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A gleaning of and excerpts from the short story based on Madeira by Winston Churchill

On the first page of "Mr Keegan´s Elopement" a romantic and evocative description is illuminated of the island:

"While to the northward lay the great mountain island of Madeira, already changing, by the magic touch of the light, from a phantom grey to that living green so dear (sic) to the eyes of the seaman� ."

A typical bullock cart in Madeira
When the crew and passengers aboard the boat make it to land mention is made of the typical bullock - a traditional mode of transport of two cows pulling a sheltered cart. The description in the story vividly illustrating what a dangerous employment this may be.

Many interesting observations are made by the persona in the story. Sometimes references are made in much detail, as in the example alongside of the "bulla-carta". Or, for example, the polished cobblestones of the roads in Madeira; Churchill points out how very slippery the square cut lava blocks for the cobbling could become:

" polished to a degree that makes walking dangerous to people...", especially for those, "... who wear the shoes of civilisation."

Typical references in the short story include the wicker, banana and wine industries:

"�and experience the delirium of the coast down, over the polished stones, in a wicker sled ."
(page 20)

" He sat down under a banana tree to hit upon some method of attracting the Senhora's attention�"
(page 22)

"...he found Mr. Keegan awaiting him in the wine-shop, engaged in making life unbearable for the Portuguese occupants."
(page 33)

Churchill was able to capture in his lucid form of writing the serenity and beauty of Madeira at the turn of the century. The serenity and charm which would still not be so difficult to enjoy today.


Quotes and excerpts from Churchill:

"Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all."