Gibraltar, India, Malta
February 22nd, 1890
Ajmere, India, Saturday
My Beloved Angee,
I was very thankful to receive your letter at Agra with one each from dear Arundel and Martha on Thursday morning to find that Arundel was better. Colds do pull him down dreadfully and I hope he will be careful through the Winter. From telegraph reports it appears you are getting a succession of violent storms in England and when I hear of them my mind generally turns to our houses in Victoria Road and wonders how much water this time. Was surprised to hear of its having been in Mr Seldon's dwelling and not in the other. I shall leave your hands quite free in regard to a house and have asked the Lord to be pleased to guide you aright in selecting one. Do let me entreat of you to be careful during the removal and not be exhausting your little stock of strength – I know how difficult it is for you to sit down and direct others but you must try to do this, or it will certainly upset you. I have had an idea that these storms you have had may move one of our tenants, as somehow I feel that if we do live in Barnstaple I should like to occupy one of them. It will be well to take any other only as a yearly tenant so that in case one of our own becomes free we could turn in. I can see what a comfort it will be for Arundel and the dear children for you to be there and I hope it may be for yourself too and I quite think it will.
Spent a nice time at Agra, where there is just a brother and his wife in fellowship and another brother called Hare living with his brother and sister upon whom I called and found in conversation that Mrs Hare was a great friend of the late Mrs Dobby[?]. I left Agra yesterday morning at 10 and arrived here at 1.30 in the night – walked to the Dak Bungalow which is there to find it full, but according to the rules in such a case the one who has been there the longest has to turn out bag and baggage to make room for the new arrival. The "consamé" therefore took me in a room where a young gentleman was asleep and soon gave him notice to quit, while this was going on I did not quite understand it and said to the young fellow who had raised himself up looking rather frightened – "do they purpose turning you out?" To which he replied: "It looks very much like it". However, I declined to do this and returned to the station again where Lazarus was looking after my luggage and we took a Gharry and found a very comfortable room in a very comfortable hotel and it was good to lay down my weary body I can assure you and D.V. I intend resting here until Monday morning 2 o'clock when I must start again for a 29 hour ride to Bombay. There is a large firm here who have many times made promises to do business, but this morning I was cheered to get a splendid order which is encouraging and for which I do look up to God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving, as also for you and all our dear ones continually – the ride from Agra was very pleasant and for many hours I had a compartment alone and greatly enjoyed going through several chapters of Leviticus with the synopsis and sang several hymns, the 149th was especially sweet to me and had a blessed time too in prayer remembering you each one. Have had much conflict and exercise of late, allowed of God I doubt not for blessing and in His preserving mercy, for He knows my need in every way and nothing but His strength in us will enable me to meet the many foes that are every[sic] ready to do battle. Through His grace therefore I can bless Him for all His ways with me – He is a wonderful teacher and those who are taught of Him know it right well. I do not always feel so but for a week or two have never experienced such weariness of heart and body and heartily wishing myself home but will look to the Lord to give the courage to finish the work marked out. I have travelled between 6 & 7 thousand miles since leaving Bombay just two months ago and the average speed is not more than 15 or 20 miles an hour. It will be a treat to get on board a steamer again after that. There has been a great lack of winter rains all through the North this year and consequently the hot weather is setting in very quickly – have left off some of my clothing and shall be obliged to adopt the white in a day or two more.
I am very sorry for Mrs Hardie and can quite understand all that she is feeling, but it is one of those peculiar things that you cannot help. If dear Harriett could discern the fittest for the post, it is no wonder that others do and her wisdom would have been to accept it as from God – in resisting it and allowing bitter feelings to come out against Miss C. she exposes her motive. I do trust dear Arundel will be careful to avoid anything like strife in the matter – I can quite feel how trying it must be for him – I hope too that Mrs H. and Willie will have wisdom given to them to act becomingly, but I can see that it must be a great trial for them. If they could only look at it as we do they would see it as a matter of special mercy and goodness that such an efficient person as Miss C. was there to fill up the gap.
Lord's Day, Feb. 23rd
Have just returned from the Goodburn's where we have had a blessed moment together in obeying that desire – "do this in remembrance of me" – it was a small company only 4 but it is not the redeemed ones that make the place so blessed although always a joy to meet them, but the One in the midst even the Redeemer who is the source of all our joy and blessing – I dined and spent the evening yesterday with the Goodburn's and had rather purposed to have gone to Abu Road by early train (2am) this morning to have spent the day with the Ker's, but hearing from Mrs Goodburn that Mrs Ker is near her confinement I thought it better not to go but hope to see Mr K. as I pass Abu Road tomorrow. You may imagine what a cheer it is for my spirit in the midst of heathen darkness and the Devil's power to meet such little groups of those who through mercy have been redeemed out of it and whose joy and glory now are in the name of that dear Saviour and friend, our Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work. It is rest and renewal both for spirit and body I assure you and never did my heart so appreciate and value it as now, because never before have I been thrown into such a circumstance as these travels have brought into. What mercy to be able to sing "Jesus my Saviour! Thou art mine, the Father's gift of love divine, all Thou hast done and all thou art, are now the portion of my heart" (193). As soon as I opened my eyes this morning I found a small rat sporting about on the floor and two sparrows chirping merrily close to my bed and I thought it was high time to wake out of sleep, so I sang 193 & 194 and did enjoy it.
Mrs Goodburn gave me a pair of Indian curtains yesterday to send to you & Mrs Ker gave me an Indian table cloth for you a few weeks ago, so I now send them home by parcel post with their kind love. After the meeting this morning Mrs Goodburn handed me a few of the enclosed two page tracts which have been printed and circulated all over India by whom I do not know – indeed I was much surprised to find it at the end of the notes of the Conference (with the notes [that] had been handed to me for revising before being printed). D.V. I shall hope to receive another mail from you on Tuesday morning on arrival at Bombay, so shall be able to add a little more to this after receiving your next letter. I have not heard from Harry for a very long time.
Bombay February 27th
Your letters of the 16th inst. were all to hand on my arrival here yesterday morning – your own always dear and welcome and also one from Arundel, Harry & Emma, so that I had a full chorus of home voices and my heart was indeed made glad. The contents of dear Harry and Emma's was especially comforting and will I know call forth thanksgiving praise from all our hearts to the God of all grace who has in sovereign mercy and goodness wrought such blessed rest of soul. To Him be all praise and glory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I am very thankful too that dear Arundel is recovering and hope a few days with you at Oxford Park may set him up again. Trust the house you have taken may be found convenient and a comfort to yourself but do be careful in removing not to be taxing your strength too much. I hope you may be able to engage some woman specially to help you in this work, as I dare say it will take you 8 weeks to complete all that will require attention.
I left Ajmere on Monday morning at about 2 and reached Abu Road at Noon where I found dear Mr Ker who brought a message from his wife and himself pressed my coming to their house for a day, so I turned in and remained just 24 hours and had refreshment for both spirit, soul and body. We had a nice reading with a few believers over Hebrews 1 & 2 and found the season a blessed one. The glories and greatness of the Person in chap. 1 does indeed make the salvation which He has accomplished and which is in Himself a great salvation and well may it be said "how shall we escape if we neglect it?" Blessed Saviour! Keep our poor treacherous hearts ever cleaving to Thee with real purpose while we wait Thy return for us in a world that crucified Thee. I expect to stay here for a week or so before going across to Madras – the weather is warm and it is pleasant after the cold of the North – through mercy I am preserved in good health - Mr Pile has returned to England and this reduces the little company here to two brothers and one of those is going to England for his holiday in a few weeks, then leaving our brother Mr Mackrow only in the meeting. I saw the January number of "Voice of the Faithful" a few days ago and fear from a paper by Mr Turpin that party spirit is running very high over this eternal life question. I do not like the spirit of the paper entitled "From Heaven".
Well I must now conclude – the Lord continue His gracious care over you my dear Angee and our beloved children and grandchildren – much love to yourself and to them each one and I pray that both they and you and myself may prove that our Saviour is also our guide and strength and refuge as well as our present and eternal portion. Much love to all our dear friends and to your dear self and believe me beloved Angee.
Your very affectionate Husband
Only thought of Feb 14th yesterday