FIRST EXPERIENCES IN ZANZIBAR
ZANZIBAR has seen many changes since Frank Weston landed there in 1898. The dignified Arab landowners, in gold-embroidered johos and jewelled sword hilts, had not then been for the most part ruined by intrusive aliens. The slave trade had been suppressed, though slave dhows were still occasionally captured en route for Muscat. The status of slavery had just been abolished, but the process of emancipation was slow. The Goanese were beginning to monopolise trade, but there were then fewer Hindus and Parsees. The European community was small and sanitation was being talked about. The Zanzibar of to-day is cleaner than was then thought possible.
Frank had known that Zanzibar was a heathen city, but he had expected to see from his steamer the Cathedral built by Bishop Steere dominating the town. It was not visible. He landed in the heat among an eager, pushing, gesticulating crowd, and, when he had torn himself free, his first impression was the filthy smell of the place--it was a city not of sheep but goats. As he proceeded down the long, narrow, dark streets of stone houses with their open shops he found the immemorial wares of the East piled together with the cheapest products of our factories, and from then onwards was sceptical about civilisation coming by commerce. Out of the network of alleys with their thatched huts swarmed the black population, chattering, curious and inattentive, quick to pass remarks on a stranger but not at all prepared to take a new missionary seriously.
Then, tired and confused, he came to the peace of Mkunazini. There was the Cathedral after all, beautiful in its white simplicity. There also were the Hospital and the Nurses' Home. At last he had found a resting-place in that heathen city of purposeless movement and noise.
Soon he was once more on his way, walking two miles to Kiungani, where he was to live in the great stone Arab house which stands on a tiny cliff overlooking the white sand of a little bay. He liked the irregular cloister, the chapel and other buildings adjoining the main house; he liked the shamba behind with its palms and mangoes; he liked his own dark bare room, from which he could look out on a burning sky and a sea that was like vapour shot with fire.
He arrived on the same day that the boys came back to school, and they had a bonfire to celebrate the beginning of term. He enjoyed that; but he marked also the orderly entrance of the boys into chapel, and wrote in his enthusiasm: 'The discipline of the place is A, and the happiness of the boys A +.' Six months later he was more critical about Kiungani, but he never ceased to revere Walter King, who died in the following year.
Two miles farther along the coast he visited Kilimani, where Miss D. Y. Mills was in charge of the Home for little boys. With their exuberant spirits and ready affection, these children won their way at once to his heart, but later his heart was often pierced as he became aware of their precocious immorality.
A little beyond Kilimani is the Christian village of Mbweni and the Home for girls, who were then looked after by Miss Thackeray. When the waifs and strays rescued from slave dhows grew up and married, there was no Christian community to absorb them, and the Mission solved the difficulty by planting a little colony on a shamba at Mbweni, where they had land to cultivate, a church to worship in, and a priest with other mission workers to befriend them. The place looked charming with its broad, well-kept roads, its plantations of coconuts, its neat houses and allotments, but it has always been a source of anxiety. There can be no real community where there are no grandfathers and grandmothers, no social traditions and no sense of common origin. The slave children were of many tribes and came from many parts of Africa. They were institution bred, they lacked initiative, and naturally depended on the white missionaries. The failure of Mbweni made Frank in after years so zealous to maintain the family, the tribe, the community life and all old customs that were not immoral. He did not attempt to create Utopias by segregating Christians, but set out to build an African Church on the foundations of African life, fearlessly planting that Church in a heathen soil. As in his first Of en Letter, he was always ready to distinguish between c a Godliness which is being preached by a foreign missionary body, and a Godliness which, having seized the hearts of the people, has built up round itself an organisation of national ministry, custom and morality.'
Weston had read the lives of Mackenzie and Steere and had met Bishop Smythies, who walked as a king among men. He had ideals of missionary work, and he expected to find them exemplified in Zanzibar, but he was soon disillusioned.
The Mission had a great past. Mackenzie had gone up the Shire River like a gay knight-errant out for the great adventure. Buoyant and almost boyish in his enthusiasm, he had dared to do what was impossible, and only lived long enough to be an example of Christian heroism, and an inspiration to the hundreds of missionaries who have followed in his steps.
He was succeeded by Tozer, a wise and a brave man, who was content to do small things well. He showed his wisdom by removing his base to Zanzibar, and his moral courage by defying the ignorant enthusiasts at home. With very little encouragement and under great difficulties he went on teaching and training boys, girls, and adults who had been released from slavers, but all the time he and his small staff were learning the language and customs of the natives.
Steere had been nearly ten years in the Mission before he succeeded to the episcopate. He was the architect, clerk of the works and master-mason of the Cathedral church which he built on the site of the old slave market. But that church is, after all, only the visible symbol of an even more enduring work which he did for Africa. He was the true master-builder and laid deep and broad foundations. He established the Mission at Magila and Masasi, from which the work has spread. He had a mental grip of the problems which would have to be faced in the future, and prepared his plans with careful sagacity. He did not despise the day of small things, because he was sustained by the vision of what might be. He gave his life for Africa and the Africans, and that was the measure of his devotion to our Lord; but he loved natives with the love of benevolence only, for he found their manners and their failings alike repulsive. In some respects he was a greater man than Frank Weston, but no one would have said of him what Samwil Mwinyipembe has said of Frank: 'To the Europeans he was a European, and to us Africans an African.'
Then came Smythies, who marched over the African continent with the mien of a conqueror, and enormously increased the prestige of the Mission. He made even people at home to realise that his was the Land of Romance. He impressed native chiefs by his dignity, and he made himself respected at Berlin. He refused to withdraw his missionaries or desert his people in the days of war, when the Foreign Office was anxious for him to do so. A dauntless man, with such energy that he kept even the faint-hearted going until they died; a man of inflexible will, who loved to champion the oppressed.
With two such mighty men in succession, the Mission staff had naturally looked to their Bishops for support and direction, and felt lost when a man of a very different character succeeded. Bishop Richardson was a saint, very gentle and courteous to everyone, but he came from the quiet of a country parish with no great capacity as a ruler, and too old to learn about new conditions of life. He always found it hard to say No, and was often unwilling to say Yes, for in saying Yes to one, others might be offended. He was inclined to wait on the development of events and did not make plans; punctual in performing his duties, he disliked being hustled and had no wish to hustle anyone else. The Archdeacons on the mainland went each his own way, and everyone in Zanzibar did what was right in his own eyes. Young priests just out from England introduced new practices and devotions which scandalised the older members of the Mission. Some sank into a groove. Some, according to Frank, made their health a primary consideration. Some, he thought, were slipping away from the austere traditions of the past into self-indulgence. Frank, of course, only knew the work on the island, and he was always a little liable to generalise from insufficient data; but he had come to Africa on fire with zeal, and he found in Africa many who were carrying on prosaically an accustomed work. He began to criticise and agitate, and within four months published an Open Letter addressed to the Bishop. That letter came out as a bombshell, and the noise it made was heard even in Dartmouth Street. I read it in the comfortable seclusion of a country village, and wrote to the author that his conduct was inexcusable. He replied: 'I have given up all to come a journey of 6000 miles; and I had to write that letter or come home again.'
Regarding the Open Letter, he wrote to me:
It seemed to me that a vigorous line would do two things--open the way for a very few who are keen; and by bringing all the odium upon myself, make advance under Episcopal favour possible: and also cause the really slack so great a shock as to make a contemplation of past goodness in the Mission possible.
A month or two later he wrote to me again from hospital while down with fever.
The main goal at which I aimed was lay-folk. The females at once shook their feathers, and several of them continue awake. A few only cackled and slumbered afresh. The males hate me like poison--in certain spheres of thought--but are very friendly personally. They consider me self-assertive--very green--and hope for my conversion. Thus I gather they hope much from this fever! To me it has been as Gilgal--it has rolled away the one reproach--they could hint, 'Wait till you've had fever.' . . . The result of my letter was not exactly popularity, but acceptance of views. Folk like to be reminded of ideals, and no one had ever spoken to them for more than two years of their life and work, and they sort of jumped at the opportunity of being jawed.
This is, I believe, rather an optimistic view, all the more remarkable because it comes from a man with fever. From other sources I heard how people, who had been long in the Mission, went about saying: 'I wish Bishop Steere had been alive, he would have put that young man into his place.' Personally I cannot imagine anyone daring to write Bishop Steere an Open Letter, and I am quite sure that had he been alive no such letter would have been written. Frank had read and re-read Bishop Steere's biography. He had come to Africa full of Bishop Steere's ideals. It was because it seemed to him that those ideals were being forgotten that he wrote. His appeal was: 'Back to Steere.'
He was young, and in after years he said: 'I could not write like that now, and I wish I had never written it.' The great friend to whom he said this, who had been over twenty years in the Mission before him, replied: 'It was just what we wanted at that time to be told, although much of it was nonsense.'
Forgetting the 'nonsense,' everyone will admit that missionaries were not in Africa 'to show the heathen the European life, with the addition of a round of religious services,' but were there 'to set the Christ-like character boldly and clearly before all.' We see his point when he says: 'I am not blind to the mockery of passing from a carefully served house to preach to men about the Cross of the Servant of men '; but we need to be told that there was no luxury in the Mission, and that the modest comforts he censured had been found necessary through the experience gained by a long death-roll in the past.
He saw quite clearly that a native belief in Mission funds militated against the development of a self-supporting Church, but he was not then prepared to admit how slowly a self-supporting Church must be organised. He felt that the great obstacle to real progress lay in that consciousness of race superiority which is so characteristic of Englishmen. Missionaries had come to Africa to be kind to Africans, but they were inclined to treat them as children to be corrected and controlled, and they expected from them deference and service. This he saw to be the wrong attitude, for if a native Church was ever to grow, the native priests must be treated as equals. 'We have,' he said, 'always to remember that they, and not we, are the permanent leaders of the African Church.' At that time three out of four native priests had been trained in England, and he foresaw the danger 'that in the place of real native priests we may produce only priests who are Africans, living the lives and imitating the none too admirable characteristics of European missionaries.' Such priests could never be real national leaders, and at best they would minister 'to a select body of those who were content to lead half-ecclesiastical lives.' But a Church consists of laity as well as priests, and all have not a vocation to teach. In consequence he was shocked to find that' Africans have been made to feel that to refuse to be a teacher is practically to resign the right to be treated as a Christian.' He looked to the future and wrote: 'We must be before the civilisation of Chartered Companies and Government Railways. We must teach our people to be prepared for secular callings, and help them to consecrate them.'
There was, after all, much good sense in the Open Letter if you allow for its overstatements and forget the somewhat fierce spirit which determined its form.
Frank had been asked to go to Zanzibar to train teachers for Holy Orders, but when he arrived at Kiungani there were only two students, though more were expected. He entered at once into the life of the place and began teaching little boys geography and older ones algebra. He saw at once that it was impossible to train married students in a boys' school, and wrote to Central Africa:
Imagine Ely or Cuddesdon shifted into the midst of a large public school, the students being expected to reap the fruits of quietness in such a world of noise and movement. Or consider how the work must suffer when our staff, and that a small one, has this threefold work to do--little boys, teachers, candidates for Holy Orders, all thrown together to get what instruction and help they may. Why, of course, those who are oldest and most trustworthy are left to themselves when any of the staff are ill! ... So their work suffers.
The Bishop was on the mainland, but Frank set to work to plan a theological college. He drew plans of the buildings he required, many plans, until all was to his mind. He found a site at Mazizini on the coast between Kiungani and Mbweni. He arranged for a long lease at a very moderate rental of 150 rupees a year. So when the Bishop returned all the details were laid before him. In January 1899 his consent was obtained, and Frank wrote to England for at least £500 and obtained £1000.
He did not, however, wait for the money to come in. The work was begun at once and the buildings were opened in the following October, notwithstanding difficulties with native labour. He wrote to me:
The Arab who built the house is the prime liar of my circle. He has already cheated me out of hundreds of rupees, and still tries to do me out of a cloth to bury his mother therewith. I have had him grovelling on the floor, holding on to my feet, howling for pardon in the morning, and in the evening he has come back cheerfully lying as before. Then I have Banyan carpenters from Bombay, who, paid by the day, try to take it out of me by all manner of little decorative arts, prolonging work till doomsday if they were allowed. Jolly men these: honest in most ways: very skilful with their feet, and as alert in all their powers: with a remnant of caste prejudice, but with a leaning to patent leather shoes and other European sins. The African proper is very dull compared with the Arab and the Banyan, but a skilful cheat--and what he cannot steal by roguery he appropriates by laziness in work. Yet he is not without brains, and within any groove of method he will move fairly well. Initiative he has none, but he is a good follower. . . . Dull! well, not in some ways. They are very amusing and very like children in their ways of thinking.
The rooms were not dry when Frank determined to move in. He contrived, however, to board off a part of the veranda to serve as his own dwelling-place. There were at first many makeshifts, but the College, dedicated to St. Mark, opened with eight students--a deacon, six readers, and a would-be reader. It was a small beginning, but imagination could realise its possibilities.
It can see (wrote Frank) a vigorous African Church, the expression of the strong corporate faith of the African people, with a ministry of Africans supported by Africans' offerings, the backbone of African life, the leaders of African progress. It can picture this young Church face to face with the civilisation of the white man which presses forward on its road northward: facing it boldly, assimilating its virtues, warding off its vices, moulding and shaping its forces and influences, and claiming them for the Christ. It can dimly see this young Church making good its position in the Universal Church, linked to Western Christendom by the unforgotten graves of the white folk who gave their lives for the work.
So he wrote when the foundation stone was laid. When the building was opened, he wrote to Central Africa:
We ask for prayers, many prayers every day. We want guidance, courage, humility, zeal and much love for God: and also we want health. You cannot buy us these gifts, but they are ours if you pray. Fever controls our time-table out here. One man cannot keep regular time for long if he is a feverish subject.
At this time Frank was a feverish subject, and was frequently ill during his first months at Mazizini. Sister Mary (Riddell), who passed through Zanzibar soon afterwards, was not surprised at this when she saw the conditions under which he had been living. He owns that his first house-boy was not a success, and wrote to me:
My late house-boy drank and thieved and lied, and would not work, and ran away from time to time. Now he has left me and I am not sad for that, only about him--he was a nice kid.
About the same time he wrote to another friend:
It is rather fun housekeeping alone, to have pancakes which have been treasured six hours in a cupboard, to find curry with no rice, and to discover your beef-steak pudding cooking in your cook's well-worn pocket-handkerchief! These are some of the delights!
While the building at Mazizini was in progress, Frank was thinking how a native ministry should be trained. He was dissatisfied with what had been done in the past, and wanted a new scheme. A native ministry which relied on European customs, and was asked to accept the definitions of either England or Rome would, he felt, never be a success. European customs and definitions were the result of a history and circumstances in which Africans did not share. In 1899 he wrote to me:
We must establish our dogmatics on the broadest and most lasting foundations: we must help the African to sound thought as well as to orthodox expression. And I do not think that he should be kept!gnorant of other sides of important questions. He must learn to know the inner meaning of the Bible.
He complained that hitherto students had been trained out of text-books, where the 'why,' the 'wherefore,' and the 'whither' were left unstated, and that the native converted from heathenism and living in a heathen society had no means of really understanding what his dogmas meant.
He took endless thought in translating technical terms into Swahili, and in illustrating abstractions for which Swahili had no equivalents. Old members of the Mission were a little suspicious of his daring, and he wrote to me:
I am desirous to make folk see that a liberal basis does not mean a building quite unlike the Mediaeval Faith. What I mean is--it is possible to agree with the conclusions of a devout Roman and yet have an entirely different explanation to give of the meaning, tendency and general bearing of the conclusions. Thus I firmly hold that the doctrine of Invocation of Saints is the just and reasonable corollary to the doctrine of the Church as God's Family . . . but I am far from accepting the general atmosphere of Roman hagiology.
With these views he started to write in Swahili a book on Dogmatic Theology, which, he said, 'will meet a need and has no rival'; but Volume I alone was published by the Mission in 1901. Later in life, when a Bishop, he re-edited a book composed by Canon Sehoza, which is still used in the diocese, though the Archdeacon of Mombasa delated the authors for heresy to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Frank was always conscious that his business was not merely to teach but to train teachers, and so he sent his students into a neighbouring market-place to preach to the heathen. He owned that they were not very effective, but it was good for them to witness to their faith; they learned themselves by trying to teach others, and, if no one was converted, curiosity was excited, and even inaccurate knowledge was a weapon against Islam.
All this might have been done at Kiungani, but Frank's great idea in establishing the college was to provide a place of quiet where men might live together and help one another to learn the secrets of devotion. Everything at Mazizini centred about the altar, and the little community of students with their wives and families Hved in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. At night they all met together for family prayers, and Frank taught them to offer acts of repentance, faith, and love, and to make extempore petitions. Everyone prayed in turn, and there was no formality and little reticence at these prayer meetings.
Once a week he also had Benediction. About this he wrote to me:
You will probably advance many good reasons against Benediction: I could do so myself. And frankly I have not attempted to justify the practice from the theological point of view.
He thought it was expedient and helped Africans to understand their faith. He believed in its converting power for the little boys at Kilimani, who attended. He owned that, from the point of view of the Mission at home, it was 'a tactical mistake . . . but souls must be saved and no priest out here has sufficient guarantee of long years to allow of his considering tactics.' This is not very satisfactory reasoning. It did not satisfy himself, and when he went to Kiungani, Benediction was not introduced there. In process of time he thought out his theological position and published God with Us; and, before he died, Benediction was licensed in many of his Mission stations. Whether he were right or wrong, his conduct revealed how faith and practice were for him one. He could not believe anything without at once wanting to give his belief expression; and he was never content to practise anything which he could not justify to his reason. In all this Frank was a true mediaevalist, and he never professed the more modern faith of the charcoal-burner.
Early in 1899 he wrote to me:
We must make the college exceedingly simple, and refuse luxuries of religious and of daily life. I want a harder kind of life tried there than is to be found in the other stations of the island.
He was most anxious that the African priest should not become Europeanised, and he was convinced that a very hard self-discipline was necessary for Africans. But if he set before others an ascetic ideal, he tried to live up to it himself. He never spoke of the austerities he practised, but Dr. Howard, passing through Zanzibar from Nyasa, found him sleeping on a bare board, and living in the same way as a native; and, as I have remarked before, he was a man who appreciated comforts and enjoyed all the amenities of life.
He wanted not only to create an ideal for Africans, but also to break down the barrier which separated black from white. It was no good attempting to Europeanise black men, for that cut them off from their own race. The missionary ideal was to become as the black man, and to identify oneself with black ideals; but he found it hard to make the black man understand his position. He was only feeling his way when he wrote to me in 1900:
I govern entirely on democratic lines, but the only practical way is to deliver my mind, or as much as I wish to make known, and leave them to discuss it under the presidency of the deacon, who reports their views to me. Then we either agree, or I can return to the charge, or make my own rule, or accept their view, which has happened. In fact, they always take the line I want! They are thunderstruck at being consulted, but I do not expect to get a free discussion in my presence yet.
He had also to admit that he found it impossible to delegate any disciplinary power. 'They have,' he wrote, 'very little notion of it beyond much talk, many witnesses and great publicity.'
At the same time he discovered that, notwithstanding their incompetence, they resented their inferiority and the attitude of white missionaries towards them. He thought, moreover, that their complaints were justified and wrote:
The old padres who have done all the good cannot realise that their work has borne fruit. Therefore they treat their new priest as still a schoolboy! It reminds me of my old grandmother's views of me--'a child still to be taken care of.' Add to this our English impatience, which, worn out by many falls among our readers and deacons, cannot be worried by trusting any more men.
Frank himself was not exempt from this English impatience, and in the course of his very next letter confesses:
I have lost my temper with the students for their beastly bitter spirit to the white clergy. This only last night, but it depresses me: for it was weak. But I always treat them as my equals, and therefore lose my hope when they prove themselves unable to respond. The tyrants get on better: for they expect such conduct and despise it.
Frank could not despise it, for he was very human and very sensitive, and the personal factor was with him always supreme. His religion was not a system of abstract truths, but was kindled by a living, glowing love of our Lord. His missionary work was not carried on from a sense of duty, but was the result of a penetrating sympathy with individual needs. He found in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity the revelation of love and its response; and in the love he squandered on others he looked for a response, and a unity resulting from one spirit. He knew his students separately, cared for them separately, and prayed for them one by one. Their failure was his failure, and the bitterest sorrow of his life was that in after years two of them, who had become priests, had to be unfrocked. The second case occurred in 1916, The priest's conduct had been a scandal for years, but the Bishop still believed in him. Natives had begun to murmur that the Bishop must know and condone his offences, but when the Bishop did know he acted at once.
In 1899 Frank was appointed chaplain to boys at Kilimani, and found it, so he writes, 'to the little a curious form of recreation.' He took, however, his 'recreation' very seriously, and though the small boys were delightful and as troublesome as small boys ought to be, he was often miserable about their morals and their precocious knowledge of evil.
Once a week he celebrated in the little bare chapel, with its one adornment, a beautifully carved altar. The boys used to watch for him from a little hill close by, and race to meet him when he came in sight. He often reached the chapel door with the smallest perched upon his shoulders, and he would address him as 'Bwana Mkubwa'as he set him down.
For these children the Mass was a joyous mystery. They responded to the thrill in his voice, they were awed by the reverence of his bearing. They had no doubt that something of great import was happening and that Someone Whom they could not see was with them. They learned from their chaplain of the Great Sacrifice, and how they should respond to the Jesus Who asked them to love Him.
He had classes for the unbaptised and unconfirmed, but he was interested in them one by one. When a small boy had to be taken to the hospital in Zanzibar, he walked three miles in the heat every day to prepare him for another world. From time to time he examined the secular work of the school, and sometimes he was asked to inflict corporal punishment. This he did with as much vigour as all else, but Miss D. Y. Mills tells me that it was never resented.
At Christmas 1900 he arranged for them a treat which was also a surprise. A merry-go-round had come to Zanzibar. He hired it, ha4Jt brought out by night and erected at Mazizini. Next day seventy little black boys, in tumbled white kisibaus, careered round on galloping horses to appalling music which they thoroughly enjoyed. It was an unimagined delight and transcended the wonder of dreams. Twenty years later, when Miss Mills revisited Zanzibar, her old boys reminded her of the delirious joy of that never-to-be-forgotten Christmas.
At times Frank was exceedingly overworked. In December 1899 he wrote to me:
Until the Archdeacon returns on December 28, I am in charge of Mbweni. This means two churches, two schools, a large parish and my own show as well. I say Mass at Mbweni three days a week--twenty minutes walk--sometimes I bike. I teach here 9.30 to 12 and 2 to 4. From 4.30 to 6 I teach or preach or shrive at Mbweni or Kilimani. Saturday evenings I walk to Kiungani to shrive, and get back at 10 or 11; and in between times I prepare lectures, manage accounts, housekeep, look after builders, settle rows and generally play the boss.
One reason for this overstrain was that there were then few priests on the island who had sufficient knowledge of Swahili to hear confessions. Frank had very rapidly acquired for conversational purposes a great command of the language. He had not been out three months before he preached written sermons in Swahili. Before a year was out he found that extempore preaching was necessary if he were to interest the little boys at Kilimani, though he wrote: 'My grammar is bad and my vocabulary is very poor, but my nerve is immense.'
Ultimately Frank was to become one of the first of Swahili scholars, and the first of Swahili preachers. In 1903 he made friends with an Arab, who taught him to speak with an Arabic accent. With this man he talked much, and learned not only the refinements of the language, but a great deal about the town, the decadence of the younger Arabs, and their attitude towards Islam. It was this man who once remarked about members of the white colony: 'They behave here as though they were princes, but I have sometimes wondered if they are really unportant when at home.' Frank not only learned the Swahili of the literate, but the hopelessly ungrammatical pidgin Swahili talked by the Indians, whom he could imitate precisely. He produced a useful phrase book tor tourists, and himself habitually thought in the language, so some of his English friends believed that the occasional obscurities of his English style must be due to the Swahili idiom.
Two years passed away at Mazizini, and then Dr. Palmer, after an attack of black-water fever, was invalided home. Archdeacon Griffin, who was in charge of the diocese, insisted on Frank's succeeding as Principal of Kiungani. There was no doubt that he was the right man for the post, but he found it a terrible wrench to part from the work which he regarded as peculiarly his own. He wrote:
It is a healthy experience--that of prompt obedience to authority in matters of work, but health is sometimes acquired through pain.
He threw himself none the less into the school with abounding zeal; but no description of Kiungani can come at the end of a chapter.
At Mazizini he had lived a very ascetic life, but he had found it very difficult, and he was spiritually lonely. He was always being asked to give devotional addresses, or to conduct Retreats or Quiet Days for his fellow-missionaries. 'Nobody,' he complained, 'does anything for me.' At Kiungani, however, he found two friends, Mackay and Pearse, like-minded with himself. At first they were wholly engaged with the school; but, as they became more intimate, they discovered that they all had a longing for the religious life and were eager to test their vocations.
Frank was soon planning a rule, and he had always a passion for elaboration and completeness. Every hour of the day was mapped out from 5.30 in the morning until 11 at night, and silence was imposed throughout a good part of the day when not engaged in business. He gave up smoking himself and imposed the same renunciation on his friends. It was their one luxury, and so to abandon it was the test of their sincerity. They finally took vows for one year, and hoped that the new Bishop would recognise them as a community.
This Dr. Hine, when he became Bishop of Zanzibar, refused to do, and he was no doubt right. There were six Europeans working together at Kiungani, and it was most undesirable that three of them should be living a separated life. The Mission staff was also small, and it was constantly necessary to shift men from station to station; so the Bishop could not further complicate the difficulties of his diocese by allowing men to form new ties which would limit their freedom, nor be responsible for men who would owe a divided allegiance. As he said at the time, he did not like 'wheels within wheels.'
Frank came home for his much-overdue furlough, and landed in August 1901, a budding monk. He was far from well, his nerves were overwrought, and the doctors at once insisted on his smoking.
He had a prejudice against deputation work, for he maintained that missionaries tended to be spoilt by the admiration they excited on missionary platforms and at drawing-room meetings. He wrote to me:
I wonder if Mark learned to be profitable to the ministry by gassing about the heroism of Paul and Barnabas! James the Bishop knew the right way when he sent St. Paul to fulfil his vow on his return to Jerusalem.
The office at Dartmouth Street had other views, and soon discovered that if Frank did not gas about heroism in the Mission Field, he none the less possessed the secret of how to extract money from the British public.
He wrote to a friend in August:
It is very cold at home! I shiver a great deal when other people are threatening to be stifled. It is also very cold in other ways. England seems more worldly and on the surface than ever, and there is an absence of real life which makes me very pessimistic.
It was during this furlough that he spoke from the platform of the Church Congress at Brighton, and for the first time attracted public notice. Both The Record and The Church Times noticed his speech. The latter said: 'We cannot reproduce his speech, but it created a great impression. It was not mere eloquence: the whole soul of the man went out in what he said; and yet there were playful touches throughout. A deep silence prevailed while he pleaded for the recognition of the truth that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Several other speeches followed, but Mr. Weston's personality left a mark which could not be effaced.'