Mosuril on the 9th of October and delighted in 'the joy of a cool
beer' . All they had to do was wait for the boat to arrive on their
departure date of the 14th, then only five days away. But on the
11th Holmes was taken seriously ill again and this time the blood
in his urine diagnosed blackwater fever. Unconscious, he was
rushed by machila to the harbour at Mosuril, by native boat
across the bay, and by rickshaw to the hospital in Mozambique.
On his arrival the nuns who ran it had little hope for his survival.
A report of his death was telegraphed to London.
Never believe what you read in the newspapers. With careful
nursing Holmes gradually recovered, and eleven days later was
discharged into the care of the Heseltons (the fine Yorkshire
baritone from the Eastern Telegraph Company and his wife),
who were packing up their house ready to leave Mozambique.
He later recalled that it was being able to play the piano at their
home, even though he only had access to it for a couple of days,
that helped him to recover his inner strength.
Friday 20th October: Ordered a rickshaw to come and was
allowed out [of the hospital] for the first time. Still felt very
weak in dressing, but enjoyed the ride to Heselton's immense-
ly. Played piano tolerably well which gave me great delight.
Saturday 21st October: Spent the day again at Heselton's
and today being stronger managed the piano quite in my old
style. Sunday 22nd October: Piano packed up today so no
During his illness Holmes had of course missed the boat
home, so as soon as he was well enough he sent a telegram to
Barton at Mosuril insisting he be allowed to leave Mozambique
by the first available boat. But Barton never received the
telegram. Unknown to Holmes, the day after he was discharged
from hospital Barton was brought in, senseless with the gravest
of malarial complications. But despite this, the next boat was