Grand Bahama in 1917

No other doors or windows opened out, so that there was a continual current of fresh air which could rise up and aerate through the palm-thatched rafters that enclosed the whole cottage. While, at the same time, no one need sit in a draught, and there was cosiness not found in the ordinary house of Nassau. The white floor was well sanded, and two brown doors in the wall on either side led into adjoining rooms, where on fourposter beds were spread clean patchwork quilts; except in the smaller of the rooms, which was pantry and scullery in one.

In the main room an old, old negress who had seen slavery days, say comfortably in a wide old mahogany settee that any rich man might well envy so fine is its workmanship and proportion. Other members of the family came smilingly from odd corners, with swaying movements of their limbs and bodies, Two finely made mahogany tables were placed against either wall; one held a Bible, hymn-book and Book of Prayer: the other had on it early Victorian vases in which were beads which the old lady was using to make necklaces for the girls to wear.

In a very short time a very beautiful girl brought me food and coconut water and a little boy came in with freshly picked guavas and bananas.
I had taken a tin of pork and beans ashore and half of these had been heated, to which they added some steamed turtle: then they cut me some sugar-cane.
When the captain was ready I paid one shilling, and I bade them goodbye.
I shall never forget the picture they made, and regretted not having a camera. But I had been told/ that films would not stand the heat for the length of time that must elapse before it would be possible to develop and print; so I had to be satisfied with mental snap-shots.

It was suggested that I walk across the rocks to the next port of call, so I did this. The bordering sea-grape trees kept off some of the sun's heat and I was taken to visit another house—nearly as nice as the one I have described. In it was a woman holding an eighteen months old child on her lap. Its head hung back in the queerest fashion!
She spoke sadly about it.
"Dey brought me a strangled fowl before dis baby were born, an' I did pity dat fowl, and dis chile were born wid his head hanging back flopping to and fro, jus' like wot de fowl's did."
"But," said the grandmother, who was squatting on the clean floor, pipe in hand, "dis chile will get cure all right."
"Yes," echoed the mother, "He'll get cure, olright, please Gawd."
"What do you do for him?" I ventured to ask.
"Don't do notting—jus' praise de Lord," she replied simply.
"An' rub him day an' night wid de oil ob de coconut," put in the grandmother.
"We rubs him wid oil, olright," echoed the mother.

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A lot of shouting from the beach and an upright figure in a boat warned me that the mail was about to leave. So I waded through little pools of rainwater and joined the crew; sails were hoisted and we/ drifted away. After the smells and the sea upset me no more. Of Course, it was calm, but the smells remained. I will not go into details! I suppose there had been quite twenty people on board during that voyage, there was only one cabin—very small, and no hygiene.
Yet we caught no diseases and were unharmed a few weeks later when I decided to "take a chance" and return to the capital without my friend, as I had business to transact and could not stay any longer.

The condition of the island is a disgrace to the British flag; and this is no fault of the Commissioner, who did what he could on very little money, built a bridge and made a very good road leading to the mangrove swamp from where one can sail for many miles to "The Mud" where sponges grow.
The Grand Bahama people are noted for their honesty and are as clean as in extreme poverty they can be. They know nothing of agriculture. They grow next to nothing and depend for food on the expensive stuff the spongers bring in from Nassau which food is imported from the States and has had a high duty paid on it before it starts its 150 mile trip.

Grand Bahama is a very large island (as Bahama Islands go) but it is not prosperous, to say the least!
Yet, I heard a visiting examiner in the schools asking the school-children:
"Who was Shakespeare?" And "who was Julius Caesar?" They knew not.
"What do you mean by Germination?" They knew not.
If they were taught that you plant seeds you have to care for them until they grow it would/ be more valuable to them than Shakespeare or Caesar or a word like Germination! It is not that the Government does not give them education, it seems merely as if it gives them too much education of the wrong sort. It is bad enough in this sense in the Board Schools at home, and it is far, far more out of place on a desert island, where they really think if their seeds are washed away in a rainstorm that it is the Lord's will; and if there is no rain during the dry season, it would going against God to water their plants with the water from their wells!
They say nothing will grow, but one finds out that sweet potatoes, red peas, coconuts, guavas, bananas, onions, oranges, limes, grapefruit and other tropical fruits and vegetables will grow with very little care wherever there is soil.

It was a queer sensation to leave one solitary English lady and her two babies alone on that barren isle—where no mail would come for another two weeks at the earliest—bereft of all that is supposed to be necessary to civilized people. But she was used to it, and her servants were cheerful and kind, ready to do anything for her.
The captain of the Income sent word, on the morning of the day we were to leave, that I should be ready at 6 a.m. That hour found me, without breakfast, sitting upon my rolled-up mattress in the road near the cutting in the rock where the vessel's boat comes in.
They asked me if I would go on board, or if I would sooner they put the cow on first. I said, Place aux vaches, and waited with a little crowd of other people. So the men went off to fetch the/

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