IT is not the purpose of this book to give a detailed record of the life and work of the Church in Sierra Leone during the twelve years for which John Walmsley was its Bishop. We are concerned rather with preserving the outlines of the man himself. This will be done best by means of his letters. The Bishop was a rapid and prolific letter-writer. He was utterly careless as to style; he seemed to pour out1 his story without ever stopping to think of the form in which it should be put; and for that very reason his letters are a revelation of himself. All his most prominent characteristics are shown in them again and again: his keen interest in every individual whom he met; his love for the beauties of nature; his delight in adventure; his irrepressible sense of humour; his generous judgment of others; his power of endurance; and that simple but intense spiritual earnestness with which he regarded all his work. Sometimes, but not often, he speaks of his difficulties; and of course there are passages in his letters dealing with sad cases of discipline among his clergy, or dissension in his parishes, which cannot be made public. They show another side to the buoyancy and gaiety of his character. A man with so intense a love for God and for his fellow-men suffers with a keenness that few can understand when he is brought into intimate contact with selfishness and shame.
With very few exceptions, the letters quoted here are addressed to the members of his family in England. Those which refer to his visits to Morocco and the Islands are collected in a separate chapter; and it has seemed desirable to treat in the same way the letters describing his last up-country tour, which has a special interest as being an unconscious farewell.
For the sake of clearness, it may be worth while to preface the letters with a short account of the diocese of Sierra Leone as the Bishop found it when he first went out in 1910. The account is drawn from an article which he wrote in the Church Missionary Review for May 1912.
The actual Colony of Sierra Leone is small, consisting only of two detached bits of sea-coast, with a population of about 80,000. Freetown claims about half the population; it is the seat of Government, and in every way the centre of the colony.
Behind Freetown the hills rise to a great height, and the scenery is very beautiful. Amongst the hills are a number of villages, each with its special charm--Leicester, Gloucester, Bathurst, Regent, Charlotte, and so on. Freetown itself is divided into four parishes, one of them being attached to the Cathedral. Education is a strong feature of Church work in the town and neighbourhood. There is the well-known Fourah Bay College, affiliated to the University of Durham; the Diocesan Technical School; and two secondary schools with an excellent record and tradition--the C.M.S. Grammar School for boys, and the Annie Walsh School for girls. Medical work is represented by the Princess Christian Mission Hospital, which is close to Bishopscourt. The majority of the original inhabitants of Freetown are professedly Christian; but there is a constant immigration of natives from the different tribes up-country who come in search of employment, with the result that a large proportion of the people are either Mohammedan or pagan. Tribal distinctions are preserved even in the commingling of town life; and each tribe generally has its own chief. There is thus a large opportunity of missionary work in Freetown itself, especially among the Kroos, who are employed on the boats, and who come from Liberian territory; they have shown an encouraging spirit of response to the Gospel. The European residents, who are fairly numerous, must not be forgotten: many of them live at Hill Station, four miles out of Freetown. And there are soldiers always quartered in the colony, either English or West Indian.
It will be seen that the Colony of Sierra Leone by itself would provide ample scope for a Bishop's energy. But it is only a very small part of the diocese to which it gives its name. The diocese includes, in addition, not only Gambia and the English residents in the Canaries and the Azores and on the coast of Morocco, but also the Rio Pongas Mission of the West Indian Church, helped by the S.P.G., which has its headquarters at Conakry in French Guinea. There, under the superintendence of Archdeacon Farquhar, a noble work is being carried on, partly among Sierra Leone settlers, and partly among the heathen. Finally, there is the large field of missionary work in the Protectorate, which stretches far up into the hinterland near the source of the Niger.
The first group of letters refers to the period following Bishop Walmsley's first furlough.
"FREETOWN, December 4th, 1911,
"I am getting into harness again pretty quickly: about two or three days after landing I felt quite exhausted by the heat and only fit to sleep like a log; but that has quite passed off and I seem to be acclimatised. I have seen most of the principal native people and had a very warm welcome. Things seem to be going on fairly well on the whole, though one is terribly conscious of weakness, and of the poor material with which one has often to work. I preached at the Cathedral on St. Andrew's Day, when we had sixty-four communicants; at Fourah Bay on Saturday morning, and at the Cathedral and Mt. Auriol on Sunday. This week the Missions Anniversary Meetings are being held; I have been to a very good Women's meeting this morning.
"Fourah Bay has been doing very well this term, and I like the look of the men. I played cricket for them on Saturday against the Customs men--native. There was a bit of trouble towards the end, and I had to intercede. They are so like children; they are quite amenable, and in the end took a beating by two runs in very good part: the trouble was really between the umpire and the other side. ... I have seen the Governor, but had no time for a serious talk yet: he was just going off to Sherbro, but he hopes to be able to have some time after the mail this week; both look very well, and seem very happy.
"Sunday was a pretty busy day: I was at the Cathedral in the morning; there was a very good congregation and many communicants. I am preaching each Sunday morning in Advent, on the 'Till He comes' of the New Testament. I noticed that the Communion cloths are very poor and worn. It would be very nice if the G.D.A. could send some out for the Cathedral; they do need to have some really good ones from home. Will you tell them of it and thank them so much from me?"
"FREETOWN, January 8th, 1912.
"People came to church in great numbers for the New Year. The communicants at the Cathedral yesterday morning were 320, and the service was most reverent; there were also very many on New Year's Day. At Holy Trinity the numbers were greater. I was down at seven at the meeting for prayer this morning in connection with the Universal.Week of Prayer. The Wilberforce Hall was packed, and the singing was wonderfully hearty. It is so hard to keep them to the point in prayers.
"We had a most amusing scene here on Friday. Two young monkeys (literal) got into the enclosure of the tennis-lawn, and could not find the opening in the wire-netting. The boys found them there, and very soon caught them, half a dozen of their relations seeking to help the captives from the outside. When we brought them up to the house we tied them up; and the older monkeys, two of them quite big ones, came up to try to loose them. The way they swore at us from some trees near was awful; they were so fearfully human in their gestures. One we let go very soon; the other the boys are keeping--but I don't like disturbing them, as a rule. There are some beautiful creatures about: I saw a very pretty bush-cat or large squirrel up at Hill Station on Christmas Day; also a snake of the most vivid green, so beautiful that I forgot to be frightened of it.
"Wilkinson, of the Secretariat, spent the week-end with us: he is a very nice fellow, an old Balliol man; he came with me to Holy Trinity in the evening. To-day (Monday) I have had the nurses to tea. They were very nervous at first, but unbent after a bit; they were most amusing at croquet. I had a little talk to them alone before they left, trying to set before them the possibilities of their work; they seemed to be very grateful. "Sisters" came over after for a game of tennis: I played left-handed. Sister W. is very good, and Sister E. after fifteen years has not altogether forgotten how to play. The court, I should think, is as near perfect as a cement court can be.
"I am finishing this off on Tuesday afternoon. There was a very large attendance at the prayer-meeting this morning: quite 600, I should say. The prayers of the elderly women were really beautiful. One prayed, 'We have plenty head-knowledge; and we plenty criticise; but we no do." A very quiet and solemn spirit seemed to pervade it."
"PORT LOKKOH, February 28th, 1912.
"We have had a very busy and happy day to-day! I wish you could have seen the sight this morning. At eleven we had the opening of the new school. The procession was most remarkable. The Mohammedan high-priest walked with me. One paramount and one sub-chief were there also. I took opening prayers, dedicating the school; then the children did some singing, recitations and dialogues, nineteen items! The best was a dialogue by three boys, about a king in Sherwood Forest (I expect you know it), only it was adapted to local surroundings, 'Nottingham' being left unchanged on one occasion. Then we had speeches from chiefs and Mohammedan leaders, who spoke most warmly of what missionaries had done and were doing, and insisted touchingly on the oneness of our God. But the best speech was from a Christian chief named Lawson. His figures of speech were splendid--"your education must be in your brain, not in your neck-tie"; "to be English is not to dress like one, but to learn fair-play, etc." It was really a memorable gathering. I took a photo at the finish; I hope it is a success. Then, this afternoon, at 4.30 we had a Confirmation, when I confirmed seven; there was a very good congregation. Work here is very hard. The hope is in the children, who are delightful: I had a great game of cricket with the boys. So many of the elder members lapse: husbands leave wives and wives husbands; people have come up here to avoid comment in Freetown; and they all want to retain Church-membership. I have also visited the Barracks, where the one officer is a Northcote. The Coaling Company man comes from Normanton.
"I also saw Roberts, my first Ordination candidate, whose wife (late Nurse Julia) has just had a second boy. He and Turner had dinner with us to-night, and prayer after. Altogether it has been an encouraging day, very hot: one longs for a blow from the hills."
"FREETOWN, April 1st, 1912.
"It is very sad to hear of the Coal Strike, and the terrible suffering, and the fearful callousness, it seems, of so many of the men. The effects of it will be so awfully far-reaching: it will cripple every kind of charity so much; and it will embitter class-feeling. I have had a very busy and happy week. It is nice to be back again, and most of the meetings I have had have been satisfactory. People do feel the teaching of this season here, and certainly seem to be more impressionable then. There were more than five hundred at Holy Trinity this morning, when I gave my first Holy Week address.
"Yesterday I did a record, which I don't mean to beat--so don't be anxious!--and I am feeling very fresh to-day. I preached at Mt. Auriol at 7.30; Tower Hill 9.15; on the gunboat Mutine at 10.30; on the cruiser Dartmouth at 11.20; at the Cathedral at 4.30. I took the same subject four times in the morning! The Mutine is a small gunboat which hovers around the coast. She has broken a propeller and is waiting to be towed home. She has a new crew (about no in all), with some very nice officers; I called on them last week, and they asked me out. The Dartmouth only arrived on Saturday. The chaplain came out to call at once, and I went to lunch with them on Sunday, just reaching them in time for the sermon. In both boats the crew are largely Devonshire men and I had a very nice time with them. Captain Edgell, of the Mutine, is a particularly nice man and a cousin of Jenner's. He and two of his officers came out on Saturday, and we had some splendid tennis, the captain and I beating the other two. I have had two officers of the Dartmouth out for most of the day to-day. I took them over the 'Annie Walsh' and Hospital, and they were duly impressed: they were such nice fellows.
"Sister W. was rather upset on Sunday evening; the preacher's text at Holy Trinity was 'A living dog is better than a dead lion.' All went well and the sermon was very good, until the preacher earnestly asked them, at the end, which of the two they were. She had to hide her face and hoped she was neither."
"FREETOWN, April 5th, 1912.
"I am beginning this letter on the evening of Good Friday, before going to bed. I have had a very heavy week, but have been wonderfully well. On Wednesday I spoke to the boys at the Cathedral School, after being at Holy Trinity, and in the evening I held a Confirmation at Holy Trinity: there were fifty-four candidates, and it was a very reverent service, with a very large congregation. Thursday I had all sorts of meetings: there were more than before at the morning service. At 2 o'clock I was at an Education Committee, in which we discussed the change from the old payment to teachers of a quota of the grant to a new system of fixed salaries, on a more generous scale.
"At 4.30 we had a Bible Society Committee and arranged for the Annual Meetings to be held in May. At 7 o'clock I preached at the Cathedral at a Communion Service; a large number were there, many of them men. To-day I preached at Tower Hill at 8 o'clock. It is a voluntary service, but nearly all the men were there. At 8.30 service--I was, of course, late--I preached at the Cathedral. It was full: it is remarkable to see the black only relieved by a few white dresses on Good Friday. At 12 o'clock I took a service for an hour and a half, Meditations on the Seven Words. The congregation, largely young men, was very reverent, though not nearly so large as in the morning. I had breakfast with the Wests. At 4.30 we had the Hospital Annual Meeting with Major Coffin in the chair. He made an excellent chairman--he is such a nice, good man; and then the whole meeting was most encouraging: the hall was packed, and there was nothing to jar in any way. Mr. May, editor of the Weekly News, was one of the speakers; he was warm in his appreciation of the work done.
"I have taken prayers in the Ward to-night, and finished by reading Saul to doctor and sisters.
"(Tuesday.) I had a busy Sunday, but not like the last. I was at Mt. Auriol at 7 a.m. when it was delightfully cool; several white men were at Holy Communion. I reached the Cathedral before 9 o'clock, and there preached; there were quite two hundred communicants, so we were pretty late. In the evening I preached to a packed congregation at Christ Church, where John is doing very well. This morning at 7 o'clock we had a big service of the Women's Missionary Association (inter-denominational) at the Hospital.
"They said all manner of kind things about me; one Nonconformist went to great pains to explain that I was public property and none could claim private ownership. One old woman's prayer was most beautiful. Some of the notices of services last week were most quaint. One said I preached each morning to a 'full house'; another said I drew each day 'attractive congregations'; certainly the female element does predominate at Holy Trinity."
"OFF BONTHE, May i^th, 1912.
"At the present moment we are 'stuck' on the way up the estuary to Bon the, the chief town of Sherbro. The ship is very full, drawing 19 feet of water, and I suppose it is as much as we can do to get over the shallowest parts. You can't shove a boat of 4,000 tons off as easily as a boat on the Wye; but we ground very gently; we are in 18 feet forward and 24 aft. We are in charge of a native pilot.
"I had a rush yesterday to catch the boat. The captain was very good and waited for me till 6 o'clock, which meant for him missing a tide. We anchored outside Freetown harbour for the night, and started about 7 o'clock this morning with a following wind. It is intensely hot; I fear it will be very hot before we land to-night, if we do land to-night. We are not a big company on board: Mr. and Mrs. Williams, the pastor of Bonthe, a trader and his wife, and another trader from Bonthe, and two missionaries of the U.B.C. from America, a woman and a man, both--especially the man--far from young, but going out for the first time: he comes from Portland, Oregon, and is an interesting and friendly person. She is rather difficult to talk to, but, I should think, a very good woman.
"We seem fairly stuck, so I shall get a few more meals for my money, only I hope I shall be in time for the Ascension Day services to-morrow. This estuary is very pretty: the banks are low and covered with mangroves, but some of the wooded islets are very graceful, and everything is beautifully green. The sunset last night as we left Freetown was most beautiful.
"(Friday.) We had to stay on board all Wednesday night, as it was too late, when the ship got off the sandbank, for boats to come out to her. The large steamers have to anchor some two miles or more from Bonthe, and small boats and launches come out to them. I finally landed about 9 o'clock yesterday morning. The children, with banners, came down to the quay to meet me. It is a bright-looking little town with several big business stores, a town-hall, court-house, District Commissioner's residence, and a very nice church, and several comfortable-looking private houses. It lies very low, and is evidently extremely hot. Last night I slept with nothing on, and then the perspiration poured out of me. There are about a dozen Englishmen here, and perhaps as many other Europeans.
"I went to see Davis, the District Commissioner, and found Townsend, the District Judge, with him: he is trying several cases here this week. As I was too late for the morning service on Ascension Day, they sent round to tell the people that there would also be service at night: about 250 came, and we had a very nice service. The singing was very good, much softer than at most places. Williams is a nice man, and was educated in England. His wife looks after me very well. They seem a very happy couple: it is a pity they have no children.
"I also visited the school, and talked to the children: to-day I go to York Island, an out-station, and to-morrow to another, Victoria. I fear there is no chance of a return boat; so I shall have to tramp to Moyamba."
In the autumn of 1912 the Bishop's mother died at Nottingham. His unmarried sister, Edith, afterwards joined him in Africa. It was a source of very great happiness to them both that she was able for two years to share his home and his work. Though far from strong when she went out to Sierra Leone, the climate tried her less than had been feared.
An outstanding event in the early days of 1913 was the celebration of the Jubilee of the Sierra Leone Church. The late Sir (then Mr.) T. F. Victor Buxton and Lady Buxton made a special journey to West Africa in order to be present, and were the guests of Bishop Walmsley and his sister at Bishopscourt. All who know the history of the abolition of the slave-trade in West Africa will realise the appropriateness of a distinguished member of the Buxton family being present on such an occasion.
"AT SEA, January 18th, 1913.
"I am on my way to Conakry. Edith would have liked to come with me, but it was impossible this time, as I may have to rough it a bit up the rivers, and the Archdeacon was evidently not anxious for her to come just now. We have had a busy and happy week. Edith and Sister S. came with me to a Confirmation at Kissy. There were sixty-six candidates, and such a nice service. We started at 5 o'clock and picnicked on some rocks near a stream with a beautiful view of the hills. The service was at 7. We started home about 8.30, and were back just after 9.30. The moonlight was glorious: large numbers escorted us as far as their own houses. One little girl didn't 'play the game,' and went beyond her house, and had to be sent back in disgrace. We had a few minutes at the pastor's house--Rev. T. C. John's: he has with him a young Yalunka convert from Falaba, such a nice lad, the first-fruits, almost, of the Yalunka people. Friday was the Degree Day at Fourah Bay. The Governor was to have been there, and Lady Merewether was to have given away the prizes. But he did not turn up--said it was the wrong day--and Edith gave the prizes and I had to preside as well as conferring the degrees. Everything was a great success: it was most touching to see the old Archdeacon receive his M.A., he was so delighted.
"I hope the Buxtons' coming will not be too much for Edith. I know she will be delighted to have them, but, of course, having people here does entail more work, and it isn't the climate for that; but she has been very well so far, and seems positively to enjoy the heat, and likes the sensation of hammocking."
"FREETOWN, February 11th, 1913.
"We are in the midst of our Jubilee Celebrations and are having a very busy time. The Buxtons arrived on Friday morning: we were on the boat about 7, and we were glad to have breakfast again on the Professor. The new Colonial Secretary--Hollis--came out with them. They are most delightful visitors, and have simply won all hearts. We had the various missionary people to dinner on Friday and Saturday; we also went to Hill Station on Saturday afternoon to tea with the General and Mrs. Ferrier.
"On Sunday, after Communion at the Cathedral, I held a Confirmation for two white soldiers at Tower Hill after morning service there; then I had to go and meet Bishop O'Rorke on the Mandingo. [Bishop of Accra.] He could not stay the week and had to go on at once; he just had time to come out to Bishopscourt. He seems a nice man. I hope he will do well: it is a very difficult post. He came out with a very rough lot.
"In the afternoon we had service at Bishopscourt, and then at Holy Trinity. Yesterday we had an 'at home' at Bishopscourt, with about five hundred guests! Edith would have found it pretty hard to manage that at home; she really did not seem to be much tired by it--all the European missionaries and 'Annie Walsh' mistresses helped so well. Very few distinguished between her and Mrs. B., and they were only too delighted if they spoke to at least one. A good number of Europeans were there: Hollis, who seems a very nice man, Major Coffin, etc. A few speeches were made and an address presented.
"To-day we have had an Intercession Service at the Cathedral, when over two hundred stayed for Holy Communion: then a grand breakfast at the Cathedral School. Archdeacon Farquhar, who is in tremendous form, and V. Buxton and others spoke. To-night Bishop Johnson preaches the Jubilee sermon."
"FREETOWN, February 18th, 1913.
"We have had a tremendous week, and everything has been most encouraging: there has been tremendous enthusiasm, and the whole place has been stirred by the Buxtons' visit. He is a splendid man, so whole-hearted and so genial with all; people are simply charmed with them both. They are having a sort of triumphal progression. We had excellent Conferences during the mornings, big lunches in different parishes at 11.30; on Wednesday an 'at home' at the Park by the Mayor; on Thursday afternoon a great Children's Meeting at Bishopscourt, followed by a big garden-party at Fourah Bay; twenty-four natives to dinner at night. On Friday a big Missionary Meeting in the evening; on Wednesday we had a big meeting with Hollis, the new Colonial Secretary, in the chair. On Sunday I was at St. Philip's, St. John's, Brookfields, and the Kroo Church, where Buxton spoke by an interpreter. Monday was a very full day: we visited the Grammar School, the Cathedral School, the Technical School, and 'Annie Walsh.' A deputation of ladies waited on them at 3 o'clock; we had sixteen Europeans to tea and tennis; and the big thanksgiving service, when I preached, and the offerings from the different parishes in the Colony for the Jubilee Endowment Fund were presented by the pastors; £729 came then; there is more to come: a pretty good collection from a people who are admittedly poor and apparently growing poorer.
"There must have been over 1,500 in the church, and hundreds outside; they did sing the 'Te Deum.' I am writing this at Kissy, where we are holding the celebrations to-day. They have given us a very warm welcome, and Mr. Buxton gave a very solemn address at an Intercession Service in church. I am to preach this afternoon, and we return at 4.30: the whole place is keeping holiday. We go to Waterloo to-morrow; Regent, Thursday; and Wilberforce, Friday; then on Saturday to Bo, and Monday on to Kennema. It has been a busy time for all, especially for Edith catering, but she has been and done wonderfully well. I wonder how I could have done without her. As the paper said, 'she was dropping here a word, and there a smile.'
"A very happy spirit of harmony has pervaded all, and I do hope and pray it may continue afterwards. The object-lesson of the Buxtons' lives has been a very great one: at least the people are able to admire it, and it gives new ideals of what a layman, and a rich layman, can be and do. It is hard for them to stay as long as they are doing, for it is their third son who is rowing in the Cambridge Eight, and they cannot get back for the boat-race. His mother is more anxious to nurse him after than to see the race, I think, for he had not been very strong; but he must be quite sound now, I should think."
"Bo, February 23rd, 1913.
"We are at Bo, where we have laid the foundation-stone of a church to-day. The heat is terrific, and we are expecting a storm: we had a bit of one last night. This has been a very strenuous week: we have had wonderfully encouraging services and meetings. Mr. Buxton and Bishop Johnson have been simply indefatigable. I feared for the former, that the journey up-country would be too much for him; but he seems to have borne it all right. We had a very dusty day, and the train was very late: we had one breakdown and other delays. The General Manager has put a special carriage at our disposal, and we have a sort of triumphal procession. At Mano they sang and danced with great enthusiasm, and had an illuminated banner expressing welcome.
"We go on to Kennema to-morrow. Edith is very well, but very hot; she is satisfied with tropical heat now! Everyone is most kind, and we are overwhelmed with presents."
FREETOWN, March 4th, 1913.
"I expect Edith has told you something of our trip up-country. We saw something of the work at Bo, Kennema, and Baiima, and met people at Daru, Mano, Blama, and Boia. At Baiima, especially, where the chief is very friendly, the work seems going forward, and a lot of older boys are giving promise. At Kennema it is very difficult, and I hope Edith may be able to stay there a week or two after Easter: only I don't think up-country suits her as well as here; she misses the sea-breezes: the heat at Bo was awful. Still, we were none the worse for it, and bore the journey home very well. It is marvellous how many people Buxton has seen, and the extraordinary sympathy he has shown. The only difficulty has been to keep him from responding to the most unreasonable calls.
"We had a long meeting at Fourah Bay yesterday morning, and prayer-meeting of missionaries at Hospital in the afternoon."
The Bishop and his sister were about to make the journey to England when the next letter was written. The outbreak of war had brought about a new peril for travellers.
"FREETOWN, April 3rd, 1915.
"I am afraid you will have had a very anxious week, for it is far harder for you to think of us travelling now than for us to travel. Thank God, I don't think Edith or I have the least bit of anxiety about it for ourselves. Perhaps one learns to trust in a special way out here. Of course we have only a very imperfect account of the Falaba from the cables, and we don't know even who the four people from Sierra Leone were. If there is any possible excuse for what seems pure murder, I suppose it is that the Germans found out that a boat was starting that day with two hundred troops for here, and they thought it was the Falaba. As a matter of fact, the troop-boat, the Accra, was kept back a week. What a contrast! The two boats by which I have come out direct from England are the Professor and the Falaba: one captured by the English and brought here and every care taken of the prisoners, and--the other!
"Poor Captain Davies played me a bad trick on the Falaba in January, but we liked him very much on the Akabo going home: he was very quiet and only opened out to a few.
"I have had a very busy week. I was at Russell for Sunday, where they wanted me to consecrate various gifts which now make the church complete. I went to a mission-station, Bowmah, in the evening. It was a very happy day, and there are some very nice people there, though there is much to discourage too. I stayed with a Mrs. Macauley, a kola trader; it is so cheering to see many of the old Confirmation candidates doing so well.
"This week I have been speaking at 7 a.m. in the Cathedral to good congregations: I have also had Confirmations at St. Philip's and Holy Trinity; and preached on Good Friday at Holy Trinity, as well as a shortened Three Hours at the Cathedral, where many more than last year were present. I also was at Mt. Auriol service on Good Friday, and we had a very large number at Holy Communion on Thursday evening at the Cathedral. It is remarkable how people keep Holy Week: there were over nine hundred at Holy Trinity yesterday morning, and hardly one touch of colour in the church. It does mean something to them, and yet it is so hard to find out how much!
"I went round Murray Town and Signal Hill on Tuesday to see the gunners and arrange for Easter services: a good many have fever, but they are hoping to be relieved soon. I hope I shall be able to manage the Easter Day services. I am due at Signal Hill, Wilberforce, Cathedral, and Holy Trinity, and I have a boil coming on the other foot. It must be high living, I think, for it certainly does not seem like poorness of blood.
"There seem to be countless things to take one's attention now. We are having all the school teachers to tea and a short service on Wednesday: this is a new move. Mr. Goudie, the Wesleyan Mission Secretary, is here now, and wants me to speak at the opening of their new school on Tuesday. We had a meeting last week to combine on the question of Secondary Education, and ask for Government help on condition that we are not hampered in the religious teaching."
Edith Walmsley was seriously unwell when she reached England. It was soon found that her illness was one for which, humanly speaking, no cure could be expected. She lay for several months at her sister's house in Derby. When autumn came, it seemed as though she could only live for a few days, and the Bishop put off his departure to Africa in order that he might be with her to the end. But she rallied for a time longer, and her brother went back in November. A few days before Christmas she died. She had given quite invaluable help during her short stay in Sierra Leone; and the rare strength and beauty of her character will be remembered by all who knew her.
"FREETOWN, January 31st, 1916.
"Of course our one thought now is about the Appam. We have heard nothing definite, but there can be little doubt that she is totally lost. There are some fearfully sad cases here. Mrs. E. and her sister were both on board; he had never been separated from her before in the eight years of their married life. Mrs. F., wife of one of Elder Dempsters' men, was also on: he, poor fellow, is quite distracted. E. is fearfully broken, but very patient; I was with him yesterday. ... I was at Hill Station for the week-end; we had a nice service, but it was of course a very sad time.
"P.S. (Wednesday). You will have seen the story of the Appam: we have only just the bare news she is safe. What an amazing story! We knew she had a lot of Germans on; but the relief is tremendous. I hope to see E. this afternoon. I have just seen F., whose wife is on: the poor man kissed me! "
"FREETOWN, April 1st, 1916.
"I haven't much time to write now, as I have had a pretty strenuous ten days. Last Saturday week I was at Hill Station, staying with the Judge and taking service, then at the Cathedral and Christ Church. At the Cathedral I saw the chaplain and some of the men of the Talbot, which was in for coal. They promised to come out on Monday afternoon. That morning I started at 5.45 to visit a number of out-stations, Lumley, Goderich, Adonkia, and Lacca, having services at each place, and meeting most of the people. I caught a train back at 2.50, met the men in town, and was here by 3.40. The chaplain, doctor, and navigating lieutenant came out. . . . Edith always liked so much to welcome the men from the cruisers: they are such nice men generally. These had been in the Dardanelles nearly the whole time and had seen a lot of the fighting.
"On Tuesday and Wednesday I had meetings of the Church Committee and Council, and also dedicated a new chapel at the Grammar School, when a good number assembled. I had hoped to go to Bonthe on Thursday by the Akassa or Gando, both of which were in harbour; on Wednesday afternoon they decided that neither boat could go, as it was doubtful whether there would be water enough for them: they do muddle things! The result was that I had to go overland--a most tedious journey. I started on Friday at 7 o'clock; trained to Moyamba, 76 miles; left there at 2.30 after visiting Dr. Pearson, U.B.C. and R.C. Missions. An Alsatian father, whose only brother had just been killed fighting for the French, accompanied me for a bit. The road to Sembehun is, generally, very good and shady: it is 18 1/2 miles, and I arrived about 8.30. At 12.30 I started with the mails on a six-oared gig-boat; there were eight passengers, and we had to lie 'promiscuous' on the mail-bags for thirteen hours: I tried every possible and impossible position. We reached Bonthe at 1.30: I stayed with Addison, the District Commissioner, who was very kind to me. I had some good tennis at 4.30, and at 9 o'clock I did a thing I had never done before. While I was talking to him, in the middle of a sentence, I fell asleep! I had an extremely good night, and was quite fresh for Sunday. In the afternoon I confirmed thirty-one. On Monday I visited the school, and the morning children's class--a very nice gathering; also I dedicated a cemetery chapel. On Tuesday I cycled to the mission-station at Moccolo, where several native men are being prepared for Baptism.
"In the afternoon I went by boat to York Island and had service; there was a big gathering. In the evening I had dinner with the bank man, Monks. On Wednesday, noon, I started back in the French Company's launch, which was going to Sembehun, and reached there about 6.30, after a very pleasant and easy journey. Why a tornado didn't burst over us I cannot imagine: it seemed to be all round us. I had a good night at the Swiss Company's store, and woke at 3, and started at 4 for Moyamba: it was quite cool, and I reached Moyamba at 9 o'clock, doing the last eight miles in well under two hours. I had five cups of coffee and a good breakfast with Dr. Pearson, and started at 11.20 for Freetown.
"The storm had disturbed the electric apparatus on the branch line, and they had to send messengers from station to station, so we were a good hour late. I arrived at 6, and had a Confirmation at Christ Church (a good two miles away) at 7; but I did it; there was a very big congregation. Next morning I addressed the women's class at St. John's, Brookfields, when a very large number were there; some of the simple people are so very nice.
"Immediately after, I baptized twenty-five Kroo people, adults, who had been prepared by Sabo. In the afternoon I had the Kirkes--he is Colonel of the R.G.A.--and the Wards to tea and tennis."
In May of that year the Bishop was up-country. The following address, presented to him by the members of the Church at Makomba, shows how much his visits meant to the workers in a lonely outpost.
"May it please your Lordship. We, the undersigned, on behalf of the officers and members of St. Matthias Church, Makomba, unanimously accept the honour of your visit to this station. Although Makomba is one of the remotest villages in the Headquarters District in which our mission is locked for the spread of the Gospel, and our work seemed fruitless, yet your Lordship feels it a pleasure to journey all the way to visit us.
"We wish your Lordship a cordial welcome. And we pray the Almighty God that you may return to Freetown in a healthy condition and strength. May He also direct you with such impression as to have us always at heart for better progress in this our station.
"May He continue to expatiate your ability and capability for the amelioration of your work and diocese, and endeavour on with more luculent conception." (15 names follow.)
"FREETOWN, December 22nd, 1916.
"I have just returned from Sherbro, and I can write pretty freely of my visit there, with little thought of censorship. I think I wrote to you from Moyamba last Friday. I left there for Sembehun about 4 p.m. cycling. The road is the best we have, which does not mean much, but I can do the 18 12 miles in a little over two hours. Bassi had started about 3 with the loads. About 5.30 a storm seemed to converge on me from two sides, and for a few minutes I was in the very heart of it. The bush on both sides was very dense and over-hanging; no human being was near. Three times, with intervals of awful silence, lightning and thunder were simultaneous. The lightning did not seem so vivid as when you see it scribbled across a cloud; it was so close as to be indistinct, but the thunder was appalling. Fortunately it rained in torrents, and there was little tornado. I wanted to reach Sembehun before dark, because I knew there was one very loosely made and unfinished bridge to cross. By the time I reached that, the storm was farther away and was more normal, with almost incessant lightning: so I found my way pretty well. The mail-boat left at 12, and Bassi arrived about 10, having escaped the worst of the storm altogether, and found shelter from what they did encounter. Archdeacon Wilson was awaiting me at Sembehun, and we travelled on together. The row of twelve hours is fatiguing for passengers, and must be a bit for the rowers, who had come up with the previous tide, and had only about an hour's rest: 24 hours practically at a stretch, with about a quarter of an hour for chop!
"Certainly we did have a breeze for about an hour, and most of the rowing was with the stream. We go down stream for about eight hours, and up for about four, so get the best of two tides.
"A map of Sherbro district is most perplexing, and my bump of locality in the oil-rivers becomes paralysed. What you think is an island is probably mainland, and vice versa. Mighty rivers come within half a mile of the sea, and then change their mind, and lose themselves in an archipelago, and defy you to say where their mouth is. The Governor has schemes of coaxing them through canals but I don't think they agree. . . .
"On Sunday I preached at Bonthe in the morning and York Island in the afternoon. Yesterday, St. Thomas's Day, I ordained O'Reilly priest before a large congregation. It was an impressive service, the first Ordination they have had there: I do hope he will do well. . . . The white people at Bonthe are a happy little community and there is a very healthy tone. The Archdeacon and I left yesterday at 10.45 a.m., and reached Sembehun at 8.30, about a record and no breeze to help! I had quite a good night and started this morning at 5.30; reaching Moyamba before 8 o'clock. I had breakfast with Bishop O'Gorman, who was staying there. [Roman Catholic.] The Mohammedan prophet, of whom I think I spoke, seems to have shot his bolt: he had troubled their mission there very much at first.
"The train was late, but I was here about 5.30. I hope to ordain Sabo priest on Innocents' Day: there will be a great gathering of Kroo people. I hope to have most of the missionaries on Christmas Day, but Misses Pidsley and Martin have gone to Leicester. I expect to be at Regent and Bathurst on Sunday, Hill Station and Cathedral on Christmas Day."
"FREETOWN, January 8th, 1917.
"Archdeacon Macauley passed away on Friday night: I had seen him two days previously; he seemed to know me then, but he could not speak. There was a big gathering at the Cathedral and the grave: we had to walk quite two miles in procession. The choirs of all the town parishes led: all was most orderly and reverent. He had been a stormy petrel in his time, but I had always seen the best of him, and he was one of the finest men out here. . . .
"On Wednesday afternoon last we had a big Service of Intercession for the Army and Empire. The Governor, Admiral, Colonel Clayton (acting for the General), and a large number of civilians and soldiers were there, as well as a great many of the natives, chiefly men. I hope it was a really helpful service. ... I cannot tell you much of the doings of the week, but we have had many visitors. I have had two more deeply interesting Confirmation Services, and have just missed having more."
"FREETOWN, April 11th, 1917.
"I had a very busy and happy Easter Day. I stayed Saturday night with the Chevalliers; had twenty-five at Holy Communion at Wilberforce Barracks, eleven of them ladies, a very large number here! Then I preached at the Cathedral, from which they had to send away many for whom there was no room: there were five hundred communicants. Then another service, also crowded, and a good number of communicants. Then in the afternoon, service here, when a good number turned up, though many were away for Easter.
"On Easter Monday I climbed Sugar Loaf with a large party, most of whom reached the top. I went in the afternoon to Leicester, where we had a service to inaugurate the rebuilding of the church: a great many memorial stones were laid. It was a great day for the village, and the tables laid under the trees laden with fruit for the visitors afterwards looked very pretty. The whole village took part, and I hope they will go on promptly with the work. ... I went on to Hill Station to stay the night with the Judge. . . ."
"FREETOWN, April 29th, 1917.
"I am back again in Freetown after a very happy week up-country: I have come back very sunburnt, and very fit, except for a blistered heel, which is very sore. I tried walking in rope-soled shoes, which are very good for rocks, but they made my feet very hot on very hot days, and were a bit too loose.
"I hurried into Kamabai on Friday morning, about fourteen miles, beating the rain by ten minutes (which my boys did not do), with the result that the foot is pretty sore from trying to save the heel. I am resting it this morning. I have a Confirmation at Brookfields this afternoon. I was at Mussaya last Sunday: it is strange to think I can be back here within a week. When I came out, the journey took quite a fortnight. Mayhew and Hollins were both up with me there, and the old chief gave me a very warm welcome. We have a new man, Coker, working there who seems to be starting well; but progress is very hard and slow.
"The people are most anxious to hear all the news of the War. The fall of Baghdad is, of course, the great thing to them. One old blind leper, an earnest learner, sat outside at the service--a touching figure. On my way back I visited a town called Yagala. Its situation is simply marvellous: the last 100 feet or so of the ascent is almost sheer, and on and around great boulders of rocks the houses are built. Houses and rocks are in the most amazing jumble, and unlike anything I have seen elsewhere up-country; the houses are partly built of stone. Some of the view-points are most beautiful: you look across a valley clad with virgin forest to some other height, or you get a wider sweep of open country bounded by shapely hills. I had to enlist the help of a small boy to carry my presents for me, oranges galore, and bananas. I went to visit the old paramount chief, who is blind--a pathetic figure. He lives in this fastness, while his regent resides in the more accessible and modern Kaballa. How the women carry water up the hill in the dry season baffles one: you see children doing it!
"The rest of the journey back was uneventful. The lilies had come out during the week, and in many places were most beautiful. I found Dr. Thomas in at Kamabai on Friday, and she was very good in bandaging my heel. I stayed the night at Makomp, and had to start at 6.20 next morning for Freetown, reaching here after 5 o'clock."
"CONAKRY, June 5th, 1917.
"There is a prospect of a boat which may go to Europe in a day or two, so I am writing now just before I start for the Rio Pongas in a motor-launch. I have been having a busy and varied time here. I left Freetown on Whit-Tuesday, by a Belgian boat. The journey was all too short, for the boat was a very good one, and there were many nice people on board. One English lady said the last time she had seen me was at St. Matthew's, Surbiton. She had gone to Belgium to nurse in the early part of the war, and had married a Belgian officer of high rank, who, after being wounded, had gone out as Chief Commissioner of the Congo: they were going home after a tour of two years. She had seen some terrible things in Belgium. I talked a good deal with a Belgian officer who had been in the Congo nineteen years, and who was Colonel of one regiment which marched 3,000 kilometres across Africa and was among the first to reach Tabora and release the missionaries.
"Here I have plenty to do. On Wednesday I went out to the village of Dixene and met most of the people, who were mourning the death of their chief, a dear old man and a most simple Christian. The new chief had not yet been elected, but he is likely to be the old man's son, a man brought up by the Roman Catholics, but Mohammedan now. He is anxious, he says, to continue his father's work, and to help our school, but it will be a big change for the people. I spoke to the women's class here on Wednesday morning, and the men on Thursday evening: there are some very nice people among them; some men, especially, who have lived irregular lives are striving so hard and praying so earnestly: you feel what an awful struggle some of them have.
"On Friday I went with the Archdeacon to Kindia, 95 miles by rail, an interesting journey through a wild country: we follow a river-valley up to a height of over 1,100 feet. At times the scene is rocky, and the water dark, as it rushes through gorges, which remind you of uplands in Wales. At one place, Grands Chutes, there is a station close to some magnificent falls, where the only house seems to be the platelayer's, a Frenchman, who has his wife and two daughters living with him. The girls, who looked extremely nice and well brought-up, seem to flourish in this lonely spot, whose only other inhabitants are alligators, hippos, and big game.
"At Kindia, a well-laid-out town, with District Commissioner and barracks, I stayed with P. Z.'s man, and met most of the Sierra Leoneans. We had a service that evening in the pretty little tin church, and there were eleven at Holy Communion the next morning. They are an isolated outpost which one cannot often reach. I longed to go further to meet the people at Mamon (where strawberries grow! and the scenery is grand), and to Kouroussa, where the line crosses the Niger, but I had not time, as I had to be back in Conakry for Sunday. Trains only run twice a week!--Monday and Friday up, and Tuesday and Saturday down: but they are far better than ours in Sierra Leone.
"Sunday I had Confirmation here, fourteen, including Jennie Farquhar, and several Susu boys and a Mendi. Yesterday I was at Fotoba and confirmed eighteen Susus before a large congregation."
"FREETOWN, August 7th, 1917.
"To-day we had a Service of Intercession in the Cathedral with the Governor, General, etc.; I think the congregation was very good, considering the weather. We sang a beautiful new hymn to the tune of 595 A. and M., which I got from South Africa. It was certainly an impressive service, and I hope it may do good. Mr. Hursh, of the American Mission, read the lesson very well. I chose Isaiah xxvi. and spoke on the word 'steady,' which only occurs once in the Bible (Exodus xvii.) with special reference to what Lloyd George said at Glasgow."
To Miss Grace Russell
"FREETOWN, January 18th, 1918.
"Life here is wonderfully normal, though we suffered terribly in the loss of the Apapa, which was fully recorded in the papers, and of which I may therefore speak. Of six white men in the Education Department, three were lost within a month. . . .
"I have just had a visit from Bishop Lloyd, Secretary of the Board of Missions of the American Church, who is on his way to Liberia to consider the situation there, such a warm-hearted, attractive man--one of the best American type: I hope to see more of him on his return. America seems to have come in with all her might! I hope we may see the effect of it this spring. One is ashamed to think how happy and normal much of our life is. I had a delightful Christmas picnic with seventy men from a cruiser, twenty officers and fifty men; I think I had a bigger tea than I have had since school-days! Another day I made over fifty in a cricket match against a cable-ship. The other day I got a plea from 'six old Nottingham boys' to go and hold service on a big boat which had no chaplain; here is one of them, on the beach in my garden."
To Miss Grace Russell
"GOVERNMENT HOUSE, GAMBIA,
"January 10th, 1921.
"I am writing this on a Monday morning. Like a number of other people, I fear, I have a growing disinclination to work on a Monday morning, and I often have--as I have this morning--a passing spasm of asthma, which seems to come when I am tired. I did have a fairly heavy day yesterday, certainly.
"I started with Holy Communion at 6.30 at St. Mary's Church here; and it is gloriously fresh and cool in the early morning. Then after breakfast I motored with the Governor to Cape St. Mary on the mainland (this is an island) where there is a big wireless station with twenty-three white men, chiefly naval ratings, and we had service with them; it was a very happy little gathering. Their Commanding Officer is a doctor, and I fear there is a good deal of reason for it, as the quarters are utterly unsuited for the tropics, and the site is malarial. On our way there and back the road swarmed with monkeys, who have no fear of man or motor. I was back in time to preach at the 9 o'clock service in church, the Governor coming to see that I did not preach the same sermon in both places! Then at 3 I went to the prison, and had a short service; alas! there are two or three very intelligent men there, one with whom I have played cricket, and who was a prominent member of our Church: making haste to be rich in a place where many make small fortunes was their downfall.
"Then at 4 o'clock, Evensong and a Confirmation in a very crowded church; there were twenty-four candidates--twelve males and twelve females--many of them adults. Though the ground-nut trade is in a very bad way now, and prices have gone down alarmingly, there is still apparently plenty of money about: and a collection of £10, just for Church expenses, is pretty good. I am hoping to send them a European chaplain next month.
"I arrived here last Monday with the new Governor, Captain Armitage, D.S.O., C.M.G., who had been Chief Commissioner of the Northern Territories in Ashanti (Gold Coast) before. He is a most interesting man, with a great knowledge of the native, and very sympathetic. I am having a very happy time with him, and getting a lot of tennis, and meeting everybody. At this time of year the climate here is nearly perfect; the nights and mornings are cool, with a temperature of about 60°, and though it rises to 90° in the day generally, the breeze tempers the heat, and you do not feel it at all excessive, except in prison! The place is very isolated, and so far there has been no boat from either way since I arrived, but I hope I may get one for Conakry or Sierra Leone by the end of the week."
To Miss Christabel Startin
"FREETOWN, June 12th, 1921.
"I have had a very strenuous and a very happy tune lately, notwithstanding difficulties. I have been a great deal up-country, and have succeeded in making nearly all my visits before the weather breaks up.
"Let me give you one or two glimpses of my travels. There is the opening of a new mission-church at Kaballa, with four addresses given in four different languages, by two chiefs and two missionaries (one African, one American), while I had to speak in a fifth, English. Such is the Babel here, and a great hindrance to the work. The same evening I walked five miles with the American missionary on his way home, and on my onward way. We had doubts more than once whether we should reach the town where we hoped to stay the night. The whole land seemed to be aflame: we struggled through, though the heat was sometimes terrible. It seems an expensive way of farming to let land lie fallow for six years and then prepare the ground for a crop by burning the bush and manuring with the ashes.
"The town which was the goal of my northern journey was Falaba, a good twenty-five miles' walk from the town where the fires were. On the way I was confronted by two huge baboons, who looked mildly interested in me: I was rather glad to put some distance between us; they are terrible if attacked or wounded. The chief at Falaba is anxious for teachers, and some have had just a smattering of Christianity. The children of the town, a fine old fortress and splendidly situated, were very friendly; and one longed to leave a teacher with them. Then again I might tell you--but I haven't time--of a visit to Port Lokkoh district, where I cycled over two hundred miles of the most varied roads and tracks you can imagine, and where at one place I had to cross a big river in a dug-out in more or less a lying posture, nursing my bicycle and endeavouring to keep handle and back-wheel (on different sides of the dugout) out of the water! When I told a roadman--a sturdy Lancastrian from Bacup, which he pronounced inimitably--what I had done and how long my journey took me on that route, he said, 'Well, if yuh wasn't i' th' cloth, I should say yuh lied!'
"Or again, in Freetown, one Sunday at midday, in appalling heat and crush, I confirmed eighty-two Kroo people, the tribe who at present are most open to the preaching of the Gospel. The B. and F.B.S. are just printing St. Luke in Kroo, a translation by one of my clergy: it is an awful language! "
In the summer of 1921 Bishop Walmsley came to England unexpectedly, after a severe attack of blackwater fever. It was a great joy to his flock in Sierra Leone when he returned to them a few months later, apparently in vigorous health. It was suggested by some of the leading laymen that the time was an appropriate one for presenting the Bishop with an address. The suggestion was readily taken up by the clergy as well as by the laity of the diocese; and a gathering for the purpose of making the presentation took place at Bishopscourt on Shrove Tuesday. The following is the text of the address.
"An Address of Welcome and Appreciation from the Clergy, Wardens, Lay Delegates, Members of the Governing Bodies, and other Representative Members of the Sierra Leone Church in the Diocese of Sierra Leone, presented to His Lordship the Bishop of the Diocese, on Tuesday, February 28th, 1922.
"RIGHT REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
"We, the Clergy, Wardens, Delegates, and others of the Laity, in this portion of your Diocese, desire to extend to you a hearty welcome amongst us once again, as well as to express our grateful thanks to Almighty God for having restored you to sound health and strength after your late illness. We wish you a continued enjoyment of the same.
"2. We would also take the liberty of offering you our most cordial congratulations on the return of another anniversary of your Consecration. You have now been our Overseer for nearly twelve years; and we have no doubt but that your goings in and out amongst us would have gained for you such an experience as would serve you good stead in the future days in the successful administering of the affairs of this rather difficult and heterogeneous Diocese.
"3. We are thankful to be able to express our high appreciation of your missionary activities in this Diocese. Your frequent official visits to the Churches in the Protectorate and elsewhere have not only made a rapprochement with the several missionaries at work possible, but, we believe, have been times of refreshing to the different Christian Communities in these places; and added to this, your proverbial sociableness and Christian sympathy have made us as a people to feel that as our Bishop you have endeavoured to show yourself gentle to all, and to become an example of good works to us--by maintaining and setting forward, as much as in you lie, quietness, love, and peace amongst us.
"4. In our longings for the further development of Church life and work amongst us, we do earnestly pray that the present undertaking to create a Church Synod for the Diocese will soon be a fait accompli, so that, by its deliberations and enactments this Church may be governed and its affairs directed by a combined organisation of its Clerical and Lay representative members, and not as hitherto by separate Governing Bodies.
"5. We also earnestly pray that God the Holy Spirit will Himself guide and lead you into all the truth, so that with the unselfish co-operation of faithful, true, and honest men, you may be enabled to guide the destinies of this Church, and thereby secure for it a solution of its many problems.
"6. Meanwhile we assure your Lordship of our readiness to support and co-operate with you in all things that would tend to the further development and consolidation of our much-beloved Church.
"We remain, with every sentiment of respect,
"Your Lordship's Obedient Servants."
Archdeacon Wilson presided over the gathering; speeches were made by two laymen--Mr. A. E. Tuboku-Metzger and Mr. Songo Davies; and the Address was presented by the Rev. H. P. Thompson. The Bishop closed his brief reply with a characteristic reference to the word "nevertheless" in the 56th and 73rd Psalms and St. Luke v. 5. He said that life was made up of "thoughs" and "neverthelesses," and the best people were those who laid most stress on the "nevertheless."
The first of the letters which follow refers to the presentation.
"FREETOWN, February 28th, 1922.
"This afternoon--Shrove Tuesday--I have been a guest in my own garden. A large body of clergy and laity presented me with an address of welcome after my illness. They had tea first, and the Archdeacon presided. The speakers were Metzger and Songo Davies, while old Mr. Thompson presented it. It was a happy and representative gathering--and a very nice thought."
"FREETOWN, April 11th, 1922.
"I am preaching each morning this week at the Cathedral and each evening at Christ Church, Pademba Road, a two-mile walk; three or four from the Hospital come with me.
"Yesterday I had a Confirmation at St. Philip's, with thirty-eight candidates, twenty-four of them men. This morning we had a large number, more than previous days, at the Cathedral. I have been speaking there on the Words from the Cross; and at Christ Church on 'The truth as it is in Jesus.' . . .
"Yesterday (Good Friday) I preached to a very large congregation at Holy Trinity, and then went on to the Cathedral for midday; there were very few there, as very many had gone to the funeral of a dear old lady of eighty-four, the 'mother' of the Cathedral congregation.
"(Easter Tuesday.) Sunday was a very busy day. I was at the Cathedral at 7 a.m., when there were 266 communicants: then Tower Hill for the soldiers, where we had fifteen communicants; then I preached at the Cathedral to a packed congregation; then Miss Stevens motored me to Wilberforce Barracks, where we had service for the West African Rifles; and Hill Station, where I had a very good number, with twenty communicants; then, after lunch, to Regent for a Confirmation and the dedication of an organ. I stayed the night with the Chief Justice, and on Monday he and I and Thompson (a Balliol man, who is at the Secretariat) went over to Hastings for the stone-laying of their Centenary Memorial Hall: it was a glorious motor drive, and the function was very happy. James, an Oriel man, the District Commissioner, met us there, so we were four Oxford men: he is much liked and spoke very well. Old J. S. T. Davies, late head native clerk in the Post Office, was President of the Hastings Committee. His speech was one of the funniest I ever heard, not quite suited for polite ears, and not quite to be reproduced here, but spoken and listened to here in sympathy and sincerity, without suggestion of evil.
"The country-side seemed to be keeping holiday, and it was very interesting to see the elaborate flag-flying in the various villages. I was back at Freetown at 2.30 and had time to go to the Cathedral Sunday-school treat at the Recreation Ground before returning to Hill Station. The little girls looked very pretty in their white dresses and red ribbons, but they take their pleasures rather sadly on such occasions; the boys have a good deal more energy. I went to Hill Station again for the night."
"FREETOWN, May 8th, 1922.
"The Governor arrived on Thursday, and was sworn in soon after. It was an impressive ceremony, and he spoke very well, in a very nice spirit. They were at church yesterday, when I preached at the Cathedral. It was appropriate that the Epistle was the passage from i Peter about King and Governor; and I couldn't help telling the people what sort of people--as compared with the present--he might have in view, Nero and Felix! The Judge and I and Colonel Faunce were the first to be presented. . . ."
To Miss Christabel Startin
"FREETOWN, July 24th, 1922.
"Oh! we are having some weather now; and life is a bit trying, when you want to go out. On Wednesday and Thursday last we had eight inches of rain; on Wednesday and Thursday of the week before they only recorded four and a half inches: but either there was a leak in the instrument, or we must have had it much wetter at Waterloo than here. At any rate I was pretty well soaked.
"I went on the Wednesday to open a new church at Makomba, three miles from Newton station, twenty-five miles by rail from here. A procession of about fifty of us marched along a narrow path, which became a river before we reached our destination. The surpliced procession to the church was a bit irregular, but you have to adapt yourself to weather. About 175 people were there, nearly the whole population; elaborate preparations had been made for entertaining me, and I certainly did not starve. I thought things looked a little more hopeful when we started to return, but the rain came on again, and we were well drenched again before we reached Newton, where I made many calls. The four miles to Waterloo from there are fairly good going, and it was fine most of the way. To give you an idea of how clouds and land were mixed, I thought for some time that I was looking on a very black cloud, until I saw a strange streak of white running down it; then I realised that it was a mountain veiled in mist, with a huge waterfall a few hours old coursing down it.
"From Waterloo I had to climb a steep hill, by the side of a roaring torrent, like some moorland stream in Wales, to the District Commissioner's house, where I stayed the night. He, James, is an old Oriel and St. Paul's boy. We had to start the next morning at 6.32--mark the 2, as though trains are always punctual to the minute here--and I travelled as far as Hastings, six miles, where I was due for a Confirmation. The rain was worse than the previous day, but all the nineteen candidates were at church; and I was fortunate enough to get a motor ride back to Bishopscourt. It was a wild experience, for we had to dash through one river, and in many places the road was torn up.
"Friday, the next day, was nearly perfect; and I crossed the harbour, about ten miles, to the opposite shore, Bullom, in a launch, and held a Confirmation at a village called Benke. We landed in a cove not unlike Anstey's or Babbacombe, with gorgeous red-sandstone cliffs, fringed by cotton trees. The wild-flowers are not so beautiful as at home; but there are several of the convolvulus family, and lots of cannas.
"On my return I knew that I had fever, and the next two days I had to lie low. I am very well again now, and have, in the rains, no suspicion of asthma.
"Yesterday, I had a varied Sunday. In the morning I had service on the Dwarf, one of our oldest and smallest gunboats. It was too wet for service on the quarter-deck, so we were all huddled somewhere in the stern, with a few soldiers thrown in. It was a very hearty service, and we had Holy Communion afterwards in the ward-room. I had to read two lots of banns, a sign that she is near the end of her commission: both the bridegrooms are marines, very nice fellows.
"In the afternoon I preached at a little church near here, where we had a full congregation; and it was nearly fine! The Dwarf left about 3.30 for Monrovia, where she is to help to celebrate Independence Day. I should like to have gone with them for a day or two. I expect they will get some fun out of their visit, though Liberia is not at all a laughing matter: the poor people seem to be still so helpless if they have not white supervision."
"FREETOWN, September 20th, 1922.
"The chief event of the week, I think, has been the service for the Judges and Barristers at the opening of the autumn sessions. It rained as it seldom rains even here; we had about five inches on the Sunday morning, and when rain is falling at the rate of an inch an hour on a corrugated iron building, you have not much chance of making yourself heard in that building. Still we had a large congregation, considering the day: indeed one wonders where people would have found room if it had been fine. Nearly all the barristers, white and black, were there. . . . The singing was very good, and at any rate the front rows managed to hear my sermon. The Chief Justice sent, afterwards, a very warm letter of thanks, which much delighted the choir. . . .
"I had a very busy day on Sunday. After the big service at the Cathedral, I went on to the Kroo Church, where I preached and had Holy Communion. They did not know that I was going, so, with the rain, the congregation was not as good as usual, though they do not mind the rain as much as Creoles; and the church was nearly full. They now have everything in Kroo, except, of course, my sermon, which had to be interpreted. The congregational singing is hearty to the last degree, and when someone starts a chorus, after the sermon, you are afraid that a riot is beginning, and that someone is being slain!
"I wish I knew how accurate the translation is: two of the hymns we had were "Holy, Holy, Holy," to the usual tune, very nicely sung, and "I think when I read that sweet story of old" to a splendid marching tune, which I had never heard before; but the people seemed to know what they were singing and to mean the words.
"Then I was just in time for lunch with Stanley, the Acting Colonial Secretary, and after tea with the Hebrons, I went to our other little church in Kroo Town, where the service is English; the old catechist, Brown, who is in charge, is a dear old man and much beloved. . . "