Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
January 6th, 1889
Madras, India: Lord's day
My Beloved Angee,
My last was from Calicut on the 31st of December and for the evening of that day a watch night service was announced to be held at the Church of England mission room and Mr Garthwaite pressed me to conduct the service which I did not feel free to do – the clergyman was away and Mr G. was not well enough to stand the fatigue of so late a meeting. I consented if left free to preach the gospel as on Lord's day morning so at 10.30 pm I went to the room which was very full – a nice Christian man the station master was the only brother of any weight and he came out and wished me to conduct the meeting and again I had to refuse and to him plainly the only thing I was free and happy to do was to preach the gospel – he then said that he would first read a prayer and I besought him if it was on his heart to say that he would do so without a form – he had never prayed extempore so I urged him to begin to do so that night so he did after we had sung a hymn and I assure you it did my soul good to hear him, so simple and yet with so much spiritual intelligence – to this I could most happily add my amen! The Lord gave me much liberty in speaking and there was great interest – His coming for those who look for Him was much on my heart and the fearful position of a dead professor on finding himself left behind for judgement. There were many of the Lord's sealed ones present with whom I had conversation after and many, I trust may have been awakened. I spoke until about 3 minutes to 12 and during this time we were all bowed before the Lord in silent prayer and searching of heart and a public clock very near gave its testimony that the last moments of 1888 had come and gone for ever. The dear station master gave out a nice suitable hymn which was sung most impressively and he again prayed most earnestly that the words they had heard may be remembered and blessed to every hearer of them. Mr Hare the young gentleman referred to in my last came in with another young fellow in full dress a few minutes after I commenced – he knew of the meeting and told me he should never have come but had been invited out to dine – so I was glad to see him and his friend come in. Well it was a happy time and Hare and I had a nice talk together at the hotel afterward before retiring to rest about 1. One of Mr Garthforth's sisters was present, the one living at Trichinopoly – the other, Mrs Gosling was at home with her husband who is sick and sent a message to me desiring that I could pray for him – I saw them all at his house a few hours before going to the meeting. I left Calicut the next morning at 7.15 and found the station master in a nice mind – thankful for the word and wanting more of it.
I travelled that day to Erode Junction arriving soon after 6pm and had to wait until 7 the next morning for a train to Trichinopoly – the company provide a few beds for any passing travellers – reached Trichinopoly on Wednesday about 3pm and Rana and I started off to the Bazaar but happily to find that a P.F.&Co. mark was reigning supreme from one end to the other – the merchants drawing their supplies from Madras. I remained here too at the station for the night and about 8 in the evening two native dealers came from a place about 40 miles distance to see my samples – they had written to London some time ago and I wired them from Calicut of my whereabouts if they desired to see my samples and they wired to say they were coming to Trichinopoly. Before saying a word about business they made their salaams in regular oriental fashion and had a basket of presents – the first was a splendid wreath of orange blossom strung together forming a huge wreath to hang around the neck with gold tinsel – it would have put the Lord Mayor's a long way in the shade – they would insist on putting it on and the next was a smaller one for each wrist – then followed 3 loaves of bread and about 20 limes – I only fancy how the dear children would have enjoyed to see Grandpa in these native honours. Then the business came and I was glad to remove the weight around my neck – they gave a nice order but were very slow in leaving my room. Tamal[sic] was their language but one of them spoke a little English. They next morning we started early for Negapatam and here too I found our goods occupying the front position – also drawn from Madras – I had to wait here until 11 at night for a train to Pondicherry, a French settlement which we reached about 2.30 on Friday afternoon. There is a very babel of languages in this place – Tamal Telugu – French and English – here too P.F.& Co. abounded except in one high class French house who promised to indent our mark when next ordering so that I trust my visit may not have been in vain. There is a nice little hotel here where I found a nice family of Christians (English) residing at Bangalore, but visiting Pondicherry for a little change – their name was Fitzgerald – Mr F. a dear old man very bright and happy in the Lord – a sister – wife and two daughters one an invalid who did not appear at the table – it was most refreshing to see and hear them – they were Wesleyans so that even in this place I had a real greeting and a God speed on saying good bye. Was glad to find a British India steamer leaving for Madras at 5pm a distance of nearly 100 miles so we embarked soon after 3 and was most heartily glad to get a smell of the ocean again after about 7 thousand miles railway travelling I have had through India.
It was the same ship I went to Rangoon in last March (the Asia) but she had been in dock and was made like a new ship and the Captain and Officers were also new. The Captain did not purpose getting in until 8 or 9 but I told him I much wanted to be in Madras by 7 and at this hour I landed this morning just in time to clear the customs and get to the post office and to the Hotel about 7.45, so I was just in time to get to the meeting for breaking of bread at 8. The brethren had been to the station on Saturday evening to see me drop in. How cheered and thankful I was to receive your welcome letter, also one from each of the dear boys – Oh how good is the God we adore – what gracious care he is taking of us all – I expect your next letter to Calcutta here on Wednesday the day before I purpose embarking by B.I.S.S. "Navarino" for that port. The brother I left at Bangalore has returned with cheering reports – another sister took her place with the gathered ones at the Lord's table last Lord's day and others are exercised and coming to the meeting. Glad to hear you have seen Miss Stubb and when you next see her please give my Christian regards – sympathy too. The mail does not close until Wednesday so shall add a little more to this before closing.
Jan 9th – mail day has come again with its special pressure of work in the way of correspondence so I shall finish yours in the freshness of early morning light. I have been very busy since my return here and secured some good business again for which I am very thankful. We had had a nice quiet peaceful time too at the room every evening except last night when I preached in a fairly large hall called a Prayer room – we had it well filled mostly with Baptists at whose chapel it was announced on Lord's day evening. One dear young fellow, the son of a sister in fellowship, was I trust converted to God and I trust all were blessed – I spoke from that wonderful question "What think ye of Christ" and I felt the deep solemnity of it in my own soul in connection with the answer we are giving to God every day not by our lip alone, but in our lives. It is the answer from the inward parts – what think ye of Christ. How blessed for us to have God's own thoughts of Him in our hearts who once said "Thou art my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased".
D.V. I expect to embark for Calcutta tomorrow and I hope we may reach there in time for my writing by next mail – should you not get a letter following the week after this you will know the reason and not be wondering what's the matter.
Though mercy I am keeping well, although the heat is some days very trying, but what is more so is the filth and stench of the place – it is very dirty and the only marvel to me is that there is not a plague in it. Trust you are keeping up or rather in the tender mercy of God being kept up as He is the sustainer in every way – please give my kind love to all our home circle and any enquiring friends and once more with much love to yourself my dearly beloved wife and our beloved children small and great believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband
Yours of Dec. 13 to Calcutta just received – Praise the Lord for all His goodness – Trust in Him for dear Harriett.