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THE OUTSTATION




THE OUTSTATION

So far, he had completely changed, Borneo became his home. He learned to love the Malays and he became a good administrator. The only ties to good old England were letters to correspondents and six week old Times. The only things he was interested in were deaths, births and marriages. For a few days he kept a suspicious eye on his assistant and saw that he was very impolite to the native people but a good worker. As the Malays were very shy and sensitive people, he told him to be patient and friendly, but Cooper let him know that he was born in Barbados, took part in the African War and thought he knew everything about coloured people and that they all were 'niggers' for him even though the Malays were not Africans. On Sunday Cooper was invited to dinner for a second time and as he entered the dining room Warbuton saw that he tried to dress up but the clothes were ill-fitting, ill-cut and shabby, so Warbuton smiled at him with disdain. He decided to let a servant work for his assistant. Abbas, the servant was of a good family-background and Cooper could have been glad about that but he didn't mind if the boy had blue blood or not, brought him drinks whenever he wanted, cleaned his shoes and did other things like that. He only wanted Abbas to do what he told him and looked sharply about it. When drinking wine while dining, Warbuton began to mellow, he wasn't so strict and precise anymore and began to tell stories about himself. Cooper watched him talking and saw that he had a mocking smile on his face. For him, as a consequence of the war the great families were doomed because they had to give up everything and their princely hospitality would soon be                       nothing but a memory. Cooper told him that he hated snobs, and as he was fed up with the aristocracy, the best thing for England would be a business government. He spent most of the time in one of the Crown Colonies, so he knew everything about the people living there he thought. Warbuton was deeply offended by the word 'snob', it had pursued him all life long. After that evening the two men kept apart from each other, they only met once a day for official purposes and to have a drink. Once there was an incident, which tore these two men further apart: when Warbuton returned from an inspection he realised that the wrapper of his Times was broken and he found out that Cooper had read them. So he asked his assistant what he had thought by doing this. Cooper explained to him that he thought it wouldn't matter because he was searching for a special report in the newspapers. Anyway, Warbuton wanted to be the very first person to read his Times AND he wanted to keep chronological order: He read a Monday edition only on a Monday, a Tuesday edition only on a Tuesday and so on, just six weeks later!!! Cooper said he shouldn't fuss about a little thing. But Warbuton was inconsolable because his greatest pleasure was disturbed and if he could would to send his assistant to hell. The special delight for him was to drink his tea and unfold his newspaper in the morning, these things were very important to him. It gave him the illusion of being home in good old England. Dressing up before dining was a tie to civilisation, too. He never forgave Cooper what he had done.



After some time, the servants left Cooper,  Warbuton was secretly pleased about that. Unfortunately he had to order them to return. He was very sad about this but Cooper sent them away again, Abbas was the only one who returned. Then Warbuton learned that his assistant held back the wages as a pledge of the servants' good behaviour and he mistreated them. It was Warbuton's official duty to warn him of the Malays' revenge. Cooper didn't seem to know their character. Cooper was running great risk by mistreating Abbas again and again, Warbuton gave him another proper warning because it was his obligation. Cooper's only reaction was an icy smile. Afterwards, Warbuton sobbed bitterly because after such a long time of loneliness he was given an assistant, which was a real troublemaker and was neither  friendly to his boss nor to any other people, he had destroyed all the good things in Warbuton's life, all his special delights and pleasures!      




Some time later Cooper accused Abbas of stealing clothes, on top of all, when Abbas demanded his wages, Cooper hit his servant, who disappeared suddenly. Wise Warbuton knew that the Malay would take revenge.

When Warbuton wanted to warn Cooper once more, he - standing in front of his assistant's bungalow - already knew that Abbas had taken his revenge on Cooper, because he heard some harmful dance music of a gramophone in Cooper's bungalow. Therefore he went back to his own bungalow. He was really relieved and decided to employ Abbas as a servant again as soon as he would be out of prison.

Warbuton was sitting there at his breakfast table, eating his breakfast, drinking his tea, breaking the wrapper of his exactly six weeks old Times, unfolding it. He enjoyed having a good appetite and being the only white man again at the outstation.










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