Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
January 14th, 1889
On board S.S. "Alan Drummond", Bay of Bengal, Jan. 14th 1889
My Beloved Angee,
I wrote you before leaving Madras last Friday fearing we should not arrive in Calcutta early enough for next week's mail but as there is a probability of reaching in time thought I may as well let you have the benefit of another letter. I think if I stayed in Madras much longer I should have been ill, so it was no small relief to me to get on board this ship. I was rather perplexed to know by which steamer to take a passage as there were two in the harbour a French boat beside this one – however I went to the French agent to take a ticket as this boat left some hours before the other and even asked for a ticket but before the agent had commenced filling it up I seemed impressed with a feeling to go by the "Clan" boat and so left the office saying I would wait a bit. Well eventually I paid my passage by the steamer I am now on board and have found it exceedingly comfortable in every way and the rest and the ocean breeze have greatly refreshed me. There are about a dozen saloon passengers and one of them a gentleman a few years senior shares a cabin with me – he is called Master – has been over thirty years in Madras holding a high position in the Government and best of all is a believer – he is a great friend of the late General Dobbie and also of his widow and curiously enough his children are under the care of a gentleman living at Apsley Terrace – the first house our end I think. It has been a great comfort for each of us and he seemed like one thirsting for spiritual food – he is a fine gentlemanly person and I hear is "The Honourable" but I do not see it on any of his boxes. He is now retiring from the service and returning to England next month. We had a nice time together last evening in prayer, and early again this morning in speaking of the truth together. Our Captain is an interesting man too and in conversation with him found he had been in Australia and knew Mr Le Sonef there with whom I spent a day and whose son was recently married at Ealing. The Captain is called Harrison and leaves nothing undone in his power to contribute to the comfort of his passengers. We have the usual mixture of nationalities on board – only a few English who are as indifferent of God and His manifested love as is possible.
It has been a real comfort and mercy to have a child of God to share my cabin, but apart from the intercourse with him have not felt much drawing to any other and felt the gracious Lord was giving what I really needed and that is rest both for the mind and body. We have had delightful weather so far and in a few hours more we hope to reach the lightship at the mouth of the Hooglie River where we take on our pilot.
There are two gentlemen on board who have just come down from China and Japan and they have given me a lot of useful information about those countries where I shall please God soon be now. Shall hope to get last week's letters on arrival at Calcutta tomorrow but shall have to post this before they are to hand – I do trust they will contain favourable reports to dear Harriett's health – I was grieved to hear that she has been so poorly again. The Lord bless and preserve you all and now with much love to you all again also Eunice and Eliza and Mr Robertshaw and to your dear self believe me my dearest Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband
Calcutta River Jan. 15th
We are nearing the City of Palaces and in a few hours more shall be landed D.V. – The voyage has been very pleasant and the rest and refreshment very acceptable. I was rather amused last night in conversation with Mr Master to find that I was the senior by a year – I judged him to be 7 or 10 years older. His wife is some relation to the late Mr Deck and he knows all the Wigram family and a good many of the very old brethren. He seems very simple-minded as a Christian, although a fine man as a man and I see by a Calcutta paper the Pilot has brought on board that the Government of Madras speaks very highly of his ability and character as a member of the Government. We had a nice time together in prayer last night and it has been a mutual comfort and joy to us to have spent a few days together, and I trust it was the Lord's own ordering our being thus brought together. It is probable that he may visit Ilfracombe soon and may call upon you – once more the Lord bless you my beloved wife and all our dear children.
Calcutta – 30th
Letters with Eliza and Emma's and one from Arundel just received – all well.