Antonin Besse of Aden: The Founder of St Antony’s College by David Footman

By David Footman

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Extra info for Antonin Besse of Aden: The Founder of St Antony’s College Oxford

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That has been our great handicap. My friend, no more promises. They only tend to make people disappointed and to bring about in our staff a state of mind that we want to avoid ... The firm's organisation in Abyssinia had, of course, been entirely AB's work; one wonders whether Courmont realised how keenly he was apt to resent any criticism. The above quoted letter (dated 12 December) crossed two from AB. ' The Crisis 41 In the other he finds fault with Counnont's management in Aden during the summer.

II AB's first action on return to Aden was one that must have caused him much heart searching: he sold the Aidrus Road building constructed to his own design some six years previously. The purchaser was a substantial local Arab merchant with whom he was on friendly terms, and a condition of the sale was that the house be let back to AB at a reasonable rent. This arrangement worked smoothly and lasted till years after AB's death. His other real estate - the garage and workshops higher up the Aidrus Road,with the staff quarters there, and the godowns at Ma'alla remained AB's property.

But to go on working at the tempo I am working now, to find my burden growing ever heavier, this would be tantamount to the murder of all my aspirations in the fields of art and culture ... And to take up social work 'would need the soul of an apostle which I do not possess. One would have to lack any feeling for art and beauty not to be terrified by the ugliness, the stupidity and the nastiness of those one is trying to help'. A month later he wrote. 'I am delighted at the way you have mastered our work.

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