pointing out the contemptibly conceited idea, that the whole
purpose of existence is MAN. You might read it during the vac.
It is stimulating, but rather disappointing when he harps on
the 'Purpose of God'.
Christianity makes no progress on the African coast.
Mohommedanism holds almost entire sway and I honestly
feel it is a better religion altogether for a black. It has the
advantage of including Christianity, for Christ is one of the
prophets and is considered second only to Mahomet. The boys
say Christ was never married and so cannot afford to be a
guide as to how wives and children should be treated - not
a bad criticism and very original!
After a month at Sawa during which time Holmes compiled
maps of the area, tested minerals and collated information
provided by the team for a report to the company, Starey one
day brought in a mineral that no one recognised. Apparatus
available in the field for the identification of minerals was
limited to the use of a blow pipe, which was simple, but
e¬ective. Powdered samples of the mineral under investigation
were examined by heating them on a charcoal block, either in
their pure state, or mixed with various other compounds. Air
was then directed at the flame via the blow pipe through which
is was necessary to breathe both in and out simultaneously in
order to maintain a steady flame, whilst retaining a reservoir of
air in the cheeks! The resulting reactions or colours seen in the
flame being diagnostic of the mineral under examination.
After various tests Holmes proclaimed that the mineral found
by Starey was none other than thorium, one of the radioactive
minerals that he had been using for his dating work, which
caused much excitement. By coincidence the post on that day
brought a letter from Professor Strutt congratulating Holmes on
the reception of his paper at the Royal Society meeting, and
including twelve copies, now that it had been published. Holmes
graciously distributed these around the members of the team,
and that evening wrote excitedly to his parents: