The Cross On The Drum
Hugh B. Cave
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A strange young man, Barry Clinton. Unlike most young missionaries, who came to the island to save souls, this one had come with a belligerent skepticism and a driving determination to battle sickness and starvation.
He had come to the Ile du Vent with a Bible and a few meager medical supplies, ready to make the little Caribbean island a better place in which to live.
The Cross on the Drum is the story of the strange friendship of Barry Clinton and Catus Laroche, high priest of vodun, the savage, ritualistic religion which no white man had ever dared defy. It tells of the tormented, embittered passions of the other islanders—white and black—and how they undermined the bond between these two men, changing their mutual respect into brooding, vengeful hatred, and turning the island's drowsy, sunlit tranquility into a feverish, drum-pounding battleground.
Hugh B. Cave, whose knowledge and deep understanding of life and customs in the West Indies distinguished his earlier works, has written here an explosive, dramatic novel of Christianity and voodoo on a Caribbean island.
the village when Laroche turned from the path and passed through a gap in a cactus hedge. A neat wooden gate hung in the gap and the hedge was five feet high, a solid mass of thorns. Catus didn't like intruders, Barry told himself. They entered a small swept-earth yard, prettily shaded by a large mapou with great spreading roots. The hut was the usual thing but larger than most and a good deal cleaner. There were two rooms with a curtain between, just as in Mr. Mitchell's house, but the curtain
become of the old man, he wondered. What was left? He returned to the mission, had breakfast, and went straight to the village to keep his promise to Catus. Little Fifine's fever had all but disappeared. He gave her a second injection of penicillin. This time, instead of turning from him in terror, she flung both arms around his neck and put her cheek against his. He dressed her foot again and kissed her. She was an adorable child. He accepted coffee without hesitation. While he was drinking
certainly good of him. Of you too." "Anything I can do to help?" "I've no doubt there would be if I could get workers. I'm afraid that's impossible, though, until young Toto returns. You've heard the story going around?" "Alma told me," Lemke said, nodding. "It's fantastic what these people will believe." Especially when Pradon Beliard goes to work on them, he thought with a secret grin. That boy will be magistrate here before he's finished, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's thought of that
had she mentioned the real cause of her trouble. Those first sarcastic hints had led to nothing. Morning after morning here in the clinic they had talked of other things, he of his boyhood in the hot countries, his reasons for wanting to be a missionary, his struggle to be one; she of her Louisiana childhood, her parents, her marriage. All sorts of subjects had bounced off these whitewashed walls in the past month. They had played catch with theology, philosophy, medicine. They had discussed the
and preached in this place . . . the hearers thereof may both perceive and know what things they ought to do . . ." What ought Alma to do about the man sitting on the other side of her? Should she divorce him? The situation was hopeless the way it was. Dangerous, too. Sooner or later he was bound to get drunk enough to force himself upon her, or try to. "Grant, O Lord, that whosoever shall be joined together in this place in the holy estate of Matrimony . . . may remain in perfect love together