50 George Saul Haim Joseph Marshall
George the dark Malay, with all the troubles in the world. Lying dead in the Mosman scrub for fifteen days, being torn around by rogue possums and wild rats, some semblance of a soft copy Rubiayat lying around him somewhere. A couple of pencilled asterisks by a particular verse. His Rubiayat.
” Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend,
Before we too, into the dust descend:
Dust under dust, and under dust to lie,
Sans wine, sans song, sans singer and sans end. “
Omar Kayaam was selling well in those days. Blame the war. A book of romantic Persian verse to be sent home to the little woman, or the lonely bride.
George also had his poison, and his cup and flask – a lemonade bottle. Only the mountain top missing, George.
How you quested.
George was a marriage of great fervour to shifting hopes. And he was troubled to hell. There was his small book of poetry, ‘ Just You and I ‘ published and ignored. The Bunbury doctors in Western Australia thought him insane and had him taken to the Heathcote Asylum after George had expressed his desire for the sea to take him.
George was a painter without a brush, a poet without a listener.
Talkative and philosophical at all times, ask me anything he might have said at some dinner table. He enthralled all who knew him well and there were many he entertained. He was kind, George, and generous to Gwen the hairdresser. Gwenneth Graham.
Gwenneth knew his heart. I’ve heard it said before that all hairdressers do that, know your heart.
Gwenneth bled herself to death in her warm bath not long after she was made to appear at the inquest into George Marshall’s suicide.
What isn’t clear anywhere are the questions they asked of this woman on that day. A Courtroom of White Men. A dead black man, his friend this white woman, the one who accepted his money. George’s gift to her. When he offered the money over lunch Gwen had laughed. George!
Three days later there was two hundred pounds in her bank account.
George had propped his head up on a stone to await his end. He would call that optimism for the eternal life to come. Nobly gone George, and good luck old lad. The convulsions would have thrown him everywhere.
But what was he doing across the harbour from his home, and on a headland overlooking WW2 harbour movement?