Captain Arthur David Linklater (1870-1951)



Decent not to fail in offices of tenderness

The 1919 Contract contains no real surprises. It was for a period of five years from 1st February 1920 with options for either party to terminate earlier on giving one month's notice. Arthur bound himself not to set up any rival business in Bombay for up to ten years after the termination of their agreement. Arthur's starting salary was Rs. 1000 per month rising yearly by Rs. 100 plus a housing allowance of Rs. 300. In addition Arthur was to get a bonus of Rs. 5000 at the end of each year if the said Arthur David Linklater shall faithfully and diligently serve the said Dhunjibhoy Bomanji and give him satisfaction in all respects during the time that he shall be in the service of the said Dhunjibhoy Bomanji but not otherwise.

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Arthur would also during the time that he shall be employed by the said Dhunjibhoy Bomanji be provided by the said Dhunjibhoy Bomanji at his discretion either with a carriage and horse [forsooth!] or a motor car for the purpose of going about his duties... Whether this was the discretionary car I am not certain, but I am certain that Arthur is seated in the back. Who the female is alongside I am unsure; might it be Elsie? Who took the photo, and left the door open, I am also unsure unless it was Dhunjibhoy himself. In the event of Dhunjibhoy's death while Arthur was still in his employ, if his "heirs executors administrators or other legal representatives" etc wished to terminate Arthur's contract he would be entitled to a month's notice and the sum of Rupees 25,000 to be paid thirteen months after the death of the said Dhunjibhoy Bomanji.

There was finally a clause concerning leave. Under the 1916 contract Arthur was granted 3 months on half pay from 1st Feb 1920. In the 1919 contract he agreed to waive that in lieu of 6 months leave, 4 on full pay and 2 unpaid to be taken in March or April 1921. Should Arthur postpone taking his leave in 1921 then for each full year served without taking leave he would be entitled to an additional month's leave on full pay.

 
 
 

It was quite some time, about 15 years in fact, since Arthur had last been ‘home’ - wherever that was. His father, James Stevens Linklater had died in 1899. This must have been unexpected; he was certainly very young, a mere forty-nine years old. Cause of death according to Evelyn was Bright's disease;* his passing goes unremarked by Arthur in his Journal; indeed, as far as I am aware, he never mentions either his father or mother in any journal, diary or letter. His mother, Amelia Agnes née Bell had died recently in 1917. His siblings were scattered and of his surviving relatives he was closest to Mary Bell, a.k.a. "Auntie May" [above left] who had married Robin Roxburgh shown at right in a sketch executed, I imagine, by one of his daughters. The Roxburghs lived in a house called Sylvan House in Gullane which I think for Arthur was the nearest thing to home in the U.K. now that his parents' home was presumably disposed of, and of which I have no record. Here, from a letter Arthur wrote to "Antie May" slightly later than the point at which we have arrived in our narrative, is an extract about the sale of Sylvan House dated 17 October 1927.

I wonder, looking back on many experiences many of which are very happy experiences in which many very kind people in various parts of the world have been very kind to me and have made me feel very much one of their family ... I wonder during all this time of beating about, if all of this, lumped together, can equal that wonderful feeling of great genuine kindness and hospitality which was always given to me under the kindly roof of Sylvan House. As one gets older one expects to lose the run of many old land marks, and after feeling sorry for a minute or two one settles down to look ahead and not astern, but the passing of Sylvan House to me seems like as if the roof of St Paul's has fallen in. What a good thing it is that one does not lose ones memory of things, and that the memory of things cannot be sold with the things.

In those days, i.e. just after WW 1, and all other things being equal, the journey from Bombay to London took two to three weeks.

* Bright's disease is a historical classification of kidney diseases that would be described in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis. The term is no longer used, as diseases are now classified according to their more fully understood causes. [Doesn't sound like me - must have nicked it from Wikipedia.]


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