Malta, Egypt, India, Burma…
February 12th, 1888
Bay of Bengal, on board British India S.S. "Reva"
My Beloved Angee,
I wrote you a few lines before leaving Calcutta and there is the possibility of this reaching you from Madras by same post. Young Mr Monteath has kindly invited me to dine with them on Friday evening and I had all things ready to leave the Hotel about 5 and so got on board the steamer with my cabin baggage and left Lazarus in charge and then went to Mr Monteath's. Dear Mr Biss very kindly called there for me about 9 with a carriage and drove me to the ship and thus gave expression to the brotherly love of his heart and I then realised that I was once more on board that was to leave at 6.30 the following morning. Did not get much sleep as the noise kept up all the night, but was thankful to have got on board early as it was a great crush and confusion in the morning. The River Hooghy, at Calcutta, is one of many branches of the Ganges running into the Bay of Bengal and is an exceedingly dangerous one, on account of the swiftness with which the water flows. It is 125 miles long and when 40 miles down we anchored for the night until 7 this morning and now at 3 in the afternoon we are just getting out to sea. About 2 hours after starting from Calcutta we had a very narrow escape from a collision with another large steamer and about 2 hours after this we came to a sharp bend of the river which is considered a very dangerous point. We noticed a large steamer coming up and it was evident we should meet and be very near each other – in a few moments our whistle sounded out although it was broad day light and as we neared it became clear enough there must be a collision and it was a fearful moment of suspense for us. Our ship it appears had reversed her engines and was going full speed astern but this did not have much influence against the mighty current that was carrying us down. Our pilot was shouting to the other steamer to go full-steam ahead but while all this was going on we struck her on the quarter and cut some 20 or 30 feet of her side clean away, making the most appalling crash and leaving several of her cabins all exposed to view. Portmanteaus, bedding and their contents all falling into the sea. We hope there were no passengers in them at the time. The steamer belongs to the same company and after a minute or two went on and we proceeded on our voyage with no damage sufficient to require a stop.
I was much frightened but soon recognised another mercy of God to the very long list His goodness has already filled up. Have had a very quiet day so far and need some rest and am not sorry to get on board a steamer again, although we are very full.
(Wedding Day) Feb 14th – Tuesday evening
We have had a beautiful passage this far and I have really enjoyed the rest and am feeling all the better for it. D.V. the Captain expects to reach Madras at daylight in the morning and we have all been made sensible that our course is southerly by the rise in temperature. Lazarus has got my white clothing ready again, but I am careful about changing too quickly. I think the "Rewa" is the most comfortable ocean ship I have ever voyaged in and every cabin is filled. The Governor of Madras and his wife are among the passengers and one of my cabin companions is a young clergyman and a dear Godly fellow.