Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 22a, 1879

Walling, Addie; Walling, May

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

July 14, 1879

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 191; 11MR 140.

Dear Children Addie and May [Walling]:

Our camp meeting has been good. One hundred and fifty Sabbathkeepers camped on the ground. It is a beautiful encampment upon an island. The falls is within a few feet of the camp ground and the fall of water is rather too distinctly heard. This is a place of resort for excursionists and picnic parties. There are seventeen acres in the island. The island and water power were sold for forty thousand dollars. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 1

We have had no rain during this meeting, but it is excessively hot. We are encamped in a grove belted with underbrush, which makes it impossible to get much air. It has seemed as though we should dissolve. I have this day, Monday, done scarcely anything. I must now go upon the stand to speak. Yesterday, Sunday, I spoke to the crowd for one hour and a half. The people listened with great attention, although there was scarcely a breath of air stirring. My clothing was wet through. We are anxious to get to Colorado where it is cooler. We take the stage tomorrow, ride twenty-five miles, then take the cars and ride sixty-five miles, then change and ride seventy-five miles; then stop over, and next day ride twenty-five miles to Omaha. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 2

July 15

Yesterday about seven o’clock a sad accident occurred. A young man was drowned. He went in swimming with several others. Sudden he threw up his hands and called for help. He sank, rose again to the surface, and called for help. He did this the third time, then sank for the last time. His companions thought he was deceiving them in fun and made no effort to save him until they saw he did not again come to the surface, then they tried to find him. After two hours he was found, and it was stated his pulse could be felt; but many people crowded close about him in the building where he was. It was one of the most intensely hot days; scarcely a breath of vitality in the air. The young man is dead, but we think he might have been saved had the crowd kept away and had they worked over him hours longer. Here you can see, dear children, how important it is that we have our peace made with God and that we seek to perfect Christian character, that we may, if death comes suddenly, not be found unready. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 3

Early this morning we took a carriage for Beloit. We rode twenty-one miles. It rained the first part of the journey and was very cool all the way. The change from yesterday was very great. The heat was almost melting us; even the ministers laid off their coats and some their vests in order to keep any way comfortable. We were disappointed to learn that there had been a washout and we would be delayed. We are now seated in a parlor chamber of a hotel and tracing these lines. I feel anxious to know where you are and what you are doing. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 4

We want you to learn to be useful wherever you are. You may both be a blessing. We do not propose to give you merely a book knowledge, but an education in the common duties of life. I want you both to accustom yourselves to work, and by practice learn to do things handily. Practice will give you an aptness in household labor. Unless you accustom yourselves to work, you will ever be slow and without tact. You know how much we all think of Mrs. Hull. The reason is, she is always helpful and understands how to make herself useful. She began to work when she was much younger than you. She worked because she felt that it was her duty to work, and that idleness was displeasing to God. She is able now to fill in any and every position, and everyone thinks she is a treasure. I want you to learn to work, both of you, that you may become independent in taking care of yourselves. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 5

No one is pleased to have girls in the family who cannot see the commonest duties in practical life. A day or two of such persons is all any family wants. We all have to work for what we have, and I should do you a great wrong should I allow you merely to attend school and pay from my own purse your tuition and you feel that no burdens must rest upon you. You will become careless and inefficient and a burden. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 6

In the first place, your room demands your attention without your being reminded of it. You are both old enough to discipline yourselves to care and thoughtfulness, to educate yourselves to habits of neatness and order. Correct at once any habits of slackness, and discipline yourselves to make neat and thorough housekeepers that you may one day, if necessary, keep your father’s house. And I shall expect you to learn all that you can every day in becoming useful and helpful, that you will pay back the care we have given you. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 7

You are very apt to have a zeal in doing new things, but the common duties of life wherein you can help the most have no attraction for you, and you become weary of the task. You do not have stick-to-itiveness. You soon get tired of a thing. Now if I see and hear that you are averse to doing those things you can and should do, and you neglect even your own room and leave it in disorder, neglect your own clothes and do not mend them, I shall take you both from school and place you under a teacher to educate you to do these things. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 8

You are both old enough to learn to do much of your own sewing. I had to pay out six dollars for the mere item of making your summer clothing. Now I do not think it is my duty to do this much longer. You have time which you can and should improve in becoming apt and thorough in household duties. No one wishes to teach girls how to work while they are filled with discontent and dissatisfaction, as though something were required of them they ought not to do. When do you expect to learn to sew and to cook, to place things in order, to tidy up a room, to do it with thoroughness and neatness? You are old enough to learn how to do, in order to be useful. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 9

We must soon throw you on your own resources, for your own good, because just as long as we pay your tuition and clothe and feed you, you take it as a matter of natural consequence that we always shall do just as we have done. Now the very love we have for your future happiness, and your future usefulness, will not allow us to let you come up disinclined to work. You should work according to your years and strength, work in any capacity, washing dishes, sweeping, picking up, mending, repairing, and making your own clothes. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 10

I want you to consider what I write to you, for if you do not show any interest to learn how to work wherever you are situated, then I must place you in families where you will have to labor for your support. Whenever you neglect to do the work you can and should do, you should be kept from school until the work is done. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 11

Addie, you must not indulge in scolding May, not once. Your mother made the life of your father very unhappy by this scolding and it resulted in breaking up the family. You profess to be a child of God. Be very careful that you do not, by your conduct, show that you are the child of the wicked one. Christ’s followers should be patient, meek, forbearing, humble, and courteous. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 12

I have noticed one thing that is very wrong in you both. I have seen Sister Lockwood and others who showed you some attention, saying, “Good morning,” and you would not return the kindly attention, but never look up or answer one word, and pass along without answering. Do you realize how impolite this is? If you wish to be loved, you must be courteous. If one says, “Good morning,” look up with a pleasant smile and say, “Good morning!” If one notices you and speaks with you, return some answer. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 13

In much love. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 14

My dear little girls, I want you to be good and true. I want you to be kind, cheerful, and happy. Be more anxious and earnest to be pure in heart and truthful in your words and actions than to be flattered for your appearance. It is the true goodness, the moral worth, that makes noble men and women. Your Aunt Ellen has not written thus plainly because she has no love for you. It pains me to write thus, but I do it for your good. I know that you will have to meet the stern realities of life, and I want you to be prepared for them. As yet you know nothing of hardships and cares, but you may know these. Although I may try to shield you, I may not be able to do so. We have given you a religious education, and we want you to love and fear God. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 15

I have my fears, Addie, that you do not realize what it is to be a child of God. There are little crosses to bear, self-denial to practice. I want you both to love to read your Bibles, and do not forget to pray. The Lord loves to have children pray to Him, and the dear Saviour will hear that prayer that is offered in sincerity. A young soldier of the cross of Christ will have temptations, but he must be prepared to resist them. You must not feel that your life is to be spent in pleasing yourself. Our dear Saviour lived not to please Himself, and His followers must be self-denying. And they must try to make others happy. Religion is to give shape to your character, to make you mild, kind, and considerate of others. You must not have the name of being a lamb of the fold of Christ unless you seek to be, in your words and actions, all that you profess. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 16

You may be overcome and may do wrong sometimes, but this should not discourage you. Jesus pities us and loves us even if we do make mistakes and do wrong. He does not leave us to perish, but He pleads with His Father in our behalf; and if we feel sorry for the wrongs we have done and ask Jesus to forgive us, He will do it. Every one of us, even little children, may have a rich experience in the knowledge of God’s will and ways. Children cannot have the experience that older persons may have, but children may have a child’s experience in overcoming, as well as those who are older. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 17

I want you to be very fearful lest you shall grieve the Spirit of God. You must seek to please others. Addie must not choose her own way and be unwilling to receive counsel and reproof. Addie must overcome her set and determined disposition. She must be yielding, and not persistent to carry out her will and her purposes. I have seen this inclination to tease and urge and reason and talk to carry out her plans which were not thought, by those who were more experienced, to be wise. I think Addie can do a good work in overcoming on this point and yield her own plans and ways without arguing about it. This trait of character, unless corrected, will make Addie great trouble and be very troublesome to those around her. Addie will need to guard against getting into a passion and showing temper if her way is crossed. Addie, you fret at others a great deal. This is displeasing to God. You grieve the angels of God when you do this. You want to be meek and patient, like your dear Saviour, or you cannot be His child and be with the holy ones in His kingdom. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 18

May must not be careless and depend upon Addie to do those things for her she should do for herself. She must be thoughtful and tender and kind. I must close. The team takes us to Swan Lake. The cars will not run till next Monday. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 19

Write to me and tell me just what you think of my letter and what you propose to do in reference to it. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 20

Aunt Ellen.