It was not long after his breakfast meeting with the Mining Company’s new President, Colonel Eduardo Lucas, (BLOG – an old order passes) that the letter terminating his contract with the Company arrived at lunchtime on 8th November. They were sitting round the lunch table when Dulcie brought it in, saying the messenger had not waited for an answer. B knew before opening the envelope what the contents would be. A few lines in Portuguese and signed by Cecil Jones the Head of the Personnel Department as well as being the Mayor of Nova Lima. His enemy had struck at last. He and Ursula were not unprepared for this; he had already been job hunting in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as recently as August during the gold runs. (BLOG – the gold runner) but he would not go without receiving payment of his full indemnity covered by Brazilian law.

At Casa Grande he spoke with Karl Geckler and Leslie Clemence and they said they would back him in his claim. These were two powerful supporters, although the new regime was also after Leslie, but Karl, now the chief of the new American Company was beyond their grasp. ‘Speak to Eduardo Lucas,’ said Karl. The Colonel was away. ‘Speak to Mertz,’ said Leslie. Mertz was the newly appointed Finance Director, an enigmatic mid-European. He said he didn’t know details and B should wait for Eduardo Lucas’s return. Four days later was a Saturday and, as usual, a half day at Casa Grande. B arrived at 0930 hrs and Lucas was in the Large Superintendent’s office; the first Brazilian occupant in the Company’s 150 year old history. He looked more lean and sallow since their last meeting, his hair brushed back and his black eyes sharp and furtive. He was a restless type, never still. B had decided his tactics and there was to be no beating about the bush. Walking into the office and up to the desk, he fixed his gaze on Eduardo Lucas. ‘I have come for my legal indemnity.’ The dark eyes perused his closed face. ‘We will have to look into this.’ ‘Better be quick then, I’ll give you until 1000 hrs. today.’ One menacing stare, turn about, and out. It went as planned. Eduardo Lucas knew life and the order went down to the Accounts Office and a cheque for CR$400,000 was in B’s hands by 1100 hrs. He felt rich and ready for anything.

The following is from diary extracts :-

November 11th – The Olaria staff gave me a farewell party today at the Olaria and a gift of engraved wooden plates and a chimarao. All the foremen and staff were present also Leslie and Donald Senior. Several speeches were made and I answered (my first speech in Portuguese). A very touching note was an idea of Leslie’s to bring my good, old, faithful mule, Boston Stump, to the party.

November 13th – Played tennis with Harry, Norman and Donald.

November 14th – Went into Belo Horizonte to deposit the cheque, convert part of it into Sterling, buy myself a new suit and book a seat on the coach to Rio Janeiro for tomorrow night. There was another farewell party for me at the Pensao Retiro given by the Senior Staff. They gave me for a present a gold, inscribed wrist watch. Afterwards I asked Paul Robbe to come with me to Leslie’s bungalow to set up the radiogram I had sold to Leslie. The sale of the rest of our furniture is going well and there are only a few items still unsold.

November 15th – Packed and ready I caught the 1820 hrs. coach to Rio and arrived at 0600 hrs the following day.

November 16th – Called on Mike Thompson in the morning and in the afternoon went for an interview to the Babcock and Wilcox office. Saw Messrs Purcell and Hunter but it appeared that the job available was paying only CR$35,000/40,000. Thanked them and left. Stayed overnight at the Sao Francisco Palace Hotel.

November 17th – caught the night bus back to Belo.

November 23rd – Caught the 0930 hrs plane to Sao Paulo, the VASP Viscount. Comfortable flight. Took a taxi to Karls’s sister-in-law, dona Diana, and gave her a letter of introduction he had written. Left shortly afterwards and arranged to telephone between 1400-1500 hrs. Another taxi to the Danubio Hotel on the Avenida Brigadeiro Luiz Antonio no. 1099. Had a snack at a nearby German bar. When I telephoned dona Diana she said I should call on Dr Warren at 1700 hrs today at Rua Conselheiro Brotero no. 1505. Had a chat with Dr Warren, an Irishman, and he said he would telephone me tomorrow morning. I called at dona Diana on the way back but she was out. Left a message to say I would telephone tomorrow. Walked back to the Hotel and had supper at the same German bar.

November 24th – Stayed in room waiting for telephone call from Dr Warren. Telephoned Mr Rayborg (Diva Clemence’s brother) and made an appointment to see him at 1430 hrs. Called in at the American Chamber of Commerce afterwards and filled in form for employment. Dona Diana phoned in the evening but no call from Dr Warren.

November 25th – Stayed in hotel until 1030 hrs but no call from him so I put in a call to his consultancy and was told he would not be in until lunch time. I walked to the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper offices and put in an ad for next Sunday costing CR$1,080. Contents:-


English – 35 years – married – 6 years in Brazil holding responsible position – previous senior job with International Company – practical experience in stock control – buying – personnel relations – cost accountancy – estimates. Seeks position with a challenge – excellent references – tel. Belo Horizonte 0.0089 or write William Mason, Nova Lima, Minas Gerais.

Phoned Dr Warren again in the afternoon and he said he had telephoned the hotel several times but could not get me. He said he had some letters of introduction for me to collect. Set out at once but took two hours to reach his consulting rooms by omnibus. He had already gone when I arrived but had left 3 letters for me. On the way back I called on dona Diana and she invited me for dinner tomorrow.

November 26th – Called on Baker Perkins to see Mr Ballinger but was told he was always at the factory at Sao Bernardo do Campo. Went to the British Chamber of Commerce and filled in an employment form. Also got the address of Ron Duncan’s Company at Guarulhas. Tried to telephone there but the operator said it would take four hours. I put in a call to Belo Horizonte to tell Ursula I would be staying here until Tuesday or Wednesday. Got to dona Diana’s at 2015 hrs. due to missing the way; met crowds of her relatives. Had good dinner and afterwards played cards until 0230 hrs. Husband, Casser, took me back to the hotel by car.

November 27th – Caught bus to Guarulhus and it took some time to locate the Pfizer factory where Ron Duncan works. It was a Sunday but fortunately met a German employee coming through the gate in his car. He said he was going near Ron’s house – I did not have the address – and leaving at 1600 hrs. so I said I would wait in a nearby bar for him to finish his work. He picked me up there and drove to his house nearby where I waited on the varandah while he changed. It was evening when he dropped me on the corner of Ron’s house telling me the number; the family was out but as I was walking away from the house a kombi drove up with all the family grinning and waving inside. After effusive greetings they took me to someone called Bill Bennett who was known to have contacts in the job market. Returning to the Duncan’s house there were long chats with him and Norah. They asked me round for dinner tomorrow and Ron ran me back to the hotel.

November 28th – Set out by bus to Sao Bernardo do Campo with the three letters supplied by Dr Warren. Called first at Rolls Royce and saw the General Manager, Mr W. W. Patterson. He gave me some hope and left me with the Labour Officer and we talked over lunch. From there I went to Motores Perkins where I saw Mr Hill, Mr Griffin and Dr Silveiro. Again some hope. Returned to the hotel at 1915 hrs. to find Ron and a friend of his called Mr Pitt waiting for me. They had been drinking but I had a couple of aqua tonics. While we were there the former World heavy weight boxing champion, Primo Carneiro turned up. He is now on the all-in wrestling circuit. Pitt drove us to Ron’s house where Louis Marques was another guest. I had met him at Morro Velho one Christmas. We had a good dinner and a pleasant evening and Louis drove me back to my hotel.

November 29th – Set off again to Sao Bernardo do Campo, this time to see Mr Ballinger of Baker Perkins. No luck but he gave me the address of the Sao Paulo office. Met Ron outside Mappins at 1530 hrs. I was half an hour late on account of the traffic. We went to see Mr Parsons of Baker Perkins but no luck. Afterwards we went to the Clube Central, an English Club, where we met Louis and someone called Charlie Steinhofer and stayed there drinking until 2030 hrs. I moderately. Then they took me to what they said was the oldest restaurant in Sao Paulo, the Guarabara. Louis ran me back to the hotel. On arrival there was a message to ring dona Diana. Although it was after midnight I got through and she told me that she had received a message from her sister Lydia (Karl’s wife), through Ursula, through Mike, through Anthony Vereker to go to Rio tomorrow about a job.

November 30th – Phoned Mike in Rio in the morning to ask him what it was all about. He only knew that I should come and contact Vereker (the Morro Velho Public Relations Officer). Ron arrived at the hotel in the morning and took me by car to see Ken Lee the secretary of the British Chamber of Commerce and then on to Viacao Cometa offices where I changed my ticket destination from Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro leaving at 1730 hrs. Said goodbye to Ron and thanked him for his help. In the afternoon called on John Williams of Massey Ferguson and Mr Kite of Light and Power but drew a blank at both places. Settled up at the hotel and left giving Primo Carneiro a lift into the City in my taxi to the bus station.

December 1st – The coach arrived at 0115 hrs. and I booked in at the Sao Francisco Palace Hotel. After breakfast I rang Anthony Vereker who said he would call round at 1015 hrs. When he arrived he took me to see Derrick Jehu (Derrick was the elder brother of my friend, David when I was about 9 years old. Our mothers had kept contact ever since although I hadn’t seen Derrick since 1933. David died in the last typhoid epidemic in the UK) Derrick said he had heard from Hugh Watson (ex-head of the Mining Company) that I was looking for a job and would I be interested in opening up an Insurance Branch in Sao Paulo (I think it was the Royal Insurance) I said I knew nothing about Insurance. he said it didn’t matter, I would get training. We had a long talk and left it by saying I would give him an answer this evening after I had thought it over. From Derrick’s palatial house in Urca I went to Mike’s office where there was Hugh Watson with an American director called Dulles (son of the American politician, John Foster Dulles). While I was there I got a phone call from Ron in Sao Paulo saying that Motores Perkins wanted to get in touch with me. After a long wait to get through I was told that the Managing Director, Mr Hill had left but his secretary gave me the context of a telegram and letter that had been sent to me with a job offer, on a trial period of three months, with a salary of CR$75,000 a month as assistant to the Production Manager (Director by the time I accepted). Returned to Derrick’s house and there met his wife and two children over a drink. They were in evening dress for some function. I thanked him for the job offer and said that it was too far out from my experience to accept. From the house I took a taxi to the bus station and set off at 2030 hrs. for Belo Horizonte.

December 2nd – Arriving in Belo at 0615 hrs. I was able to get the 0700 hrs. bus for Nova Lima. Went to bed and slept until midday. Found a letter waiting for me from Telfunken Company in reply to my advertisement asking me to come for an interview. Went to play bridge at Guido Penido’s bungalow with Karl and Pere Rune. I was very tired and glad when the session ended at 0100 hrs.

December 3rd – Went to Casa Grande to see Leslie and tell him about events. After lunch went to the Olaria to clear out my desk and hand over to Per Rune. He came ‘home’ with me for a drink whilst the rain bucketed down outside. At 1915 hrs. Leslie and Diva called and took Ursula and me to Belo Horizonte for a meal at a new restaurant called ‘La Maschere.’ We saw the Watsons and Harrisons also dining and had a drink together.

And so it came about that after a whirlwind period job hunting in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro B’s efforts were successful in just over three weeks from the date of getting Cecil Jones’s letter. The job at Motores Perkins was to provide him with an entree (BLOG – a different point of view and others) to the world of industry. Ursula and he with Julie and Cliffie were to leave their home in an isolated region in the Highlands of Brazil and establish themselves in what was then the fastest growing City in the World.

There is one aspect of this episode that struck him when reading his extracts after many years, and that was the unsolicited help he had received from so many people in his endeavours, and he asked himself whether he had been properly appreciative of this help at the time. But Ursula’a saying was of some consolation if he felt guilty about this, and that is, ‘the help we receive in life should be passed on to others in due time.’

January 1961