Malta, Egypt, India, Burma…
January 8th, 1888
My Beloved Angee,
Your welcome letters to Calcutta dated December 8th and 15th are both to hand. Can see I am obliged to call my letters back a bit as I am not moving so rapidly as expected when the addresses were given. I hardly know what to say to the deep sorrow of your heart which my absence from home occasions, but can only look up to God and pray that, for His dear Son's sake, He will be pleased to make it up to you in some way according to His love and wisdom. He has made His mercy and goodness to abound towards us hitherto, as you say – preserving amid perils and dangers and sustaining our hearts' confidence in Himself as now revealed in the person of His own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
I left Delhi on Tuesday last for Ajmere arriving here at midday on Wednesday and the business kept me there until yesterday Saturday midday when I started for this city, arriving here at 7 this morning. Have got used to railway travelling by night train and am just as comfortable there as in a bungalow or a hotel and I have provided myself with a nice Tiffin basket in which I carry all the food I require, so that I can have a meal in the carriage whenever I want one. Ajmere is a very pretty place surrounded by high hills – the gardens and parks are magnificent and there is a Hindu temple, or rather the ruins of one, about 700 years old – the roads of high pillars and the carving upon them, the wonderful skill they must have had in that day.
The Hindu temple now used by the Hindoos is a very gorgeous building and none are allowed inside, except themselves and they require shoes to be removed even to walk across a court where a glimpse of it can be obtained.
There is a dear brother and his wife in fellowship here called Goodburn – he was at the conference at Patiala and during this time his wife met with a carriage accident, breaking her arm above the elbow, but did not tell him of it until his return. She is a nice person and seems to have a wonderful nerve. We had readings every night at his house and two of them, out of the three, were held in her bedroom – she invited a few others in – the wife of the Wesleyan minister and another lady friend, a Christian, and another Christian lady engaged among the Zena mission work at Ajmere and who was also in the carriage at the time of the accident and uninjured. The Lord gave us a refreshing time together over the Word and those from outside spoke of having had a feast. Goring Waite too from Calcutta was with us. You can hardly realise their isolation here in this vast country and their desire for a little fellowship with any who may drop in for a visit. Mr Goodburn has a native servant - a believer and a very bright one too – Mrs G was telling me that he had been praying that the Lord would send some brother to visit them and his simple faith was sure someone was coming and when they heard that one had come to India, this dear fellow smiled and said he was sure someone would come. It was very lovely to see the dear fellow's face beaming with joy and heavenly light and peace sitting down at his master's feet during our reading – when Mrs G was brought in after the accident and the doctors had set the bone this dear fellow went over to her pillow and wept aloud over her for thankfulness that her life had been spared. Mrs G had been used to his conversion and so when weeping over her he said in his own language, ‘O! Mam Sab, what should I have done without you – you are my mother in Christ.'
God prospered the business too last week at Ajmere – there is a large cooperative store in the place and I waited a day extra to meet all the directors to lay the samples &c before them, at which they were much pleased and gave me a splendid order. Also received a good one from a native firm – I seem to be a long time getting to Calcutta and hardly expect to reach it for another 10 days.
Through mercy I am preserved in good health – the climate here now is really magnificent – I can still wear my winter clothing, but it is neither too cold nor too hot. Have not seen much of this place yet – called on the two in fellowship just now and we are coming together for a reading this afternoon and to break bread this evening – there is a brother and his wife and another brother in fellowship.
Received a letter from Arundel this morning, also one from Henry. Shall add a little more to this before the mail closes on Tuesday. Is it not a great comfort that we can get a letter from each other every week.
Tuesday January 10th 1888
The Lord graciously gave us a good time on Sunday afternoon at the reading and at the breaking of bread in the evening – dear Nayler and his wife were really cheered and encouraged to have a little fellowship – the blessedness of which, he says he never realised before. A brother Hare brought his wife in the afternoon – she is a nice lady and with Baptists but with a real heart for Christ and His word. Last night, Monday, we came together again for another reading and Nayler had invited a nice Christian brother also with the Baptists, who came and seemed to greatly enjoy the truth. I had been enquiring about Dr. Mackay's brother the clergyman he so wished me to see, but have not yet been able to find, as he moves about like myself. However I am getting pretty close on his track now and singularly enough he preached at Agra a week ago and this gentleman – Nayler's friend who came to the reading heard him and is going to ascertain in which direction he has gone.
Had a busy day here yesterday, with encouraging results again in the continued goodness of God and am now starting for Cawnpore and Lucknow. Trust dear Eliza receives good news from her husband who I expect is nearing if not actually in China by this time. The Lord preserve him in every way. Will write an answer to her kind note next mail. Once more my dearly beloved wife I close with much love to you, our beloved children and their little ones and all dear friends and believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband