Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 95, 1886

Walling, Addie

Basel, Switzerland

February 16, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in DG 189-190; 3Bio 340; EGWE 153; 9MR 383.

Dear Niece Addie:

Your letter was received today, and I need not tell you I was glad to hear from you. I have been very sick. Had a hard chill yesterday. W. C. White, Mary, and I walked to the city. It is quite a walk. I did not know I was so weak. I soon began to fell chilliness which did not leave me from morning until noon. We called a hack, and Mary and I rode home. The water in bathroom pipes was hot, which is seldom the case. I took a hot bath and lay in it as long as I dared, then went to bed. My headache left me in a great measure. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 1

This morning I am so grateful to be able to do something on my writing. Marian and Mary are now getting up a book of reports of travel and the morning talks to be published. Sarah makes a good reporter, so all the discourses have been reported and most of them are written out. I have several articles which we send at once to Eliza for the Signs. I wish someone would tell us how Eliza’s health is. Please mention this in your next letter. Please pick up all the items of interest you can. Please tell me where is Sister Scott. Is she in Oakland? Is she sick? Is she contented? I want you to answer these questions. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 2

Today Willie’s goods, Jenny Harns’ goods, Brother Conradi’s, and Sister Roberts’ all came safely. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 3

I should be so glad to be where the people understood English. They call me a good speaker—easy for a translator. But I long to talk to those who understand English. I am going to write a little every day, and by and by you will get a letter. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 4

February 17

I am enjoying a much more comfortable day than I feared. My prayer is going up to God day and night for physical and mental strength. Marian and I walk out a short distance when there is a pleasant day. The streets are filled with baby carriages and women walking with infants in their arms on a pillow. They seem to be far more painstaking than in America to give their children fresh air and sunshine. Mothers act more like mothers than many in America who devote much time to dressing their children. The children are dressed plainly, but they are not dirty and their cheeks are rosy. Women in the coldest weather in January and February go bareheaded; not all, but very many. I have been able to write today. Am pleased that I could do anything. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 5

February 18

Dictated a letter which Sarah took down in shorthand to Dr. Kellogg. Have sent matter to Eliza—three packages. Hope she receives it. We can send mail Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Had a long consultation with Elder Whitney in regard to labors in Switzerland. Brother Ertzenberger has been laboring in connection with Adamer Vuilleumier and his brother Albert. Fourteen embraced the truth as the result of this effort. They say Brother Ertzenberger is an able preacher in German or in French. He has a little son about two weeks old. He has one fourteen months old. Brethren Ertzenberger and Conradi go into Lausanne, a very important field. Brethren Bourdeau are laboring there now. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 6

February 19

We are all busily at work. I have to write mostly by dictation, something I always declared I could not do, but I can, when I have to, do most anything. Elder Whitney and W. C. White have gone to New Chatel where Brother Albert Vuilleumier lives. They are there to try to buy me a horse. I cannot work much because of my lame ankles and hip. All think I should have a horse and carriage and ride out when it is pleasant. It will cost me about four hundred dollars. I feel bad to take means when the cause needs it so much. Mary, Ella, and I walked down into the city to see the dentist to have a tooth filled. I endured the walk very well. I have faith I shall improve in health. I have urged my case before the Mighty Healer. He will give me health, I believe it. I need health so much. There is much work to be done, but my faith does not waver at all. I shall see the salvation of God. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 7

We were not a little thankful to receive some of the dried fruits from our own orchard in Healdsburg. They tasted very nice. All kinds of fruit can be obtained here in their season. Well, I will now stop and finish after the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 8

February 26, 1886

Since writing the foregoing I received a letter from you that has relieved me somewhat, but I am still some troubled. I think Reuben [Tapeley]—I hope that there is no attachment between you. I should feel very sad if you had given him any decided encouragement. I like Reuben. I consider him an honesthearted young man, but not one I would want to give you in marriage to for several reasons. One is, he is a consumptive, of a consumptive family, and I know too well what it is to have to battle with this terrible disease. We buried Nathaniel and Annie White with consumption. We buried Luman Masten, foreman of the office, with consumption. We buried Robert Harmon, my next oldest brother, with consumption. We buried Sarah Belden with consumption. I would not favor, as you regard health and happiness, your connecting with one who is predisposed to consumption. His mother has escaped consumption because of a scrofulous swelling in her side. She has no health, but is liable to die any time. His mother’s father Samuel McCann died of the long, lingering consumption, and my sister Harriet, his wife, took it of him, and her suffering was extreme. She died. Sarah, the eldest daughter, died of consumption. Melville, the next eldest son, died of consumption. Lucy Ellen next died of consumption. Mary, the next, died of consumption, and only two of the children now live. It is the worst kind of consumption, and we feel deeply the need of care in this matter of connecting our interest with those whose blood is tainted with this dread destroyer. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 9

As soon as I looked upon Reuben I knew he was marked. He will not live long. His slim neck, his large head, tell the painful story that his life is short. Now, Addie, there is still a more painful side to this question. While they are having a feeble hold on life, only one of this large family was religiously inclined; that was Sarah. Lucy Ellen made no preparation for heaven till on her deathbed; then with her expiring breath she called upon God. Melissa is religious. She has had all the light upon the Sabbath, yet has not kept it. This is Reuben’s mother. Melville neglected religion just as Reuben does. Did not oppose when he was dying. His last breath was agonizing prayer. So, also, May neglected to give her heart to God till her very last dying days. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 10

Now this is worse to me than the dreaded disease of consumption. But I could not consent to have there be an attachment between you and Reuben. It is just and right that you should open your mind freely to me on this subject of courtship and marriage, for this concerns your happiness more than any other event of your life, and you need counsel and advice here more than on any other point. I hope to hear from you often. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 11

My health is better. I have prayed most earnestly every day for the blessing of health, eyesight, clear intellect, and physical strength. I am receiving blessings from the Lord. I hope to be faithful to my trust. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 12

Please write me in your next in regard to Sister Scott. I have not heard a word from her. Is she contented? Is she happy? I hope she is both. W. C. White and Brother Whitney left this morning for Lausanne to be gone until Monday. Richard Cogswell and Jenny Harns will be married on Monday. It is the law that the magistrate marries the parties, then if they want the marriage blessed they have this ceremony performed by the minister. This comes off Monday. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 13

We are all as a household usually well and things are moving off as well as can be expected in the office. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 14

I hope, my dear child, to meet with you again if the Lord spares my life. We may leave here in time to attend the General Conference, but I cannot tell how this will be. May the Lord direct us. We have much writing to do. Many letters I have to pass by although from dear friends, but I cannot possibly devote much time to letter writing, for there are so many papers to keep supplied. We have sent to Eliza several packages of matter. Hope she will write whether they are received. With much love to yourself and dear friends. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 15

Your Aunt Ellen. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 16

Addie, please send me the pattern of your basque and the length of your skirt. I want a correct pattern, for if I bring you any dress, it must be cut and basted together. Do this without delay. 4LtMs, Lt 95, 1886, par. 17

Aunt Ellen.