Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 128, 1896

Watson, Mary

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

July 9, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 14MR 327-334.

Dear Niece:

I had hoped to write you something definite ere this, but the uncertainty is by no means removed. The situation of the work in America may call us from here at any time; I may have to attend the next General Conference. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 1

We are not situated as we were when my husband was living and you were with us. We are now living in Cooranbong, twenty miles from any city. The climate of New South Wales is as good as any I have knowledge of, and you know I have traveled nearly round the inhabited world. We came here to get the benefit of this climate. Our school interest demanded that we have land which could be cultivated, and fifteen hundred acres were purchased for that purpose. I have bought about sixty acres of this land and have had a plain and comfortable cottage built. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 2

When we came to this place, about one year ago the first of this month, it was a forest of trees and under brush, such as seen in Colorado. We had a large number or workmen, and they pitched five tents and went to work. I could not be in two places at the same time, so I came up here with my family. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 3

Before coming here I occupied a house in Granville, a suburb of Sydney, near Parramatta. This house was a large and beautiful mansion, situated in a healthy locality. It was advertised to let for two pounds per week, but hard times came, and we were able to get it for five dollars and seventy-six cents per week. I think we lived in this house about two years. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 4

My health has improved very much lately. During the last two years I have done more writing than I have ever done before in the same period of time. I am now writing largely. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 5

At present, my dear niece, we have thirteen in the family. Let me name them. Sara McEnterfer is my nurse, and takes charge as matron of my home. She was with me for nine years before I left America and traveled with me wherever I went. But she was taken down with malarial fever, and May Walling and Emily Campbell came with me to this country. About a year ago I was taken very sick, and it was thought that I might die or else have a long siege of sickness, and Sara was cabled to come to me. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 6

Sarah Belden is with me and does the cooking for the family. Byron Belden, her husband, died a few months ago. Marian Davis and Eliza Burnham are my chief workers in the editorial line. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 7

Maggie Hare is editing my articles for the papers. She has not been long in this class of work. She is a young woman of good health, and is highly promising, and appreciated by me. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 8

Minnie Hawkins, who has served at the type-setting and proof-reading in the Echo Office at Melbourne for several years is now being educated to edit my articles for the press. She is a young girl full of health and vigor. The two last mentioned are typewriters [typists]. Maggie Hare takes dictation in shorthand, so she reports all my discourses and writes them out. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 9

May Israel is my bookkeeper. She is a young woman of good health. She also writes shorthand. She has reported sermons at our camp meetings, but has had so much of this work placed upon her, that it was feared that she had injured her nervous system. But she has since learned better what she can bear. She is also a typewriter, so that we have three machines in operation. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 10

Miss Lucas, a young woman whom I should suppose to be about 26 years old, is my seamstress. Edith Ward, I took out of pity. She was twelve years old when she came to live with me, and is now fourteen. She is Sarah Belden’s maid, and helps her in the kitchen. Edgar, a boy of about fifteen, does the chores about the place such as cutting wood, attending to the fires, etc. Mr. Connell is my outdoor manager, caring for the horses and farm work. Harry Hawkins, a brother of Minnie, is a member of my family at present. He is a carpenter, and is very handy. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 11

I have four horses and three cows. Willie has two cows. Sara has a saddle horse. May Israel and Minnie Hawkins also have horses. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 12

Willie has brought his family from America, and has given them a mother. May Lacey, the young lady he married, is a daughter of Mr. Lacey, who married the mother of Harry and Minnie Hawkins. May is a woman whom I love and respect. She is about as tall [as], or perhaps a little taller than, our beloved Mary White. Her health is robust, her eyes are blue, her skin is fair, her cheeks are as red as roses. She has an excellent disposition. About three months ago she presented Willie with a pair of twin boys. Thus their family has speedily enlarged. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 13

Willie lives in a house which was built for a convent, but the Catholics could not keep it up, and they rent it to W. C. White. It is a very pleasant house, and has two wide verandas, one above and one below, running around three sides of the house. Willie has six in his family, counting the baby boys. His wife’s sister and Ella White manage the cooking. Ella has gained twenty-five pounds since coming to Cooranbong, Mabel has gained proportionately. She was not weighed before leaving America. Nora Lacey, her brother Herbert Lacey and his wife, [and] Mr. Tucker, an old gentleman, board with them. With these the family numbers ten. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 14

Two years ago I came to the conclusion that there was danger in using the flesh of dead animals, and since then I have not used meat at all. It is never placed on my table. I use fish when I can get it. We can get beautiful fish from the saltwater lake near here. I use neither tea nor coffee. As I labor against these things, I cannot but practice that which I know to be best for health, and my family are all in perfect harmony with me. You see, my dear niece, that I am telling you matters just as they are. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 15

The lawsuit with Mr. Walling has cost me three thousand dollars. I could have decided to go into court, but this would have brought the children where they would have been obliged to testify on oath against their father, and would have led to endless trouble. The mother would have been brought into court, and you would probably [have] had to act a part. There is no knowing what lies might have been sworn to, or how much disgrace might have been brought upon us all. I have paid out about two thousand dollars for depositions and attorney fees, and fifteen hundred for settlement. This has cut away quite a slice. I have been unable to sell any of my property in America, and the expense of taking myself and family from place to place is not small. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 16

The conference furnishes me with two laborers. The rest I pay myself. The hard times have made it very hard for us all. I have two books in the hands of the printers—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, and a large and revised edition of The Life of Christ. The manuscript for this has just been sent. It will cost me two thousand dollars for my share of cuts for this book. Hard times have come, and we cannot sell our books as fast as we desire, therefore we shall feel the pressure till times change. At present I am in debt in America several thousand dollars. If the book I now have ready for the press has a successful sale, I hope we shall realize enough to pay our debts. I am paying interest on this money. I want to do more for this field before I leave it, and I may end my life here. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 17

I am fearful that your life, since we were united in labor, has not been calculated to prepare you to connect with me. I have a very harmonious family, and I am educating and training workers, giving them every advantage, that they may be helpful to me in my work. I have fears that you would be disappointed in the economy we have to exercise. We shall continually be obliged to exercise this economy, for we must render help in building meetinghouses and school buildings. This economizing would be rather a painful experience for you. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 18

My table is furnish with fruit in its season. For several months now we will have oranges, which we can get fresh from the trees. A few days ago Sara, Maggie, and your Aunt Ellen took the horse and carriage, and drove out about six miles, and helped to gather the beautiful yellow fruit. We purchased twenty-eight dozen oranges. Several of our workers purchased some for themselves, besides what I got for the table. I also bought ten dozen lemons. Oranges and lemons are the only fresh fruit that we can get at this season of the year. By the time these are gone, early peaches will make their appearance. We will get them about Christmas time. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 19

Peas can be planted in this country so as to be yielding nearly all the year round. I have been using tomatoes since New Year’s until about two weeks ago. Squashes or pumpkins we have in abundance. Vegetables grow well on this land, but we have not raised many because the land was not prepared for them. Vegetables, fruit, and bread form our table fare. As we are educating colonials in health principles, we do not, under any circumstances, place meat on the table. Some of our present company are as pupils in a school, and therefore, precept and example must be harmonious. Each year we put up not less than six or eight hundred quarts of canned fruit. We have peaches, apricots, nectarines, grapes, plums, and tomatoes canned. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 20

I have given you these particulars so that you may know all about our ways and practices, which may differ from your present style of living. We are all in good health with the exception of Sister Eliza Burnham, who occasionally has nervous headaches. Sister Burnham is a superior editor. Marian Davis also is authority on the class of books we send to the world. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 21

Now, if after these particulars, you should feel like uniting with us should we remain here, we can find enough for you to do. Please tell me what wages you would work for. We could not pay you the same wages we did when my husband was living, but should you harmonize with us, I will pay you the same wages that I pay my other workers who are fully qualified to do the work. The highest I pay is nine dollars, and they pay me three dollars of that for their board, room, and washing. I could not very well send for you, because of the want of money with which to pay your fare. After this pressure is lifted, I expect to have some money. I have drafts on the Echo Office, but at present they have overdrawn at the bank, and I cannot press them. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 22

Brother and Sister Rousseau we returned to America last Monday; [they] obtained money by selling what house hold goods they had. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 23

Now, please let me know just what you want, as soon as possible. You see I hold out no inducement to you. Nothing would rejoice me more than to see you and your husband converted to the truth, which you know is truth. It will cost you a greater effort now than it would have done years ago, for no one can choose the path of disobedience rather than obedience and become better prepared to accept the truth which involves a cross. I think every objection was removed from your mind but one, and that is the cross. That objection no power in heaven or earth can remove. We have a great and yearning desire for every soul to receive and practice the truth, not from compulsion but because of the love of it. Heaven is worth everything to me, and your soul and the soul of your husband is of value with God. “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” [Psalm 25:10.] 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 24

Obedience must come from the heart. It was always heart work with Christ. If you love Jesus, you will not think that it is a hard task to obey; you will obey as members of the royal family. Whether you are with me or apart from me, whether you see your way clearly or not, go forward in obedience, for this is clear. All issues and results are to be left with God, who has given us His holy law, the transcript of His character. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 25

The Son of God lived a perfect life of obedience in this world. We need always to keep in view the truthfulness of the humanity of Christ Jesus. When Christ became our substitute and surety, it was as a human being. He came as a man, and rendered the obedience of human nature to the only true God. He came not to show us what God could do, but what God did do, and what man, a partaker of the divine nature can do. It was the human nature of Christ that endured the temptations in the wilderness, not His divine nature. In His human nature He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. He lived a perfect human life. Jesus is everything to us, and He says to us, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 26

We know that the Lord Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, and He knows how to succor all who shall be tempted. In His humanity, He suffered physical weariness and weakness, hunger, thirst, and sadness. As He saw how obdurate were the hearts of men, He was filled with sorrow. He remained whole nights in prayer for those who would not pray for themselves, and who would not come unto Him that they might have life. Shall we, for whom He suffered so much, choose our own way and will and selfish gratification? Jesus speaks to us, “Learn of me.” [Matthew 11:29.] “Be like me.” He was human, as you are. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 27

I wish, Mary, that you had always employed your God-given talents in serving the Lord. O, that you might now surrender all to God. Write me again. 11LtMs, Lt 128, 1896, par. 28