1886-87 - USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt


January 14th, 1887

Palace Hotel, San Francisco

I can quite understand all that you were feeling when you wrote your letter, on Christmas Eve, I am sure but for the grace of God and His sustaining mercy that I should long ago have sunk down in despair at the thought of being so far away from you all. I am very glad you had the dear children down as I know what a disappointment it would have been to them and now that I am on the point of leaving this country I shall begin very soon to count the weeks when I may in the mercy of God hope to look into your dear face once more and all our dear children – I quite hope to reach England by end of March or April. P.F. Co. leave all to my discretion and I do not think therefore of touching China or Japan but after working New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia shall make for Singapore.

Since I left they have appointed an agent for the Cape so that there is not the need of my visit that at first existed and unless they give me orders at Singapore to return by the way of the Cape I should take a P & O steamer through Suez and get home more quickly. I dare say you will have written me to Melbourne where I expect to reach by end of February or beginning of March - you must write me on receipt of this to Singapore, but I think the best thing to do will be to send the letter written and enveloped on thin paper to P.F.Co. for forwarding to me and I will ask them to write you and say on what day they mail me to Singapore.

Now that I have got acclimatised to this climate am beginning to enjoy it and through mercy feeling in good health - have had a very interesting time with the saints here nearly every night, and they have been greatly refreshed. My steamer sails on Sunday afternoon now instead of Saturday as the mails she carries are delayed between this and New York for which she has to wait. I have a splendid deck cabin all to myself so far and am looking forward with pleasure to the trip to Honolulu and Auckland, about 22 days steam. The weather here is just like our July and the beautiful gardens and flowers and green shrubs give no idea of winter - I went out to the seal rocks last Saturday with Mr. Smith's 3 boys and enjoyed the beautiful scenery there and around the Golden State. You can hardly conceive what a joy my visit has been to dear Sidney Smith his wife and children - I am going over to tea with them this afternoon and taking over a bundle of my stockings which Mrs. S will darn for me.

Have done a splendid business here. One of the chief merchants with whom I have done invited me to dine last evening and would not accept any refusal - he is reputed to be worth many millions and I should judge so from his home or rather mansion, the like of which I never saw before - his lady was a nice motherly person and came and took my arm on leaving the drawing room for the dining room and they seem to worship anything English. I only consented to go provided they would allow me to leave at 7.30 and at this hour although the coffee was not yet passed round I retired and got to the room at 8 where I had promised to speak - felt at home here and the Lord gave us a very blessed time. There were only 3 or 4 others invited but the style - they called it full dressed I called it half dressed. I only heard of poor Sir Stafford's[1] death at dinner. Salisbury[2] appears to have served him badly - too honest I expect for the present complications and intrigues of European politics. I hope they will keep the peace until my return as I have no desire to add to my many new experiences, that of being a prisoner of war.

A few nights ago we had a very sharp earthquake shock - I woke up rather startled on finding my bed dancing rather lively - however I did not get up but soon went off to sleep again. I expect to be in New Zealand D.V by about February 5 - about the time this letter will probably reach you - God bless you my dearest wife and with much love to you and all our beloved children and grandchildren, Eunice & Eliza and Mr. R believe me once more.

Being very affectionate Husband

P.F.Co advise me that they sent a cake to my home also a cheque for £50 to you and same to Arundel.

I shall D.V. post you a letter from Honolulu which you will probably get a few weeks after this.


[1] Sir Stafford Northcote (1818-1887).

[2] Prime Minister 1986-1892.

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