Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 117, 1893

White, Edson; White, Emma

Wellington, New Zealand

July 12, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in 12MR 299.

My dear Children, Edson and Emma White:

I am not in a favorable condition to address you, but I do not want one mail to pass and you be left to think Mother has forgotten her children. Last Wednesday, July 5, all my teeth were extracted. Sister Caro arrived at the mission about eleven o’clock p.m. and asked me if I was sorry to see her. I told her I could say, as Sister Caro I was much gratified to see her, as Mrs. Dr. Dentist Caro, I was not so certain about it. But this matter, although unpleasant, must be attended to sometime, and I had decided now was as favorable a time as I should have—and perhaps the most favorable. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 1

She said she must leave at two o’clock sharp p.m. At about ten I was in the chair and in a short time the teeth were not where they once were, but scattered in every direction. Not a muscle or nerve quivered through the operation; not a groan or moan escaped my lips. Why, I had prayed about this matter, believing the Lord meant just what He said, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” [Matthew 7:7.] I relied on the Word that is sure and never failing. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it.” [John 14:13, 14.] Precious words of assurance! Certainly if I ever needed to trust in God it was at this time. I took nothing to stupefy me and not even anything to deaden the gums, knowing that reaction would be more severe than if left in their natural state. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 2

After the operation of teeth pulling was over, I saw my physician was completely unnerved. Her hands shook like an aspen leaf. She bowed herself in pain and looked as if she was going to faint. Emily brought her a little cholera mixture, the only thing I had like a stimulant. She had been riding all day on the cars and she said every time she thought of what she must do to Sister White she felt actually sick. She had great sympathy, affection, and love for me—until recently so much a stranger to her. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 3

I, the patient, was waiting upon the doctor. I had her sit in my easy chair and tried to make her as comfortable as I possibly could. I was glad the job was over, but it has given me considerable to do to take care of these cavities. The doctor left me preparations—a lotion for my gums and a powder to use—which I have kept up until now, and shall continue to use as long as required. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 4

Willie is not with me. He has been in Melbourne and Sydney some over one month. He did not think I would go through this operation until he should return and be with me. I have had so much trouble with these teeth and [have] expended on them no less than one hundred and fifty or two hundred dollars. I found Mrs. Dr. Caro a superior dentist of high repute. She had special interest in, and love for Sister White. The matter was decided as far back as the conference in Napier, to have this done at once after the conference. Then it was thought best for me to visit Hastings, Farmington, and Wellington first. So this carried me along until the present time. I wrote to her two weeks ago to come to Wellington whenever she could disengage herself from her business. I saw the camp meeting or conference would come in October or November in Auckland, New Zealand, and I must wait two months and perhaps three before I could have my permanent set of teeth. I could see no time as favorable as the present. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 5

I leave Wellington in two months to go to Napier where Dr. Caro and Mrs. Dr. Dentist Caro live. Her dentist rooms are in their own house. I am glad the job that is the most disagreeable is done. I have not taken one particle of any drugs. Merely held a soothing lotion in my mouth, to be ejected. The second day I suffered considerably; the third day was the worst, for the inflammation was severe and pain no less; but no one has heard one moan or groan from my lips. The blessing of the Lord has been with me every moment. My teeth have not troubled me for months so they were not inflamed and this made it better for me. And I have slept every night as sweet as a baby. I praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy and love to me. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 6

I do not want you to suppose Sister Caro was a nervous, unstrung woman, usually, in her operations. No, far from this. She is a queenly woman, tall and every way proportioned. I lived in their home one month, and she was often called to the dentist’s room—a woman full of business. We could hear the loud moans when in the diningroom (never heard anything from my chamber). She would return as composed as if she had been making a pleasant visit, when perhaps she had extracted no less than one dozen teeth. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 7

I shall have the best chance here of getting a full set, upper and lower, for this doctor has not only an interest but love for Sister White. She is herself carrying credentials, and she is the one who bears the burdens in their church at Napier. She speaks to the people. She is an intelligent woman, in every way capable. She herself supports her three sons—two in Battle Creek and one who is studying law in Europe. Dr. Caro supports the house. She takes in a great deal of money but nothing is expended on luxuries. She is supporting young men in the Bible school at Melbourne, and she is supporting and carrying through several at Battle Creek. Noble, unselfish woman! The Lord does bless her indeed. She has treble the patronage of any other dentist in Napier. Well, I have written you these particulars, thinking they would interest you. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 8

I will write a few words in regard to your uncle Stephen Belden. His health is not good, and when the hands from the Echo office were discharged he had no work. Byron could not be employed, for they had become so involved in debt they could not do a large business, so cut down the business and discharged the workers. Now Byron knew not what to do. He had no means. Unselfish, kind, and sympathetic, he had used largely of his wages to clothe and help his father, and when the discharging came he had literally not one dollar. I know that Byron is susceptible to deep devotional feelings, and I proposed he rent a house in Prahran near the school and take student to lodge and board, hire a girl, and he should have my furniture to use, and I would carry him through this term of school now in session. Sarah also could attend the Bible school and both be educated and trained to do missionary work. Byron is in possession of talents that, if he is consecrated to God, will [enable him to] stand as a minister or at the head as canvassing agent, or in some position where workers are so greatly needed. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 9

They thought the matter over and concluded to accept my proposition. So they are keeping house, and Brother and Sister Salisbury are with them. I furnish the rooms for Marian and Fannie, and every extra like wood and coal and gas, and pay Byron for their board as others pay. They are doing well. Willie writes Byron is taking several studies and is making a success. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 10

I gave May Walling this term of school. It was essential, as we traveled to New Zealand, to have as little outgoing expenses as possible. In taking only Emily Campbell I would save enough to give her [May] the advantages of the school in Melbourne. I learn she is doing well in her studies. Emily is my secretary, my bookkeeper, my calligraph writer. She neglects nothing that needs to be done for me. Is true as steel to her post. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 11

Now I think I have given you the news in regard to us all. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 12

Willie was sent for, to see the land that might be favorable for the location of a school and to counsel with them at Melbourne. I gave my consent for him to go. I am pleasantly situated, as I have told you, I think, and now [that] I am bound away from speaking for two months, I shall write on the life of Christ as much as I possibly can. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 13

If I only had Jessie and my carriage from Melbourne here, I should be fixed nicely. I have to pay nearly two dollars for horse and easy phaeton every time I ride out. I can walk only a very short distance—about as far as from my office in Battle Creek to your residence. My hip will not let me do more than this. I do not walk lame, but cannot walk because so great pain sets in. Tell me what have you done with Jessie? I want to know. 8LtMs, Lt 117, 1893, par. 14