Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 122, 1893

White, Emma

Wellington, New Zealand

June 14, 1893

Previously unpublished.

Dear Daughter Emma:

I arise some time before day. Nights are long, and days are their shortest now. I find I cannot write as continuously as I have done. I have had a number of weeks of great prostration. My head and heart also were involved. I felt so great weariness it seemed that I could not hold my head up; it must recline on something. Writing it seemed impossible to do, and in the night seasons I had threatenings of paralysis. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 1

I attempted to walk to the place of meeting, as the trams in their course do not run to the hall without a good bit of walking. I was feeling unusually well, but Willie is so careful and tender of me and so is Emily, they insisted I should not do it. Before I reached the hall, sciatica set in my right hip, and I could scarcely use my limb. Pain extended the whole length of my limb and up my spine, which is never free from pain now. I got there at last, and stood on my left limb, or rather let the weight come on that limb, and I got through with my appointment. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 2

A livery team was secured to take me home, for which I am obliged to pay nearly two dollars. Every time I ride out it costs me this sum. But Willie felt so bad over his consenting to my trying to see if I could walk that I shall never insist again to experiment upon my strength when it is so painful to others. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 3

I think Emily shed tears over the matter. Never could one be more devoted to me than is Emily—thoughtful, kind, doing everything in her power to make my lot easy and keep me from every perplexity that she can bear for me. She is very quiet in all she does, of few words, but her actions are telling. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 4

I am so thankful to be just where I am this winter. I have no household perplexities. I could not bear them now. Anything in the line of hearing of one who is in trouble and suffering will rob me of sleep nearly the whole night. The Lord alone knows the load I carried one year ago while in Preston, but of that I will not complain, for His grace was sufficient for my day. The Lord let His light shine into my heart and mind and made me comfortable and peaceful in His love. Willie was in New Zealand, but the Lord was faithful to His promise, “I will be the widow’s God and husband.” On His strong arm I could lean; with Him I could hold sweet communion. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 5

I am alone now with the exception of Emily. Willie has been gone nearly three weeks. He received an urgent call to Melbourne to advise and counsel in reference to the office and the school. Elder Daniells, in Sydney, was also very urgent to have his counsel. There is to be a school located in some favorable position. Elder Daniells went to see a large tract of land to be bought very cheap, because now money matters are greatly depressed in Australia, and terribly in Melbourne. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 6

For a time a few years back, everything was booming and the Colonies were drawing large loans from England. They built, in the suburban territory, immense buildings, laid out large tracts of land for purchase in lots; and there stand the pointed posts like grave stones over acres and acres of land. In Preston pretty, new, nice cottages were standing for months without an occupant. Rental was to be about twelve and sixteen dollars per month, but they were glad to rent for six and eight dollars per month. The immense stone buildings erected for business stand unused. The public money has been appropriated in this way. They have really owned nothing and are buried up in debt. Banks have closed and thousands are starving. There are frequent deaths by starvation. The future looks so terrible to some, they see so much want and poverty, they throw themselves into the river and end their miserable, suffering lives. The boom in and about Melbourne collapsed like a full balloon, pricked. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 7

Now appears to be our time to purchase, but where is the money to come from? The only way a start could be made here one year ago was for me to appropriate a portion of the royalty on foreign books published in America. I could not do more than this. My debts have hung over me as a nightmare. Until these should be paid, I could not invest anything. But this royalty I had solemnly pledged to God to help in places where help was especially needed in foreign countries and to educate students coming from foreign countries. But sixteen hundred dollars was mine to appropriate from the royalty of foreign books sold in America. So I have had this sum to work upon, else no school would or could have been started. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 8

I have been writing to Brother Wessels of South Africa, and Philip Wessels and his mother have donated six hundred pounds. They say, Go on and build and money shall be forthcoming. For this we have prayed most earnestly, and if the land forty miles from Sydney is in every way favorable, we shall advise its purchase and have school buildings erected, and settlements for our people, for it is a large tract of land. We pray much for the Lord to guide us and to open ways before us. The gold and the silver are His, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I have confidence in God. I want to walk with God day by day and have converse with God. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 9

I do not expect to see Willie again for two months. I shall know better when I can get a letter from him. It takes ten days to reach Sydney from here, and the same for any letter to come to me. I wish I had the information I desire, for then I could give it to you, but it will not come before this letter must be mailed. Today is Wednesday; tomorrow it must go. I received a telegram from Willie that he arrived safely in Sydney. To save expense he went steerage, and he did not let me know anything about this; but it leaked out from someone who thought I knew all about it. There was a most terrible wind storm in Wellington, and I worried much, but the telegram set me all right so I had no more trouble. The Lord had guided him on that ten-days’ passage and I must wait patiently for all particulars. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 10

I do not know as I have told you just how we are situated. Sister Tuxford is the tract and missionary agent for New Zealand. There is a room stored with books as a repository. This is a tenement house, a wooden building—not a particle of plaster in it, just boards papered and ceiling papered. This I have decided upon, never to live in a brick house if I can possibly avoid it. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 11

Sister Tuxford is a woman about forty-five years old. Her father was a sea captain. She married an Englishman, a gentleman. His parents were wealthy. She lived happily with him for ten years. Then he became a drunkard and a profligate and licentious. The last sin she could not bear. She left him. She has a cheerful, sunny disposition. She loves God and loves the truth. She has good business tact and is a treasure of a woman. She occupied the house with her own furniture. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 12

We occupy three rooms. Two of these rooms are abundantly furnished. Many fancy ornaments we were obliged to have her pack away, for every nook and corner was containing trinkets, gifts of friends, and niceties in pieces of furniture, nice pieces of fine china, and vases of every variety and description. It was quite a museum, but I had no time even to look at these things. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 13

Dead earnest work was before me. I know that the end of all things is at hand, the judgment is to sit, the books are to be opened, and every man judged according to those things written in the books. I want to meet my account with joy and not with grief. We are all making history which we must one day review. God grant that I may have wisdom to work as if I could see the eternal world and all heavenly intelligences looking upon me. We are “a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 14

The call to breakfast came so I will finish when I return from breakfast and from prayers. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 15

I resume my writing. We have had our simple breakfast and our season of prayer, which is to us very precious. The Lord draws nigh. The Lord comforts my heart and gives me peace and joy in His love. We read Isaiah 12. It seemed so comforting: “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 16

I fear it will be difficult for you to read this. The lamp has a reflector and the shining upon the metal pained my eyes and I may have made mistakes, but I will now finish my story. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 17

I have a nice little parlor and a comfortable lounge. I have this with cushions, then sit with my limbs extended, which is the easiest position for my hip. I have an adjustable table at my right hand, and a prepared writing board resting upon my lap and partly on the table. Brother Israel has loaned me his large comfortable fur rug (they call them here). This covers me nicely, so although it is midwinter, I build fires but seldom. I have these two rooms furnished, nicely carpeted. Emily has a small room just across the hall so that she can be near me. Up a short flight of stairs there are two rooms, one for the storage of books. Across the passage is a room where Sister Tuxford sleeps. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 18

We are upon a rise of ground on an elevation, which is an advantage. Part of this building is a dry goods store, the family living in one portion of the house. Across the road is a large brick building, the police station, not yet finished. Up a very high eminence just opposite is a large new brick building, the Wellington prison. Every day when pleasant and it is not a holiday, there are one or two officers who conduct several prisoners to this building. They are distinguished from the citizens by white canvas pants and caps. They have no fetters and work perfectly free, as any workman, on this unfinished building. After their day’s work is done, they scramble up the high embankment to their prison cells. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 19

Now, we do not have to pay rent for this home. When we came here we thought we would remain one month. Sister Brown, a women of twenty-eight years, tarried over a few nights, expecting to take the boat for Tycora. Meanwhile we engaged her for the month, and she has done our housework—cooking and washing and caring for the rooms—for three dollars per week. The Lord arranged the matter for us for there is not a girl we could have obtained anywhere. She is intelligent and has had a hard time in her life. Her father was rich but was a terrible drunkard, and when drunk was a terror in his family, really cruel. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 20

Her lot was a hard one. Her mother had twenty children; the last six of these Martha Brown has had the care of. Her father died eight years ago. The man had fits and paralysis, and Martha had the entire charge of him till his death. The mother gave birth to her last child after his death. She, the mother, was at the hospital, for she was threatened with loss of both eyes; so Martha could keep the state of her father from her mother largely, but it nearly ruined the poor girl’s health—the responsibility of the whole family and the sick father and the worriment over her mother. She had nervous spasms after her father’s death. His body was examined, and his brain was all dried up like parchment. If he had not died he would have been a raving maniac. This was the result of liquor drinking. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 21

The overworked girl was sad, and seemed to be depressed all the time. We thought we could help her and that it was the best missionary work we could do to bring sunshine, if possible, into her life. We found her quite proud and sensitive. Her father’s business was left in such a state that there is not much left for this big family. Thirteen children are living. None are married. The mother has visited us. She is a tall, ladylike woman. One eye is forever closed. She can see persons and things with the one eye, but can do no work, the sight is so poor. She is a very pleasant-looking woman, of soft, low, sweet voice. You would hardly credit it that she has had twenty children. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 22

Martha has worked for her mother and sisters, and the mother and sisters have embraced the truth. She is a live missionary, but sadness clings to her as a garment. She keeps everything neat, clean, and is so quick of motion that we think we have been highly favored. We are but four of us women now. Willie is gone. Emily is teaching her to write on typewriter, and she has practiced but about two weeks and writes real well. This gives her some courage that she will not always be a drudge. She now is gathering courage, feeling as though someone did care for her advancement. She looks now like a different girl. She is improving in health, and the dimples are plainly revealed. She must have clothing. This we shall attend to next. She has made large donations to the cause and is paying those bills. She has been too zealous and has deprived herself of comfortable clothing in order to give and to help the work and cause of God. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 23

I have taken her under my wing, and I shall care for her as for my own children. Unselfish—herself is the last thing she makes any provision for. She shall attend school next term if we can in any way bring it about. She has a portion of the estate, but it cannot be used until the children are of age. She longs for the privileges she has not had, and she shall have them. I never saw a person learn so quickly, but she has been deprived of schooling since she was twelve years old. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 24

Well, I think I have told you all the particulars of how we are situated. The climate seems to agree with me. I have to be reconciled to being unable to walk any large distance. I can now go up and down stairs very well, but have to depend on hired carriage, paying two dollars for horse and phaeton from nine a.m. to one p.m. I am thankful for this privilege. I will not murmur and complain. The Lord is good, and I want to cultivate gratitude all the time. My head is growing stronger, and I am becoming stronger from my last ill turn. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 25

I would be pleased to hear from Edson and Frank and Hattie. I do not forget you, but pray for you all. I may never see your faces again in this world, but if I can greet you in the mansions our Saviour has gone to prepare for us I will say, It is well. This is my most earnest, longing desire. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 26

Byron was not needed in the Echo office. Stephen and he had no work. I do not know how Stephen will do. Willie and I were anxious Byron and Sarah should have a chance to attend school. I told them I would help them. He has not a dollar. He has helped his father a great deal. He and Sarah live very economically. Sarah is a born manager. She will put to the use her inventive powers to get along. She brings in means for herself, earned by her own hands. She can carry herself through this term. We advised they hire a house and take in and board some of the students, for they have not room in the school building for all the students. Sarah is a manager, and they will have to have hired girl. I tell them they may have free use of my furniture. I will furnish Fannie’s and Marian’s rooms. They thought Marian’s and Fannie’s fires and lights would leave them no profits. I told them Fannie would pay for these extras from her wages, and I would pay for everything extra for Marian; and I would take from the fund for students and pay Byron’s expenses. He has written me an excellent letter and says he shall never have such advantages again, and he will accept the offer I make him. So this matter is settled. The house is hired and arrangements made. I am so pleased with this. Byron can be educated as a worker in the cause of God in almost any capacity, and after he has this term of schooling we shall be able to decide what position he will fill. I was not pleased with his being a pressman. He has capabilities, and he can be growing into usefulness, and strengthening and increasing in ability. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 27

Well, now the letters henceforth written to you will be very short. Many things have come in to break up my writing, and I have had to shoulder the load. Then Simpson [Stanton?] and Caldwell’s efforts, claiming to have the loud cry, applying the message to be given, “Come out of her my people” to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I have written many pages for next mail. You shall have the matter. We may be able to send copy of some things in this mail. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 28

Emma, I am well situated to write, and hope to go at Life of Christ, after this week, with determined energy. Letters have to be answered and matters have to be attended to, else I pass sleepless nights fearing I have not done all my duty and some soul may be neglected. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 29

Elder Israel and his wife are just across the road. They have a nice arrangement with hot and cold water—a rare thing in this country. I take baths twice a week. Brother and Sister Israel are good company. We board Sister Tuxford for the use of her furniture. Much love to you all. 8LtMs, Lt 122, 1893, par. 30