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From a Reader’s bookshelf by Arjuna
Sir Thomas Forrest Garvin and the lady in the rickshaw

The two installments about "A Plea for Thrift" by Arthur Alvis drew a number of reactions.

Dr Mohamed Saleem, the Chairman of the Swarajya Foundation had highlighted several passages from it and used it for a talk he had given a group of young group in a planning committee dealing with aid funds. "Thrift is Industry… Thrift again is Care… Thrift is Temperance… Thrift is Frugality… Thrift is Forethought… it is Prudence-that is Providence…" were the themes for this talk; all aspects of disciplined life which Arthur Alvis had discussed in detail in his lecture.

Another reader Mr P.Weerasekera former Director General of Customs and an avid reader commented that Alvis’ talk should be translated into Sinhala and Tamil and distributed among people.

Yet another reader Mark Marcelline having read about Sir Thomas Forrest Garvin being married to Arthur Alvis’ daughter, Madeleine Louise (Mopsy), reminisced about a conversation between Justice H.W.R.Weerasooriya and Justice H.N.G.Fernando, former Chief Justice, Thelmut (Buggy) Mack and Tori de Souza, the famous Editor of the Times of Ceylon. This conversation revolved round Sir Thomas.

Sir Thomas was born in 1881. He had a meteoric career and was made acting Solicitor-General at the age of 32. He was confirmed as Solicitor General a few years later and subsequently, acting Attorney General. He became a Puisne Justice in June, 1924 and Senior Puisne Justice in January 1929.

From 1926, he acted as Chief Justice on several occasions but was overlooked for the Post of Chief Justice by the Colonial Government. That position was reserved for Europeans till 1949.

Justice H.W.R. Weerasooriya had served as a Private Secretary to Sir Thomas Garvin in the nineteen thirties. One day as he was driving Sir Thomas back home, they passed a rickshaw with a lady seated in it. Sir Thomas was a gentleman to his finger tips and as was expected of a gentleman in those days he lifted his hat as a mark of respect for the gracious lady in the rickshaw. He then turned to Mr Weerasooriya with an absent minded demeanour and mumbled "That is a familiar face".

"Your Honour" said Mr Weerasooriya, "that was your wife".

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