Gibraltar, India, Malta
March 2nd, 1890
Bombay, Lord's Day
My Beloved Angee,
This is generally a day for writing you, so I will begin my letter although the mail does not leave until the 7th. Tomorrow will bring the next English mail so may expect one from you at least, but must hardly look for such a special batch as I had last week. Have just returned from the morning meeting, a much smaller company than in Ilfracombe one is made to feel weakness indeed in India but it is far more worth to God than all the vanity[?] of man's religion, most of which is to gratify his own senses and that is a very different character of thing to a few poor sinners who have been saved by grace through faith – made right by Christ's blood and finding through grace access by one Spirit to the Father – to have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. One dear brother called Phillips was not able to come this morning being obliged as our engineer to attend to something special on board a steamer and Mr Mackrow who is very nice in his spirit takes very little part in the meetings. We were all of us glad to use a fan this morning it was so hot and I am told that March is a very unhealthy month here on account of the hot winds and there is much sickness on every hand. Something like this influenza epidemic has appeared. Poor Lazarus was very poorly with fever yesterday so I sent him home – he came this morning again poor fellow saying he was much better but looked so ill that I sent him home again and trust he may soon be well. The natives cannot stand much, they are soon down and suffer much from fever and any prevailing epidemic. He is so accustomed to all my ways and wants and so willing, ready and cheerful that I really do not know what I should do without him and the little taste of it in the North a few weeks ago made me feel the misery of being without such a help. I am thinking of you now and all the worry and trouble connected with a removal to another house and trust you may have found a real helper too as I am sure you will need it. Shall be glad to hear what sort of a house it is inside – the exterior of course I know, but know nothing about the rooms. Tell me how many and of what character are on the first floor that is over the kitchens and how many upstairs. I hope there is one good large room downstairs and one good large bedroom upstairs and that there is one either upstairs or down that you can give to me for my private use. If the person taking 10 Oxford Park is disposed to take any carpets or fixtures or gas fittings you will of course sell them at a valuation – would sell them cheap, that is to say, two thirds of cost. You have not mentioned it but I suppose Emmie will still live with us although I dare say she will feel as you will too being separated from Eliza. However, it will be a little change for Mr Robertshaw and her to come in for a day or two sometimes as it will be for you to visit them. God our Father has promised to make all things work together for good to them that love Him, so that as loving Him because He first loved us we may expect good out of it. And what He calls good is good indeed and like Himself Who is good and doeth good.
Packing up day has come once more and it is getting very much like a change of house – I move on to Poona in a few hours where I may rest over the Lord's day as there is a gathering there. Have enjoyed the time here amongst the saints and been with them every evening and this has been a very real blessing and cheer to us mutually. We sang 31 in the Appendix at dear Mackrow's tent last night to finish up with and commended ourselves to God and His gracious fatherly love and care in once more separating.
Have had some encouragement in the business too for which I am thankful although I feel there is some truth in your remarks about our juniors - it was a great blunder ever to have let Mr Mead out of the business – his experience would have been a valuable factor to have retained to work and guide with all the new forces brought in of late. We are spending too much on decorations and rather neglecting the intrinsic quality which is more important than anything else. The native dealer as a rule has not more appreciation of all our pretty labels than an ox would have and will invariably select the old ones that we have been using from the commencement of the business. But the young Stones' are very kind to me – Mr Raepstone writes me by last mail on business matters and signs at the foot "with kindest regards – your very truly" – this of course is satisfactory to feel supported at home as the work is no sinecure – Harry was saying in his last letter that he would collapse altogether if he were on it.
Well, in spite of it all I can sing This far by grace preserved and this has greater meaning in this land of corruption and satan's power than amid all the comforts of English life. It is said this Influenza has appeared here in a mild form – the sickness in Bombay at the present moment is very great – some say one half of the population. I have been preserved in good health through mercy, but now the hot weather has set in again. My back is well covered with prickly heat and you would be amazed to see Lazarus with the powder and puff every morning after my bath. I am thankful he is a little better this morning and I hope the change to Poona may help him – the poor fellow has a very bad cough which the natives sometimes get with fever. Your last welcome letter dated on the eve of the anniversary of our 35th wedding day was received on Tuesday last. It is a long time indeed and I often feel that no child of God amid all the myriads that will surround that worthy lamb in Heavenly glory will be able to sing of His boundless love and mercy as I can – to Him be all the praise for all that care and love, goodness and mercy He has so liberally bestowed upon us my beloved wife and to our dear children now bought with the same bundle[?] of eternal life and glory. And since our souls have known His love, what mercies has He made us prove, mercies which all our praise excel, Our Jesus hath done all things well. While writing this verse dear Mrs Mackrow has sent over a card inviting me to breakfast at 9.30 but have had to be excused having to write the mail before leaving for Poona. Am very thankful to hear dear Arundel has been raised up again and hope he may have strength given to him for many duties in business – thankful to hear the dear children are well too. Give my kind love to Eliza and Mr Robertshaw and I trust as the spring opens up they may both get stronger again. I do not yet know whether you have to leave Oxford Park at Lady day or Midsummer.
Well my beloved Angee I do give thanks with you for all our Father's love and goodness to us for the thirty five years just passed and for many even before that. We are in His good hands and have proved Him together, so we can truly sing and will trust Him for all that's to come.
Much love to dear Arundel and Harry and all their dear children, dear Emma and Emmie and all our dear friends and once more to your dear self and believe me my dearest Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband