Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 30, 1885

Diary, December 16 to December 31, 1885


December 16-31, 1885

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 183, 270-271; 3Bio 337; EGWE 89-90, 145-146.

Labors in Switzerland

December 16, 1885

Geneva, Switzerland

We reached Geneva last evening at half-past seven o’clock. Met Brother and Sister Bourdeau, Marian, and Augusta at depot. We walked only a short distance to the hired house of Brother Bourdeau. We were very weary and retired early. This morning it is quite foggy. We have some visiting to do. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 1

Elder Bourdeau hired a team, and we rode out and viewed many places of interest. We walked some distance upon a very high eminence and looked down where the two waters meet—the Rhone and the Geneva. One is dark blue, the other a greenish color; and although the streams meet, they do not lose their distinct colors and blend in one for a long distance. We looked upon part of a tower which was in the wall when Julius Caesar lived. It is over two thousand years old. Geneva is a beautiful place, and it seems more like an American city than any we have yet visited. We enjoyed our two-hour ride very much. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 2

We wrote several pages to a brother and put it into Brother Bourdeau’s hands to translate and send to him. He is crazed on the subject of marriage and is not in a condition to marry. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 3

Brother Bourdeau is comfortably situated. He is holding meetings in Geneva, but few attend. But we hope that the Lord stirs up hearts to examine for themselves. The clergy are determined the people shall not go to hear, and they are warning them not to attend, but God can break these barriers down. That He will give success to this effort is our prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 4

December 17, 1885


We left Geneva at twelve o’clock. We had a good car, more after the American style. We had no trouble in getting our baggage into the car. The scenery was very beautiful and attractive. We rode beside the lake for forty miles. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 5

We came through Lausanne, where Brother Vuilleumier lives, and where a hall is secured for meetings. There are meetings being held at three different points now. May the Lord give success to His truth. We came without change of cars to Basel. Arrived about eight o’clock. Found Elder Whitney and Brother Kellogg waiting for us. We were soon in a hack and were borne to our home in the mission house. We found our friends rejoiced to see us. We were glad to get home, and we slept but little that night. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 6

Edith is near the close of her probation. She is in much better spiritual condition than when we left for Italy. She no longer wants to be amused, and the company she desired to have in her room no longer is desirable. She seems to be reflecting and seeking the Lord. She manifests love for her mother now that she has not done before during her life; and although her attachments have seemed so ardent for others, they have not centered upon her who should have them above every one else. Her mother is much comforted with this affection and interest manifested toward her by her daughter. It seems a solemn and fearful thing to stand upon the very threshold of eternity. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 7

December 18, 1885


Friday. It is a foggy day today. We would be pleased to see the sun again. Today is a very busy day. Look over letters and papers that we have not seen. There are many things that demand attention. Many letters to answer. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 8

December 19, 1885


Sabbath. It is a beautiful day. I visit Edith’s room. Talk and pray with her. She is seeking to do what she can to prepare for her last change. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 9

I spoke to the people assembled through two interpreters—French and German. My French translator was not accustomed to the work and seemed embarrassed. On this account I cut short my discourse. In the afternoon they held another meeting, and many good testimonies were borne. The singing exercise was good. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 10

I am impressed that this is the last Sabbath Edith will ever see; but if she rests in hope, we cannot mourn that her pain and suffering and distress are at an end. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 11

Sunday, December 20, 1885


It is a beautiful day. I was called into Edith’s room. She was in great pain. We had a season of prayer for her, and she was relieved and rested afterward. In the evening she had a very distressing time—pressure for breath. We prayed for her again, and the Lord heard and answered our prayers. She was relieved again and rested. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 12

December 21, 1885


I am not feeling well this morning. We walked down to the city and took a train to Little Basel. It seems to be a large place. We then took a carriage home. The exercise of walking in the bracing air and the ride home were a benefit to me. We saw women sitting in the market place with their provisions—vegetables and fruits—shivering with cold. We felt pity for them, but this is practiced all winter. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 13

We are now having the coldest weather we shall have. The days are now the shortest. They will begin to lengthen very soon. I have written several pages upon the position that should be taken relative to courtship and marriage. There are cases that are now difficult to manage. A brother is seeking to obtain the consent of a daughter of Brother Vuilleumier’s, to marry him against the judgment of her parents. The daughter is young, and her lover is a man who has never shown respect to his parents and has caused his mother pain and grief because he would follow his own inclination irrespective of the wishes of his mother. Such a man will not understand the wants and wishes of a wife. He will be dictatorial, arbitrary, severe, and consider that the wife’s wishes and plans must be after his mind. Her independence will be taken away, and she cannot preserve her individual judgment to follow the dictates of her own conscience. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 14

Brother Vuilleumier’s son next to John broke his arm and injured his head. He is not as careful as he ought to be, and he has been often cautioned in regard to his careless ways. This is a severe lesson to the poor boy. He is taken to the hospital. This is the custom of all who are sick. They find excellent physicians and good care and pay for board only 32 cents per day. It is a great blessing in this country. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 15

Tuesday, December 22, 1885


It is a beautiful morning. The air is cool and bracing. The sun shines in its glory. We enjoy sitting in the sunshine. I have prepared several talks given during our conference here. I read pages I had written on courtship and marriage to Brother Whitney. He wants it put into French and published. I had a talk with Sister Bourdeau in reference to Edith’s condition and in reference to her home matters. She was grateful for the conversation, as it would be a help to her when she goes home to Italy. Received a large bundle of letters from Brother Daniel [Bourdeau]. He writes tenderly. May the Lord guide His servant in judgment is my prayer and spare his life until his work is done. He does too much, and we know not how to hinder him. He has an active brain that cannot find repose and rest. Brother Albert Vuilleumier came this evening, accompanied by his daughter Eloise (?). (A copy of a letter sent him, which I wrote from Geneva to Brother [Vaucher], brought him great relief.) He thought best to bring his daughter here to help her brother John. She will have something to take up her mind and be where the persistent efforts of the young man will not call forth her sympathy and lead her to wrong decisions. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 16

Wednesday, December 23, 1885


Today it is cloudy and looks like a storm. My rest was not good last night. Visited the sick room. I scarcely think Edith will last another night. She does not now have consciousness of what is said or what is done. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 17

I had a long talk with Brother Albert Vuilleumier in regard to the question which has vexed his soul—the disposal of his daughter in marriage when he is convinced it would not be for her good. As her father and guardian he feels he could not consent to this union. We agree perfectly in the matter. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 18

Send to Daniel Bourdeau at Geneva four pages of letter paper with words of comfort to him. Received from him today the present of a watch as a memorial of his kind regards to me whom he says he loves as a mother. Send to W. C. White eight pages of letter paper. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 19

December 24, 1885


I awake about five o’clock, later by one or two hours than usual. I feel so thankful to my heavenly Father for this precious rest I have had during the night. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 20

We hear the news from Brother Whitney that Edith fell asleep in Jesus half-past five this morning. Her life passed away without a struggle. She is at rest. Praise the Lord that she did not suffer much. But strange news comes to us that a sister named Keller, but a short distance from us, is dead. Her son is a worker in the cause—a colporteur. Her daughter works in the office. She has one son besides. She was well, apparently, last Sabbath, but died with a sudden attack last night. Have not learned the particulars. Its suddenness surprises us all. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 21

We see an unusual sight for Basel. The earth is covered with a snowy mantle. How pure and beautiful everything looks. I think there is spread out before us the most beautiful picture I have ever seen in winter. The park, so level, is covered with its beautiful white mantle. The trees that border the park are crystallized with mingled snow and ice. Everything is covered with its winter foliage. The iron bridge for foot passengers, above the railway track, is completely white—painted by the frost and icy breeze of winter. Everything, as far as the eye can reach, presents a picture which God has painted for us which is beyond the power of any earthly master artist to copy. It is grand, beautiful, beyond the powers of pen or human lips to describe. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 22

December 25, 1885


This is Christmas day. There is a great solemnity upon my mind. Edith is dead in the house. Her record is in the books of heaven, unchangeable. What a solemn thought is life, and how we live that life! We have evidence that Edith’s life is not what it might have been, but her last days were days of penitence, repentance, and confession. We have reason to believe that the pitying Redeemer accepted Edith and that she sleeps in Jesus. Several of us went to a chapel to a religious service. My heart was made sad to see that this service was mostly composed of forms. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 23

December 26, 1885


Sabbath. I am sorry that I feel unable to take part in the funeral services today. I am much exhausted—cannot command strength to write or to speak. My mind is active. Past scenes of suffering and death of my loved ones in the family circle urge themselves upon me and I live it all over again. The hearse is at the door, and the carriages for the mourners. There are two funerals today. Sister Kelly and Sister Edith Andrews. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 24

December 27, 1885


I devote some time to writing today. Call on Sister Whitney. Visit with Brother and Sister Bourdeau. Walk out and feel much refreshed. It is not clear, but the sun is trying to struggle through the mist and fog. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 25

Ella has a fine time trying to snowball her mother and grandmother. She has taken cold—we think from eating snow, creating inflammation, chilling her lungs and stomach. We hope with treatment she will be well again soon. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 26

December 28, 1885


Monday. I have prepared an article today—a discourse given at the time of the conference in Basel. Walked out before dinner. Bid Brother Bourdeau and wife farewell. They return to Italy. They were disappointed their baggage did not get to the depot in season. We ride out with them one hour and a half. We see some interesting places in the city. It is a clear, cool, sunshiny day. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 27

December 29, 1885


Tuesday. I awake at three o’clock. The slamming of the blinds woke me. Cannot sleep again. Examine my writing. Write seventeen pages. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 28

December 30, 1885


Write today eighteen pages in regard to Sabbathkeeping. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 29

December 31, 1885


It is cloudy today. Devote the day to writing. I had rather a singular dream in the night, and to me very comforting. 4LtMs, Ms 30, 1885, par. 30