Malta, Egypt, India, Burma…
March 28th, 1888
My Beloved Angee,
Your letter of 2nd December last Lord's day was a great comfort to me, also one from each of the dear boys. You appear to be having severe weather in England from accounts I see in the paper, but suppose the time of the singing of birds will come around again. It is a wonderful contrast to the weather here which is intensely hot through the day, but beautifully cool nights and mornings. I have been rather desirous of having a run up to Mandalay, but fear now I shall have to give up the idea, as the business here will occupy me fully up to April 5, when I purpose taking steamer for Penang and Singapore. From there I had been planning to go on to China and Japan, but my last letter from P.F.&Co. suggests my going right down to Perth and Western Australia and then Adelaide and Melbourne – then Tasmania and through New Zealand again and from Auckland over to Australia again to Sydney – then Brisbane up through the Queensland Coast as before to Thursday Island and Port Darwin – Java ports and then home just calling at Chinese ports – Japan – San Francisco, New Orleans, New York and Ilfracombe. They certainly pay me a very great compliment and must be impressed with the desirability of my continuing the travels. – but I promise you once for all that I shall not remain away beyond the Autumn of this year and think I can so far see my way clear to work according to the first part of the programme, through the Colonies and back via Farre[?} Straits to Java and Singapore by September and please God from there I should return and it would be a good time for the voyage as the South West monsoon in the Indian Ocean would have passed. For many reasons I shall prefer being in the Colonies to China – well my beloved Angee I know you would have rather that I returned sooner, but trust the Lord Who has so graciously sustained us hitherto, will continue His great mercy to us. I am obliged to go on by the day or I should be troubled in contemplating the great extent of country before me – looking at it from a map is very simple, but actually travelling over the many thousands of miles is a horse of another colour. I can quite understand young Stone's returning from America and I feared he had not done much or I should certainly have heard something of it. They have not the faintest idea of the difficulty in connection with the work in the East. The natives are very slow and patient and cannot understand being in a hurry about anything. On calling at any Eastern Bank for instance to draw an account or a letter of credit – I should be detained from 30 to 45 minutes and sometimes an hour. My patience is sorely tried very often, but I have to keep on keeping on – like the churning of milk before I can get any satisfactory results. The Lord has graciously opened a door to a nice family here, two sisters and a brother called Hamilton, who heard of me from a lady at Bangalore. They are Christians and interested in the truth and know a good deal about Brethren and one of the Miss Hamiltons has been among open brethren in Calcutta. It is quite a cheer for me to drop in for an hour or two in the evening and they have been very kind. The brother is about Arundel's age and very much like him. By the last mail I received a letter from Mrs Box of Gravesend[?] giving the address of a lady called White who with her husband a doctor they once met at Folkestone, lodging in the same house. I called upon them yesterday – they have a beautiful bungalow – I saw Mrs W. but her husband was not well and in bed – she asked me to call again.
I wrote Mr Shapland a day or two since in reply to his long and kind letter. Sorry to hear dear Harriett is having a bad time of it and do trust the Lord may graciously preserve her in this the moment of nature's peril. Very thankful the house at Ilfracombe is off our hands and have no doubt it will be a very agreeable change for dear Emma. Glad to hear all the dear children at Ilfracombe and Barnstaple are in good health in spite of the severe weather. Glad also to hear Mr Robertshaw is well and has found out like myself the worth of that little love bag with its treasures – it is too bad that two such thoughtful wives should have been so singularly unfortunate in having such runaway husbands. Never mind, we shall all meet again soon if the Lord will and expect that although many thousands of miles had separated us for a little while, it only made the love in our hearts to one another the stronger and there was no separation there. If we are both not made M.R.G.S. it is not because we have not seen travels enough.
And now my beloved Angee with much love to you once more also Eunice and Eliza, Emma and the dear children and the dear ones at Barnstaple when you see them and all our many kind friends believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband.
Good Friday – it is meeting weather here and I am writing my mail under difficulties and nearly all clothing off my body.
Have had a wonderful week's trade and I can fancy P.F.& Co. will be on receiving my budget for about nine thousand various tins amounting to between £500 and £600 – thank God.