1886-87 - USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt
March 30th, 1887
My Beloved Angee,
There are plenty of mails to England from these parts - 7 every month and so you shall have all the comfort a letter can afford to cheer you up in the absence of your beloved husband, who will be heartily glad I can assure you to put his foot in his own house at Ilfracombe once more. Have been plodding away at the work here for now nearly a week and expect to be successful in this, as in all other places I have visited. My strength is put to the test day by day and while some of the merchants are red hot perfectionists and would hardly allow me to breathe the air without a tax, so intolerant is the spirit of many, yet I ﬁnd some who are more reasonable and when they see the superiority of my goods over colonial manufacture, give me good orders. Melbourne is a very ﬁne city, beautifully laid out, with a very perfect system of cable cars (tram ways) running all over the place so that it is easy to get about. I am staying at a large coffee palace called the "Grand Hotel" beautifully situated on the top of a hill close to the Government buildings. My sitting room, (a splendid room where I have got my samples laid out) costs 10/- per day - bedroom £1 - per week. No extra charge for mosquitoes by night. There is a ﬁrst class restaurant where I get my food on the basis of paying for what you have. This morning I had a good rump steak and fried potatoes, 2 cups coffee and bread and butter and libitum - the charge 1/6 - very cheap you will say. They give a splendid dinner 3 courses for 2/6 including a bottle of ginger ale. No wine or beer sold, but I keep a bottle of whisky in my sitting room which I have to send out for. Was very much surprised a few days ago to meet Willie Carn outside my hotel door - in great distress not having had any food for 2 or 3 days - looking the picture of desolation and misery. He was surprised to see me as I was to see him and says he had no idea of my being here, looks quite an old man and no wonder for his life it appears for some time past has been of a vagrant character - I fear a drunkard, it was very sorrowful to see him and to remember his beloved mother. He says he has recently walked overland from Sydney. He had a long letter written to Charlotte but had not money enough to buy a stamp. Sometimes gets a job to deliver a few bills about the streets or to clean windows - anything indeed. I had no idea he was in such a position.
Have just had a call from Mr. Albert LeSonet, a son of the late Mr. LeSonet of Crediton, a very dear young fellow with a good position in the print here. His heart was very tender and still bleeding for sorrow at the loss of his dear Father and in sympathy with his beloved and widowed mother. One of the young Ramsden's is living near him, about 27 miles in the country, and will be here during the Easter meetings so that I shall hope to see him. Had a letter a few days ago from a gentleman called Moon residing here for last 17 years, but formerly living in England and travelling for a ﬁrst class ﬁrm the leather trade and 20 years ago well known to me. It appears he noticed my card a day or two ago in one of the merchants offices where I had called and was not a little surprised to ﬁnd me in these parts, so wrote me at the Hotel saying he had been looking that day at my photo and house in Victoria Road, Barnstaple which I had given him and would be glad to see me - while on the way to his ofﬁce yesterday I met him and we soon recognised each other.
There is a large gathering here and the brethren seem very nice and fresh - the meeting on Lord's day morning was very happy I thought and we had a good time in the evening room well ﬁlled and D.V. I preach again next Lord's day - I go to Williamstown for the gospel tonight – a large town in Hobson Bay about 12 miles by rail. They come from all parts for 3 or 4 days meetings during the Easter holiday and I expect to be here over that time so that I shall probably meet a good many. Was sorry not to get a letter from Harry by the last mail should have been glad to have had a line from him to know how he gets on with the work but I trust all continues to go on satisfactorily.
I ﬁnd the British India steamers sail from Sydney on the 22nd of each month for Brisbane and leading ports to Singapore and fear there is not much chance of my getting to Sydney in time for the April ship - if I go over to Tasmania as I am proposing to and to Adelaide after ﬁnishing Melbourne it will be keeping me busy to get away from Sydney by the May steamer so that I should not reach Singapore until ﬁrst week in June - P.F.Co. their last letters say a good deal about Calcutta and Bombay, but I do not think it would be wise of me to attempt to visit India in the height of summer and my mind is made up now, so far as I am able to judge to return straight home from Singapore even if I have to suffer the heat of the Red Sea - of course I am very thankful for every reason that the Lord has so graciously prospered me in the business hitherto, but I know what a sore trial it has been for you and therefore am getting anxious, in a right way too, about home and greatly desiring to see all your dear faces once more, after such a world wide travel. If P.F.Co. think it will answer their purpose to send me off again to continue the travels, you must go with me and we can give up our house for a little while. It is very hot here just now, much more so than it was in the South Island of New Zealand, but through mercy am in good health. So cheer up a bit, for it won't be long now before we see each other again. The Lord grant you to prove the consolations of His love – we can indeed sing "How good is the God we adore - We'll praise Him for all that is past and trust Him for all that's to come". Much love once more to all dear ones and to yourself my dearly beloved wife and believe me my dearest Angee.
Your very affectionate Husband