Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)

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Chapter 26—(1885-1886) In Italy and Switzerland

There were some problems in Italy. Friday morning, November 20, 1885, just barely back home from her tour through the Scandinavian countries, Ellen White was approached by B. L. Whitney, president of the Central European Mission, with the suggestion that as soon as possible she accompany him to Torre Pellice to bolster the spirits of the few discouraged believers there. “Weary and worn from the arduous labors of our northern trip,” she wrote, “I would gladly have rested a few weeks in our home in Basel.”—Ibid., 226. But arrangements were made to start out again the coming Thursday, less than a week after reaching home. She wrote of the proposed trip to Willie, attending the General Conference session in Battle Creek: 3BIO 330.1

We are thinking of taking the whole family along; of going into Brother Bourdeau's house and remaining a couple of months. We want the Lord to direct. It is cold as a barn here.... The very air seems as if I were breathing in air from a snowbank.—Letter 36, 1885. 3BIO 330.2

But in the intervening days some things had to be done in Basel. First her living quarters needed to be made comfortable, regardless of the time when she would return from Italy. So Monday morning she directed her attention to that. She wrote: 3BIO 330.3

Today I went down and selected one of those earthen stoves for my room, which is the parlor.... This stove is on the same principle as those white ones in Sweden, but this one we have purchased is about five feet high, brown earthenware. It is a beauty for $20.... So you see we shall be nicely fixed here for the winter.... 3BIO 330.4

Brethren Whitney and Kellogg are true and earnest to do all they can for us. Brother Kellogg boards with us. They seem to think I must have everything I need to make me comfortable. 3BIO 331.1

But very little has been expended for furniture. Things picked up and borrowed have fitted us out with three good bedsteads and mattresses. Both rooms have carpets, not entirely covered, but answer all purposes.—Letter 37, 1885. 3BIO 331.2

She wondered how long she would be in Europe. Dependent on this was not only the minor matter of furnishings for her apartment on the third floor of the publishing house building, but longer-range questions as to literary help, working materials, et cetera. Should Marian Davis be brought over to assist in the work? She wrote to Willie: 3BIO 331.3

If I were sure that we would go to America next May, I would not think it best to disappoint Marian's plans. I just want her to do the things that will be for her health and after-usefulness.... I dare not urge her to come to Europe. I will send matters to be published if I am able to write. I shall not write as diligently as I have done. 3BIO 331.4

I certainly have never done as much work in the same amount of time as in the last four months and I am thankful to the Lord for this. How long it will be duty to stay here I cannot tell, but just as long as it seems to be duty to stay I will do this cheerfully.—Ibid. 3BIO 331.5

The November weekend had been a very busy one. “Several not of our faith” were present at the Sabbath afternoon meeting. Among them were four students from the theological college who had read Adventist papers and had come to Whitney and to the employees of the publishing house with questions on the reasons for their faith. One of these was soon keeping the Sabbath and was employed to assist with the German work in the press (Ibid.). 3BIO 331.6

Plans were also laid for evangelistic meetings in Geneva, which called for Albert Vuilleumier and James Ertzenberger to assist. Then there were the preparations for the trip to Italy. Mary White would accompany her; Ellen's little granddaughter, Ella, would remain in Basel with Sara and Christine Dahl. 3BIO 331.7