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


Routine Program in Basel

Six weeks intervened between their return to Basel and the time they had to be off for the second round of visits to the Scandinavian countries. These weeks were used by Ellen White in literary work and in weekend visits to nearby churches. The family now occupied five rooms on the third floor of the publishing house. On June 11 she described the house situation: 3BIO 342.2

We now number ten. WCW and Mary and Ella are well. Ella has grown to be quite a girl since you last saw her. Sara McEnterfer is well, and just as busy as she can be taking letters by dictation and writing them out on the calligraph. Marian's health is about as it usually is. She is at work on volume four, Great Controversy.... 3BIO 342.3

One week ago last Tuesday we returned home from visiting the churches in Switzerland. We traveled with our horse and carriage, and by thus doing obtained a view of the places and scenery of interest which we should not have done had we ridden on the cars.—Manuscript 20, 1886. 3BIO 342.4

Traveling by carriage seemed to be the most effective means of bringing relaxation to Ellen White and was her recreation. In one letter she declared: 3BIO 342.5

I have a good gentle horse, afraid of nothing. Four years old. I can drive him myself anywhere.—Letter 97a, 1886. 3BIO 342.6

And this she did. On Thursday, May 20, with her son, Sara, and John Vuilleumier, she left Basel for a weekend visit to one of the churches. It was an unhurried trip and at the extended noonday stop for rest and refreshment near Laufen, she had an opportunity to write: 3BIO 342.7

We are about fourteen miles from Basel, sitting upon the grass under a large, widespread oak, which is a shelter to us from the rays of a noonday sun in May in Switzerland. The horse, Dolly, is unharnessed. John Vuilleumier and Willie are at work rubbing him, using hay in the place of a curry comb; then he is left free to graze and do as he pleases. 3BIO 343.1

John and W. C. White walk to the nearest house, which is not far distant, for milk to be used with our dry lunch. A bed has been made for me under the shelter of the friendly tree where I may lie down to rest. Sara McEnterfer prepares the luncheon, which is spread upon the grass upon smooth Manila paper used as a tablecloth. The prayer is made for the blessing upon our food, and the simple lunch is eaten with a relish. 3BIO 343.2

W. C. White engages in writing letters on the Calligraph. Sara has arranged the dinner basket, washed the dishes in a stream of water close by, and EGW lies down hoping to sleep. She has been sick for several days and has not slept as many hours as health required. John Vuilleumier takes the German and French papers to the house where the milk was obtained, to do some missionary work and obtain names to whom he can send these little messengers of light and truth. Being refreshed with a short nap, I begin to use my pen.—Manuscript 56, 1886. 3BIO 343.3

With that pen she described the scenery, “beautiful and interesting.” Rugged mountains, with “battlements of rock ...on either side of the valley,” which she spoke of as “God's great work of masonry.” She was intrigued with the many castles with their watchtowers. Then as Dolly was harnessed again, her musing and writing was cut short by the summons, “All aboard!” 3BIO 343.4

The next day she continued her tribute to the grand scenery of Switzerland, drawing spiritual lessons from the things of nature. “We can never describe the scenery,” she exclaimed, “for it is indescribable. This view of Switzerland by carriage ride makes me desire to travel more by private conveyance.”—Ibid. 3BIO 343.5