[ 1930s romantic fiction on an inter-racial theme. ] Autograph Manuscript of unpublished novelettte set in India and England by Gwladys Hilda Edmunds: 'When Races Clash'.

Gwladys Hilda Edmunds [ Romantic fiction ]
Publication details: 
11 Church Road, Penarth, Glamorganshire, Wales. Undated [ 1930s. ].
SKU: 19464

110pp., 4to. Paginated to 108, with 58a and 66a. In red exercise book with 'Gwladys Hilda Edmunds | 11 Church Road | Penarth, Glam.' on cover. In fair condition, on lightly aged and worn paper, in creased covers. Inside the front cover Edmunds has written 'Roughly 15,000 words'. A fair copy with a handful of corrections and emendations. An unpublished work of romantic fiction, unusual for the light it casts on the attitudes of the period towards race and colonialism. The novel begins with the eight-year-old Nesta Hamilton being sent 'off to a first rate school in England under the care of a young subaltern Norman Scott'. Also under Scott's care is Bobby Passanagh, 'a young Eurasian boy, son of a wealthy Indian Merchant, who had married an English lady'. The boy ('son of 'an Indian gentleman of good family and of some repute in Alwaro') ia bound for Eton, from which he 'graduate[s] to Oxford with a record as an Etonian to be proud of'. At the age of eighteen Nesta secretly agrees to marry Bobby, but matters are complicated when Nesta falls for a white Englishman named Ronnie Desborough, who travels to India, so that the two can have 'the matter out': 'Both were quite definite in their decision to marry Nesta, but no hot words were spoken until Ronnie, worn out with the biggest verbal fight he had ever experienced, raised the question of Bobby's race and black blood. | Then all the best and whitest side of the Eurasian's nature was surfeited by the hot passionate southern temper and Bobby's English education and polish were thrown aside then and with all the tenacity he was capable of Bobby struck Ronnie thereby transforming the argument into a violent quarrel.' At a dinner in India various parties discuss the Indian question. Desborough explains to a 'little English maiden' named Miss Morris that India will never 'find a place equal to England. Nowhere will forestall the Mother Country as the primest [sic] in the world. You must know India is what England's made it'. Miss Morris's reply is defiant: 'Why should India continue to be governed by England? India is quite capable of looking after herself. She was a civilised country long before England was! And India is tired of suffering the tyranny of British Legislation and her Civil Service Governors […] One day India will fight her case and seek for her rights, unless England releases her rule and gives to India what should be her own now. […] I foresee trouble slowly brewing, in this great land.' In the course of a long contribution to the dinner party discussion, an impassioned Bobby observes that 'some of our Indian natives, servants to the British Government are far more “Slaves” than many of those poor niggers Miss Stowe wrote on […] I really marvel at the colossal cheek of England in ruling a nation that governed herself long before she did, before England was literally born!' Ronnie, now firm friends with Bobby despite their conflicting desires, is quite won over by his arguments: 'I really believe that many imagine India a great country with uncivilised dusky swarthy natives absolutely incapable of governing themselves and hence the installation of our clever English Civil Servants. Cheer up India, Selfgovernment will be yours, yet.' Nesta's dilemma is conveniently resolved when a 'preoccupied' Bobby is swept overboard during a storm while travelling back to England from India. The news has little effect on the happy union of Nesta and Ronnie, with the radiant bride exclaiming to her husband as the novel concludes: 'Ronnie, such utter happiness is mine that my heart cries out to God in thanks. Loving each other, aiding each other serving Christ, we will tread life's road together. To Thy merciful guidance, O Father! we commit our future!'