The British Empire Library

Bed in the Bush

by William Helean

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by E.E.S.
Mr. Helean has given an interesting account of the varied problems which D.Cs had to handle in the remoter districts of Africa, and which will be familiar to those of us who found ourselves in such places. One suspects that he has drawn largely on his own experiences with, perhaps at times, a little embellishment. The frustrations of trying to introduce and maintain profitable work projects such as the growing of cotton; the establishment of a pond and the stocking of it with fish which disappeared overnight, must remind many ex-colonials of their own experiences.

There is a gripping account of leopard man murders instigated by an ambitious and ruthless witchdoctor in an effort to secure his own succession to the chieftainship - but thwarted by the D.C. A plea for help from African villagers when a messenger is killed by a lion calls the D.C. to shoot the lion, and an unexpected mate, after an exciting but dangerous hunt. There are descriptions of other escapades which were not so widely practised, but I should prefer you to read of those for yourself.

Many will relate to the wish for society after spending weeks alone in a remote station, then to be deluged by official visitors who had all chosen the same time for a visit: and the great sighs of relief when they have all departed and one was once again at peace in one's solitude.

This is an interesting book of reminiscences. But the book binders seem to have gone astray - my copy had a number of pages duplicated.

British Empire Book
William Helean
Book Guild Publishing Ltd


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