Project Canterbury

John Walmsley, Ninth Bishop of Sierra Leone

A Memoir for His Friends

Arranged by E.G. Walmsley, M.A.

London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1923.

Chapter VI. Morocco and the Islands

THE record of the Bishop's life and influence would be very incomplete without some description of his "care of all the Churches" in Morocco and the Islands. In the course of twelve years he was able to visit Morocco four times. He was in the islands rather more frequently.

On his first journey to Sierra Leone, he paid a short visit to Las Palmas; but he was not able to devote any length of time to that part of his diocese until the end of 1911. The following extracts from his letters refer to the journey which he took after his furlough in the summer of that year. The first tells of the beginning of his firm friendship with Mr. Madden, at that time the British Consul at Casablanca.

"November 3rd, 1911.

"I am on board, though I wondered when I should land here, as the 'taxis' have struck, and it is hard to get by any other means; however, I found a man who would take me. ... I have a very nice cabin to myself, with any amount of room; there are only forty people on board. ... I have just been talking to the Consul and his wife (Mr. Madden): they seem to be extremely nice people; they think I shall be able to have a Sunday with them."

"November 11th, 1911,

"I am again on shore, and hoping to stay the night here. We are having service to-morrow at eleven o'clock, and if the weather is good, several from the ship hope to come. The Maddens are putting me up, and the two boys have been taking me round the garden. We reached Tangier at six o'clock yesterday morning, but had to view it from the ship. The place is in quarantine, and even if it had been open we should probably not have been able to land as the surf was pretty rough.

"It is a very pretty place, and the day was beautifully bright. The suburbs are hilly, and many of the houses are very large; some bits are like the wilder parts of Torquay. A lighthouse near is international, maintained one year by England, one by France, and one by Spain. I can't imagine why Germany doesn't insist on having a year.

"A Spanish man-of-war was leaving in the morning, and the formalities were most overwhelming: they had to salute the Moorish flag, then a French man-of-war, then Gibraltar; as each answered the salute, it was like a small bombardment. We left about 4 p.m. for Casablanca, which we reached this morning in the most glorious weather. The wind has dropped, and we landed without any difficulty. I have not seen much of the place yet. It had an awful siege in 1907, and now there are ten thousand French troops here, but peace seems now assured. There is a population of about thirty thousand. The country round is flat and looks uninteresting--unlike Tangier and Rabat, the biggest of the towns and most Moorish, at which we could not land. Mazagan is in quarantine, but we hope to land at Mogador and reach Las Palmas on Friday night--unless we can put in at Sam, the prettiest of all the places on this coast, but with a bad surf.

"Everyone here gives me a hearty welcome, and I hope to see most of them between now and to-morrow night."


"November 12th, 1911.

"I am starting this letter on Sunday night, but I fear it may be some time before I am able to post it. I have had a delightful time at Casablanca, and though it may be a long way from Sierra Leone, I should be quite sorry to think that it was to be handed over to the diocese of Gibraltar. I landed with the Maddens yesterday morning. I went to lunch with the Murdochs; he is a considerable merchant here. They were having a tennis-party for most of the English and some others; as they wanted me to play, I was driven round to find shoes and flannels large enough. I was rigged out by the Vice-Consul, Lomas, an old St. John's, Oxford, man. I had two games, and saw a lot of people. Then I was to go to dinner across the French lines with Edmond Fernau, an uncle of Mrs. M. He had provided an Arab steed for me; had I moral courage enough to say no? or physical courage enough to say yes? The latter prevailed, and as my clothes were sent on for me to change there, you may imagine the figure I cut, with tails and flannels, on a horse which knew it had an inexperienced rider. I arrived safely, and after a bath and a change had a delightful time with the Fernau children--Margaret 8, Philip 6, and Roderick 3. The two boys were convinced I was a real giant out of one of the fairy-books, partly because of my voice; while their sister confided to her mother afterwards, 'Mother, I love him!' She had strange ways of showing it. Certainly children thrive in this lovely air.

"A man was dining there named Black-Hawkins; there was something very interesting about him, and he was evidently very glad to have met me. We walked home together about n o'clock, with wild dogs at our heels. It was such a night of brilliant stars and moonlight. The white city looked very beautiful; the sunset had been most lovely, brilliantly clear, with warm purple and rose colours. I saw my first camels in Africa, and typical Moorish life, mixed indeed with European. The French have made this the head-quarters of their army since the blockade. It is hard to realise what the state of things must have been in 1907. The Consulate still bears bullet-marks, though little damage was done here. Trouble arose over the number of European engineers at work on the quay; they apparently had been very brutal to the Moors. At any rate the French had the excuse for bringing the Moors into subjection, and they have done it. The town is now peaceful. The French army here must be at least ten thousand, with many outposts round; the native population has grown to about fifty thousand, and there is a large and growing trade in corn and other produce of the rich agricultural district behind.

"There were fourteen ships in this morning. The French do not show at their best here, alas! Very few of the officers see much of the English settlement; they are apparently not much loved by the natives either. Our people are mostly very nice, especially the Fernaus, Murdochs, Lomas, Broome, and of course the Maddens. There are also a few missionaries--Miss Banks, of the North African General Mission, a fine-looking woman; an American doctor; and a Miss Leir, a strong-minded-looking woman, who is on her own account, a communicant of our Church, as also Miss Banks.

"All the people I have mentioned, and more, were at the service this morning. We had twenty-two at Holy Communion, and forty-five in all at church, including thirteen or fourteen from the ship. It was a very nice service. Madden played, and Lomas read each a Lesson, and Nicholls the prayers. [Rev. F. G. Nicholls, Rector of Newton Reigny, who had gone to Casablanca as Chaplain.] The church is very pretty--small, but quite large enough for present needs.

"(November 13th.) On Sunday afternoon the Maddens had asked everybody to meet me at the Consulate, and nearly all the English-speaking people came. I had a chance of talking to all of them, and Nicholls was able to meet his flock. Madden and Lomas brought me back to the ship about 6.30. I had experience of the great uncertainty of the sea on this coast.

"On Sunday morning the sea was like glass. Had I waited another hour, I doubt whether they would have been able to take me to the ship; as it was, it was ticklish work getting on to the ladder from the small boat. We left Casablanca at about midnight, and reached Mazagan about 6 o'clock this morning. It is a small town, and more Moorish than Casablanca, and is in quarantine at present. It has been rather sad to have to stay on board all day in the most perfect weather, but the views of the town have been very lovely and the sunset again wonderful.

"The people at Casablanca did give me such a very warm send-off, and made me feel that I had indeed done right in coming this way. Madden wired on to Mogador for all the English to meet me there. We hope to land at Sam, said to be the most beautiful of all Moorish towns, to-morrow; but often landing is impossible, as at Rabat.

"I find that I did not tell you that yesterday I consecrated the church at Casablanca; no Bishop had been there before. It is really a very pretty little building, very nicely fitted up in the old Norman style, very simple."

The Bishop paid a short visit to Las Palmas, and then went on to Freetown. In January he started again for the islands, and made a more extended stay.


"January 24th, 1912,

"The 'interinsular' (fearfully hard word to say) boats are most erratic. One was to have gone last night at ten o'clock, but I found out about four that it had gone in the morning for a change: so the Spaniards are sometimes up to time. Now I hope to go to-night by a German boat; it takes about six hours. The weather here is alternately sunshine and stormy and quite cold, in fact about as cold as they have ever known it; there is snow on the hills. The Indian civilian with the liver who was here in November is revelling now in the variations; of course he can grumble to his heart's content when it rains and blows, but I was amused when he said yesterday, as I remarked on the loveliness of the morning, 'Beastly glare!'

"The Cornwall training-ship for naval cadets is here for a couple of days. I went off to lunch with the officers yesterday; they were coaling, and some of them looked exactly like coal-heavers. The Captain--Hodges--took me round. The boys are a nice-looking set, sixty or seventy of them; they have a six months' cruise to the West Indies and Bermuda and Canada. I can hardly imagine a more delightful combination of work and pleasure. The bay is very gay; there are two German men-of-war, and a Spanish, as well as quantities of shipping--including the Mandingo. The Spanish do like decorations; everything was covered with bunting yesterday, because--as far as I could find out--it was the birthday of the patron-saint of the king!"


"January 26th, 1912.

"I left Las Palmas at midnight on Wednesday night. People were more friendly there, and I have promised to stay with the Millers if I stay there again. On Wednesday night I spoke at a mission service at the Seamen's Institute. Swanson, the Consul, was there, and about fifty more, chiefly men; he afterwards saw me to my boat, a Norwegian coasting-vessel. We were ten for four berths! The crew were rather startled when I asked for a bath: they showed me one they had, but it had never been used, and did not look as though it ever would be. I was rather glad to land at Santa Cruz. There I stayed at the Hotel Pino de Oro, which is near the little church. Budworth, the chaplain, gave me a very warm welcome; I should think he is doing a very good work here. I met a lot of the principal people last night, amongst others, Mrs. Hamilton and her son and daughter. Her son, an old Harrow boy, motored me over here, twenty-six miles, this morning. He did everything in such a very kind way, and took me round to see the Cathedral at Laguna, and the oldest church in the island. The Cathedral, which has some beautiful bits of carving on pillars and windows, was undergoing repairs; in the middle of the nave were two priests talking, with their hats on, and one of them smoking a cigar! A man came up to us to tell us to put our hats on.

"We reached here at twelve, and if Santa Cruz is better than Las Palmas, so is this place than Santa Cruz. It is indeed an earthly paradise. We passed the spot, some three miles before reaching here, where they say Humboldt jumped down from his carriage and fell on his knees thanking God that he was born into such a world. Unfortunately for me, the Peak has not yet showed itself; but the snow-line seems to be, at present, only about 3,000 feet up. I have brought my climbing boots, but I don't think there will be any chance of climbing it.

"The people here are so kind and so charming, and they make such a lot of their bishop! One does indeed feel that this is no alien part of the diocese. I was met by the chaplain, Walter, one of those quiet, gentle men with a wonderful influence of goodness. I am staying with Mrs. Wethered, the widow of a man who practically discovered this place. She is a beautiful old lady, who, with another old lady, Mrs. Boreham, is the mainstay of the church here. They have planned out a wonderful week for me, enabling me to see everyone and everything as far as possible. Her eldest son I remember at Oxford; he was President of the 'Varsity Boat Club in my last year at B.N.C. I haven't seen much of other people yet. They have a wonderful library here of some thousands of books, especially theology and science and travel; from the way in which books were being taken out yesterday, there must be one place left where they do solid reading.

"I mustn't write more now. The one drawback here seems to be that they don't know when letters will go away, nor when they will arrive; but it is indeed a haven of rest.

"I didn't tell you of the six-year-old cripple boy, son of the man at S. Catalina at Las Palmas. His mother brought him to see me: he had been at church when I was there. He has spinal trouble, but is gaining the use of his legs. He told me so beautifully, 'I had a dream the other night: I dreamt I could walk. Jesus was there and held my hand.'"


"January 30th, 1912.

"It is hard to describe to you the time I am having. Everything here is so delightful; the weather since Sunday has been perfect, and seems likely now to remain so. We had the Confirmation Service on Saturday morning. Catherine was the only candidate. [Daughter of the Chaplain, Rev. T. Walter.] The service was so intensely real; a good many people were there, including Colonel Bill, and old Mr. St. Aubyn, a Cornish clergyman. Mrs. Denny played beautifully, though generally that is Catherine's work. I saw a number of the more regular residents during the day: it is hard to tell you of all of them in a letter.

"I preached on Sunday: there were pretty well at church, but the hotels are not full. Mrs. Wethered had the Walters and Mrs. Boreham and Mr. Morton to lunch. The latter is a most charming and entertaining man. He knew Bishop Phillips Brooks very well, and also Helen Keller. He has often sung for her, and tells me it is very disconcerting, because in order to "hear" she half strangles you as she feels your neck for vibrations. He also says that Phillips Brooks generally liked a large bowl of water for lunch or dinner, as he would drink six or eight glasses full; he--Mr. Morton--does the same, with the same fluid.

"Monday was a perfect day, and I had a glorious motor-drive with Walter to Gerachico (I haven't seen it spelt), about twenty miles along the coast. The whole way you skirt the sea, about three hundred to eight hundred feet up; in some places rocks and steep denies are on your left, and in others the land is fairly level for a short distance, and above towers the Peak in all its glory, twelve thousand feet above you. I suppose it is hardly possible anywhere to look straight up such a height. The maidenhair grows in the wildest profusion, and geraniums."


"February 3rd, 1912.

"On Thursday morning we started for the Peak, Hugh W., Fitzgerald and I, with a guide and seven mules and three muleteers. It is a remarkable expedition. You ascend first 7,200 feet up a long slope, cultivated for perhaps 3,500 feet; sometimes you skirt a 'baranco' with rocky sides overhung with greenery. After 3,500 feet you go through a forest of 'tree heather,' a heath which grows 10 feet high and is now one mass of glorious blossom. Then at 7,200 feet you reach a vast tract of gravel-strewn desert broken by huge blocks of lava, where the only vegetation is the 'retam' (the Hebrew word for Elijah's juniper-tree), a kind of broom which almost reaches the proportions of a tree. This district has a beauty of its own, for the gravel has a warm colour in the sunshine, like that of Hoi-man Hunt's picture of the Scapegoat. This plain is really part of the crater of a volcano, which is more than thirty miles in circumference, which had its outlet over the slope up which we came, and which in some awful eruption in bygone ages threw up the Peak in one corner of it. On this table-land we had lunch; and then, after a walk of about six miles, we had to climb a stiff two or three thousand feet to the hut, which is between ten and eleven thousand feet up. The snow was very deep in places, and the mules had hard work in getting up even without us. I was fairly 'blown' when I reached the hut, about 5 o'clock. Accommodation is very scant, but we got a good dinner, and were 'in bed' at 8. 'Bed' consisted of a huge sort of settle with a small mattress on it. Wethered and I lay lengthwise and Fitzgerald lay across at our feet; we didn't kick him out of bed. Every preparation was made for me, even down to a hot-water bottle, but I simply couldn't sleep; I suppose it was the altitude. It was a very wild night, and the wind howled continuously. The guide did not like the look of the morning, but we patiently waited on, and about 8.15 we started: the sky had cleared, but the wind was still very high. We took about an hour and a half to reach the top; the cone at the finish is very steep, but a snow-slope lower was harder, and the guide discreetly let me lead! He had no nails on, nor had he ever been up with so much snow or wind before. The summit is wonderful: it is a small crater, about a hundred yards across, half of it covered with snow, and half steaming with blowholes so hot you cannot put your hand near them, which are belching out sulphurous fumes. The steam becomes water on the sulphur round, and that had frozen into the most wonderful crystals. The view must be about the most extensive in the world, but there was a good deal of cloud. Grand Canary, about sixty miles away, seemed to be high up in the sky; I suppose the horizon is always level with your eyes: the optical illusion there was most extraordinary. The island seems to have everything on such a huge scale; the other hills look very big and imposing; everywhere are traces of volcanic upheavals. We found some shelter at the top, and made a circuit of it, staying about half an hour; then down to the hut by 11, and to Orotava by 7.15, fairly stiff and very sleepy, but very fit indeed.

"The telephone was kept constantly ringing with enquiries for me, chiefly as to whether I had been mountain-sick; I believe many were positively disappointed that I wasn't. The climb is not in itself hard, nor has it the beauty of the Swiss mountains; but it has a wildness all its own, and the bronze and purple and red colouring of the rocks is very rich.

"I had a great send-off from Orotava. F. Wethered, the old Oxford boat captain, arrived on Friday--such a nice man, one of the leading C.E.M.S. people in the Oxford Diocese."


"February 11th, 1912.

"It will be hard to go back to West Africa after all my experiences here. I am in every way glad that I came, and realise more the importance of this part of my diocese. I landed here on Friday morning about 8 o'clock. It was hard to realise it was Madeira; I suppose they have not had such a week for thirty years or more. The sea was the same colour as that last morning at Torcross; we managed to land at a place about a mile from the quay. Most of the sea-front had been washed away, and you could only see a mass of stones and wreckage. Two fishing-boats are still missing; but, as others have only just come in, they still have hopes of them. I was met by the chaplain, Jones-Bateman, who put me in Mrs. Linden's 'carro' and sent me straight up to her house, where I am staying. I don't know if you are as ignorant of Madeira as I was, but I was astonished by all I saw--or, rather, didn't see at first, for the rain blotted everything out. The town is built on a steep slope very much like the hills which rise from Lake Geneva above Vevey. The roads are all made of small cobbles, and you ride on sledges drawn by yokes of oxen. It is a slow but rather pleasant mode of locomotion. Mrs. Lindon's house is beautifully situated about 450 feet above the sea in a lovely garden. There is a eucalyptus tree quite 200 feet high, the highest tree I ever saw. Mrs. Lindon is a dear old lady, an Alsatian, with a most charming accent. . . .

"Sunday was a lovely day. I went down to church--a very steep climb--three times. Mrs. Lindon was able to be down twice. We had a very good congregation, about a hundred and thirty in the morning, and a fair number in the afternoon. The church is hideous, but it had to be built unecclesiastically."


"February 15th, 1912.

"I thought Orotava was the limit, and so perhaps it was in some ways; but really I am having a splendid time of it here. I hope I have not too much capacity for enjoying life; certainly the last fortnight--with all the storms--has been one of the easy times of life, and ought to brace me for further work. Not that I have not had a good deal to do; and people have been most kind in saying that my visit has been a blessing to the place. In Las Palmas they adhere strictly to Rudyard Kipling's advice, to be 'polite but not friendly to bishops.' In Santa Cruz it is so to some extent. In Orotava and here they triumphantly reject it. Mrs. Lindon has been most kind, and I have seen numbers of the people here, especially at tea on Wednesday, when about thirty came. I have had some tennis with the Cable Company's young men. Yesterday we had a most perfect day on the hills. We started--on horseback!--at 7.30, and rode to an observatory some 5,000 feet up, where we left the horses; then we climbed a hill, nearly 6,000 feet, from which we had a view over almost the whole island. The scenery generally is much more beautiful than Teneriffe.

"Picture to yourselves a lovely waterfall tumbling over stones around which were growing in wildest profusion arum-lilies and large periwinkles; those, with geraniums, are the chief wild-flowers of the island. We reached here about 5 o'clock, and had time to go and call on the Blandys, some of the principal people of the island. There I met a most entertaining old lady who had been nearly everywhere, including salmon-fishing in British Columbia; she thinks life is not really life unless one risks something; she has got hold of a truth which she carried rather far, for she says the best men must be the highest gamblers--'and you're one!'

"This morning was indeed a varied one. I helped to launch a boat on a lake here; previous bishops are said to have been in one, but I can give my word that Bishop Taylor Smith neither would nor could risk his body in this one! I safely crossed a lake about ten yards broad; why the boat didn't sink I can't imagine. I also went to the little English hospital, and called on some people named Payne, and the British Consul. Three American girls at their hotel came and closely inspected my gaiters; they seemed to have some doubts about them, so one came back to more closely inspect them, and cried triumphantly to the others that she was right!"

At the end of the following year the Bishop paid his second visit to Casablanca. He arrived on a Friday morning; and, being unable to remain over Sunday, he arranged for a service to be held at 4.30 on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately the boat left earlier than was expected, and the service had to be abandoned. The Bishop wrote the following letter to members of the congregation, which was read in church at the Sunday-morning service, a number of copies being afterwards circulated.


"November 22nd, 1913.


"I am more sorry than I can tell to disappoint you to-day, but as the boat leaves this morning, I am bound to go on. I had hoped especially to have met you at Holy Communion and to have worshipped again in your little church. I am venturing now to send a brief message by letter, hoping that I may have longer time with you next year.

"I was intending to say a few words to you on the well-known words of Psalm cxxi., 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.' Let your aim be always the highest. At a time when there are so many lower motives, look up to the hills. Believe still that 'a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things that he possesseth,' but in union with God, and in a service which is rendered to Him through the service of our fellow-men.

"I know, from experience down the coast, how easy it is to drop to a lower level, to be content with a standard short of the highest. You need all the help you can have. Do not neglect the public service on Sunday; still more, do not neglect private prayer and the reading of God's Word; endeavour to find in what way you can best help to bear one another's burdens.

"I know that many are doing something to improve the lot of many suffering ones in Casablanca. Perhaps some can help to shield our British sailors from the dangers to which they are exposed when on shore there. 'Lift up your eyes' and hearts to that Master Whose symbol is the Cross, and Who gave for us what He claims from us who bear His Name, personal service.

"Yours very sincerely,


We pass over the succeeding eight years, with their occasional visits to Morocco and the Islands. The following letters relate to the journey which the Bishop took after his last furlough in 1921. This was the last occasion on which he saw these scattered members of his flock.

His friend Mr. Madden had been transferred from the Consulate at Casablanca to that at Bilbao in Spain. Though this was not actually in the diocese, he included a visit to Bilbao on his journey south.

To Miss Christabel Startin


"December 24th, 1921.

"I have had very little time for writing since I left England, and now that I have time my paper is limited and the condition of the sea is not conducive to orthography. I will try to give you a brief account of my journeys. I left England just a month ago, travelling via Southampton and Havre. We ran into a fog not far from the French coast, and after struggling on for a bit had to anchor for six hours, an unpleasant experience when one heard the sirens of other boats alarmingly near us. We finally reached Havre about 1.20, and had a special train put on for us. I missed my connection in Paris, but caught a fairly good train at 9.40 and reached my friends in Bilbao in twenty-four hours at 10 p.m. on Saturday. I preached at Bilbao on Sunday, when I met a number of English people: I stayed with the British Consul, a cousin of Admiral Madden. They are very good people, and a tremendous boon to the British colony there. I had a lovely afternoon at San Sebastian, the Spanish Royal watering-place; I travelled part of the way with a young French naval officer, who was very proud of having been for a time a member of the Dover Patrol under Admiral Keyes. I left Bilbao on Thursday evening, and, by dint of spending two nights in the train, saw Escorial and Cordova, and reached Ronda on Saturday evening.

"Escorial is a marvellous place: the Palace (including the monastery and the church) is the third largest building in the world--the Vatican and the Louvre alone being bigger--and yet it was all built by one man, Philip II, in an amazingly short time. It has some beautiful pictures, but it is more grim than magnificent, in keeping with its rather bare surroundings. I saw it in sunshine with the hills covered with snow; but some trees in the garden, beautifully autumn-tinted, gave some relief to the scene. Certainly the view from the big terrace was impressive, with Madrid quite clear, twenty miles away. I was shown round by a young Englishman, an Oxford man, a deacon in the Roman Church, who is Professor of English and French literature at the Escorial University. He was most kind, and I felt rather a wolf in sheep's clothing--or vice versa--when I was treated with great respect by people to whom I was introduced.

"I went to the station to catch the 5.52 train, and caught the 9.38 a.m.! (This is solemn truth.) I arrived in Madrid a few minutes earlier than I expected, and so caught a fast express of which I had rather despaired. I had an amusing quarrel with officials when I did board the train, because I had not had my ticket properly stamped; but I held on till the train started, and knew that I would be all right then. The King was also on board, travelling with very little state; but there was one great advantage, we reached Cordova only half an hour late, at 6.30 a.m.

"I was in the famous mosque at 7, and watched the sunrise light up the vast maze of pillars and arches. The cathedral has been built in the middle of the mosque. One wished they had left the old building intact; it is a marvellous witness of the extraordinary power of the Moors. The old town is sleepy and picturesque, and the courtyards are beautiful. I tried a strange fruit which looked like a pink tomato; my mouth has recovered from it, but my handkerchief hasn't! There is some amazing acid in the juice; they say that if you eat it the very moment before it begins to go rotten, it is delicious. I can believe it, but I have tried it here, at Bobadilla and Marrakech, and have so far failed to get the moment!

"There was no King in the train after Cordova, but we were only two hours late starting, and only lost just half an hour more on the way to Ronda. There I had a perfect week-end, restful, amid the most glorious surroundings. The views of the Andalusian Mountains were lovely, and the sunrises and sunsets exquisite.

"I reached Gibraltar at 7 on Monday, and left at 4.30 on Tuesday; I saw a good deal of the Dean, and had a very happy and interesting hour with the Governor. I missed the Bishop by a few days. I reached Casablanca on Wednesday morning at to, and have had a very busy and happy fortnight in Morocco. I have travelled about eight hundred and twenty miles by car (which has cost me ten francs!) and done the most shocking speeds; we went from Marrakech to Mogador, a hundred and fifteen miles, in three and a quarter hours, and had to make way for camels! I had services at Rabat, Casablanca, Mazagan, Mogador, and Marrakech; and in one or two places, especially Mazagan, almost every English person came. There were seventeen communicants at Mazagan out of less than twenty-five people. Several of the young Bank men are such nice fellows.

"Casablanca is a dreadful place, the biggest town in Morocco, with about 115,000 people, one-third European. Marrakech was just lovely: I was there in perfect weather, and the Atlas Mountains were indescribably beautiful. I stayed at a house five miles out of the town, with nothing but level plain between it and the mountains.

"Rabat and Mogador are also most interesting, the one the new capital with its old part unspoilt, the other in the trade-winds, wind-swept and sunny, dazzlingly white and blue. I left there yesterday afternoon, and am now opposite this big but little known Canary Island, and hope to be in time for early service on Christmas morning at Las Palmas.

"I am on a French cargo-boat, by special favour of the captain, and really faring very well."

To Miss Lettice Russell

"FREETOWN, February 17th, 1922.

"I reached here on Tuesday last after a most delightful but distinctly exacting trip of nearly three months, during which I travelled by nine different ships, did about one thousand miles in motors, and slept--or tried to--in twenty-four different beds. I had Confirmations in Morocco, Madeira, Grand Canary, Teneriffe (both Santa Cruz and Orotava), and Bathurst, Gambia; and now, when I ought to be fit to face any amount of work and anxiety here, I am crocked for the moment with asthma, and am trying to write this, propped up on pillows. The very great heat and sultriness here, after the glorious climate of the Islands and Bathurst, and most of all of Marrakech, seems to have bowled me over for a day or two--but I expect I shall soon be quite fit."

To Miss Christabel Startin

"FREETOWN, February 24th, 1922.

"Thank you and your mother for the letters and calendar and stamp-case. The calendar is such a very pretty one, and I do like those words, 'Roads are Thy shrines; Thou saidst, I am the Way.' Who said them? I did not reach here till St. Valentine's Day. After I wrote to you, from Las Palmas, I went to Teneriffe and stayed a week at Santa Cruz and a week at Orotava. The places differ a good deal.

"Santa Cruz is a large town with one or two big hotels on the outskirts. The English people are principally in business, shipping, banking, etc. I stayed with the Consul, a very nice man, with a very jolly boy of six, who took me for a wild ramble one day on the rugged hills which were purple with wild lavender. The country is seamed with deep gorges, called 'barancos,' which, except after very heavy rain--a rare occurrence--are dry.

"Orotava is on the opposite side of the island, over twenty miles away, in the centre of what is called the Vale of Orotava. It is really more an amphitheatre than a vale. The bottom part is one vast banana-field, save for the towns; the slopes rise to a height of eight thousand feet, except at one point, where the glorious snow-capped Peak reaches over twelve thousand feet. The old town of Orotava--Villa Orotava--is very picturesque and Spanish, and is built on the slope about 1,500 feet above the sea. The Port--Puerto Orotava--where nearly all the English live, is on the sea; there is a lovely church--the first, I suppose, that we were allowed to build, shaped as a church, but with no visible cross, on Spanish soil. Most of the English residents are either retired wealthy people or invalids; but some are connected with the banana trade and some with Teneriffe drawn-thread work. They are always most kind to me there, and some of the visitors at the big hotels are very interesting people. Among them were Sir David Bruce, the great tropical specialist, who found the connection between the tzetze-fly and sleeping-sickness, and also between Malta fever and goats' milk (but like a great man is conscious of his ignorance, and says he knows nothing--and doesn't much think anyone else does--about blackwater fever!); Sir Thomas Jackson, an Admiral who seemed to belong to the days before the Crimea, very lively, and very deaf; Colonel Wethered, of Marlow, with whom I stayed part of the time, a sad invalid now, but in my time at Oxford, Captain of the 'Varsity boat. . . .

"From Teneriffe, where I had Confirmations, and dedicated a large new organ, and spoke at two meetings for the diocese, I had to return 270 miles north in order to visit Madeira. I travelled by the S. Margaret of Scotland, a nice little pleasure-steamer of hardly 3,000 tons, a fair-weather boat with beds long enough for me! We took nearly two days to do the 275 miles, and we had to do it in the face of a very bad wind. As Madeira is an open roadstead, I wondered if we should be able to land; but the captain said I need not be anxious, as nothing would induce him to carry me a yard further 1 I have travelled with him three times, and he always has bad weather, at any rate when I am with him. I had a very happy time on board, with a very nice lot of people, who included the son of J. A. Froude, from Collapit, between Salcombe and Kingsbridge.

"At Madeira I had nine days, including two Sundays, and saw very many people. We had a big meeting for St. Dunstan's there. The weather was unsettled, but the views were lovely; snow was on the hills, and sometimes there were rainbows across the high valleys for pretty well half the day. The Madeira church is large, ugly, and a hundred years old; it was not allowed to look like a church. Some of the gardens are, I think, the most beautiful I ever saw. I stayed with an old Dr. Watney, who has a lovely house here, and who had a big meeting for me. There are about sixty young Englishmen employed at the big Cable station there (how we run nearly all those things!); I saw them at dinner and tennis, and a special men's service in particular. Miss Everett-Green, whose name you no doubt know, is a resident here; and I was almost next-door neighbour to ex-King Carl.

"I returned to Las Palmas by a Yeoward boat--bananas and trippers; from Las Palmas I caught a Swedish tramp-steamer, the Catalonia, and lived royally as the captain's guest. We travelled well, and in three and a half days we reached Bathurst, Gambia, in time for Sunday morning service. I left, the next Sunday, just late enough to be able to preach again at the morning service.

"I stayed partly with the Governor, and partly with the chaplain, Powell, who was for a time with me here: he had sixty-two Confirmation candidates, including forty-five young men, all black! The weather was lovely; and there were two jolly English children, the Judge's family. They greatly sympathised with me at a cricket match, when, after I had been in some time and seemed to be well set, my pad came loose and got in the way of the ball, and I was l.b.w., though my leg was not very near the ball; but we managed to win.

"And lastly, I am here; I arrived on the Biafra, another cargo-boat, but quite comfortable. I have not been here a fortnight yet, but have had a pretty strenuous time with letters, etc.: and now I am scribbling this, while resting body and mind a bit after helping entertain the Antrim, an old cruiser with all sorts of specialists on board, making wireless and other observations. I took three of them to the top of the Sugar Loaf on Wednesday. I had seven middies and two others to tea and tennis on Thursday (two were Siamese), and dined on board, when we sat down sixty-two, and had a great time after. And on Friday I had the chaplain and eighteen boys--of lower deck--who ate me out of house and home, and ruined my reputation by the way they cheered at the station on the way back, such a jolly crew."

The best commentary on these letters will be found in the testimony borne by two representative laymen whom the Bishop met in the course of his visits to Morocco and the Islands.

Mr. T. J. Morris, British Consul in Teneriffe, writes as follows:

"He seemed to me a man who had thought profoundly on life, and who had an outlook of wonderful serenity and benevolence. I should find it difficult to believe that considerations of money or self, such strong and evident forces in modern life, ever entered his thoughts. Ever ready to listen and sympathise, those in trouble or distress, whatever their station in life, could turn to him as a true friend and ready helper, anxious in his own quiet and unostentatious way to come to their assistance or give them the benefit of his wide experience of life and its problems.

"His memory for people and incidents, however small, connected with their lives, was exceptional. Although intervals of a year and more not infrequently elapsed between one visit and another, he would recall everyone here and their affairs with all the freshness as if he had seen them the day before. He took on again just where he left off and forgot no one. His popularity was all the more remarkable because it was not affected at all by the ebb and flow of public opinion, so common to small communities of this kind. With a climate that is always warm and sunny and where the necessities of life are not too hard to come by, people are apt to be hypercritical and hard to please. I have noticed during the period of my official residence here, that in local affairs, although the best of good feeling pervades the community, it is seldom in complete unanimity of opinion on anything. The Bishop was the one striking exception to this rule. I have never heard a dissentient voice raised to anything he said or did. He was the one person who had and maintained the goodwill, the esteem, and whole-hearted affection of every member of the community.

"He was a distinguished scholar, with an acute and penetrating intellect, and yet a very modest man. As a preacher he was on quite a high level. I doubt if personally I ever wish to hear a better sermon than the last one it was my good fortune to hear him preach. He was, as his life shows, a strong and implacable character, and yet there was so much gentleness and refinement in his nature--he was such a gentleman in his thoughts and consideration for others, that the strength of his character might easily pass unrecognised by a casual observer. He possessed great charm of manner, and had attained to a life of wonderful sincerity and simplicity in all he thought and did. He had in fact all the gifts and qualities that might have secured him a place amongst the highest in the Church; notwithstanding this, and knowing full well that to return to the West Coast after his first attack of black-water meant almost certain death, so strongly did he feel that that was the place in which it was ordained for him to work that nothing this life could offer would deter him from it."

Mr. A. M. Madden, C.M.G., gives the following reminiscences of the Bishop:

"It was in November 1911, at the London Bridge wharf of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, that we joined the steamer Agadir on our journey out to the British Consulate, Casablanca, Morocco; and we soon discovered that Bishop Walmsley of Sierra Leone was a passenger, too, to French Morocco, to visit his Church communities there, which were in the diocese of Sierra Leone. It was the first time we met Bishop Walmsley, and we have kept up a close friendship with him ever since--as close, I mean, as possible, considering he was in Freetown generally and we in Morocco and Spain.

"Very soon on the outward journey we passengers got to know each other, and the Bishop soon became the life and soul of the ship. All wanted to talk to him, and hear his wonderful stories, and enjoy many a joke with him. He soon changed into flannels in the warmer seas, and was playing cricket on board with the younger men. Young and elderly, all became devoted to the Bishop.

"He was just as good with the children, with whom he enjoyed many a frolic. We had our two young sons on board, and they treated the Bishop as another boy, so much did he play with them.

"Once landed at Casablanca, Bishop Walmsley stayed with us at the British Consulate; and we invited the members of the Church congregation in to meet him. He gave us a service, but had to leave again next day by the same steamer on his way to the southern ports of Morocco and the Canaries. The Colony was charmed with the Bishop; and he played lawn-tennis with them like one of themselves up at Mr. George Fernau's garden, where a Saturday afternoon "at-home" for tennis and tea was always held by Mr. and Mrs. Fernau.

"Bishop Walmsley again visited us at Casablanca in November 1913, staying with us at the Consulate; but his visit was, to our great regret, much curtailed, as the steamer, which was announced to leave on the 23rd, was suddenly despatched on the 22nd, for Mazagan, the next port.

"I was transferred to the Consulate at Bilbao, Spain, in 1914; and then the War came, interfering as it did with so many private interests; so that it was not till 1919 that our dear friend Bishop Walmsley came to see us again. He came on November 1st, and stayed till the 6th. He preached in the British church, Bilbao, on All Souls' Day, to a full church of members of the British colony. He visited the Sailors' Institute, and preached there in the evening of the Sunday.

"I should explain that the Bishop's visit to us at Bilbao was purely personal. Bilbao, of course, was not in his diocese; he simply came to see us on his way back to Morocco and Sierra Leone after his leave in England. He showed great energy, and actually climbed the conical-shaped mountain of Serantes in the pouring rain. This is a favourite excursion at Bilbao, and the Bishop said he must do it. He was in good health then, and very energetic. One personal touch I must mention. The Bishop consented to be godfather to our little son, Colin Duncan Madden, born at Bilbao in 1915; so that he saw his godson for the first time on this visit to us.

"Very fortunately for all of us at Bilbao, Bishop Walmsley came to see us at Bilbao on November 26th, 1921, and remained till December 1st. He arrived at 10 p.m. on the Saturday night, his steamer having been delayed six hours by fog opposite Le Havre, and so losing all his railway connections in France. We had supper ready for him, however, knowing he would be with us as he wrote promising to be, if in any way possible, especially as he had been announced to preach the next day at Sunday morning's service. I went to the local station to meet the last train from Bilbao, and in fact the Bishop stepped out. He had just done it, and no more.

"Nevertheless, though poorly in health this time and asthmatic, he went off to take early Communion service next morning; and he preached in the British church at the morning service, a sermon full of learning, beauty, and pathos, but which he cut short in order to tell us something of his sphere of work in Sierra Leone. Again he visited the Sailors' Institute, and we all went for a walk along the beautiful bay in the afternoon.

"I spoke to him about giving up his work in West Africa after all the years he had had out there, and the blackwater fever he had had once and scraped through. But he seemed bent on continuing, though I believe he hoped to resign that work this very year. Last year (1922) he did not take his usual leave home, and this was bad for him undoubtedly. In fact he never came back. Only lately he sent his godson a postcard from Conakry, giving some account of another big inland journey to his churches.

"He sent us several books he wished to give us as souvenirs of his visits. One was the famous Tales of Talbot House; also a Bible for his godson. The other books he sent us were: Collected Poems, 1897-1907, by Henry Newbolt, and Poems of To-day, particularly drawing my wife's attention to the poem called 'The Kingdom of God,' by Francis Thompson, in this book."

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