Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
September 14th, 1888
P & O Ship “Sutlej”, Red Sea
My Beloved Angee,
I sent a few lines from Ismalia yesterday promising a longer letter by next mail and therefore will begin at once to do it. My previous letter from Alexandria was closed hurriedly as I found the mail left a day earlier than I had been told at the hotel, so I must go back to this point and commence my jottings. We continued the gospel every night in Alexandria and the interest in the little room near the palace was great, mostly among the soldiers many of whom were young believers to whom a little simple truth was very acceptable and helpful. We also had another reading at the house of some gentleman which I trust may be blessed to some of them in setting apart to trust. The dear brethren on board the "Phaeton" were much cheered and one of them Mr White came ashore the day I left to see me off.
The last time I visited Egypt P.F.&Co. expressed a wish to receive an appointment from H.H.s the Khedive, I therefore called upon the British Consul and asked for an introduction to a suitable person at the palace, that I might show H.H. my samples. He gave me a first class letter to the chief master of ceremonies and with my three leather cases I started off to the palace and presented my letter which secured for myself and baggage a first class reception. I was shewn into one of the reception rooms were I opened out my show which was much appreciated by the various excellencies belonging to H.H.'s household – his physician especially seemed greatly interested and could speak English. After about an hour they were taken on to the Khedive by the second master of ceremonies who asked H.H. if he would honour messrs. P.F.&Co. with an appointment. On returning he said H.H. would have much pleasure in doing so and was much pleased to see such a variety of biscuits and fancy tins. I told this Pasha that my firm would have great pleasure in sending H.H. a box containing an assortment of their manufactures. It is a magnificent palace, one side of which faces the beautiful harbour and the "Phaeton" was very near. The dear brethren knew of my visit and were looking to God for me. I was treated very courteously as you may suppose and drank coffee with them – packed up and returned to my hotel. I observed many of the dear soldiers about the grounds who gave a friendly salutation – their faces had become familiar from meeting them at the little room not far from the Palace where I had twice preached the gospel. I was all packed up and my bill paid just waiting for the train to Cairo the next day when a messenger came with a note from the Consul to say that he had just received a letter from the Palace requesting me to call again at the Palace on Saturday morning to show the samples to H.H.'s Ministers of State who could be present at the Palace that morning. The dear Brethren who had come to the hotel to see me off were not sorry we would spend one night more together so we had some tea and went over to the seaman's home, a room in which they use for breaking break and reading the Word. While we were here a Presbyterian minister was purposing to preach the gospel to a lot of seamen who came ashore in a room in the same building and one sent word for us to come down. He then asked me to preach and after he had spoken a little I did so too and trust the Word thus given may be blessed to all. On Saturday morning at 8.45 I was at the Palace and a servant was in waiting to carry my samples inside again and in a few moments I was surrounded by H.H. Ministers some of whom could speak English so I got on capitally with them and if my biscuits had not been protected by glass I think his Excellence would have made a breakfast from them. They all ordered a small case which I promised to forward through an agent at Cairo where H.H. and suite shortly remove for the Winter. I think it will establish our name successfully in Egypt and I doubt not P.F.&Co. will be much pleased. It is very interesting altogether and the ministers were fine fellows and thought it was very kind of me – you would have been amused to see the coffee cup handed around – not a bit larger and the same shape as an egg cup.
Well I left Alexandria and the palace at Rasel-tein on Saturday and arrived at Cairo soon after 9pm and was remembered at Sheppeards Hotel. Mr & Mrs Lowe had spoken to me of a brother there called E. Pellebant on the night we were at Henry's at Ealing and Mr L thought he was a cook at an hotel. In Lord's Day morning after breakfast and waiting upon the Lord, feeling very lonely and the difficulty I should in all probability have in finding this brother. However soon after 10 I started off with a dragoman speaking English and made enquiries in every leading hotel but without any success. During my search I saw a few British soldiers sitting outside a public place and asked one of them if he knew such a person or of a little company of Christians called brethren – he did not but advised me to call upon a Mr Ewing, an army Scripture Reader living at the Citadel. We then made for this place and after entering the outer gates I noticed an Englishman of whom I enquired of Mr Ewing's whereabout and also asked him if he knew anything of brethren in Cairo – he smiled and asked me if I belonged to them and said so did his father who is called Godwin at Salisbury – this person is a Reverend and a Scripture Reader too in the army but connected with the Church of England – he directed me to Mr Ewing's dwelling which at length I reached but only to find that he was out visiting and expected back in half an hour. The entrance to his domicile was first through a big hole in a very high wall, inside which was a very high flight of steps, on the top of which was a sort of flat roof and two comfortable rooms – plainly furnished and the halls well decorated with plain texts of Scripture – his servant requested me to wait and I was glad to get a little rest and to be out of the boiling sun for a little while. After waiting some time I left a card telling him that I had been all the morning seeking a brother called E. Pellebant and a little company of Christians he was connected with but that I had not been able to find either them or him and had called hoping he might be able to help me. I gave my address and number at Shepheard Hotel, where I then returned about 12.30 pretty hungry, only had a cup of tea and a little bread and butter for the day. After lunch I lay down for a little rest and about 2.30 started off to continue the seeking. As I reached the front door two persons were also entering it and I turned back and noticed they were looking at the visitors' board and were pretty close to my number, so I asked if they were looking for anyone - they answered "We are looking to see if No 72 is in or out" – this was my number and the visitors were Mr Ewing and a brother in fellowship called McLean he had brought to see me.
Through the Lord's goodness I had found my company and His too and that word is still true and will ever continue so "he that seeketh findeth". Ewing is not in fellowship but seemed interested and on returning soon after I left his house and getting my card he at once called upon McLean living near (McLean is a corporal on the medical staff in the Hospital at the Citadel) and singularly enough Ewing had been with him nearly all the morning. You may judge of dear McLean's joy to find a brother passing through, so Ewing and himself soon started off for the hotel to find me. We then called upon our brother E. Pellebant who is not a cook at an hotel but a sort of under-secretary at one of the principal clubs in Cairo. After this we went to McLean's house at the Citadel and here I saw his wife and little girl very much like Daisy – the talk of everything that is clean and good and Mrs McL. such a nice person also in fellowship, well I was at home and the saints may well be called the excellent of the earth – Christ's excellencies. No sooner was I seated than Mrs McLean was busy at work to remove my shoes so that I might get some rest upon a kind of bed couch in the corner. We had a nice talk of the Lord's matters and they were glad to hear of a few at Alexandria, as I was rejoiced to hear of the work in Egypt. After tea we went to Mr Ewing's abode where it was purposed to preach the gospel – I little thought as I waited in that spot in the rooms that in the evening I should be privileged to speak of God's love in that very place in the evening to a room full of soldiers, yet so it was and God did very distinctly bless His Word and another meeting was announced for Monday, when the power of the Lord was again present to save – one soldier broken hearted by the good news that leads to repentance confessed Christ. Father and Mother were both dead and were very religious as he called it – he had been the prodigal – they were with the Lord and now that Lord was revealed to him as a Saviour. On Tuesday Ewing was accustomed to speak to soldiers at another part of Cairo and I promised D.V. to be ready at 6.30 at Shepheard's when he and Mr McLean promised to call – I think the place is called Assan – it is a very large barracks a few miles in the desert and the site of it was very fine in the moon light. They have a sort of church in the barracks and at one end of this large room there were a few ritualistic rags – however I was free – Ewing and McLean had been making it known throughout the day and the place was well filled, over a hundred soldiers came in, and the Lord gave me much liberty in speaking – again He was pleased to bless His Word and one young soldier confessed Christ as His Saviour very boldly and I doubt not many more will be saved through the preached word.
God prospered the business too both at Alexandria and Cairo – on my last visit to Cairo two of the leading merchants ordered Arundel's biscuit stand and it was a comfort to find that they had given great satisfaction to the purchasers – making an ornament in each shop and had led to a considerable increase in the sale of biscuits. One of the firms gave me a very large order. All this in the tender mercy of God who had so distinctly opened a door for His own glad tidings concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord – It kept me on the move from 9 to 6 about the work and from 7 to 10 for the gospel nearly every night I was in Egypt, so that the rest was very sweet and although I was not entirely free from bodily ailments I think they worked good in reducing bulk several inches and generally my health was good through mercy. Dear McLean came down to see me off by train for Ismalia and had been much refreshed in the bowels of Jesus Christ – I saw our brother E. Pellebant's wife too, who speaks English nicely, but some special house duties had hindered her getting out to any of the meetings. Our train left Cairo at 6pm and arrived at Ismalia by 2 the next morning – it was very slow – partly a baggage train and at Zag-a-Zig we stayed a long time – we were pretty well covered by the sand of the desert but it was delightfully cool. On reaching Ismalia I soon got to the hotel which I found one of the most clement spots I think I have seen in Egypt – the place too is quite an oasis and is beautifully planted with fine acacia trees – the large expanse of water which is the very centre of the canal was close at hand. After a few hours rest I got up and commenced my writing which was rather a heavy job and by noon was well through it. Our ship was expected at 3 but got detained in the Canal and did not arrive until after 8. The sight as we steamed out in our launch over the peaceful bay was very fine – moon and stars very bright and long lines of lights stretching along by the Suez entrance to the Canal made a grand picture indeed for the natural eye. We could see the masthead light of the 'Sutlej' some time before she emerged from the Canal, her bright electric light shedding a bright pathway of light for about a quarter of a mile ahead and all around. As the huge ship neared us I could not but think it was like a small town moving through the waters and soon we were alongside and I was the only passenger to embark but there were four to land. This did not occupy many minutes and I was soon comfortably settled in a good cabin, which I had to myself and after bowing down to give thanks for the abounding goodness and mercy I had thus far proved and commending you all to that unfailing care of our Father and our God, my body was soon resting on the couch and through mercy had sound sleep until 4 or 5 by which time we had arrived off Suez. We did not stay here many minutes but proceeded through the gulf and are now well into the Red Sea. There appear to be about 50 saloon passengers and among them the bishop of Bombay who gave me a salutation this morning – but have not come to close quarters with him yet. And now this brings me to up to date and I dare say the jottings will be of some interest to all the home hearts – I wrote Henry a long letter from Gibraltar enclosing one for Mr Haltan-Turner - have not heard from him a reply and am thinking whether my letter has miscarried. D.V. we expect to reach Aden next Tuesday where I shall leave this letter for next homeward mail – we passed the Clyde again yesterday returning to London and she signalled to us that the monsoon was all over in the Indian Ocean which we were all glad to know.
Red Sea Sept 17th
I am thankful to have got on so far with my letter before we got into the very hot weather as for the last 2 days it has been terrible for us and still more so for the poor fellows having to work at the fires where the heat was 140 – you can imagine what the intensity of it is when I tell you that the temperature of the water in the Red Sea was 90. All were obliged to sleep on deck last night and the night before and this was not pleasant on account of the dripping dew. However we are thankful to get a little breeze this morning and the Captain says we have now passed the worst of it. We expect to reach Aden tomorrow were I drop this letter and hope it may be cooler for us in the Indian Ocean. I should like to have written to dear Arundel & Harry but they must excuse it for the present – you will be able to let them read this which must suffice for them too.
The heat has kept us all very quiet – to sit still was the only thing we could do, so that I have not met with any kindred spirits as yet, nor have I felt in any mood to seek them, but have much enjoyed going through dear Mr Darby's notes on the Gospel of John. How his heart delighted in Christ and how wonderfully the Holy Ghost took of His things and shewed them to him not only for his own soul's sustainment and delight, but that he might minister again to the whole church of God. Trust all the dear brethren at Ilfracombe are well – please give my very kind love to them each. I know they will continue to pray for me. Suppose Harry has removed to London by this time – trust God may preserve them in every way and bless them in their souls. Hope dear Harriett is continuing to mend and that all the dear little ones are well. And now my beloved Angee I must bring this to a close and D.V. my next will be from Bombay – trust you are keeping well and with much love to dear Arundel & Harriett, dear Harry and Emma and many kisses for the dear children – love also to dear Eunice who I hope is better, Eliza and Mr Robertshaw – Mary and Martha and to dear Albert if he should be with you and to your dear self believe me my dearly beloved wife.
Being very affectionate Husband.