Gibraltar, India, Malta

February 14th, 1890


My Beloved Angee,

Your letter received at Lawnpore a few days ago has indeed filled my heart with sorrow and concern and has kept me much in prayer to God that He may graciously vouchsafe to you all the consolation and strength you are needing in the midst of circumstances now surrounding you. I do trust you will have been preserved from this terrible influenza scourge passing over Europe and other parts of the world, or that if touched with it God may in His great and tender mercy be pleased to bring you safely through it. Was very thankful to find that dear Arundel was recovering and trust the dear children may soon be restored too. I see that it will be a good thing in many ways for you to be in Barnstaple and I look to God even our Father Who knows our need that you may be the led aright in regard to a house. It may be the late storm brought the water into the Victoria Road dwellings again and this may lead to one of our houses becoming vacant, if so I suppose it will be best to occupy that, but in case they do not wish to leave I dare say you will be able to find a nice house for about the same rent we are already paying. The Lord guide you aright in this as in all else for we are not our own but have been brought with a price, therefore to glorify Him in our bodies should be our first concern. I do not remember when our time is up for 100 Oxford Park – was thinking it would be at M'mas but on consideration fancy it is M'Summer, if the latter there is not much time to spare.

Your desire that I should be at home is not greater than my own and God only knows how distasteful in many ways it is for me to be deprived of all the comforts of home and the companionship of those He has made dear to my heart. It was only for the benefit of others that my mind was willing to leave you again my dearly beloved wife. The Lord graciously ministers cheer to spirit in the midst of it all or I should soon sink under the trial and the weariness of body connected with so much night travelling. I am sure no power but that of the living God could have preserved me amid the manifold perils I hav been exposed to.

Cawnpore, Feb. 14th

The Lord gave me a time for refreshment at Lucknow through His grace – dear General Haig[1] has been writing to me of late wishing to meet and travel with me for a little while, so we arranged to meet at Lucknow where I found him on my arrival staying at the same hotel – there is also a nice bright company of soldier brethren in fellowship there, some of whom were at the conference and we have had some happy meetings together. Finding my business finished there this morning I came back here and I am endeavouring to get the work done here by midday tomorrow so as to join General Haig again on to Allahabad where we purpose spending the Lord's day – he then moves on to Calcutta and I intend going in the other direction to Agra and Bombay and do not expect to reach Calcutta for 4 or 5 weeks to come. It is such a comfort again to have Lazarus and with his help I can get hold of some business again, but did not get one indent for the fortnight he was absent. I saw my cousin George's two daughters at Lucknow – they are keeping a little fancy shop and seem nice quiet girls – the mother is at Allahabad with her son and returns tomorrow so that I shall not be likely to see her and George went up at Nana Tall a few weeks ago. From all I hear I do not think he is doing very much good for himself in a business way. His son at Allahabad is purposing to visit England this Summer with his wife and family for their holiday – rather an expensive one to move such a distance with such a number.

I am beginning to feel the warmer weather now and shall soon have to remove all the thick clothing and adopt the light again – the flannel belts Mary made are very comfortable and convenient for using, indeed my outfit on the last start left nothing to be desired, but the continual packing and unpacking and the encounters with coolies and Sharry men (the cabs) at all hours of the night and day are enough indeed to try the patience of Job. I have 22 pieces of baggage altogether, 17 of which are always with me and 5 of the heaviest boxes I send on by luggage train from place to place at intervals of about a week. But this is poor matter for a letter so I will finish the story of my troubles.

I hope you will be very careful not to take cold or get to exhaust your little strength in changing houses  - Arundel will be able to engage trustworthy maids to do the work and if you elect to take a house in Barnstaple get as near the green fields as you possibly can although I know you do not care to be much out of the town or far away from the Market. I would rather have one of our own than any other in Barnstaple – however I look to God about it Who has promised to guide us in all things. Have been expecting a letter from Harry but have not heard from him for a very long time. My last letter from P.F.&Co. enclosed a slip from one of the London evening papers announcing the sudden death of Mr Henry Lea[2], Huntley & Palmer's traveller who fell down and died on board a steamer between the Isle of Wight and Southampton. His labours have helped largely to build up H&P's enormous trade. I hope he was the Lord's, but in a conversation with him some four years ago he quite ignored the inspiration of the epistles and he had very strange views on the Person of the Lord Jesus. I dare say that Harry will have told you all about it and if anything is said in the "Grocer" newspaper as there most likely will be, I shall be glad if Harry will send me a copy. D.V. shall finish this from Allahabad or Agra so no more for the present.

Allahabad, Feb. 16

Lord's day morning I was able to get the business finished at Cawnpore yesterday in time to meet General Haig and we came on to this place together, arriving about 5.30pm. After a wash and a cup of tea we went to the prayer meeting. I was very thankful to find myself in a comfortable hotel and not having to spend the night in a railway carriage which I have had so much of lately with all the accompanying weariness. A married daughter with her husband a Captain _ _ _ _  also arrived here last night for a few day's stay and the General introduced me to them at breakfast this morning. They are not in fellowship but appear to be very nice young people. It has been quite a cheer for me to have the General's company for a few days – he is a dear man, but holds some singular views on certain subjects and is disposed to be a little critical, a spirit I do not much care for, but we get on very happily together. Trust the Lord is sustaining you in the midst of many things which are trying and that He may make all plain as to the dwelling place He would have us occupy – His grace has given us an abode in the Father's House above and blessed be His name He has promised to come again and receive us to Himself that where He is there we may be also – His precious blood too has made us suitable to that place

He's gone within the veil
For us that place He won
In Him we stand a heavenly land
where He Himself has gone

Shall be anxiously looking out for the next letters from home which are addressed to Cawnpore, but will meet me at Agra in about 3 days hence and trust to hear in the Lord's goodness that the Influenza scourge has passed away from Arundel and his house. I have not heard of it in India, but see that it is visiting many parts of the world. I think the disease that touched so many of us on board the Oriental soon after leaving Brindisi must have been of this kind.

Monday morning, February 17th

Yesterday was a day of cheer for us – the morning meeting very happy in the sense of the Lord's own presence and the knowledge of His desire that we should be thus surrounding Himself to remember Him and to show forth His death till He come. How blessed to know that He has died and given His own precious blood to cleanse us from all sins so that we might be in His presence suitable to Himself and not this only but that now as risen and ever living to make intercession for us at God's right hand, He washes our feet which so contract defilement and hinder except for His present blessed service of love, our having part with Him. In the afternoon I called on George Petter and his wife and invited them to the Gospel in the evening - I was hoping General Haig would have spoken but he would not – George and his wife came to the meeting and I afterward returned with them and remained until near 11. They seemed interested and George who is very reticent naturally said he was glad to be there. They are purposing to visit England about May next and will probably be in North Devon about July – I have told them that we shall probably have removed from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple by that time and if you are settled in a house by that time I gave them an invitation to spend a week or 10 days with us and I shall be glad if it does not tax your strength too much to show them kindness in that way. Her Father was a Cornishman – some part of the North of Cornwall but she does not remember the name but has often heard him speak about Bodmin, She takes the place of a believer and does outwardly at any rate acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ and we may trust knows Him as her Saviour – but you know how things are mixed for church people, so that no point of the truth of Christianity is seldom or ever clear to them – God in mercy grant blessing and deliverance for that family.

Feb 18th

Mail day has come so I must bring my letter to a close. The Lord gave much encouragement in the business again yesterday and we had a nice time at a reading in the evening at which George's wife came – General Haig moved to Calcutta this morning and I purpose leaving by night train for Agra and hope to reach Bombay in a few days and from hence to work across the country to Madras and up to Calcutta by steamer.

I send you a newspaper published here at Allahabad in which are some comments on P.F.&Co's recent advertising enterprise in posting from Bombay some thirty-one thousand small enamelled tins – containing samples of Osvego biscuits. It is rather a costly move but I hear on all sides of the satisfaction of those who have received it and I dare say it will do the firm a lot of good. I have been thinking whether I would not stay in India and visit all the Hill Stations through the Summer and then return home but am not yet clear about it. I fear to be only travelling across the plains through the Summer heat in going from Hill to Hill would be more than I could stand so that if I do not remain shall push on to the colonies from Calcutta with all speed.

Cheer up – the time will soon pass away and I shall not leave you again – if any foreign work after this we go together or not at all, but the future is with God and not with us. Today we praise and bless His Holy Name and trust Him for all that is to come.

Dear General Haig has just been in to my room for a little prayer together before leaving and to thank our God, Who is the God of all grace and Father of mercies for His goodness to us from the last week – it has indeed been a mutual cheer and does bind our hearts in a practical way in the brotherly love and affection which should stamp those who have been so loved of God. And now once more I commend you my dearly beloved Angee to the care and sustainment of our gracious Father, also dear Arundel and all his and our dear little ones, dear Harry and Emma and their and our dear little ones – their households and business concerns, all may be bought to our God and I do continually that we may all be guided aright in every detail of our life here. Much love to yourself and to each of them and all our dear friends at 39 and Ebberly, dear Eliza and Mr Robertshaw and Emmie not forgetting all the dear brethren and believe me my beloved wife.

Being very affectionate Husband


[1] Note that this was not General Douglas Haig of WWI fame, who although he was in India in 1890 was then only a Lieutenant. See further here.

[2] Henry Lea was H&P's first full-time salesman, joining the firm in 1849 [see further here]. His name appears several times in the Huntley & Palmer archive listing here.

<<< Previous | Top of page | Next >>>