United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, France
July 28th, 1899
My Beloved Angee,
Landed here this Saturday morning at 10.30 from Launceston Tasmania and on my way to the hotel called at the P.O. for the budget of letters awaiting me – the assistant soon responded to the enquiry and handed me a bundle of letters tied together with seven other parcels from P.F. – a pretty good mail altogether.
After getting fixed up as the Americans call it and a fire started in my sitting room your always welcome letters were opened first – some of them pretty fat, containing the dear children's congratulations on my birthday anniversary. Your letters are dated June 8, 15 & 22 and all addressed P.O. Melbourne and rightly stamped this time.
Was very sorry to hear that you had been feeling so poorly but very glad to find from a letter of later date that you had called in Dr Fognett[?] and that you were feeling so much better – trust the improvement will be maintained. Sorry to hear of poor Bessie Hobbs illness – it is very sad for her and her sister and I pray that God might in His infinite compassion, "for He knoweth our frame and remembereth that we are dust" be pleased to look in His great pity upon them in their affliction. How very distressing for poor William Gammon – dear fellow – the Lord look upon him and & his dear wife and children who must feel it very much.
Some of his family have been mentally afflicted if I mistake not – he has looked strange about the eyes for some time past.
Hope dear Bunnie's[?] sickness is nothing more than a bilious upset & that is bad enough while it lasts – the change to Barnstaple will do them both good I trust and yourself too – the papers refer to the great heat wave passing over England – here it is in reverse – very cold and often very wet and windy. When the cold prevails one desires the warm weather and when this comes one wishes for cold again.
Two of the dear brethren came to the Bluff – (the last N.Z. port) from Invercargil about 18 miles to see me off by the Hobart steamer. It was intensely cold and blowing half a gale yet they remained on the wharf until the steamer moved away waving their hands. The Lord had given us a real time of blessing together. Contrary to all expectation instead of a stormy passage we had a very fine one and moored alongside the wharf at Hobart soon after Sunday midnight but did not land until Monday morning. My business was through by Tuesday night and I left by early train on Wednesday morning for Launceston, a 6 hours ride by express – work all cleared up there by Friday morning so that I was able to take the afternoon steamer for Melbourne. On Thursday the weather was bad and there was every appearance of a stormy passage across the Bass's Straits.
The weather reports were rather gloomy too – warning all shipping of an approaching storm striking the Tasmanian coast. I bought my passage on the Thursday and but few had then engaged births, fearing the weather and I must confess my poor heart trembled at the prospect but a word came home to my mind – "he that regardeth the clouds shall not sow" so I had to cast myself upon the almighty one who was stronger than the storm – contrary to all expectation Friday morning came very fine – the wind had gone down through the night – 40 passengers more were booked and the sea across to Melbourne was like a mill pond. The company gave me a nice cabin for my own use. So you see the goodness and mercy that follows along the path.
P.F's business was very good in Tasmania as well as N.Z. Except in South Africa I have never done so much business for them in any part of the world. The people here and in Tasmania have all been crazey[sic] over this Federation scheme for the last 2 or 3 days and I am not quite sure how it will affect our business in Australia – should Tariffs be raised it will be prejudiced, but time will show.
Am glad to hear our little cottage and gardens are looking so clean and nice and hope you and others may enjoy it – the flowering time will be over I am afraid before my eyes rest upon it again – if the business is encouraging will make the best of it but if not shall not waste any time over it and this will hasten my return. Am glad to hear dear Lizzie is better – you must send Nellie a present of some sort for both of us – perhaps a cheque for £5 – would be as useful as anything but you will be the best judge – I will drop Albert a line for his kindness in writing to you. The mail does not leave until next Wednesday so shall D.V. add a little more to this before closing.
Monday July 31
The day's work over and a little time on hand to add a few more jottings to your letter. It was a real comfort to meet around the Lord's table y'day and to eat the Lord's supper calling His death to remembrance or rather Himself in it – the Prince of Life. My Whittaker has let his house furnished since my last visit and has taken another with a farm attached some 9 miles from Melbourne not on the railway so that he has to drive to and fro. Another leading brother resides on the rail about 7 miles distant and their houses are about 2 miles apart. Mrs Whittaker returned with Mr Truttenden[?] to dinner and I returned with Mr Whittaker – the drive was through a beautiful country and the carriage was a very comfortable one. After dinner and a nice rest we drove over to the other brother's to tea and in the evening sat down with others who had come around the word – reading the last chapter in the Revelation. Mr & Mrs Whittaker then returned together and I came back to Melbourne by train – the day was very fine.
So you see through the Lord's mercy I am given the comfort of fellowship and hospitality of the choicest kind.
Today I have been plodding away among the merchants and making some appointments – have had some special work too in making enquiries of shippers of Australian produce to South Africa for P.F.&Co. who are becoming general produce merchants there. Called upon Shapland & Petter's representative too and had half an hour's talk with him. So altogether have had quite a busy day, especially so far as talking is concerned but trust some fruit will be brought forth in the way of orders, later on.
This is a vast country and I hardly know how to work it or where to begin first – if I go West and South Adelaide is 500 miles – Perth & Freemantle 1200 beyond that & then must return over the same ground again to this place before going to Sydney and Queensland. Am hoping P.F. may say something about So. Africa by the mail due tomorrow as if they do not wish me to call there on my way home it would be better for me to return via Frisco or Vancouver altho' I do not much relish 38 below zero which I should probably encounter in crossing the C.P.R. route – shall hope to receive another letter from you before posting this so will say good night my beloved Angee and the Lord bless you with peace.
Aug. 1st 1899
Your letters are dropping in regularly again now that Australia is reached – yours dated June 29 has just been delivered – hope mine may be reaching you in the same way – I know there was a long break during my voyage across the Pacific – am glad to find dear Mildred has returned and hope she may soon recover the lost weight of 5lb again – on removing your neatly folded letter from the envelope your firm writing struck me – it looks as strong as it did forty years ago – sometimes it looks a little shaky – I will make all possible haste in finishing you may rely upon it and for your sake too my dearest Angee – I quite understand all that you experience in your solitude and when I think of it the only way I can reconcile myself to it is that it is a path I never sought – but one which seems to have opened for me by God's own ordering who has hitherto so graciously cared for us both and whose mercy endureth for ever. It will be an expensive job for Albert to fit out the girls on their marriage – trust they will make good wives and good mothers and good grandmothers and have partners to match.
Have had my old friends Messrs. Fletcher & Chester in to see my samples this morning and they are making up a good order, so that I have made a start. The Lord sustain your patience and multiply his comforts to your heart and mind my dearest Angee and with much love to your dear self and all our loved ones believe me ever.
Being very affectionate Husband