United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, France
November 1st, 1899
P&O S.S. Rome, Gulf of Aden
My Beloved Angee,
You will see from above that I am now drawing near home once more and my heart was never more thankful for this mercy than now. The fortnight in Colombo was as unpleasant as it could possibly be so far as my body was concerned – incessant rain, very hot, and the great humidity of the air keeping everything very wet in the way of clothing. So far as the business was concerned I was able to open with two of the three largest merchants in the place whose doors were considered sealed against P.F.&Co.'s goods. I had been introduced to a gentleman called Robertson the manager of the mercantile BK[?] who is a very decided Xtian in the Church of England – he kindly invited me to his house in Cinnamon Gardens for a reading at 5.45 and to dine with him. Two clergymen were present at the reading and the elder of them read a portion from Ephesians 6 – "the armour" and spoke from it – subsequently others were invited to make any remarks and I had a word of prayer at the close. None of the visitors at the reading remained to dine so Mr & Mrs R and I had nice time together – Mrs R. is a dear lady – simple and true to the Lord and I was soon at home with them. A Baptist minister had promised to dine but had been taken sick and could not come – their manse was not very far away and the daughter came to explain the reason of her father's absence and begged Mr R. and I to come to his house after dinner. So we walked across and we had a very blessed time together – he was an elderly man but with a real heart for the Lord and for souls. He was lamenting the deadness and lukewarmness on all sides and had been praying that God might send out many others engaged in business and yet able to witness for Christ. My spirit was much drawn out in sympathy toward this dear servant of the Lord – before we left he prayed very sweetly and commended me to God and His Divine protection on the voyage and for my wife and family. Mr R. and I then walked back to Mr R's house where my carriage was waiting and I was soon under the roof of the Galle Face Hotel. The "Rome" was notified to leave at midnight the following day but I got on board soon after 5 – Mr Lover taking me off in a special boat in fine style – the coaling was not finished so everything was in a pretty mess and the noise of the windlasses was deafening in taking in cargo – a splendid cabin was given me in the upper deck with 2 port holes so that there was a nice breeze blowing in but it was close to the hatchway where all the noise was. I was very very tired and lay down on my berth without any covering over my body and in spite of the deafening noise soon got off to sleep – this tumult continued all the night and our cargo was not all on board until 7 in the morning. Our ship then started for voyage to Aden – we have had one uncomfortable day only so far – the weather has been delightful and I am feeling all the better for the change. Not many passengers so we are not crowded and the boat is very comfortable.
Have found several of the Lord's with whom I have had some nice talks – the Lord gave me a good time last Sunday evening in the gospel – spoke on the deck and we had a goodly number. The Captain has been very kind and says he is always glad when one comes on board who can conduct such a service as we had. One person a passenger from China in the second saloon knew a great many Xtians in Shanghai that I became acquainted with during my stay there. Two weeks letters I expected to follow me to Albany and then to Colombo have not turned up yet so that I have not heard from you for a long time. You will probably get this a week before I reach Plymouth – we are due there on Saturday the 18th but may not arrive until Monday the 20th – I could return overland from Marseilles – reaching London about 24 hours after arrival at that port – but felt I would rather land at Plymouth and have a week at home before going to London – if I should change my mind I will wire so that you know my movements.
Red Sea Nov. 3rd
My Beloved Angee,
At Aden Y'day I received your letter of Oct. 9 addressed to meet me by the Arcadia also enclosure from dear Mildred – it was a great joy to see your dear handwriting once more but the letter brought the sad news of the death of your dear brother Charles which I know you and Eunice and Eliza will feel deeply as also the wife and all the dear children. It was a great comfort to read the remarks of dear Gladis to you that he had the divine comforts of the name of Jesus – a name of sweetness to every believer's heart in life but in a special way to the soul in passing from this scene to be with the Lord. Dear Charles found a rough time in this world for himself but God has come in much mercy and goodness for his large family. I am very sorry to hear you have been so poorly and worrying so much about me – am very sorry I disappointed you by not sending the message you expected. I told P.F.&Co. to let you know of my purposed return by the Arcadia and thought this would have comforted your mind. I sent a word from Aden y'day – "Well" which I hope will reach you all right and you will know that I am so far on my way home – the Rome is due at Plymouth on Saturday the 18th but the Captain does not expect to reach there until the 19th or 20th – I will however send another wire from Marseilles and let you know my movements from there either to go on by boat to Plymouth or overland to London. We are having a nice time so far in the Red Sea – beautifully cool – our letters go specially from Port Said and will reach you many days before I can – sorry to hear Mildred has been so poorly again – she ought to have known better than to walk to Croyde and back. If I go overland to London I expect I should have to stay at a Hotel as Harry's house is full of lodgers and my business at the works would delay me a day or two – however I shall see but I rather prefer to land at Plymouth with my baggage as I cannot take this overland without paying very heavily.
Red Sea Nov. 6th Monday morning
We are drawing near to Suez now and expect to go through the Canal tonight reaching Port Said about 7 Tuesday morning – then direct to Marseilles which it reaches on Sunday morning – I have been thinking very much about you and praying for you too my beloved wife – I know your strength is little and you will naturally feel the loss of your dear brother, but God will I trust in His great mercy sustain your strength and your spirit amid it all and bring forth praise from your lips to Himself. We had a lovely day yesterday and much cooler which is a sensible relief. This morning I have been able to add my thin flannel vest and drawers to my clothing and shall probably be glad of my Winter garments on reaching the Mediterranean tomorrow morning. Through mercy the way was made plain for another gospel preaching last night – the Captain gave instructions to have the deck prepared for it and I was well protected by awnings from the wind. We had a good company altogether.