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Cunninghame Graham: The Real Black Paquito


By Rodelle Weintraub



Shaw informed us that Sergius in Arms and the Man and Captain Brassbound, i.e. Black Paquito,  were based in part on Cunninghame Graham, as was Hector Hushabye in Heartbreak House.  Don Roberto,  however, was hardly the romanticized cavalry officer of the earlier play and certainly not the brigand of Captain Brassbound’s Conversion.   Nor was he the lapdog whose appearance in  Arab robes in Heartbreak House would have reminded knowledgeable audiences of Cunninghame Graham.  He can also be found in Man and Superman and The Devil’s Disciple.

But who was Robert Bontine Cunninghame  Graham?  South American cattle drover and soldier, member of Parliament, Scottish Laird, the first President of  the Scottish Labor Party and its successor, the Scottish  National Party , first president of the Scottish chapter of  PEN, model for sculptors and painters, the now mostly  forgotten, adventurer-author-politician-soldier seems  more like a fictional  character than  any of  Shaw’s  creations