and novels
and plays and his own histories....He is perceiving
the need to write his own school books.... He is
working on the problem of dialect trying to make
it answer the need of a unique expression that
will link him to the mass of his fellow West
Indians.... the Great Literary Adventure is on,
that will one day help him to find himself part of
A. J. SEYMOUR, Kyk-over-Al" April, '50.
QUITE RIGHT "PROFESSOR" SEYMOUR.
And side by side and perhaps even more important
than this effort at literary and cultural independence,
West Indians are developing their own financial
institutions owned and operated by themselves.
In this connection COLONIAL LIFE stands in the
Every new policyholder "link(s) himself) to, the mass
of his fellow West Indians" for progress, personal
and national independence.
INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED
Represented at: TRINIDAD, BRITISH GUIANA, GRENADA,
ST. LUCIA, BARBADOS, ST. VINCENT, ANTIGUA,
ST. KITTS, ARUBA.
0 A CARIBBEAN INSTITUTION. 0
AN EVENT FOR READERS AND
The Pioneer Press announces Fcur attractive
Poetry for Children Maxie Mongoose &
with a section recommended Other Animal Stories
by the Department of by Laurice Bird
Anancy Stories & 14 Jamaican Short
Dialect Verse. Stories.
Copies may be ordered from:
The CIRCULATION MANAGER,
The Gleaner Co., Ltd.,
Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica
PRICE: 2/4 each post free or 2/8 each by Air Mail.
The PIONEER PRESS invites West Indian writers to
submit Novels, Novelettes, Short Stories, Children's Stories
or poems for consideration with a view to publication.
Material of volume length (30,000 words or more) is pub-
lished on a royalty basis, incidental material purchased out-
right. Let the Pioneer Press panel of readers examine
your manuscripts. Copies of Manuscripts (not originals)
should be sent to :
The ORGANISING SECRETARY,
Gleaner Co., Ltd.,
Kingston, Jamaica, R.W.I.
The Symphony of Mazaruni
by SHEIK M. SADEEK
In the days of great gold and diamond 'shouts' in the jungles of
British Guiana, the only means of travelling to these remote, and then
untrodden areas of our vast and wealthy hinterland, was a unique
experience. For, there was no roadway, no air-line, and the forest then,
impressed us as impenetrable.
Not quite all of us, I should say; for there were pork-knockers who
were nicknamed, because of their heroic deeds, undaunted and carefree
dispositions: 'Sultan-of-Turkey', 'Tengar', 'Skybar'. 'Ocean Shark' and
I shall endeavour to give a vivid description of my initial journey
from Georgetown, the capital of this beautiful country, to Apaiqua, the
stop before the terminus Isseneru, hundreds of miles up the wealthy
Mazaruni, a tributary of the giant Essequibo, the most dangerous of
Stabroek Market's clock showed some minutes after six; when, beyond
the boiling wake of water the City began dwindling. Flanking the
steamer on her left until around ten-o'clock was the irregular growth of
grey-green courida trees, that fringe Guiana's coastlands. On her left
muddy water lapped, and further and yet further, Atlantic miles capped
by white crests stretched until they were lost in the misty blue of the
I knew not at what time we had started up the River Essequibo.
Everything seemed so muddled. But about eleven o'clock, and about an
hour after we had left Parika selling, I found myself looking at the Island
that has a page in Guiana's colourful history: The historical Fort Island,
with the remains of the old Dutch Fort 'Kyk-Over-Al'; a green fringe
of wild cocoa trees in bloom on which numerous iguanas were basking in
It was around three, when a shout went with the first sight of t'he
flat, mining town of Bartica lying like a stranded man at the water's
edge; at the junction of two great rivers; at the foot of a green hill.
We did not get passage up the River Mazaruni until the Friday, and
during that time we did what little shopping we had to do.
It was far from day-break when we left Bartica. On a dark beach
a dim lantern showed me a seat, and carefully I settled myself. Then,
distinctly a gruff voice shouted:
"You heard what the Cap'n says? Cap'n says 'In boat?' And you
know who is it speaking, the Sultan-of-Turkey!!"
And the motors of that oval-bottom bateau, with its gunwale not
more than eight or ten inches from the water, grumbled. And the power-
ful propellers tumbled, leaving a boiling wake of phosphorescence in the
darkness as the leaden vessel slid against the black ebb that blurred the
distant lights of Bartica.
Once more darkness was broken by the shining ball that slowly
emerged from beyond the forest boughs. For the very first time I was
really breathing the sweet, fresh air of our jungle a jungle no less
cunning; no less intriguing; no less alluring than Edgar Rice Burroughs'
captivating 'Edens of Africa'
Slowly, as though with the sun, the boat began to take on life; until
a gaiety so rare, so strangely hilarious, filled the atmosphere.
Immediately, while mooring to camp that evening about 5.30, the men,
like wild monkeys, sprang ashore with their hammocks in their hands
in desperate efforts to secure tie-places. I came out along with the
captain and soon found myself lost. The commotion was just too much
"Aah! There's a good place." I said to myself, making for the
opening where a prospecting knife's blade bit deep into the hard wood.
At the same time a partner of mine shouted:
"Cor-on with the rice, Son. The fire wastin'." Quickly, I slung my
hammock then grabbed the calabash gourd and dashed for the water to
wash the rice. When I returned my hammock was on the ground. I
looked at the rope, and it was cut. The knife was absent from the wood.
I turned, and facing me hard was the squatty and compact Sultan.
"Is that your hammock?" He growled.
"Ye-ye-yes, Sir." I stammered politely.
"Oh! Me think was any Buxtonian's. The anger in his tone had
vanished though his jaws remained firmly set.
Later, that day, I got to know that Sultan was a native of Plaisance,
a neighboring village of Buxton, on the east coast of Demerara. And
that pork-knockers of these two villages never agreed. They were con-
stantly trying to outwit each other.
That was the character I had heard so much about A character -hat
was rapidly becoming a legendary figure. Until deep into the night the
form of that broad-shouldered man, every inch a typical African kept
dancing before my eyes. The camp-fire was burning low. Beyond the
fire a hammock creaked. Yes, that's Tengar, I mused, jovial Tengar.
There must be a way to get on with Sultan, Tengar does, a murmur
escaped my lips as I rolled over for God's good sleep.
It was a hubbub early the following morning to me: The men,
scrambling and dashing, each with his own job hustling to be in time.
The mist had not cleared yet; a damp a depressing silence reigned
throughout the whole forest. Only the eternal falling of a fall was heard
roaring in the distance, when again that gruff, commanding voice repeated
the captain's order as his broad, thick palm slapped repeatdly his thick
chest in stress of utterance:
In boat! The Sultan-of-Turkey speaks."
Tengar look that day: Tall, broad and full-faced Tengar. His
intelligent look was not deceiving. He was the strong, country-type,
West Indian Negro who entertained us perfectly throughout our journey
with his numerous bush-yarns about 'Di-Dies' huge, ape-like monsters
of the treacherous jungles; and 'Masakurumans' legendary demons of the
black waters. And at times he would swing to such colourful subjects
as: Fairies and Rainbows and flowers. Believe me he was a rare type.
Pulling paddles and hauling the boat over the rapids to the lusty
rhythms of deep-throated shanties, one of which ran thus:
"Buxton gals ah wash den bed -;
Wash dem beddin's:
Only when the rain come down -;
The rain come down.
Shanty maan!!! Oh, shanty m..a..a..n!!"
was real fun. I felt wonderful.
Slowly, another day went by. From the men's reactions I knew it
was a typical day. But: not for me: For never in my young life had I
seen such magnificence. I watched, with an ever-growing glut for nature,
and saw my country break rugged and knew with each turn, each Iwist.
Never had I dreamt of such misty headlines; of those hazy, blue-capped
mountains that ranged one beyond the other to the far end of the earth
Gazing around me, while the boat vibrated to the strain of the engine,
I saw a forest so green that its colour looked fictitious. Flowers of dif-
ferent hues, even gold, played on the trunks of giant moras, greenhearts
and other timber trees; or waved mid-air on vines, or even trailed in the
black water where a musty smell mingled with their heavy sweetness.
It was yet early when again we camped. But we had to, for it was
at the foot of Tobouku, the great waterfall before Apaiqua.
Another morning From behind the towering, foggy summits the
fickle sun peeped mockingly, piercing the dew drops as though hate that
only enhanced the beauty of this scenic country. Before tropic mist had
retreated, those ram-stams those vigorous ruffians of the gold and
diamond 'diggins' were already stretching their ropey muscles knee-
high, waist-high, even chest-high in the roaring waters of the fall on
the boat-lines. Their broad flat feet with claw-like toes, planted with
death-like grips on the rip-rap of Tobouku's jaws.
In that struggle for life, someone called aloud in a voice, command-
ing, yet imploring, as though Venus and Hercules were at war:
"Shantie ma..a..a..n!! Shan...." The voice was muffled. A
stifled scream followed. The man kept rolling over death like a battered
buoy pressed against the boiling current; tacked to life by two weakened
hands, getting weaker and weaker under its unique ordeal:
"H... ee .... lp!" The voice was lost as worked fingers refused
to grip life, that was but a bubble. We only glanced at Cuffy.
What else could we have done without sharing his fate? He went off
like an ant milling in a late stream.
We were more than half-way up the fall, and it was around nine a.m.
"Keep it up, Fred." The captain shouted to the bowman. At that
very instant, Fred had eased his paddle to refresh his hold. In a split-
second the boat had swerved broadside, sweeping us. Quickly she
flooded, rolled a little, then the under-current took charge as light cargoes
went express. In a matter of seconds everything was reduced to
scattered chunks of wreckage; momentarily visible amid the froth, or
rolling upon rocks covered with green, grey or black mosses, pointing
jagged ends to the sky; leaving the men, bubbling shouts and screams in
the foaming jaws of the master-criminal Tobouku.
A few seconds after I had lost footing I found myself dashed on a
rock. About ten yards from me, was Sultan on another rock.
One after the other the drowning souls passed-passed in thunder-
ing foams and churning foams: In hissing crests jvhich the rocks and
wind shattered into shimmering, cascading sprays.
Then one man came passing very near to Sultan. Not that I had
expected him to stretch his hand to the man, for even a mad-
man wouldn't risk such a thing in Tobouku. But I did expect him to be
a bit serious towards precious life at such a time and place. Imagine
hearing these words coming clearly, majestically above the roar of the
"Passeth thy way, Padna, from mortality to eternity; For if the Lord
had wanted thee to be saved, he would have provided a rock for thee,
as he hath provided one for me," and slapping his hairy chest in em-
phasis, concluded, "The Sultan-of-Turkey."
Surely, the drowning man did not hear a single word of what he
said and Sultan did not care either; for, he was that kind of character
-was never really serious towards life. He believed in destiny; so
everything was fun-everything!
Under the blistering sun, for nearly two hours we remained on the
rocks while the angry waters tumbled and splashed around us.
It was about one o'clock when the throbbing of an engine was heard
as its boat crawled inch after inch up the rocky rapids. Then they
flung lines for us, and thus we were rescued. In the boat were seven
other survivors of our boat. The rest had suffered the horrible fate in
the black waters of Mazaruni. The next day we reached Apaiqua.
And the first thing I did was to write home. For, I knew neis of the
washing-away wouldn't take long to reach Bartica.
And, as I started to write the letter, as when I started to write this,
the faint music of a new-born symphony began--like an autumn leaf it
floated down through the still, jungle air to rest on a dormant pool:
Gradually, 'he pool took on life. Gradually, it increased, hold-
ing Autumn in a whirlpool, and I wasn't my own self. Soon, uncon-
sciously, I was writing a travelogue-I was reliving the most thrilling,
the most eventful chapter of my life.
It was a symphony of quaint, old Georgetown: The determination
of a fearless youth after a fortune of gold or diamonds. It was a page of
Guiana's colourful history, and fear on a dark beach. It was the grum-
bling of motors and the tumbling of propellers.
It was the breathing of the sweet, fresh air of a cunning, an in-
triguing, an alluring jungle. It was the hilarity of a rare gaiety.
It was the chattering of monkeys, the creaking of hammocks, the
commotion of a mining camp in a bedewed and misty morning. It was
the pulling of paddles to the lusty rhythms of deep-throated shanties. It
was the many colours, the many awe-inspiring things of a tropical
It was the screeching of parakeets and macaws. It was toucans
on turu palms and iguanas basking in the sun.
It was the struggle for life in the tumbling, the roaring, the falling,
the splashing, the hissing, the black, hostile waters of the water-falls. It
was man, with an unmatched, ruthless sense-of-humour.
It was life resurrected to live in a jungle endowed with the calls,
spells and charms needed to hold captive all those who dared enter it.
By ERIC ROBERTS
Some months ago I had the privilege of seeing the Essequibo Const,
and by being there, also had the opportunity of visiting Chalk Hill.
The mode of conveyance was by motor launch, which left Adventure
around nine in the morning one Sunday. The weather was excellent
for such a trip, plenty of sunshine, lovely breeze blowing from the Atlantic
and the tide which had just begun to ebb,
One by one we passed the cozy little villages and abandoned sugar
es'.ates many of them owing their origin to the time of Dutch occupation,
where quite a few illegible tombstones in the churchyard at Adventure,
and some old rusty iron railings at Huis-T-Dieren speak well for them-
selves. To our right stood the three sentinels of the Essequibo River,
Leguan, Wakenaam and Hog Island, while on our left we brushed past
the tiny inlet of Iteribisci. Some distance from Troolie Island we turned
into the river Supenaam, leaving the mighty Essequebo to lick the beaches
of its many hundred islands which interrupt its course.
The Supenaam wends its way by a series of curves, ending up in a
sort of peninsular shape as it nears its source. From its mouth and for a
few miles within are spots of isolated farming, not far from which, an
Amerindian settlement boasting of a handful of people is the only human
habitation to be found for more than thirty miles upstream. Travelling
for as much as three hours without seeing anything else except bush and
water may prove somewhat monotonous to the aspirant, accustomed to
the gaiety and excitement of the town; but the mind with an inclination
for peace and quietude, would surely find such environment very much
to its taste. On the way we are surrounded by the sturdy growth of wild
vegetation, green, and rising tall and majestic above the dwarfed foliage
which grows in abundance on both its banks. Skilful is the hand of
Nature in this part of country, and language truly fails to describe the
flora of our untamed hinterland. Blossoming trees with many a limb
though deformed by time and age, still contributed a flower or two in
this scarce accessible locality. .The appearance of large blue butterflies
which matched the sky in colour, was something strange as well as novel.
There they were, fluttering from one tree to another, and then crossing
at intervals the limited expanse of water, in which the reflection of their
graceful forms was soon made invisible by the surf from the approaching
launch. Ferns uncommon elsewhere, but indigenous in that remote area,
were also worthy of admiration. Then suddenly the beat of the engine
ceased, and there confronting me was my destination-Chalk Hill.
How disappointing it seemed at first? I went with the hope of seeing
an Amerindian settlement, and to get a glimpse of those people whom :i
have learn to reverence mainly through reading fragments of Guianese
history. There was no one there except an old watchman, who lived in
an abandoned hut at the foot of the hill. Then I was forced to realise
that the nomadic tradition of the Amerindians had again exerted its in-
fluence and that Ihey had now removed to within striking distance from
the river's source. All that remained as proof of their tenure, was the
skeleton frame of a bush house. The hill was about seventy feet high,
and from there the varying degree of vegetation is most pleasing to the
eye. At one time moderately dense, at another with a negligible under-
At first glance one notices the array of white sand somewhat tinged
by decayed vegetable matter which made up the site, while behind this
hill stood a mound of lesser elevation, brownish in colour and very fertile
as judged from the small flowering shrubs which grew in abundance.
A narrow gorge runs between these two sites and gives one the_ impres-
sion that in times not so remote, a little stream ran its way through.
Cool and verdant is the valley where shaded by the overhanging foliage
one cannot easily pass by without first taking a brief rest before ascend-
ing once more to face the light and heat of the sun.
From its peak my thoughts began to trace time and events and circum-
stances giving due consideration to the forces of Nature which had
changed the features of the earth and man, since the beginning of the
world. Below stood the limited expanse of water almost ebony in colour
but pleasing in countenance and into which rank forests dropped their
twigs and leaves. From here I viewed the undulating slopes with their
many tracks and "sirahees" leading here there, and everywhere-into the
forests. Then my thoughts ran upon early Amerindian civilisation that
probably rose and reigned and fell, while that of Europe's was yet in
the making. Of the Incas-wondering at the same time if this now drear
and deserted territory was not part of their inexhaustible empire. Of a
truth there are no relics in support, but should lack of these things prej u-
dice our minds from believing that here was not a centre of activities?
Perhaps it has witnessed many a bloody conflict in the mad quest for
power by which former civilisations have been distinguished. Today
neither descendants nor history remain to give in any glowing account
that individuality which had given them greatness, and which had welded
the fragments of their empire into one whole, and somewhat indivisible.
Like Egypt and Persia and other ones of lesser significance, the empire
of the Incas may be termed a mere chapter of incidents.
Then came the cry of "all aboard," and empty space which a few
moments ago was crowded with conjecture and legend, once again became
actual and real. The surrounding areas lost touch with antiquity, and
were once again slopes and trees, and a little waterway making a
pleasant sound over the age-old "tacoobas" fallen there since time began.
Pushing out from the hill I viewed once more the huge forest giants
lying somewhat within the pathway of the setting sun, many of them
victims-not to man's axe and saw, but to the fury of Nature which left
them at times suspended on the stout sinews of bush rope. Slowly
Chalk Hill disappeared, losing itself completely behind one of the many
curves which distinguished this inland river. In less than a few hours we
joined the Mother Essequibo rolling towards the Atlantic with its familiar
cargo of silt and sand, escaped logs of wood, and a few patches of grass
Reposing as I reached home fresh thoughts of Chalk Hill and the
neighboring scenes came vividly back to me; I recollected its myriad
trees and flowering vegetation, its rippling stream that has lapped its
sides from time immemorial.
Then I thought that perhaps in time not so distant, this site, now
remote and humanless, may be reclaimed, and thus become one of worth
and purpose in this "rich and glowing empire of Guiana."
I ASSURANCE CO.,
John Fernandes, |
24, WATER STREET.
IF IT'S INSURANCE LET IT BE
Car, Truck, Tractor, or Cycle,
H. B. GAJRAJ, LTD.,
Bentinck Street Georgetown
By OTHO SYLVESTER.
John Daniels had a batchie. A batchie can be defined as the dwell-
ing-place of a bachelor. This definition though technically correct does
not give a true picture of the batchie. To the husband it is a haven
wherein he might relax in an atmosphere purely masculine and free from
the petty do's and don't's of married bliss. His cigarette ash may fall
unheeded to the floor, his hat can be thrown in any corner, his jacket
slung over the back of any chair, and the luxury of placing his feet in
the most comfortable position are all possible. To the wife it is that den
of iniquity which causes her lord and master to spend quite a few hours
away from home. To maidens it stands out as a challenge, a challenge
to their charm and beauty which lure so many men into the bonds of
matrimony. To bachelors it is a symbol of their freedom, a freedom
which they zealously guard until their Eves come along. The batchie is
the hallowed sanctuary of the male where women rarely enter, and when
they do, the length of their stay depends upon the whim of the bachelor.
Such was the place John Daniels used to have.
John was an engineer, a fact which his grimy, greasy overalls would
proclaim as he came cycling home from work each afternoon. At the
foundry he worked, and when the foundry whistle blew at eleven o'clock,
at Chin-sue's cook-shop he lunched. John was a big husky man and
his appetite matched his size as also did his ability to work and sport.
John could out-talk, out-eat, out-smoke, out-drink and out-work any
man in the foundry and thus his friends were many. Most every evening
his friends met at his batchie and a 'spree' was on. Though, every so
often proceedings were interrupted by an irate wife who would lead
away her half-intoxicated spouse by his ears, or an indignant mother
who would be heard proclaiming to all and sundry that: "Dat wuthless
niggah man John Daniels only leading' me boy-chile astray."
John was what is commonly termed 'sweet-mouth', that is to say
he had a weakness for delicacies, particularly pastry. Old Maud Taylor
made delicious pastry, so every afternoon as she passed through the
foundry with her basket she could be sure of at least a shilling's worth
of trade from John. Old Maud had competition. A pretty maiden was
invading her territory. The old woman, however, was not worried. She
had confidence in the quality of her wares. Mary Sandiford was also
confident for where her wares fell short she was sure her beauty and
charm would make up the difference. Though most of the fellows
deserted the old woman, John still remained her customer for Old Maud's
pastry was good and that was all he wanted. However, sad day for Old
Maud, her filaria made its presence felt and she was in bed for two weeks.
Mary Sandiford was a woman, and like all women, she was a creature
of impulse. From the first day she had walked into the foundry, baskeil
of cakes on her arm, and had seen John she decided that he was the man
she wanted. When he ignored her and bought only from the old woman
her desire for him was only aggravated. Now her opportunity had come
and she would use it. The first two days Old Maud was ill, excruciating
were the pangs of hunger which seared John's insides as he waited vainly
for her arrival. On the third day he took no chance. As he passed the
back of his hand across his lips brushing away the crumbs which loitered
there, Mary asked:
"Well, How you like me cakes?"
"They all right," he replied handing her the empty glass from which
he had drained all the ginger beer.
"Then you gon buy from me everyday," said Mary and she smiled.
John watched the dimples which danced across her cheeks and a strange
feeling throbbed through him.
"Good," he answered as she gathered up her baskets and moved off.
His eyes followed her and they took in the curves of her figure which
swayed gently and sugges'.ively as she walked along.
When Old Maud came out to sell again she found her clientele hope-
lessly depleted. Even her best customer, John, had entirely deserted
her. The old woman watched the younger woman and she thought of
the time when she too was a graceful slip of a girl and not the rotund
mass of quivering fat she now was. A deep sigh escaped her lips as she
waddled off. It was useless trying to sell anything there; she had to
seek greener fields. Mary Sandiford was beautiful and she knew it but
what was more she knew how to use it to advantage. She had John
under her spell and was gradually working him up to the state where
she would become a necessity. He visited her regularly and often they
went out together but yet John had not said anything about making her
permanent. She had heard of his batchie and in her scheming mind
she reasoned that if she could fit into these surroundings the permanence
of marriage would seal their relationship. Eventually, one evening, she
persuaded him .o take her there and as they enjoyed the exquisite delight
of each other's company she was even more certain of herself. Later in
the evening as he took her home she brought up the subject for Mary
had neither ethics nor scruples and she knew not the manners nor morals
of the gentle lady. John first and foremost a bachelor was dumbfounded
and though his reaction was all but encouraging she was determined to
Weeks added up to months, Mary still sold her cakes and John and
his friends bought them. The sprees at the batchie though not as regular
still went on and Mary still believed that it was the batchie which stood
between her and John. Sunday mornings John slept late and this Sunday
was no exception. Where the day became exceptional was when he
awoke to find smoke issuing from his kitchen and Mary inside of it. The
kitchen which was not attached to the house stood a short distance away
from the stair. As he stepped out into the brilliant ten o'clock sun
surprise robbed him of speech. Their eyes met and held in moments of
electric silence. All at once he challenged:
"What you doin' here!"
"I come to spen' the day with you?" she replied, "I come since nine
o'clock an' I knock but you wo'n' get up.1 Then dem people in front
start looking' so I jus' go in the kitchen an' start the fire goin'. It was
a day of delight for the bachelor. A well-cooked meal daintily set out
for two in the table which for the first time wore a spotless white table-
cloth instead of the piece of oil-cloth which had stood up to the ravages
of many a spree. The place, for once in ever so long, was neat and tidy
and as he reclined on the couch with Mary spooning custard into his
mouth; the thought that passed through his mind was:
"Dam it all dis is the life."
It was no wonder that as he took her home from the cinema that Sunday
night he proposed to her.
About five o'clock Monday morning the clang of the fire engine as
it thundered pas. her home roused Mary from her slumber. She threw
open the window and looked out. The fire was not far away, is seemed
as though it was in Bent Street. Bent Street that was where John had
his batchie. Quickly she dressed and was soon running towards the
scene of the fire. When she arrived there the batchie was on fire and
John was firmly held by two policemen. Screaming his name she ran
up to the group. John was clad only in his shorts and was muttering
to himself. Every few moments he would give vent to a loud burst of
profanity. He was raving mad! She pressed her hands against her head
and the police stared at her in wonderment as the words fell unbidden
from her lips:
"Me Gawd! is wha' a do, a give he too much!"
By the end of the week there was a calypso being sung everywhere.
The title of the calypso was MARY and the chorus was:
'Fire, fire, in the yard
John Daniels gone mad
It wasn' in the cocoa
It wasn' in he tea
An' when a ask she, how she gie he
She say you stupe
It was in the pun'kin soup!'
Christianity and History
"Cur Nescire pudens prave quam discere malo"?-Horace
By CAMERON TUDOR
I received a letter from an old friend and see no alternative before
me but to accept her challenge. Unless my memory fails me, she said that
the period through which we are living is one of unmitigated confusion
and constant upheaval. She mentioned its paralysing economic depres-
sions, its unrestrained butcheries, its world ravaging wars, its approval of
tyranny. She drew my attention to something even more fundamental; a
loss of communion between people and classes, a break-down in stable
behaviour and the enthronement of hatred in the place of love. And here
she hurled her challenge at me. She asks me whether human history is
merely the journey from "Canaan to Korea", and dared me to find some
pattern or meaning in Human History.
Well I accept her challenge to find anything sensible in human his-
tory. But le'. me first say that I have not the necessary scholarship or
experience to answer her thoroughly. But what I can do for her is to
give her a perspective look at, and thus enable her to view human history
- with its record of crime and charity, folly and wisdom, misfortune
and success as the totality of human experience.
Her difficulty, as I see it, is the difficulty of perhaps millions of people.
They are profoundly disturbed by the present development in the world's
affairs, and. seek to interpret the present solely by reference to itself.
They find no sensible pattern in what they examine, and, quite illogically,
they proceed to dismiss Human History as a "tale told by an idiot, full
of sound and fury, signifying nothing". I sympathise, but I cannot
Now, men and women live in a time-world that is greater than that
of their local environment: I mean that they inhabit the past and the
future as well as they do the present. Thus to concentrate on the present
exclusively is to lose hold of some of the dimensions of your experience.
And when you do that, the present will seem to be a hopeless confusion. If,
you know only what is happening in Korea, and not what has happened
on Calvary then you know less than nothing about what is actually
happening in Korea now, or what will take place in the future.
In other words, the farther backward you can look, the farther
forward you will see. When you lengthen your historical perspective,
you can better escape the partialities and trivialities of your own time.
By facing up to the .otality of human experience, you will become aware
of some element which your habits of thought and action have hitherto
neglected. For there is meaning and purpose in History if you view it
as the storehouse for human values.. If you do not freely visit that store-
house for refreshment and solace, you will surely die of intellectual and
Now in your attempts to deal with the problems of politics and with
Ihe interpretation of Human History, you should bear in mind the three
ways in which the word "History" is used. First there is History as an
event, as a chronicle -the sort of thing that appears in your newspaper
as a news item. Secondly, there is history regarded as a process, out of
which certain values -truth, beauty, and goodness seem to emerge.
Lastly, there is History as interpretation, something which has meaning,
in which the key can be found to the whole process of human life.
Neither of these three senses in which we use the word "History"
will stand on its own feet for long. For a piece of news is not merely an
event. It is something which is either good or bad there your sense
of values comes in. It is also something which enriches or impoverishes
the whole human scene. That is where it becomes interpretative. History
has meaning and purpose if its threefold nature and threefold scope are
recognized. And it is we of the modern age who ought to be fully alive
to the historical problem, for we have at our disposal not merely a vast
accumulation of historical knowledge; we have in addition the terrible
example of our own time. We have lived through the judgment on the
nations. We can therefore analyse our problem. And where you can
analyse ,you will sooner or later discover meaning and purpose.
Men and women are continually spilling bottles of red ink on white
tablecloths, hoping that the resultant pattern will be a map of Utopia or
even of the Kingdom of God. And they suffer a paralysing disappoint-
ment when the pattern turns out to be a blood-soaked battlefield in
Korea, or strike area in Grenada, or a slum district in Georgetown.
So the questions remain ever the same. Can the history of the past
give us guidance which will be useful in the future? Is human history,
as some would have us believe, just a chronicle of failure, continuing
without sense or purpose for an indefinite length of time? What about
Greece, Rome and Israel? They have had their day and vanished from
the face of the earth! My answer would be that History, be it ever so
vast, cannot provide the answer to its own riddle, but that the answer
must be sought in the supra-historical sphere.
Mere analysis is not enough. What is required is prescription and its
acceptance. History as such is full of meaning only when a principle is
introduced which enlightens the scene and leaves out entirely the
irrational and the incalculable. We shall have to discover some central
event in History which we can use as a culminating point for what pre-
ceded it as well as for what came after it. In short, it is time to make
room for the entrance of God on the Stage of History. We must bring
And I make no apology for so doing. I verily and truly believe that
God exists, since His existence is the only principle on which I can
understand myself and the world around me. I further believe and
equally firmly, that His nature has been fully revealed, for all time, in
the Person of Jesus Christ. And this revelation is the only principle on
which I can evaluate human history and find it full of meaning and
purpose. Thus I make bold to assert that the meaning of History will be
searched for in vain in Science, or in Politics, or in Economics. It will
be found only in Theology. So that my answer to these problems can
only be given, if at all, by considering the manifold activities of the
human scene in relation to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Of course we may say that this is rather strong meat, and so it is.
But it is also good nourishment. For what is our quest for meaning in
History, but an attempt to solve our difficulty about Man? We don't
say so in so many words, but how is Human History to be understood,
apart from Man? For it is he who makes and muddles it. So then what-
ever we do, we can't escape the Fact of Man, and the fact of Man is the
other side to the Fac* of God. And what we call human history in
whatever words is just the conclusions drawn from the setting of these
two facts side by side. Rightly so, for God is also Man.
So if we would understand human history there are certain things
we must realise. We must first define man theologically. After we have
done so, then may the economist, the politician, the psychologist and
the scientist make their statements. The fact that man is what he is, is
not a merely human but another-than-human concern. He is not to be
understood in himself, not for the reason which is in him. His History
is understood only in the light of that which stands over against him -
the word of his Creator. His relation to God, and not his reason, is the
summit of the pyramid, the highest pinnacle of his being. This is the
way in which Man is built, and it is the only way in which you can
interpret his history. And since his reason is only his second best quality,
he cannot use his reason to deny his best quality, that is, he cannot ever
make a convincing denial of his connection with his Maker.
And so, human history gains its depth and significance from the dog-
matic assertion that "God became Man." For this fact and this fact only
is sufficient to account for the range and depth of the goodness and evil
which are in human endeavour. And in terms of human history it
means this: that God burst into human history, "in the days of Herod
the King", taking on the likeness of sinful flesh, and thus giving sinful
flesh the likeness of the Godhead.
This means that History and Eternity are literally on all fours, and
that the search for meaning in History is really the search for the
Eternal. I say search "for the Eternal" merely for the sake of emphasis.
But, in reality, eternity is here and now endeavouring to envelop History.
Thus the principle which we must apply if we want to understand the
meaning of History is that of the interpenetration of these two opposites
-I mean the interpenetration of Time and Eternity. This is the key to
the understanding of History.
My friend replied to this part of my answer with much emphasis
and clarity. But was it very kind of her to accuse me of retracing a worn-
out pattern of "mumbo-jumbo"? She went even farther. She angrily
demanded of me either to prove that Christianity is an interpretation of
history or to "come out of the clouds of superstition and plant my feet
squarely on the thorny paths of realism." She even quoted one of her
favourite poems to justify her anger:
"Happy are they who can relieve
Suffering with prayer
Happy are they who can rely on God
To see them through.
They can wait patiently for the end."
I could almost see the triumph on her face as she remembered those
words-triumph based on despair. She demanded what she called the
truth. You say that you are a grown woman, and that "you have put
away childish things". But have you? You say that your outlook is
scientific, but is it really? Now you just listen to me.
The size and complexity, the nature and composition, the age and
duration of the universe, as revealed by the physical sciences, have in
truth and in fact no connection whatever with the fundamentals of
religion. For religion is concerned, not with quantity, but with quality;
with man's apprehension of value and of a Being of whose supreme
reality he is convinced; by the love which that Being awakens, and the
new life which it imparts. Thus the validity of my experience of God
is not affected by my views on West Indian federation, the atom bomb or
the Government, unless I am silly enough to fall down and worship any
So much for the general: now for the particular. The claims of
Christianity to provide a suitable explanation of History, and rules of
political wisdom, are both greater and less than those of the rivals.
Greater for this reason-Christianity is an account of what God has
done: it is not strictly a philosophy. That is why simple and ignorant
people are infinitely better Christians than Bertrand Russell who is
none at all. Christianity is therefore a divine revelation resting on the
authority of God Himself. And it is precisely at this point that the
claims of Christianity are less than the claims, say, of Communism.
The divine revelation is accepted through faith. This being a gift of
God its preservation is a virtue.
Moreover, there is really nothing extraordinary in grasping and
accepting the proof of a theorem in Geometry. But the evidence for the
truth of the Christian Religion, though certainly adequate to justify our
faith, is certainly not such as to convince the reason in the same manner
as a proof in mathematics.
The Christian interpretation of history is not a proposition in philos-
ophy; for philosophy is a purely intellectual activity, concerned only with
those truths which are capable of being demonstrated. Thus there can
be no original and self-contained Christian philosophy of history or poli-
tics just as it would be absurd to talk of Christian surgery or Christian
economics. But the student of history who searches for its meaning has
to take into account the historic significance of Christian doctrine, as of
Mohammedan, Buddhist doctrines. And if he happens to be a Christian
as well as a student of history, he is bound to relate the truths he knows
by faith, with the truths he knows by reason.
What emerges from the combination of these two sets of truths is
neither philosophy nor theology in the accepted sense of these terms, but
may be called an outlook on life, which owes something both to philoso-
phy and to theology. In this strictly limited sense, therefore, I am pro-
pounding, however inadequately, a philosophy of history, which is
strictly Christian. Since. everyone is not a Christian, I cannot reason-
ably ask support for this philosophy. But, and it is here that I make
an earnest appeal, it may help us to direct a little light into dark places.
When that light is turned on, we will discover that the Christian inter-
pretation of history harmonises with what is known about the universe.
Thus if the whole course of history bears witness to man's disordered
nature, and if the Christian analysis of that disorder is not only an
accurate diagnosis but also provides the remedy proper to the disease,
then the Christian analysis becomes a true, perfect, and sufficient inter-
pretation of history.
Now consider certain facts about man-facts rooted in his history,
and common to all ages and periods. Let us admit that he has done
well for himself. He has travelled from the cave to the Carnegie Hall'
from woad to waistcoats, from automatism to Attlee, from cohesion to
co-operation. An arduous journey, but still a journey. And yet his
pride trips him up, his reason hoodwinks him; he has triumphed over
nature, and yet he sinks from civilisation to barbarism; he wears the
mask of smiling content but behind it lies the ugly, distorted, and brazen
countenance of Cain-the mark of the beast. Such has been the whole
course of human history triumph and failure the latter even more
impressive than the former. Now for the interpretation.
God created the universe and men out of nothing, and keeps them
in continuous existence. He created them good, but with such goodness
as was proper only to creatures. I must emphasise that such goodness
was not a divine goodness, which is proper only to God. But man was
offered an additional good, something infinitely more than he was en-
titled to. This was knowledge of, and intimate fellowship with, the
divine source of his being. Now, knowledge of, and association with,
another person can flourish only on the basis of free acceptance But
since the principle of acceptance logically implies the possibility of
refusal, man chose to refuse.
\ Now, I think that man has a reason for refusing. But a bad reason.
It is this-when you love someone and someone loves you, you become a
?i Nw hn htmnhsarao o euig u a es
changed person, for the claims of love require a trimming and polishing
of all the jutting and corrugating surfaces of your personality. It is an
irksome process but it pays in the end; for the rewards are completeness
of personality and mutual affection. You become paradoxically enough,
a freer person because you are a newer person; but the process is
So man refused this additional gift, because he knew it would have
changed him beyond recognition, and so it would have. He is still refus-
ing; but examine the consequences. He knows that his nature is God-
like, and this rootless knowledge has encouraged him throughout the ages
to believe he is the source of his own being, and therefore of his own
goodness. When he does this he denies what is true that he is a creature,
and asserts what is false, that he is his own creator. This denial of his
status is what Greek philosophy called "the lie in the soul", and is also
technically known as Original Sin. Its consequences are written large
over the scrolls of history-the disorder and frustration, which we notice
in our mental and spiritual life. Thus even our very goodness is painted
at its source; our truth is at best a Great Grey Lie; our beauty a camou-
flaged ugliness; our achievements an impressive failure; our religion
a superstition; our science a religion; our politics a science; What an
St. Paul, a very realistic man, who was perhaps the first Christian
philosopher of history, sums it all up very clearly if very sorrowfully.
Clearly in this way "I cordially agree with God's law, but wrong is all I
managed". And sorrowfully in this way, "O wretched man that I am.
Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" This is the answer
to those of us who today are amazed to find that enlightenment has failed
to make men happy, and against the plain facts of history continue to
hope that just a little more of what they are pleased to call education,
will work wonders. My only comment is, that in this world, the unteach-
ables far outnumber the untouchables.
But the history of man has shown that the fundamental defect it
humanity lies in the misdirection of the will, rather than in the befog-
ging of the intellect, although the latter symptom is a manifestation
consequential to the former. The story of a man's activity in this
world is thus the catalogue of consequences attendant upon a great dis-
aster. The catalogue may rightly be divided into two sections. In the
first section we would see the estrangement of man from God. In the
second, which is certainly joined to the first, we should see the estrange-
ment of man from himself. Thus the second is a necessary consequence
of the first.
To rescue man from these dreadful consequences God "seized time
by its forelock." By that I mean that Eternity pinpointed itself into
a relationship of time and space. This focussing of Eternity into a time-
space relationship gives human history the character and significance
peculiar to it. For if the incarnation had stood by itself, unrelated to
any previous historical movement illuminating no historical consequences
then it would have been a terrible failure. But it was not, as we well
know from the triumph of Calvary.
And now for the conclusion of the matter. The Incarnation of Our
Lord being the central episode of the Human Drama, Christianity there-
fore becomes the most materialistic of all religions. For unlike all other
religions, it shows that the reality of God is expressed not merely in
mystery and sanctity, though these have their place. But it also shows
how the reality of God is expressed in the common places of life. In a
word, the world is the product of a carpenter's shop, and the extraordin-
ary issues from the ordinary.
But this ordinariness is truly deceptive. For if history, if the human
drama, were the only order of reality, then of course the loss of time
or opportunity could never be made good. But because history is not
the only order of existence, but receives its meaning and justification
from a supernatural source, its significance becomes at once tremendously
impressive. With the unity of History and Eternity, Jesus is seen, in the
words of Clement of Alexandria, as "the many coloured wisdom of God."
For He is the Light of the World, and human history becomes, under its
brillance, only one part of the spectrum.
So that even when Christianity gives History its meaning by under-
lining for us the significance of the Divine intervention, it does something
even more. It allows us to fathom the dark depths of the human self.
We are now, thanks to the divine revelation, transparent, and the signi-
ficance of History is at one with our knowledge of human personality.
Or you can say with Professor Cochrane that "the discovery of personality
was, at the same time the discovery of History." But all this is only to
say that the whole purpose of History is the rescue of the human
All of this may possibly seem strange. But here is a line of argu-
ment which may be of some assistance. Ancient man walked a moral
and intellectual treadmill, because he regarded the universe as a closed
system. He had no appreciation of personality, and therefore no con-
ception of human freedom. The chains of necessity held him fast to a
view of the universe in which the same events were repeated in successive
cycles. This was of course an intellectual fallacy, But its moral son-
sequences were disastrous. For the view that the universe is a closed
system with a self-sealing device, was bound to lead to a misdirection of
the human will. After all, if the targets were below and not above you,
you could best aim in a crouching position.
All well and good. But practice, as they say, makes perfect. The
fixing of the low targets is now responsible for this warped position
which is still evident in our intellects and consciences. It is an occupa-
tional disease which has already become hereditary. That is why when
we are asked to straighten our backs and aim at the higher target-the
emancipation of humanity-the agony is so severe, the effort and the tar-
get so far beyond us-that we quickly resume the crouching position.
We are moral and intellectual hunchbacks. We prefer to be. But we
should not grumble if the events of history, or the unfolding of God's
will, or both, give us a resounding kick in our spiritual hindquarters,
or in our moral underbelly.
Human History on its purely temporal level is merciless apart from
God's Providence. But we don't seem to realise it. And, indeed, when
our consciences prick us, and we start quite worriedly in our intellectual
sleep, there is always some nonsense to soothe us to sleep again. In
limes of soul searching crises, the Scientists preach Eugenics; the Econo-
mists talk of the price-mechanism; the Psychiatrists about each other;
and the Politicians about themselves. We are never prepared to trace
the roots of all our suffering into our own souls and cure them, there.
To us it appears easier to reform the world by redistributing other
people's money, by the education of other people's children, all of which
may be necessary at times, than to reform ourselves.
All of this happens with its resulting confusion because we believe
the universe to be a closed system. We talk about "fate" and have our
misfortunes told by crossing the palms of wealthy, or the paths of the
clever. We talk of the "Class-struggle" or of other things, just as if these
were part of some vast mechanism of physical law in which our human
life is hopelessly involved. And the irony is that we look upon ourselves
as being more "enlightened" than the ancients. But they at least were
honest. They had no notion of Freedom and therefore carried Necessity
to its logical conclusion. They thought that human beings were controlled
by stars and that a man's destiny was fore-ordained for him according
to the "height" or "depth" of the star ruling his birth. But St. Paul,
ever the great realist, broke the chain of necessity over their astonished
heads. He pointed out that neither "height" nor "depth" nor, for that
matter, any other creature, could come between men and the gift of God.
So, then, for the static conception of Historical necessity which
has its place-we should substitute the idea of Freedom-freedom as
result of a purified will, rightly directed by the grace of God. This is a
dynamic conception of History in that it sets, literally, no limits to the
possibilities of human destiny. All things become possible. We are
sons of God.
I am prepared to admit that habit, emotion, selfishness and struggle
do for the most part determine the course of history. But I cannot be
persuaded to admit, that these factors alone give it its purpose and mean-
ing. As a matter of solid fact, there are other factors to be taken into
account. For if the factors already mentioned were all, then the march
of history would appear to be a march of corpses. But clear amid the
gloom I also see something which, while it complicates the historical
process, yet transforms the march of history into a march of living men.
The noblest achievements in Poetry, Music, and the visual Arts, the
beneficient discoveries of Science, the finest institutions of Civilisation,
and, above all the hard and almost successful battles for human freedom
-all these indicate the presence of another factor.
This factor you can call the activity of God. I prefer to call it His
Providence. But call it what you will this much seems to be true to
me at least. This activity appears to me to be the special province of
the Third Person of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. For it is not merely
a question of Creation or of Redemption-functions which we may ascribe
to the First and Second Persons respectively-but of Inspiration. And
rightly so. For there can be no question of inspiration if History is a
process somewhat similar to a clockwork mechanism. There can only be
winding and setting. Moreover, an accurate clock may have a self-
regulating principle, but it cannot influence other clocks to regulate them-
selves. For influence is only another word for inspiration.
It appears then that God is the author of Human History, and being
the Author, is also its End. He is its end because he influences it from
within human personality and it is difficult to conceive of an
Author Himself a person, working from within, a person yet working to
an end other than Himself. Therefore even wickedness has its place in
the Divine scheme. And it is just here that I honestly advise the
cultivation of what may be called a believer's agnosticism. I honestly
know very little about God and His activity apart from the Incarnation.
I do not know for example, how He reconciles His Goodness with the
existence of evil. But my wisdom is limited.
However, we may take the doctrine of God's Providence to be this.
Since God is the Author of History we can believe that its end will be
good, and this because of what He is. But how to reconcile the good-
ness of the end of history with the manifestation of Sin in the World is
beyond me, and I suspect, beyond everyone else. We are faced with two
propositions both of which are true. The first is that God is Omnipo-
te-it: the second is that you and I are free beings. Now, according to
human logic, both cannot be true. For if Good is omnipotent and evil
exists, we are not free; and if we are free and evil exists, then God is
not Omnipotent. So we must become christian agnostics, in the certain
knowledge that supernatural wisdom will clear the matter up in the
titure "which doth not yet appear."
And so, I have shot my bolt. I can say no more about this vast pro-
blem except this. I have tried to search out, so far as I could, the inner
meaning of human history and to present it in the light of an all-embrac-
ing principle. That principle appears to be the drawing up of Time into
Eternity and is part of God's activity. Moreover, I have tried to inter-
pret human personality against the background of the Historical process.
All of this is the result of a question which is eternal in its relevance.
That question needs an answer. Mine is "Lord to whom shall we go?
Thou hast the Words of Eternal Life."
NEW BUILDING SOCIETY
BEAR INTEREST AT 3%, PER ANNUM.
Amounts of $5, to $5,000 acceptable.
NO ENTRANCE FEES OR WITHDRAWAL FEES
Amount Invested plus accumulated Interest Withdrawable
at any time.
Transactions dealt with quickly and courteously.
Invest your Savings Now in
New Building Society Shares
A SAFE and PROFITABLE INVESTMENT
For Full Details apply to:
Lot 1. High Street, Georgetown,
for a Booklet Safety for Savings"
Aimless Drifting never gets you Anywhere
Except on the Rock
But Study in a Specialised Field is an
Insurance for the Future.
ENQUIRE FOR DETAILS FOR THE VARIOUS COURSES
International Correspondence Schools
LOCAL OFFICE--6 HIGH STREET
"The Old House"
By LAWRENCE BYASS
We were living in one of the many "Modern Bungalows" which were
being erected in the city, when my wife's mother died. Two weeks after
Helen urged me to move to a house she had seen and thought I would
like. I thought she was afraid of ghosts as the old lady had lived with
us for over five years, since we were married, in the house where she died.
Helen took it good naturedly and we moved to our new home shortly
It wasn't a new house, however. Outside it looked like any other
house in the City. It was recently painted white, and its dutch roof was
covered with slate. There was a garden in front of which was evidently
neglected by the last tenants and a narrow path covered with shells led
from the street gate to the front door. But the moment you opened the
door and stepped into the hall you knew it wasn't an ordinary house.
It was only then you knew it was an old house old and mellow and
romantic. It had aged beautifully like a woman that age made more
comely and attractive, as though each year diminished her weaknesses
and defects, and brought on a greater measure of perfection. The walls
of the hall and living room were panelled and polished; and the glass
windows were of an ancient design; but artistic and beautiful.
I loved the old house immediately. Helen started a flower garden,
and in a short time there were beds of loses and zenias and dahlias.
Friends would always admire the house and passersby would stop to gaze
at Helen's garden, so it wasn't surprising when the stranger came that
Helen had been invited to spend a month with her sister in Barbados
and she had gone three weeks. I was sitting alone reading a magazine
and missing Helen very much when I looked out and saw him. The
window looked out on the garden and he was standing in the path leading
to the house, looking at the flowers. He was tall and had broad should-
ers, about thirty-two, handsome, with a brown confident face. He was a
perfect stranger to me.
I got up and went out on the porch and he came up the steps.
"Good afternoon", he said. "I was just looking at the old place."
"That's all right," I said. "People are always attracted by this house."
"I've already looked around it," he said.
"How do you like it from the outside?" I asked him.
"It's a fine house," he said. "I used to know it once."
I asked him if he were born here and he said he wasn't. I suggested
that maybe he'd lived in it as a boy and he said he didn't. It struck me
then that he wasn't too keen to divulge what was the nature of his
association with it, so I said nothing more. We stood there for a few
minutes in silence, then he said, "I like your flower garden."
"It's my wife's" I told him.
"She seems to be quite good at it," he said. "Those roses are rather
beautiful, don't you think ?"
"Yes, She loves gardening," I told him.
He said then that there used to be a garden just like that when he
knew the house. I asked him how long and he said that was ten
"That's a long time ago," I said.
"Quite," he said.
I observed that at every pause in the conversation his eyes strayed
through the open door into the house. I had begun to have unpleasant
thoughts, but I yielded to an impulse.
"Won't you come in ?" I asked.
He was evidently waiting for the opportunity. "Thanks," he said,
"I'd be glad to see the old place again."
We went in and he stood up in the hall and looked around. He
looked up at the ceiling and then we went into the living room and he
looked around again.
"The inside hasn't changed a bit," he remarked. "Of course these
furniture give it an unfamiliar appearance."
He told me that this was the oldest wooden dwelling house in the
city, and it should never have been furnished with modern things. He
thought I should have made it a point to fill it with antique furniture.
We were standing in the middle of the living room, when he said this,
and all the while he kept looking at one thing and another. Then he
noticed the old antiquated stuffed chair which had been Helen's mother's
It was the only piece Helen had kept from her mother's things, and we
had got it recovered and repolished.
"I mean chairs like those," he said pointing to the antiquated thing.
"They fit in naturally here. There used to be a couple of them in the
house when I used to come her. One was in that very corner."
He went up to it and touched it fondly.
"Won't you sit down?" I said.
"Oh, thanks," he said. "But I'd be going in a few minutes. I have
to meet some friends I haven't seen for ten years in just another hour."
"You don't belong here, do you?"
"Oh, yes. I was born here. But I've been away ten years now."'
He told me he was an engineer in Venezuela, and for the next quar-
ter of an hour we talked about that country. He was a good speaker and
could relate a story with point. He was often very amusing. He had
a fine sense of humour. Shortly before he got up to go he said, "Per-
haps you are wondering why I'm so interested in this house?"
"Well, I won't say I'm not."
He laughed quietly. "I suppose I'm a sentimentalist," he said.
"We are all sentimentalists," I said, by way of encouragement.
"You see," he said at last rather bashfully, "I used to know a girl who
"I don't see anything sentimental about that," I said.
"You don't understand," he said. "I loved that girl. She was the
only girl I ever loved. We weren't engaged, but there was a sort of
There was something in the way he said this that touched me and I
could see that the memory of that love was still fresh and glowing in
"You didn't marry her?" I asked.
"No," he said, his eyes becoming sad and clouded as though filled
with memories that were painful. "There was a quarrel. Not between
us, but between our parents. I don't remember exactly what it was
about. Oh, I think my mother said that her parents were encouraging
me for their daughter. I think that started it. Silly of her," he laughed,
"I mean my mother. I didn't need any encouragement besides my own
love for her."
He took out a silver cigarette case and offered me a cigarette of a
brand I'd never seen before. He struck a match and lighted me then
he lit his own. "We used to sit in that corner in a chair like that and
make plans for the future. I was very young then, and very much in
"Guess you're still in love with her," I said.
"I think Id always be in love with her," he said. "She was a fine
girl, very beautiful. She had the most wonderful eyes you've ever
Few minutes later he got up and said he ought to be going now.
"Come again whenever you like." I said.
"I'd really be going away in the morning," he said. "I'm just passing
through. I'm going to Paramaribo on business. I'd be spending two
weeks there and then I'm travelling back to Venezuela by 'plane."
"Quite a short visit to your home town," I said.
"Quite, indeed." He offered me his hand. I took it and shook it
warmly, and in another minute he was gone.
It was only after he had gone that I realized that we had been speak-
ing for the better part of an hour and neither of us had learnt the
other's name. I thought of him for a few minutes and then he went
out of my mind.
Two weeks later Helen returned from Barbados and it was only
accidentally that the conversation turned on the old house and I remem-
bered the stranger's visit. I was about telling Helen about him when I
checked myself for no reason at all.
"What it is?" Helen said.
"It's about this house," I said.
"You seem to like it awfully, don't you?"
"Anybody'll like this house," I said. "How did you happen to find
"Well, I didn't discover it really," Helen said. "I used to live here
before. I knew you would have liked it."
We were in the living room and Helen sat in the old chair that had
belonged to her mother. It was large enough for us both to sit in. Where
the light was, it threw a shade on me and Helen couldn't see the look on
"You never told me that before," I said.
"I never told you many things," Helen said. "I don't know why I
didn't tell you. That was ten years ago, before I met you. Maybe I
thought it wouldn't have interested you. Do you want to know about it?"
"I you don't mind," I said.
"Well, it's a long story," Helen said. "There was a boy. I used to be
in love with him. He used to visit here every night and we used to sit
right here on this very chair. We thought we were going to be married
She spoke very casually as though she was relating a story of no im-
portance to her.
"And what happened?" I asked her.
"Oh, there was a quarrel between our families .My mother asked
him not to come back. I was quite hurt for a long while. I couldn't stop
thinking of him. I asked my father to remove from here, because I
wanted to forget him and the house was filled with too much memories of
I looked at her and she seemed quite unmoved by the memories
now, but it pained me to sit there and think of this love of hers.
"So you didn't choose this house because you were afraid of the
other?" I said, maybe tactlessly. "Why did you?"
"I don't know," Helen said.
"Do you love him still?"
"I don't know," she said. "It's so long ago. He went to Venezuela
and I've never seen him since. He's just memories that's mixed up with
you and so many things. Perhaps I'd never know except I see him again."
There was a few minutes of silence. Helen broke it. "Why you're
asking all these questions, Hil?" she wanted to know.
"Oh, nothing," I said. "Nothing at all."
Fourth West Indian Conference
By St. GEORGE COOPER
In order to assess the accomplishments of the Fourth West Indian
Conference that met last November in the Dutch territory of Curacao in
the Netherlands Antilles, it is necessary to have some regard to the
historical background. The Conference, a continuing body which
meets every two years,-was set up under the auspices of the Anglo-
American Caribbean Commission, the parent body of the existing four-
nation Caribbean Commission, (viz. the United Kingdom, U.S.A. France
and Holland) and held its First Session in Barbados in 1944. The
Conference has no executive power, but it provides a most useful
means of consultation with and between local representatives, on mat-
ters of social and economic importance to the area.
The Second Session was held in the Virgin Islands of the United
States early in 1946. and the venue of the Third Session, by the system
of rotation, was the French Department of Guadeloupe, when the indus-
trial problems of the territories were considered. The Fourth Session
met in Curacao, and, as previously, was attended by delegations with
advisers from the territorial and metropolitan governments, and
observers from the international agencies. The Chairman of each
session of the Conference is the Chairman of the National Section of the
Commission in whose territory the session is held. Dr. Hendrik Riemens,
the Netherlands Ambassador to Venezuela, presided, and it was due to
his great tact, toleration and statesmanship that the two weeks sessions
proved such a success.
The meeting was devoted almost exclusively to the agricultural
problems of the Caribbean. It was a departure from the methods used
in previous sessions where a heavily loaded agenda with sometimes un-
related items involved a dissipation of the resources of the Commission
as well as the energies of the Conference delegates. The concentration
of the Conference on one major theme had the effect of narrowing the
field but widening the scope of discussion, and resulted in a critical
assessment of all related issues. This would hardly have been possible
with a more diversified agenda.
The group of about 150 men and women from fourteen territories
belonging to four separate countries represented a total population of
about six million people. The population of the Caribbean, although
mixed racially, is overwhelmingly coloured, and it is significant that
nearly all the delegates, particularly from the British territories were
in fact, coloured. The Head of the delegation from the self-governing
Dutch colony of Surinam was a coloured Minister of Agriculture and so
was the Minister of Agriculture from the non-self-governing colony of
Trinidad. At the same time, there were representatives of the other
races which go to make up "this Mediterranean of the New World" as
the Caribbean has been recently described. Before the business of the
Conference started, there was a wide-spread rumour that the British
section of the Commission were out to suppress all action taken by the
Commission in general. This aura of suspicion quickly faded when the
British Co-Chairman in a private meeting with the British delegations
assured them that the British were one hundred per cent. behind the
Commission in helping to solve the regional problems of the area. After
this explicit assurance, the atmosphere of unanimity which prevailed
throughout the Conference was illustrative of the common bases of the
problems of the entire region. Puerto Rico, for example, has the same
overpopulation problem as Barbados, and all are faced with problems
of low productivity, lack of capital for investment in agriculture and in-
dustry, and the lack of expert personnel and technical organisation-
factors which impede development; but the general feeling of good
fellowship and understanding lent support to different viewpoints.
Although very often territorial delegations found limitations to joint
action owing to constitutional divergencies and different relations with
the metropolitan country, yet resolutions were adopted within their con-
stitutional boundaries. One could not fail to be impressed by the vigour
and enthusiasm, and often the air of authority with which the delegation
from Puerto Rico presented their views. Speaking with no inhibitions
whatever, one could feel the growing national sense of the Puerto Ricans-
their intimate association with the development of their country, for such
intimacy is essential if the full and legitimate aspirations of Caribbean
peoples are to be fulfilled through development. Certainly, the Puerto
Rican delegation were not complacent.
The logical and precise French stated their problems with clarity and
courage. They were happy, they declared, to be Departments of Overseas
France-Paris was their Mecca. One French delegate felt that agricul-
tural development by itself would not solve the problems of the area.
The problem had to be approached from the industrial and trade angles
as well. In this connection he expressed dissatisfaction with the tariff
system existing throughout the area and suggested a Conference to
discuss joint action for the necessary changes. Some members of the
British delegation felt that too much dependence was placed on sugar
which they regarded as a 'crisis crop' propped up by tariffs and prefer-
ences. Sugar was always and still is the shuttlecock of politics, and has
made these islands prosperous in the past. It is hoped that the recent
long term agreements with the Ministry of Food will restore the stability
which the industry needs. A great deal was made of the social cost of
sugar production with its seasonal employment and led to emphasis being
put on the need for speedy development of alternative resources where
these existed, and for initiating new forms of economic organization in
the British West Indian sugar industry to meet changing attitudes, and
to make the industry socially and politically acceptable. The Dutch
delegation gave a good example of solidarity, often voting together for
or against or not at all, and the American delegation from the smaller
islands like St. Croix seemed anxious over the fact that Puerto Rico
appeared to be getting the American lion's share of investment capital.
Washington, they felt, might still keep the spotlight on them.
Such then was the atmosphere in which the discussions took place.
The problems were treated under various heads e.g. Soil Conservation,
Water Control, Land Settlement, Agricultural Credit, Agricultural Exten-
sion Services, Agricultural Research and Mechanization. The documen-
tation was prepared by British experts of the highest standing as well
as experts from F.A.O. and other international agencies. These papers
were distributed to delegates a considerable time in advance of the Con-
ference. The presence of experts helped considerably to clarify the issues
-technical and otherwise, which were bound to arise. Indeed, this meet-
ing and mingling of expert and non-expert opinion on the agriculture
of the Caribbean ensured that the fruits of technical enquiry and dis-
cussion will be disseminated to the wider public, and support engendered
for their translation into practical action. This is an issue of major
importance, for as the delegations were in the main drawn from their
local legislatures, it is essential that they should be accurately informed
on the executive research, and extension work of colonial agricultural
departments, since political development impinges indirectly though
powerfully on agricultural development.
The man in the street usually asks after any conference, what has
been done? How will he benefit? He is interested in action rather
than in academic discussions. Pleasant and valuable contacts have been
made, horizons have been widened. Above all, positive, precise and
practical proposals were formulated for the consideration of the terri-
torial governments. Indeed, as far as the British territories are concerned,
most of the recommendations correspond with what is, in fact, the declared
policy of each of the British West Indian Governments. Recommenda-
tions for agricultural development must often, of necessity, be in the
nature of long term and continuing activities, with the position being
kept constantly under review, and efforts being continuously directed
towards the fulfilment of conference recommendations.
Perhaps one of the most important results which emerged from the
Conference was the unanimous decision to establish complete pedological
and land capability classification for certain British West Indian Islands.
This matter of land use planning is acknowledged by the experts to be the
most pressing need in the Caribbean area, and tied up with it are ques-
tions of Agricultural guidance and education through a co-ordinated
extension service, effective capital investment, and above all, agricul-
tural leadership. Indeed, a distinguished British expert in the field of
tropical agriculture made the significant comment that if the Caribbean
would apply fully the knowledge already available, production could at
a conservative estimate, be doubled or even trebled within a relatively
short period. There are of course great gaps in the body of knowledge
already accumulated and research programmes are designed to fill these
The implementation of the several recommendations involves the
provision of technical assistance in its widest sense as well as the pro-
vision of finance for material investment. A prevalent view, is that
technical assistance should not come entirely from outside, for it is
recognized that it take its most valuable form when the innate abilities
of the populations requiring it are harnessed to the work of economic
development, through an effective system of local technical training. It
is considered, therefore, that to develop local ability, must be the primary
aim of technical assistance policy. The United Kingdom Government,
from funds voted by Parliament under the Colonial Development and
Welfare Act is making, and has long been making an effort in this field
comparable in purpose and in scope with the objectives enunciated by
President Truman in the Fourth Point of his inaugural address to Con-
gress in February 1949. External assistance from international bodies
and agencies is greatly to be welcomed as an instrument of technical and
mutually, effective co-operation, but a number of procedural details and
questions of "matching contribution", on the part of recipient territories
still await clarification.
A new aspect of the agricultural problems of the Caribbean was
revealed in the course of the discussions. This was the need for inter-
territorial and inter-Caribbean planning to establish some sort of diverse
specialisation flexible enough to reduce imports and permit inter-terri-
torial trade. Caribbean territories, if they are to avoid a state of mendi-
cancy and provide the framework in which economic development will
complement political independence, must make a revolutionary approach
to the problems of the area as a whole, and not plan in isolation. Arising
out of the need for joint action, the Comptroller for Development and
Welfare in the West Indies has recently announced his intention to set
up a regional economic committee as recommended at Montego Bay in
1947. All the Governments in the British West Indies would be repre-
sented on the Committee whose job it would be to thresh out economic
matters in an endeavour to arrive at a common approach. In the words
of the British Co-Chairman of the Commission, the Conference had the
material for framing a grand design for agriculture in the Caribbean.
This it succeeded in doing without vagueness or drama, but with the
vigour and vitality of uninhibited honesty of free speech.
Nor was the Conference without its lighter side. There were dele-
gates who found it difficult to divorce politics from purely agricultural
questions and who would have liked the Conference to address itself
to vital political issues which were completely outside its terms of refer-
ence. There was the delegate who referred unwittingly at the end of the
session to the 'wilderness of ideas' (an obvious contradiction in terms)
out of which he expressed the hope that fruitful action would result.
The Dutch Co-Chairman, referring to the vigour with which two dele-
gates, both dentists, presented their views, elegantly remarked that if
those gentlemen addressed themselves with equal vigour in their dental
theatres, there was hope for the radical elimination of oral diseases.
Above all, the flexibility of the arrangements made by the hospitable
Dutch allowed for visits to places of social, economic and historical
interest. Not to be forgotten was St. Nicholas Day-in honour of the
patron saint of the island. The Conference was in session and at the
adjournment, the announcement was made of the visit of an extremely
important personage who turned out to be St. Nicholas in heraldic robes.
It was a healthy conference, deriving its impulse and its strength from
its own emerging forces reinforced by the maturity and experience of the
Sunset had called in the colours
But not yet was it dark,
The pool lay a mirror of silver
Without spot or mark.
When out from the green mirrorred mangroves
Stepped a wonder of white,
A great heron wandering homeward,
Before it was night.
The pool held the moon and the heron,
And the first white star,
In a beauty beyond all imagining
As I watched from afar.
And my heart sang aloud to its Maker
In thanks and delight,
Who gave me that moment of beauty,
Before it was night.
The Sun and West Indian Art
There is a story of Edna Manley that I would like to put on record.
One night in June, 1950 I was part of a company of people on Philip
Sherlock's lawn on the College Campus, Mona, Jamaica. The moon had
already risen from behind Long Mountain and topped the ridge in clear
hurdle style and was flooding the night with her serene blue illumina-
tion. A group of us fell talking about the role played by the Sun in
W.I. life; there was an expert photographer present and he was claiming
that in the tropics the best hours for taking shots were early in the morn-
ing and late in the afternoon. The hours around noon were wretched,
he declared, with the great flat shadows.
When it dawned upon us what he was saying, we began to argue
that it was wrong to write off as bad for photography certain sections
of the WI. day merely because photographic material and technique,
developed in a temperate climate,werenot adapted to tropical conditions.
Tnen trna Manley took over the conversation. Remarking that
as a carver she had to set the angle for making portrait studies when
in the Caribbean in a different way than in temperate climates, as the
light fell differently, she explained first of all that she had had to explain
to many English women coming to Jamaica for the first time that the
midday siesta in tropical countries corresponded to the winter withdrawal
from active life in northern climates. At noon, she said, the earth sleeps
and regains her fertility; man too must rest at the same time and there
must be no opposition; only when one accepts the natural conditions
around can one really integrate with them and use them as the artist
does to express his will and his emotional desire.
The conversation went on to other topics but I stored the incident
in my mind as another tribute to the great paean of the sun worshippers
who have affinities with all dwellers in tropical lands. The Sun is a
figure of masculine power in the unconscious of all peoples of African
descent with the "shadowed livery of the burnished Sun."
The number is increasing of West Indian artists who go to the United
Kingdom to improve their art. Huie of Jamaica returned to his home
in 1950 from such a course and while in that island I heard contradic-
tory statements on the quality of his present work. One person was of
the opinion that although Huie had gained in mastery of technique,
there had occurred a certain loss of power in the work he was then doing
and an uncertainty of vision. Another comment was that Huie had to
assimilate the new technique he had learnt and that the value of his
stay and study in the United Kingdom would be observed only at the
end of a few years. The same is probably true of E. R. Burrowes of
Dennis Williams of Guiana was an artist who like Huie made a study
of European technique. His study lasted three years at the end of which
period he returned to Guiana for a few months before he decided to
become a professional painter.
One of the remarkable features of Dennis Williams' work is that
he found much affinity with the art of West Africa, and particularly with
the sculpture, as if he were impelled to move from the halfway house
of the West Indies and to return to the land of his ancestors for inspira-
tion and motive power. This affinity was accompanied by a develop-
ing vision of the African in the New World which gradually pervaded
his mind until on his return to the West Indies he discovered that there
in the sun and in the world of the sugar plantation was the key needed
to unlock the doors of his spirit and to complete the apprenticeship
period through which he felt he was passing.
While in the United Kingdom he had painted like Ruth breast-deep
amid the alien corn, without engaging his full power, but after a few
weeks in Guiana, he employed his time on a series of plantation studies.
It is not possible with words fully to convey the power of the
seven studies Dennis Williams completed and they are now (1950) the
writer believes, on exhibition in New York; some notes must however
suffice to indicate the treatment. The first study was of the sugar plan-
tation as a fairy tale, with the round moon echoing the round faces of the
sugar workers, pleasant colourings and all the elements romanticized.
Already in this first statement of the theme, Dennis Williams had begun
to display the limbs of human beings as in some way synonymous with
the jointed stalks of the growing sugar cane. In his projection of what
estate managers thought of the workers on the plantations, Williams has
conceived a head that resembled a button, with features that were those
of a moron.
The other studies revealed a progressive shift of moods in the serial
presentation of plantation character. The third was gloomy and the
green of the cane stalks that surrounded the two faces male and female
was a menacing shade. No longer fairy tale in quality it seemed to give
the impression that these moronic visages had somehow become sinister
and begun to threaten the existence of the plantation. By contrast what
one believes to be the fifth study depicted the laughter and gaiety pecu-
liar to the West Indian of African descent. The painting was full of
gay purple light, symptomatic of a people who could make fun of them-
selves and of their hardships and so prevent the iron brands of necessity
from sinking too deep into their natures.
Before he left British Guiana to seek success abroad as a painter,
Dennis Williams was painting a picture which he said should complete
the plantation series and enable him to pass on to other themes. This
final study had three figures in it which this writer interpreted to sym-
bolise the West Indian of, African descent and his movement away from
First there was the now familiar moronic button head of the slave
and the rest of the figure was clothed in a long shapeless yellow garment
which prevented one from identifying the sex of the wearer. The gar-
ment would probably be the osnaburg of the plantation. And behind
this figure are two emerging types, one male, one female. There is still
the curious identification of the limbs of the figures with .the jointed
stalks of the cane, and Dennis Williams had introduced a technical
device for sustaining interest by series of graded gray geometrical planes-
over the body surfaces. The heads, however, compelled attention. The
male head was capped with a purplish grap cap that could indifferently
be a court jester's headgear or the mitre of an ecclesiastical dignity -
seeming to suggest that the emerging West Indian had in him great
capacity for entertainment or for deep religious feeling ? The face of the
female figure was swathed, seemingly nun-wise, with concentric bands
of black and white. No longer brute power, harnessed to compulsory
labour, the West Indian was finding his destiny.
Before he left British Guiana Dennis Williams declared that he had
to come back to the regions of the Sun. He had felt no inspiration in
England although he had learnt technique there and it seemed to him
that since his return to the tropics and his work on the plantation
series he had found the key he had wanted, and he felt he could paint
anywhere. That this was true we know from recent reports of his work
in "The Listener" and in the U.S. magazine "Time" which speak of the
startling effect of his power upon the art-loving world in London. A
reproduction of one of his recent pictures shows that Dennis Williams
has moved to the major problem of the 20th Century, the relationships
existing among the races of the modern world.
Writer's Association Dinner
The Writers Association's Dinner in honour of Mr. Philip Sherlock,
Vice-Principal of the University College of the West Indies and Professors
Manfred Sandmann and Eric Cruickshank, Department of Modern Arts
and Languages, and Department of Medicine respectively was successfully
held at the Hotel Tower on Wednesday April 11. His Excellency the
Officer Administering the Government, the Hon. John Gutch, O.B.E. was
The function opened with a blessing from His Grace and the menu
which covered the first part of the programme was given full attention.
The dishes served lived up to expectation, and if excellent is the highest
compliment. one could pay, surely the Tower deserves it. The table set
was in the form of a square, and decorated with patience and artistry.
In the open centre were many species of Guiana's palms and ferns, while
on the table itself were vases of beautiful flowers. The general atmos-
phere was one of homeliness, just the sort of feeling which usually pre-
vails at a family dinner. His Excellency, at this stage toasted the King,
and made the way clear for the second part of the programme. He rose
once more to propose the Toast to the University College of the West
Indies, intimating how fortunate it was for the University to have on its
Staff the names of their honoured guests. He also paid tribute to the
work being done by both the Resident and Staff Tutors, promising that
the Government would do everything in its power to assist the University.
In reply to the Toast proposed, Mr. Sherlock the Vice-Principal said how
happy they all felt at the honour bestowed upon them. He went on to
say that the University needed help, which the commercial community
could give as well as Government. To him this was the best possible
investment, as the beneficiaries would all come back and help in the
affairs of the Colony. He intimated the founding of a Joseph Luckhoo
Scholarship named after the late Justice Luckhoo K.C. who played a
memorable par- in the embryonic stage of the University life.
The Toast which followed was to the Extra-Mural Department; this
was proposed by His Grace, the Archbishop. He touched on the useful-
ness of the Department and referred to the good work which was being
done by the Resident Tutor, Mr. Thompson, Displaying much humour,
His Grace disclosed how ridiculous the name Extra-Mural sounded, and
suggested a change the most likely being Home University Studies or
some olher term in place of Extra-Mural. In reply Mr. Thompson said
how he enjoyed being in British Guiana, and the many friendships he
had made. He agreed with the suggestion made by His Grace, and hoped
that some change would be made. The Resident Tutor concluded by
saying how progress was being maintained by the Department and was
highly optimistic of its future.
To the Hon. F. W. Holder K.C. fell the task of proposing the Toast
to the Writers of the Caribbean he mentioned the names of Philip Sher-
lock, A. J. Seymour, Norman Cameron and Dr. Eric Williams, along with
others from the smaller islands, which he considered as of great promise.
He urged those who were unknown to him to make a special effort to
live up to their responsibilities, and so make a name in the literary
aspirations of the Caribbean. The reply was by Mr. N. E. Cameron, M.A.
who apart from outlining the difficulties which face the writers, intimated
how success depended not only on ability but on chance and circum-
stances. The Toast Master then brought the function to a close.
One recollects vividly the feeling of comradeship which prevailed
throughout and Ihe feeling of regret at its termination. There was the
consolation however, in the thought that this memorable occasion had
a special significance, it was one of Spirit, in reality mind over matter.
For Institutions are not to be considered as mortar and stone, but as
living spirits furthering us on to better things. And indeed of this was
the prevailing spirit at the Writers Association's Dinner, in honour of
an University's Staff, who in its first milestone has taken a permanent
place in West Indian life, thought and perhaps Action.
His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government, Hon. John
Gutch, O.B.E. Philip M.Sherlock, Esq., Professor Manfred Sandmann,
Professor Eric Cruickshank.
Richard Allsopp, Esq., A. A. Bannister, Esq., Norman E. Cameron,
Esq., Frank Dalzell, Esq., Miss Lilian Dewar, Miss Celeste Dolphin, Dr.
L. G. Eddey, Miss Ruby Franker, His Worship the Mayor of Georgetown,
R. B. Gajraj, Esq., J. W. Harper Smith, Esq., Hon. F. W. Holder, K.C.,
J. E. Humphrey, Esq., Eric James, Esq.; His Grace the Archbishop of the
West Indies, Most Rev. Dr. Alan J. Knight, J. C. Luck, Esq., Hon. E. F.
McDavid, C.M.G., C.B E., Capt. H. Nobbs, O.B.E., F. Ogle, Esq., E. O.
Pilgrim, Rev. E. S. M. Pilgrim, R. C. G. Potter, Esq.. Hon. W. J. Raatgever,
Eric Roberts, Esq., Lloyd Searwar, Esq., A. J. Seymour, Esq., Mrs. Elma
Seymour, Kenneth S. Stoby, Esq., A. A. Thompson, Esq.. Hon. C. Vibart
Wight, C.B E., G. E. Willock, Esq.
Adventure in Art
By PHILIP VIEIRA.
The two most spectacular achievements in art, from the British
Guiana angle, which have taken place within recent time, are the emerg-
ence of Dennis Williams from the dawn of small town recognition into the
full-noon-day glare of world acceptance and the courageous presenta-
tion of several daringly modern pieces at the recently held exhibition by
the Working People's Free Art Class.
It is perhaps more than a mere coincidence that Dennis Williams, in
his very early painting career, was a student of Rupert Burrowes, 1949
British Council Scholar, and that the Working People's Free Art Class
was founded and is being led by the same Rupert Burrowes.
Obviously, Dennis Williams' tendency to express himself in the medium
of the modern masters was largely influenced by his journey to the
United Kingdom. in the capacity of the first British Council Art Scholar
from the Magnificient Province.
It is no less manifest, that Rex Walcott's "Under Chloroform" and
"Self Portrait" and Patrick Barrington's "Musicians" as well as Lloyd
Hind's "Odalisque", show the influence of Rupert Burrowes which he also
absorbed on his English visit.
In addition to the works named in the above paragraph, "Guiana
Tapestry" by Basil Hinds and "Clouds Over Guiana" by Rupert Burrowes
show remarkable assimilation and individuality in approach and treat-
ment, although they are fundamentally derivative of the art of Picasso,
Matisse, Braque and Adler.
Especial demonstration of the Adler undertones is to be seen in
Not unexpectedly, an extraordinary amount of comment and criticism
has been aroused by this venturesome adventure into modern art by
both Dennis Williams and the students of the Working People's Free Art
Probably because of the fact that the great English art critic Wyndham
Lewis euologised the former, local critics showed inclination to be some-
what less outspoken in their condemnation of his work. The members
of the W.P.F.A.C., however, could not hope to escape the caustic comments
of several visitors who attended their exhibition.
And Chronicle columnist Frank "Art My Foot" Pilgrim levelled a
broadside attack on the budding Picassos of the Art Class in his review
of their attempt to present their interpretations of the modern urge.
Describing some of the work at the exhibition as "abstract twisting
and symbolic brain teasers," Frank says that in modern art, "the customer
seems to be always wrong".
Without doubt, the person most suited to reply to Mr. Pilgrim's
attack, an attack which was launched in an honest spirit of what may be
described as seeking further knowledge, was the villain of the piece, E.
In a British Council half-hour broadcast over Station Z.F.Y., Mr.
Burrowes pointed out that from "time immemorial, artists who have had
the courage to express their personal inspirations have been faced with
This antagonism, he stressed, emanated not only from the ordinary
layman but also found expression by the intellectual contemporaries of
the artists of the period.
After making reference to one notable incident of the sixteenth cen-
tury, the art leader argues thus: "This clearly shows that the bare
subject of a picture often arouses a passion of resentment apart from the
quality of the picture and the skill of the craftsmanship".
In support of his postulation, he cites the words of the most controv-
ersial figure in modern art. Said Picasso, "Everyone wants to understand
art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird ? Why does one love
the night-flowers, without trying to understand them ?"
An obvious question which everyone must ask, as Mr. Burrowes
pointed out, is "How can I cultivate a taste for this modern art ?" And
in answering the question he avers that there are two replies which may
be given, the "impolite and cynical and the kind and helpful".
The former, he states, would be something like this, "go live in the
past." The latter is "Just as you know and like the stream-lined loveli-
ness of a motor car and the sleek lethal beauty of a jet plane, in the same
way as you would appreciate the classic simplicity of structure in the
building of the Royal Bank of Canada or Sandbach Parker's new building,
in the same way you must approach the New Look in art as it evolves
towards the general aspect of a possible Brave New World".
The Georgetown public was given a treat when the Drama Section
of the Y.M.C A. ,which had been dormant since its formation, ventured
forth on its initial presentation around mid-April. The choice was
"Salome" by Oscar Wilde.
The Co-Directors, Mrs. Rajkumari Singh and her husband, Harnandan
Singh, had their hands full, for on this effort depended the fate of future
There were many factors to be considered, the chief being the casting.
The "Y" itself could supply battalions of soldiers, but no "Salome". In the
end she was co-opted from the Georgetown Dramatic Club. "Herodias"
and the "Slave Girl" were also co-opted from other organizations.
The next problem was the costuming of the play. The period was
ancient Judaea, so the Co-Directors had to do a certain amount of 'e-
search in that direction.
Another consideration was that the story was well-known so that
no half-way version would have been acceptable. Salome, daughter of
Herodias, was in love with John the Baptist who openly spurned her.
She took the opportunity to have her revenge to demand his head on a
silver charger as her reward for dancing for Herod, her mother's second
husband, who had promised to give her anything for which she had asked,
even to half of his kingdom.
The Directors and players got down to it to present a play as authen-
tic as possible. The whole action (one act) takes place on the terrace of
Herod's palace. The background scene was very effective as there was
a painting depicting a good portion of the palace gardens and steps lead-
ing from a path. In the distance could be seen a building like, a temple.
The costumes were beautiful, and it was hard to decide which was the
best as there was much variety in the King's entourage. However, I
think those of "Salome", "Herod" and "Herodias" were the most resplen-
dent, as was to be expected.
As regards individual performances, many opinions have been ex-
pressed for and against. However, there was little controversy concern-
ing "Herod" who was magnificently portrayed by Harnandan Singh. When
he came on the stage and began his lines, a general murmur of approval
could be heard in the audience. He was comfortable in the role and in
turn made the audience comfortable.
Phyllis Durham as "Salome" was a wise choice. She, like Harnan-
dan Singh, is a seasoned performer and was undaunted by the fact that
the whole play revolved around her. She had a great deal to say and it was
obvious that she memorised her lines well. However, in my opinion, she
was inclined to lapse in to a mere recitation when she uttered some really
beautiful passages towards the end.
Her interpretation of the famous "Salome" Dance of the Seven Veils
came up to my expectations, and was a fitting climax in the play. Her move-
ments were graceful and she was at home, so to speak. I did not quite
agree to "Bolero" being the accompanying music and felt that if the
Directors thought that the "Salome" music itself was too heavy, a safe
substitution could have been an excerpt from the "Scherazade" score.
Jokannan (John the Baptist), played by Neville Linton, was a first-
class characterisation. The part was not a big one, but Neville Linton did
it well and was most convincing. His voice had the ring of a real prophet.
The other supporting players, though they had not as much to say
to bring them into focus as prominently as the abovenamed actors, de-
served honourable mention, for without their co-operation the play could
not have held together. Their costumes and positions on the stage gave
"atmosphere" which certainly means a lot, especially in a period play.
Whether or not the Y.M.C.A. will prove a threat in the drama field
remains to be seen, but the aftermath of its first presentation has cer-
tainly given play-goers something to talk about.
;^L -'L# fM f!.... 1.',: PArt,_t ir'r .11* '* .'i-', ., .'?'/ :",. i, *,,., ,r .,' ,.i ,rif
N OW ON SALE --
x SIZE: i" x 8' x 4'
SIZES: x" x x 8' x 4'
SECURE YOUR SUPPLY EARLY
J. P. SANTOS & Co., Ltd.
lf i dTFi^. ll -:'l 1 ;lk-ik 1 Tlis1 il il"-0 l i3 4r.:1. i I l L*ts Jit .:'."
We have had many musical treats during the first four months of
1951. One of the most outstanding was of course the lecture-recital
given by Mr. Henry Wilson, Examiner of the Associated Board of the
Royal Schools of Music. He delighted his audience with a wide selection
of piano music-Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy-giving a short
talk before each item. It was the type of recital we do not often get
here in B G. and was therefore appreciated all the more.
Another big event was Miss Genya Fidler's piano recital at the Plaza
Cinema on Sunday afternoon, April 8. She completely captured her large
audience, not only by her beauty, but also by her performance, parti-
cularly the selections by Chopin.
The visit of Miss Enid Richardson of the British Council presented
further opportunities of music-making in the Colony.
At the home of Dr. & Mrs. J. A. Nicholson on Wednesday April
25, Miss Richardson joined with two of our most promising young artists
in presenting a violin and piano recital. We had the privilege and
pleasure of hearing some of Miss Richardsons own compositions. A
great favourite was part of "St. Benedict's Suite"-an impression of
early Sunday morning at Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad. Two of her
compositions for the violin were also presented by Bernice Waddell.
Miss Waddell also showed her skill to great advantage in the other items
she chose, particularly "La Folia Sonata" by Corelli and Wieniawski's
Miss Joan McDavid, one of our most recent L.R.S.M.'s contributed
two items to this programme. We enjoyed her playing.
The next evening, Thursday April 26, and continuing over the week-
end, the B.G. Philharmonic Society presented another of its ever popular
orchestral concerts. Guest artist Mrs. Valerie Warner joined with the
orchestra in performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C Minor op. 37,
and they made a very good job of it.
"Finlandia", an old favourite, which was conducted by Mr. Chapman
Edwards, deserved the rousing applause it received.
The Philharmonic Choir pleased both the eye in their flowing
white dresses-and the ear-with their delightful three-part singing.
On Saturday 28. Miss Richardson joined informally with the Phil-
harmonic Orchestra to present a short piano concerto, and also played
two piano duets with Mrs. R. Aaron and Miss F. Francis.
The Public Administration Course
The Extra-Mural Department (of the University College of the West
Indies) in British Guiana arranged a course in Public Administration,
in March 1951. Mr. Eric James, M.A., (Public Admin.) Staff Tutor of
the Extra-Mural Department, who conducted similar courses in some of
the other West Indian Colonies arrived in the Colony in March, 1951.
To enable him 'o plan his itinerary, applications for registration had been
distributed as early as November 1950. The number of applications
received must have been very heartening to the Resident Tutor, Mr. A. A.
Thompson, for although the limit of the class was originally set at 43,
(this was the number of text books available) when the course started
several persons who were anxious to join had to be refused admission and
the register was finally closed with 59 students. Only four of these
students dropped out and the attendance throughout the sessions was over
90%. Students were drawn from nearly every government department
and there were also some students who are not public servants. What
was perhaps disappointing was the very poor response from the senior
administrative ranks of the public service.
The opening lecture was held on the 14th March, 1951, at the Bishop's
High School. The Honourable John Gutch, O.B.E., Colonial Secretary,
was Chairman, and among the large audience were several Heads of
Government Departments. After the lecture the students met the tutor,
elected a class secretary and made arrangements to meet three times a
week, on Monday and Friday evenings and on Wednesday mornings.
The Colonial Secretary granted permission for public servants to be
excused from work on Wednesday mornings to attend the lectures. The
evening classes were held in the Reading Room of the Public Free Library,
and the morning classes met in one of the classrooms of the new Queen's
College. The last lecture was given on the 18th of April.
The subjects covered in the sixteen lectures were (i) the nature
and scope of Public Administration;! (ii) the functions of Government;
(iii) the interrelationship between policy making and policy execution;
(iv) aspects of organisation and management; (v) the department as a
basis of organisation; (vi) departmental structure and organisation in
British Guiana; (vii) municipal government and administration; (viii)
personnel management; (ix) human relations and morale in administra-
tion; (x) fiscal management; (xi) administration regulation-the regula-
tory commission; (xii) the administrator's role in modern society. The
lectures on the several aspects of personnel management proved the most
interesting and provoked most discussion.
More than fifty papers were submitted by students. This is one
indication of the good response on the part of students. At the end
of the course, the tutor for his own purposes got from students their
opinions on various aspects of the course by asking them to fill up a
check-list type of questionnaire. There seemed to be strong feeling
among the public servants in the class that the public service would have
benefitted to an even greater extent if some of the senior officers of the
service had taken the course. The students hope that the interests
aroused by the course will be sustained and to this end, with the kindly
assistance of the Resident Tutor, plans are under way for the formation
of an Association of Extra-Mural students. It is hoped that this Associa-
tion will be a means of sponsoring Extra-Mural classes and other activi-
ties in the adult education movement.
Flail my mind
To the moment's brink,
This is my fate.
Drive me like parched lips
To a cup's rim
Then shatter the cup
Upon pavements of time
That my parched dream's lips
Might know no moistening.
Push me like rising tide
Up beaches of strange emotion,
Then let the tide of my reaching
With the moonrise
Of nights and days.
And when my appetite for reaching
Ceases its hunger cries
And is surfeited,
Then lull me
Under dead leaves,
And memoryless let me lie
On the bosom of unknown forever.
By DAVID A. VAUGHN.
War is a necessary evil it is said and if we, in the West Indies, or
for that. matter the coloured Colonial Empire, judge of our progressive
achievements, we may opine that it is so. After a war there must be a
victory. But of the efforts and the courage which go into victory, only
those who have actually experienced can tell with vivid truth. The Life
Story of Dr. Harold Moody in simple terms is the story of a war fought
and of a victory won, a war fought for the very principles and ideals.
the threatened destruction of which provoked two great wars within a
generation, but fought not on the field of a pitched battle with guns
and bayonets, planes and bombs. "Negro Victory" by David A. Vaughn
tells that story even in the very aptness of its title.
The name David A. Vaughn does not conjure up the picture of a
great biography written in brilliant and fluent style. If one should accept
Vaughn's words, "I offer this book to those who loved him and admired
his Christian character and his service to his own people as a feeble
tribute to all he was and did." The virtues most apparent in the book
are its straightforward sincerity of expression free of the sentimentality
which a seemingly appreciative friendship begets, the unadorned simpli-
city of its style, and its impartial advocacy of the practice of Christian
principles. Vaughn dedicates the book significantly to Dr. Moody's
"wonderful mother", whose character and personality, by which she tri-
umphed over the unfavourable circumstances of her early life were
recognized as being inherited by her eldest son. By Vaughn's doing so
and by his expression throughout the book one feels that he is paying
tribute to all those principles for which Dr. Moody stood throughout his
busy life. The biographer does well who can give the impression of
identifying himself with the virtues of which he speaks. It gives spirit
and solidity to his narrative. Vaughn seems to have done this even
though this may be, perhaps, due to the fact that he was the Minister
of religion to Dr. Moody.
The circumstances of Harold Arundel Moody's visit to London to
pursue studies in medicine are typical of the coloured West Indian
student of today. They represent the conflict of ambitious desire with
sentiment, economic disabilities and the prospect of loneliness and loss
in London. After a comparatively brilliant career at school, what is
next? The venture of Harold Arundel Moody at twenty-two, in those
times when conditions were not as democratic as come in the wake of two