Travel Letters: Calcutta, India (1883)

DEAR WILLIAM, — Lots of letters today, the best of them your Christmas letter, telling how you received my Bombay telegram, how you went to church and heard Bishop Clark, how you had lots of presents, and went to Salem in the afternoon. It was all delightful, and reading it as we drove along today in Dharamtolla Street (which means ” the Way of Righteousness,” and a funny, shabby old Hindoo Way of Righteousness it is), it seemed as if I saw you all at your home life. The palm-trees turned to elms, and the naked Indians to Boston men and women, with Boston great-coats buttoned up to their respectable Boston chins. It was all delightful ! Do thank for me the whole Salem Round Robin.

Since I wrote that tremendous letter to Mary last Sunday, another week of India has passed. I have been down to Gaya, and seen where Buddha sat and contemplated for six years, and a marvelous strange place it is, with ten thousand Buddhas carved on every side. Then I came on here, and have been seeing interesting things and people for three days. Calcutta is not half as nice as Bombay, but there are people here whom I wanted very much to see. ” Stately Bombay ” and ” Fair Calcutta ” the Anglo-Indians are fond of saying.

I have just written an enormous letter to Arthur about Chunder Sen, to whom I made a long visit the other day. This afternoon I went to one of the schools supported by the Zenana Mission (of which you have sometimes heard from Trinity reading-desk), gave the prizes to a lot of little Hindoos, and made an address which was translated into Bengalee for my audience.

I dined last night with the Whitneys, three Boston men who are out here in business.

Tell Gertie she has not sent me yet her Christmas report. At least I have not received it. What a succession of splendid preaching you are having ! Oh, how I wish you were here tonight. God bless you all.