Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)

148/284

Lt 120, 1895

White, J. E.; White, Emma

North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

May 15, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 195, 198.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

The steamer from Launceston, Tasmania, arrived in Melbourne one p.m., two and one-half hours late. We left Launceston about two o’clock. Everything as far as promising weather [was concerned] was favorable. On steamer I wrote until six o’clock. May L. White and your Mother had secured a stateroom on the deck because it had very good ventilation. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 1

I woke about eleven o’clock with the idea that we were having a rough time. I learned what it meant to be just above the screw. I thought of your description on your boat The Morning Star, in the storm you had at sea. The boat seemed to be laboring fearfully. We seemed to be bouncing up and down and sidewise and pitching. The noise, when the waves broke over the boat, was like thunder. Such shrieking and groaning of the boat I had never experienced before. It seemed to me we were crashing against heavy boulders and I thought, Are we going to pieces? Slivering timbers and the thundering noise was beyond any description I can give you. May was sick. I soon became sick. We could not be any help to one another. I commenced to call upon the Lord Jesus to speak to the troubled waters, “Peace be still.” [Mark 4:39.] 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 2

This terrible noise continued for hours. We were sick for the rest of the night and our trust must be in the Lord. While in earnest prayer, great peace from Jesus came into my heart, and I was all light in the Lord. I felt we were in the Saviour’s sheltering arms and we had naught to fear. My work was not done and we would be preserved. It was a most precious night to me to have the evidence that although in trouble and danger, we had the presence of Jesus, and we could in all assurance commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto our faithful Creator, for He would keep that which was committed to His trust. But very little sleep we had that night. I do not think I shall ever be again so delighted with [a] stateroom on deck, until I understand what kind of working machinery is beneath us. May and I could not eat next morning. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 3

We learned we were hours behind the boat tide. There was a fearfully rough sea. The waves ran very high and broke upon the ship, making a sound like thunder, causing the vessel to shiver from stem to stern, and it could not advance for hours. Every inch we made, the waves beat us back. About eight o’clock Willie walked into our room and reported he had enjoyed a good night’s rest. We were surprised and thankful that he was prepared to wait on us. He first ate his breakfast, then we were attended to. He had chairs prepared in a position sheltered from the wind, which had moderated in the night. We had plenty of rugs and were made comfortable, and life out of the stateroom was a blessing to us both. Willie has the name of having the greatest tact to make all who are in his company at ease and comfortable. He is looking out for the comfort and happiness of all. We were so glad to pass the bar and get into the smooth waters. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 4

Children, I do not think I shall undertake the trip to Africa. I will remain on land unless it is a positive necessity to go by water. I do not enjoy seasickness one bit. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 5

Well, here comes Willie and his wife May, accompanied by Brother Faulkhead, from Preston, where they were entertained overnight. I had my home with Brother Israel’s family. They are now taking me with them in a carriage to view the land with prospect of purchasing to build a church. The cost is seven pounds and ten shillings per rod for the ground. The location is good but it will cost much money to build in Melbourne. Nevertheless, we must arise and build. “Go forward” seems to be the voice of command. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 6

I resume my writing again, and am sorry that I cannot send you copies of letters, but this is not possible. I have in one month, since leaving Granville, spoken in the hall at North Fitzroy twice, in Bismark three times, in Hobart nine times. Then had to write some important things which will have to be copied. I have spoken twice at Launceston, twice Sabbath and Sunday. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 7

Last Thursday Willie and May Lacey were united in marriage. Everything passed off pleasantly. The children seemed very earnest that Mother should pray on the occasion, and I complied with their request. The blessing of the Lord was present. Every movement was conducted with the greatest solemnity. She was married from her father’s house. You may have seen the son. He has been several years in Battle Creek as a student. His father married an excellent woman with four daughters, all very bright, pretty, intelligent girls. There are two brothers, but they have left home. May has two sisters, bright, promising young girls. So, you see, Willie has connected himself with quite a family; all, every member of the family, dote on May, and they feel highly honored to take in Willie to their family circle. They all highly esteem Willie. He is forty years old, and May is twenty-one. There was no sentimentalism in their courtship and marriage. Immediately after their engagement, Willie was called to Auckland, New Zealand camp meeting, and he spent three months visiting the churches. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 8

We met them in Tasmania Thursday, May 2. They were married May 9. Willie planned for two weeks’ vacation but did not have any at all. They were married in the afternoon and Willie had to attend a committee meeting in the evening, and then packing was done Wednesday and completed after the wedding. We think this is of God’s ordaining. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 9

The children arrived in Sydney, I think, May 5. They were so thankful to get on land. Letters received from Granville give good reports from them. Maggie Hare writes that Ella and Mable are far ahead of the children in Australia. Both are pronounced pretty, but Mable is, they say, very pretty. We have not seen them for three years and a half, so they must have changed greatly. I wish to see them very much. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 10

I am expected to speak on Sabbath and Sunday afternoon to the church at Williamstown, then Monday or Tuesday we return to Sydney on the cars, and this trip is ended. We rode all night in the first class carriage to Launceston. Friday we hired a conveyance and rode out to obtain some idea of Launceston. Brethren Rousseau and Teasdale have been holding tent meetings for several months. About seventeen have decided to obey the commandments of God. I had much freedom in speaking from 2 Peter, chapter 1. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 11

I do not understand why, but on the night after the Sabbath I was quite sick. I was alone and the heart was the principal point of attack. I could not get breath and suffered much pain. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 12

My appointment was out to speak on Sunday. All report the best congregation they yet had out to listen. Intelligent people were present and listened attentively. I spoke from 1 John, first eight verses. It was a great trial for me to venture, but as soon as I stood on my feet, I was blessed and spoke under the moving influence of the Spirit of God. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 13

As soon as the meeting closed a tall dignified lady came and grasped my hand and greeted me heartily with a kiss. “Oh,” said she, weeping, “that book you wrote, Great Controversy, has been the means of saving the soul of my son.” He was sick, I think with consumption. He was not in peace with God. He said, “Mother, give me something to read that I need to help me.” “You have exhausted my library books, and what shall I get you?” Said she, “I have a book which I bought of a canvasser; you may find something in that.” She gave it to him and he became greatly interested, and he said, “Mother, this is a wonderful book. I find it to be just what she said.” He read it and reread it and appreciated it so much, and he died in peace, resting in Jesus. “I told him,” she said, “that if I should ever meet Mrs. White, I would tell her, for her encouragement, the good it had done my son, for it was the means of his conversion and salvation. I keep that book lent all the time. When it is returned, some other one solicits it to read, and it is doing a good work in its missionary travels. I am glad to see you, for I wanted to tell you this.” 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 14

I thought I should know who the woman was [from] our brethren, but they said she had not attended the meeting before and was to them a perfect stranger. Brethren Rousseau and Teasdale said they would look her up. If this woman has not made herself known, there may be others who are interested who may not have courage to confess the truth. They were greatly pleased with our visit and labors among them. Willie spoke upon foreign missionary work Sunday evening, and had a good attendance. This closed up our work in Tasmania. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 15

Tasmania is a beautiful place. The winter is cooler than in Victoria or New South Wales, and the inhabitants look well—healthy and rosy-faced. Children and youth with clear complexion are a testimonial of the country. Scenery is beautiful. The land is adapted to fruit—apples, pears, plums, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, currants, and gooseberries. Bismark is very much like Colorado, with mountains and hills of granite rocks, just such high, steep hills, and here and there farms or clearings, a few acres in the woods where fruit is growing, surprisingly—small apple trees loaded with their burden of fruit. It looks so romantic—little clearings among the blue gum trees. I like Bismark, also the place where Brother Lacey has his home, and Hobart, but crossing the rough channel in boats is something I would not want to accustom myself to undertaking. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 16

I am now decided, Edson, what to do. I cannot bear the responsibilities of a household; I must not have it. I have thoughts of building a home as plain and simple as possible at Dora Creek. I have in mind a few acres on Avondale tract of land, and would rent the home to Willie, for his family. He has no idea of building himself. He has not the means, and now he has married him a wife who thinks something of me, and I a great deal of her, we will change our family. I cannot longer keep a free hotel. I must have quiet and rest. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 17

We shall not reach Sydney until one week from next Thursday. We need wisdom at every step. The Lord is our helper and our counselor. I must now close this letter. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 18

Mother.

P.S. May 18. I had this letter enclosed to send you. May Israel offered her services to copy these letters which are not edited. I designed to take them to Granville to prepare to send them away; but keep the one I send you in your own hand. You may send extracts, but put them in shape, please; and do not use anything where I mention Battle Creek. It is best not. I am glad to send you these this mail, which leaves this day at one o’clock. It is now 10:30 o’clock. 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 19

In much love, 10LtMs, Lt 120, 1895, par. 20

Mother.