1886-87 - USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt
November 22nd, 1886
On returning to the hotel from the meeting last night I called at the Telegraph Office and sent the message asking for all your photos also those of the biscuit stands adding all well. This morning just after breakfast 9.25 your reply was received "all well photos follow" - is it not marvellous that thus we can salute one another although separated by such a distance. Came to this city on Friday evening - it is a busy place and more like Chicago than many of the southern cities - was very much taken up with its appearance on entering it and there is one very ﬁrst rate concern here in the Grocery way - as ﬁne a shop as I have seen in America – I called upon them on Saturday morning and had a good reception making an appointment for this morning - hope I may be able to sell a nice parcel. Our number at the meeting yesterday morning was the larger one mentioned Matthew 18 - "3" but the one in the midst was very precious to our hearts. We had a reading in the evening when our numbers had dwindled. On Saturday afternoon I visited a brother and his wife living about 15 miles in the country and had quite a little experience of an American farmer and his mode of life - our brother is called Prim and has recently taken a second wife from Dublin who is a second cousin.
The farm was about 3 miles from the Depot across a river where a very primitive ﬂat bottom ferry boat was kept. The road or rather the track to the farm was about the roughest piece of road I ever witnessed in my life and me I should not care to move a step on after dark. Parracombe Hill is nothing to it, only not so long. Well after going through ﬁelds and tracks I reached the farm and Mr. & Mrs. Prim were very glad to have a visit from a bro. and I trust they were refreshed in their souls. The house would have amused you - I think with some wood and a few tools I could build a greatly superior one in a week - holes or cracks big enough to put your hands through in the walls which are stopped with mud in the winter - I fancy if Mrs. P. had seen the dwellings before consenting to the marriage, she would have said no - there was an upstair room in which the snow comes through in the winter months, in such a manner as to require shovelling out again. They pressed me to stay the night but I was anxious not to stay too late remembering the sort of road I had to travel back and the river to cross again. Their buggy carriage was away and he lent me a horse to ride and sent his nephew a nice youth about 20 to accompany me on another. You would have smiled to see me trying to mount the horse and many times in vain because my weight was too great for the girth which would not keep the saddle on the horses' back but turned round - then Mrs Prim brought out a chair - this I tried in vain for we could not keep the horse quiet while I was getting ﬁxed - at length the horse was brought over by the side of a Wagon so that I could stride the saddle easily and at last got fairly seated and my companion and I started. We soon reached the river in safety and my horse returned home with his companion and I had about half a mile to reach the Depot. It was very dark by the time I reached the station and every step had to be taken with great care to keep from falling.
Our train was late and I had to wait there nearly 2 hours - there were about a dozen rough farmering looking young men in the little room sitting around the ﬁre and the Lord put it into my heart to preach the gospel to them, so I commenced with the word "what shall it proﬁt a man if he gain the whole word and lose his own soul" and got their attention in a very marked way - as a stranger would now and then enter some of them would hold their hands to be quiet, so intensely did they seem interested in the simple tale of God's love in the gift of His son - it was quite an interesting time for nearly an hour - a few of them knew I had been over to see farmer Prim of whom they spoke very nicely - saying he was a real Christian man and so was his wife. I doubt not that some of those precious souls heard life giving words in that little waiting room, and the day will make it manifest. The station master was with us too for some time.
Shall be reaching Pittsburgh tomorrow evening I expect and shall stay just one night and then go to Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, but hardly expect to do much business now as nearly all have laid in their stocks for Xmas, but shall call and show samples so as to prepare the way for orders on my next visit. Through mercy my health is very good and I feel very happy about the work altogether and shall enjoy the visit to California and Australia. By going now I shall escape the winter too. The Lord preserve us each one and in His goodness and mercy grant that we may be spared to see one another's faces again perhaps in about May next. I can hardly realise it often that my path is to be round the world. I feel the ﬁrm show me a great honour thus to conﬁde in me for such a task.
Shall be able to enquire about cable rates from Australia but I expect they will be higher than from the U.S. and we may not be able to hear quite so often as from America. The mail service however is good and I will write you often so that you may not be without the comfort a letter may minister. Have had two turns at this note through the day and now take it up to close - we have had a regular November day - dark - close and pouring rain and I have had a regular hard day's work but am very thankful not without good results - 3 splendid orders which I have just cabled, costing £2.12.0 - goods wanted for Xmas. One large man said no to me this morning and after I had opened with others I called again and booked the best general order I have taken yet. For His mercy endureth for ever. Got down to the prayer meeting for an hour this evening - it was a very happy though a very small one.
God bless you my dearly beloved wife and our dear children and grandchildren. With much love to you and to them all believe me.
Being affectionate Husband.