Travel Letters: Steamship Poonh, In The Suez Canal (1882)

DEAR JOHNNY, — You do not know what a queer-looking thing this big ditch is, with the long stretches of sand reaching out on either side, and the curious effects of light everywhere in the distance, and the superb blue sky, and our great steamer slowly plodding along at about six miles an hour towards the Red Sea.

And inside the steamer it is just as queer, a host of wild-looking ruffians for sailors, and a lot of Englishmen. It is all very pleasant and foreign. I have been up on deck all the morning, looking at the strange figures who occasionally appear on the banks, watching the steamboats which pass us every now and then, and talking with the Englishmen who are mentioned above. I have got a little tired of it all, so I thought I would come down into the cabin and send you a greeting which I will mail to-night at Suez, and which you will get almost, if not quite, in time to wish you a Merry Christmas !

What are you doing ? Every now and then there comes some glimpse of the old life going on at home. Sermons and convocations and clubs, and the winter season with its work gradually thickening around you.

I wonder who will be up to the mark of honestly admiring A. V. G. Allen’s remarkable paper in the Princeton Review,” and seeing how the change which he has described so ably is every whit as important and significant as the reformation of three hundred years ago. Surely the club and the church ought to be proud of the man who wrote the article.

Have you got some good carols for Christmas, and a good text for your Christmas sermon ? I feel al-most like writing one myself and asking some Hindoo in Bombay to lend me his mosque in which to preach it.

I hope you went to the December club, and that it was a success. I shall hear all about it in India and will tell Chunder Sen. We are getting to Ismailia, and I must go up on deck and see. Good-by. A Merry Christmas and God bless you to you and Hattie and the children. Ever affectionately, P.