This week’s edition of The New Yorker magazine has an interesting article on Derek Walcott, the nobel laureate from the Caribbean island of St Lucia. Here’s an excerpt:
As a young man, Warwick [Derek’s father] worked as a copyist at the Education Office. (Subsequently, he worked for St. Lucia’s Attorney General and Acting Chief Justice.) At night and on weekends, Warwick painted, read Shakespeare and Dickens, and gathered around him like-minded friends, who put on amateur theatricals. One of the members of this group, which Warwick christened the Star Literary Club, was Alix Maarlin [subsequently Derek’s mother], the daughter of Johannes van Romondt, a white estate owner on St. Maarten, and Caroline Maarlin, a brown woman. Alix had moved to St. Lucia as a young girl, apparently to finish her schooling. Her guardian, a Dutch trader, was part of a small clan who helped establish the Methodist presence on St. Lucia. Alix, too, practiced Methodism, which was practically a cult on the Catholic-dominated island.
Many of my paternal ancestors were prominent Methodists in the Caribbean. It’s amusing to think that they were at the centre of a “cult”. It explains a lot!