|WILD RIDER. T.J BELL.1913. Source: Personal Collection.|
As I mentioned in my previous blog I had several relatives who went to India with J.S. Love. One relative nearly introduced monkeys into Australia and the other nearly caused an uprising.
Thomas James Bell or T.J. as he was commonly called was one of the wild and crazy members of the family. I will be covering his other escapades in future blogs. T.J. enjoyed telling his young nephews and nieces ( one of them was my Dad) of his time in India.
He especially loved horrifying them with his story about seeing dead human bodies floating down the Hooghly River, a river that flows through Calcutta. As we know the placing of a body in a river is an Indian burial custom. I’m sure my Grandmother would not have been pleased with T.J.’s story.
Before his return to Australia he decided to buy a monkey for a pet. As you do. Thankfully only one, because Australia has enough out of control feral animals ( rabbits, foxes, cane toads, feral cats etc). Thankfully also the custom officials removed it from him on his return to Australia. I have a vision of monkeys gone wild in the bush and competing for supremacy with our koalas. I put my money on the koalas.
A first cousin of Dad’s also went to India to break in horses. He was from Grosvenor Downs, a cattle station my great grandfather John Clark, had bought for his daughter as a wedding present.
The cousin and the other Australian horse breakers were returning home in a T Ford after a hard day when they were forced to stop. A cow was blocking the road. The impatient cousin jumped out of the car and decided to remove it. The men from the bush were unaware that cows are scared in India.
The cousin tried to scare it but without success. He then hopped on its back of the docile cow and started kicking it. Only then did the cow move slowly off the road. He couldn’t celebrate for long as the cousin was soon being chased by a mob of angry villagers hot on his heels. The cousin ran to the car and jumped in. Luckily for them the T Ford was faster than the locals and got away. Just.
Next blog. From the bush to Buckingham Palace.