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Barron's Booknotes-Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

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CHAPTER 19

John Harrison meets the Jarvises at the airport. He is Arthur's brother-in-law, the brother of Arthur's wife Mary.

NOTE: Names become a little confusing in this chapter. "Harrison" refers not to John, but to his father. "John" or "John Harrison" is used when he is meant. "His daughter-in-law" is Jarvis' daughter-in-law, Mary Harrison Jarvis.

John drives the Jarvises and Mary to the police laboratories, telling them that no one in South Africa thought so deeply and clearly about "the native question" (racial problems) as Arthur. He stays in the car while the others identify Arthur's body, and then drives them back to the Harrison house. Margaret goes upstairs with Mary, and the two older men have a drink.



Harrison informs Jarvis of things he never knew about his son. Messages have come from organizations of every race. Arthur, who had by then learned both Afrikaans and Zulu, had worked for family camps instead of males-only compounds at mines. He was outraged at conditions in hospitals for non-whites. He had come to believe that black crime was the fault of whites, and he and Mary were willing to speak the truth as they saw it even if it meant Arthur's job. All in all, Harrison says, he was a kind of missionary. Jarvis' mind wanders at the word "missionary," and he thinks of the "dirty old" mission-church in Ndotsheni and its "dirty old parson." With a shock, we realize he means St. Mark's and Kumalo. Jarvis goes up to bed and tells Margaret all Harrison has said. None of it surprises her; she had always understood Arthur. Jarvis is sorry he had not.

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