Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 51, 1893

Rousseau, Sister

Napier, New Zealand

April 9, 1893

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister Rousseau,

I have a subject upon my mind which worries me. When I thought Carrie was not to remain at the school building, to stand in the kitchen as she has done, I thought that I would not say anything; but I learn that she has changed her mind, and is to remain. Now if so, I want you to feel a special interest in her, for she needs special attention, that she may not work so hard as to ruin her constitution. When I heard remarks made by yourself to Sister Starr, that now [that] the family was so reduced, Carrie might do the washing, I groaned inwardly. When I was there, I thought that she was doing too much, standing over the hot stove canning fruit. This is no easy employment, and I thought that you might not consider her true condition. She is unwell every two or three weeks, and female weakness is sure to follow. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 1

Now, my sister, you are the very one who should, through experience, have a live interest in every girl who is connected with the school as a worker. You should converse with such ones, find out their spiritual condition, and especially their physical state, and then use your knowledge to a purpose, that burdens shall not be laid upon them which will place them in such a condition physically that they will not have nerve and health to serve God with their bodies and spirits, which are His, purchased by the blood of the Son of the Infinite God. It is so easy to let burdens drop upon those in Carrie’s position until they become physical wrecks. There is excellent missionary work to do in this line that will bring the highest reward. When there is a large day’s work to be done, let not the strain come upon one, but if there is no one to share the taxation, then let a strong woman be employed to do the heavy work. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 2

I think that Carrie ought to have rest, and if she cannot, then she must be looked after as one who needs consideration and tenderness and love. If you will give special attention to this matter, I shall feel relieved. You know by experience how much suffering can be brought upon women through doing too much; please to guard others on this point. If Carrie breaks down, she has no one on whom she can depend to care for her, no one to fall back upon. If through any means she becomes unable to support herself, who will take care of her? Let us consider this matter, and let no one break down on our hands. It is just as much our duty to consider the bodies of God’s children, that needless suffering may not come through carelessness on the part of those connected with them, as it is to feel an interest in the souls of others, for if the body is broken down, the nerve power is weakened. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 3

My sister may say, How about May Walling? Has she not been overworked? I answer, Not to my knowledge. I have been very considerate of May. I look back over the past, and think the matter over, and think of the judgment given by Sister Daniells that May was thoroughly worn out, being on a continual strain so long that when relieved she had no power left. I do not look at the matter thus. If May had been ready to listen to my counsel, to sleep at seasonable hours, if she had not turned night into day, and [had] managed rightly to utilize the help I provided for her, she need not have been where she is. I am fully satisfied that the Fern Tree Gulley recreation was, in the place of restoring, very exhaustive. She put into exercise all her powers, and drew upon and taxed them as I had never required of her or allowed her to do. In Adelaide she had nothing that could be wearing and exhausting. When at Ballarat two weeks, nothing called her to tax her strength. During the six weeks we were in the school building if she exhausted her powers, she was not required to do so. She gave Fannie treatments, carrying the things up to the highest story of the building, which I was pained to have her do. She had no care of housekeeping. She gave me treatment such as she has claimed that she gave at the Sanitarium to six or more patients. But when May was wanted, she was not in my room. She had to be called. She was in Sr. Daniell’s room, and had to ascend the stairs to get there; no one asked her to do this. Then she must descend the stairs and ascend again to get to me. This was repeated many times a day. It was not the work of giving treatment that prostrated her, but following her own mind and doing as she pleased. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 4

If I am convinced that the few months’ work she has done for me, since leaving Preston, has caused this prostration, then I am convinced that she will never be able to do for me the work I shall expect of any one in my employ. I had May spend much time riding with me when at Preston, just to be my companion and save her. When at Adelaide the family consisted of four, sometimes only three, and there was no baking bread, no elaborate cooking. Emily did my washing, washed the dishes, and cleaned the floors until toward the close of our stay; then we hired the washing and ironing done, for I had to have Emily write for me. May washed the dishes at times when [we were] closing the American mail. We were in Ballarat two weeks, visiting at the home of Brother James. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 5

At the school building, she knows best what occupied her time. I do not wish that false impressions shall be given in regard to the work May had to do for me. I do not think May will do this. So I shall have to repeat what I just now said: Had she had an eye single to the glory of God and used her time to His glory in the place of having no method and no real order in timing her work, she would not have been prostrated. After she came to the school, not much of her time was devoted to me, and not much of her care. She well knew my orders in regard to her retiring early, that she should get sleep, which every one must have in order to keep their physical powers in working order. But night after night, after she retired, she kept not only herself but others awake until eleven o’clock and often later. So there are reasons besides the treatment she gave me that can be placed in the scale. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 6

Now, it hurts me sorely to have persons take the view of this matter that Sister Daniells has taken, for I am convinced that if May had heeded the counsel and entreaties I had given her, she would have had strength and would not have needed weeks of rest. It is unfortunate indeed, but the cause of her illness or prostration I know will be laid where it does not all belong. But if the work has this effect on her, it shall never be that her caring for me shall have the credit of causing it. I have felt that explanation was necessary. Hereafter, I shall either board or get some strong person to do our work. For my heart is sore and grieved over things I could not control, but had to let swing their own way. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 7

I hope May will now give herself to study, and I will willingly support her in the school. But I cannot consent to her giving treatment. Let her recuperate her exhausted energies. I hope Brother Rousseau and yourself will feel that May is left in your care, to act, not fitfully and impulsively, but rationally. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 8

Do not in any case encourage her in criticizing and contradicting the statements of others. She must not indulge in this. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 9

P. S. I am very sorry to write you this, but I make this statement, knowing it to be my duty. 8LtMs, Lt 51, 1893, par. 10