Malta, Egypt, India, Burma…

February 6th, 1888

Calcutta, India

My Beloved Angee,

It was such a cheer to get your last dear letter and all the interesting home news, even to Daisy's sewing in the button to her shoe – you would be rather amused I expect to see me doing a little job of sewing sometimes and that splendid bag of odds and ends you packed up for me has come in very useful now and then.  Mr Biss and I have just returned from the railway station seeing dear Mr and Mrs Monteith off (9.30 pm).  One son, who is married, has been here some few years and a younger one came out with his father and mother on their recent visit here and remains here in the same office with his brother, so that the dear fellow has tasted the first parting and it was very touching to see them bidding farewell.  They are a lovely family andI have received much kindness from them all and it has been a time of refreshing for all the saints here in which I have had a good share. Mr Biss is a nice simple brother and a Mr Wait and his wife, indeed all of them are very nice and it is generally just as our hearts get drawn to one another that I have to pack up and move on. D.V. I purpose leaving here on Saturday by steamer for Madras and a gentleman staying in the hotel also a traveller is going by the same boat, so that it will be comfortable for both.  My journey through India has been a very rapid one and when speaking sometimes of the distant points I have touched, others are surprised that I have got through it so quickly.  Have not had much holiday time anywhere – I did have a few hours last Saturday morning, a gentleman and his wife giving me a drive 5 or 6 miles to their botanical gardens in which is the largest banyan tree in the world.  The gardens were very fine covering many miles of ground and on one side bounded by the river Ganges and on the opposite side is the Palace of the late King of Onde.[?]   I quite enjoyed the few hours in the country and only regretted that we had not brought some Tiffin and remained for the day.

February 7th, 1888 early morning

A good night's rest through mercy and raised up once more refreshed in body and mind to enter upon the duties of another day – my work will be mostly writing as it is a mail day and I have a good batch of orders to send home I am thankful to say.  The weather is just perfection here now but the temperature is gradually rising and I dare say before reaching Madras next week which lies a good deal south of Calcutta I shall have to take up the white clothing again.  If I had been an old Indian traveller I could not have had a better outfit than I brought with me – clothing suited to the extremes I have met with both of heat and cold and temperate.  The marks upon my clothing often remind me of the loving hands and hearts that helped to make all so comfortable.  The Lord comfort your heart my dearly beloved wife – how good He has been to us in so wonderfully preserving amid many perils and He will preserve us even to the end.

In PF&Co's last letter I judged there was some little doubt in their mind about my going to China – it would be great joy to me if their next mail advised a homeward bound course, although I am willing to go on  if the Lord so wills it.

They have only once referred to Mr. Raepston's visit to the States and that on his arrival in New York – I should have been glad to hear how he got on with the work.  I suppose they sent a cake this year – indeed they sent one last year too, but it miscarried or was stolen and they wished I had mentioned its non delivery earlier so that enquiry might have been made. I was hoping to have visited Darjeeling – a day's journey from this place up the Himalaya mountains but the place is covered with snow as well as being very cold and it would keep me here another week, so that all things considered I have decided to leave it for the present. Was very glad dear Harry returned on the Monday to his work and had to deny himself the pleasure of being home at Arundel's party and trip around the world. I commenced work on Monday too at Delhi and took four splendid orders before Tiffin from native merchant, so Harry will see that Father was not holiday keeping any more than himself. I do hope we will strive to meet all P.F. & Co.'s wishes on the various referations they deem it good to make and I am sure it was high time to have a change in the government as the trade at home was getting rather drowsy and in other parts of the world it had fallen into a deep sleep as in India., except our People's Mixed[1], all our goods just dropped out of the market. No business like P.F.&Co's can ever be kept going as it might to without real hard work and it must come upon somebody's shoulders. It will be a splendid training for Harry, the like of which he has never before had and I do trust he may go on with it cheerfully doing it from his heart and God will take care of him. You will have heard of my arrival in Madras and perhaps Burma before this reaches you as the cable messages weekly goes over the head of the 2 or 3 letters that are generally in transit. Shall be glad to hear of dear Mr Robertshaw's progress and hope he continues in good health.

Give all my darling children lots of kisses for dear Grandpa – how glad I should be to see all their dear faces at Ilfracombe – Mr & Mrs Shapland, Miss Wilkins, dear Gant Blackmore and such, and all at the meeting – also dear Eliza and Emmie. Glad dear Emma is a little better and now with much love to your dear self and all our dear children and grandchildren – Mrs Hardie and daughters &c &c. Believe me my dearest Angee.

Being very affectionate Husband


[1] A variety of biscuits.

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