Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
January 27th, 1889
Calcutta, Lord's day 7am.
My Beloved Angee,
Through the kindness of Mr Wait your welcome letter of Jan 3rd addressed to Rangoon was taken out of the bag and delivered to me here, also one from dear Harriett and Arundel and P.F.&Co. but none again from Harry but this may have slipped and gone on to Rangoon where I expect to be by another Lord's day. Glad and thankful to hear that Harriett is a little better and had spent a few days with you at Oxford Park with Arundel and a trio of dear children. It will be a nice change for you to spend a little time in London and I hope may be a real refreshment to yourself and a blessing to them. I have had a very trying week of it with the business here and the old difficulties of prejudice have baffled me more than in any other part of India. In a general way our goods have been less favourably received in Bengal than in other provinces and the climate is more trying for such goods as ours, so that they quickly loose[sic] their freshness even under our soldered covering and if sent out after that they are returned often as not being good. One of the largest retail concerns however have not only stuck to them in the face of these difficulties but have given up all other makers and keep P.F.&Co. only. They have had two or three shipments beside the one order off me last year, a very large one, and have given me a good order again now, so this encourages in the midst of it all.
You can hardly imagine the climate of this place during the rains – it appears the damp penetrates everything and I have had a most unpleasant demonstration of how it penetrated our tins through our patent soldered covering and I have written what I fear will not be a very welcome letter with regard to it, but it is well that P.F.&C. should know the truth and seek a remedy before it is too late. It appears they experienced the hottest weather in August last ever remembered in Calcutta – the glass registered about 110 in the shade – all schools and public places were closed – numbers were dying of heat apoplexy every day – all who could possibly get to the hills did so but people felt they could not live – every hospital was crowded – it was well that this extreme heat did not continue long. One of my customers told me that such goods as packets of candles were all melted into a conglomerate and various kinds of goods completely spoilt. It certainly put our stuff to a pretty severe test and makes me wish I had not sold so large a quantity on my last visit. Have had a nice time with the saints nearly every evening and you know what a comfort this is to me – one night I spent the evening and dined with Mr Biss whose wife and family are at Bournemouth – another with Mr G.L. Wait and I had them all with me one evening and a very pleasant time we had together. Rana had polished up my room and borrowed a table cloth and made it look as smart and tidy as possible. You would smile I expect to see it – it is a bedroom – sitting room – dressing room – office – and showroom and warehouse combined. Mr Monteath has had a new sorrow poor fellow which he and his dear wife feel very deeply – the loss of a new born child which only lived 8 days – it was a fine healthy little girl and they were much comforted when it was born, but in the seventh day it was seized with lockjaw a disease common among children in the East and generally fatal as in this case – Mrs Monteath expressed a wish that I should bury it – and this was done within 24 hours of its death – a few gentlemen – friends of Mr Monteath were present and many of the brethren – I read Hebrews 12.9 and spoke a word for a few minutes – we had a real moment of fellowship. The dear child had lived long enough to awaken the affections of the parents toward it and who were then called upon to surrender it to Him whose claims we own though it may be a broken sorrowing heart that does it – even that Blessed one – Jesus – Who by the grace of God had tasted death for every thing. They lost their first child over a year ago – this only lived a few hours.
I called at Government house yesterday morning at 9 and had our interview with Lord W. Beresford asking for an appointment from the Viceroy which he promised to give – he was exceedingly kind to me and chatted very freely and wanted to know where I had been since he saw me on board the Satlej – I told him that I had many times thought of our conversation and had often prayed for him, for which he thanked me –also told him there was no true happiness in this world apart from the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. He asked if there were many of my persuasion in India and said he had heard of them. Well God may use it to him some day – I felt very thankful to have the privilege of confessing the name of the Lord Jesus in the midst of all the grandeur of Government House. I expect to leave here on Tuesday or Wednesday for Rangoon and you will have had addresses for China before this reaches you I expect.
I fear the famine in that country will not be much help to the business, but I may not see anything of it at the port of call near the distress. I am afraid you think your letters are lacking in interest to me, but I assure you they are not and you have my full permission to write two sheets about your "nothings" as you call it. To hear about a beautiful hamper being packed and sent off to Harry is a very deeply interesting bit of news for me I can tell you and a delight to my heart to think of the love that packed it and the hearts that were made glad to unpack it. I can see those dear children Angee and Hilda with eyes wide open looking on – not saying the waggons are coming but the hamper is come.
It is not so cold in these parts as on my recent visit being a month earlier and far more pleasant – on Tuesday D.V. I run up to Rawal Pindi and Peshawar returning here again by next Lord's day I hope. P.F.&Co.'s letters are specially kind or rather a correspondence they enclosed with a gentleman in New Zealand wanting a berth[?] as traveller for them there – it is in their reply to him of which they enclose me a fair copy they speak of me as their "esteemed representative" and "that as I had for many years enjoyed their confidence" they had sent me his letter that I might confer with him on my next visit. They enclosed me a letter from a large merchant in Rangoon some weeks ago who gave me a very large order and was writing to say how pleased he was with the goods, and the rest about myself was rather too much of it to repeat – I did copy it, but felt it was better to tear it up – P.F.&Co. sent a copy of their reply to this merchant thanking him for his very kind reference to their Mr E.P. – well, all this in the mercy of God and for ever to His glory to Whom we owe everything.
Please give my love to all the dear brethren at Ilfracombe – I expect dear Sanch[?] will be glad to hear that I have not gone up the Persian Gulf. Received a very kind letter here from Major Jacobs to whom I wrote from Karachi – all the dear brethren in India seem thankful that my path has been ordered through this country again.
Well I must now close once more – God even our Father bless you my beloved wife and comfort your heart much love to all our dear ones and our dear friends and with a double portion for your dear self believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband
Tell Arundel to remit Mr Duke of Hastings the amount of his a/c to me about £6 I think deducting 5% discount: - also pay Aunt Mary's a/c for the things she made for me before leaving. You can deduct this from the amount sent by P.F.