Captain Arthur David Linklater (1870-1951)



There gloom the dark broad seas.

On August 1st 1916 I joined Sir Dhunjibhoy, being then 37 and was at the time a covenanted servant or the Calcutta Port Commissioners with seven years service completed towards my pension. I was on six months leave from the Commissioners and joined Sir Dhunjibhoy with their sanction on trial for six months with my seniority in the Commissioners running the same as when on active service with them. As my six months leave from the Commissioners drew towards its close I had to decide whether I was returning to them or was going to resign from their service. I was quite happy in being with Sir Dhunjibhoy and he was quite happy at having me with him, and as we had been together now for over five months and business was running on colossal lines and I was the only European Sir Dhunjibhoy had with him Sir Dhunjibhoy had no wish for me to leave.

I had made the move from Calcutta to Bombay for one reason only, which was the probability of bettering my future. At this time both the Deputy Conservator (Capt. Lovell) and the acting Vice Chairman (Mr Hilliary) wrote me that I should return to my assured pensionable position, and should not be swayed by the pleasant, and at that time the slightly more profitable position I was then enjoying with Sir Dhunjibhoy. I told Sir Dhunjibhoy of this, and asked what he thought about it, and his answer was “Captain if you stay with me you will be independent in ten years.” This seemed to me to be too good to be true [it was!] so I wrote to Sir Duncan Carmichael, who besides being No. 2 in the Calcutta Office of the Company was also a Port Commissioner, and who I had on several occasions met at the Deputy Conservators house at Calcutta, and who had also been with me to the Sandheads in my ship. Sir Duncan knew Sir Dhunjibhoy very well, and told me he knew “Dhunjibhoy to be a man of his word, and I would stand on it.”

That cleared the natural uncertainty I felt, and I forthwith resigned from the Calcutta Port Commissioners, and made the greatest mistake in my life by believing and acting on a verbal statement, which had nothing to support it in writing, and which depended only and solely on faith on the Principal, and the ordinary conceptions of trust and right and wrong. It may be that, when that definite promise was made to keep me from returning to the Commissioners, and which was vital and all important to me, that Sir Dhunjibhoy had no intention ever to carry it out. In these circumstances, if such a thing can be contemplated, then no crueller bluff can be imagined, and this hardly seems possible; for it seemed that I was on very friendly terms with Dhunjibhoy, and it seemed he liked to have me with him as much as circumstances would allow, and in these days we had lunch and tea together almost daily, and on several occasions he would tell me I need have no anxiety for the future and all I had to do was my duty and trust him, and at this time the first time Dhunjibhoy saw Nelson which was at the Merryweather dry dock Dhunjibhoy asked who his Godfather was, and being told no one was his Godfather at once said “then I will be his Godfather”, and there is little doubt that Dhunjibhoy forgot all about this very soon afterwards, but this goes to confirm that at this time it was reasonable for me to believe that Dhunjibhoy was likely to stand by his word with regard to my future, and frequent mention was made then and long afterwards of “the business Will”, and when speaking of protecting my future on another occasion Dhunjibhoy said he was going to insure my life, but this last proposition I never took seriously.

On another occasion when speaking of the way Penny (Capt. Penny of the B.I.) was ahead shortly after he was appointed Marine Superintendent in Bombay (Penny and I have sailed together for quite a time and were old friends) Dhunjibhoy laughed and said “Penny is nothing - you will be much better off than he.“ These were the days when Dhunjibhoy was making his great fortune, and on some of these days he told me he made as much as 50,000 Rs in a single day. Dhunjibhoy was working hard and so was every one else. Saturdays and Sundays were much the same as any other days, and the days often ran well into the night, and there were no such things as holidays, and so like this my first contract of three and a half years drew to a close, and the leave which was due at the end of that contract was foregone and another contract entered into.

I came to Windsor as Manager in April 1929 it being agreed that I should come on a contract of £400 a year and in the event of the Principal's death if still in his service £2,000 and reside on the estate in a rent free house. When this contract was being signed by Dhunjibhoy in the office Lady Bomanji was present, and when the contract was being read over to Dhunjibhoy by myself, and after the clause was read in reference to the £2,000 Dhunjibhoy remarked to us both “this is apart from anything I may leave the Captain in my will.” From this it was reasonable to expect that I would be included in the WW 11, and that the contract £2,000 was in the nature of deferred pay, and not in any way associated with what I might be left. From the time of my joining here till the end of 1935 if Lady Bomanji was not with Dhunjibhoy then I was, and in 1936 Dhunjibhoy now being much more ill he kept mostly to the house, and accordingly I did not see a great deal of him.

When I came here I did not sell my business in Hampstead, and Dhunjibhoy did not like me having interests in two places, and frequently suggested that it would be better to get finished with the other business, but I pointed out it was running very well under management and giving me no trouble. After a time he said if you give it up I will give you an extra £100 a year, and I accepted this proposal and sold the business in December 1929, and from then onwards have been getting £500 a year. In 1932 when the trade depression was on Dhunjibhoy wished to bring my salary back again to the £400, but when I pointed out that would mean Nelson having to be withdrawn from the school he was at which was an expensive one Dhunjibhoy waived his wish for a reduction, and I continued on the £500.

Dhunjibhoy was well pleased with the way I was looking after the estate, and on more than one occasion said to me that had he known I was as good as I was he would never have let me go in Bombay, and the way I was got rid of in Bombay was often very much on his mind, and frequently he would say he was sorry about it, and also he felt I did not trust him as I at one time did, and some times he would say not in annoyance, but somewhat wistfully, and a little sorrowfully “Why did you wish me to sign that contract? You don't trust me now”, and when I would make some endeavour to

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© 2016 Quivis

× Capt. Arthur David Linklater INTRODUCTION to the Journals JOURNAL Preface &
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