Grand Bahama in 1917

more. There was not even a clergyman to bury us, where we were going!

"I never expected to be taking a white woman, let alone someone from England, to my home." said the girl at my side cheerfully, after she had settled her little children in the cabin. I was sitting on the the store chest marvelling at the way the cargo had been stowed away and the decks cleared. (Not cleaned, mind), The men were just unrolling my mattress for the night. It was very dark, and very little wind stirred the oil-like eaters of the harbour, across which we were drifting with all sails unfurled. {You don't expect me to use nautical language, do you?}

I got off the chest and we supped.
We eat, I remember, bread and butter (canned butter—margarine, I think), damp cheese and a little potted meat, washed down with tea and condensed milk.
It was my last meal for three days.

Once across the harbour bar we began to encounter "something like weather." Storms spring up in a second in the region. This one was not really "weather" but the next thing to it.
The captain was drinking black coffee to keep himself awake and the black crew were singing hymns and munching green limes.
The effect was picturesque in the extreme and the singing, in concerted harmonies, kept to the rhythm of the sea, and was punctuated by sounds like pistol shots, caused by the wind banging into the mainsail now and then.
I was terrified, but all the crew and passengers seemed very happy—the two white babies slept in the cabin and their mother watched over them./

I was very ill and she was ill at intervals. The gentle kindness of the coloured folk I shall never forget. Indeed, I cannot say enough about the kindness of the common people.
Here we were, two unprotected women, upon the ocean in half a gale, with people who were supposed to be the lowest of the low —but let me here put it upon record that they behaved to us with the utmost chivalry.

True, the vessel was overrun with rats and cockroaches! I lay on the deck for five nights and was covered with a sail when it rained. I was afraid of falling overboard, and a woman, the wife of a sponger, made of her body a railing.
"If you gwine to fall, you can't fall across me." she said in her very soft voice, as she knelt down to pray before going to sleep.
"You donner have to be scared", she told me; "we'se all in de Lord's hands and you can't drownd till your time comes. "The vastness of the sky and the ocean, the seeming helplessness of this small vessel with its human load, the knowledge that countless similar ones were sailing the seas, mere specks, less than needle pricks on the world, makes one feel perhaps a little like individuals must feel in in those great armies in the war—over there.

They spoke of the war now and then during the voyage—some of them had relatives who had volunteered.
"Dey's safe, sure, till deir time comes, an' when dat day come no ting can save dem." So they believe and put all their faith in God ... "For He commandeth and raiseth up the stormy wind,/ which lifteth the waves. They go to the heaven, they go down into the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro and stagger like drunken men and are at their wits' end.
Then cry unto the Lord in their trouble and He bringeth them out of their distress. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then they are glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them to their desired haven."

In these beautiful old words of the 107th Psalm you have the whole story of our voyage told in a manner which all those people on board could thoroughly appreciate and understand.
For had they not experienced it?—and many times?

Five days and nights I never took my clothes off; and except for a little drop of Horlick's milk occasionally, and some coconut water, had no food for three of those days. After which we left the ocean and came to what they call "white water." That is, the famous transparent Bahamian Sea. We were now off Abaco and stopped to set down passengers, deliver mail, ship and unship cargo at various villages. On the fourth day I went ashore, but my companion did not want to go as it would mean a "humbug" (a native term for a bother) with ll the babies, who had been extraordinarily good, all things considered, so far.

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"The ancient Mysteries and Oracles hinted at it, the venerable sages of India knew it, and men "and women who walked this earth before all history; in the remotest stars it is exactly the "same as here, and in all the / circles of intelligence whether they dwell in fire or in the midst "of what is solid, or in the thinnest vacuum. Many an old woman sitting at her cottage door is "far more profoundly versed in it that I am. Many a fisherman has in it long ago served his "apprenticeship ...
"Learning and superiority are of no use in the face of all this .. But to come near to "understanding THE USE OF MATERIALS is divine and he who has never despised a weaker or more ignorant than himself is nearest to this. {Edward Carpenter. "Towards Democracy."}

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What a waste of time!
How they hang about, and talk and laugh, there in the glittering sun, these coloured free-men!
They never hurry.
In little boats like cockle-shells—with one torn sail upon which the violent sun throws green and violet and yellow shadows from the transparent sea—to and fro they come and go, between the land and me. I want to land.
I cannot go in this boat—it is for the Pig.
I cannot go in this—it is overcrowded already.
This one is filled with coconut—no room for me—and this with unripe grapefruit and barrels of flour.

How small I become. Just one of these! And all the while they are laughing, in their rags, in the wide hats they plait out of the dried leaves of Palmetto trees.
But all are not ragged.
Some women have spotless white garment, trimmed with lace and ribbon bows.
"Oh, mother, may I go to school?
Yes, my darling, you may go. You may go with a ribbon bow!"

So goes the refrain of one of their songs.

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