School Days, — June 27, 2010 12:40 — 0 Comments

Canal drownings

I had a particularly chilling experience one dreary November day on my way to the Carstands School back in the first decade of the twentieth century.

The Custom House stood then where the ‘compass’ is today embedded in the roadway, between the two waterways at Godfrey Bridge.


As I was ‘creeping, like a snail, unwillingly to school’ I saw the corpse of a man being taken out of the canal by means of boat hooks. 


I was terror-stricken: to this day I can still see the water dripping out of the blue clothes. Besides accidental drownings, our canal has ever been a chosen means out of this life by the despairing and the desperate. 


Fascinated with horror I watched the whole, grim, macabre proceedings before finally, wildly, rushing across the second bridge to school. 


My misfortunes were not yet over. I got slapped for being late!


All that gloomy day the pale face of that corpse came between me and my books. It grinned ironically at me from the revolving blackboard when I was punished for missing even the simplest question. How could I answer any question right with that on my mind. The following nights too brought their own horrid recollections!


… more later …

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