United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, France
May 4th, 1899
In the train, California
My Beloved Angee,
Our carriages run very smoothly so I thought a few jottings in pencil may interest you. I left Colorado Springs on the evening of the 2nd amid a snow storm – I left a few lines to be posted for you. My business was through as they call it and the names of 3 sisters was given to me by a brother at Denver residing about 2 miles up the hill toward Pikes Peak which I intended to call upon and started to get the horse car but while waiting for this, the clouds came rolling down the mountain I was told was snow, so I thought it wise to retreat to the hotel as I was not clad for such weather. Our train left the springs about 7 and we had about 3 hour's ride to a junction called La Junta – pronounced Hunta where we met the California Limited running every other day from Chicago to Los Angeles and San Francisco – I had bought a sleeper ticket for this train before leaving Denver. It is said to be the finest train in the states and the most luxuriously appointed in every way and so I have found it. We had nearly an hour to wait at Le Junta and during this time I went into the refreshment room and had a cup of coffee and a good slice of apple pie and there ran against an old friend I had voyaged with across the Atlantic called Thomas, a mine agent and a very decided man for Christ. It was a mutual and very unexpected pleasure – strangely enough we had travelled in the same train and carriage he from Denver and myself from Colorado Springs and although sitting near each other had neither of us identified the other. We were in the same sleeper and berths opposite each so we were not long turning in and at 6 both turned out for the wash &c. at 7 we responded to the first call for breakfast a splendid dining car is attached to the train and enjoyed our morning meal we then retired to the observation car – a very palace of luxury beautifully fitted with sofas and chairs – writing tables &c&c where a view of all the country through which we were passing could be obtained – here we sat and talked for 2 or 3 hours and then moved to our own Pullman – read the word together and had altogether a very pleasant time of it. Occasionally our train would stop to give us all a little exercise for 10 or 15 minutes which was most acceptable – it was very fine but a lovely cool breeze all the day. We passed several Indian towns – a picture of desolation in the shape of roofless houses and mud huts – the native populations all through Colorado and Arizona are Puebleo Indians of various tribes – hundreds of them are in our track and now and then a lot of girls enter our carriage to sell their curios.
The refreshments right through the Santa Fe system are proverbially the best which are provided by any railway in the states – I have not had such nice food since leaving home as for the last 2 or 3 days – the man who runs the whole food business both for the refreshment rooms and dining cars and also provides meals for all the company's servants in many of the dessert[sic] stations is called Harvey and is Mr Thomas (my friend) tells me a Barnstaple man – Mr Thomas knows him very well. Mr Thomas is from Torquay and knew John Rendell very well. Is it not interesting all these links gathered up. Mr Thomas left the train this morning about 2.30 and would then have to drive in a buggy for about 50 miles across a dessert[sic] to a mine he is the agent of – remains there 2 or 3 days and then returns to Denver. I hope to reach Los Angeles about Midday today and the journey has been far more comfortable than I had expected – most of the Californian visitors are leaving there now and going to cooler lands like Colorado Springs. Well, the Lord sustains and cheers all along the road – "Thy mercy only in my path I trace". Hope to get your usual weekly letter at Los Angeles on arrival – I hear it is a lovely spot and it will be a refreshment to get into a bath to wash off the dessert[sic] dust and have a clean shirt and a change of attire.
Los Angeles May 7th
I have been in this city since Thursday afternoon and it certainly is as far as earthly beauty is concerned the loveliest place I have ever seen upon this earth – the flowers are just now in their full bloom – the tropical vegetation is as luxurious as at Singapore but the climate here is simply delicious – always a cool breeze. The surroundings of the place in the way of Chateaus orange groves and lawns make it a very paradise of earthly glory – the prettiest homes and gardens you could ever conceive. There is a place about a mile away called Pasadina if anything prettier than Los Angeles – a gentlemen who drove me around this took me over there yesterday to see that city. Well while all this is interesting in its way, there are a few gathered saints here which have a deeper and more abiding interest than anything here and we have had a time of much refreshment together since the day I came. In the business God has prospered it beyond all expectation – there is one very large concern here who do exclusively with H&P and who sell an enormous quantity of their goods – on calling upon them I was thankful to get a very kind reception and willingness to look at any samples which led to them giving the best order P.F. have as yet taken in the States – the goods will go direct from London via New Orleans by steamer and then by rail here. It is very cheering and encouraging and I am sure it was the fruit of God's ordering for me. I was very glad to get your dear letter on arrival here bearing date April 21st – I return the cheque signed.
Tomorrow D.V. I go on to San Francisco but shall leave this lovely climate with regret. I will address this to Barnstaple as you may have returned but I hope you will go down again to Miss Hobbs as you are so comfortable there – well my dearly beloved wife the Lord continue all His mercies and comforts and more than make up to you any little loss of it occasioned by my absence – you have done it to Him and He will reward you – He is good. Much love to yourself and all our dear ones and believe me ever your very affectionate Husband.
I began this with pencil and thought I might as well finish it in the same same.