Grand Bahama in 1917
Anxious moments these were: I remember once a man lurched over, clinging
to the boom, and said to another who sat near the wheel:
"Dere's an art in sailing a boat, orlright."
The women just kept still and "praised de Lawd," and the cows
kept very silent.
At one time we lost our course, but the men found it again, and towards
dawn when a boy ran up to the mast-head and yelled he could see a lighthouse
a shiver of relief ran through us all.
At daybreak the people all sat up and shook themselves. The men brought
water to the women who cleaned their teeth with their forefinger, over
the vessel's side.
Then everyone, with a knife, a coconut and a lime proceeded to breakfast.
After this, in the very teeth of the storm, they all sang in chorus to
the beating on the tin basin and waited patiently for whatever might come.
A man passing me, laughed:
"No cause to fear, sister," and offered me some fruit from the
Well, to cut a long story short, we passed two more lighthousesthe
last was on the Berry Islandsand began to feel secure.
"We'se all safe, please Gawd," a woman said to me.
"Safe in His keeping," echoed the others, contentedly munching
The boy reached over and fed the cows and the pig with tall grass. The
babies got their breakfast in the way that Nature intended. The men washed
out the infants' belongings and cleared up the debris of the night./
Suddenly, a rope broke.
"Good Lawd save us!" exclaimed the captain, and three men risked
falling overboard to catch the frayed end of the slashing thing. They
literally clung to the edge of the vessel with their toes, and with one
hand on the unbroken rigging, leant out over the turbulent water till
they had succeeded in catching the broken one.
"All fast," they sang out when it was tied up again,
The wind came in gusts that shook the sails with sounds like cannon-shots.
But "Notting to fear," the men said, and I began to have faith
in their skill. When at midday we reached the Nassau lighthouse I realized
the good the whole trip had done me; and I realized too, when I read the
cables later in the day that we had weathered "the tail end"
of a hurricane.
Down near Florida "someone's getting it," Nassau folk were
saying, and Grand Bahama, if you look at the map, is very near to Florida!
I said goodbye to my travelling companions, pig and all, and as I walked
through the market a woman ran after me and told me I was getting broad.
I recognized her as the woman I used to buy vegetables from last winter,
and laughed as I told her it was due to hominy and peas! I had never felt
so well, and certainly had put on weight, and I recommend every overworked
or overstrained visitor to try it; it is the best rest cure known, in
spite of the discomfort and the risk in it is probably part of the cure.
My whole point of view had alteredI viewed life from a new angle
and was ready to start "fresh" with/ everybody. Everything that
had worried me four weeks ago was completely wiped away ...[end of GB
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