Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
December 17th, 1888
Madras (Monday 7 am)
My Beloved Angee,
Your dear letter from Barnstaple with Arundel's was a real cheer and comfort on arrival here on Saturday morning last about 6 o'clock after two nights and a day's travelling from Secunderabad – my letters had been sent on from Bombay. All the sights, sounds and smells of Madras were quite familiar again and I am occupying the same room at the hotel, the servants of which gave a hearty welcome and a postcard received from me on the previous day had not only secured my old room, but it had been thoroughly cleaned to which I did not object. After making a few calls on our numerous clientele from whom I heard the most encouraging reports of our goods and calling on the leading brethren to give and receive salutations, I returned to the hotel and Rana and I had a few hours busy work to unpack and fix up our show "unequalled in the world" as the showman would say and in the afternoon some merchants came in for business. I must tell you about Hyderabad and Secunderbad where I called after leaving Poonah. It is a native state ruled by a powerful kind of king called a "hyzam" a young fellow about 29 years of age whose Zenana contains about 200 wives - Secunderbad and Hyderabad are only about 4 or 5 miles apart, the former being the European part of a large military station – the latter a purely native city the like of which I have not seen elsewhere in India – H.H. The hyzam keeps an army of about 2,000 arabs and I suppose would in time of war give all his support to the British Government – He circulates his own coins too, some specimens of which I have laid aside to show you on my return – it is the most primitive coin I have ever seen, but you are compelled to change the Government Rupee into the hyzam coin and you may be quite sure the money changer does not forget his own profit. On buying my ticket at the railway station for Madras the exchange of about 80 Rupees cost me five Rupees – the railway charges were very heavy and I remarked to one of the native clerks that it was no longer a mystery to me how the hyzam could meet the expenses incidental to the support of 200 wives at which he smiled heartily. The streets of the city of Hyderabad are a spectacle indeed - it is just one dense mass of human beings and all busily engaged in their various kinds of merchandise – nearly every man is armed with a terrible looking weapon a hook-shaped dagger carried inside a sash around his waist – while with one of the native merchants I asked to look at one of these native weapons and found on drawing it from its sheath that it was very sharp – the native police are all armed with swords and long rifles adorned every side too – it was a wonderful sight and speaks loudly enough I think in testimony as to what India would be today but for a strong power like England holding it and where that power is the strongest the effect of it upon the natives is that they can live in comparative peace and quietness enjoying all the security and comfort that England is under God's sovereign mercy a guarantee of – while in this Ayzaar's little dominion where his power is dominant although subject to the British yet here the dagger and rifle and sword are glittering before your eyes every turn and but for the stronger power that is known to be near, scenes of bloodshed and carnage would soon ensue. The more I see of India the more I feel that it is a very signal mercy of God to this vast Empire that the English Government are here to rule it and in spite of the terrible failure of many professing Christianity in this land – yet the power of Christ's name and the Word of God is being felt from one end of it to the other. It has sometimes struck me that in this way God may be quietly working among the millions and when His set times comes there may yet be a glorious harvest of precious souls from among them brought into the church. A few weeks ago while travelling with several Mohamedans some of whom could speak English I was deeply interested to find real interest in the simplicity of the gospel and one of them opened a parcel he had containing texts of Scripture printed on nice large cards and held them up to me one after the other (about 2 dozen) reading them aloud and admiring the Word for its own beauty although blind to what was underneath it – one text especially seemed to thrill him "The Lord is Thy Keeper" – he said that as language there was nothing equal to it in the world – what a wonderful thing when you think of it that a poor heathen in darkness should see beauty in that word and decorate his lowly habitation with it while in England many are laying it aside as unworthy a place in their dwelling to say nothing of the blindness and deadness that now turns away from its life-giving and sanctifying power. I believe God is taking notice of it. The Lord gave much encouragement at Poona where I posted my last English letters – I left on Monday evening about 8 and had a meeting there the same evening – I paid my bill at the hotel and left Rana to get all the baggage to the station and to buy the tickets and get my bed made up so that I was free from any care as to these things. Dear Mr Connor came to the hotel for me in his carriage about half an hour before the time of the meeting and a goodly number came and we trust some wanderers were restored and that some may have seen what a privilege it is to be gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in this world in the present reproach connected with His precious name. Dear Connor the leading brother was much cheered and drove me to the station and remained until the departure of the train. Rana had my bed made up and a nice parcel of sandwiches some bananas and oranges, so you see I had a feast and with a heart filled with joy and thanksgiving to God our Father I was soon asleep and had some real refreshing rest. We had a nice prayer meeting here in Madras on Saturday evening and it was a real joy to find the few gathered ones very happy among themselves – we came together to remember the Lord at 8 yesterday and after breakfast the two leading brothers Fallham and Blake and I went out to visit several saints, some sick, some blind and one stone deaf an old brother 82 years of age as bright and happy as the Love of God could make him - he talked to us and it was a privilege to hear him I assure you – the last we visited lived about a mile from Madras – the wife got blessing[?] on very last visit and was received at the Lord's table – her husband had been a backslider and the Lord had now laid His hand upon him in sickness from which he is not likely to recover. He is about 50 and has been a fine fellow in his day and it was very touching to hear him speak of the husks he had been eating for many years but now through the rich mercy and great love of our God he knew the taste of the children's bread and its satisfying character. In the evening he had a nice meeting at the room and four strangers came in, but the few gathered ones are greatly despised by the sects for what they call their narrowness.
You will be glad to know that Rana my servant is now getting a real help and comfort to me – he is very quiet, but I believe he would do anything for me – I don't think I told you that Lazarus came to me just before leaving Bombay and was very anxious to come with me again, but of course I would not make any engagement with him as long as he was serving another. It is warm in Madras but not so hot as during my last visit – D.V. I purpose going to Bangalore in a few days and shall probably go across to Calicot on the western side and on returning here probably visit Pandicherry a French settlement a little South of Madras before going to Calcutta. Shall be thinking of you all on Christmas day and hope you may all be happy together. I know you will remember me and it is good to be remembered by loving hearts.
Your welcome letter of November 29th with enclosure from each of the dear boys is to hand this morning and there is just time to acknowledge them before the departure of the mail this afternoon – no letter received from Harry for many weeks. I do wish him to drop me a line as I am always glad to hear how he is getting on.
D.V. I purpose going to Bangalore tomorrow or Friday and shall remain there until after Christmas. God our Father be praised for all His goodness and care over you all and again commending you all to His unwearied love and mercy and with much love to you my dearly beloved wife, dear Arundel and Harriett, dear Harry and Emma and all our darling little ones – Eunice and Eliza and Mr R. and all dear friends believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband
Am glad to know that you will all be at Barnstaple next week so that I shall not make any mistake in thinking of you and the locality you are in.