Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 108, 1893

Davis, Marian; Walling, May

Auckland, New Zealand

February 14, 1893

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister Marian and May:

I sent you a lengthy letter from Sydney, and now I will write you a short epistle. We left Sydney at two o’clock Sabbath afternoon. We—that includes Elder Starr and wife and Emily and I—had the very best berths on the boat. One window in our stateroom opened upon the deck, and the door was opened all the time except about one hour when washing the deck. We had still another good-sized window, opening into a conservatory, and windows were opened on all sides into this apartment. Next to this was the social hall. The advantage was that this conservatory had no floor, but only beams—broad beams—running across. On these beams were many shrubs and flowers and ferns. Above was a skylight to let the light in to the lower saloon and diningroom for helpers; and the children’s table was there. So you see we could not be fixed better for air. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 1

We felt very much pleased with our quarters. Everything was sweet and clean—no musty smells. The wash bowl was constructed so that a pipe carried off waste water and there was none of this emptying of slops or standing of slops. Everything that could not be conveyed through the waste water pipes was pitched overboard at once. This you will see had every advantage over the Alameda arrangements. I would have slept better if I could have had a berth of the same width as the one on the Alameda, but the berth was very narrow. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 2

The same day we stepped on board the boat we all, every one of us, had a general upheaving. I was glad for Marian and May and Fannie, that you were not passing through our experience. Almost all were quite sick. The first throwing up was not hard but the next—oh, how it wrenched me, and nothing came but the very bitterest of bitter bile. Emily was sick all the way and could not assist me at all. Brother Starr was sick and Sister Starr very, very sick. Willie and I were sick to the vomiting part only the first day. Brother Starr, I think, was sick a little longer. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 3

I wanted nothing that they had to eat, but be assured I tried to eat the best I could. We took all meals in our stateroom or lying in our steamer chairs on deck. The provisions and cookery were not equal to those on the Alameda by a large difference. Everything like soups was hot with pepper, and mixtures were hot with pepper. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 4

Well, we had very nice weather until Monday night. Then it rained a little toward morning and about eight o’clock the canvas was fastened up on the deck to keep out the rain. It rained all day Tuesday—a regular downpour—but I felt some oppression for there was a great lack of vitality in the air. I lay in the steamer chair all day, languid, without appetite. Emily lay on one of the benches, Sister Starr in her steamer chair. We were much pleased to learn that we would get in about eight o’clock Wednesday morning. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 5

The last night they gave an extra supper, and after that, until midnight, there was noise—carousing, stomping, dancing about, holloing, and every kind of uncertain sounds. The stewardess said this is the way they always do the last night on board. I bore it as long as I could, then I called out, at the top of my voice, Gentlemen, will you please to stop this noise and confusion and let us have a chance to sleep? I do not know as my words did any good, but they did stop their carousing. For a time it seemed as though hell itself was let loose, but we obtained a little sleep at last. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 6

Wednesday we left the boat. Brother Israel came on board and helped us to get off. The rain had not let up at all; it kept pouring down. A hack was waiting. All went up from the wharf except Willie, who remained till breakfast was eaten, and Brethren Israel and Starr came to the boat to have the baggage removed. I need not say we were glad to be on land again. Although the passage was a short one it was fully as long as we cared to have it. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 7

We were taken to a house well furnished. The family left everything to go to an island and remain a few months, so we have the whole premises to ourselves and we are thankful for the accommodations. Had to pay thirty-two dollars for one month. We shall occupy it only two weeks, then we go to Kaeo and remain two or three weeks, and [then] have to come back and take another sea trip, which does not please us; but we will, with the Lord’s blessing, get through it. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 8

On the boat I was assured of the presence and watchcare of our heavenly Father. I did enjoy sweet communion with God most of the time. I felt happy in the love of God. But I could not write or read, scarcely at all. I felt exhausted must of the time. I think I wrote one page of letter paper, but my head was not well when I attempted to sit up. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 9

Brother Starr talked to the people—I think Wednesday night. I spoke Thursday night and Sabbath. Brother Starr has spoken several times. We feel very sorry that the church here is in a state of lethargy. They do not seem to have enough vitality that they emit light, or shine. There has been so much faultfinding and dissension, so much striving to be first, that there are some who attend meetings who do not join the church. We have given them some very plain talk, but we are almost disheartened at the outlook. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 10

This Auckland is a very pretty place. The inhabitants seem to be of a better order than in Australia. We are doing all we possibly can for them, but we greatly fear that unless those who have composed the church shall move elsewhere, or be converted, there is but little hope for much being done here. The Spirit of the Lord is grieved. The Lord will not work to convict and convert souls to be brought under such an influence, for they would be demoralized, and not elevated, purified, and ennobled. The truth is certainly made by many to serve with their sins. They drag it down to mingle with their human caprices. And I greatly fear for everything here. I know if there were consecrated workers sent in here a good work would be done, but there would have to be a steady, firm, persevering steadfastness in the workers sowing the seeds of truth. If they will not fail or be discouraged a harvest of souls will be gathered. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 11

We decided to remain here one week longer. There are several reasons for this. We want the mail. We see work that needs to be done and we do not feel clear to leave without doing the work; and the house is paid for whether we occupy it or not. We leave next Monday afternoon. Yesterday we intended to go. The Captain said they would have a very rough passage. It blew hard yesterday, and last night it rained through the night. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 12

I have ridden out twice—once to Eden Hill, I think it is. We had the opportunity of viewing beautiful scenery. We have kindled a fire in the parlor only the first day we arrived here, to dry out our clothing. This is a very interesting place. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 13

Now about matters: I have not written much, for I have not felt very well; but I am hoping to be able to write after a while. I spoke in Town Hall to a very respectful audience last Sunday night. We speak here in the Seventh-day Adventist church tonight, and keep up meetings all through the week. It will take a long pull, a strong pull, in the strength and power of God, to make any decided difference with the people here. They have educated and trained their abilities and powers to contend. I am hoping that the testimony sent to you to be prepared for Brother Hare will get to him, and a copy to me before I shall leave for Kaeo. I shall want the principles to use in the Hare family. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 14

I hope we shall receive the mail tomorrow. I hope that you are all well and that Fannie is improving. May the Lord strengthen the weak and make them strong is my prayer. This must go tomorrow. If I have anything more to write, will send it before I close this letter. 8LtMs, Lt 108, 1893, par. 15