Malta, Egypt, India, Burma…
December 1st, 1887
Mooltan, Punjab, India
My Beloved Angee,
Having a few hours to spare thought I would begin my letter to you which D.V. I expect to finish and post from Karachi, whither I am bound. Left Lahore Wednesday morning and arrived here same evening, travelling through country little better than a parched desert but filled with short trees and bushes. In the summer the heat is intense often 107 or more in the shade, but from November to April it is beautifully cool, with very cold nights as I am proving. It was very interesting in the journey yesterday to see the hundreds of camels bearing their burdens along the road. The droves of bullocks seemed innumerable and Indian life among the natives was clear in all its unadorned character. The men seem a very fine race, tall and mostly noble faces, with Duke of Wellington sort of noses. We are very near Afghanistan. They are as you know a fine race. The women dress in a peculiar way: they wear a sort of peg top trousers very loosely made about the thighs and loins, but quite tight at the ankles – poor creatures, they work hard and carry their children who look really heavy and strong.
Travelled with a gentleman yesterday, a fellow-passenger aboard the Surat to Bombay and also stayed at the same hotel with me there, but we did not speak to each other before meeting in the train yesterday. He is a Colonel and a judge for this district and had a very interesting conversation for many hours and both regretted that we had not known each other on board the Surat. He takes the place of believer. He wished to know my name so I gave it.
This is an interesting place and you would say so if you could see my quarters. There is no hotel here, but a travellers' bungalow, a place where you can have a table, chair and a frame on four stumps with some webbing stretched across it for a bed. Outside this room is a place to wash. Well Lazarus soon spread out my bed upon this frame and after a little food which is provided I got under my rug and had a good night's rest and was glad enough when breakfast came for I was very hungry. Outside the Bungalow is all jungle and a road way. This morning some huge elephants passed with their loads – the first I have seen here and they were larger than any I have ever seen before.
I had heard at Lahore of a large firm here doing extensive business, so decided to spend a day at Mooltan on my way to Karachi. After breakfast Lazarus and I started off with the samples and the leading Partner, a Parsee, was at home and quite willing to look at them. Through the goodness of God, this led to him giving me a splendid order for which I am unfeignedly thankful. These Parsees seem very kind to me wherever I go and Mr Muncherjee Manechjee gave me some very valuable information this morning as to other dealers in Calcutta and elsewhere. I did not tell you in my last that on calling to say good bye to the Parsee firm in Bombay I did so well with, they made me a present of a splendid sued[e?] Indian work box which I had to make room for among my boxes and which I will try to bring home safely to you. It is very handsome and large.
Karachi – Dec. 6th
Have received your letter of the 10th November this morning with my darling Daisy's and dear Arundel's long letter and enclosure from Sidney Smith. It was sent on from Lahore to here and I expected it last week – I usually cable my address to P.F. on Wednesday and the Indian mail leaves London the following Friday, so that if your letter is not posted in Devon on Thursday evening it would not be in time for that week's mail. Received a very nice letter from Mr Robertshaw yesterday which he sent from Calcutta to Bombay, reaching there after I had left – then to Lahore – then here – altogether the distance was about 5 thousand miles.
I left Mooltan the same evening I commenced this letter and reached a place called Sukkur where we had to cross the River Indus; the suspension bridge they are building to carry the train not being finished the arrangements are not very unlike the crossing to Saltash in coaching days - I stayed at Sukkur for the day and did some business leaving there again in the evening for another 24 hour ride to bring me to this place. Karachi is a fine place much hotter than Lahore and not so hot as Bombay – the Hotel is small and comfortable – the landlord who is an engineer and his wife are exceedingly kind and my system having run down with the fatigue of travelling I really felt the need for a little rest, so am taking a week's thorough rest from all business and trust through the mercy of God my body may be refreshed thereby.
The extremes of climate are very trying and in those long railway journeys you have to pick up a meal when you can. If I can get 3 good meals a day I can keep up well, but if these fail or become irregular, I am soon down and it does not take long for fever to rise. My servant is a great help and comfort to me and so far as I have seen I should hope he is a child of God – I notice him reading his Hindu testament very often and he is pleased to be in my room during prayer. One day at Lahore he came in uninvited hearing I was praying I suppose and knelt down near me – he wears nothing on his feet, so makes no noise in moving about and I was not aware of his being in the room until I rose from my knees. He would very soon make an excellent traveller.
Mr Robertshaw keeps in excellent health but was going to have a little rest at Calcutta – he too had found it necessary to engage a servant there.
I hope to reach there D.V. early in January and if I am not feeling equal to the work, you may rely upon it I shall not hesitate to return.
An now once more with much love to you my dearest Angee and all our dear children and to all our mutual kind friends your dear sisters among them and commending you again to that love and goodness and mercy we have all so blessedly proved. Believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband.