No one living knows the toil and care I have to bear. I ask for no sympathy but ask indulgence if I sometimes forget something. I have to look after the Orphanage, have charge of a church with four thousand members, sometimes there are marriages and burials to be undertaken, there is the weekly sermon to be revised, The Sword and the Trowel to be edited, and besides all that, a weekly average of five hundred letters to be answered. This, however, is only half my duty, for there are innumerable churches established by friends, with the affairs of which I am closely connected, to say nothing of those cases of difficulty which are constantly being referred to me.--C.H.S.
The greatest--nay, the sole--event of importance which has occurred in Rome during the last few days is the arrival of Mr. Spurgeon, and his intended sojourn here till the 1st instant. Mr. Spurgeon in Rome! How strange do those words sound! The enemy of monks and nuns, the denouncer of idolatry and Mariolatry, the foremost among Dissenters in the greatest Dissenting country on the face of the earth, has arrived in the city of Pius IX and preached a sermon against Popery within a trumpet's call of the Vatican. . . . He described Rome, in one of the most eloquent sermons he ever preached, as an "idolatrous city", and he warned his hearers against idolatry in terms as startling as they were persuasive with a look and gesture worthy of a really great actor, which he undoubtedly is.--The Daily Telegraph, December 13, 1871.
In Suffering and Sunshine
Following close upon Mrs. Spurgeon's illness there appeared unmistakable signs in the year 1869 that Spurgeon's own constitution was impaired. Without doubt, the main cause was sheer over-work. By the age of thirty he had been used to do much more than is usually expected from a life-time in the ministry and now, at the age of thirty-five, the demands upon him were immense. In terms of financial responsibility alone an annual income of between twenty and thirty thousand pounds was necessary to maintain the various works which he had begun. G. H. Pike, whose personal acquaintance with Spurgeon dates from this period, wrote: 'It might seem the easiest thing in the world for such a man to preach or to write what he did; but that it was quite otherwise was shown by his dread of crowds, and by the signs of wear which each year now became more visible. How he laid upon himself a burden of work which was not easily borne was well known to all who were closely connected with him; but I am not sure that the public ever properly realized the fact.'
Spurgeon himself well understood the cause of his weakened health but, while he counselled other ministers to husband their strength, his sense of spiritual obligation allowed him to take little or no respite. In a sermon For the Sick and Afflicted', published in 1876, he said: 'People said to me years ago, "You will break your constitution down with preaching ten times a week," and the like. Well, if I have done so, I am glad of it. I would do the same again. If I had fifty constitutions I would rejoice to break them down in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. You young men that are strong, overcome the wicked one and fight for the Lord while you can. You will never regret having done all that lies in you for our blessed Lord and Master.'
In 1869, however, rest was temporarily forced upon the Pastor of the Tabernacle and this was to become a recurring pattern in his life. From the age of thirty-five, scarcely a year passed without one kind of illness or another laying him low. Approximately one third of the last twenty-two years of his ministry was spent out of the pulpit, either suffering, convalescing, or taking precautions against the return of illness. One of the first of many subsequent notices on his health occurred in The Sword and the Trowel for October, 1869: 'The Editor's painful indisposition compels him to forego his usual monthly notes, and also the Exposition of the Psalms. Too great pressure of work has produced a disorder whose root is more mental than physical. Wearisome pain, added to relative affliction and ever-increasing responsibility, make up a burden under the weight of which unaided mortal strength must sink. An all-sufficient God is our joy and rejoicing'.
Later in the same year he suffered from an attack of small-pox, though happily not in its worst form. This was followed, in December, by his first experience of gout, one of the most painful diseases known to man. The name 'gout' seems to be derived from the belief that drops of pain-creating material originating in the blood-stream fall into the joints, crystallize there, and produce those symptoms which sufferers have described as the very distillation of agony. The feet are the members of the body most commonly affected, it may be one foot only or both simultaneously. After an attack is over the patient may feel better in health than for a long time before, for which reason it was long popularly believed that a fit of the gout was capable of curing all other ailments of the body. But the idea will not bear investigation. Also, the disease tends to recur in previously-affected members of the body and to extend gradually to other parts, until, at the worst, the whole system is brought under the tyranny of the disease.
By 1871 it appeared probable that his affliction had taken a permanent hold on Spurgeon's system. After the Pastors' Conference at the end of March in that year, he wrote: 'On the last day of the Annual Conference we were laid prostrate by an attack of one very painful malady. It will, we fear, be our cross till death. We have been comparatively free from it ever since Christmas, 1869; but on this occasion it came upon us as an armed man, and great has been our bodily anguish beneath its strokes'.
After enforced rest he was back in his pulpit on Sunday, April 23, but weeks of pain followed. Through May and June, 1871, when he should have been on a previously-arranged continental tour, he lay suffering. In a letter to the congregation at the Tabernacle he opened his heart to them:
The furnace still glows around me. Since I last preached to you, I have been brought very low; my flesh has been tortured with pain, and my spirit has been prostrate with depression. Yet, in all this, I see and submit to my Father's hand; yea, more, I bless Him that His paternal love has been more than ever dear to me. With some difficulty, I write these lines in my bed, mingling them with the groans of pain and the songs of hope.
The peace of God be with every one of you, my beloved! My love in Christ Jesus be with you all! I rejoice that my very dear friend, Mr. Hugh Stowell Brown, is with you to-day. May his words be marrow and fatness to your souls!
It must, under the most favourable circumstances, be long before you see me again, for the highest medical authorities are agreed that only long rest can restore me. I wish it were otherwise. My heart is in my work, and with you; but God's will must be done. When I am able to move, I must go away. I try to cast all my cares on God, but sometimes I fear that you may get scattered. O my dear brethren, do not wander, for this would break my heart! I might also feel deep anxiety for my great works, but I am sure my Lord will carry them on. It is, however, my duty to tell you what you can do, and what is needed. The Orphanage funds are lower just now than they have been these two years. God will provide, but you know that you are His stewards.
You do pray for me, I know; but I entreat you not to cease your supplications. I am as a potter's vessel when it is utterly broken, useless, and laid aside. Nights of watching, and days of weeping have been mine, but I hope the cloud is passing. Alas! I can only say this for my own personal and light affliction; there is one who lies nearest my heart whose sorrows are not relieved by such a hope. In this relative trial, a very keen one, I again ask your prayers. The Lord be with you evermore!'
On June 18, the eve of his birthday, he wrote in another letter to the congregation:
'On the closing day of my thirty-seventh year, I find myself the Pastor of a beloved flock, who have borne the test of twelve Sabbaths of their minister's absence, and the severer test of more than seventeen years of the same ministry, and are now exhibiting more love to him than ever. I bless God, but I also thank you, and assure you that I never felt happier in the midst of my people than I do now in the prospect of returning to you. I am still weak, but the improvement in strength this week has been very surprising. I hardly dare speak of the future; but I earnestly hope we shall look each other in the face on the first Sabbath of July.
This hope was realized when he preached at the Tabernacle on the morning of Sunday July 2, 1871, from Psalm 71:14, 'But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.' A short article entitled, 'Great Mercies', which appeared from his pen in the July issue of The Sword and the Trowel revealed something of what he had passed through:
'It is a great mercy to be able to change sides when lying in bed ... Did you ever lie a week on one side? Did you ever try to turn, and find yourself quite helpless? Did others lift you, and by their kindness only reveal to you the miserable fact that they must lift you back again at once into the old position, for, bad as it was, it was preferable to any other?... It is a great mercy to get one hour's sleep at night... Some of us know what it is, night after night, to long for slumber and find it not. O how sweet has an hour's sleep been when it has interposed between long stretches of pain, like a span of heaven's blue between the masses of thunder-cloud! We have blessed God more for those dear moments of repose than for whole weeks of prosperity... What a mercy have I felt it to have only one knee tortured at a time! What a blessing to be able to put the foot on the ground again, if but for a minute! What a still greater mercy to be able to get from the bed to a chair and back again!
We call those things mercies which please us, ease us, suit our wants, and fall in with our cravings. Truly they are so, but not less gracious are those benefits which cross us, pain us, and lay us low. The tender love which chastises us, the gentle kindness which bruises us, the fond affection which crushes us to the ground--these we do not so readily recount; yet is there as much of divine love in a smart as in a sweet, as great a depth of tenderness in buffeting as in consoling. We must count our crosses, diseases and pains if we would number up our blessings. Doubtless it is a mercy to be spared affliction, but he would be a wise man who should tell which of the two was the greater boon--to be for the present without chastisement or to be chastened. We judge that in either case it is well with the righteous, but we will not have a word said to the disparagement of affliction. Granted that the cross is very bitter, we maintain with equal confidence that it is also very sweet.'
Preaching at the Tabernacle, later in 1871, Spurgeon thus de scribed how he wrestled in prayer, and prevailed with the Lord, in what proved to be the crisis of that season of suffering: I have found it a blessed thing, in my own experience, to plead before God that I am His child. When, some months ago, I was racked with pain to an extreme degree, so that I could no longer bear it without crying out, I asked all to go from the room, and leave me alone; and then I had nothing I could say to God but this, "Thou art my Father, and I am Thy child; and Thou, as a Father, art tender and full of mercy. I could not bear to see my child suffer as Thou makest me suffer; and if I saw him tormented as I am now, I would do what I could to help him and put my arms under him to sustain him. Wilt Thou hide Thy face from me, my Father? Wilt Thou still lay on me Thy heavy hand, and not give me a smile from Thy countenance?" I talked to the Lord as Luther would have done, and pleaded His Fatherhood in real earnest. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." If He be a Father, let Him show Himself a Father--so I pleaded; and I ventured to say, when they came back who watched me, "I shall never have such agony again from this moment, for God has heard my prayer." I bless God that ease came, and the racking pain never returned. Faith mastered it by laying hold upon God in His own revealed character--that character in which, in our darkest hour, we are best able to appreciate Him. I think this is why that prayer, "Our Father which art in Heaven," is given to us, because, when we are lowest, we can still say, "Our Father," and when it is very dark, and we are very weak, our childlike appeal can go up, "Father, help me! Father, rescue me!"'
This experience made so deep an impression upon Spurgeon's mind and heart that he never forgot it. Those who are familiar with his writings must have noticed how often he referred to it, and how he urged other tried believers to do as he had done.
Though Spurgeon had quietly resumed work in the summer of 1871, preaching once on each Sunday through August, a real holiday was essential if his health was to be re-established before the chill and damp of winter aggravated his complaint. Thus in November he left home for Italy. As the following pages will show, great was his pleasure in exploring Rome, Naples and Pompeii.
More important for the future course of his life, he learned the practical lesson that if his work in London was to continue then winter visits to the warmth and sunshine of the Mediterranean would need to become a regular event. Yet Mrs. Spurgeon, his delighted companion on earlier visits to the Continent, could no longer be with him, as she explains in this section which follows.
In 1868, my travelling days were done. Henceforth, for many years, I was a prisoner in a sick-chamber, and my beloved had to leave me when the strain of his many labours and responsibilities compelled him to seek rest far away from home. These separations were very painful to hearts so tenderly united as were ours, but we each bore our share of the sorrow as heroically as we could, and softened it as far as possible by constant correspondence. 'God bless you,' he wrote once, and help you to bear my absence. Better that I should be away well, than at home suffering--better to your loving heart, I know. Do not fancy, even for a moment, that absence could make our hearts colder to each other; our attachment is now a perfect union, indissoluble for ever. My sense of your value, and experience of your goodness, are now united to the deep passion of love which was there at the first alone. Every year casts out another anchor to hold me even more firmly to you, though none was needed even from the first. May my own Lord, whose chastening hand has necessitated this absence, give you a secret inward recompense in soul, and also another recompense in the healing of the body! All my heart remains in your keeping.
It is marvellous to me, as I survey the yearly packets of letters which are now such precious treasures, how my husband could have managed, amidst the bustle and excitement of foreign travel, to have written so much and so often. I many times begged him to spare himself in this matter, but he constantly assured me that it delighted him to do it; he said, 'Every word I write is a pleasure to me, as much as ever it can be to you; it is only a lot of odds and ends I send you, but I put them down as they come, so that you may see it costs me no labour, but is just a happy scribble. Don't fret because I write you so many letters, it is such a pleasure to tell out my joy.' Every day his dear messages came to me, except, of course, when a long railway journey intervened--and, sometimes, as an unexpected gladness, he would post two in one day, that I might be comforted concerning him. On an important tour the letters would be illustrated by many amusing pen-and-ink sketches, of people, costumes, landscapes, trees, wells, or anything which particularly struck him. Plans of the rooms he occupied in the various hotels were very frequent, and enabled me better to imagine the comfort or otherwise of his surroundings.
The letters themselves are not set forth as examples of elegant style or well-rounded periods, or even of graceful phraseology; they are simply a loving husband's daily notes to his sick wife, a record of his journeyings gladly and faithfully persevered in with the sole object of pleasing her, and relieving her sorrowful loneliness.
* EXTRACTS FROM SPURGEONS LETTERS TO HIS WIFE
We are in Rome. Let a man say what he will, there is a thrill passes through his soul, at the thought of being in Rome, that he cannot experience anywhere else, except in the city of our Lord--Jerusalem. There are interests and associations that cluster about 'the eternal city' that a man must feel, if he has any soul at all. You remember that, last year, we started off for our first day's sight-seeing without a guide, and wandered about without knowing whither we went; this time, I can act as guide and interpreter, and am able to observe much which, on a former occasion, I had not noticed. Today, we went down the Corso, and up the Capitol. There are new excavations at its foot. We passed down the other side to the Forum, where they are still digging. Rome of the olden time is buried beneath itself, under its own ruins, and the Forum lies some ten, fifteen, and in some places thirty feet of earth below the present level. I soon found myself on what I knew to be the Via Sacra, along which the triumphal processions passed when the great generals returned from war, and climbed the Capitol in state; and it was a memorable thing to stand before the Arch of Titus, and gaze upon its bas-reliefs. There is Titus returning from the siege of Jerusalem, with the seven-branched golden candlestick and the silver trumpets; and, while these things stand there, it is idle for infidels to say that the Bible is not true. It is good history. Nobody doubts what is written in stone upon the Arch of Titus, but the same story is found in the Book; and the more discoveries that are made of ancient cities, especially in Palestine, the more will the truth of the Book be confirmed, and the record upon stone will be found to tally with what is written on the tablets of God's Word.
Then we came to the Colosseum. What a place it is! Two-thirds of it are gone, and yet enough remains where with to build a great city! I climbed to the very top. Under an arch of one of the great corridors we sat down, and sang, 'Am I a soldier of the cross?' 'I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,' and 'Jesus tremendous name;' and then I preached a little sermon from the text, 'Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth; then we prayed, and sang, 'Ashamed of Jesus?' Just then, two persons went by, and said, in broad American, 'Don't let us disturb you.' To which I answered, 'Come and join,' but they replied, 'Our time is too short,' so we sang the Doxology, and went on. Pretty bold this, in such a public place, but very sweet to be remembered. 'Boylston' rolled along the vaulted tunnels like a battle-song.
We went down to the Appian Way, and on to the baths of Titus. By a mistake, I took the party up a lane, and through the wrong gate; but, after all, this was fortunate, for it brought us to the top of the immense structure; and, looking down, we saw the rooms which before I had only seen from below, and this view gave us a better idea of their vastness and mystery. The building is a huge ruin, built upon a ruin. Nero had a golden palace here, but when Titus came into power, he buried it. Its roof was made of great arches, massive and strong, so he bored holes through them, and poured in rubbish till the place was filled up, and then he built his baths on the top of all. His work is ruined; but now, part of the palace below has been dug out, and they have found gems of art, enough to fill hundreds of museums. Getting to the right entrance, we came across the custodian, an old wounded soldier, who showed us over the whole place, as far as practicable, telling us all he knew, pointing out every fresco, and putting a delightful zest into it for us all. It is a place of marvels! Its passages and rooms are countless, vast, weird, and most impressive; one could spend a week there, and then begin again. The excavations have brought to light treasures of porphyry, marble, and statues; and the paintings and frescoes of eighteen hundred years ago are as fresh as if they were painted yesterday. Your guide has a long pole, into which he screws another long pole with a lighted candle at the end, this he holds up as high as possible, and you see the paintings on the roof of Nero's palace. There are said to be two hundred rooms still unexcavated, and no one knows what treasures of art they may conceal. Strange to say, there is yet another house beneath this golden palace, for Nero built over the house of Mecaenas, the friend of Horace; and, after digging deep down, they have come to the mosaic pavements of the first structure erected on this extraordinary spot. I want a bigger head, to take all these wonders in, and hold my thoughts!
After all this, we went a little further, to the Palace of the Caesars, which is a mile and a half round, and is being excavated. All is ruined, but it is so far opened up as to show the lower rooms, and the first, or Imperial floor. It consisted of many palaces, and would take a month to explore. In one part, I saw rooms just dug out, as fresh as when originally decorated, and remarkably like the Pompeian house in the Crystal Palace. There was Caesar's great hall, the place of his throne, the bath of the harem, the library, the academy or residence for philosophers, and the rooms for the Pretorian guard. In fact, the whole Palatine Hill is a palace; and as they dig down, they come to vast chambers and corridors which seem endless. One of these, quite as long as our Nightingale Lane, has its mosaic pavement all complete; we looked down from a great height upon it, and there were opened places far below that. The walls are usually seven to ten feet thick, so the work must be very heavy. I should think all kinds of marble in the world can be picked up here; it is just a vast quarry! What heaps of broken wine-jars--the champagne bottles of the Caesars! It is a mountain of ruins of porphyry, alabaster, and all precious things! From its top you see other great ruins of temples, basilicas, palaces, and theatres!
Then the guide said, 'Now you must come and see the baths of Caracalla.' I was bewildered, lost, confounded; but I went, and found a building more than a mile in length, which beat all we had seen before, and made me feel as if my senses would give way. These enormous baths could accommodate 1,600 persons at a time; they were in tiers, one for men, another for women, the third for slaves. There were hot baths, cold baths, steam baths, swimming baths; and all these were floored with mosaics which we saw uncovered as we stood there. The roof was destroyed by the Goths; and when it fell in, it smashed the floor; but here and there great portions--as big as our lawn-are left intact, and one could see the lovely patterns of the mosaic,--each room different. The huge brick walls still stand, but the marble facing is almost all gone. I think no living man can conceive what the place must have been in its glory. I needed to go to bed, to sleep off my stupor of wonder! I am foolish to try to write about it. It is like a tadpole describing a sea! The Farnese family have taken the fine statues and other treasures to Naples; but there are acres yet to be dug out, in which, doubtless, many more are buried, but it is too great an expense to dig away very fast.
I had one delicious half-hour during the day. I sat down alone opposite to St. Peter's, and felt as if in Elysium. The snow gone, the sun shining, and on the great obelisk I saw words which cheered my soul; they were these, 'Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules, Christ defends His people from all evil.' The Lord be praised; this is true, and the Pope and all the world shall know it! I love my love amidst all these great thoughts. She is my palace, my throne, my empress, my Rome, my world; yet I have more, my Saviour, my Heaven! Bless you, my own!
Today is the Sabbath, and has been up till now most sweetly calm and happy. We had our little service, with breaking of bread, and the Lord was with us. I read a sermon, and our song and prayer were 'in the spirit.' May it please the Lord of peace to give the like holy rest to my beloved! We then walked on the Pincian, where there are few people during the day, but lovely groves, and beds of roses, with seats in every corner, and all Rome at one's feet. It was truly Sabbatic. All that nature and art can do, is to be seen in these gardens, where the loveliest statues look down upon you, and fountains ripple to tunes of peace, and aromatic trees breathe perfume. A statue of Jochebed laying Moses in his ark of bulrushes among the reeds, struck me as charming to the last degree. It stood as the centre of a fountain, reeds and water-lilies grew at the rocky base, and the ripples of the little hidden jets made wavelets round the ark. Can you imagine it! Nothing in modern art has pleased me more--perhaps nothing so much. This has been a blessed day to me, and I have been feeling so well; I almost tremble lest it should be too good to continue.
Another day of wonders! This morning, we drove to the great amphitheatre of Marcellus, which once held 20,000 persons, and is far older than the Colosseum. It is buried for fourteen feet, and much built over and hidden; around it is a market for the poor, where I saw baskets full of cigar-ends which had no doubt been picked up in the street, and were being sold to be smoked in pipes. What would Marcellus have thought of this? Then we saw the long covered way which led from the theatre to the baths of Agrippa--a great colonnade, of which some pillars are visible, and others are built into the houses of the street which occupies its place. From thence to the Jews' quarter, where the same use of old stones is apparent; capitals, friezes, cornices, and all seas of marbles are let into the walls of the dwellings. Ah! the cruelties the Jews have suffered in that Ghetto, the barbarities which have there been inflicted upon God's ancient people! Their district is often flooded by the Tibet; and, on one occasion, when they made an appeal to the papal authorities, because their houses were ten or twelve feet under water, the only answer they received was that the water would do the Jews good! There was a law in Rome, only lately repealed, that a hundred men and fifty women from the Jewish quarter must go to the Church of St. Angelo every Sunday, and they were driven there with whips; and if one of them went to sleep, there was a whip to wake him up, that he might hear himself and his forefathers bitterly abused. On certain days of the Carnival, the Jews were obliged to run races in the Corso, stripped of almost all their clothing, and then the people showered execrations and curses upon them. Time would fail to tell of their sufferings and privations, besides which they were forced to pay large sums of money to their oppressors. Matters have mended somewhat lately, and they are relieved from many of the most cruel persecutions of former days; but they are oppressed still, and I was greatly moved when, in the Church in the Ghetto, I saw this message from the Lord plainly set forth before them, 'All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.'
To-day we went several miles along the Appian Way. What bliss ever to see it! On both sides, for many miles, it is skirted by tombs, temples, columbaria, and ruins of villas in continuous lines. It is a British Museum ten miles long! I felt a strange joy in walking along the same road which Paul trod, when the brethren from Rome came to meet him. From it can be seen Tusculum and Tivoli, and the long line of the Claudian aqueduct, on arches all the way from the mountains into Rome, as also the temple of Romulus, and the great circus of Maxentius. What a world of wonders! We went as far as the Casale Rotundo, a round tomb so large that, being full of rubbish, there is a house, and stables, and an olive garden on the top. We wanted to investigate, so climbed up, and were rewarded by the sight of a family of very scantily-clothed children; their mother and an old woman were baking maize bread in a hole in the wall of the tomb. They had kneaded it in a wheelbarrow, and the children looked as if they needed it, too.
On our way back, when nearly as far as the old walls, we turned down a lane to visit the catacombs of Calixtus. Candles were provided, and we went down to the second tier; there are five of these, one below another. I do not know how far we went, but it seemed miles; passages just wide enough for me to pass through, opening into rooms every now and then, and with many cross-roads where one could soon be lost. Here were countless graves, here and there skeletons, emblems, places for lamps, frescoes of ancient date, and many interesting memorials. It was a new scene to me, but deeply solemn and touching. Think of it--that this was only one set of chambers and passages, and that there was one above, and three deeper down! There are from five to six graves, one above the other, in each passage, and the whole place is full right along. These tombs are open in most cases, for the doors or stones which closed them are taken away to museums. This is the best and most convenient catacomb for tourists to see; but there are, I believe, sixty others. They have no Popery in them, and I would sooner live and die in them than live in this city of Babylon. It is nothing less than what the Bible calls it; it is full of idols, filthy rag, bone, and rubbish worship of the most abominable kind. I have cursed it all, as Paul did those who preach 'another gospel.'
Then we drove to St. John Lateran, 'the mother of all churches,' and I shall here only dare to write of one thing which, to my dying day, I shall never forget. I do not know that I ever felt my blood boil so with indignation or my heart melt so much with pity as when I saw the Santa Scala, down which our blessed Lord is said to have come from Pilate's hall. It was a pitiable sight to see old people, grey-headed men, young women, and little children with their mothers, crawling up and down this staircase on their knees, kissing the bottom step, and touching it with their forehead, and doing likewise to the middle and top steps, because they say our Saviour fainted at those places. As I stood there, I could only pray that another Luther might arise, and thunder forth the fact that men are not justified by works, but by faith alone. It was an awful thought to me that all these poor creatures should believe that they gained a hundred days' indulgence and the pardon of their sins every time they crawled up that staircase, and that every step their knees kneeled on meant so many days less of purgatory for them. The stairs are covered with wood, which has been three times renewed, having been worn away by the knees of the votaries! My heart feels all on a blaze with righteous anger. O miserable world, thus to dishonour the ever-blessed Lamb! O infinite mercy, which permits such insulters to live! I have seen them adoring thigh-bones, skulls, arms, and hands; yes, actually adoring these things as if they were Divine! Pagan Rome never went this length.
We went to St. Peter's to finish the day with music, and it was fine indeed; but I was jostled in a crowd of people so highly perfumed with garlic, that I soon made my escape to the outskirts to have another look round the great joss-house. Here I learned some English history, for I saw Canova's tomb to the memory of James III, Charles III, and Henry IX, Kings of England! Ask the boys if they ever read of them. They were the last of the Stuarts--the Pretender--his son, Charles Edward, or bonnie Prince Charlie,--and his son. What hundreds of other things I have seen this day, cannot now, and perhaps never will be told. I have stayed up late to put this down for fear of forgetting it, and also because it may be I shall have less time to-morrow when preparing to preach. God bless thee, dearest, and be thou glad, with me, that no 'strong delusion to believe a lie' has fallen upon us. To-day has taught me a year's learning. The Lord make it useful to His Church!
I send a picture of the Pope's coachman. What a swell he is! I think you will like the portrait of a brigand's wife. It is very well executed, and if you like it too much to part with it, be sure to keep it. The fellow in red is awful; these confratelli are in all colours according to the degree of the buried person. They are good fellows, who bury the dead 'pour l'amour de Dieu,' and they belong to all ranks in Rome. They cover themselves up in this manner to avoid recognition, and escape praise. They are universally respected, but look horribly ugly. I think they will make a sensation in the magic-lantern.
Yesterday morning, when I preached in the Presbyterian Chapel, all was quiet and delightful; but at night, in Rome, while my words were being translated by Mr. Wall, we were stopped by questioners. It was requested that they would reserve their enquiries till the end of the service, but the opponents were impatient. A paper was passed up from a Catholic lady, to say that a secular priest was present, a man of great ability, and a personal friend of the Pope, and that he was sent on purpose to discuss. So, presently, a man of unprepossessing appearance began to assail us with arguments from a sceptical standpoint, upon which he received such an answer that: he shifted his ground, and declared that none had any right to teach save 'the Church.' Mr. Wall replied to this, and the man changed his tactics again. Then, up rose a Waldensian minister, who spoke so well that the people broke our in cheers and clapping. This was suppressed, and again the enemy thundered forth his threats. He was answered by several, and told that he had shifted his ground, and was a priest; and Mr. Wall challenged him to a public dispute at any place he chose to name. This he declined, and seeing that the people grew warm, he wisely withdrew. One word from us, and he would have been put out of the window. The incident pleased Mr. Wall, for it created excitement, and will bring more to hear; but I was far from happy about it, and would gladly have been spared such a scene. Glory be to God, there is a living church in Rome, and the way in which they have gained converts has been by opposition; the notoriety which it has given them has brought many to hear the gospel. Bravely the work goes on, and the baptized lead the way. The leaders are two good fellows, pronounced Baptists, believing firmly that their church is that of the catacombs, and the only true Church of Christ in Rome; the others, they say, are the churches of Luther, and Knox, and Wesley, and Waldo--theirs is the only old original. I gently combat their restrictiveness, but do not wonder at it.
We have been to another catacomb, one not often visited. It is named after St. Ponziano, and is situated outside Rome, in a vineyard, a good way from the walls, and though truly ancient, it is not very far opened up, but you have to go down very deep. A man, who calls himself 'the dove of the catacombs' (he must mean 'bat'), took us down. We went a long, long way, each of us carrying a taper, and at last we came to a place where some eight roads meet underground. Seven of these were closed, but we found what we had specially come to see. This was a baptistery. It was full of sweet, dear, running water, about four feet deep, and above it was a painting in fresco of our Lord standing up to his waist in the water, and John putting his hand on the sacred head, that it, too, might be immersed--he was not pouring the water on him. Here we stood, and prayed to the blessed One into whose Name we had been buried by baptism. It was a solemn moment.
I had two such precious letters from you this morning, worth to me far more than all the gems of ancient or modern art. The material of which they are composed is their main value, though there is also no mean skill revealed in its manipulation. They are pure as alabaster, far more precious than porphyry or verd antique; no mention shall be made of malachite or onyx, for love surpasses them all.
We are off to Naples to-day.
This morning, we drove through Naples for, I should think, six or seven miles or more. It is a crowded city, full of stirs, full of business, and full of pleasure. Horses seem innumerable, they are decorated profusely, and the carriages are very comfortable; but, I am sorry to say, the men drive furiously, and make me very nervous. Old women are numerous and hideous, beggars pestiferous, and dealers intensely persevering. But what a bay! What a sea and climate! No one ought to be ill here.
We have been over the museum--full of frescoes from Pompeii, gleanings from the catacombs, pickings from the Appian Way, stealings from the baths of Caracalla and other places. Naples has taken away from Rome the best of the ancient statuary and treasures, and prepared a vast museum for the spoils. We saw thousands of precious things, enough for a year's inspection; but the Pompeian remains were the most important. There were surgical instruments exactly like those of the present day; cottage-loaves of bread, stewpans, colanders, ladies, and all cookery things just like our own. The safes for money were just like old plate-chests. There were cotton, silk, and thread, in skeins and hanks, and large knitting and netting needles. Indeed, the people then had all we have now; even earthen money-boxes with a slit in the top, such as the children have in our country villages. There were plenty of proofs that the people were sinners, and of a scarlet dye, too. It was curious to see the colours in a painter's shop, the bottles and drugs of a chemist, and the tools of other traders. We saw also a splendid collection of ancient gems and cameos, most costly and lovely. I never saw so many gathered together before.
We drove from the museum to the site of a new field of lava, which flowed down from Vesuvius last April. It is just beyond the houses of suburban Naples, and was very different from what I had expected. It had crossed our road, and passed on through a vineyard--this was one tongue of the stream. Then we crossed a second by a road made near it, and came to a village through which the largest stream had burned its way. It is a huge incandescent sea of the outflow of the volcano; men were blasting and using pickaxes to open up the road which the flood had completely blocked. We were soon upon the lava; it has a surface like a heap of ashes, supposing that every ash should weigh a ton or two. It is still hot, and in some places smoking. I should have investigated it carefully, and with interest, only a horde of children, beggars, and women with babies gave us no rest, but continued crying, and imploring alms, and offering us pieces picked out of the mass. Much of the strange material is far too hot to hold, and our feet felt the heat as we walked across the surface. The stream has partly destroyed several houses, and cut the village in two; people are living in the half of a house which stands, the other half being burned and filled up with the molten substance. Vesuvius, high above us, is only giving out a little smoke, and seems quiet enough. As I could never climb up to the crater, I think we shall be content to have seen this lava torrent.
Our hotel here is vast and empty; we have excellent rooms, and are thoroughly comfortable. There is music continually, and very fair music, too, though not so sweet as silence. Everybody makes all the noise possible, and quiet dwells beyond the sea. Rome is a sepulchre, this city teems with life. You are not out of the door a moment before you are entreated to have a carriage, buy fruit, fish, pictures, papers, or something. The side streets swarm with people, who appear to live in them; there they eat, cook, work, catch fleas, hunt over each other's heads like so many monkeys, etc., etc. It is like living in a museum; but as to the beauty and gracefulness of which we read so much, I cannot detect it, though really looking for it. Persons over forty look worn out, and females at that age are haggard; over that period, they are ghastly and mummified. Macaroni hangs out, in some quarters, before the doors on lines to dry; and the flies, which are numerous upon it, give it anything but an attractive appearance. Tomorrow, we hope to go to Pompeii. I am now thinking about next month's magazine, and devoutly wish I could light upon a subject for an article, but my brain is dull.
We have seen Pompeii. We drove there, and it took us three hours, almost all of it between long lines of houses, like one continuous street. At the town of Resina, we passed Herculaneum, but did not enter it, as Pompeii is more worth seeing. Then we went through a town which has, I think, been seven times destroyed by Vesuvius, and is now crowded with people. There we saw the lava by the side of, and under the houses, hard as a rock; and the roads are generally paved with great flags of the same material. Though driving by the shore of the bay, we seldom saw the water, for even where there was no town, there were high walls, and, worst of all, off the stones the white dust was suffocating, and made us all look like millers. However, we reached Pompeii at last, and I can only say, in a sentence, it exceeds in interest all I have seen before, even in Rome. I walked on, on, on, from twelve to four oclock, lost in wonder amid the miles of streets of this buried city, now silent and open to the gazer's eye. To convey a worthy idea of it to you, would be impossible, even in a ream of paper.
We entered at the Street of Tombs, which was outside the gate. In it were houses, shops, taverns, a fountain, and several tombs. The house of Diomed greatly interested us. We went upstairs and downstairs, and then into the cellars where were still the amphorae, or wine-bottles, leaning against the wall in rows, the pointed end being stuck into the ground, and the rows set together in dry dust, in exactly the same way as we place articles in sawdust. In the cellars were found eighteen skeletons of women who had fled there for shelter. The photograph I send shows the garden, with covered walk round it, and tank for live fish. In this street were several places for seats in the shade, made in great semicircles, so that a score of persons could rest at once. Near the gate was the niche where the soldier was found who kept his watch while others fled. We could not think of going up and down all the streets; it would need many days to see all. The city was, I should think, a watering-place for the wealthy. No poor class of houses has yet been discovered. It was paved with great slabs of stone, which are worn deeply with cart or chariot wheels. Across the streets were huge stepping-stones, just wide enough to allow wheels to go on each side; but either they had no horses to the cars in these streets, or else they must have been trained to step over. In some places were horsing-blocks, in others there were holes in the kerbstone to pass a rope through to tie up a horse. The houses are many of them palaces, and contained great treasures of art, which are now in museums, but enough is left in each case to show what they were. Frescoes remain in abundance, and grottoes, and garden fountains, and marble terraces for cascades of water. It is a world of wonders.
In one part of the city, a noble owner had let the corner of his house to a vendor of warm wines, and there is his marble counter, with the holes therein for his warming-pots. Stains of wine were on the counter when it was first uncovered. We saw the back parlour of a drinking-shop, with pictures on the wall of a decidedly non-teetotal character. There were several bakers' shops with hand-mills, the tops of which turned round on a stone, and ground well, no doubt. In one, we saw the oven, with a water-jar near it; in this place were found 183 loaves of bread.
In the doctors' and chemists' shops, when opened, they saw the medicines as they were when entombed, and even pills left in the process of rolling! In the custom-house were standard weights and measures. Soap factories have their evaporating-pans remaining. Oil vessels abound; and in one, made of glass, some of the oil may still be seen. Cookshops had in them all the stewpans, gridirons, and other necessities of the trade. We saw jewellers' shops, artists' studios, and streets of grocers' and drapers' shops, many with signs over their doors.
The baths impressed me much, for they had been newly built when the awful tragedy took place, and look as if they were opened yesterday; a fine cold plunge-bath, with water carried high for a 'shower', a dressing-room with niches for brushes, combs, and pomades--all of which were there, but have been removed to museums; and a great brazier in green bronze, with seats round it for the bathers to dry themselves; a warm bath, and a vapour bath all perfect, and looking ready for use to-morrow.
The Forum was vast, and had in it the facades of several magnificent temples, the remains of which reveal their former glory. The pedestals of the statues of the eminent men of the town remain with their names upon them. We saw the tragic and comic theatres, and the amphitheatre which held 20,000 persons, in which the people were assembled when the eruption came, and from which they escaped, but had to flee to the fields, and leave their houses for ever.
In the Temple of Isis, we saw the places where the priests were concealed when they made the goddess deliver her oracles! We saw the lady herself in the museum, with a pipe at the back of her head, which was fixed in the wall, and served as the secret speaking-tube. The priests of Isis were found dead at her shrine; one of them with an axe had cut through two walls to get out, but had not succeeded. Poor creature!
In a money-changer's house, we saw his skeleton, lying on its face, with outstretched arms and hands; much money was found near him. In the barracks were sixty-three persons, soldiers' and officers' wives. Here were the stocks which had been used for the punishment of refractory soldiers.
In the Street of Mercury is a triumphal arch, on which stood a statue of Nero, found nearly perfect. Here, too, we noted a drinking-fountain, and a house with its exterior richly adorned with red frescoes. In a vast Hall of Justice were cells under the magistrates' bench; and in these, three prisoners were found, inside an iron ring which went round their waists. They were, perhaps, waiting to be brought up before the aldermen for some misdemeanour, and expecting to be fined 'five shillings and costs,' but they perished like their betters, and were summoned before a higher tribunal.
Out of so great a city, I suppose comparatively few were destroyed; so, as the bodies of these are found, they are preserved, especially if anything remarkable is to be seen in connection with them.
We saw the digging still going on, and the mounds of removed rubbish were like high railway embankments. No roofs remain, but spouts for the rain-water are there in great abundance; they are in the form of dogs' and lions' heads and other quaint devices. No stables have yet been uncovered; but the carts, which stood at the inn doors, have left their iron tyres, the skeletons of the horses, and their bits, to bear witness to their former existence. Skeletons of dogs and cats were there, and in a pan was a sucking pig prepared and just ready for roasting! I saw also a pot on a tripod, or trivet, which, when discovered, actually had water in it! I feel ashamed to write so badly on such a theme, but I cannot do better. It is too vast a task for me, and I fail to recollect a tithe of it. I must cease writing tonight, but I continue to breathe loving assurances to my sweet wifey.
We have been in a steamer to the Island of Capri, calling at Sorrento on the way; a glorious excursion, but we failed in our great object, which was, to see the Blue Grotto. The sea was too rough to permit entrance, as the opening is only three feet high, and no one can get in except during smooth water, and when the wind is from a certain quarter. However, we stayed a couple of hours on the island, which is precipitous, so I did not climb, but sat on a balcony, enjoying the marvellous scene. We reached Naples late, for the boat was slow; but first the sunset, and then the moonlight, gave us two charming effects, to which Vesuvius added by smoking almost continuously. This little trip served as a pleasant rest and refreshment after the toil and the dust of Pompeii.
Today, we have had a long and splendid drive to the other side of the bay. First along the quay, then through a tunnel almost half a mile long, and then skirting the bay, by road to Puteoli, where Paul landed; we saw the spot (as is supposed), and the commencement of the Appian Way which he followed till he reached Rome. At Puteoli, we first went into the crater of the Solfatara, a semi-extinct volcano, which has not been in eruption since 1198, when it destroyed ancient Puteoli. It is grown over with shrubs and small trees. Passing by Virgil's Elysian fields, and manifold wonders, we came to Misenum, and the village of Bacoli. Here we left the carriage, and ascended the hill to see what is called the Piscina Mirabilis,--a vast underground reservoir, which once contained water brought by the Julian aqueduct from some fifty miles' distance. It is dry now, and we descended a long flight of steps to the bottom. It has a roof supported by forty-eight huge columns; it is 220 feet long, and 82 feet broad. There are traces of water having filled it up to the spring of the arches, and the place where the water entered is very plainly to be seen. There are great openings in the roof, down which hang festoons of creeping plants. The place was very chilly, and coming up forty steps out of it seemed like leaving a sepulchre. Yet it was a sight to be remembered to one's dying day. We descended through the foul and loathsome village street, where cholera may well rage in summer. We could not explore villas of Julius Caesar, prisons of Nero, villa of Agrippina, and other places, for we were tired, and I felt afraid of more vaults and their horrible damps. So we went into Baiae, and entered a queer little osteria, or inn, and had some poor would-be oysters, bread and butter, and green lemons, freshly gathered from the tree. The view was glorious indeed, nothing could excel it; great ruined temples and villas were everywhere, and made a picture of exceeding beauty.
The drive home was by the sea, and we could perceive buildings down at the bottom, under the dear blue water. These have been brought down by the depression of the land upon which they stood, owing to earthquakes. We crossed a lava torrent which had come from Monte Nuova, and then we went on by our former road through Puteoli; till we left it to return to Naples without traversing the tunnel. This road took us up on one side of the promontory of Posilippo, whence we saw Ischia, Puteoli, Baiae, and Misenum; and then we went down the other side, with Capri Sorrento, Vesuvius, and Naples, all in full view. We were quickly down among the grand equipages which fill the Riviera di Chiaia; and, dashing along as fast as any of them, we were soon at the hotel door; and, since table d'hôte, I have been writing this long narration for you. The air here is balmy, the atmosphere dry, the heat great in the sun, but bearable in the shade. Mosquitoes are fewer and less voracious than in Venice. Everything is restorative to the system, and exhilarating. Even the beggars seem to be happy. None are miserable but the old women and the priests. Organs are far too plentiful, and music of all sorts is ad nauseam. Of religion, I have only seen one trace, namely, the bowing down of everyone when 'the host' was being carried under an umbrella to some sick person. Beggars swarm, and dealers in little wares assail you at all points, and will not cease their importunities. Tomorrow will be the Sabbath, and in this I rejoice, for rest is sweet, and sweetest when made 'holiness to the Lord.' I send tons of love to you, hot as fresh lava. God bless you with His best blessings!
It is the Sabbath, quiet and restful. We have had a delightful service, and I have written for my note-book and the magazine; so there will be a little less for my dear one, but there is nothing new to tell. I have been so grandly well all this time that I do not know how to be grateful enough, and my heart is light because you are better; my soul is at rest, my spirit leaps. I am indeed a debtor to Him who restoreth my soul. Blessed be His holy Name for ever and ever! We are very quiet, for there are no other visitors in the house; we have the best rooms, nice beds, well-curtained from mosquitoes. There is a house between us and the sea, but we can see the bay on each side of it, and Vesuvius if we go out on the balcony. The climate is like heaven below, and cannot but be a medicine to the sick. To-morrow we hope to be travelling; God be with thee, mine own, and give thee peace and healing! My heart is ever thine.
Again in Rome. Waking somewhat early this morning, I have risen to write to mine own darling wife. The fact is, I am afraid there will be a gap in the correspondence, and I shall be very sorry if it turns out to be so. Just as we left Naples, the rain began to descend, the warmth was gone, and we had a cool, if not a cold journey here. The fall in the temperature seemed to affect me, and I had a very disturbed and uncomfortable night. I am, however, so grateful for my long spell of rest, night by night, that this does not depress me, although I hoped that I was getting beyond the reach of such restless hours.
Yesterday was wet every now and then, but I had to devote the day to the magazine, and therefore it mattered not. I stole out to the Pantheon, and the Lateran, and then in again. Not being in harness, I worked slowly, and the matter came not until the mind had been much squeezed. How much more pleasant is the out-bursting juice of the grape when it yields its streams to the lightest pressure of the vintner's hand! Yet duty had to be done, and I did it; but have more yet to do. Three dear letters awaited me here. 'Not worth sixpence,' did you say! They are worth a mint to me; they are mosaics of which every little bit is a gem. Naples has been a great treat; how I wish you could have been there, but I should not like you to see how horses are treated, it would make you quite unhappy. The Neapolitans load up their carriages most cruelly. I never saw so many horses, mules, and donkeys in my life before in proportion to the people. Everybody drives or rides, and they are all in a great hurry, too.
Mentone.--We came here yesterday from Genoa. Today, while I was lying on the beach, and Mark Tapley was slyly filling our pockets with stones, and rolling Mr. Passmore over, who should walk up but Mr. McLaren, of Manchester, with whom I had a long and pleasant chat. We are to go to Monaco to-morrow together. He has three months' holiday. I am glad I have not; but I should wish I had, if I had my dear wife with me to enjoy it. Poor little soul! she must suffer while I ramble. Two clergymen have had a long talk with me this evening. It began by one saying aloud to the other, 'I hear Mr. Spurgeon has been here.' This caused a titter round the table, for I was sitting opposite to him. Mentone is charming, but not very warm. It is as I like it, and is calculated to make a sick man leap with health. How I wish you could be here!
The two parsons here are High Church and Low Church, and I have had a talk with both. Just before dinner, who should go by but the Earl of Shaftesbury, with whom I had half-an-hour's converse. He was very low in spirit, and talked as if all things in the world were going wrong; but I reminded him that our God was yet alive, and that dark days were only the signs of better times coming. He is a real nobleman, and man of God. Everybody in the hotel is courteous and kind, and I have quite a circle of acquaintances already. I have enjoyed the rest very much; but young married couples remind me of our early days, and the cloud which covers us now. Still, He who sent both sun and shade is our ever tender Father, and knows best; and if it be good for us, He can restore all that He has withdrawn, and more; and if not, He designs our yet greater good. There is nothing more to write, except the ever true and never tiresome message--my perfect love be with thee, and the Lord's love be over thee for ever! In a few more days I shall see thee, and it will be a fairer sight than any my eyes have rested on during my absence.
Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Müller went with me to Dr. Bennet's garden, and I had a most profitable conversation with him, one to be remembered for many a day with delight. Dr. Bennet came up, and I was amused to hear Müller teaching him the power of prayer, and recommending him to pray about one of the terraces which he wants to buy, but the owner asks a hundred times its value. Dr. B. thought it too trifling a matter to take to the Lord; he said that Mr. Müller might very properly pray about the Orphanage, but as to this terrace, to complete his garden--he thought he could not make out a good case about it. Mr. M. said it encouraged people in sin if we yielded to covetous demands, so he thought the Dr. might pray that the owners should be kept from exorbitant claims; but Dr. B. said that, as ignorant peasants, they were very excusable for trying either to keep their land, or to get all they could from an Englishman whom they imagined to be a living gold mine! The spirit of both was good; but, of course, the simple, child-like holy trust of Müller was overpowering. He is not a sanctimonious person; but full of real joy, and sweet peace, and innocent pleasure.
Nice.--In this place we have been put up four flights of stairs, and, alas! into very cold rooms. I woke in the night, and felt as if I were freezing in a vault, and my ankles were in great pain. I was much cast down; and, on getting out of bed, found the carpet and floor both very damp. I had a very bad night, and am now in much pain in the left foot. Yet I believe I shall get over it soon, and I mean to have no more of these climbings up stairs, and sleeping in horrid cells. Nice is a very grand place, and I am sorry we left Mentone to come to it. But I must not write in a grumbling vein. Here have I had nearly five weeks of good health, and have grown stronger every day; why should I care for one little relapse? We will be off to Cannes and Hyères, and see what God has in store for us. He will deal graciously with me as He has ever done.
Cannes.--I was too ill yesterday to write. After the deadly chill of Thursday night at Nice, I felt the gout coming on, but resolved to escape from that inhospitable hotel. An hour brought us here, but it rained mercilessly, and all around was damp and chill. I got upstairs into beautiful rooms, but had to go to bed, which I have only left for a moment or two since, while it was being arranged. My left foot is badly swollen, and the knee-joint is following suit. I have had very little sleep, and am very low; but, oh, the kindness of these friends! They sit up with me all night by turns, and cheer me with promises. I hope I shall get home in time for Sunday, but have some fears of it. Do not fret about me, I may be well before this reaches you; and if I am, I will telegraph and say so. I have every comfort here but home, and my dear wifey's sweet words. I am sad that my journey should end so, but the Lord's will be done!
Two days later.--I have had a heavy time of pain, my dearest, but am now better. God has changed the weather; yesterday was warm, to-day is hot, so we think it best to hurry on, and, if possible, have a coupé-lit right through to Paris. I feel well in myself, but the knee will not bear me, though I think I should be as strong as a horse after a day or two of this weather. How much I have to thank the Lord for! Such kind friends! They have proved their love beyond all praise. I was never alone. Even the femme de chambre pitied 'pauvre monsieur,' and did her best for me. I hope now to get home in time for Sunday. My soul loves you, and longs to see you.
Paris.--In the hope that one more letter may reach you before I come personally, I give myself the delight of writing it. The telegram will have told you that, at the very prudent advice of the doctor, I left Cannes at 3.15 on Tuesday in a coupé-lit to travel direct to Paris. It has proved a very wise step. A lady lent her Bath-chair to take me to the station, and porters lifted me into the carriage. There I had a nice sofa-bed and every convenience. I lay there with great comfort till we reached Marseilles; then came the night, and I had hoped to sleep, but the extreme oscillation of the train quite prevented that. Once only I dozed for a few minutes, yet I was kept restful till six o'clock, when my dear friends got me some warm soup, and I had a refreshing wash. Then, all day long, I was at peace till 6 p.m. From Lyons, the country is flooded all along the road; we seemed to ride through a vast river. I naturally felt the chill of this, and my knees complained. Near Paris it rained hard, and at Paris heavily. After much stress and difficulty, I was put into a cab, and we drove to this hotel. I went to bed immediately, and slept on, on, on, till eight o'clock the next morning, awaking then refreshed, and, happily, none the worse for the long journey. I meant to stay in bed all day, and sent my friends out, so that I might not always be a drag upon them; but, at about noon, I rose and dressed, and when they came in, I had flown--to a sitting-room and a sofa by a cosy fire! I can walk now a little, and hope to be all right for Sunday. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and may He bless thee, too, my dear heart of love! I hope to have a coupé and to-morrow lie down again while travelling, and so home to my tender wifey. Who could hope to escape rheumatic pains when all the world is wet through to the centre? It must not grieve you that I suffer, but you must rejoice that I escaped so long. Why, even rocks might feel this marvellous, long-continued wetting! I am indeed grateful to God for His goodness; still, 'there's no place like home.' This brings great loads of love all flaming. God bless thee ever!
Carriage at Victoria at 5.45, Friday!