Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
August 28th, 1888
On board the "Ganges", Nr. Brindisi
My Dear Arundel,
It was a header at last as you call it and as it turned out there was no need for being in such a hurry – well I am once more in the work with all its pleasures and miseries, but I cannot say much of the latter which are made up mostly out of the bother attending either a landing or an embarkation with my seventeen pieces of baggage the sort of prey suited to the tastes of the vultures that hover about a traveller's path and terminus. And then when ‘tis all over I think well after all the only thing to blame was my own temper which was a little short. The voyaging thus far from Gravesend has been really delightful and the stopping places very interesting – of this you will have heard through my letters to your dear mother. It has been a great feast to meet the dear soldier and sailor brethren at Gibraltar and Malta. It was very remarkable my meeting with that soldier brother at Gibraltar called Biggs - I have rarely met a person so intelligent in the truth and evidently loving and walking in it. He keeps up a correspondence with many brethren about the Mediterranean and was showing me some nice letters he has received from a brother at Barcelona whose letters I have occasionally seen in the notes of interest.
The Brethren at Malta thought highly of Biggs and were telling me that before his conversion he was a desperate fellow and that there was hardly a prison in England he had not lodged in – Biggs did not speak of this to me, but I could see pretty clearly both from his spirit and his prayers that the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ were deep soul realities to him. The Lord greatly blessed His word at Gibraltar and it is a comfort to know that the Lord Himself not only watches the ground where His word has entered, but that He has kindled interest in some of His own upon the earth to watch over it too, so that His expectations of fruit in due time may not be in vain.
I was surprised to see such an extensive place at Algiers – the French fleet came into the harbour about an hours before us – I spent 2 or 3 hour among the trade, but in two instances could only leave lists and my card as we could not speak each other's language – the best man however I struggled with – he had been learning English 3 weeks and had made some progress so with the help of his dictionary, we got on a little bit. I had not taken up my samples on account of customs regulations, but sent this person a nice lot of tasting samples from the "Thebes" my ship before leaving and he promised to make a selection and send P.F.& Co. an order.
There is a daily communication by fast steamer from Marseilles and I am told they have a thousand miles of railway from Algiers to Tunis – the business is principally with fruits of various kinds and wine. The climate of Algiers is exceedingly fine and entering the harbour you might almost think you were landing at Hastings. The coast scenery is very fine and the ranges of mountains behind look very grand. So I have had a taste of Africa. But what is it compared with Croyde and your fine mansion there – I hope you are all enjoying the change and desiring great benefit from it. Kiss all the dear children for me and now with much love to dear Harriett and yourself and all beloved friends – not forgetting dear Aunt Mary, the girls and Harry and Aunt Martha and yourself. Believe me my dear boy.
Being very affectionate Father
I greatly enjoyed Universal History and have nearly finished first volume. Tell Aunt Mary the Jaegers are splendid only will soon want lengthening – the Pyjamas are very comfortable garments – the stud holes in the neck band of the Jaegers were not quite in the middle and I have had to cut them a little and don't expect a medal for working button holes – a very difficult job – I found it.