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Title: A Lady of England - The Life and Letters of Charlotte Maria Tucker
Author: Giberne, Agnes
Language: English
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Archive/American Libraries.)



[Illustration: C. M. Tucker

from a Photograph taken at Toronto in 1875.

W. Notman Photo. Walker & Boutall, Ph.Sc.]



                            A LADY OF ENGLAND

                         _THE LIFE AND LETTERS_
                                   OF
                         CHARLOTTE MARIA TUCKER

                                   BY
                              AGNES GIBERNE

         AUTHOR OF ‘SUN, MOON, AND STARS,’ ‘RADIANT SUNS,’ ETC.

                           ‘_Nil desperandum_’

                       Motto of the Tucker Family

                                NEW YORK
                          A. C. ARMSTRONG & SON
                          51 EAST TENTH STREET
                                  1895

         Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty



AUTHOR’S PREFACE


The principal mass of materials for this Biography was placed in my
hands last summer by the Rev. W. F. Tucker Hamilton, nephew of Charlotte
Maria Tucker (A. L. O. E.), and since then many other relatives or
friends, both in England and in India, have contributed their share of
help, either in the way of written recollections or of correspondence.
A paucity of materials exists as to the early part of the life; but
in later years the difficulty is of a precisely opposite description,
arising from a superabundance of details. Hundreds of letters, more or
less interesting in themselves, have had to be put ruthlessly aside, to
make room for others of greater interest. From first to last the long
series between Charlotte Tucker and her own especial sister-friend, Mrs.
Hamilton, takes precedence of all other letters in point of freedom,
naturalness, and simplicity. The perfect trust and unshadowed devotion
which subsisted between these two form a rare and beautiful picture.

It has seemed to me, and it may seem to others, that the main question in
the Life of Miss Tucker is, not so much what she _did_ here or there,
in England or in India, as what she _was_. Many a discussion has taken
place, and doubtless will again take place, as to the wisdom of her
modes of Missionary work, and as to the degree of success or non-success
which attended her labours. I have endeavoured to give fairly certain
opposite views upon this question, even while strongly impressed with the
conviction that no human being is capable of judging with respect to the
worth of work done in his own age and generation. Subtle consequences,
working below the surface, are often far more weighty, far more lasting,
than the most approved ‘results’ following immediately upon certain
efforts,--results which are, not seldom, found after a while to be of the
nature of mere froth. Nothing can be more unprofitable, usually, than
the task of endeavouring to ‘count conversions.’ It is of infinitely
greater importance to note with what absolute self-devotion Miss Tucker
entered into the toil, with what resolution she persevered in the face of
obstacles, with what eagerness she did the very utmost within her power.

In writing the story of Miss Tucker’s life at Batala, it has been
impossible not to write also, in some degree, the story of the Infant
Church at Batala. My main object has of course been simply to show what
Charlotte Maria Tucker herself was; and Mission work, Mission incidents,
Missionaries themselves, come in merely incidentally, as part of the
background to her figure. Mention of them is accidental and fragmentary;
not systematic. At the same time there is no doubt that nothing would
have gratified Miss Tucker more than that any use should have been made
of her letters likely to help forward the great work of Missions among
the Heathen. Some years before the end, when in severe illness she
thought herself to be passing away, she spoke of the possibility that
her long correspondence about Batala might be so employed, and earnestly
hoped that, if it were so, no one-sided account should be given, but that
shadow as well as sunshine, the dark as well as the bright aspect, should
be frankly presented. I have endeavoured to carry out her wishes in this
particular.

It is to be regretted that at least a few letters from Mrs. Hamilton to
Miss Tucker cannot be interspersed among the many from Miss Tucker to
Mrs. Hamilton. None, however, have come to hand. Before Miss Tucker went
to India she destroyed the bulk of her papers, after a ruthless fashion;
and it does not appear that while in India she kept any of the letters
that she received.

After some hesitation I have decided to give generally the names in full
of those Missionaries, with whom she was most closely associated. I have
also decided _not_ to give the names of Indian Christians, with very
few exceptions,--as of the Head Master of the Native Boys’ School at
Batala, whom she counted a personal friend; also of one or two Ordained
Native Clergymen, and one or two contributors of slight material towards
this _Life_. In many instances it would be very difficult to decide
wisely at so great a distance, and without a knowledge of the individuals
themselves. It is therefore best to be on the safe side. Many of the
initials are the true initials; but many are not even that,--especially
in the case of those who are still Heathen or Muhammadan.

In the spelling of Indian words and names I have endeavoured to follow
mainly the more modern plan, adopted of late years, except in the case
of a very few words which are practically Anglicised. Miss Tucker’s own
spelling of Indian words and names varies extremely; the word being often
given differently when occurring twice in a single page. The spelling has
therefore been altered throughout her correspondence. To avoid confusion
in the minds of English readers, I have also taken the same liberty with
letters from some others who have not adopted the modern mode.

In conclusion, I have only to express my sincere thanks for the most kind
trouble taken by many friends of A. L. O. E. in contributing materials
for my guidance.

                                                           AGNES GIBERNE.

WORTON HOUSE, EASTBOURNE.



PREFACE


It would scarcely be fitting that this Volume should go forth to the
Public without a few words of Preface from one of A. L. O. E.’s own
family.

Only my beloved Mother--the ‘Laura’ of these pages--could have penned the
words which should adequately tell all that my dear Aunt was to those who
knew her best and loved her most fondly. And _she_, little as she had
expected it, was the first of the two to be called Home.

It has, however, been a great satisfaction to me to intrust the
preparation of the _Life_ to Miss Giberne; and I am glad to have this
opportunity of expressing my hearty appreciation of the literary skill,
the sympathy, and the fidelity to truth with which she has accomplished
her task.

Averse as my Aunt ever was to any fuss being made about her, nothing
would have reconciled her to the publication of a Biography, save
the hope that its story might be used of God to stimulate others to
consecrate their lives to the Service of Christ, whether in the Foreign
or Home Mission Field. It is in such hope that it is now sent forth, with
the earnest prayer that HIS blessing may rest upon it.

                                                   W. F. TUCKER HAMILTON.

CHRIST CHURCH, WOKING.

NOTE.--Any profits derived by A. L. O. E.’s relatives from the
publication of this volume will be apportioned among those Missionary
Societies in which she was especially interested.



CONTENTS



                                                             PAGE
                             PART I

                        LIFE IN ENGLAND

                           CHAPTER I

    THE STORY OF HER FATHER                                     3

                           CHAPTER II

    CHILDHOOD AND GIRLHOOD                                     13

                          CHAPTER III

    EARLY WRITINGS                                             27

                           CHAPTER IV

    A ‘FARCE’ OF GIRLISH DAYS                                  39

                           CHAPTER V

    HOME LIFE                                                  62

                           CHAPTER VI

    GRAVITY AND FUN                                            71

                          CHAPTER VII

    THE FIRST GREAT SORROW, AND THE FIRST BOOK                 83

                          CHAPTER VIII

    CRIMEA, AND THE INDIAN MUTINY                             100

                           CHAPTER IX

    LIFE’S EARLY AFTERNOON                                    112

                           CHAPTER X

    A HEAVY SHADOW                                            126

                           CHAPTER XI

    GIVING COMFORT TO OTHERS                                  137

                          CHAPTER XII

    THE OLD HOME BROKEN UP                                    146

                          CHAPTER XIII

    VARIOUS CHARACTERISTICS                                   159

                          CHAPTER XIV

    AN UNEXPECTED RESOLVE                                     173

                           CHAPTER XV

    BESIDE NIAGARA                                            184

                            PART II

                         LIFE IN INDIA

                           CHAPTER I

    FIRST ARRIVAL IN INDIA                                    197

                           CHAPTER II

    A HOME IN AMRITSAR                                        209

                          CHAPTER III

    CURIOUS WAYS                                              224

                           CHAPTER IV

    A PALACE FOR A HOME                                       239

                           CHAPTER V

    DISAPPOINTMENTS AND DELAYS                                253

                           CHAPTER VI

    A BROWN AND WHITE ‘HAPPY FAMILY’                          267

                          CHAPTER VII

    PERSECUTIONS                                              282

                          CHAPTER VIII

    EARLY CHRISTIAN DAYS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY            299

                           CHAPTER IX

    THE CHURCH AT BATALA                                      318

                           CHAPTER X

    LOYAL AND TRUE                                            331

                           CHAPTER XI

    CLOUDS AFTER SUNSHINE                                     344

                          CHAPTER XII

    THE FIRST STONE OF BATALA CHURCH                          359

                          CHAPTER XIII

    SOME OF A. L. O. E.’s POSSESSIONS                         374

                          CHAPTER XIV

    ON THE RIVER’S BRINK                                      395

                           CHAPTER XV

    IN HARNESS ONCE MORE                                      410

                          CHAPTER XVI

    A VISIT FROM BISHOP FRENCH                                427

                          CHAPTER XVII

    THE DAILY ROUND                                           445

                         CHAPTER XVIII

    IN OLD AGE                                                461

                          CHAPTER XIX

    LIGHT AT EVENTIDE                                         475

                           CHAPTER XX

    THE LAST GREAT SORROW                                     491

                          CHAPTER XXI

    THE HOME-GOING                                            503

    LIST OF PRINCIPAL BOOKS BY A. L. O. E.                    515

    LIST OF SOME SMALL BOOKLETS BY A. L. O. E.                519



PART I

LIFE IN ENGLAND


‘Constant discipline in unnoticed ways, and the hidden spirit’s silent
unselfishness, becoming the hidden habit of the life, give to it its
true saintly beauty, and this is the result of care and lowly love in
little things. Perfection is attained most readily by this constancy of
religious faithfulness in all minor details of life, in the lines of
duty which fill up what remains to complete the likeness to our LORD,
consecrating the daily efforts of self-forgetting love.’--T. T. CARTER.



CHAPTER I

A.D. 1771-1835

THE STORY OF HER FATHER


Charlotte Maria Tucker, known widely by her _nom de plume_ of A. L.
O. E.,--signifying A Lady Of England,--as the successful author of
numberless children’s books, deserves to be yet more extensively known
as the heroic Pioneer of elderly and Honorary volunteers in the broad
Mission-fields of our Church.

Her books, which were much read and appreciated in the youth of the
present middle-aged generation, may to some extent have sunk into the
background, as the works of successive story-tellers do in the majority
of cases retire, each in turn, before newer names and newer styles; but
the splendid example set by Charlotte Tucker, at a time of life when
most people are intent upon retiring from work, and taking if they may
their ease,--an example of _then_ buckling on her armour afresh, and of
entering upon the toughest toil of all her busy life, will surely never
be forgotten.

She was the sixth child and third daughter of Henry St. George Tucker,
a prominent Bengal Civilian, and, later on, Chairman of the East India
Company. All her five brothers went to India, and all five were there in
the dark days of the Mutiny. Thus by birth she had a close connection
with that great eastern branch of the British Empire, to which her last
eighteen years were entirely devoted. People in general go out early,
and retire to England for rest in old age. Miss Tucker spent fifty-four
active years in England, and then yielded her remaining powers to the
cause of our fellow-subjects in Hindustan.

It seems desirable that a slight sketch of her father’s earlier life
should precede the story of hers.

Henry St. George Tucker came into this world on the 15th of February
1771. He was born in the Bermudas, on the Isle St. George, whence his
name, and was the eldest of ten children. An interesting reference to
this event is found in a letter of Charlotte Tucker’s, written February
15, 1890: ‘As I went in my duli to villages this morning, I thought, “One
hundred and nineteen years ago a precious Baby was born in a distant
island”; and I thanked God for our beloved and honoured Father.’

Henry St. George’s father was a man of good descent, of high reputation,
and of a leading position in the islands. His mother, a Miss Bruere
before marriage,--probably the name was a corruption of _Bruyere_,--was
daughter of the then governor of the Bermudas, a gallant old soldier,
possessing fourteen children and also a particularly irascible temper.

The elder Mr. Tucker appears to have been a man of gentle temperament
and liberal views; I do not mean ‘Liberal’ in the mere party sense,
but liberal as opposed to ‘illiberal.’ Whatever his own opinions may
have been, he did not endeavour to force them upon his children; he did
not, in fact, petrify the children’s little fancies by opposition into
a lasting existence. It is amusing to read of the opposite tendencies
among his boys, one taking the loyal side and another the republican
side in the dawning struggle between England and her American Colonies.
Long after, Henry St. George spoke of himself as having then been ‘a bit
of a rebel’; adding, ‘But my republican zeal was very much cooled by
the French Revolution; and if a spark of it had remained, our own most
contemptible revolution of 1830 would have extinguished it, and have
fixed me for life a determined Conservative.’

He had on the whole a strong constitution, though counted delicate as a
child; and his early life in the Bermudas was one of abundant fresh air
and exercise. Much more time was given to riding and boating than to
books; indeed, his education seems hardly to have been begun before the
age of ten years, when he was sent to school in England. Whether such
a plan would answer with the ordinary run of boys may well be doubted.
Henry St. George Tucker was not an ordinary boy; and he showed no signs
of loss in after-life through ten years of play at the beginning of it.

One piece of advice given to him by his mother, when he was about to
start for England, cannot but cause a smile. She was at pains to assure
him that it would be unnecessary to take off his hat to every person
whom he might meet in the streets of London. Henry St. George, speaking
of this in later years, continues: ‘But habit is strong; and even now,
when I repair to the stables for my horse, I interchange bows with the
coachman and the ostlers and all the little idle urchins whom I encounter
in the mews.’ One would have been sorry indeed to see so graceful a habit
altered. It might far better be imitated. Exceeding courtesy was through
life characteristic of the man, and it descended in a marked degree upon
many of his descendants, notably so upon Charlotte Maria, the A. L. O. E.
of literature.

School education, begun at ten, ended at fourteen. The boy worked hard,
and rose in his classes quickly; though at an after period he spoke of
his own learning in those days as ‘superficial.’ He had been intended by
his father for the legal profession, and many years of hard work were
supposed to lie before him. These plans were unexpectedly broken through.
One of his aunts, who lived in England, acting impulsively and without
authority, altered the whole course of his career. She asked him, ‘Would
he like to visit India?’ A more unnecessary question could hardly have
been put. What schoolboy of fourteen would _not_ ‘like to visit India’?
Young Henry seized upon the idea; and the said aunt, under the impression
that she was kindly relieving his father of needless school expenses,
actually shipped the lad off as middy in a merchant vessel bound for
India, not waiting to write and ask his father’s permission. She merely
wrote to say that the deed was done.

Officious aunts do exist in the world; but surely few so officious as
this. The deepest displeasure was felt and shown when Henry’s father
learned what had happened. But by the time that his grieved remonstrances
reached the boy, Henry was fifteen thousand miles away, ‘hunting wild
animals on the plains of Behar.’ In the present day a boy so despatched
might be sent back again; but in those days India was separated from
England by a vast gulf of distance and of time. Any one writing from
India to England could not look for a reply in less than a year; and
his father was at Bermuda, not even at home, which made a further
complication.

The boy’s condition must at first have been forlorn enough. After a
petted and luxurious boyhood, he had to live for months together upon
salt junk; and his bed was only a hencoop. But there was ‘stuff’ in
him, and hardships of all kinds were most pluckily endured. On landing
at Calcutta he found himself in a strange country, among strange faces,
without money and without work, though happily not quite without friends.
His mother’s brother, Mr. Bruere, was one of the Government Secretaries
in Calcutta; and in the house of Mr. Bruere and of Mr. Bruere’s pretty
little sylph-like wife the young adventurer found shelter for some
months, until an opening could be secured for him.

Fifteen years followed of a hard and continuous struggle. As long after
he said of himself, he ‘looked the world in the face’ in those days;
and while a mere boy of fifteen or sixteen he set himself resolutely to
get on. From the first he grappled with the Native languages, showing a
vigour and persistency in the study which, many many years later, were
visible again in his daughter Charlotte, when grappling with the very
same task. Only he was young; and she, when she followed his example, was
well on in middle life.

Towards the end of those fifteen years resolution and untiring energy
triumphed; and from the age of about thirty Mr. Tucker’s rise to a good
position was steady.

In 1792 he became a member of the Bengal Civil Service. In 1809 he was
made Secretary in the Public Department. But he had had heavy work and
many troubles, and his health began to fail; so the following year,
after a quarter of a century of unbroken exile, he set off for England,
carrying with him Government testimonials, couched in the warmest terms.
These testimonials spoke of his ‘long and meritorious services,’ of his
‘peculiar abilities,’ of his ‘talents and acquirements of the highest
order,’ of his ‘unwearied diligence,’ of his ‘unimpeached integrity.’ All
this, of one who, twenty-five years before, had landed on Indian shores
an almost penniless adventurer, without so much as a definite plan of
what to do with himself and his energies!

That very year he was engaged, and the year after he was married, to Jane
Boswell, daughter of a Mr. Robert Boswell of Edinburgh, who was related
to the well-known biographer of Dr. Johnson. The Boswell family was known
to have first settled in Berwickshire as far back as in the days of
William Rufus, and afterwards in Fifeshire and Ayrshire at Balmute and
Auchinleck. Mr. Robert Boswell’s grandmother, Lady Elisabeth Bruce, was
a daughter of the first Earl of Kincardine. Mr. Boswell was a devotedly
good and also an able man; a minister, not in the Scottish Presbyterian
Church, but in some smaller religious body; and his death took place in a
somewhat tragic manner, before the date of his daughter’s marriage to Mr.
Tucker. While preaching, he quoted the text which begins, ‘All flesh is
as grass----,’ and as he uttered the words he fell back, dead!

A characteristic anecdote is told of his wife,--A. L. O. E.’s
grandmother. She had a large family, and was badly off. One day a poor
woman applied to her for help; and Mrs. Boswell called out to her
daughter Jane, to know what money they happened to have in hand. ‘Only
one seven-shilling piece,’ was the answer. Mrs. Boswell’s voice sounded
distinctly,--‘Give it, then; give it to the woman.’ ‘But, dear mamma,
there is no more money in the house,’ remonstrated Jane. More decisively
still came the response, ‘Give it, then; give it to the woman.’ And given
it was. The story almost inevitably recalls that of the Widow’s Mite;
even though from certain points of view one is dubious as to the wisdom
of the act.

Despite the poverty of the family Mrs. Boswell’s daughters settled well
in life. One married Mr. Egerton of the High Court in Calcutta; one
married Dr. Roxburgh; one married General Carnegie; one married Mr.
Anderson; one only, Veronica by name, remained unmarried; and Jane became
the wife of Henry St. George Tucker. She was at that time a gentle and
beautiful girl of about twenty-one, while Mr. Tucker was already over
forty.

Early in the following year, 1812, they went out to India together; and
his delight was great in returning to the country where he had toiled so
long, and had made many friends. This time, however, his stay in the east
was to be brief.

His first child, Henry Carre, was born that same year; and two years
later came his eldest daughter, Sibella Jane. Also in 1814 fell the
blow of his Mother’s death, over which, strong man that he was, he wept
passionately. Then his wife’s health seemed to be seriously failing;
and this decided him to leave the land of his adoption, throwing up all
prospects in that direction. In 1815, the first year of European peace,
at the age of forty-five, he ‘retired from the active service of the
Company,’ travelling by long sea with his invalid wife and his two little
ones, and spending some time at the Cape by the way. Before they arrived
in England another little one, Frances Anne, had been added to their
number.

A home was found in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh; and for some years,
till 1819 or 1820, he was well content to remain there, living a quiet
home-life, with a little family growing around him. Two more boys came,
George William and Robert Tudor,--the former dying in babyhood, the
latter growing up to be slain in the Indian Mutiny. Losing the infant
George was a dire trouble to his parents; and Mrs. Tucker, believing that
he had succumbed to the keen cold of Edinburgh, was never at rest in her
mind until the northern home had been exchanged for one in the south.
Such a change was not to be accomplished in a day, but in the course of
time it came about; and meanwhile the remaining children were a constant
source of interest and delight. The ‘baby’ at this date was Robert;
afterwards a very favourite elder brother of A. L. O. E. His children,
known in the family by the name of ‘The Robins,’ became in later years as
her own.

Mr. Tucker could not long remain contented without definite work. He
was still in the prime of life, still under fifty; and an eager desire
took hold of him to enter public life once more, to serve again his own
country, as well as the eastern land of his adoption. These purposes
he thought might best be carried out by his becoming, if possible, one
of the Directors of the East India Company. For the fulfilment of his
desire--a desire, not for gain or wealth or position, but for the means
of doing good--he had to wait a considerable time. He had indeed to wait
until his next little daughter, CHARLOTTE MARIA, was five years old.
Then, at length, he was appointed Director; one of the Twenty-four who,
in those days, practically ruled India. Thereafter his influence was
steadfastly exerted in the direction of a wise and righteous government
of the dark millions of Hindustan; the land in which he had spent a
quarter of a century of his life, and to which afterward not only all his
five sons went, but one of his five daughters also, in the advanced years
of her life.

While he waited for this long-desired appointment, other changes took
place. They left their home in Edinburgh and moved south, first spending
some months at Friern Hatch, in Barnet, near Finchley; and there it was
that little Charlotte first saw the light of day. In 1822 they went to
live in London, settling into No. 3 Upper Portland Place, whence no
further move was made until after the death of Mrs. Tucker, more than
forty-five years later.

In Portland Place the family was completed. Two years after the birth of
Charlotte came her next brother, St. George; two years later still her
next sister, Dorothea Laura, her peculiar companion and friend. The three
youngest, William, Charlton, and Clara, finished the tale of ten living
children.

Mr. Tucker was, as may have been already gathered, a man of unusual force
of character and of indomitable will; robust in body and mind; unwearying
in work; self-reliant, yet never presumptuous; an absolute gentleman,
remarkable for the polished courtesy of his bearing, alike to superiors,
equals, and inferiors in social position; open and straightforward as
daylight; firm in his own convictions, but well able to look on both
sides of a question, and liberal towards those who differed from him;
entirely fearless in doing what he held to be right, and entirely
free from all thought of self-seeking. He was, as his Biographer Mr.
Kaye observes,--‘pre-eminently a man amongst men,’--‘a statesman at
eighteen, and a statesman at eighty.’ He was also a man of deep and true
religion; a religion not much expressed in words, but apparent in every
inch of his career. In a letter written long after his death by his
daughter Charlotte, she remarked, when speaking of the biography of some
well-known man: ‘There is nothing to indicate that he ever said, as our
beloved Father said, “The publican’s prayer is the prayer of us all!”’
Probably religious speech never came easily to him. His life, however,
spoke more eloquently than mere words could have done.

One of his main characteristics was an abounding generosity. He was
always ready to help those who needed help, up to his power, and beyond
his power. In his own home he was charming; full of wit, full of fun,
full of gay spirits and laughter; full also of the tenderest affection
for his wife and children, an affection which was abundantly returned.
He was an intensely loving and lovable man; his wonderful sweetness and
evenness of temper, never disturbed by heavy work or pressing cares,
endearing him to all with whom he came in contact. While he talked little
of his own feelings, he did much for the good of others; and his life
was one long stretch of usefulness. The union in him of strength with
gentleness, of a masterful intellect with a spirit of yielding courtesy,
of nobility with playfulness, of generosity with self-restraint, of real
religious conviction and experience with frolicsome gaiety, made a
combination not more rare than beautiful.

Many of his characteristics were distinctly inherited from him by his
daughter Charlotte; among others, his literary bent. He was fond of
writing, and in his well-occupied life he found some time to indulge the
play of his fancy. In the year 1835 he published a volume of plays and
enigmas, called _The Tragedies of Harold and Camoens_, dedicated to the
Duke of Wellington, for whom he and his family had the deepest esteem and
admiration.



CHAPTER II

A.D. 1821-1835

CHILDHOOD AND GIRLHOOD


Charlotte Maria Tucker was born on the 8th of May 1821, not within the
sound of Bow bells, but, as already stated, at Friern Hatch, in Barnet,
no long time before the family settled down in Portland Place.

Details of her very early life are greatly wanting. We should like to
know how the childish intellect began to develop; what first turned
her thoughts into the ‘writing line’; whether authorship came to her
spontaneously or no. But few records have been kept.

It is not indeed difficult to imagine the general character of her
childhood. She was clever, quick-witted, full of fun, overflowing with
energy, abounding in life and vigour. One of a large and high-spirited
family, living in a home of comparative comfort and ease, and surrounded
by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, Charlotte must have had a
happy childhood.

Long years after, when old and wellnigh worn out with her Indian
campaign, she wrote--

    ‘It seems curious to look back to the birthday sixty-one years
    ago, when sweet Mother called me “her ten-years old.” Do you
    remember my funny little cards of invitation to a feast of
    liquorice-wine,--with possibly something else,--

        ‘“This is the eighth of May,
        Charlotte’s Happy Birthday.”

    ‘I would not change this time for that. What a proud ambitious
    little creature I was! I have a pretty vivid recollection of my
    own character in youth. I should have liked to climb high and
    be famous.’

In another letter she alludes to the fact that as a child she had been
accused of ‘liking to ride her high horse.’

No doubt in those early days her ambition pointed to higher game than
children’s tales written ‘with a purpose.’

In the gay young family party, two daughters and two sons were older
than herself. Of the latter the nearest in age was Robert, four years
her senior, the future dying hero of the Indian Mutiny. ‘Our noble
Robert’ she calls him long after; and there appears to have been an early
and close tie between Robert and his ambitious, eager little sister.
Of Fanny, too, the next sister above her in age, two years older than
Robert, she was particularly fond. But _the_ tie in her life which was
most of all to her, perhaps taking precedence of even her passionate love
for her Father, was the bond between herself and Laura, the next youngest
sister, about four years her junior. From infancy to old age these two
were one, loving each other with an absolutely unbroken and unclouded
devotion.

The two were counted to some extent alike, though with differences. Laura
was the gentler, the more self-distrustful, the more disposed to lean.
Charlotte was the more impulsive, the more eager, the more energetic, the
more independent, the more self-reliant. In fact, Charlotte never did
‘lean’ upon anybody. Both were equally full of spirits and of frolicsome
fun.

In another letter from India to this sister, dated January 18, 1886, when
referring to a recent illness, she wrote--

    ‘My memory is very acute. I thought lately that it was a great
    shame that I never should go back to dear old No. 3, which
    really was the happy home of our childhood before our griefs.
    So what do you think, Laura dear, I did lately? I acted over
    in my mind Christmas Day, as in the old times, when you and
    I were girls. I do not think that I left out anything; our
    jumping on dearest Mother’s bed; the new Silver;[1] the Holly
    and the Mistletoe; the Christmas Box; the choosing the gowns;
    the Cake, etc. Then I went to Trinity Church; I heard the
    glorious old hymn, “High let us swell triumphant notes.” It
    was such a nice meditation. Then Aunt Anderson and her dear
    daughters came for dinner. Of course Aunt had her little yellow
    sugar-plum box!’

It is a pretty and vivid description of the olden days in that dear
old home, always spoken of among themselves as ‘Number Three,’ which
she loved ardently to the last. Charlotte’s affections for everything
connected with her youth were of a very enduring nature.

Another short extract from her later letters may be given here,
describing something of what the loved sister Laura was to her in those
early days. It is dated December 10, 1892.

    ‘My Laura loved me so fondly; we were so close to each other.
    How we used to share each other’s thoughts from youth, as we
    shared the same room! Our honoured Father loved to hear his
    Laura’s merry ringing laugh; when we chatted together he would
    say to her favourite sister,’--meaning herself--‘“_She combines
    so much._” I doubt that he saw any imperfection in a being so
    bright, so sweet.’

And in yet one more letter to this same Laura, dated November 1, 1884--

    ‘You underrate your own qualifications as a companion, darling.
    Don’t I know you of old, how playful and genial you are, as
    well as loving?... You are choice company for a _tête-à-tête_.’

The earliest writing of Charlotte’s which comes to hand is indorsed,
‘Charlotte, 1832,’ and is addressed to ‘Miss D. L. Tucker, 3 Upper
Portland Place.’ It is a valentine written to her sister; and it
shows that at the early age of eleven she had at least begun a little
versifying; usually the line first adopted by incipient authors.

    ‘The snow-drops sweet that grace the plain
      Are emblems, love, of you,
    With innocence and beauty blest
      Pure as the morning dew.

    ‘Sweet rosebud, free from every storm
      Of life, may peace incline
    To hover ever round thy bed,
      My dearest Valentine.’

Another early effort, undated, but possibly a year or two later, is
addressed, ‘To Dolly, the sweet little bud of the morn,’--no doubt to the
same favourite sister, Dorothea Laura.

    ‘Sweet bud of the morning, what poet can speak
        The glories that beam in thy eye?
    The rosebuds that bloom on thy fat little cheek,--
    And thy round head so stuffed full of Latin and Greek,
        Arithmetic and Geology.

    ‘I send you a character-teller, my love,
        ’Tis little and poor, but it may
    My kindness, affection, _etcetera_, prove,
    And show you, my dear little Dolly, I strove
        To make mine a happy birthday.’

What the ‘character-teller’ may have been it is difficult even to
conjecture. Since Laura was four years her junior, the Latin, Greek
and Geology were of course meant in the symbolical sense, standing for
learning in general.

One more apparently early effort remains; not this time versification,
but a birthday letter to Laura, inscribed, ‘To my dear Lady Emma, from
her affectionate Tosti.’ Why Lady Emma?--and why Tosti? In these three
effusions the handwritings are curiously unlike one another, though all
are childish. One is large and unformed; another is small and cramped;
the third is neat and of a copperplate description. It may be that her
writing was long before it crystallized into any definite shape; often
the case with many-sided people. But for the juvenile handwriting, it
would be almost impossible to believe that the following middle-aged
production was not written in later years. Children were, however, in
those days taught to express themselves like grown people; and no doubt
she counted that she had accomplished her task well.

    ‘Many joyful returns of this day to you, dearest Laura, and
    may each find you better and happier than the last. I send you
    a little piece of velvet, which you may find useful, for I do
    not think you will value a present only for the money it costs;
    and I dare say you will agree with me that a _trifle_ from an
    affectionate friend is often more valuable than great gifts
    from those who love you not.

    ‘I hope, dearest Lautie, you may enjoy _a very particularly_
    happy birthday, and that you may have as few sorrows in
    the year you are just entering as in that you have just
    passed.--Accept my kindest love, and believe me to be

    ‘Your affectionate friend and sister,

                                                      ‘C. M. T.’

This letter may have been some years later than the two copies of verses;
but that hardly does away with the difficulty. The style is almost as
pedantic for the age of sixteen or seventeen as for the age of ten or
twelve.

Side by side with the intense devotion for her sister Laura, there was
a considerable degree of reticence in Charlotte’s nature. It may have
developed more fully as time went on; yet it must surely have been a
part of herself even in childhood. It was not with her a superficial
reserve, an acted reticence, such as may sometimes be seen in essentially
shallow women. On the surface she was free, frank, chatty, quick in
response, ready to converse, full of liveliness, fun, and repartee. But
underlying the freedom and brightness there was a habit of silence about
her own affairs--that is to say, about affairs which concerned only and
exclusively herself--which to some extent was a life-long characteristic.

Neither Charlotte nor any of her sisters ever went to school. Their
father had a very pronounced objection to schools for girls; indeed, he
had himself made an early resolution never to marry any girl who had
been educated at school, and he kept that resolution. The same idea
was followed out with his own daughters. A daily governess came in to
superintend their studies; and occasional masters were provided. In
reference to the latter Charlotte wrote, many years afterward, to a
niece: ‘No one can do as much for us in the way of education as we can do
for ourselves. A willing mind is like a steam-engine, and carries one on
famously. When I was young my beloved parents did not feel able to give
us many masters. We knew that, and it made us more anxious to profit by
what we had.’

Twenty-five years of hard toil in India had not made a rich man of Mr.
Tucker; nor did his position as a Director bring him wealth. It was his
daughter’s pride in after-life to know that he had died comparatively
poor, because of his inviolable sense of honour. Not that more money
would not have been acceptable! Ten children, including five sons, to be
launched in life, are a serious pull upon any purse of ordinary capacity;
and Mr. Tucker was of an essentially generous nature. He had many
relatives, many friends, and the demands upon his purse were numerous. On
a certain occasion he gave away about _one-quarter of his whole capital_,
a sum amounting to several thousands of pounds, to help a relative in a
great emergency. One who met him immediately afterwards spoke of his
appearing to have suddenly grown into an old man.

In Charlotte’s earlier years anxiety as to money matters was often
experienced; and recurring Christmastides saw a repeated difficulty in
making both ends meet. This state of things continued up till about the
year 1837, when an unlooked-for legacy was left to Mr. Tucker, as a
token of great esteem, by a friend, Mr. Brough. Besides the main legacy
to Mr. and Mrs. Tucker, the sum of two hundred pounds came to each of
the children, and was treated as a ‘nest-egg’ for each. From this date
serious pressure ceased, and Mr. Tucker became able to meet the various
calls upon him; not indeed without care and economy, but without a
perpetual weight of uneasiness. Some few years later another friend, Mr.
Maclew, left another legacy in the same kind and unexpected manner.

These facts serve to explain the paucity of masters when Charlotte was
young. But the sisters bravely accepted the condition of things, and
worked hard to make up for any disadvantages. One distinct gain in such
a home education was that at least they were free to develop each in her
own natural lines, instead of being all trimmed as far as possible into
one shape.

Charlotte’s ‘lines’ were many in number.

She had a marked talent for drawing, and could take likenesses of her
friends; good as regarded the salient features, though apt to grow into
more of caricatures than the young artist intended. Musical gifts also
were hers, including an almost painfully sensitive ear. Though her voice
was never really very good, she sang much; and while well able to take a
second at sight, she was in after years equally ready to undertake any
other part in a glee, inclusive of the bass, which often fell to her
share when a man’s voice happened to be lacking.

A gift for teaching showed itself early; and as a child she would try
to impress geographical facts upon her younger brothers and sisters
by an original system of her own. In the Park Crescent Gardens, near
Portland Place,--their playground; described by one friend in those days
as a “jungle,” because of its unkempt condition,--she would name one bed
England, another France, another Germany, and so on, and would thus fix
in the children’s minds their various positions, though the shapes and
sizes of the beds were by no means always what they ought to have been.
That the mode of instruction was effective is evident from the fact that
her brother, Mr. St. George Tucker, can recall the lessons still, after
the lapse of fifty years, and can say, ‘By that means I learnt that
England was in the north-west corner of Europe.’

Another direction in which she excelled was that of dancing. Even in
walking she possessed a peculiarly springy step, remarked by all who knew
her; and this in dancing was a great advantage. She was at home alike in
the dignified minuet and in the active _gavotte_, and she would perform
the _pas de basque_ with much spirit. Indeed dancing was an exercise in
which she found immense enjoyment through half a century of life.

At home Charlotte was a leader in the games, herself flowing over with
fun and frolic. Her fertile imagination left her never at a loss for
schemes of amusement. Naturally eager, impulsive, vehement, she had from
beginning to end an extraordinary amount of energy, and in childhood her
vigour must have been almost untirable.

One can imagine how the house echoed with the gay voices and laughter
of the young people, as they pursued their various games, led by the
indefatigable Charlotte. Mr. Tucker loved the sound of those merry
voices; and when he could join them he was probably the merriest of the
whole party. At one period, heavy and long-continued work in ‘clearing
up the finances’ of the East India Company kept him much apart from the
family circle; and the delight was great when he could leave his big dry
books, and be as a boy among the children again.

Bella, the elder girl, was pretty and of gracious manners, with dark
eyes, and with a capacity for dressing herself well upon the very
moderate allowance which her father was able to bestow. Fanny, the next
sister, though not at all handsome, had also soft dark eyes, and a
peculiarly sweet disposition; and she too dressed nicely. It was commonly
said amongst themselves that Fanny was ‘the gentle sister,’ and that
Charlotte was ‘the clever heroic sister.’ But Charlotte was not gifted
with the art of dressing well.

In those early days, and for many a year afterwards, it would not appear
that gentleness or sweetness were characteristics belonging to Charlotte.
They were of far later growth, developing only under long pressure of
loss and trial. In her childhood and girlhood, though doubtless she
_could_ be both winning and tender to the few whom she intensely loved,
yet it was impossible to describe her generally by any such adjectives.
She was chiefly remarkable for her spring and energy, her originality and
cleverness, her wild spirits, and her lofty determination. With all her
liveliness, however, she was in no sense a madcap, being thoroughly a
lady.

In appearance Charlotte was never good-looking; and in girlhood she could
not have been pretty; though there was always an indescribable charm in
the vivid life and the ever-varying expression of her face.

One friend remembers hearing her tell a story of her young days, bearing
upon this question of personal appearance. With a mirror and a hand-glass
she examined her own face, the profile as well as the full face, and
evidently she was not satisfied with the result. A wise resolution
followed. Since she ‘could never be pretty,’ she determined that she
‘would try to be good, and to do all the good in the world that she
could.’ It was a resolve well carried out.

This sounds like a curious echo of an early experience of her father.
When a boy of about ten, he caught smallpox, and ‘came forth,’ as he
related of himself long after, ‘most wofully disfigured.... “Well,”
observed one of my aunts, “you have now, Henry, lost all your good looks,
and you have nothing for it but to make yourself agreeable by your
manners and accomplishments.” Here was cold comfort; but the words made
an impression upon my mind, and may possibly have had some influence on
my future life.’

And much the same thought is reproduced in Charlotte Tucker’s own clever
and amusing little book, _My Neighbour’s Shoes_,--when, as Archie gazes
into the mirror, he says of himself, ‘One thing is evident; as I can’t be
admired for my beauty, I must make myself liked in some other way. I’ll
be a jolly good-natured little soul.’

In girlish days it may have been a prominent idea with Charlotte. By
nature she not only was impulsive, but she no doubt inherited some
measure of her great-grandfather Bruere’s irascible temper; and the
amount of self-control speedily developed by one of so impetuous a
temperament is remarkable. High principle had sway at a very early age;
but this thought, that her lack of good looks might be compensated for
by good humour and kindness to others, may also have been a motive of
considerable power in the formation of her character.

It must be added that not all thought so ill of her looks as Charlotte
herself did. An artist of repute, who saw her in the later days of her
Indian career, has said unhesitatingly, in reply to a query on this
subject,--‘Plain! No! A face with such a look of intellect as Miss
Tucker’s could never be plain.’ If matters were thus in old age, the same
might surely have been said when she was young. But beauty of feature she
did not possess.

In addition to her other gifts, Charlotte had something at least of
dramatic power, and in her own home-circle she was a spirited actress.

Mr. Tucker’s published volume of plays and enigmas has been already
named. Both _Harold_ and _Camoens_ were acted by the young folk of the
family, with the rest of their number for audience. It is uncertain
whether any outside friends were admitted on these occasions.

In the second play Charlotte took the part of the heroine, Theodora;
and her brother, St. George, took the part of Ferdinand. Camoens, the
hero, is betrayed to the Inquisition by Theodora; the betrayal being
caused by a fit of fierce jealousy on the part of Theodora, who loves,
and is apparently loved by, Camoens. The jealousy has some foundation,
since Camoens decides to marry, not Theodora but Clara. Theodora in her
wrath is helped by another lover, Ferdinand, to carry out her plot, and
together they bring a false charge against Ferdinand, who is speedily
landed in the dungeons of the Inquisition. Theodora then, finding that
Clara does not love Camoens, and repenting too late her deed, goes mad
with remorse. Camoens is after all set at liberty, none the worse for
his imprisonment; but the distracted Theodora, meeting her other lover
and her companion in evil-doing, Ferdinand, attacks him vehemently, with
these words--

    ‘THEOD. Ha! Ferdinand!
            Thou hast recalled a name!
            It brings some dreadful recollections.
            ’Twas he who basely did betray my husband.
            Go, wretched man! bring back the murdered Camoens!
            Go, make thy peace. (_She stabs him._)

    BIAN.  Oh! help!

    FERD.  I bless the hand that gave the wound.
            Thou hast redeemed me from a deadly sin,
            Or mortal suffering.
            Farewell, beloved unhappy Theodora.
            Guard her, ye pitying angels!

    THEOD. Where am I?
            What have I done?
            I have some strange impression of a dream--
            A fearful dream of death.
            Young Ferdinand, who loved me!
            Dead--dead--and by this desperate hand!’

After which Clara enters, and Theodora dies, completing the tragedy. One
can picture the force and energy with which Charlotte would have poured
forth her reproaches upon the head of Ferdinand, before giving him the
fatal stab.

It may have been somewhere about this time--it was at all events before
the year 1842--that Charlotte had once a scientific fit, and for several
weeks threw herself with ardour into the study of Chemistry. At intervals
in her life a marked interest is shown in certain scientific facts or
subjects; sufficient, perhaps, to indicate that, had the bent been
cultivated, she might possibly have shown some measure of power in that
direction also. Books on Natural History always proved an attraction to
her; and many little Natural History facts come incidentally into her
correspondence, sometimes given from her own observation. In later years
she even wrote two or three little books for children on semi-scientific
subjects,--not without making mistakes, from the common error of trusting
to old instead of to new authorities. But the early influences with which
she was surrounded were not of a kind to call forth this tendency, if
indeed it existed in any but a very slight degree. Her Father’s bent was
strongly poetical and classical; and probably his influence over her mind
in girlhood was stronger than any other. The poetic and the scientific
may, and sometimes do, exist side by side; but the combination is not
very usual.

A great event of Charlotte’s young days was the fancy-dress ball given
by her parents in the spring of 1835. The Duke of Wellington himself was
present; prominent still in the minds of men as the Deliverer of Europe,
only twenty years earlier, from a tyrant’s thraldom. All the young
Tuckers, not to speak of their parents, were ardent admirers of the Duke.
Laura, still a mere child, in her enthusiasm slipped close up behind,
when the Duke was ascending the stairs, and gently abstracted a fallen
hair from the shoulder of the hero, which hair she preserved ever after
among her choicest treasures; and Charlotte was no whit behind Laura in
this devotion.

At the ball Frances made her appearance dressed as Queen
Elizabeth,--‘very neat and very stately,’--while Charlotte represented
‘the star of the morning,’ in a dress of pure muslin, full and well
starched, so nicely made and so beautifully white that the impression of
it lasts still in the mind of a brother, after the lapse of more than
half a century. The prettiness of her dress on that particular occasion
was no doubt accentuated by the fact that in general Charlotte did _not_
attire herself becomingly; and also by the fact of another young lady
being present as a second ‘star of the morning.’ For the other ‘star’
had hired a dress for the evening; a muslin dress, which was by no means
white, but dingy and tumbled. In contrast, Charlotte’s pure whiteness,
relieved by a star upon her forehead, drew much attention. Since she was
then only a girl of about fourteen, it appears that a close distinction
was not drawn in those days, as in these, between girls ‘out’ and girls
‘not out.’ Her brother, St. George, a boy of twelve or thirteen, was
also present, wearing a Highland costume.

The hero of the day appeared in evening dress, according to the then
fashion, with a star on his breast. Frances, in her queenly apparel,
presented him with a bag which contained a Commission to defend
England,--a business which, one is disposed to think, he had already
pretty well accomplished! The Duke received this offering graciously; and
a day or two later the following playful letter arrived from him to Mr.
Tucker:--

                                               ‘STRATHFIELDSAYE.
                                                 _Ap. 26, 1835._

    ‘MY DEAR SIR,--When Queen Elizabeth gave me that beautiful
    bag on Friday night, I was not aware that it contained a
    Letter Patent which I prize highly; and for which I ought to
    have returned my grateful acknowledgment at the time it was
    delivered.

    ‘I beg you to present my thanks; and to express my hopes that
    her Majesty continued to enjoy the pleasures of the evening;
    and that she has not been fatigued by them.

               ‘Ever, my dear Sir,

                    ‘Your most faithful humble servant,

                                           (Signed) ‘WELLINGTON.

    ‘H. St. George Tucker, Esq., etc.’

The delight and enthusiasm amongst the young people, aroused by this
letter, may be imagined. It seems to have come later into the possession
of Charlotte; and when she went to India it was presented by her to her
sister Laura,--the envelope which contained it having in Charlotte’s
handwriting the following inscription:--

‘_What I consider one of my most valuable possessions, and therefore send
to my beloved Laura, to whom it will recall past days._’



CHAPTER III

A.D. 1835-1848

EARLY WRITINGS


One after another the brothers of Charlotte went out to India. Henry
Carre, the eldest, well known in Indian story, had left in 1831, when she
was only ten years old; and in 1835 her particular companion, Robert,
went also. He was a tall, handsome young fellow; and though only eighteen
years old, he had already done well in his studies. At Haileybury his
remarkable abilities won him the admiration of the Professors; and at his
last examination for the Civil Service he signalised himself by actually
carrying off _four_ gold medals.

Among other gifts he had a keen touch of satire, and a power of easy
versification. Some of the early verses preserved show considerable
power, and are very spirited as well as amusing. A main feature of his
character was, however, his intense earnestness. He was of the same stern
and heroic cast of mind as Charlotte herself; with perhaps less fun and
sparkle to lighten the sternness. Like her, he was markedly self-reliant,
and was never known to lean upon the opinion of others.

With all Charlotte’s gaiety and merriment, her delight in dancing and
acting, and her love of games, there was a stern side, even in those
early days, to her girlish nature; and in this respect she and Robert
were well suited the one to the other. She was, as one says who knew her
well, ‘a born heroine’; indeed, both she and Robert were of the stuff of
which in former centuries martyrs have been made.

At what date Charlotte first began to think seriously upon religious
questions it is not possible to say. Probably at a very early age.
Underlying her high spirits was a stratum of deep thought; and strong
principle seems almost from the beginning to have held control over her
life. One of her brothers speaks of her as ‘always religious.’ She may
have thought and may have felt to any extent, without expression in words
of what she thought or felt. The innate reticence, which veiled so much
of herself from others, would naturally in early years extend itself to
matters of religion. Later in life reserve broke down in that direction;
but silence in girlhood was no proof whatever of indifference.

An undated letter to her niece, Miss Laura Veronica Tucker, written in
middle life, gives us something of a clue here.

    ‘I am much interested in hearing from your dear Mother that you
    are so soon to take upon you the vows made for you in Baptism,
    and I wish specially to remember you, my love, in prayer on the
    18th.

    ‘To-morrow, too, you attain the age of fifteen.... I was about
    your age, dear Laura, when the feeling of being His--of indeed
    having the Saviour as _my own_ Saviour, came upon me like a
    flood of daylight. I was so happy! This was a little time
    before my Confirmation. Though I have often often done wrong
    since, and shed many many tears, I have never _quite_ lost the
    light shed on me then, and now it brightens all the future,
    so that I can scarcely say that I have any care as regards
    myself--the Lord will take care of me in advancing age--in
    the last sickness--in what is called death, (it is only its
    shadow).’

To the majority of people religious conviction and experience come as
daylight comes; not in one sudden burst, but gradually, heralded by grey
dawn, slowly unfolding into brightness. Brought up as Charlotte was
in an atmosphere of kindness, of gentleness, of unselfish thought for
others, of generosity, of high principle, and of most real religion,
albeit not much talked about, she would naturally imbibe the latter
almost unconsciously, and as naturally would say little. The spiritual
life, begun early in her, would expand and develop year by year, as fresh
influences came, each in turn helping to shape the young ardent nature.

She was essentially independent; one who would of necessity think
questions out for herself, and form her own opinions; and when an
opinion was once formed, she would act in accordance with that opinion,
fearlessly and conscientiously. All this came as a logical result of what
she was in herself. But the very independence was of gradual growth; and
side by side with it existed always a spirit of beautiful and reverent
submission to her Father and Mother.

Although she never published anything during her Father’s
lifetime--whether because she was slow to recognise her own capabilities,
or because he failed to encourage the idea, does not distinctly
appear,--her pen was often busy. A small magazine or serial in
manuscript, for family use, was early started among the brothers and
sisters, and to this, as might be expected, Charlotte was a frequent
contributor.

She also wrote several plays, following in her Father’s footsteps; and
some of these are extant, not _written_ but exquisitely printed by her
own hand. She was indeed an adept at such printing, as at many other
things; and one amusing story is told anent this particular gift. About
1840, when her brother St. George was at Haileybury College, the latter
wrote an essay, which was copied for him by Charlotte in small printed
characters. Whereupon a rumour went through the College that one of
the competitors had actually had his essay printed for the occasion.
Inquiries were made; and the ‘printed copy’ was discovered to be the
essay of Mr. St. George Tucker.

The earliest in date of these unpublished plays, composed for the
entertainment of the home-circle, appears to have been _The Iron Mask_;
achieved in 1839, when Charlotte was about eighteen years old. It was
‘Dedicated, with the fondest esteem and affection, to her beloved Father,
Henry St. George Tucker, to whom she is indebted for the outline of the
characters and plot, by the Author, Charlotte Maria Tucker.’ By which
Dedication may be plainly seen that Mr. Tucker encouraged his daughter’s
literary bent, so far as actual writing went, though he does not seem
to have helped her into print. The Preface to this early work is quaint
enough to be worth quoting. The young Author had evidently studied Miss
Edgeworth’s style.

    ‘I cannot pretend to offer that most common excuse of
    Authors that their works have been written in great haste
    and consequently under great disadvantages. I have been a
    considerable time about my little performance, and its defects
    are not owing to want of care or attention on my part.

    ‘I once had thoughts of myself writing a Critique on _The Iron
    Mask_, to show that I am sensible of its faults, though I do
    not think I have _the power_ to remove at least all of them.
    But I have dropped the idea, and am determined to leave them to
    be found out, or perhaps overlooked, by the eye of partiality
    and affection.’

The play is, of course, historical, and is of considerable length. One
short quotation may be given as a specimen of her girlish powers, taken
from Scene II.

    ‘_Apartment in the Castle of Chateaurouge: a grated window seen in
    the background._

                         The Iron Mask.

    ‘The glorious Sun hath reached the farthest west,
    And clouds transparent tipt with living fire
    Hang o’er his glory, bright’ning to the close.
    Now gently-falling dews refresh the earth,
    And pensive Silence, hand in hand with Night,
    Already claims her reign.

                              Another day
    Has past! another weary weary day,
    And I am so much nearer to my grave!
    Oh that I could, like yon broad setting Sun,
    For one day tread the path of Liberty,
    For one day shine a blessing to my Country,
    Then, like him, set in glory!
    Still come they not?--then Chateaurouge deceived me!
    He said e’er sunset that they must be here,
    And I have watched from the first blush of morn,
    Before the lark his cheerful matins sung,
    Before the glorious traveller of the skies
    Had with one ray of gold illumed the east,
    And still they come not!--’Tis in vain to watch,
    They will not come to-night!--my sinking heart
    For one day more must sicken in suspense.’

The writing of the play as a whole is unequal,--what girl of eighteen is
not unequal?--but in these lines,as well as elsewhere, there are tokens
of genuine power, alike poetical and dramatic.

Next came, in the year 1840, _The Fatal Vow; a Tragedy in Three Acts_;
on the title-page of which is found a dedication--‘To Jane Tucker; the
Mother who in the bloom of youth and beauty devoted herself to her
children, and whose tender care can never by them be repaid.’ The play
was written in less than two months; its scene being laid in Arabia,
while the characters are of Arabian nationality. It is an ambitious and
spirited effort for a girl under twenty.

Two years later she wrote another, _The Pretender; a Farce in Two Acts_;
respectfully dedicated to ‘Fair Isabella, the Flower of the East.’ This
witty and amusing little farce shall be given entire in the next chapter,
as a fair example of what she was able to accomplish at the age of
twenty-one. It also shows conclusively her love of fun, and the manner in
which she delighted in any play upon words.

In 1842, the same year which saw her produce _The Pretender_, her brother
St. George went out to India; and two years later a paper of extracts
from different letters, in her handwriting, records the sister’s loving
pride in the warm opinions sent home about that brother. Also the same
paper contains an account of an affair in which he was engaged; but the
said account not being correct in all details, I give it in different
words.

In 1844, one year and a quarter after the arrival of Mr. St. George
Tucker in India, he volunteered to assist his joint magistrate, Mr.
Robert Thornhill, to capture the celebrated dacoit,[2] Khansah. Upon
the receipt of further orders from his chief magistrate, Mr. Thornhill
decided not to make the attempt. Mr. Tucker, however, having volunteered,
thought it was his duty to go; and go he did, accompanied by a
Thannadar,[3] four horsemen, and some Burkandahs. On a January morning,
in early dawn, they reached the village in which the dacoit leader,
Khansah, was supposed to be concealed; and after many inquiries they
induced an alarmed little native boy to point out silently which hut
sheltered Khansah.

Leaving the horsemen and the Burkandahs outside, Mr. Tucker and the
Thannadar went into the courtyard of the house. In the darkness of the
entry to one of the huts stood Khansah, holding a loaded blunderbuss. At
first he was unperceived; but suddenly the Thannadar exclaimed, ‘There
he is!’ and as Mr. Tucker turned to the right, Khansah fired off the
blunderbuss. The Thannadar dropped dead; and Mr. Tucker’s right arm
fell helpless, from a wound in the shoulder. He climbed quickly over
the low walls of a roofless hut, then turned about, and with his left
hand steadying the right hand on the top of the outer wall, he fired his
pistol at the dacoit,--and missed him. Mr. Tucker then went round the
back of the hut to a tree which stood near the entrance; and shortly
afterward Khansah came out, calling--‘Kill the Sahib!’ A struggle
followed between Khansah and one of the native police, which lasted some
three or four minutes. Then Khansah, having apparently had enough, made
away on the Thannadar’s pony; and Mr. Tucker, regaining his own horse,
rode back to the station, accompanied by the Burkandahs and horsemen, who
had carefully kept in the background when most needed, but whose courage
returned so soon as the peril was over.

Eighteen months later an offer was made by Government of ten thousand
rupees to any one who should give up Khansah,--the dacoit being a very
notorious robber and murderer. His own relatives responded promptly
to this appeal, and Khansah speedily found himself in durance vile.
Mr. Tucker failed to identify the man in Court; but other evidence was
forthcoming, and Khansah, being convicted, was hung. Charlotte, when
noting down particulars of the above stirring episode, observes: ‘We
cannot feel too thankful to a merciful God for my precious George’s
preservation.’ The brief account which she copied out from the letter
of a friend in India ends with these words: ‘My husband tells me he
(Mr. Tucker) acted with great spirit, and showed much cool, determined
courage, and deserved great credit; but from being almost a stranger
to the habits of this country, he failed in his attempt to capture the
dacoit.’

Another paper of copied extracts has a particular interest, because it
seems to show, even then, a dawning sense in the mind of Charlotte Tucker
of the needs of heathen and semi-heathen lands. The sheet is dated 1844;
and the passages are selected from a book of the day, called _Savage
Life and Scenes_. But probably at that period nothing was further from
her dreams than that she herself would ever go out as a missionary to the
East.

The following undated letters belong to the years 1846-7. A little
sentence in the first, as to the solution of Mr. Tucker’s enigma, is very
characteristic of one who through life was always peculiarly ready to
give praise to others.

TO MISS D. LAURA TUCKER.

    ‘How sweet, good, and kind you are! I hardly know how to thank
    you and dearest Mother for _such_ notes as I have received from
    both, but I truly feel your kindness at my heart....

    ‘My eye is exceedingly improved. Such a fuss has been made
    about it here by my affectionate Fannies, that one might
    suppose that, like your friend Polyphemus, I had but one eye,
    and that as rudely treated as was his by Ulysses.

    ‘We think that the solution of my noble Father’s enigma is
    “Glass” or “Mirror.” Fanny was the first to imagine this. As
    for going to Gresford the 3rd of next month, I do not wish to
    be one of the party at all, at all! I calculate that Robin
    will then have been on the waves 76 days; and though I do not
    expect him till October, the S---- _may_ be a fast sailer, and
    fast sailers _have_ accomplished the whole voyage in about that
    time, I believe. I drink the port wine which Papa brought down,
    which I hope may serve instead of bark.’

TO MISS SIBELLA J. TUCKER.

    ‘Having concluded my reading of old Russell, how can I do
    better than employ the interval before the arrival of the
    Indian letters in sitting down and writing to my fair absent
    sister? Colonel Sykes let me know last night that Robin would
    not come by _this_ mail, which was, he says, only from Bombay,
    so that letters being all we must expect before Saturday
    fortnight, you need not hurry home on account of Robin’s return.

    ‘Now doubtless you would like to hear a little how the world in
    Portland Place has been going on since your fair countenance
    disappeared from our horizon. In the first place _all_ the
    three Misses ---- are coming. A comical party we shall have!
    There has been no letter from Lord Metcalfe yet, that I know
    of. We had a very nice evening yesterday. I wish that yours
    may have been equally agreeable. The beginning was by no means
    the worst part of it. I dressed early, and while Mamma and
    Fanny were upstairs, Charlie and I enjoyed quite a stream of
    melody from my dear Father, who sang us more than twenty songs,
    most of which I had never heard before. I wonder that he did
    not sing his throat quite dry, particularly after a Wednesday’s
    work. I must now write Lautie an account of the Ball.’

TO MISS D. L. TUCKER.

    ‘Well, dearest Lautie, we had a nice Ball last night. There
    were the Vukeels of S----, with their dark intelligent
    countenances, Colonel Sykes, your friend, who is really
    becoming quite a friend of mine, and honest, handsome Sir Henry
    Pottinger, the very look of whom does one good. I chatted with
    both the latter amusing gentlemen, and heard from Sir Henry a
    circumstantial account of his attack of gout, when, he said:
    “I felt as though I could have roared like a bull.” Sir Henry
    thinks that ladies should have a glass of champagne after
    _every_ dance, quadrille, waltz, or polka! “You would see,”
    said he, “if my plan were followed, how many ladies would
    come.” ... Papa has had applications for cadetships from Lord
    Jocelyn and H---- T----. I suppose that in both cases it will
    be, “I wish you may get it!”’

TO THE SAME.

    ‘We have had such an amusing breakfast. Lord Glenelg was here.
    And he and Mamma have been making us laugh so,--he with his
    quiet jokes, and dear Mamma with her _naïveté_. Mamma very
    freely criticised Sir R. Peel’s and Lord John Russell’s manner
    of speaking, to the great amusement of our guest, who threw out
    a hint that he might inform, and that Mamma had compromised
    herself. “It would be rather awkward,” he observed, “if I
    were to sit beside Sir Robert this evening,[4] after what
    has passed”; and when he heard that Sir Robert was not to be
    present, he hinted that Mamma was in the same danger in regard
    to Lord John Russell. “But if I tell him that he opens his
    mouth too wide,” said Lord Glenelg, “he may think I mean that
    he eats too much!”

    ‘I am sure that our guest enjoyed his morning’s gossip, and it
    gave us all a merry commencement to what I hope may be a very
    enjoyable though rather anxious day. Tudor is to take luncheon
    with us, so we have amusement provided for that meal also;
    and what a business it will be in the evening! Such a phalanx
    of ladies as dear Mother is to head. The Misses Cotton, two
    Misses Galloway, two Misses Shepherd, Miss Kensington, and our
    three selves, all to set off from No. 3! It will look like a
    nocturnal wedding.

    ‘I have just come in from paying a round of visits, with a card
    of admission in my hand.... My hand trembles with the heat, for
    it is warm walking at this hour, and I always walk fast when I
    walk in the streets alone. I look forward with much pleasure
    to the evening’s entertainment. I only wish that you and dear
    Bella could enjoy it too; but I hope that _your_ dinner in
    September may afford you as much gratification as this would
    have done....

    ‘We ... went to Mrs. Bellasis’ Ball last night. Mamma and I
    thought it a nice one, but ---- considered it very dull. The
    Eastwicks were not there, but your friend, Colonel Sykes,
    appeared, with his stern bandit-like countenance. He so reminds
    me of you! His fair lady and sons were also there.... Sir de Lacy
    and Lady Evans, the Hinxmans and Galloways were also at the
    Ball.

    ‘How are the dear little Robins? I hope that we may soon have
    them with us again. Pray give them plenty of kisses from Auntie
    Charlotte.... I hope dear Robin got home comfortably.’

Some of the above-mentioned names were of men well and widely known. Lord
Metcalfe, at one time Acting Governor-General of India, was a wise and
most courteous Indian statesman, whose life has been written by Sir John
Kaye. Colonel Sykes was one year Chairman of the Court of Directors. Sir
Henry Pottinger was a famous diplomatist. Lord Glenelg, living near, was
often in and out, and loved to have a cup of tea at hospitable No. 3.

The habit of the family at this time, while spending the main part of the
year at Portland Place, was to go to some country place in the summer,
for several weeks, sometimes renting a house where they could stay all
together, sometimes breaking into smaller parties. In 1846 they were at
Herne Bay; in 1847 at Gresford; in 1848 at Dover and Walmer. While at
Walmer they were a good deal thrown with the Duke of Wellington, and the
former acquaintanceship ripened into more of intimacy. Before deciding on
Walmer, two or three of the party went to Dover, and they had a somewhat
perilous voyage thither, to which the following letter makes allusion:--

TO MISS D. LAURA TUCKER.

    ‘I hope that you will all write us very affectionate letters
    of congratulation on our escape from the waves. How talented
    it was in Mamma to manage to send us letters so soon! We had
    no idea of hearing from home by 6 o’clock on Monday morning.
    We are all quite well. I was not well yesterday morning,--I
    imagine from the effects of our adventure; but I am, like the
    rest of our dear party, quite well to-day.

    ‘We are to set out in a pony-chaise for Walmer, to see about a
    house. Papa is to drive, and I have no doubt but that we shall
    have a delightful little excursion.

    ‘The immense cliff is a great objection to Dover. Unless we
    undergo the great fatigue of getting up it, we should be quite
    prisoners. Walmer is _much_ flatter. We are anxious to hear
    what has become of the poor _Emerald_. She landed us here on
    Saturday morning, and proceeded on her perilous journey at
    about five in the afternoon. Papa saw the carpenter’s wife,
    who told him that the leak could not be got at because of the
    coals, that they would not get to Boulogne, but must return
    in two hours. The poor woman’s husband was in the vessel. She
    said that her eyes were tired with looking at the steamer, but
    philosophically observed that those who are doomed to sup salt
    water must sup it. The _Emerald_ has _not_ returned, however.
    It is probable that she has put in to some other port. I should
    like to hear about her fate. I should feel for our kind sailor.

    ‘My darling Papa has rather taken fright at Mamma’s letter. He
    fears that she is not well, that she has been hysterical at the
    thought of our danger, and seems anxious to go up to London
    himself, in order to assist her and see about her. Fanny and I
    expostulate. He is the best of husbands and fathers. I hope,
    however, that dearest Mamma is _not_ unwell, and that the
    sea-air may do her good and strengthen her. Another objection
    to Dover is that the voyage is likely to be rougher to it than
    to Walmer. Walmer is not situated so near that terrible South
    Foreland.... This is Papa’s opinion, but we cannot decide till we
    see Walmer.’

Further particulars of the adventure alluded to are unfortunately not
forthcoming.



CHAPTER IV

A FARCE OF GIRLISH DAYS


                         THE PRETENDER;

        A FARCE IN TWO ACTS; by CHARLOTTE MARIA TUCKER.


_Characters_:--

    COLONEL STUMPLEY.
    CHARLES.
    DARESBY.
    CORPORAL CATCHUP.
    WEASEL--A Butler.
    O’SHANNON--A Soldier.
    MRS. JUDITH RATTLETON.
    MISS SOPHIA RATTLETON.
    MISS BARBARA RATTLETON.
    MISS HORATIA RATTLETON.

_Scene laid in Northumberland, in and near the house of Mrs. Judith._


ACT I.


SCENE I.

THE HIGHROAD BEFORE MRS. JUDITH’S HOUSE.

_Enter CHARLES._

CHARLES. A cold, wet, and misty evening, and above all to one
whose pockets are not lined! My foolish fancy for the Stage has
brought me to a declining stage, if not a stage of decline.
Heigh ho! how dark it is getting! Just the sort of place to meet
with a ghost of Hamlet, not the sort of hamlet that I’m looking
after, for I have done with theatrical effects,--I wish that
I had done with the effects of cold. How dark and gloomy that
church steeple looks over the trees! I’m close to a churchyard,
I suppose. And--ey! ey! what on earth are those white things
upon the grass? Clothes put out to dry; what an ass I was not to
see that before! but fasting makes one nervous. There’s a house.
How cheerful the lights look in it! I hear the sound of a piano
going. There must be ladies there, and ladies are ever good and
kind. What if I were to try my fortune at the door? My poor
namesake Prince Charlie must have put wanderers into fashion.
Northumberland is near enough to Scotland to have imbibed a
little of its spirit of romance. Poor Prince! we are fellows in
misfortune as we were partners in ambition. We both sought to
play the King, I on the boards, he in Britain; but his frea-king
and my moc-king are both changed to aching on the moors, and a
skul-king too, which makes us as thin as skeletons. I’ll try and
muster up courage for a knock. [_Knocks._]

I should not look the worse for a new coat, I think. My
knee-ribbons are bleached quite pale with the wind and the rain.
_Mais n’importe!_ the man, the man remains the same! These locks
have proved the keys to a Lady’s heart e’er now; and then wit
and eloquence! When I was flogged at school for affirming that
a furbelow must be an article, as I knew it to be an article of
dress, my Master observed that all my brains lay at the root of
my tongue; and the best position for them too, say I! Who would
keep a prompter to bellow to one from the top of the Monument,
and where’s the use of carrying one’s brains so high, that one
must send a carrier pigeon express for one’s thoughts before one
can express them at all? Better have wit to cover ignorance,
than silence to conceal sense. One can’t squint into a man’s
head to see what it contains. Here comes a light to the door:
now for the encounter.

_WEASEL opens the door._

Is Mrs. [_coughs_] at home? Pray present my compliments to her,
and say that a gentleman who has lost his way entreats the
favour of shelter for a night under her hospitable roof.

WEASEL. Shall I take up your name, Sir?

CHARLES. No, Sir, you may take up my words. [_Exit WEASEL._]
Had the fellow been a Constable he might have taken me up
also, for in this apparel I look more like a highwayman than a
gentleman in a highway. How very cold it is! I wish that the
triangular-nosed fellow would make haste; and yet my heart
misgives me. I must ‘screw my courage to the sticking point!’
Impudence, impudence is my passport! I hear him shuffling
downstairs. Be hardy, bold, and resolute, my heart.

_WEASEL opens the door._

WEASEL. Sir, my Mistress begs you to walk up.

CHARLES. Go on, go on, I’ll follow thee! [_Exeunt._]


SCENE II.

THE PARLOUR OF MRS. JUDITH’S HOUSE.

_CHARLES. MRS. JUDITH. THE MISSES SOPHIA, BARBARA, and HORATIA
RATTLETON._

CHARLES. For all this unmerited kindness, most kind and fair
ladies, a lonely wanderer can only return you thanks.

[_The young Ladies whisper together._]

SOPHIA. Handsome, isn’t he?

HORATIA. Such a flow of eloquence, such a command of language.

BARBARA. I wonder, Ratty, who he is.

MRS. JUD. Do you come from the North, Sir?

CHARLES. I have spent the last few months there, Madam, though I
was not born in Scotland. They were unfortunate months to me. I
came to England on my Company’s being broken up.

HORATIA. Your Company! did you serve King George?

CHARLES. No, Miss, I tried to serve myself.

HORATIA. [_Aside to Barbara._] Strange, is it not?

SOPHIA. Why was your company broken up?

CHARLES. Because we were not able to raise a Sovereign amongst
us. We were sadly cut up.

HORATIA. [_Eagerly._] By the Dragoons?

CHARLES. [_Laughing._] Do not inquire too closely, fair Lady.

MRS. JUD. May I ask your name, Sir?

CHARLES. Charles Stu-- [_Aside._] Ass that I am!

MRS. JUD. I beg your pardon, Sir, I did not hear you.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] The first word that comes! [_Aloud._]
Dapple, Madam, Dapple. [_Aside._] I might have hit on a more
romantic name, but my brain seems in a whirl.

HORATIA. It is a very curious study to trace the derivations....

MRS. JUD. Any way related to the Dapples of....

SOPHIA. Down, Adonis, down! your dirty little paws....

HORATIA. One would suppose them sometimes prophetical of future
events. Who can deny that Hanover....

BARBARA. Our family name of....

HORATIA. [_Raising her voice._] Who can deny that Hanover has a
great resemblance to Hand-over, or that Cumberland is as just a
denomination for the bloody Duke as if....

SOPHIA. Pretty little pet he is, is he not?

BARBARA. Our family name of Rattleton is said to be derived from
a famous Ancestor of ours, a chief of the ancient Britons....

MRS. JUD. My Cousin by the Mother’s side....

BARBARA. Whose head being cleft from his shoulders as he was
driving his chariot into the thickest of....

MRS. JUD. The family of the Goslings....

HORATIA. Also passionately fond of Heraldry....

BARBARA. His spirit seemed unconquered even by the blow which
decapitated him, and he drove on....

HORATIA. A Lion rampant over 6 grasshoppers....

BARBARA. Whence our name of Rattle-ton or Rattle-on is said to
be derived.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] This is beyond endurance. They stun me. What
a nest of parrots I am in! I cannot get in a word.

HORATIA. Thus, Sir, your name of ... I beg your pardon, Sir, it
has slipped my memory.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] Hang me, if it has not fairly bolted from
mine!

MRS. JUD. Mr. Charles Dapple.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] I’ll change the conversation. [_To
Horatia._] You seem much devoted, Miss, to scientific pursuits.

HORATIA. O, they are my delight, my recreation! Ornithology,
Mythology, Geology, Conchology, fascinate me. I was first given
my taste for the higher branches of these intellectual sciences
by....

SOPHIA. Mr. Dapple, have you remarked my pretty little....

HORATIA. My Uncle in the Scilly Isles, whose mind....

SOPHIA. Have you remarked....

HORATIA. A profound genius....

SOPHIA. My little poodle, Adonis?

HORATIA. By-the-by, Mr. Dapple, may I ask your opinion on a much
disputed point, where I venture to differ even from my Uncle?
What do you think of the Aerolites?

CHARLES. [_Turning to Sophia._] A sweet little dog, indeed: what
fine eyes!

HORATIA. Do you think them....

CHARLES. The little pink ribbon round its neck is so becoming.

HORATIA. [_Raising her voice._] Mr. Dapple, Mr. Dapple, do you
think the Aerolites....

CHARLES. [_Aside._] Help me, my mother-wits!

HORATIA. Do you agree in the generally received opinion....

CHARLES. [_Aside._] Some political party perhaps!

HORATIA. Or do you think them....

CHARLES. Why, ma’am, I think--I--I am decidedly of
opinion--that--that--the....

HORATIA. The Aerolites....

CHARLES. Are nothing more or less than Jacobites.

ALL THE LADIES. Jacobites!

HORATIA. Why, Sir, I always thought them a sort of stone....

CHARLES. Stone-fruit, true, true; I spoke without thinking.
Stone-fruit, a species of--of--apricots.

BARBARA. Hark, there is a knock at the door. Peep through the
shutters, Ratty, and see who it is.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] A little diversion for me. I am growing so
hot. Silence to cover sense would in this case....

HORATIA. ’Tis old Colonel Stumply.

CHARLES. [_Starting up._] Colonel Stumply! I’m dished.

THE LADIES. Why--what--who----

CHARLES. Perhaps you will permit me, ladies, to retire. I feel
indisposed--faint! [_Exit._]

MRS. JUD. I must go and welcome my old friend. [_Exit._]

HORATIA. Bab!

BARBARA. Ratty!

HORATIA. What a flash of electricity has burst on my intellect!

SOPHIA. His noble air; his wan features....

HORATIA. A fugitive....

SOPHIA. A wanderer....

HORATIA. His sudden alarm....

SOPHIA. [_Rushing into her arms._] O Ratty, Ratty, what a day!
what an honour! what a surprise!

BARBARA. How now, what’s the matter?

HORATIA. Brain of adamant! could not instinct direct you to the
feet of your adored Prince?

BARBARA. The Prince! Is it possible?

SOPHIA. Charlie! Charlie! O! what a moment!

HORATIA. Did you not hear him describe the ruin of his army....

SOPHIA. Did you not hear ‘Charles Stew--’ upon his noble
tongue....

HORATIA. How he started when he recollected himself....

SOPHIA. And O, how exquisitely pathetic, how touchingly
appropriate, the name he gave instead! Dapple; to signify how
his fortunes are chequered--Dapple....

BARBARA. How the Jacobites were running in his head when he
even....

SOPHIA. Little reason had he to fear us. If Daresby had been
here....

BARBARA. And this vile Colonel: no wonder he started off!

SOPHIA. What shall we do to get rid of him?

HORATIA. All that woman ever attempted I am ready to perform.

SOPHIA. I would die for him.

BARBARA. And I too.

SOPHIA. The handsome, brave, dear, darling young Prince! And to
think that Daresby’s a Whig!

_Enter MRS. JUDITH and COL. STUMPLY._

COL. Good evening, young Ladies, good evening. I have just
returned from the North, where we are everywhere triumphant, and
our laurels should ensure us a welcome from beauty. ‘None but
the brave, none but the brave deserve the fair,’ you know. Hey,
Miss Sophy?

SOPHIA. [_Aside._] Monster!

HORATIA. [_Aside._] Traitor!

BARBARA. [_Aside._] Butcher!

COL. What, all silent and aghast? I shall begin to fear myself
unwelcome. Hey, Mrs. Judith? But my Regiment is quartered for
the night in the village, and I was sure that I might throw
myself on the hospitality of an old friend.

MRS. JUD. We are delighted to see you.

COL. Is your little room unoccupied to-night?

MRS. JUD. To tell the truth there is a young....

HORATIA. [_Aside._] I could beat her! [_Aloud._] It is quite
unoccupied, Sir, except--except in this cold weather we keep the
pigs there.

COL. The pigs!

MRS. JUD. Why, Ratty....

HORATIA. Oh, it is not fit to receive you, Sir. The chimney
tumbled in during the last gale....

MRS. JUD. Why, Ratty....

HORATIA. And every pane of glass is broken.

SOPHIA. [_Aside to Barbara._] O Bab, such lying can never
thrive.

MRS. JUD. What strange non....

HORATIA. [_Aside._] How on earth can I stop her tongue?
[_Aloud._] Aunt, Aunt, is there any supper prepared for the
Colonel?

COL. Anything; anything; the cold ride has sharpened my
appetite; but a good blaze like this cheers the heart, and gives
me courage to face even the pigs, Miss Ratty!

MRS. JUD. The pigs! why....

HORATIA. Would you like to see that everything is comfortable
yourself, Aunt? [_Aside._] I am in a fever!

COL. Turn out the pigs, hey, Mrs. Judith?

MRS. JUD. If I ever....

HORATIA. Go, dear Aunt, precious Aunt, do go.

SOPHIA. A nice little dish of your own making would be so
acceptable.

BARBARA. We’ll take care of the Colonel.

MRS. JUD. I cannot com--pre--hend--I---- [_The girls half lead,
half push her out._]

COL. You will excuse me, young ladies; I always make a point of
looking after my horse myself. [_Exit._]

HORATIA. [_Sinking on a chair._] I am exhausted. Stupid sticks,
why did you not assist me?

SOPHIA. I tried, but....

BARBARA. What shall we do now?

SOPHIA. My heart beats so, I shall expire.

BARBARA. The Colonel will stay in spite of the pigs.

SOPHIA. Where can we hide the Prince?

HORATIA. [_Starting up._] A thought has struck me.

SOPHIA. What, what?

HORATIA. You shall hear--it has been done before. You will aid
me in the execution of it.

SOPHIA. [_Throwing herself into her arms._] O my Ratty!

HORATIA. We will save him.

BARBARA. We will, we will!

HORATIA. Or perish with him.

SOPHIA. We will.

HORATIA. Come, come, no time is to be lost; let us fly to his
succour.

    ‘Come weal, come woe,
    We’ll gather and go,
    And live or die wi’ Charlie!’


SCENE III.

A CHURCHYARD BY MOONLIGHT.

_Enter CHARLES, SOPHIA, BARBARA, and HORATIA._

CHARLES. Where on earth are you taking me?

SOPHIA. To safety, to safety.

BARBARA. We know all.

CHARLES. You know all?

HORATIA. Your name, your situation....

CHARLES. Then you must know that the coming of the Colonel is
hangably inconvenient to me.

SOPHIA. We tremble at your danger.

HORATIA. We will defend you with our lives.

CHARLES. Excessively kind, but it is not quite come to that yet.
A kick or a caning....

SOPHIA. You make us shudder.

CHARLES. But I do not like promenading at this hour in winter!
Is it a country fashion? I am very cold, and tired, and sleepy,
and I would rather retire to rest.

HORATIA. Here then we have arrived at the spot. Descend, and you
will find a bed prepared for you.

CHARLES. Descend! why, hang me if it isn’t a vault!

SOPHIA. If it would please you to descend....

CHARLES. Please me, you barbarous witches! would it please any
one to be buried alive? What on earth do you mean?

BARBARA. The only way to preserve your rights....

CHARLES. Rites, do you call these rites? They are very inhuman
rites. Anything but the rites of hospitality. To offer a
stranger the shelter of your roof, and then make his bed in a
vault! This is your spare-room, is it? If I had guessed what you
meant to do with your guest, I would not have troubled you with
my company.

HORATIA. O, for your Country’s sake....

CHARLES. My Country’s sake! what good can it do my Country? I
know your motives, you scientific Monster! you want to make a
petrifaction of me.

HORATIA. Is it possible that a treatment so....

CHARLES. A treat meant is it? If you mean it for a treat, I
assure you that I do not consider it as one. You may go in
yourself and enjoy it.

BARBARA. So short a space ...

CHARLES. A very short space I can see, and a very narrow space
too. I’ll be hanged if I get into it!

HORATIA. Who could have expected opposition from such a quarter?

SOPHIA. Can the Hero shrink from so small a trial of his
constancy? Oh, descend, descend, and we will admire....

CHARLES. Add mire, you cruel wretches! is there not enough at
the bottom already?

HORATIA. We would preserve you.

CHARLES. Didn’t I say so? Some inhuman experiment! But I’ll not
be preserved to please you, not I.

SOPHIA. [_Throwing herself at his feet._] O noblest of men!
doubt not our fidelity! yield to our agonized entreaties!

[_The others kneel._]

CHARLES. Yield, indeed! I beg you will rise, fair Ladies. I
know not if you are jesting; ’tis but a cold jest to me. As for
entering that vault, you may kill me before you bury me, for
while I’m alive I’ll not go, Ladies; I say I will not go.

HORATIA. Then we must leave him to his fate.

CHARLES. Leave me, leave me, all alone in a churchyard. Ladies,
ladies, for pity’s sake....

HORATIA. I am beside myself.

CHARLES. Remain then beside me. Or rather, why cannot we return
to the house? I am half frozen with cold and ... and excitement!

BARBARA. You forget the Colonel.

CHARLES. The Colonel. O, is that all? Can’t you hide me in some
quiet corner?

HORATIA. I have it! the storeroom.

BARBARA. But if a search should be made?

CHARLES. Search! who’ll search? The storeroom is the very place.
Come, come, the air is piercing; come.

BARBARA. This way; by the kitchen door.

CHARLES. Once more into the house, dear friends, once more.
[_Exit._]

HORATIA. Is this the Prince? the Hero?

SOPHIA. O Ratty! our duty remains the same! [_Exeunt._]


ACT II.


SCENE I.

THE PARLOUR.

COLONEL STUMPLY. WEASEL.

COL. Good-morrow, Weasel. An old campaigner, you see, learns to
be an early riser.

WEASEL. I wish your honour a good morning. I hope you found your
room comfortable.

COL. Most comfortable. No traces of the pigs, ha, ha! none the
worse for the chimney-top; ha, ha, ha! That Comet has a tail, I
guess. Well, Weasel, how has all gone on these two years, since
I last found myself at Rattleton Hermitage? Hey?

WEASEL. Much the same as usual, your honour. Our only varieties
are Dr. Daresby and the rheumatics; till last night when....

COL. The girls--the young Ladies seem much grown, much improved.

WEASEL. O, for the matter of that, yes, though Miss Ratty’s
sadly taken up with the books, d’ye see. She’s poring all
day long over a lot of different sorts of learnings; I don’t
remember their names, but they all ends in _oddity_. Then she’s
an out and out Jacobite, and thumps the piano when she sings
‘Charlie is my darling,’ as though she took it for a Whig.
Indeed, your honour, last night....

COL. And Miss Barbara?

WEASEL. She’s quiet like, Sir. She’s never off her chair
stitching away. They says, your honour, that she makes holes on
purpose to sew them up again, d’ye see?

COL. Sophy--Miss Rattleton is a charming girl.

WEASEL. Ah, so thinks some one else. Did your honour ever see
young Dr. Daresby?

COL. No, what of him?

WEASEL. O, nothing, Sir. But they walks alone together, and
sings duets together, and he gave her the little poodle, and
they says, your honour, d’ye see....

COL. Yes, yes, I understand.

WEASEL. She always feeds that fat little dog herself, your
honour. She gives it slices of bread and strawberry jam. But
she’s a good young Lady, Sir. Often I sees her going to the
cottages with her little pink bag filled with the good things
which Mrs. Judith makes. (I knows that from Mrs. Marjory who
has to wash out the grease-spots every day for Miss Sophy.) And
there she goes mincing along with her long veil hanging behind,
and her little poodle running on before her. But may I make bold
to ask how Master Stumply is? He was a very little boy when....

COL. Not a word of him, Weasel, not a word of him! He’s a
wayward ... don’t speak of him! folly and indiscretion have been
his bane.

WEASEL. [_Shaking his head._] There’s some others I know seem
running the same road.

COL. How? Who?

WEASEL. O, it is not for me to say, your honour.

COL. Speak; explain yourself.

WEASEL. I dare say ’twas all a frolic, your honour, but there
were odd doings here yesterday.

COL. Tell me, tell me.

WEASEL. [_Mysteriously._] Perhaps as an old friend of the Family
your honour ought to know all, and such a rum affair....

COL. Go on, go on.

WEASEL. Well then, your honour, yesterday was a cold evening,
d’ye see, and as I was stirring the kitchen fire there comes a
knock, and I goes to the door, your honour.

COL. Well.

WEASEL. There stands a tall, genteel-like lad with a ragged
coat. And he would give me no name, but he said he was a
Wanderer, and asked for a night’s lodging. So Mrs. Judith, who
never can refuse any one, ordered the spare bed to be got ready
for him.

COL. So I turned him out, hey, Weasel? There’s the secret of the
pigs; but why this mystery?

WEASEL. Mystery, Sir, ay, that’s the word; but if your honour
was to hear what followed!

COL. What? where did they put him?

WEASEL. [_Lowering his voice._] When it was night, your honour,
what sees I through the chink of the kitchen door in the passage
but the three young Ladies lugging along a great bundle, and
stopping and panting and puffing? So says I, I’ll see to the
bottom of this, so I pops out suddenly and says, ‘Can I help
you, Misses?’ quite civil like. But O Sir, how Miss Sophy
trembled and turned as white as a lily, and Miss Ratty stamped
and sent me to the village--at that hour, your honour, company
in the house--the ground covered with frost--I subject to the
rheumatics--and what for, d’ye think? to get her twopenceworth
of shoe-ribbon, your honour; and when I brought it, would you
believe it?--she roared out that it was too narrow and sent me
back again.

COL. Most strange! most unaccountable! Have you any guess what
was in the bundle?

WEASEL. I winked at it, your honour. There was a mattress and
blankets, I’m sure.

COL. For the Stranger, I suppose. But this mystery! I cannot
understand it. Where could they be going?

WEASEL. To the churchyard, I thinks.

COL. The churchyard!

WEASEL. Why, your honour, they certainly did not go into the
kitchen, and the back-door leads straight across the yard to the
Church, and the vault would be no bad hiding-place, your honour.
Miss Ratty has hid there herself, I knows, when the dentist was
here.

COL. Have you no other clue? What an extraordinary affair!

WEASEL. Why, Sir--your honour, last night Mrs. Marjory overheard
Miss Ratty whispering Miss Sophy, and she said, Sir....

COL. What? speak out!

WEASEL. ‘As long as the Colonel remains here the Prince must
keep concealed.’

COL. [_Springing up._] The Prince! ha, ha! I smell a rat! the
Pretender! the Pretender! if there was ever such luck, such
fortune! Hang me if I could not--but there’s not an instant to
be lost. Fly, Weasel, to the village. Bid Corporal Catchup and
a dozen stout fellows be with me directly. Fly, I say, and if
it be all as I hope, I’ll cram you with gold till you choke.
Begone! Fly! [_Exit WEASEL._] Thirty thousand pounds and a
baronetship! Sir Stephen Stumply! Ah, if that wayward boy--the
Pretender! the Pretender! he’s in a net, in a net, and I’ll be
hanged if I let him out of it. [_Exit._]


SCENE II.

THE DRAWING-ROOM.

_Enter HORATIA._

HORATIA. What a sleepless night I have passed, what anxiety,
what excitement! and yet how unlike is he to what I had
imagined! so timid, so petulant! and that perpetual punning! It
matters not, however,--his title to our services remains the
same! A strange misgiving is on my soul; is it the shadow of
approaching danger, or only the fear of it? The Colonel gave me
a strange meaning look as he passed me this morning, and said,
‘You are early up, Miss Ratty; I fear that your rest was broken
last night.’ Can he suspect anything? That sneaking wretch,
Weasel! Hark, I hear the Colonel’s step and a strange voice.
I’ll conceal myself behind this screen. Perhaps....

_Enter COLONEL STUMPLY and CORPORAL CATCHUP._

COL. Plant two stout fellows at the front door, and half a dozen
in the garden. Place them so that there shall be no possibility
of escape either from the house or the churchyard adjoining.

COR. I will, Sir.

HORATIA. [_Aside._] Horror and despair!

COL. Yourself and four of your best men go and search the open
vault at the right-hand corner of the churchyard, and on your
lives let not your prisoner escape. Go, plant your Sentinels,
and then to your business. [_Exit CORPORAL CATCHUP._] I will go
and superintend myself. [_Exit._]

HORATIA. Day of horror and misery! All is lost. All is
discovered. If I but knew of one who could divert the attention
of these wretches till the Prince escaped! If I ...

_Enter DARESBY._

Daresby! He’s a Whig! but I’ll make him my tool.

DARESBY. Good morning, I came thus early....

HORATIA. [_Speaking very fast._] You are so welcome--you came
just a moment ...

DARESBY. My Sophy! nothing is the matter with her?

HORATIA. O no. It’s a poor soldier--got the cholera--lying in
the vault ...

DARESBY. In a vault!

HORATIA. Run, run, dearest Daresby, or you will be too late.

DARESBY. What do you mean? Explain yourself.

HORATIA. The cholera, I say--in the vault--O! you put me in a
fever. For my sake, for Sophy’s--O run, fly!

DARESBY. Whatever can you ...

HORATIA. Go, or I shall run wild! You know the way, go!

DARESBY. If I can be of any use to the poor sufferer. [_Exit._]

HORATIA. O, what a relief! he’s gone! I should never survive
another day of such excitement. If they once suppose that their
object is gained and the Prince caught, the sentinels will be
removed from the garden, and he can escape through the window.
If the deception can be carried on for one half-hour he may
be saved. I must go and put my sisters on their guard, and
prepare the Prince for flight. If Aunt Judith or Weasel see
and recognise Daresby all is lost. I wish I could lock them
both up. What a labyrinth I am in! The greatest comfort is that
the Colonel is a blockhead, and would not know a prince from a
pancake! [_Exit._]


SCENE III.

THE STORE-ROOM.

CHARLES. Something better than a vault this, methinks. I could
not have found a hiding-place more to my mind. Excellent
cherry-brandy she makes, this Mrs. Judith. I have entered half a
dozen professions since I entered this room; it will be hard if
I do not make my fortune out of one of them. I am an Historian,
for I have been discussing old dates; a Merchant, for I add plum
to plum; a Lawyer, for I have opened many a case; a Lord Mayor,
for the mace is before me; and a Navigator, for I am led to
seize and gulf! What if I were to stay here altogether, or set
up a new company with my fair hostesses? Miss Ratty is cut out
for a tragedy Queen. Such passion! such emphasis! [_Mimicking._]
‘That my keen knife see not the wound it makes’--but the puzzle
is that they are all ladies; not one to take a gentleman’s part.
It is a shame in me to say so, for I am sure that they have
taken mine. My only hope would be in Weasel. That fellow has
such a desperate squint, that I am sure he would make a capital
Lear!

_Enter HORATIA._

HORATIA. Fly! fly! while yet there is a moment’s respite.

CHARLES. Fly! and wherefore?

HORATIA. Rouse all the ancient courage of your race ...

CHARLES. There can be no courage in a race, for a race is
running away.

HORATIA. Let the spirit of your Ancestors glow in your bosom,
for the hour of danger is come.

CHARLES. ‘I dare do all that may become a man’ ...

HORATIA. Does this trifling become a man and a hero?

CHARLES. I know of but one thing, fair Ratty, that can become a
man and a hero.

HORATIA. What is that?

CHARLES. A boy, to be sure!

HORATIA. Enough, enough of this perpetual play of words. We
must think, we must act. Another is now taking your place at the
vault ...

CHARLES. My place! how excessively obliging!

HORATIA. Every moment is invaluable. Put on this dress of my
Aunt’s which I have brought for you, and fly, fly, while the
deception lasts!

CHARLES. The brandy must have got into my head.

HORATIA. Put it on, I entreat you, if not for your own or your
Country’s sake, yet for your noble Father’s.

CHARLES. My Father’s! Either you or I ... Why, what’s the matter
with him? Is he in the farce too?

HORATIA. [_Aside._] He is the worse for liquor! O horrible!
and at such a moment! [_Aloud._] The soldiers are here--sent
to seize you--to drag you to a dungeon, perhaps an ignominious
death.

CHARLES. [_Alarmed._] And why? what have I done?

HORATIA. I heard the orders given. One hour’s delay will lead
you to the scaffold.

CHARLES. The scaffold!

HORATIA. The block.

CHARLES. The block! why, what is my crime? Why does not my
Father come to my assistance?

HORATIA. Your Father cannot--he is exiled from his native land.
Were he to appear, he must perish too.

CHARLES. Have you hid him? have you hid him?

HORATIA. [_Aside._] Horridly drunk! [_Aloud._] Put on this dress
and fly. It is your only chance of life.

CHARLES. You have put me into a shiver. I cannot half believe,
nor a quarter comprehend you.

HORATIA. Believe then these tears, this agony of apprehension in
which you see me. This moment the soldiers may be mounting the
staircase--cutting off all hope ...

CHARLES. Give me the slip then, and I will give them the slip!
quick, quick, and the cloak and hood.

HORATIA. Here, here! O despatch! while you remain here I tread
on hot iron.

CHARLES. I am to personate your Aunt.

HORATIA. Yes, yes, any one, but make haste.

CHARLES. So, I’m equipped. Farewell, Lady!

HORATIA. Pull the hood over your face. O farewell! [_Exit
CHARLES._]

HORATIA. One hour more of excitement, and then ... [_Exit._]


SCENE IV.

THE CHURCHYARD.

_Enter CORPORAL CATCHUP and Soldiers._

CORP. Silence! Silence! halt! advance bending down and with your
bayonets presented. Comrades, this is a glorious day, and if we
catch the Pretender we shall have little cause to grieve that we
arrived a day too late for the Battle of Culloden. What were the
deeds of the Duke of Cumberland to ours? He but wounded the fox,
we catch him by the nose. We shall be made Aldermen, every man
of us. Take ground behind those bushes; keep silence. I hear a
voice in the vault. On your lives be silent--be steady!

DARESBY. [_In the vault._] I can find no one, yet here is a
bed prepared. What a strange place to make an hospital of!
[_Emerging from the vault._] Perhaps the poor fellow has got
frightened and delirious ...

CORP. Stand!

DARESBY. Ah, here is my Patient. So you have got the cholera, my
Friend!

CORP. No, unless that’s one of your titles. Surrender or die!

DARESBY. He must be in a high fever! Be calm, my good man, I
will render you all the assistance in my power.

CORP. You will, will you?

DARESBY. Come with me to the house, come. This is no place for a
person in your state.

CORP. Well, if this arn’t droll! he’s trying to humbug me.

DARESBY. You may catch your death of cold.

CORP. I’ll catch nothing but you. Come along, Sir, offer no
resistance, for it’s of no use. I’m sorry for you, but I’ve a
duty to perform, and a reward to get.

DARESBY. What do you mean, fellow? Stand off!

CORP. Ho! guards there! [_DARESBY is surrounded._]

DARESBY. This is some error. By whose warrant do you dare to
apprehend one of his Majesty’s subjects?

CORP. No use in all that deception, Sir: all’s discovered now.

DARESBY. What’s discovered, fellow, what deception? Who dares
use such terms to me! You shall answer for your conduct, Sir;
this shall not be passed over, I’ll warrant you.

CORP. I hope not, Sir.

DARESBY. This is not to be endured. By whose orders do you
presume to place me under arrest?

CORP. We are under the orders of Colonel Stumply.

DARESBY. I must see the Colonel instantly. He shall give me
an explanation of this extraordinary affair. Take me to him
directly.

CORP. All in good time, Sir. Stickum, have you handcuffs with
you?

DARESBY. Handcuffs, villain!

STICKUM. No.

CORP. Keep your hand on his collar, then. Soldiers, present
bayonets. Let him attempt to escape, and he dies.

DARESBY. With what effrontery ...

CORP. Move on, Sir, if you please. [_To the Soldiers._]
Keep your eye on him. If he but raise his hand or turn his
head--fire! [_Exeunt._]


SCENE V.

THE GARDEN GATE.

O’SHANNON.

O’SHAN. A could, misty, morning, and I am left here to keep
watch without a drop of the cratur to cheer my heart or keep my
spirits from sinking. There’s all the rest of them gone to catch
the Pretender and get the prize-money, and it’s nothing that I’m
likely to catch here but a cold. I wish that I had never left
the tallow business, that I do, for all this murthering work. It
was a lucky chance that we were a day too late for the fair at
Culloden; it’s no fancy I have for the Highlanders’ dirks. Awful
slashing work they made, ’tis said. Well-a-day! I must shoulder
my gun; if the Corporal found me standing at ease, he would
order me a round dozen: there’s no fear of it’s going off for
its own accord, the cratur, for I forgot to load it this morning.

_Enter CHARLES in disguise._

CHARLES. [_Aside._] And there is a Sentry! Horatia was right!
But what they should want to arrest either me or my Father for
is more than I can comprehend! This is really nervous work. I
fear that I shall find it as difficult to pass this fellow as
I found it at school to parse a sentence from my grammar-book.
Notwithstanding the dress with which Ratty provided me, I shall
need all the address of which I am master to get through this
scrape should he address me. I must put on an air of confidence.
Perhaps he may let me pass without question.

O’SHAN. A black morning, Ma’am.

CHARLES. [_Attempting to slip past._] Did you ever see mourning
any other colour?

O’SHAN. Can’t pass here, Ma’am.

CHARLES. No! and why?

O’SHAN. ‘Cause I am posted here to keep a good watch.

CHARLES. [_Attempting to pass again._] Easier to keep a good
watch than to get one!

O’SHAN. I have orders to let no one pass.

CHARLES. O but, my good fellow, I have very important business.
You must let me go.

O’SHAN. Keep back, Ma’am. Now I thinks on’t, your hood looks
rather suspicious.

CHARLES. [_Retreating a step._] Does it? A sort of robbin’ hood,
I suppose. [_Aside._] I wish the fellow were at Jericho.

O’SHAN. And that dress was never made for you? Let me see a
little closer. [_Advancing._]

CHARLES. [_Retreating. Aside._] Shall I run for my life?

O’SHAN. Stop, stop, my good Lady! Methinks your dress is
uncommon short, too, it hardly reaches to the clocks of your
stockings.

CHARLES. Mind your watch, and leave my clocks alone. [_Aside._]
O dear! O dear! If I were but once fairly off! [_Attempts to
run._]

O’SHAN. Stop, or I’ll shoot ye! I’ll send a bullet through your
head if ye stir an inch farther.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] I’m done for!

O’SHAN. [_Aside._] I’ll make sure. [_Suddenly darts towards
Charles and pulls back his hood._] Hillo! hillo! I’ve caught
him! I’ve caught him, ’tis the man himself.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] One struggle for life. [_Aloud._] Beware,
fellow, I have arms. [_Aside._] None but what nature gave me.

O’SHAN. [_Retreating a step. Aside._] Murther! and the gun is
not loaded!

CHARLES. [_Aside._] I’ve staggered him! [_Aloud._] Lay but a
finger on me and I’ll lay you with the dust.

O’SHAN. Keep off, or I’ll shoot ye.

CHARLES. [_Retreating._] A fig for your gun!

O’SHAN. [_Aside. Retreating._] I wish some one would come. I’ve
heard he’s a raal hero. I’ll call for help. Holloa! there.

CHARLES. Hold your peace, or I’ll cut you piece-meal.

O’SHAN. I’ll blow your brains out, I will! [_Aside._] He can’t
guess that it’s not loaded.

CHARLES. [_Aside._] If he should fire!

O’SHAN. [_Aside._] If he should fight! My poor Mother; och, if
she could see me now, ’twould pit her into high-strikes. Is no
one coming to help me?

CHARLES. [_Aside._] If I could but touch his kinder feelings! I
have been accustomed to steal hearts, but I fear that I should
find his steeled already. I must make one more effort to steal
past him. But the sight of his matchlock makes my blood run cold.

O’SHAN. Och! he’s coming nearer. O for pity’s sake ...

CHARLES. If mercy ever touched your bosom ...

_Enter CORPORAL CATCHUP._

O’SHAN. Catch him! catch him! ’tis he, the Pretender! catch him,
Corporal! collar him! never fear!

CORP. Who? the old woman?

O’SHAN. Catch him, I say, and never be frightened for him, man.
I found him out.

CHARLES. So--all is lost.

CORP. A man in disguise! it must be he. Bind him, O’Shannon.
This is a prize indeed.

O’SHAN. Ah, poor gintleman, your troubles will soon be pit an
end to. Ah! ye may well sigh, for no man laughs on his way to
the gallows.

CHARLES. The gallows! is it possible that so inhuman a murder
can be contemplated?

O’SHAN. O ye may be satisfied of it! There’s only one thing
that’s doubtful, I’m thinking.

CHARLES. What’s that?

O’SHAN. Whether they’ll stick your head on the Lord Mayor’s mace
before or after they’ve hung you!

CHARLES. O horrible, horrible, most horrible! It cannot, O
it cannot be! What a dreadful, what a fearful fate! O that
the first step I took from my Father’s home had been into a
horse-pond! that I had died e’er I left it!

O’SHAN. Ay, there’s the pity! Had ye stayed peaceably at home,
this would never have happened to ye.

CHARLES. The gallows! can it be?

O’SHAN. Ah, how all the Ladies will pity ye! such a likely lad,
and so young, and ...

CHARLES. Silence! you distract me.

O’SHAN. Poor gintleman! when it comes to the pinch, when the
rope ...

CORP. No more, O’Shannon! You have secured his arms. Bring him
speedily along with you. No delay!

CHARLES. My limbs can scarcely support me! O day of agony, of
misery, and despair! [_Exeunt._]


SCENE VI.

THE PARLOUR.

COLONEL STUMPLY.

COL. [_Rubbing his hands._] Caught! caught! This is indeed a
good day’s work.

_Enter SOPHIA, BARBARA, and HORATIA._

COL. Ah! ha! my pretty Jacobites, this comes of your plotting.
The Pretender is in safe hands now. Who would have thought you
up to such a conspiracy?

HORATIA. Alas, our unhappy Prince!

SOPHIA. [_Aside to HORATIA._] Poor Daresby! It makes my heart
faint to think of him. I cannot stay to look on.

HORATIA. You must stay to keep him silent. ’Tis but for an hour.
I am ashamed of you. Remember that you have a part to perform.

SOPHY. I cannot say what is not true.

HORATIA. Say nothing, then.

_Enter DARESBY guarded._

DARESBY. [_To the COL._] Sir, I demand an explanation of this
most extraordinary and unjustifiable treatment. Sir, I am a
gentleman and ... [_HORATIA makes earnest signs to him to be
silent._]

COL. You shall be treated, Sir, with all the respect due to your
station, consistent with your safe custody.

DARESBY. Of what am I charged? Who is my accuser? what wretch
dares? [_HORATIA repeats the signs._] What is the meaning of all
this nonsense? Do you wish to make a fool of me? I’ll not endure
this ...

COL. Be calm, Sir, and submit to destiny.

DARESBY. I’ll not submit to such treatment. My name is ...

[_HORATIA in an agony throws herself at his feet, exclaiming_] O
noble man! for the sake of all you love....

DARESBY. Horatia, I am in a dream. Sophy, of you I ask, I
entreat, an explanation. Why am I thus confined? Why do you
stand calmly looking on my disgrace?

SOPHY. Calmly! O Da ... [_Aside._] I cannot restrain my tears.

DARESBY. Are you too my enemy?

SOPHY. Your enemy! O!

DARESBY. [_To the COLONEL._] Are my political opinions
suspected? Am I supposed to be a Ja....

HORATIA. You are known--you are known--to be--to be--to be ...
[_Enter WEASEL._]

HORATIA. [_Springing to SOPHIA’S side._] O Sophy, for pity’s
sake take that creature off, or....

SOPHY. Weasel, Weasel! [_Aside._] What can I say?

WEASEL. What! Dr. Da....

SOPHIA. Weasel, Weasel, will you go directly to the garden and
fetch....

WEASEL. What, Miss?

SOPHIA. Fetch, fetch--some spinach.

WEASEL. Spinach don’t grow in November, Miss, as Dr....

HORATIA. Go to the village directly for....

WEASEL. Can’t go to the village no more, Miss, till I’ve laid
the cloth for breakfast. The Doc....

HORATIA. We must have wine. Go to the cellar.

WEASEL. Haven’t got the keys, Miss. If I might make bold to ask
why....

HORATIA. Begone this instant ... we shall want poultry. Wring
every chicken’s neck in the yard, or I’ll wring yours as sure as
I stand here! [_Exit WEASEL._]

COL. What an extraordinary temper!

DARESBY. Sophy, Sophy, if you are still the ingenuous being
I ever believed you to be, tell me in what farce I am thus
forced to act a part against my will. Tell me the secret of the
conspiracy which seems formed against me. Are you an accessory?

COL. Why, the Ladies have been turning every stone in your
defence! They never let out the secret! As far as they were
concerned you might have remained in your vault until you were
old enough to stay there altogether!

DARESBY. Every sentence that I hear bewilders me yet more. Ratty
Rattleton, Ratty Rattleton, you are at the bottom of the plot.

_Enter MRS. JUDITH._

HORATIA. [_Aside._] Aunt Judy! this is distraction!

MRS. JUD. Young Daresby, my....

HORATIA. Aunt, Aunt....

MRS. JUD. What’s the matter?

HORATIA. The ... [_aside_] at last I seem come to my wits end!
[_Aloud._] The....

DARESBY. Mrs. Judith Rattleton, you are my friend, you will bear
witness....

HORATIA. The most important....

SOPHIA. O dear Aunt....

BARBARA. If you would only hold your tongue!

MRS. JUD. What a racket! what ... why....

DARESBY. Mrs. Judith, I am here charged with....

MRS. JUD. You, Daresby! Why, Colonel, this is....

COL. Not the Prince! Then he is concealed in the house! I see
all; follow me, Guards ... [_SOPHY throws herself at his feet;
HORATIA and BARBARA rush to the door._]

HORATIA. You shall pass over my corpse! I am desperate! [_The
door suddenly opens. Enter CHARLES guarded by O’SHANNON and the
CORPORAL._]

ALL THE YOUNG LADIES. The Prince! horrors! the Prince!

DARESBY. My chum, Charles Stumply!

CHARLES. My Father!

COL. Ah, Scapegrace! dare you present yourself before me? Under
what false and shameful pretences have you entered this house?

O’SHAN. Charles Stumply! hang the fellow, he’s only a man after
all.

DARESBY. I cannot contain my surprise.

MRS. JUD. The ungrateful vagabond! he has stolen my best gown
and hood.

HORATIA. I shall sink to the cellar.

SOPHIA. O Daresby, how comical!

COL. Speak, you scamp! What has induced you to dress yourself
like--a--speak! nor add a falsehood to your other faults and
follies.

CHARLES. My dear Father, I have used no deception except that of
changing my name. I am the deceived, not the deceiver. No one
present is as much surprised at seeing me, as I myself am at
finding myself thus. These fair Ladies kindly and willingly took
me in, and I see that, quite unwittingly, I have taken them in
also! I own that I merit your displeasure, but I will do so no
longer. I have received a lesson which I will not soon forget.
I will no longer run counter to your wishes, but return to the
counter for which you destined me. I have long devoted myself to
a-muse, but now I will learn to obey. I own that I too fondly
sought the giddy cheer of an applauding audience. Romance and
her knights had taken possession of my fancy, but I have found
the nights too cold, and the cheer too indifferent. I return
with humble regret to my loving Sire, and if he will receive me
a-gain, he may perhaps be able to make a-gain of me yet!

COL. Ah, you Rogue, you little merit that I should look at
you again. The Pretender, indeed! so farewell to my dreams of
fortune! I always thought it too good to be true. Ladies, I have
to beg a thousand pardons for my rudeness in breaking in....

CHARLES. I must bear that blame, my Father. Had I not broken
out, you would not have broken in.

HORATIA. Deceiving Wretch! could I for a moment....

CHARLES. No anger, fair Miss Ratty, we had enough of this
indignation at the brink of the vault, when you were near
falling out with me because I would not fall in with your ideas,
and fall into the vault.

DARESBY. Ah, Sophy, how you treated me!

SOPHIA. I thought it my duty, dearest.

DARESBY. I can pardon you anything; but that deceiving Ratty,
whose word I can never again believe....

CHARLES. No more of that, Daresby. The farce is ended, the mists
of mistake are clearing up, the reign of Folly must fall, let
not Anger survive its cause!

    Now that we have ended all this War of Words,
    And fall to drawing corks instead of swords,
    Now the Pretender may his Captors mock,
    And view with glee a match without the lock,
    Let each resentful thought and feeling cease,
    And General Harmony conclude the Piece!



CHAPTER V

A.D. 1847-1849

HOME LIFE


In 1847 a new interest entered the life of Charlotte Tucker. The three
little ones of her brother Robert and his wife,--Louis, Charley, and
Letitia,--came to live at No. 3, and were made her especial charge. All
of them, but particularly the pretty little dark-eyed Letitia, then only
two years old, were thenceforward as her own; first in her thoughts,
and among the first in her love. She taught them, trained them, devoted
herself to them; and their names will often be found in her letters. The
death of Letitia, nearly twenty years later, was one of the heaviest
sorrows she ever had to endure. One is disposed to think that the care
and responsibility of three little ones, undertaken in the midst of a
full and busy family life, and in addition to all the duties of that
life, could have been no sinecure, and must have been fraught with many a
difficulty.

The Tuckers were much in society, as may indeed have been already
gathered. Mr. Tucker was a man greatly sought after, alike on account of
his position and influence, and because of his personal attractiveness.
Open house was kept; and the large circle of friends and acquaintances
never failed to find a welcome. So many indeed would drop in and out,
that three lunches in succession were occasionally known to take place
at No. 3; and so frequent were the ‘parties’ to which the family was
invited, that sometimes they would appear at three different houses
in the course of one evening. ‘Party’ in those days was a wide term,
embracing divers kinds of entertainment, from a simple musical gathering
to a large ball.

Dinner-parties also were numerous. In reference to these, Charlotte
Tucker wrote rather drolly to her sister late in life, speaking
of--‘those formal affairs, which you and I remember in our earlier
days. We _must_ ask So-and-so; and how shall we find gentlemen to
counterbalance Mrs. and Miss out of one house? Slow concerns those great
dinner-parties were; a kind of social duty, which cost much trouble and
expense, and gave not much pleasure. A kind of very stiff jelly, with not
many strawberries in it.’

An amusing story is told about these large dinners. In those days
the custom of ‘drinking healths’ had gained sway to an absurd and
objectionable extent; gentlemen being expected to respond to every toast,
and not only to sip their wine, but very often to empty their glasses,
under pain of giving serious offence. Mr. Tucker always had by his side
a decanter of toast and water, from which his glass was filled for the
various toasts; and probably those not in the secret counted him a
marvellously hard-headed man. One day a guest requested leave to taste
this especial wine, which was kept for the host alone, supposing it to
be of some very rare and choice vintage. His request was immediately
complied with; and the face of the _bon-vivant_ may be imagined when he
discovered himself to be drinking toast-and-water.

No doubt these dinners _were_ a ‘social duty’; and no doubt some of them
may have been extremely dull. Yet it must not be supposed that Charlotte
did not thoroughly enjoy London society, and did not fully appreciate
intercourse with polished and intellectual minds. That which in her
old age would have been a mere weariness to her, was no weariness in
youth and early middle age. One of her brothers remarks: ‘She was very
sociable, lively, and threw her whole heart into the kindly entertaining
of guests of all ages.’ Such powers of entertaining as she possessed
could not but have gone with enjoyment in the use of those powers.

Moreover, the study of different characters, the drawing out of other
people’s thoughts, the gaining of new ideas for herself, must have had
some fascination. And, despite all her kindness, all her readiness to see
the best in everybody, she could not, with her keen sense of humour, have
failed to be a good deal amused with the various foibles and absurdities
which certain people are wont to display, even in the best society, and
when upon their most circumspect behaviour.

Ever merry, and ever making others merry, she could, as one friend
says, ‘keep a whole tableful laughing and talking,’ without difficulty.
In fact, whatever the dinner-parties may have seemed to herself, her
own presence, her bright smile and sparkling conversation, effectually
prevented sensations of dulness on the part of others who were there.

Whether Charlotte ever had what, in the language of fifty or sixty years
ago, was delicately termed a ‘preference’ for anybody, cannot be known.
Her hand was at least once sought in marriage, while she was still a
girl; and some signs seem to have been visible that she was disposed to
‘like’ the gentleman in question. Her parents, however, disapproved of
the match, and it came to nothing. If at any time she really were in
love, it is pretty certain that she never would have revealed the fact
to any mortal being until sure that her ‘preference’ was returned. The
reticence which was so marked a feature in her otherwise frank and open
nature would undoubtedly have had sway in this direction.

Speaking to a friend, long after in old age, she said that in her young
days ‘at home,’ when a certain nameless gentleman was supposed to be
paying his addresses to Fanny, the other sisters were ‘very indignant’
at the idea of any man wishing to break into their sisterly circle. This
probably preceded her own little affair, since Fanny was four years her
senior. The pretty notion of home-life and of the unbroken sisterly
circle had in time to yield before stern facts, as first one sister and
then a second proved faithless to nursery traditions.

Wide as was the circle of family acquaintances, the girls possessed few
intimate outside friends. Mr. Tucker rather discouraged such intimacies,
considering that his five daughters ought to be content with the close
companionship of one another. Charlotte had above all her Laura, whom she
devotedly loved; and so satisfying was this friendship that she probably
cared little for others by comparison.

Mrs. Tucker, in her quiet way, was no less a power in the house than was
her husband. Though less brilliantly gifted, she was very observant,
very quaint, very wise, a most affectionate Mother, intensely loved and
revered by all her children. She had her own peculiar mode of looking
upon things. For instance,--having noticed that girls in an evening
party, glancing at a mirror, were apt to be disquieted to find their
dresses disorganised, she resolved to have no mirrors at all in her
rooms, hoping thereby to secure greater peace of mind among her guests.
It does not seem to have occurred to her, that a vague uneasiness about
the state of their attire might possibly trouble them quite as much as
even an uncomfortable certainty.

Another short story of Mrs. Tucker, showing her quiet, incisive force
of character, may well come in here. She had a very strong objection
to unkind discussion of people behind their backs. On one occasion,
when in the drawing-room of a certain lady, other callers beside
herself were present, and one of the latter rose to leave. No sooner
was the unfortunate lady gone, than the hostess began to speak of her
in disparaging terms. Mrs. Tucker made no immediate observation; but
presently, turning to the hostess, she said mildly, ‘I ought to be
going,--but I really am afraid to do so.’ Much surprised, the other asked
why. ‘Because,’ Mrs. Tucker replied, ‘I am afraid that when I have left
the room you will begin to speak of me as you did just now of Mrs. ----.’
The courteously uttered reproof--a pretty sharp one, however gently
bestowed--was accepted in an equally courteous spirit; and the hostess
earnestly assured her that nothing of the kind should take place.

There is no need to imagine, because Charlotte was gay and bright in
society, that she never knew the meaning of depression. Shadows of loss
and sorrow had not yet begun to fall across her pathway; yet even in
those happy days she must have grasped the meaning of ‘down’ as well as
‘up.’ Rather curiously, she spoke of herself in old age as having been
when young ‘subject to very low spirits’; or more strictly, she said that
she would have been so subject, but for the counteracting influences of
‘religion’ and ‘work,’ the latter arising from the former. High spirits
seldom exist without some tendency to occasional re-action. But certainly
the sense of depression, whenever it may have assailed her, was not
allowed to be a weight upon others in her everyday life.

It was most likely somewhere between 1847 and 1849 that she began to feel
uneasy about going to certain kinds of amusement. Fanny was the first to
dwell upon this subject, and to be unhappy as to exactly what she ought
or ought not to do. Long years after Charlotte Tucker wrote: Sweet Fanny
suffered _much_ from her sensitiveness of conscience’; and the words may
perhaps in part have borne reference to such debatings as these.

Fanny’s gentle, yielding nature went no farther than being troubled. She
did not speak out. But when the same questionings spread to the younger
sister, matters were different. Charlotte was not one who would hesitate
as to action, in the face of her own conscience. To some extent here lies
the gist of the matter. While she could go with a clear and perfectly
easy conscience, able to enjoy herself, and untroubled by doubts, she
probably did so without harm to herself, so long as her life was not
‘given to pleasures,’ that is to say, so long as she did not unduly
_love_ these things, or allow them to occupy a wrong place in her life.
The moment conscience became uneasy, however, there was nothing for her
but to stand still and carefully to consider her next step. For ‘he that
doubteth is condemned if he eat,’ even though the eating may not be
actually and intrinsically evil. Whether or no the things were in their
essence wrong,--and to decide this, each thing would have to be regarded
apart, entirely on its own merits,--they became wrong for Charlotte, so
soon as she could no longer accept them with a free and happy mind. They
became wrong, at least, _unless_ she felt her doubts to be overridden by
the duty of obedience.

Fanny had doubted and hesitated; Charlotte doubted, and did not hesitate.
She went straight to her parents, told them frankly what she felt, and
asked whether she might give up going to such places of entertainment as
caused her uneasiness.

Wisely and generously Mr. and Mrs. Tucker yielded. If it had become a
matter of conscience with her, she might remain at home. Although they
did not view the question in precisely the same light, they would not
make their conscience the rule for her actions, but would leave her free
to be guided by the dictates of her own.

Had they not so responded, had they insisted on having her with them
still wherever they went, Charlotte would have given way. Hers was a high
ideal of filial submission; and though she had reached an age when she
had a right to an independent opinion, yet obedience to them ranked in
her mind before the necessity to decide for herself, in a question where
opinions might so greatly differ. If they desired her to go, she would
go. If the matter were left to herself, she would be on the safe side in
all cases which seemed to her dubious, and would remain at home.

There is little or nothing in her letters of that date bearing on this
subject; but the above seems to have been her manner of regarding it.
While feeling the need to draw for herself some line of demarcation
between things expedient and things inexpedient, she does not appear
to have fallen into the error, so common amongst really earnest and
excellent people, of counting that the line which she rightly drew for
herself must of necessity be the only right line for everybody else. Such
a view leads to many a harsh and un-Christian judgment. What is dangerous
for one may not be perilous for another, who is differently constituted.
What is needless for one may be an absolute duty for another, who is in
quite a different position. Probably Charlotte saw this. It is worth
remarking that, while she kept aloof from many entertainments out of
the house, she never, either then or in later years, refused to join in
home-parties, or failed to do her utmost to entertain the guests. There
was nothing morbid or repellent about the development of her sense of
duty.

TO MISS D. LAURA TUCKER.

                                               ‘_July 12, 1848._

    ‘You are my lovely, loving, and lovable Laura; a Diamond among
    gems, and a Rosebud among flowers. Why do you mention so often
    the mere handwriting of your letters? Do you think that I see
    anything in them but the kindness of her who has, in the midst
    of all her engagements, found so much time to devote to me? My
    own Mother too--how very good to me she has been! I am grateful
    to her for all her most kind endeavours to set my mind quite at
    ease on the subject of the poor little Robins....

    ‘We have taken it into our heads that, what between music and
    teaching and writing and visiting, _you_ may have more work on
    your hands than may suit your taste. Under this idea, Fanny,
    like a dear Quixote as she is, formed a grand plan of rushing
    up to town on Thursday by coach with uncle Charlton, who
    happened to be coming, and turning you off the music-stool, or
    snatching the spelling frame from your delicate hand instanter.

    ‘But I opposed this double-quick march for several reasons,
    which I hope you may think cogent. In the first place, I hope
    that you are not _so_ hard-worked that it would be too much
    for you for a few days more to go on with only the assistance
    of the fair Sibella and Clara. 2ndly, The country seems really
    doing sweet Fan good. She told me yesterday that she did not
    know when she had felt so well. I too am perfectly well. 3rdly,
    I think at your full table on Friday our room would be better
    than our company. 4thly, We are engaged to take tea with Mrs.
    Edgecombe on that day. 5thly, For Fanny to start off by coach
    and me to follow by fly, would appear to me both an extravagant
    and extraordinary procedure. So, after all these reasons, I
    thought that we had better fix on Saturday for the day of our
    departure, until I heard that Aunt _must_ come up to Town on
    Monday. She offered to take us up with her, but as it would of
    course be more agreeable to her to come with _us_, I think that
    we shall find ourselves in dear old Portland Place on Monday
    morning.

    ‘I am so much obliged to dearest Mamma for her kind intention
    of taking me to Thalberg’s splendid Concert on Monday. It would
    really give me more pleasure if I might present my ticket to
    dear Fanny Lanzun, who has been all kindness and attention to
    us. You know how we wished that _one_ of our family might hear
    Jenny Lind. Now I can hear through your ears; and none of the
    Lanzuns have had that treat, you know.’

TO MISS D. L. TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Oct. 13, 1848._

    ‘Many thanks for your last sweet note to me, and kind consent
    to fill my place.... I do hope that you may not find teaching
    the wearisome task which I sometimes do. Perhaps Aunt Laura
    may succeed better in fixing the attention of her little
    pupils. At all events, _I_ am grateful to you for undertaking
    the trouble. You are dear to a sister’s heart, sweet Laura, and
    I hope that you are one of the blessings for which I am _not_
    unthankful....

    ‘I had two delightful games of chess yesterday with my dear
    Father.... What an awful state Vienna is in! Is not the murder of
    Count Latour dreadful?’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Oct. 10, 1849._

    ‘Another sweet note from my darling Laura. I am rich in letters
    to-day, for I have received three such nice ones.

    ‘Yesterday evening I spent about an hour at the piano. I did
    not, however, sing any of your especial songs. I began one
    day--‘The world is so bright’--but my heart and voice failed,
    because you were away. However, I daresay that I shall try
    again this evening. How it would cut up my music, were you to
    go to any great distance, for most of my favourite songs are
    yours. How I have enjoyed hearing you sing them.... Farewell,
    sweet Laura. I must go and hear my children their lessons. I
    hear their little feet and voices above me.’



CHAPTER VI

A.D. 1847-1850

GRAVITY AND FUN


Though verging now on her thirtieth year, Charlotte Tucker was still
unknown to the public as an Author. If the initials A. L. O. E. existed
in her mind as a future possibility, they had at least not yet appeared
upon any printed page.

From time to time, however, her pen was busy; still in the old line
of comic or tragic plays, for home amusement. In 1847 she wrote _The
Castle of Sternalt; a Tragedy in Two Acts_; belonging to the Cavalier
and Roundhead period of England’s history. In that same year she also
accomplished _Grimhaggard Hall; a Farce in Two Acts_--not historical,
but highly comic. After which came apparently a gap of two or three
years; and in 1850 she wrote, _Who Was The Witch? a Drama in Three
Acts_--historical again, belonging to the days of the Saxons and of King
Harold, half comic, half tragic.

It does not appear from these three plays that her gift in the dramatic
line had made any marked advance during the ten years or more which had
elapsed since first she launched out in this direction. Probably an
entirely different mode of life from hers, a less sheltered existence,
a more extensive knowledge of human nature in its countless phases, is
an absolute necessity to such development. There is in them much latent
power, however unequal and undeveloped, whether it be of the grave or
of the sparkling and humorous description. The following quotation from
the _Castle of Sternalt_ will give an idea of her tragic style at that
period. Ravensby, the hero, is a Cavalier, imprisoned and condemned to
death on a false charge of murder.

ACT IV.--SCENE I.

A DUNGEON.

    RAVENSBY.
        ‘Th’ intensity of grief destroys itself.
         The torturer beholds his Victim stretched
         Unconscious, pain itself o’ercome by pain.
         Fate dooms me now to death; last punishment
         Which mortal can inflict,--and yet I feel
         There’s mercy in the doom. Thus to live on
         Were lingering martyrdom; it were to die
         By inches, drain my heart’s blood drop by drop.
         One flash ends all! O Clara, when my soul
         Hath ceased to suffer, can it cease to love?
         Methinks, when quitting Earth, ’twill still retain
         Her image, who was more than Earth to me!
         It is a portion of my being, twined
         With every thought and feeling; thou wilt weep,
         My Clara; thou canst not believe him false
         To faith and friends, who is so true to thee.
         Gazing into the uncorrupted depths
         Of thy pure feelings, thou wilt judge of mine.
         When all denounced me, thou wert still my friend
         When all forget, thou wilt remember still!

                         _Enter AGNES._

    AGNES, _aside_.
         I ne’er have feared the eye of mortal man,
         Why should I shrink from his?

    RAV. Who comes to break
         The prisoner’s solitude?

    AGN. One who would be
         The prisoner’s friend.

    RAV. I have no friend--save one.

    AGN. Can he speak thus who hath so long espoused
         The Royal cause, and served that cause so well?
         Who, girt with honours, well deserved, hath stood
         One in a noble Brotherhood of Fame!
         Where are the Cavaliers who fought with thee
         In battle, side by side, who with thee shared
         The feast, and drained the wine-cup to your King?
         Where are they now? what, gone? not one remains,
         T’assert thy innocence, or shield thee from
         An ignominious death. Friends! out upon them!
         They mock the name; it were not thus, if thou
         Hadst drawn thy gallant sword with those who wear
         No chains but those of Virtue, those who own
         No earthly Monarch, and uphold no power
         But that of Liberty; whose friendship lasts
         Not only when the red wine sparkles high,
         And revelry and song profane the night;
         If such had been thy comrades and thy friends,
         Thou hadst not been forsaken thus.

    RAV. No more!

    AGN. The gate thou hast defended with thy blood,
         To-morrow casts thee forth, led out to die;
         And the proud towers coldly will look down
         Upon the closing scene; for hearts more hard
         And more impregnable decree thy doom.
         Thou diest a traitor’s death;--but wert thou _ours_,
         Then ev’ry bush around the fatal spot
         Should hold an armed defender, ev’ry knoll
         Conceal an ambushed friend, and at a word
         A wall of steel should bristle round thy breast;
         Then swords should clash with swords, and they who came
         To shed thy blood lie weltering in their own.
         If thou wert ours--and yet thou mayst be ours,----

    RAV. Cease, for I know thee, Temptress; words like these
         Betray the fair false lips from which they flow.
         Thou’rt Agnes, own it,--Gasper Tarlton’s love.

    AGN. Agnes I am, not Gasper Tarlton’s love.
         The thistledown that floats upon the breeze,
         The thorny weed which from my path I spurn,
         The insect which I crush beneath my tread,
         Are not to me more insignificant,
         More worthless--than the Slave whom thou hast named.

    RAV. Thank Heaven! then my last doubt melts away;
         He yet is true, yet faithful to his King;
         My sacrifice will not be made for nought.
         Maid, he is honoured in thy hate!

    AGN. And thou----

    RAV. Leave me.

    AGN. To perish!

    RAV. Thou canst not defend.

    AGN. I could,--yes, I could arm in thy behalf
         A thousand gallant hands, might I but say,
         ‘The injured will on the oppressor turn,
         Unite the love of freedom with revenge,
         A thousand-fold repay the debt he owes
         To your brave confidence; in Ravensby
         Ye will destroy a foe and win a friend!’
         Could I speak thus----

    RAV. Thy sex protects thee, Maid,
         Or thou shouldst learn the meed of treason. Hence!

    AGN. From other lips such words I had not borne.
         Why should I thus urge life upon thee,--why
         Seek to preserve thee in thine own despite?
         O thou art worthy of a nobler cause;
         I see in thee one who can nobly dare,
         Firmly resolve, and boldly execute;--
         And what a bright career before thee lies----

    RAV. A brief one,--from the dungeon to the tomb.

    AGN. To die a Traitor in the eyes of men.

    RAV. Better than live a villain in my own.
         Depart, and leave me to my fate. Away!

    AGN. O brave and glorious! I will tempt no more.
         My pride is humbled. I have found a soul
         That soars beyond mine own. I would not rob
         Thy pinion of one plume. I watch thy flight
         With kindling emulation. O for power
         To follow it, that I above this sphere
         Might rise; companion, not unworthy thee!

    RAV. A step approaches.

    AGN. None must see me here. [_Retires into shade._]

Agnes in the end confesses herself guilty of the crime for which he is
condemned to death;--in time to save his name from lasting disgrace,
though not in time to save his life.

_Who Was The Witch?_ though in parts amusing enough, is hardly so good
as the others. Modern English puns sit oddly upon a background of
pre-mediæval Saxon history. _Grimhaggard Hall_ is perhaps one of A. L.
O. E.’s most comic and laughable _jeux-d’esprit_, over which one can
picture the family as enjoying many a hearty laugh. The perpetual play
upon words, and the almost rollicking fun and nonsense of the whole,
remind one of her earlier effort, _The Pretender_, already given at
length; though the later-written farce is in some respects scarcely equal
to the girlish achievement. Both these plays illustrate well the frisky
and frolicsome side of a character which was in some respects not only
intensely serious, but absolutely stern. Charlotte Tucker’s was truly a
many-sided nature.

Whether at this time she had already begun to write anything in the shape
of children’s story-books does not appear. It is by no means unlikely,
since the date of her first appearance in print was now fast drawing near.

The chief characters in _Grimhaggard Hall_ are--Mr. Cramp; Mr. Scull, an
artist; Mr. Wriggle, a tutor; Miss Cob; and Nellie, daughter of Mr. Cramp.

                             ACT I.

     _Library in Grimhaggard Hall. Nellie and Mr. Wriggle._

    NELLIE. O my dear old Tutor, I shall be so sorry to lose you! I
    wish that my good Father had kept to his old plan, and instead
    of sending Bob to College had kept both you and him here. This
    house is so intolerably dull. When you are gone I shall sit
    looking at the old stones in the old wall, till I petrify into
    one myself. Why, the very spiders’ webs look as though there
    were no business doing in them, and not a _fly_ nor even a
    _broom_ would call at the door! Heigh-ho!

    WRIG. You forget, honoured Madam, the governess, Miss Cob, who
    is expected here to-morrow.

    NELL. A governess; the horror! then I hear that she is
    an oddity; so absent; very learned though, and extremely
    well-informed. I am rather old for a governess; I was seventeen
    last March. It would have been quite a different thing to have
    gone on with my studies here with you and Bob. Do you know
    that, without vanity, I consider that I have made amazing
    progress during the month that you have been here?

    WRIG. In Geography, Madam, for instance. Let me have the honour
    of recalling to your oblivious memory that only yesterday you
    forgot the situation of Guinea.

    NELL. Nonsense! I said that it was on the _Gold_ Coast, and
    wished I had it in my own pocket.

    WRIG. I have remarked with regret, if you will permit me to say
    it, an aversion to consulting the Atlas, which----

    NELL. Keep me from you and your atlas! Atlas carried the world,
    and you would burden me with the Atlas. I hardly consider
    myself competent yet to carry the whole globe on my poor little
    shoulders. I should like to know what is the use of knowing the
    situation of this place and that place, to one who never has
    the satisfaction of seeing any place at all beyond the walls
    of our stupid garden. I wish that the cross old gentleman who
    bequeathed my father Grimhaggard Hall, had lived to repent it,
    that I do! I would rather live in the narrowest lane in the
    City than be cooped up here like a toad in a block. I’ve no
    fancy to be a Penelope,--stitch, stitch, stitch!

    WRIG. Penelope was a distinguished ornament to her sex.

    NELL. O dear Tutor, I know that she was a duck of a queen, but
    distinguished for nothing but her _web-feat_.

    WRIG. The resource of literature remains to you, Madam, which
    was never open to her. I would again venture to draw your
    attention to the subject of Geography.

    NELL. O no more of that, I beg, my dear Mr. Wriggle. I know
    that _Ham_ and _Sandwich_ are in the kitchen, _China_ in the
    cupboard, and _Madeira_ in the cellar. That is enough for me.
    I regard Geography simply in reference to utility. I’m quite a
    utilitarian by principle. You know that the greatest navigator
    was a _Cook_; I dare say that he discovered _Chili_, _Cayenne_,
    and _Curaçoa_. Now do you know, my wise old Tutor, in spite of
    your white hair and all your learning, I think that I could
    puzzle you.

    WRIG. It would be difficult, Madam, to place a limit to your
    powers.

    NELL. Tell me, why is Botany Bay called Botany Bay?

    WRIG. I am not, I must own, aware from what the name is
    derived. Probably the Botanist has there discovered some new
    and curious specimens of plants.

    NELL. O you must have come from _Dunse_ or the _Scilly_ Isles.
    Botany Bay is called Botany Bay, because blossoms of the
    _birch_ and sprigs of the _gallows-tree_ are transplanted there
    _without their leaves_.

    WRIG. I see! I see! Ha, ha!

    NELL. I wonder if Miss Cob will understand a joke,--if she will
    ever perpetrate a pun. Do you know I fancy her such a prim old
    quiz? I should like to know whether she will play at chess with
    Papa, or teach me the guitar, as you do. Do you think that she
    will endure this house?

    WRIG. The total want of all society, except that which the
    walls of Grimhaggard Hall have the honour constantly to
    enclose, may perhaps have an effect upon the lady’s spirits
    not altogether exhilarating; but when your brother returns
    from College, perhaps he may be accompanied by some of his
    fellow-students.

    NELL. Students; what an idea! When my Father would sooner see a
    Goblin than a young man under any circumstances!

    WRIG. Is not this rather a peculiar--rather a singular--I would
    say prejudice? Could such a word be applicable to the excellent
    Mr. Cramp?

    NELL. I should say very singular indeed, did I not know its
    cause.

    WRIG. Is it presumptuous to inquire what that cause may be?

    NELL. O I’ll tell you in a moment. It all arises out of the
    freaks and folly of Mr. Grim of Grimhaggard Hall, who had, I
    am sorry to say, the kindness to leave us this property, and
    thereby consigned me to the dolefuls for the rest of my life.

    WRIG. Was the estate bequeathed under any unpleasant
    conditions? I never heard your respected father complain of
    such.

    NELL. O it is all _right_ to my father because it was all
    _left_ to him. But you shall hear. This Mr. Grim had a
    promising nephew, ... and this nephew, Mr. Atherton by name, was
    very naturally considered as Mr. Grim’s heir, the old gentleman
    never having persuaded any lady to marry him, and reign like
    another Proserpine over the gloomy shades of Grimhaggard Hall.

    WRIG. How then came the estate to your Father?

    NELL. Have a little patience, my dear Mr. Wriggle, and you
    shall be as learned as myself upon the subject. Well, this old
    uncle quarrelled with this young nephew. I think that it was
    about politics or some such absurdity; the elder was a Tory
    and the junior a Radical; no, the young one was the Tory, and
    the old one the Radical; and this _radical_ question was the
    _root_ of the quarrel. Now what do you think the spiteful old
    gentleman did?

    WRIG. Disinherited his nephew, and left the property to Mr.
    Cramp.

    NELL. That would have been a pretty severe lesson to the young
    man; but what do you say to the affectionate uncle leaving such
    a clause as this in his will? That my father must only have
    and hold this said Grimhaggard Hall, on condition of poor Mr.
    Atherton’s never even crossing the threshold of what he once
    considered his home! The place must be perfectly _heir_-tight.
    If he ever passes twelve hours under this roof, the whole
    estate is to revert to him.

    WRIG. Such a clause argues little charity; but perhaps it may
    ultimately prove for the benefit of him whom it was designed to
    injure.

    NELL. Ah, you think that Mr. Atherton may still manage to
    get his property out of his old uncle’s _clause_! I am sure
    I wish that Mr. Grim had left the dull place to him, or any
    one but us; but then my Father is not of my mind. Yet even he
    has not an atom of enjoyment of his prize, from the perpetual
    fear of losing it. He has heard that young Atherton is very
    sharp and clever; of course he will try to regain his rights
    by any means that may present themselves; so I really believe
    that Papa expects him to appear some day or other through the
    key-hole. The gate is kept constantly locked,--luckily, one
    can see the high-road from the house,--nothing in the shape
    of a Man is permitted to pass it; we have even parted with
    all men-servants, lest Mr. Atherton should manage to get in
    disguised as a lackey. Grimhaggard Hall is a regular Convent. A
    travelling pedlar is regarded with suspicion; the butcher-boy
    must hand the leg of mutton over the gate; the young apothecary
    is an object of terror,--I could not have a tooth pulled out,
    were I to die for it. Dear me, how it is raining! The weather
    seems endeavouring to find out whether it be possible to make
    Grimhaggard Hall look a little duller than usual.

    WRIG. I hope Miss Cob may be fortunate in having finer weather
    for her journey to-morrow.

    NELL. She is on the road to-day, like John Gilpin’s hat and
    wig. She was to leave Puddingham this morning, and rest
    to-night at the Jolly Bridecake at Mouseton. I hope the coach
    is provided with oar and rudders, for she will certainly have
    to swim for it!...

In the midst of this talk an artist’s gig is smashed outside the front
gate; and the artist, Mr. Scull, being much shaken, is actually admitted
within the walls of the old Hall, to the great disquiet of Mr. Cramp, who
is determined that, come what may, the young man shall not remain through
the night. It is a pelting day, and no other conveyance seems likely
to pass; while the artist is plainly unable to walk the distance which
separates Grimhaggard Hall from the next town. While this matter is still
under discussion, a ring at the front-door bell is heard, and ‘a woman
of very singular appearance’ is seen ‘standing in the rain, without an
umbrella, as if water were her native element.’

    NELL. Who can it be? [_Runs to the window._] Why, how tall she
    is! she looks as though she had grown a foot since that dress
    was made for her. What an extraordinary figure! Why, Sarah is
    actually letting her in. Papa, we have not had so many visitors
    since we came here. Grimhaggard Hall is growing quite gay.

    CRAMP. I will go and meet this strange guest. [_Exit._]

    NELL. It cannot be--it cannot be Miss Cob! Such a governess
    would kill me either with terror or with laughter.

    WRIG. You were in expectation, Madam, of some one remarkable
    for eccentricity. We must not always judge of the qualities of
    the mind by the singularity of the exterior.

    _Enter MR. CRAMP and MISS COB._

    CRAMP. Miss Cob,--my daughter. [_NELLY makes a curtsey, MISS
    COB a bow._]

    NELL. [_Aside to WRIGGLE._] I shall never keep my countenance.

    WRIG. [_Aside._] That is to be regretted, for it is a very fair
    one.

    CRAMP. We did not expect you to-night, Ma’am. Did you not
    purpose sleeping at Mouseton?

    MISS C. The inn was chock-full.

    CRAMP. But how came you to be on foot? You never have walked
    all the way! Where is your conveyance? It would be of the
    utmost service to me.

    MISS C. Smashed on the road.

    CRAMP. Well, if all the gigs and cabs in England are not in
    coalition against me this day! And where is your luggage?

    MISS C. Coming. You did not expect me to carry it on my back,
    like a snail, did ye?

    WRIG. Miss Cob, like an experienced general, leaves her baggage
    in the rear.

    NELL. I should rather have expected to find it in the _van_.
    You are very wet, Ma’am; shall I help you off with your cloak?

    MISS C. O never mind. I’m neither sugar nor salt; only it’s a
    plaguy thing to have one’s dress so long, walking through such
    a bog.

    NELL. [_Aside._] How _long_ she may have had her dress, I know
    not; but in one sense I am sure it is short enough.

    MISS C. This seems a good big house, but rather too much like a
    prison. Have you those bars on all the windows?

    CRAMP. On all.

    MISS C. And how many men-servants do you keep?

    CRAMP. None at all. [_Aside._] What impertinent curiosity!

    NELL. [_Aside._] Shall I venture to address her again? I can
    scarcely command myself. [_Aloud._] Pray, Ma’am, are you fond
    of music?

    MISS C. I’m a regular dab at it.

    NELL. What instrument do you play?

    MISS C. All sorts of instruments, from the drum to the Jew’s
    harp.

    NELL. You don’t play the cornopion?

    MISS C. Like bricks,--and sing all the time. You shall hear me
    to-morrow. [_All stare in mute amazement._]

    CRAMP. May I trouble you, Ma’am, to let me see your letter of
    introduction from Lady Myres again?

    MISS C. Heartily welcome. You will read all about me there.
    Full details of manners and accomplishments. She says I’m a
    little absent sometimes; so if ever I make a few trifling
    blunders, I hope you’ll set them down to that score.

    NELL. [_Aside to WRIGGLES._] I wish she were absent now, for I
    think I shall die in convulsions.

    MISS C. I’ll teach you all sorts of things suitable for a lady.
    Knitting, netting,--crow--crowfoot ...

    WRIG. I see that nothing is beyond your apprehension.

    MISS C. What do you say about _apprehension_? Are you a police
    officer?

    WRIG. No, Madam, I am a humble Professor of Geography, Geology,
    Algebra, and ...

    MISS C. O I’m a match for you in all that, and I know Latin,
    Greek, and American besides.

    WRIG. And what tongue, Madam, do you prefer?

    MISS C. O I’m not particular about those sort of things; but if
    you want my opinion, why I think pickled tongues are excellent.

    WRIG. [_Turning away laughing._] This is either too bad or too
    good! [_Aloud._] And your other studies, Ma’am?

    MISS C. As for Arithmetics, they’re at my fingers’-ends.

    NELL. I have not yet got beyond the Rule of Three.

    MISS C. You shall know the Rule of Four-and-twenty, before I
    have done with you. We’ll skip the 4, 5, and 6.

    NELL. And the Rule of Three inverse?

    MISS C. In verse? Yes, you shall have it in all sorts of verse,
    merry, tragical, and comical.

    NELL. [_Aside._] I shall expire with laughter. [_Retires to the
    window._]

    WRIG. [_Aside._] I really cannot stand this any longer.
    [_Follows her._]

    SCULL (the artist). Pray, Madam, may I venture to ask if you
    paint?

    MISS C. You are a very impudent fellow, to ask a gentle--woman
    if she paints. Do I look as if I painted?

    SCULL. I beg a million pardons, Ma’am, but as I paint myself ...

    MISS C. You paint precious badly then, for you’re as yellow as
    a cowslip!

    CRAMP. [_Aside._] Is the woman intoxicated or insane?

    SCULL. I think--I imagine that there is a little
    misapprehension, Ma’am, on your part. My vocation is that of an
    artist.

    NELL. O Miss Cob, you must see his sketches.

    SCULL. You see, Ma’am, there is a new work to come out at
    Christmas, which is to be entitled,--_The Mouse on the
    Mantelpiece_. The letterpress is in very able hands,--a very
    pretty little fairy-tale for grown-up children,--that’s
    all the rage now, you know, in this enlightened age. But
    the illustrations will be the great thing. A steel-plate
    frontispiece, of course, in which will be introduced a number
    of winged mice in a variety of positions,--a very clever thing,
    I can assure you; and then wood-cuts,--I have the honour of
    being intrusted with the designs for them. We are to have a
    different illustration for the top of every column.

    NELL. That will no doubt be _capital_.

    SCULL. It will form a very elegant little volume
    altogether,--the most remarkable publication of the day.

    MISS C. Well, after my wet walk, I think I’d be the better for
    something to warm me.

    NELL. You shall have some tea directly, Ma’am.

    MISS C. Tea! Wishy-washy stuff!

    NELL. Would you prefer gruel?

    MISS C. Gruel! I wish you joy of your fare!

    NELL. [_Aside._] The fair Arithmetician looks as though she
    would not have 3 _Scruples to a Dram_!

    CRAMP. I dare say Miss Cob is fatigued after her long walk.
    Nelly, show her the apartment. I hope everything is comfortable
    there.

    NELL. Certainly, Papa. [_Aside to WRIGGLE._] At any rate, I
    will venture to say that her room is better than her company.
    [_Exeunt NELLY and MISS COB._]

And so on,--the wind-up of the story being that Miss Cob is found to be a
burglar in woman’s disguise; while the artist is a harmless nobody. But
elderly Wriggles, the tutor, who has lived quietly in the house for a
month past, and of whom even Mr. Cramp has had no suspicions, turns out
to be the much dreaded nephew, and to him by right Grimhaggard Hall now
appertains. As, however, he has managed to fall deeply in love with the
punning heroine, all difficulties are solved by their marriage,--Nellie
being equally in love with him. Thus the nephew gains the old home, and
the uncle does not lose it.



CHAPTER VII

A.D. 1849-1853

THE FIRST GREAT SORROW, AND THE FIRST BOOK


It must have been at about this time that Charlotte became increasingly
anxious for more of definite outdoor work among the poor. Her wish was
to be allowed to visit in the Marylebone Workhouse; but difficulties for
a while barred her way. Mr. Tucker objected strongly, fearing the risk
of infectious diseases for his daughters; and no doubt the risk in those
days was far greater than in these, considering the then condition of
Workhouses generally.

So long as permission was refused, Charlotte seems to have contented
herself with the simple duties of home-life. She was not one who would
restlessly fight for and insist upon her own way at all costs, under
the plea of doing what was right. Rather, one may be sure, she counted
the prohibition as in itself sufficient indication of the Divine Will.
However, while submitting, she probably used from time to time some
little pressure to bring about another state of things; and somewhere
about the beginning of 1851 her parents’ ‘reluctant consent’ was, we are
told, at length given. From that time she and Fanny visited regularly in
the Workhouse.

In 1849 Charlotte’s eldest sister, Sibella, was married to the Rev.
Frederick Hamilton, for some time Curate to Mr. Garnier, the Vicar of
Holy Trinity Church, which they all regularly attended. Mr. Garnier and
his wife, Lady Caroline, were especial friends of Charlotte, through
many a long year. Thus the first break in the charmed circle of sisters
was made; and Fanny was now ‘Miss Tucker,’ Charlotte being the second
home-daughter.

Until the spring of 1850 Mr. Tucker kept his health and vigour to a
marvellous extent for a man eighty years old,--for one too who had worked
more or less hard through life from the age of fourteen or fifteen. He
still attended to his India House business, not seeming to find it too
much for his strength; and in the April of that year, after making a
speech in Court, he was congratulated by a brother-Director upon the
force and energy with which he had spoken. ‘Ah,’ he replied, ‘it is only
the last flicker of the taper before it goes out.’

No one had noticed aught to be wrong with him, but perhaps he had himself
been conscious of failing power. Soon afterwards a sharp attack of fever
and inflammation laid him low, and most serious fears for his life were
felt. It was a time of terrible suspense to his own family; not least so
to Charlotte, who had always loved him with an intense devotion. Probably
few fathers are quite so devotedly beloved as was old Mr. Tucker; but not
many men, and especially not many men of his years, can throw themselves
into the interests and amusements of their children, as he was able to do.

They had till then hardly realised how suddenly the call might come. As
his biographer says, he had been always ‘so full of life, there had been
so much activity of body, so much energy of mind, so much elasticity of
spirit, that they had never associated with all this vitality a thought
of the stillness of death.’ Now, without warning, the foe was at their
very door; and the shadow of his great danger weighed heavily upon them
all.

In answer to many prayers he was given back to them again, just for a
little while. But they could never quite forget how nearly he had been
taken from them, how unexpectedly the great separation might come.

Another event of 1850 was the marriage of Charlotte’s brother, William
Tucker, at Brussels. It came almost immediately upon Mr. Tucker’s rally
from his severe illness; and Charlotte had the pleasure of being taken
to Brussels for the wedding by her brother, St. George Tucker, then
home for a short time from India. It would be interesting to know her
first impressions of the Continent, but not many letters of this date
are available. The two which follow are among the last belonging to her
unshadowed younger life, before the true meaning of loss and sorrow had
dawned upon her. One black cloud had gathered and dispersed; but it was
soon to roll up again; and then the storm would break.

                                                ‘_Oct. 3, 1850._

    ‘DEAREST LAURA,--We have finished the volume of stories which
    we were reading--which by the way resembled the pottles of
    strawberries sold in the streets, capital at the beginning, but
    as one gets further on, miserably inferior--and now Fanny has
    gone to her dear Will-making, so I keep her pen in company by
    writing to you. I soon knocked off my Will, and we have just
    the same sum to dispose of, but her large sheets of paper are
    not covered yet.

    ‘Now what shall I write to you about, dear--for we write so
    often that it is impossible that we should often have much
    to write about? The sun shines one day, and does not shine
    another; the sea is rough one morning and calm the next. I may
    have to follow the style of Letitia in her well-known note,
    “sometimes we pass Fummity, and sometimes we do not.” Things go
    on quietly, nothing changed but my half-sovereign. I had to buy
    new ribbons for Letitia to-day, and fear that I shall have to
    supply the children with fresh gloves.

    ‘I have been reading about our poor friend, the first of the
    Blacks, to-day; and it appears that his character was very
    fairly drawn by Miss Martineau. I was glad to know a little
    about the after doings in Hayti, and find that Dessalines--that
    fierce fellow, husband of Theresa--was made first Emperor,
    and killed in about two years. He was a great savage, but
    his wife an amiable lady. Then came King Henri I.--our
    friend Christopher the Cook--who was king at the time that
    my informant wrote, that is to say, in 1819. A famous king
    he seems to be, or have been, with a good palace, standing
    army of 25,000 men kept in strict discipline, a hereditary
    aristocracy--all of the colour of coal--and ecclesiastical
    establishment. He was considered in person very much like King
    George III.--barring complexion, I suppose--and, in short,
    that part of Hayti which owned him for king seemed in a very
    flourishing condition in 1819.

    ‘Do you remember the name of Thaurepas (?), the blacky General
    who weakly surrendered his post to the French? What do you
    think the grateful Monsieurs did to him? Nailed epaulettes on
    his shoulders and a cocked hat on his head, and then threw him
    with his wife and children into the sea! Would one believe
    such things of men in the 19th century? I should like to know
    something of the present state of Hayti, and whether the throne
    is filled by a son of Henri I., for I suppose that Christopher
    is hardly living still. If he were, would you not like to have
    his autograph?

    ‘I have told you all this about Hayti, because I thought
    that, like myself, you would be pleased to know what really
    became of the characters in Miss Martineau’s Romance, and one
    seldom meets with a book which throws any light upon such an
    out-of-the-way subject.’

                                               ‘_Oct. 18, 1850._

    ‘DEAREST LAURA,--We have been luxuriating in the letters from
    Paris.... All things look so bright and joyous! I have twice sung
    “The World is so Bright” to-day _con amore_, and my heart is
    so lightsome that I could dance. I do not think that I have
    _once_ seen precious Father dull since my return. He desires me
    to say that he cannot quite countenance a visit to Lebanon. It
    is rather too far, and Lord Ellesmere was very ill on his way
    thither; so dear ---- must give up her Blackbeard, and content
    herself with Sir Peter. Now Mamma is reading St. George’s note.
    Papa is smiling away,--his dear lips apart. He looks so nice in
    Clara’s beautiful cap!

    ‘Henry thinks so much of you, dear. He says that you are a
    sweet girl, and that he loves you extremely. I cannot tell you
    all the kind things he says of you....

    ‘We are such a comfortable party, and our loved absent ones
    help to make us more so.... This is a very disconnected sort of
    note, a sort of patchwork, for my ears are as much employed
    as my hand, and I have every now and then a message to darn
    in,--then, O my chilblains! But I am determined to complain
    of nothing, for I am so overloaded with blessings. Dearest
    Parents are just going out. The weather is delicious. The world
    is so bright, the world is so fair! Yes, even now, when she has
    only a wreath of dahlias, and decks herself in yellow like the
    sweet little Blossom!...

    ‘I should like to think that our dear trio are enjoying
    themselves as much at Paris as I am at home. I hope and trust
    that we may all have such a happy winter together, when “Love’s
    shining circlet” has all its gems complete except the dear
    Indian absentees.’

This was written in the autumn following Mr. Tucker’s dangerous illness.
After a long and tedious convalescence, his health had steadily improved
through the summer months, and during the autumn he seemed to be almost
himself again,--able to walk out regularly, able to read much and
thoroughly to enjoy being read to by his wife and daughters. In the
evenings he would delight in their music, varied by merry talk and by an
occasional rubber of whist.

With the coming of winter acute neuralgic pains took possession of him;
and though some little improvement was seen with the advent of spring, it
was not permanent. In the end of May 1851 he was taken to Brighton for a
few days’ change; after which he became worse and then again better. Amid
these fluctuations, which included at times very severe suffering, his
manly courage and patience were never known to fail.

On the tenth of June he seemed so far improved as to talk of going next
day to the India House, for the Wednesday’s Council. The Doctor strongly
opposed this; and Mr. Tucker went instead to a Flower-Show, with his
daughters. For two days afterward he seemed particularly well. On Friday
night there was no apparent change for the worse; and his usual tender
good-night to them all had in it no shadow of approaching calamity.

But the end was at hand. Before morning sharp illness had seized upon
him; and before twelve o’clock he had passed away.

It was a heavy blow to all who knew him; above all to his wife and
children. He had been the very life of the house, the very spring of
home-brightness. Charlotte’s little niece, Bella Frances, daughter of
the elder brother, Henry Carre Tucker, came to spend her first English
holidays in the house, not long after Mr. Tucker’s death, and she found
the whole family ‘plunged in gloom,’--Charlotte Tucker being exceedingly
sad and grave. The only one, indeed, of the whole party who was able to
speak cheerfully was Laura. It is probable that Laura had at that date a
dawning outside interest in her life, not possessed by any of the others,
which may have enabled her to bear up somewhat better than they could.

Many months earlier, after the sharp illness of the preceding year, Mr.
Tucker had written a letter to all his children, thanking them for their
‘late unwearied and devoted attentions’ to him. After desiring them
‘not to give way to strong emotions,’ he had gone on to say,--‘I have
reached a very advanced age, and must be prepared for a change. Old age
has its infirmities and suffering, and a prolonged existence is not to
be desired. Your care should now be to comfort and console your beloved
mother, who has been everything to me and everything to you all. I trust
that she will not leave this house, in which we have all enjoyed so much
happiness; and I feel assured that you will all tenderly watch over her,
and contribute by every means in your power to her future comfort.’

This wish was fulfilled. Mrs. Tucker never did leave No. 3 Upper Portland
Place, except of course for necessary change. It remained her home, and
the home of her daughters, from the year 1851, when her husband died,
until her own death in the year 1869.

How much of life’s sunshine had been swept out of Charlotte’s life by
the loss of her Father, it is perhaps impossible for any one to estimate
who did not personally know Mr. Tucker. Not that _all_ her sunshine
had departed! Apart from her own inherent elasticity of spirit, she
was devotedly attached to her Mother; and she had still the tender and
satisfying companionship of Laura.

That while deeply saddened, she was not crushed, is shown by the
following letter to her little niece, Bella F. Tucker, dated August 9,
1851:--

    ‘The sun has been shining so beautifully lately, and the
    reapers have been busy in the fields. It is a sight to warm
    the heart, to see the yellow sheaves covering the land, and
    we should bless God for an abundant harvest. There is a
    clover-field near us, and it looks like a beautiful carpet of
    lilac and green. I was calculating that there must be more than
    two million blossoms in that one field; and each blossom may
    be perhaps the home of many insects.... Then what is that field
    compared to all England, or England to Europe, or Europe to the
    whole world? Neither your little head, nor the wisest man’s,
    can imagine how many blossoms and how many insects there are
    on this great globe,--it makes one almost giddy to think of
    it,--and then to consider that all the world itself is only
    like a speck in God’s Creation, that there are said to be
    _eighty millions_ of fixed stars, each of which has very likely
    worlds moving round it. And God made all. How very great and
    wonderful He must be! It seems surprising that He should care
    for every one on this little ball,--how much more astonishing
    that He should have condescended to come and live upon it, to
    have appeared as a feeble Child in one of the worlds that He
    had made, and then actually to _die_, like one of the creatures
    that He had formed! Is not God’s power wonderful, and His love
    more wonderful still?

    ‘When you look at the bright blue sky, do you never long to fly
    up like the birds,--no, much higher than the birds can fly,
    to your Home, to your Father which is in Heaven? I hope that
    time may come, sweet Bella, but now is the time to prepare.
    I sometimes think that this life is our school-time. We are
    now to learn lessons of faith and patience and love. When our
    education is finished we shall be allowed to go Home; and Death
    will be the gentle Messenger to say,--“Your Heavenly Father
    sends for you; come and join your loved ones who have gone
    before. O that will be joyful, when we meet to part no more!”’

There is a tone of quiet sadness running through the letter, in marked
contrast with those joyous epistles to her sister Laura quoted earlier in
this chapter. The world could never again be to her ‘so bright, so fair!’
as in the days when her Father was still upon earth. No doubt as time
went on the buoyancy of her temperament reasserted itself; but life was
no longer unshadowed; and other troubles soon followed.

One of these must certainly have been the marriage of her sister Laura,
though no letters are at hand to show what she felt. Mr. Otho Hamilton,
elder brother to the Rev. Frederick Hamilton, who had married Charlotte’s
eldest sister, sought Laura’s hand; and he was accepted.

Not entirely without hesitation. Perhaps few girls can say, or ought to
say, ‘Yes’ at once, without time for consideration. When the offer came,
Laura’s first impulse was, naturally, to go to her Mother for advice;
her second impulse was to go to her friend-sister. It is not hard to
realise what the thought must have been to Charlotte of losing this
dearly-loved companion,--her room-mate and the constant sharer of her
thoughts and interests from very infancy; nor is it difficult to believe
how bravely she would put aside the recollection of herself, viewing the
question from Laura’s standpoint alone. It must, however, be remembered
that Charlotte was romantically enthusiastic on the subject of others’
engagements, and was through life ardently interested in the marriages of
her friends. In the present case her knowledge of how highly her Father
had thought of Mr. Hamilton would be an additional incentive to put no
obstacle in the way. It seems that Laura’s hesitation had arisen, not
from any doubt as to her own feelings, but simply from a desire to be
sure of her duty. The engagement took place; and on the 19th of October
1852, Laura Tucker became Mrs. Hamilton. So another leaf was turned in
the story of Charlotte’s life.

And now, in the very midst of these changes and losses arose a new
interest. Hitherto, Charlotte had written a good deal, but she had never
published, perhaps had never even thought of publishing. What first led
her to adopt the style of fiction, by which she was soon to become known,
it is possible at least to conjecture. In 1850, as we have seen, she
wrote another of her merry plays, full of fun and humour. Now, suddenly,
she seems to have plunged into the line of children’s stories, having
each a very prominent ‘purpose,’--her earliest being _The Claremont
Tales_. It may be that the shock of her first great sorrow, the death
of Mr. Tucker, making her to realise intensely the shortness of life on
earth, and the supreme weight of things unseen, had the effect of turning
her mind with a new energy to the thought of doing good by means of her
pen. It may be also that, now _he_ was gone for whom and with whom she
had written her plays, all zest in that direction was gone with him, and
the gift of writing, like a river dammed up in one direction and forced
to turn elsewhere, sought naturally a fresh outlet,--an outlet with
which there should be no overpoweringly sad associations. Moreover, the
home-circle was no longer what it had been. Two of the sisters, to whom
she had read her plays, were gone; and with the changed order of life
came a new order of writing.

Exactly when she began or finished _The Claremont Tales_ is not known.
With her usual reserve she at first said nothing about the completed
MS.--beyond, at all events, reading the stories to the children. Probably
she felt doubtful about her own venture; and some little time seems to
have passed before she showed it to her Mother. Mrs. Tucker was much
delighted with the attempt, said at once that it ought to be published,
and insisted on action being taken.

So, on November 19, 1851, the MS. was sent to Messrs. W. and R. Chambers,
with the accompanying letter:--

    ‘SIR,--It has for some time been my anxious desire to add my
    mite to the Treasury of useful literature, which you have
    opened to the young as well as the old.

    ‘The Tales which I now venture to offer to you for publication
    were originally composed for young children under my own
    charge, and were listened to with an appearance of interest,
    which gives me hopes that they may meet with no unfavourable
    reception from others of the same tender years.

    ‘I ask for no earthly remuneration; my position in life renders
    me independent of any exertions of my own; I pray but for God’s
    blessing upon my attempts to instruct His lambs in the things
    which concern their everlasting welfare; and deeply gratified
    should I feel, were my little work to be classed among the
    numerous valuable publications which you have already given to
    the world.

    ‘The Tales might be printed separately, as each forms a
    complete story, though all are united by connecting links.’

The date is given, but no name and no address; and a letter more quaintly
stiff and unbusiness-like can surely never have won a Publisher’s smile.
To return the MS. to herself, if disapproved of, was not possible; and,
as it happened, _The Claremont Tales_ did not belong to the class of
publications undertaken by Messrs. Chambers. Very kindly, however, they
passed it on to the house of Messrs. Gall and Inglis; and by them the
little book was brought out. One can imagine how eagerly Charlotte, while
preserving her strict incognita, must have watched for the possible
appearance of her Tales, and how delighted she would be to see the name
advertised. When this occurred, she wrote again--

                                                ‘_May 24, 1853._

    ‘A. L. O. E. presents her compliments to Messrs. Gall and
    Inglis, and, admiring the elegant form in which they have
    presented _The Claremont Tales_ to the public, is happy to
    offer to them for publication the accompanying volume of
    poems,--asking no further remuneration than 20 copies of the
    work, when printed, for _gratuitous_ distribution. A. L. O. E.
    proposes sending a few copies of her poems to the principal
    Reviews, as a means of extending their circulation.

    ‘A. L. O. E. would be glad to know whether Messrs. Gall and
    Inglis propose adopting her suggestion of printing some or
    all of _The Claremont Tales_ in a _very cheap_ form, for
    distribution amongst poor children, Ragged Schools, etc.

    ‘Any communication will be received by the Authoress, if
    addressed to--“Miss Aloe; care of Miss Lanzun; S----;
    Middlesex.”

    ‘_P.S._--Miss ---- would much like to know whether _The
    Claremont Tales_ were first placed in the hands of Messrs. Gall
    and Inglis by Messrs. Chambers, to whom she originally sent
    them; and whether Messrs. Gall and Inglis have any professional
    connection with those Publishers, so distinguished in the
    field of literature. Should Messrs. Gall and Inglis not wish
    themselves to undertake the publication of a volume of poetry,
    they are at perfect liberty to submit the work to Messrs.
    Chambers. An early answer will oblige.’

Three months later comes another letter, still further relaxing her
secrecy, and still on the subject of the ‘volume of poems’:--

                                              ‘_August 6, 1853._

    ‘Miss C. M. Tucker presents her compliments to Mr. Inglis, and
    begs to acknowledge the receipt this morning of his obliging
    communication to Miss A. L. O. E., which _nom de guerre_, in
    compliance with his wish, and in reliance on his promise to
    preserve her incognita, she now exchanges for her own.

    ‘Miss C. M. Tucker is now at the seaside, and is therefore
    unable personally to communicate with Mr. Inglis. She requests,
    however, that he will continue to direct any letters to S----,
    to the care of Miss Lanzun.

    ‘Miss C. M. Tucker is much pleased to learn that her little
    work has been favourably received in America. She will be very
    happy to write such an addition to _The Fortress_, as may make
    it equal in length to its companion tales.

    ‘As Mr. Inglis’ objection to publishing _The White Shroud_,
    etc., seems only to rest upon the shortness of the poems,
    Miss C. M. Tucker would have no objection to sending a larger
    book of her poetry, from which Mr. Inglis might select what
    he thought likely to please the public. Miss C. M. Tucker
    has written an Epic on the eventful Life of St. Paul, and a
    variety of other pieces. Would Mr. Inglis wish them forwarded
    to Scotland, or to his present address in London? Miss C. M.
    Tucker herself selected _The White Shroud_, as she thought
    it one of those most likely to be popular, and perhaps most
    calculated to be useful. The _name_ might attract readers,
    who would not glance at what appeared from its title to be
    exclusively religious. It would also be well adapted for
    illustration; but that Miss C. M. Tucker leaves entirely to the
    taste and judgment of Messrs. Gall and Inglis, only suggesting
    that perhaps the commencement of winter might be a favourable
    time for such a work of Fancy to make its appearance, when it
    might take its place among the elegant little volumes designed
    for Christmas remembrances.’

Others were disposed to take a different view as to the peculiar
attractiveness of such a name as _The White Shroud_, and when the volume
was published it came out as _Glimpses of the Unseen_.

A first interview between Charlotte and one of her Publishers, recalled
by some of the family, probably took place at about this date, or not
very long afterwards. She is said to have been shy on seeing him, though
not commonly supposed to suffer from shyness. In any case it is to be
hoped that few Authors are, at first starting, so absolutely convinced of
their own powers as not to go through certain twinges of bashfulness.

One copy of _The Claremont Tales_ was sent out to her brother, Mr. St.
George Tucker, who was again in India, and had recently gone to Azimgurh.
When the book arrived, he sat up reading it until past one o’clock in
the morning; no small compliment to a young Author. He then despatched
a messenger on horseback to Benares, with the volume,--a ride of sixty
miles,--that his brother, Mr. Henry Carre Tucker, might with all speed
enjoy the same pleasure. Charlotte, hearing this through her Mother, was
not a little gratified.

Thenceforth Charlotte went steadily in for Authorship. Volume after
volume flowed from her fertile pen; most of them for children; many
of them exceedingly amusing; all of them definitely designed to teach
something. One is rather disposed to fancy that in the writing of
these books there may have been, in the beginning, something of a
struggle. Charlotte was by nature ambitious; and her literary gift
was considerable; and some of its potentialities appear to have been
sacrificed to her ardent desire for usefulness. Whether she ever could
or would have made her mark in any of the higher walks of literature is
a question which could only have been decided by actual experiment; but
at least she must have felt it to lie within the bounds of possibility.
Some people may think that her desire for usefulness was a little too
ardent in its manifestation, since it led to so extremely didactic a mode
of writing as that of many among her books. No one can deny that some of
the said volumes do contain a large amount of direct ‘preaching’; not
merely of life-lessons, interwoven with the story in such wise that the
one could not be read and the other missed, but rather of little sermons
so alternating with the story that a child might read the latter and
skip the former. Probably, most children, when reading to themselves,
did follow this plan. Directness to a fault was, however, a leading
characteristic of Charlotte all through life. The same tendency,--many
would say in plain terms, the same mistake--is apparent in the later
years of her Indian work, in the mode of her Zenana teaching.

With respect to her writings, nothing is more impossible than to gauge
correctly the amount of comparative good worked in any age, by different
books or different styles of composition. That which makes the most stir,
that which has the greatest apparent success, is by no means always the
most wide in its influence. Some of us may be inclined to think that A.
L. O. E. might have reached a larger circle, might have gained a more
extensive influence, if she had less anxiously pressed so very much
didactic talk into her tales,--if too she had more studiously cultivated
her own dramatic instincts, and had more closely studied human nature.
All this we are quite at liberty to believe. For the question as to
‘doing good’ through a book does not rest upon the amount of religious
teaching which may be packed into a given number of printed pages, but
rather upon the force with which a certain lesson is presented, with or
without many words. There is no especial power in an abundance of words;
rather the reverse!

But the main gist of the matter as regarded Charlotte herself lies
outside all these questions. It is found in the simple fact that she
determinately stamped down her own personal ambitions, and bent her
powers with a most single heart to this task of ‘doing good’; that she
resolutely yielded herself and her gifts to the Service of her Heavenly
Father, desiring only that His Name might be honoured in what she
undertook. Whether she always carried out this aim in the wisest manner
is a secondary consideration. From the literary and artistic point of
view, one may say that she undoubtedly did make some mistakes. From
the standpoint of a simple desire to do good, one may question whether
she could not have done yet more good by a different style of writing.
But with regard to the purity and earnestness of her desire, with
regard to the putting aside of personal ambitions, with regard to the
single-heartedness of her aims, there can be no two opinions. And HE who
looks on the heart, HE who gauges our actions not by results but by the
motives which prompt them,--HE, we may well believe, honoured His servant
for her faithful work in His Service.

Nor must we ignore the measure of marked success which she certainly had,
if one may judge from the speed with which her books came out, and the
demand which apparently existed for them. Even in her most didactic tales
there are keen and witty touches, and droll descriptions. For ‘teaching’
purposes her boys may sometimes converse together as boys never do
converse; but none the less those boys are real, and they recur in after
years to the memory as only living people or vivid creations ever do
recur. In some of her rather higher flights, such as _Pride and his
Prisoners_, are to be found stirring scenes, drawn with dramatic power.

One thing should be noted: the curiously allegorical or symbolical style
of thought which was natural to her.

It did not appear in the girlish dramatic efforts,--unless in the
direction of a perpetual play upon words,--but in her published books
it developed speedily. This was remarkable in her; _not_ because of any
peculiar result from it in England, but because of its very peculiar
adaptation to Indian needs. One may almost think of her authorship in
England as mainly a long preparation for her Indian toil; the continuous
practice in habits of imagery and allegory, by no means especially suited
to our Western minds, gradually fitting her to deal with the Oriental
mind, little as she yet dreamt of any such destination for herself. All
these years, without knowing it, she was waiting for and was working
upward to ‘the Crown of her Life,’ as it may be termed; those eighteen
years in the Panjab. All these years she was being prepared and made
ready, till she should be as a ‘sharpened instrument’ in the Hand of her
Master, fitted for the work which He would give her to do.

Among the many volumes published during the first fifteen or twenty
years of authorship were the following:--_The Giant-Killer_, _The Roby
Family_, _The Young Pilgrim_, _History of a Needle_, and _Rambles
of a Rat_, before 1858; _Flora_, _The Mine_, _Precepts in Practice_,
_Idols in the Heart_, and _Whispering Unseen_, before 1860; _Pride and
his Prisoners_, _The Shepherd of Bethlehem_, _My Neighbour’s Shoes_,
_War and Peace_, _Light in the Robber’s Cave_, and _The Silver Casket_,
before 1864. A trio of volumes appeared in succession, the first of which
she wrote at her Mother’s suggestion,--_Exiles in Babylon_, _Rescued
from Egypt_, and _Triumph of Midian_. Another trio, coming in due
course,--_Fairy Know-a-Bit_, _Parliament in the Playroom_, and _The Crown
of Success_,--were bright little books, containing a good deal of useful
information. Besides these were published at intervals _House Beautiful_,
_Living Jewels_, _Castle of Carlmont_, _Hebrew Heroes_, _Claudia_, _Cyril
Ashley_, _The Lady of Provence_, _The Wreath of Smoke_, and very many
others.

One of the most strongly allegorical of her earlier works was _The
Giant-Killer_; and in that little book she no doubt made free use of her
own experiences.

It is easy to believe that she must have had many a hard battle with
Giant Sloth, before she gained the habit of always rising at six o’clock
in the morning, a habit persevered in through life. Again, one of her
eager and impulsive temperament could not have been naturally free from
a clinging to her own way, and from a certain vigorous self-seeking;
and many a bitter conflict must have been gone through, before friends
could, with an all but unanimous voice, speak of hers as a peculiarly
unselfish character. In the struggles of Fides to get out of the Pit
of Selfishness, we may read between the lines of Charlotte’s girlish
battlings.

Even more, in the fight with Giant Pride we seem to see her hardest
tussle of all, and the mode in which victory came to her. Giant Pride’s
assumed name of ‘High Spirit,’ his hatred of Meanness, Gluttony,
Cowardice, and Untruth, are all an echo of parts of herself. The
polishing of the darkened gold of her Will she had long known in the
small unavoidable frictions of everyday life; and the plunging of that
Will into furnace-heat, and the straightening of its crookedness by means
of heavy successive blows, she had begun to know in the death of her
dear Father, and would soon know more fully through other sorrows coming
after. But many more than three blows were needed for the shapening of
Charlotte Tucker’s Will. She may have dreamt when she wrote the book
that three would be enough, and that the King’s call to Fides might in
her case be soon repeated. She little knew the long years of toil and
patience which stretched far ahead.

A tiny glimpse of the daily fighting, which she like all others had to
go through, may be seen in the succeeding letter, written to her sister,
Laura, a year or two before the death of old Mr. Tucker:--

    ‘I obeyed you in putting your note into the fire, after twice
    perusing it; but it seemed a shame so to destroy what was so
    sweet. How little you and I have been with each other lately,
    yet I do not think that we love one another one particle the
    less,--I think that I can answer for myself at least. May God
    prosper your humble efforts, my sweet Laura. I enter into all
    your feelings....

    ‘I do not like to overload dear Bella with advice. It appears
    almost presumptuous from a younger sister; but I threw in my
    word now and then. But what am I?... I fear that I have been
    peevish with ---- to-day. I feel discontented with myself, and
    need your prayers.’



CHAPTER VIII

A.D. 1854-1857

CRIMEA, AND THE INDIAN MUTINY


In the year 1854 Mr. St. George Tucker again came home from India; and in
the autumn he took his Mother and sisters for three months to The Mote,
an old country house about six miles north of Tonbridge, hoping that the
change would do good to Mrs. Tucker’s health and spirits. Those were
the terrible days of the Crimean War; and in that autumn the battles of
Balaclava and Inkerman were fought. Several letters of interest belong to
about this period.

TO MISS BELLA F. TUCKER. 1853.

    ‘I have found out a much better hero for you than your friend
    Lord Marmion,--who, by-the-bye, had he lived in these days,
    would have run a great chance of being transported for fourteen
    years, or imprisoned for one with hard labour, for forgery.
    Mere courage does not make a hero.... When I was about as old as
    you are now, I had--besides Montrose, for whom I have a great
    regard still--a great hero, a pirate! About as respectable a
    man perhaps as Lord Marmion, and I was so fond of him, that I
    remember jumping out of bed one night, when one of my sisters
    laughed at him.

    ‘But I have grown older, dear, and have seen so many bubbles
    break in my time that I am more on my guard. I look for
    something more solid now. If you are allowed to read _Uncle
    Tom’s Cabin_, or any part of it, pause when you have done,
    and compare the old negro with Lord Marmion. You laugh at the
    idea. What!--“the falcon crest and morion,”--“the scar on
    his dark brow”--will not all this throw the poor ignorant
    thick-lipped hero quite into the shade? Yes,--if a sparkling
    bubble is more glorious than a diamond shut up in a black
    case. Time touches the bubble, and it breaks,--I have given up
    my pirate-hero,--but the diamond--never mind the black case!
    “Uncle Tom” is a hero, and one worthy of the name.’

TO MRS HAMILTON--(LAURA).

                                     ‘THE MOTE, _Sept. 1, 1854_.

    ‘Your and your dear husband’s nice sunshiny notes reached me
    this morning.... I believe that you are wise not to come here,
    for the roads are very bad, and the climate not very bracing.
    Sweet Mother says that it suits her very well, and I thrive
    on it like anything, but not every one might be the better
    for “water, water everywhere.” We have four pieces of water
    close by us, besides the moat just under our windows. The Mote
    nestles so curiously in a hollow of the hill, that when you
    have walked a few hundred yards from it, and naturally turn
    round to look at the noble mansion which you have left,--it is
    actually _non inventus_. You would not know that you were near
    the Mote at all. “What has become of our great house?” say you.
    It has vanished like Aladdin’s fairy palace.

    ‘I feel sure that this is the identical old place that Mrs.
    D’Oyly took us to see, where they said that some of the rooms
    had not been opened for one hundred years. This suits me
    exactly. As the boys say, “I am in clover.” Damp hurts me no
    more than if I were a water-wagtail; but the same might not be
    the case with you....

    ‘What a good thing it has been for your little darling being at
    so healthy a place during the trying time of teething. I shall
    expect to see her still more improved, when I have the pleasure
    of kissing her sweet lips again. How diverting it will be to
    watch her when she first runs alone!...

    ‘Such nice letters from India! Dear Henry is having my Tales
    translated into Hindustani, for the poor natives. Oh, pray, my
    Laura, that a blessing may go with them. Dear Robin preaches
    to upwards of a hundred blind, and bears the hot weather
    wonderfully well.’

TO THE SAME.

                                    ‘THE MOTE, _Sept. 12, 1854_.

    ‘Many thanks for your welcome letter, your good news, and your
    kind invitation. I should not wonder if the last were very
    thankfully accepted some time next month; for it is quite
    uncertain whether the L----s will let us remain here beyond
    the six weeks, and almost quite certain that No. 3 will not be
    ready for us then, in which case we had better scatter. The
    boys indeed talk of standing a siege here, rather than give the
    place up; but you see we are afraid of treachery in the camp,
    having so many of the L----‘s servants. Then we might have
    difficulty about provisions, for we should all grow desperately
    thin upon the fish which Charlie catches. Besides which, the
    moat might be waded, although it is a doubtful point whether
    the wader could get on through the weeds and mud. I think, all
    things considered, that we had better _not_ stand a siege.

    ‘My heart can quite re-echo the cheerful tone of your note,
    love. I do indeed feel that we are loaded with blessings. I
    enjoy this place exceedingly, it is so pretty; just the place
    to “moon” about in. Don’t you remember Mrs. D’Oyly taking us to
    see it, when we drove here in two carriages, and you were with
    the sprightly, and I with the sedate party? I feel sure that
    this was the identical old house. My room ought to be haunted,
    only it is not. It is such a pity that you have not the fairy
    carpet to come here without fatigue. But, as it is, you serve
    as a magnet, to help to draw me back to Middlesex without
    regret.

    ‘Kind love to dear Mr. Hamilton, and twenty kisses to the
    Princess of babies. I can well imagine the pleasure that she is
    to you--a large lump of sugar in your cup!’

TO MISS BELLA F. TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Dec. 12, 1854._

    ‘We went to St. James’ Park to-day, to see Her Majesty on her
    way to open Parliament. I had an excellent view of our poor
    dear Queen; and the sight of her mournful subdued countenance,
    as she bowed graciously to her people, but without the shadow
    of a smile, quite touched my heart. This war weighs very
    heavily upon her; and I am anxious to know whether she was able
    to get through her speech without breaking down altogether. She
    looked to-day as though it would have taken less to make her
    weep than laugh.

    ‘How England is exerting herself to send comforts to her brave
    sons in the Crimea! A lady was here to-day who, having seen
    that books were thought desirable presents to the Army, made up
    a box of them, which was to go to a Mr. S. who had offered to
    receive them. But when her intended gift was known,--“O pray do
    not send any more books!” was the poor receiver’s cry. “We have
    seventy thousand volumes!” and they did not know how such a
    tremendous library was to be forwarded. In the lint department,
    parcels came in at the rate of two hundred a day! Good-bye.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Jan. 13, 1855._

    ‘It is singular in how many ways last year I seemed to be
    taught a lesson of patience. I was disappointed over and
    over and over again. In one matter in which I was greatly
    interested, I was so at least five times; but before the close
    of the year I had cause to say with much pleasure,--“I am glad
    that I was disappointed.” Another time I had a very heavy heart
    from a different source of disappointment; and some months
    later I was grieved, even, I am half ashamed to say, to tears;
    and yet before December was out I was actually glad of both
    these disappointments, as well as the five others; and a good
    appeared to spring from the evil. Now, if I am inclined to be
    impatient,--and _very_ impatient I am by nature,--I try to
    remember my experience, and really to get the valuable lesson
    by heart. I think it a good plan at the end of a year to review
    the whole, to try and find out what especial lesson has been
    set one to learn in it. I found it to be _praise_ one year;
    last year _patience_. I know not what it will be this year. I
    hope that--but no, I will not write what I intended. Whatever
    is, is best. We have not to choose our tasks, but to learn
    them.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_June 15, 1855._

    ‘What news have I to give you? We have had a nice note from
    dear Henry to-day, saying nothing about health, except that
    Robin is well. St. G. and I have just come from a loiter at
    the Botanical Gardens, which showed us that we need be under
    no great concern, were hemp and flax exterminated from the
    vegetable world, and silkworms to leave off being spinsters, as
    we could dress cheaply and well on plantain fibre, have capital
    paper and excellent ropes, etc.’

In the August of 1855 she had the pleasure of going with her brother, Mr.
St. George Tucker, to the great French Exhibition at Paris. This was the
celebrated occasion of the Queen’s visit to Napoleon, after the close
of the Crimean War; and Paris was thronged. So full was the place that
rooms in Paris itself were not to be had, and they went to an hotel in
Versailles, occupying apartments which had once been occupied by Louis
Napoleon. Charlotte’s warlike enthusiasm showed itself in the fact that
she was willing to pay twenty-five francs apiece for seats at the Champs
de Mars, where they might witness the review of 45,000 French troops.
When Her Majesty had quitted Paris, it became possible to obtain rooms at
the Hôtel Bristol.

From Versailles she wrote to Mrs. Hamilton, on the 21st of August:--

    ‘DEAREST WIFEY,[5]--You wished for a letter from France, so
    here is one; but if you expect a description of what I have
    seen, I really cannot undertake to give you even a _précis_.
    Paris surpasses my expectations. All in its gala dress as it
    is now, swarming with people, crowded with soldiers, gay with
    fluttering flags and triumphal arches,--it is really a sight
    in itself. The grand Exposition of pictures is splendid; it is
    only too large. I was amused at it by a lady coming up to me,
    and politely requesting me to inform her who Ophelia was. An
    old French lady, looking at a picture of the burial of Harold,
    and, I suppose, feeling that the subject might be painful to me
    as a Saxon, politely assured me of her regret at that monarch’s
    death! “Let bygones be bygones,” say I.

    ‘Most of the French foot-soldiers are very little fellows,
    compared to some of our troops; but amongst the Cavalry are
    very fine tall men. The Zouaves are very heathenish-looking
    warriors. They dress something like Turks, with all about their
    throats so perfectly bare that they quite invite you to cut
    their heads off.

    ‘St. G. and I so enjoyed this exquisite evening in the stately
    gardens! A fine military band was performing, the people were
    happily listening, little children skipping about, the glorious
    sunset tints illuminating a palace fit for the “grand Monarch.”

    ‘We have seen our Sovereign Lady three times, which was being
    in great luck. I am rather tired of writing, so will only add
    kindest love, and beg you to believe me your ever attached,

                                                   C. M. TUCKER.

    _‘P.S._--I told a fat funny little French baba to-day that I
    had a niece younger than herself, and asked her if she would
    not like to see her. The answer was unsatisfactory.’

The Crimean War was ended; and two years later came the outbreak of the
Indian Mutiny, with its awful carnage, its heaps of slain, its tortured
women and children, its heroic determination, its dauntless courage. Then
was seen a Continent, lost apparently in one day, won back to the British
Crown by mere handfuls of indomitable men facing armed myriads. Such a
tale had never been told before.

If Charlotte’s patriotism had been stirred by the Crimean struggle, this
came nearer to her yet! She had five brothers, all in India, all more or
less in daily peril. Mr. Henry Carre Tucker was Commissioner at Benares;
Mr. St. George Tucker was at Mirzapore; Mr. William Tucker was in a less
acutely unsafe position; Mr. Charlton Tucker, after seeing his Colonel
shot down, was for weeks in hiding. All these escaped. But her early
companion, Robert,--the father of her ‘Robins,’--was among the slain;
and the three children, already long half-orphaned, became now wholly
orphaned.

Robert Tucker’s remarkable powers, and his successes at Haileybury, have
been earlier spoken about. Naturally of a serious and stern disposition,
though not without lighter traits, he had been a good deal saddened by
troubles, which no doubt resulted in the more complete dedication of
himself and all that he possessed to the Service of his Divine Master. A
short sketch of his life, written by his sister Charlotte, and published
by the S.P.C.K., tells of his work at Futteypore, where for many years he
was Judge.

About four years before the Mutiny he had written home about the
‘extraordinary success’ which was attending his Christian school,
established and kept going by himself. On Sundays he was in the habit of
regularly addressing a collected crowd of Natives; literally ‘the poor,
the maimed, the halt, the blind’; and he did not teach them only, but
also ministered liberally to their bodily needs.

In her little sketch Charlotte says of him,--‘Careless of his own
comfort, restricting his personal expenses to a very narrow compass, he
gave to the Missionary cause at the rate of forty pounds monthly, and one
year even more’; adding that with ‘shrinking from ostentation’ he had
never given his name on these occasions. And again--‘It was his deep and
abiding sense of the debt which he owed to his Saviour, which made the
Judge devote not only his substance but his heart and his soul to the
Lord. How deep was the gratitude which he expressed in these words--“If
every hair upon my head were a life, it would be too little to sacrifice
to the Lord Jesus Christ!”’

A clue to many things in Charlotte’s own later life may be perhaps found
here. There can be no doubt that the story of her brother’s self-denying
life and tragical death made a profound impression upon her mind. His
example, long after, was closely copied by this sister, when she too
‘restricted her personal expenses to a very narrow compass,’ precisely as
he had done, and with the same object, that she might have the more to
give away. Also his energy in teaching was reflected by her own burning
desire, in old age, to speak on all occasions to the Natives of their
deepest needs, and never to miss an opportunity of trying to lead some
poor Hindu or Muhammadan to Christ, always with the vivid sense upon her,
when she met man or woman, that the call to herself might come before
they could meet again, and so a second opportunity might never recur.
Another eighteen years had, however, yet to elapse before she would go
out to India, to follow in his steps, and to render to Hindustan a loving
return for this ‘year of horrors.’

In June 1857, like a thunder-clap, not indeed utterly unforeseen but
practically unexpected by the majority of Englishmen, came the fearful
outbreak; and for a while it did really almost seem that the British
Raj in India was at an end. But those who thought so were soon to be
undeceived.

When first the storm broke, Robert Tucker did not expect to be himself
one of its earlier victims. His brother, Mr. St. George Tucker,
says,--‘Robert was in high spirits when the Mutiny broke out. He wrote to
me that he had seen a magnificent horse, and that if he could buy him,
he could ride from Futteypore to Delhi, and soon finish the war. Robert
was the Judge, and Sherer was the Magistrate. Sherer decided that all the
Europeans must leave Futteypore and fly to Banda. Robert refused to leave
Futteypore, and said that his duty required him to protect the Natives.
The rest of the Europeans went off to Banda.’

Many Native Christians fled also,--among others a Native Catechist, Gopi
Nath. He was taken by Muhammadans, imprisoned and cruelly treated; and he
it was whose sinking courage was revived by the almost dying words of the
English boy-officer, Arthur Cheek, the ‘Martyr of Allahabad.’

But with the spirit of a soldier, Robert Tucker, the intrepid Judge of
Futteypore, remained at his post, the only European among countless
Natives, bent still on doing his duty.

The night preceding the tenth of June he passed at his Cutcherry or
Office; and in the early morning news was brought that his own house
had been set on fire. He then tried to collect some of the landholders,
to protect the Natives in the town, and their houses; but not all his
efforts could prevent the burning of the latter. His next step was to
ride off to the Jail, in the hope of securing the prisoners; but he was
too late, the prisoners having been already set at liberty. Mr. Tucker
fearlessly reprimanded the Jail-Guard; whereupon the Guard, belonging
to a bad Cawnpore regiment, opened fire. Though every shot missed, Mr.
Tucker must then have seen that all was up. Everything was in confusion;
the Native officers would not support him; and he stood absolutely alone.

He rode to the Cutcherry, no man daring to intercept him, and took up
his position on the top; and for hours he remained, fearless and calm,
awaiting his death. The day was intensely hot, causing him to suffer
terribly from thirst; and one of his horsekeepers at length brought him
some milk,--a deed of mercy, which shows that one man at least was not
devoid of gratitude.

‘There he remained during that fearful day,’ wrote Charlotte Tucker.
‘There, as evening was closing in, he made his last lion-like stand, when
the fanatic Musselmans, bearing a green flag, the emblem of their faith,
came in a fierce crowd to attack him.’ How many he shot as they advanced
is not certain; some say twenty, or even thirty; but at length one of
his assailants shot him in the head, and the moment he fell, they took
courage to rush up the stairs and to finish their work.

For Robert Tucker himself, cut off though he was in the very prime of
life, there could be no regrets, except on the score of all that he
might have done, had he lived. No man could be more ready than he was
to go. But the blow fell heavily on those who loved him; and though for
nine years he had not seen his children, whereby the sorrow to them was
softened, yet the loss to their future could not but be great.

‘So he fell,’ wrote one who had escaped; ‘and in his fall the constant
and fervent prayer of his latter days was answered, for he fell at the
post of duty. All who knew him well mourn in him the loss of a true and
noble friend, generous even to prodigality, highly talented, a thorough
gentleman, and an upright judge.’

Mention of this event was made at the time in the Journal Letter of
Viscountess Canning,[6] worth quoting in addition to the above.

    ’ ... The story of Futteypore is a strange one. The whole country
    round was gone, and there was a large Sepoy guard in the
    treasury, and every reason to believe they would rise, so all
    the Europeans took to boats, and went away to safe stations
    down the river, and I think to Banda. Only Mr. Tucker, the
    magistrate, would not stir, and remained with fifty Sepoys
    and the treasury. He was son to the late Director, Sir George
    Tucker,[7] and was one of the four brothers whose names we
    hear constantly, and he was as brave as a lion. He had a
    deputy-magistrate--a Mohammedan--in a high position, treated as
    a gentleman, and in as high a place as a native could occupy,
    next to himself. To this man had been given a body of mounted
    police, and he undertook to keep the country clear between
    the great trunk road and the river for some distance. He did
    it admirably, and took delight in it, and sent in detailed
    reports up to the last. But when he heard of some more places
    being gone, he suddenly returned to the treasury, to which
    his position gave him access, dismissed the fifty Sepoys with
    a thousand rupees apiece, and then attacked Mr. Tucker with
    all his police force. Mr. Tucker was killed, after defending
    himself till he had killed with his own hand, some say sixteen,
    some twenty men. I suppose he had a whole battery of revolvers,
    and so kept his assailants at bay.’

Though Robert was gone, other brothers of Charlotte Tucker were still in
hourly danger; and the pressure of anxiety went on for months, as shown
by letters of the time.

TO MISS B. F. TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Sept. 9, 1857._

    ‘I need not say how I long for tidings from India. Most
    especially do I desire news of Havelock’s precious little army.
    Upon its success, humanly speaking, may hang the safety of all
    our beloved ones in India.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                              ‘_Sept. 19, 1857._

    ‘We are longing for our letters, but I do not think we shall
    get them till Tuesday. Dearest Mother tries not to think more
    of India than she can help, and has, I am glad to say, given
    up reading the papers, so we only give her the good part of
    the news verbally. I could not endure to be kept in the dark
    myself. I go every day to fetch the papers. I half live on
    them, and would far rather go without a meal than not see
    them.... We heard from poor dear Mrs. Thornhill to-day. She hopes
    that Henry and his wife are in Lucknow. Such a hope is not
    worth much, one would think.’

TO MISS B. F. TUCKER.

                                              ‘_Sept. 21, 1857._

    ‘God be with our brave and beloved ones! My heart feels very
    low--worse than before the letters arrived. We hide from dear
    Grandmamma that Mirzapore is threatened. She only knows that
    the troops are there; not why they have been sent. N---- W----
    has sent his dear wife and children to Calcutta. He feels so
    desolate without them, but takes the separation as a lesson
    from his Merciful Father to set his affections more on things
    above.... Does not your heart sicken for Lucknow?’

All through England hearts were ‘sickening for Lucknow,’ at this time.
But the Cawnpore-like catastrophe, dreaded for Lucknow, did not come. The
rescuing party mercifully arrived in time. As months went by, the Mutiny
was stamped out from end to end of India; and no second Tucker was added
to the roll of England’s martyrs there.

Just before the outbreak Mr. Henry Carre Tucker seems to have requested
that some copies of his sister’s books might be sent out to him for
distribution: and an interesting letter was written by her on the subject
to Messrs. Gall and Inglis.

                                               ‘_July 17, 1857._

    ‘SIR,--I am glad to hear that the box is likely soon to be
    on its way to my dear brother. We have been in great anxiety
    on account of him and his family, as Benares, the station of
    which he is the head, with a population of 180,000, is one of
    the most wicked places in India, a “holy city,” a stronghold
    of fanaticism. My brother has taken a bolder part in upholding
    Missions, and spreading religious literature, than almost any
    one else in the country; therefore, if Benares had followed
    the example of Delhi, the terrible event might have been
    attributed to his excess of zeal.

    ‘The Almighty, to whom my brother attributes the glory, has
    hitherto watched over Benares in so marked a manner, that it
    remained quiet in the midst of disturbances; and my young niece
    has bravely ridden through it by her father’s side, giving
    confidence to the timid by her fearlessness.... But a few lines
    in the telegraph, read aloud in Parliament, informs us that the
    troops in Benares had risen at last, and been driven out of
    the city with great loss. I await the next mail with intense
    anxiety. I have five brothers in India.’

It is interesting to know that Mr. Henry Carre Tucker devoted himself
a year later to the task of helping forward in every possible way
Missionary work in India, as a species of ‘Christian revenge’ for the
death of Robert and the sufferings of his countrymen. He took a leading
part in starting the ‘Christian Literature Society for India,’ and was
for a while himself its Honorary Secretary.



CHAPTER IX

A.D. 1857-1865

LIFE’S EARLY AFTERNOON


One-half of the life of Charlotte Tucker was now over; a quiet and
uneventful life thus far. If we like, we may mentally divide her story
into four quarters, each about eighteen years in length, corresponding
to Early Morning, Noontide, Afternoon, and Evening. The first eighteen
years of her Early Morning had been, perhaps, as bright and cloudless
as the existence of any girl could well be. In the succeeding Noontide
hours she had known still much of brightness, though they included her
first great sorrow, and ended with her second. Also, in the course of
that Noontide she had entered upon her career of authorship, with all its
hopes and aims, its hard work and its delights. Probably none who have
not experienced it for themselves can quite understand the fascinations
of authorship.

Now she had passed her Noontide, and was entering on the hours of early
Afternoon. Eighteen years of that Afternoon still lay between the dark
days of the Indian Mutiny and her own going out to India, for the Evening
of her Life,--the fourth and last eighteen years, which were to be the
fullest and the busiest of all her busy days.

We have first to do with the earlier portion of the Third Period; a
period including much work, many interests, and some deep griefs.
Between 1857 and 1866, however, lay a quiet stretch of everyday life,
distinguished by no rocks or rapids. The river flowed on peacefully for a
while.

Life at No. 3 continued much as it had been in years past. Many friends
were in and out, and were always cordially welcomed. Mrs. Tucker, since
her husband’s death, had made one difference, in that she no longer gave
dinner-parties; but luncheons were in full swing, to any extent; and
Charlotte’s powers of entertaining were still in abundant requisition.

No better place can well be found than this for part of a letter to A.
L. O. E.’s nephew,--the Rev. W. F. T. Hamilton, son of her favourite
sister,--from Sir Francis Outram, son of General Sir James Outram, of
celebrated memory.

                                               ‘_June 25, 1894._

    ‘My recollections of No. 3 Portland Place and of its typically
    kind inmates carry me back just half a century. But they are
    very clear, though, I regret to add, only of a general and
    intangible character.

    ‘Mr. Tucker I recall with grave respect, unmingled with awe,
    as evidently one of the wisest and most influential of my
    Parents’ proved friends. Mrs. Tucker retains an honoured place
    in memories of these and later days as the kindest and most
    liberal of “old aunts,”--so she desired me to designate her,
    and at once adopted me into her very large circle of favoured
    nephews and nieces,--the inexhaustible source of varied
    goodnesses, especially such as were of the most approved edible
    nature.

    ‘Their sons I cannot recall, except as the genial and trusty
    friends of later life. But the five daughters of the house none
    of us who enjoyed their unselfish kindness at all stages of our
    youth can ever forget.

    ‘Of the two who ere long became successively “Miss Tucker,”
    however, you would alone wish me to speak. They cannot be
    dissociated in the memory of the generations of young people,
    whose privilege it was to be entertained and gratified by their
    unwearied attention throughout many a long holiday afternoon
    and evening, while stuffed by Mrs. Tucker _ad libitum_ with all
    the best things of the season.

    ‘As we grew older, we not only more fully understood the
    exceptional boundlessness of old-fashioned hospitality
    and kindness which that house and household exemplified
    thoroughly, but we came to understand somewhat of the
    heart-source whence issued that truest manifestation, of
    “everyday religion,” which evidences itself in an absolutely
    unselfish consecration,--consistent, unreserved, and
    essentially practical,--for everyday wear, and not only under
    “stimulating environments.” Such was the life’s lesson which
    our association with these two now ageing sisters suggested to
    us.

    ‘Miss Charlotte had, as you know, much of the Romantic in her
    composition.... In person she was always slight, and somewhat
    fragile-looking. Indeed, both she and Miss Fanny gave one the
    impression of being too incessantly though quietly busy about
    everything that promoted the happiness of other people, to ever
    become stout, or to cultivate dress and appearances, beyond
    what was consistent with the aims and duties and requirements
    of a fully occupied home-life.

    ‘Mrs. Tucker could not quite keep pace with the new-fashioned
    unconventionalities of “young-lady work” in London; and one
    of the object-sermons, which most impressed me in my College
    days, was the beautiful self-restraint which these two
    sisters--no longer young--imposed upon themselves, in deference
    to their aged Mother’s wishes, in regard to that outside work
    which inclination, or one might say conviction, as well as
    opportunity and qualifications, impelled them to participate in.

    ‘Still the unbounded hospitality of the “open house” in
    Portland Place went on; and still they were content to devote
    their time, talents, and energies to successive generations of
    juveniles and elder guests, without a murmur.’

One can well believe that the self-restraint had to be severe in
Charlotte’s case, with her abounding energies, and her eager desires for
usefulness. But she patiently abided her time; and she did not wait in
vain. These were years of quiet preparation.

In appearance at this time Charlotte was, as ever, tall and
thin,--decidedly tall, her height being five feet six inches, or two
inches over her Mother’s height, and only one inch short of her Father’s.
She had still as of old a peculiarly elastic and springy mode of walking;
and while possessing no pretensions to actual good looks, there was much
charm of manner, together with great animation. Still, as ever, she threw
herself energetically into the task of entertaining others, no matter
whether those ‘others’ were young or old, attractive or uninteresting.
This at present was a main duty of her life, and she never neglected
or slurred it. Still, as ever, she was guided and restrained by her
Mother’s wishes, yielding her own desires when the two wills, or the two
judgments, happened to lie in opposite directions.

Although not really fond of work, Charlotte was a beautiful knitter. She
would make most elaborate antimacassars, of delicate lace-like patterns,
invented by her own busy brain; and while working thus she was able to
read Shakespeare aloud. Her Father had loved Shakespeare, and Charlotte
had early caught the infection of this love, never afterwards to lose it.

Visiting in the Marylebone Workhouse went on steadily; she and Fanny
usually going together, until Fanny’s health began to fail, which was
probably not until after 1864.

Fanny was _par excellence_ the gentle sister; very sweet, very
unselfish; always the one who would silently take the most uncomfortable
chair in the room; always the one to put others forward, yet in so
quiet and unobtrusive a fashion that the fact was often not remarked
until afterwards. Of Charlotte it has been said by one who knew her
intimately,--‘I wonder whether before the year 1850 any one has described
her as “gentle.”’ The gentleness, which was with Fanny a natural
characteristic, had to be a slow after-growth with the more vehement and
resolute younger sister. Many a sharp blow upon the golden staff of her
Will was needful for this result.

As an instance of Fanny’s peculiar gentleness, it is told that one
Sunday, when she saw a man trying to sell things, she went up and
remonstrated with him, speaking very seriously, but in so mild and
courteous a manner, so entirely as she would have spoken to one who was
socially on her own level, that he was utterly unable to take offence.
She was also very generous, giving liberally to the poor out of her
limited dress-allowance, in earlier girlish days. This same generosity
was a marked feature in the character of Charlotte; perhaps especially in
later years.

Fanny was of middle height, and thin, with dark eyes; very neat and
orderly in her ways, wherein she was the opposite of Charlotte, who
was famed for untidiness in her arrangements. Charlotte was, however,
methodical in plans of action, and in literary work; and later in life
she seems to have struggled hard after habits of greater tidiness, as
a matter of principle. But in middle life she could still speak of her
drawers as--at least sometimes--supplying a succession of ‘surprises.’

Her ‘little Robins’ were now growing up, an ever-increasing care and
interest to her loving heart; and the devotion which she felt for Letitia
was of a most intense nature. The two boys were of course much away at
school; but Letitia was always with her,--until the year 1865, when it
was decided that she should go out to her uncle, Mr. St. George Tucker,
in India. Moreover, many other little nieces and nephews had a warm
place in the life of ‘Aunt Char,’ none more so than the children of her
especial sister-friend, one of whom was her own god-child.

Side by side with innumerable home-duties and home-pleasures went on
the continual writing of little books for children; one or two at least
appearing every year. The amount of work in one such volume is not heavy;
but A. L. O. E.’s other calls were many. And she was not writing for a
livelihood, or even for the increased comforts, whether of herself or
of others dependent upon her; therefore it could not be placed in the
front rank of home-duties. The Tuckers were sufficiently well off; and
Charlotte is believed to have devoted most or all of the proceeds of her
pen to charitable purposes.

To secure a certain amount of leisure for work, she accustomed herself to
habits of early rising. Her Mother had always strongly objected to late
hours, making the rule for her girls,--‘If you can, always hear eleven
o’clock strike in bed.’ Charlotte is said to have made her a definite
promise never to write books late at night; and through life this promise
was most scrupulously adhered to.

Since she was debarred from late hours, and since in those days she could
never be sure of her time through the day, early morning was all that
remained to her. Punctually, therefore, at six o’clock she got up,--like
her hero, Fides, conquering Giant Sloth,--and thus made sure of at least
an hour’s writing before breakfast. In winter months, when others had
fires at night in their bedrooms, Charlotte denied herself the luxury,
that she might have it in the morning instead for her work. The fire was
laid over-night, and she lighted it herself when she arose; long before
the maid came to call her.

Later in the day she wrote if she could and when she could. No doubt also
she found many an opportunity for thinking over her stories, and planning
what should come next. She usually had the tale clear in her mind before
putting pen to paper; so that no time was lost when an hour for actual
work could be secured.

A sitting-room behind the dining-room of No. 3, called ‘the parlour,’
was by common consent known as her room. Here she would sit and compose
her books; but she made of it no hermitage. Here she would be invaded
by nieces, nephews, children, anybody who wanted a word with ‘Aunt
Char.’ And she was ready always for such interruptions. Writing was
with her, as we have seen, not the main business of life, but merely an
adjunct,--an additional means of usefulness. Since she had secured the
one early uninterrupted hour, other hours might take their chance, and
anybody’s business might come before her own business. With all these
breaks, and in spite of them, she yet managed in the course of years to
accomplish a long list of children’s books.

One of the said nieces, Miss Annie Tucker, writes respecting certain
visits that she paid to her grandmother, Mrs. Tucker, at Portland Place:--

    ‘In each of these visits it was always my beloved Aunt
    Charlotte who entertained me,--if I may use the word,--though I
    was a mere child; and she did it just as if I were a grown-up
    person. I could never see that she took less pains to interest
    me than she did to please the many grown-up people who called.
    She usually entertained us in her room behind the dining-room,
    so that my grandmother should not be wearied too much.

    ‘How often have I gone in and out of her room, with a freedom
    which now almost surprises me! but she never seemed interrupted
    by my entrance. I have seen her put down her pen, though she
    was evidently preparing MS. for the press, and attend to any
    little thing I wanted to say, without one exclamation of
    vexation or annoyance, or a resigned-resignation look, that
    some people put on on such occasions, at her literary work
    being put a stop to. And yet I am sure that was not because she
    did not mind being interrupted.’

It is not for a moment to be implied that all hard toilers in life
are bound to follow precisely here the example of A. L. O. E.
Circumstances differ in different cases. Often the work itself is of
supreme importance; the interruptions are unnecessary and undeserving
of attention. If everybody worked as Charlotte Tucker worked at that
particular period, the amount accomplished would in some cases be very
small, and in other cases, where undivided attention is essential, the
result would be absolute failure. In her case the literary work was of
a simple description, and the home-calls appeared to be distinctly
first in importance. But the spirit which she showed was well worthy of
imitation. Many, whose favourite occupations are, to say the least, no
whit more pressing than were her books, are exceedingly tenacious of
their time, and exceedingly impatient of interruptions; and with too
many the home-calls come second to all personal interests. It was far
otherwise with Charlotte Tucker. Whatever had to be done, she was ready
to do it,--not one iota more ready to write her books, or to visit in
the Workhouse, than to teach the ‘Robins,’ to amuse visitors, old or
young, to entertain guests at dinner or luncheon, to take her part in a
family ‘glee,’ to join in merry games, to conduct friends on sight-seeing
expeditions. No matter what it might be, she did it willingly, throwing
her whole energy into the matter in hand, always at everybody’s service,
never allowing herself to appear worried or bored.

Despite her somewhat fragile appearance, and an appetite commonly small,
there must have been a marvellous amount of underlying strength,--of the
‘wiriness’ which often belongs to delicate-looking people. If tired,
she seldom confessed the fact, and never made a fuss about it. Her
extraordinary vitality and mental vigour carried her through what would
have entirely laid by many another in her place.

The following extracts are from letters ranging between 1861 and the
beginning of 1866:--

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Nov. 6, 1861._

    ‘Will you kindly tell my Letitia that I have put up her
    paint-box, to be sent to Somerset House, as I dare say that
    your dear husband will kindly take charge of the little parcel....

    ‘The weather here has not been very choice. We had candles at
    luncheon yesterday. We make ourselves very happy, however,
    by vigorous reading. In the evening we discourse with Queen
    Elizabeth, Leicester, Paul Buys, and Olden Barneveldt, etc.;
    in the morning we go out hunting with M. Chaillu, plunging
    amongst hippopotami and crocodiles, demolishing big black
    serpents, or perhaps capturing a baby-gorilla, more troublesome
    than dear Edgy himself.

    ‘We are all just now in a state of indignation about your
    pork! Don’t suppose that it is any fault in the pork; on the
    contrary, it is acknowledged to be the most “refined” pork ever
    known; and Mother says that if she shut her eyes, she would
    not know that she was not eating chicken!! We had a beautiful
    roast of it one day at luncheon; and Mother cut off a choice
    bit, to be reserved for our table, cold, while the servants
    were indulged with the rest of that joint. To-day Mother asked
    for our reserved bit. Would you believe it?--those dreadfully
    greedy servants had eaten _our_ bit as well as their own,
    though they had legs of mutton on Friday and Saturday, and
    a 22 lb. joint of roastbeef on Sunday! Do you marvel at our
    indignation? Mother means to call some one to account. She puts
    all the pathos of the question upon _me_. Miss Charlotte to be
    disappointed of her reserved bit of pork! I can hardly keep
    my countenance, but of course must not disclaim my interest
    in the question. These greedy servants must be kept in order.
    It is not for nothing that we read of valiant encounters with
    alligators and hippopotami.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Dec. 3, 1862._

    ‘DEAREST LAURA,--We at last opened our piano, and your song has
    been thoroughly examined. The result is that some parts are
    much liked. Clara was so much pleased with the verse about the
    Rose, that after singing it over for Mother’s benefit she sang
    it three times over for her own. The words are not worthy of
    the music; it ought to be sacred; and I intend to copy it out
    in my own little music-book as a hymn, so that its interest
    will not die away with that of the bridal.[8] The part next
    best liked is the Shamrock verse; and if I might venture a
    suggestion, I think that the whole of the “We hail thee” might
    be set to it; only the “glittering” accompaniment must be
    confined to the Shamrock verse. I think people often like the
    repetition of one air over and over, far better than a great
    variety.

    The air is flowing and attractive, and there is no harm in its
    brevity. The first part, “We hail thee,” has a transition,
    which we fear that the rules of thorough-bass might not permit;
    and the Thistle is hardly equal to either the Shamrock or
    the Rose,--of which, you see, I would make a _separate_ song
    and hymn. If you would write out the song to the music of the
    former, I do not see why we should not try to get it accepted
    by a publisher. I hope that you will excuse my thus venturing
    to criticise your song and so unmercifully to cut it short.

    ‘I will give on the next page the words which I propose
    putting--for my own use--to the hymn part. Very little
    alteration will make them go very well to the air, for I have
    tried them; and the repetition of the last words, which your
    sweet music requires, suits lines the whole emphasis of which
    falls on the closing words; at least I fancy so.’

The lines following are given here, not exactly as they appeared in the
letter, but in the corrected and improved form which afterwards appeared
in print with the music:--

    ‘The Lord He is my strength and stay,
    When sorrow’s cup o’erflows the brim;
        It sweetens all if we can say,
            “This is from Him!”
    All comfort, comfort, flows from Him.

    ‘When humbly labouring for my Lord,
    Faint grows the heart and weak the limb,
        What strength and joy are in the words,
            “This is for Him!”
    ’Tis sweet to spend our strength for Him.

    ‘I hope for ever to abide
    Where dwell the radiant Seraphim;
        Delivered, pardoned, glorified;
            But ’tis through Him!
    All light and glory flow from Him.

    ‘Then welcome be the hour of death,
    When Nature’s lamp burns low and dim,
        If I can cry with dying breath,
            “I go to Him!”
    For Life Eternal flows from Him.’

TO MISS BELLA F. TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Feb. 11, 1862._

    ‘I have read your touching account of your most sorely
    afflicted friend with great interest. I visit the Imbecile
    Ward,[9] and I fear that she must be in the Insane Ward; but I
    will be sure to make inquiries, and perhaps I may find that I
    can follow her thither. I am not timid. Very very glad should I
    be to impart any comfort in such a case of awful distress; but
    I fear that she may not understand even sympathy.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Feb. 26, 1862._

    ‘I went to our afflicted friend.... I talked to her as
    comfortingly as I could, and told her that I thought this sad
    trial might be sent that she might be like Christiana, walking
    on a Heavenward path, with all her children with her. I was
    glad to draw forth one or two tears, for tearless anguish is
    the most terrible. She said that she prayed the Lord to take
    her. I did not think that a good prayer, but suggested that
    she should ask the Lord to come to her, as to the disciples
    in the storm. She has promised to repeat the two very little
    prayers, “Lord, come to me”; and “Lord, make my children Thine,
    for Jesus’ sake.” It was touching to hear her repeating softly,
    again and again,--“Make me Thine! make me Thine!”’

TO THE SAME.

                                              ‘_March 25, 1862._

    ‘Though still very low to-day, Mrs. ---- did not seem to me
    to be inaccessible to religious comfort. I fancied that there
    was a little lightening of the darkness.... I do not know of
    anything that she wants. I have supplied her with working
    materials. Perhaps a little book with pictures in it is as good
    as anything, as amusing without fatiguing the mind.... I know the
    beautiful large texts that you allude to; but I do not know
    where they could well be fixed in the Insane Ward. They are
    more, I think, for the bedridden.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                    ‘GRESFORD, _Sept. 13, 1863_.

    ‘I thought of you as I stood on the soft green slope down
    to the water, and looked on the bright little stream, with
    its white foam sparkling in the sunlight. How much of its
    beauty it owes to the pebbles that fret it; and how much of
    its rapidity to the fall in its course. But in our lives, how
    we--at least I--shrink from the pebbles! How we would fain have
    all glassy smooth,--though Nature itself teaches us that then
    it would become stagnant. The “sea of glass” is for another
    world....

    ‘I sometimes think that consoling is one of the most delightful
    employments given to God’s servants. It is pleasanter than
    teaching; far far more so than reproving others, or struggling
    against evil, or examining our own hearts. You were a comfort
    to poor dear ----, and I dare say that the sense of being so
    lightened your own trial of parting. I would give a _great
    deal_ to have your influence with ----; but the Almighty has
    not been pleased to grant me this. Perhaps He will some day.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_July 29, 1864._

    ‘I want particularly to know whether, in case I see my way to
    gaining money by it for some religious or charitable purpose,
    you will make me a present of that little bit of your welcome
    to the Princess which I have turned into a hymn. Also whether
    you would mind Mrs. Hamilton’s name being published on it. The
    hymn has been ringing so in my ears, and with such a soothing
    effect when I did not feel particularly cheerful, that I should
    like others to have the same comfort. I have made inquiries as
    to the cost of printing and publishing it.... Being very short,
    I do not think that much could be asked; and this is perhaps
    the gem of your music. I do not want it to be done at your
    expense, but at my own, and to manage everything after my own
    fashion,--but I cannot plunder you either of your music or your
    name without your leave....

    ‘Dear Fanny is better, though still prisoner to her room. She
    has had a sharp attack of fever; and I am afraid it will be
    difficult to throw off the cough. The rest of our party are
    well, as I trust that I may find you and your dear circle.’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_Aug. 1, 1864._

    ‘Your and your dear husband’s sweet notes quite added to the
    cheerfulness of our breakfast-table. Even Fanny did not appear
    knocked down by your tender scolding. She, for the first time
    since Tuesday, came to breakfast. She still needs great care,
    for the cold was on her chest, and even speaking is liable to
    make her cough. Mother highly approves of your plan of coming
    to town. She desires me to say that she knows that her face is
    before you, as yours is before her. Dear Fanny will probably
    not start for Brighton till Wednesday week, so she will have
    the pleasure of welcoming you, and I am sure that you will try
    not to let her be loquacious....

    ‘Many thanks for your kind present of the music. I am going
    to have it printed by converted Jews, and the entire profits
    devoted to the Society for the Conversion of Jews; so that it
    will be a little offering from us both to one of the holiest of
    causes.... I take the expense of the edition of 500 copies. They
    are to be sold for 1s. apiece; so if all are sold there is a
    contribution of £25 clear to the Society.... I am rather hopeful
    that the whole edition will go off before Christmas; for one
    shilling is not a formidable sum, especially when people can
    get a new song and help a good cause at the same time.... I take
    great pleasure in this little piece of business. I have been
    quite _haunted_ by the music. I am ordering the plate to be
    preserved, in case of a Second Edition being required. So Mrs.
    Hamilton is going to come out as a Composer!’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.[10]

                                              ‘_March 31, 1865._

    ‘MY DEAR GOD-DAUGHTER,--I shall like to think of you
    particularly to-morrow, because it is the Anniversary of the
    day when your dear parents in church solemnly presented their
    precious little first-born babe to God; and I stood there to
    answer for her. Dear Leila, may each return of that day find
    you drawing nearer and nearer to Him who said, “Suffer the
    little children to come unto Me.” If we could only feel in
    our hearts that He really does love us, and that He deigns to
    care whether we love Him, what a motive it would be for doing
    everything as in His sight! We are too apt to think of our
    Saviour as very far off, and with so many to care for that
    we are almost beneath His notice. But this is wrong. The Sun
    shines and sparkles on every dewdrop in a field, as much as
    if it were the only dewdrop in the world. He does not pass it
    over, because it is little; he makes it beautiful in his light,
    and then draws it up towards himself.... I wish that I could
    come and pay you a visit; but I do not see how I am to leave
    Grandmamma as long as dear Aunt Fanny is an invalid. I seem
    wanted at home.’

It may have been somewhere about this year, or not very long before it,
that Charlotte wrote the following pretty and graceful lines:--

    ‘Each silver thread that glitters in the hair,
    Is like a wayside landmark,--planted there
    To show Earth’s pilgrims, as they onward wend,
    How nearly they approach their journey’s end!’



CHAPTER X

A.D. 1864-1866

A HEAVY SHADOW


The afternoon shadows were again to darken around Charlotte Tucker; and
one blow after another had to fall. Her mother was growing old, and in no
long time would be called away. The health of her gentle sister, Fanny,
had begun to fail, never to be entirely restored. But a yet sharper
sorrow, because utterly unlooked for, was to come before the loss of
either her mother or her sister, like a flash of lightning into the midst
of clear sunshine.

Of all the many whom she dearly loved, none perhaps lay closer to her
heart than Letitia, the only daughter of her brother Robert,--the
youngest of ‘the Robins.’ The two boys were now out in the world,
one in India, one at sea; but Letitia hitherto had never left her,
except for visits here or there among relatives and friends. One who
knew them both well describes the contrast between aunt and niece at
this period,--Charlotte Tucker, ‘so upright and animated, very thin,
fair, with auburn hair, not very abundant, but which curled slightly,
naturally,’--and Letitia, ‘grave, with beautiful dark eyes and hair, and
rather dark complexion.’ Another speaks of Letitia as tall and handsome,
with dark eyes, dark chestnut hair, regular features, and sweet smile.

The gravity seems to have been a marked characteristic of this gifted
young girl. From very babyhood she was earnestly religious, and of a
peculiarly serious temperament; though at the same time energetic and
sometimes even lively. She had not her aunt’s spirit of fun; but the two
were alike in generosity and in determination. Perhaps Charlotte Tucker’s
training had especially developed these traits in her niece. A favourite
proverb of Letitia’s was--‘Perseverance conquers difficulties’;--and it
would have served equally well for A. L. O. E.

Letitia was also very fond of little children, and she worked much among
the poor. She was an exceedingly good and fearless rider; and at twenty
years old there was already promise of a literary gift. Her passion for
reading was so great that Hallam’s _History_ was a recreation in her
eyes. She had written at least one short story, which had found its
way into print, and many pretty, simple verses, chiefly of a religious
character. One of her hymns, composed at the age of eighteen, may be
given here:--

    ‘My soul was dark, for o’er its sight
          The shades of sorrow fell;--
    In Thee alone there still was light,
          Jesus, Immanuel!

    ‘And all around me and above
          There hung a gloomy spell;--
    I should have died without Thy love,
          Jesus, Immanuel!

    ‘For in my sinking heart there beat
          An ever-sounding knell;--
    But still I knew the “promise sweet,”
          Jesus, Immanuel!

    ‘I looked to Thee through all my fears,
          The pain and grief to quell;--
    Thy Hand hath wiped away my tears,
          Jesus, Immanuel!

    ‘I heard a low, “a still small voice,”
          Soft whisper, “It is well”;--
    And knew the Saviour of my choice,
          Jesus, Immanuel!

    ‘And still, o’er all life’s changing sea,
          In calm or stormy swell,
    I’ll look in faith straight up to Thee,
          Jesus, Immanuel!’

On November 28, 1864, Letitia left English shores, to join her uncle, Mr.
St. George Tucker and his family, in India. Letters of Charlotte Tucker,
referring to the event, have not come to hand; but she must have felt
the separation very keenly, whatever might have been the precise reasons
which led to the move. Letitia had now been practically her child for
eighteen years; and a close tie existed between the two. But no doubt
Charlotte looked upon the parting as of a very temporary nature; as
merely sending her child away for a longer visit than any preceding. The
real anguish of separation came a year later, when suddenly the young
girl was summoned to her true Home.

The few following extracts lie between these two dates,--the going of
Letitia to India, and the tidings of her death.

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Jan. 3, 1865._

    ‘Many thanks, my dear Leila, for your affectionate note.... There
    was another nice cheerful note from my Letitia to-day. She
    wrote it when on the Red Sea, which she evidently found very
    warm, for she described the ship as a “hothouse,” and said that
    she and her fellow-passengers would be “fine exotics” before
    they arrived. There had been two Services on board on Sunday,
    and Letitia had heard two excellent sermons. Mary Egerton had
    her harmonium on board, which had been brought up from the
    hold, so there was nice hymn-singing too. How sweet the music
    must have sounded on the water! I think that, steaming over
    the Red Sea, one would have liked to have raised the song of
    the Israelites--

        “Sound the loud timbrel o’er Egypt’s dark sea,
        Jehovah hath triumphed, His people are free!”

    ‘My dear sailor is to leave us on the 17th or 18th for China.
    I believe that he is to travel part of the journey in the
    same vessel as the Cuthbert Thornhills, who were to have
    taken charge of Letitia had our first arrangements held good.
    They will have one Robin instead of the other. Poor dear Mrs.
    Thornhill, what a sad parting is before her! I had a loving
    note very lately from my Louis. He fears that he will not get
    leave to see his dear sister for a twelve-month.

    ‘The weather here has been chilly. None of the ladies have
    ventured out of the house since Saturday; but Charley has in
    vain longed for skating. Ice forms, then melts again. Dear
    Grandmamma keeps wonderfully free from cold; but then she
    remains in the house.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON. (Undated.)

    ‘My loved boy left us yesterday, quiet and firm, shedding no
    tear. We (Mamma) had a little note from him this morning,--such
    a simple one,--you might have fancied that he had only left us
    for a week. Dear boy! I trust that he is going into sunshine;
    above all I hope and pray that his Father’s God will ever be
    with him. It would not have been well for him to have remained
    much longer in London with nothing particular to do. Active
    life is most wholesome to a fine strong man like my Charley....

    ‘Dear Mother keeps well. Sweet Fan I cannot give so good an
    account of. I have urged Mother to have further advice; and I
    believe that there will be a little consultation on Friday; but
    perhaps you had better not write about this, except to me.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Nov. 15, 1865._

    ‘What a bright account you give of your dear busy young
    party! Tell dear Otho that I shall be charmed if he makes the
    discovery of a magenta-coloured caterpillar, or a mauve earwig;
    and that as it will be ten times as curious as the Spongmenta
    Padella, it ought to have a Latin name ten times as long. I
    don’t despair of the great sea-serpent Did I tell you that
    dear Mrs. Thornhill had, when a girl, conversed with a Mrs.
    Hodgeson, wife of one of the Governors of our West Indian
    possessions, who had watched the movements of _two_ that were
    fighting in the waves for about _ten minutes_?

        “’Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
        One glance at such a fray!--”

    I took down the particulars, as I thought them very curious....

    ‘This is my sweet Letitia’s birthday; she is just twenty.... My
    Letitia is going to pay Louis a visit at Moultan.’

No foreboding whisper in her heart spoke of what that visit to Moultan,
so lightly mentioned, would mean to them all. When the two next letters
were penned, little as Charlotte dreamt of what was coming, the blow had
already fallen, and Letitia had passed away.

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Jan. 2, 1866._

    ‘May the best blessings of the opening year rest upon my
    beloved Laura, and her dear circle.

    ‘I hope that dear Leila received my _Rescued from Egypt_ in
    the Christmas box. I put it up for her, and to the best of my
    knowledge it went to Bournemouth; but as neither she nor you
    have mentioned seeing it, I feel half afraid that in some way
    I cannot imagine it has missed its destination, and the dear
    girl has fancied that when sending little remembrances to her
    brothers I had forgotten her.

    ‘Such a delightful budget of letters I had from Letitia by last
    Southampton mail! She writes that she is “very very happy.”’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_Jan. 3, 1866._

    ‘I feel that I have not said half enough to your dear husband
    for his splendid book. I was in such a hurry to write and thank
    him, that I only gave myself time for a cursory glance.... Dear
    Fanny enjoyed looking at the pictures with me; and to-day I
    carried up my book to dear Mother, that she might have the
    pleasure also. She admires your dear husband’s gift greatly,
    and we agree that it is just the book to take to the Cottage.
    It seems to be quite a treasure of curious and interesting
    knowledge; a volume to keep for reference as well as for
    perusal. Do thank dear Mr. Hamilton again for me, and tell him
    that I consider _Homes Without Hands_ as a family acquisition.

    ‘We are all much _in statu quo_. Our time is now passing
    swiftly and pleasantly. Mother looks so bright and bonny and
    young! We were talking together to-day of your and your dear
    husband’s kindness to sweet Fanny. I am sure that it has not
    been lost.’

Then came the mournful news; and a hasty short scrawl conveyed the first
intimation of it from Charlotte Tucker to her niece, ‘Leila’ Hamilton; a
note without any formal beginning:--

    ‘Break to your sweet Mother and Aunt Mina that God has taken my
    darling Letitia. His Will be done,--Your sorrowing Aunt,

                                                       ‘C. M. T.

    ‘All was peace,--_smiling_!’

The illness had been short,--a severe attack of erysipelas, while Letitia
was in her brother’s house at Moultan. Somewhat early in the illness she
had said,--‘I am sure I shall die; but one ought not to mind, you know.’
While delirious she was heard to say distinctly,--‘Ta,’--her pet name
in the past for her aunt Charlotte; but the message, if there were one,
could not be distinguished.

After much wandering, she regained sufficient consciousness to assure
those around that she was suffering no pain; and five or six times
she repeated to her brother,--‘I am very fond of you!’ This was on a
Wednesday. The next day, Thursday, she was too weak for speech; though
in the morning, recognising her brother, she gave him a sweet smile.
Thenceforward the dying girl was entirely peaceful; as said by one of
those present,--‘constantly smiling. Her whole face was lighted up as
with extreme pleasure.’ All day this continued, as she slowly sank; the
face remaining perfectly calm and untroubled; till at length, when she
passed away, soon after eleven o’clock at night, ‘she ceased to breathe
so gently that she seemed to have fallen into a deep sleep.’ But the
placid smile was still there, unchanged, till the sweet young face was
hidden away.

Charlotte Tucker, writing to her sister, Mrs. Hamilton, about these sad
particulars, which yet were not all sad, observed:--

    ‘I am sure your heart has been aching, and your eyes have been
    weeping. Such a sudden--such an unexpected stroke! But God is
    Wisdom and Love....

    ‘Darling--my own darling Letitia! Oh, when she looked so happy,
    did she not see the angels--or her beloved Father--or the
    Bedwells and old Rodman whom she had so tended,--perhaps all
    coming to welcome her,--or the loving Saviour Himself? I do
    not grudge her to Him; but oh, what a wealth of love I have
    (apparently) lost in that one young heart! Her _last_ parcel of
    letters to me contained sweet commissions for her poor.... I dare
    say that I shall hear from you to-morrow; but it is a relief
    to me to write now to you, who were so kind and dear to her. I
    went out before breakfast this morning. A thrush was singing
    so sweetly. I saw the first crocus of the year. My flower,--my
    lovely one,--she may now be singing in joy, while we sit in
    sorrow.’

This letter was dated January 21; and three days later another went to
Mrs. Hamilton, not from Charlotte, but from Fanny:--

    ‘MY OWN DEAREST LAURA,--Your dear letters have been very
    soothing to our Charlotte, and have helped to remind her of
    the mercies mingled with the bereavement. The sure sweet hope
    that her darling is safe, and for ever happy, has been her
    strong consolation; and God is mercifully supporting her, I am
    thankful to say. Last Sunday she went both to Church and to the
    Workhouse.

    ‘I am thankful to be near her, to minister to her,--but wish I
    were a better comforter, such as _you_ would have been, dear.

    ‘The sad tidings were most gently broken to our dear Mother by
    Clara. She was therefore mercifully spared the shock of the
    sudden intelligence.

    ‘With kindest remembrances to dear Mr. Hamilton, and love to
    your dear self and your dear ones, believe me, dearest Laura,
    your very affectionate

                                                    ‘F. TUCKER.’

C. M. T. TO A COUSIN.

                                               ‘_Jan. 24, 1866._

    ‘Many thanks for your kind sympathy. My sweet consolation
    indeed is that my own darling girl sleeps in Jesus. When such a
    bright look of “extreme pleasure” lighted up the dear face of
    one called away in the bloom of her youth and beauty, was she
    not realising her own sweet lines,--

        “I heard a Voice, ‘a still small Voice,’
        Soft whisper, ‘It is well,’
        And knew the Saviour of my choice,
            Jesus, Immanuel”?’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Feb. 6, 1866._

    ‘Did I ever tell you that my darling wrote to me when she was
    at the Hills, saying that she did not wish me to be altogether
    disappointed in regard to her, and asking me whom I would wish
    her to try to resemble. I mentioned you,--for I thought that as
    her disposition was lively, it would be more easy for her to
    try to be like you than dear Fanny; besides she had seen you
    as a wife and mother, and I did not know whether the Almighty
    might not destine her to be such. He had something “far better”
    for my loved one.

    ‘It will interest you to know that G---- (P----‘s _protégée_),
    after winning honours at Cambridge, wishes to be baptized as
    a Christian. Amy H---- and her husband are to be two of his
    witnesses, and he is anxious that dear Henry[11] should be the
    third; for it was Henry’s consistent character which first
    showed him what Christianity really is.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Feb. 13, 1866._

    ‘I thank you lovingly, dearest Leila, for your letter. I prize
    your affection,--you write to me almost as my own darling used
    to write. If my health had broken down, so that I could not
    have been a comfort to dear Grandmamma and Aunt Fanny here,
    I should thankfully have accepted the invitation which you
    so affectionately press; but as I keep pretty well, I do not
    think that it would be well for me to leave my post at home.
    Dear Grandmamma seems to cling to me so,--she is so loving! I
    am thankful that she keeps so well. Dear Aunt Fanny was not so
    well for two days, but is better again....

    ‘My darling once wrote and asked me whose character I would
    like her to try to copy as a pattern. I gave her your sweet
    Mother’s. She replied that it would be difficult, but that it
    was well to aim high. I think that _you_ will like to know
    this. You have the same sweet model always before you; you,
    dear one, have advantages that my darling had not.

    ‘Though I have cried over this note, it has soothed me to write
    it; I have felt as if I were taking another dear young niece to
    my heart,--a sad heart, but I trust not an ungrateful one for
    the earthly affection which is God’s gift, and of which I have
    been granted much.--Your affectionate Aunt and Godmother

                                                      ‘C. M. T.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                          ‘1866.

    ‘I send you on the other page a few lines which came into my
    mind yesterday in regard to my sweet Letitia:--

                          ‘A THOUGHT.

    ‘She travelled to the glorious East; she met the rising sun,--
    And even so her day of heavenly bliss was soon begun;
    I knew ’twas sunrise with my child, while night was o’er me weeping,
    E’er closed my weary day, my darling was serenely sleeping.
    And so Thou didst ordain, O Lord, as Thou didst deem it best,--
    That hers should be the earlier dawn, and hers the earlier rest.’

TO MISS B. F. TUCKER.

                                                ‘_May 22, 1866._

    ‘I have been learning a new art, and am thankful to find that
    I have sufficient energy left in me to do so. I sent for some
    reading in embossed letters for a blind man here, and amused
    myself by puzzling it out myself. I have succeeded in reading
    right through the fourteenth of St. John in two sittings of
    about an hour and twenty minutes each. It was an effort of
    memory as well as attention, as some of the letters are utterly
    unlike those to which we have been accustomed. The poor blind
    man promises well to acquire the art, I think.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_July 16, 1866._

    ‘Have you seen the mysterious sky-visitor? On Friday evening
    our maids saw something like three stars, one red,--but they
    disappeared. On the following night Cousins[12] called me to
    look on what I would not have missed seeing for a good deal.
    About thirty degrees above the horizon, I should think, shone
    what was like a star, but more splendid than any that I had
    ever beheld, of a brilliant magenta colour. It was no falling
    star passing rapidly through the sky, but appeared quite fixed
    in the heavens for--perhaps ten minutes. As I gazed with
    something like awe on its wondrous beauty, suddenly its colour
    utterly changed; the magenta became white, with a greenish
    tinge; and then--as suddenly--the star disappeared; not as if
    hidden by a cloud, but as if _put out_.

    ‘I watched for the mysterious light last night, but could not
    see it; the evening had been so strangely dark that we had
    lighted candles an hour before sunset, though our window looks
    to the west. No star was visible to me; but our maids had a
    short glimpse of a strange light. I am sitting by the window
    now to watch for the visitor in the north-west.... I searched
    _The Times_ to-day to see if there were any mention of it, but
    could find none.’

Evidently Charlotte Tucker had been fortunate enough to see a very fine
meteor; though probably the supposed duration of ten minutes was in
reality a good deal shorter. The idea of watching for the same meteor
next night is somewhat amusing. The maids doubtless saw what they
expected to see; but Charlotte Tucker, though non-scientific, was far too
practical so to indulge her powers of imagination.

In another letter written during this same July to Mrs. Hamilton occurs
one little sentence well worth quoting, for it is a sentence which might
serve as a motto for many a seemingly empty and even purposeless life--

            ‘IT IS SWEET TO BE SOMEBODY’S SUNSHINE.’

In June Mrs. Tucker had written to a friend,--‘Charlotte walked twice to
church, and thinks she is stronger.’ And in a letter to Mrs. Hamilton, on
the 23rd of July, Charlotte said of herself,--‘I am quite well now, and
up to work’;--yet the following to a niece, on September 1st, does not
speak of fully restored energies:--

    ‘I have so much to be grateful for, I wish that I were of a
    more thankful spirit. It seems as if this year had aged me.
    When I saw a bright creature like ----, I mentally contrasted
    her with myself, and thought,--“She has not the gee out of her.
    Cheerfully and hopefully she enters on her untried sphere of
    work. In her place I should be taking cares!”--very wrong of
    me. I often take myself to task.

    ‘I feel putting off my dark dress for _one day_ on Wednesday....
    My darling was to me what she was not to her other Aunts.’

To some people, or in certain states of body and mind, the afternoon is
apt to be a more tired time than the evening. At this stage in Charlotte
Tucker’s Afternoon of life she passed through a somewhat weary spell,
though never really ill; but her energies were to revive for the work of
her Eventide.

On October 6th she could say,--

    ‘I am not poorly, though I look thin; I think that I am
    stronger in health and firmer in spirit now than I have been
    almost all this trying year; and for this I am thankful.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Nov. 2, 1866._

    ‘Your sweet Mother will wonder at not receiving the little book
    which I promised to send her; but our bookseller, from whom I
    ordered the copy, has been unable to get it yet. I will tell
    you something that may cause delay. Of course I looked with
    some interest at the illustrations which my Publisher sent me;
    but I was not a little surprised in the last one to find one
    whom I considered to be a man represented as a _bear_! He was
    bearish in character certainly, but still--certainly not a bear
    in shape.

    ‘Of course I wrote to Mr. Inglis about it; who replied that
    he had been annoyed himself at the resemblance to a bear, and
    had sent the picture more than once to be altered, and had
    been at last so much provoked that he had paid off the artist
    altogether. Now, though I may be a little sorry for the poor
    man,--I never proposed his dismissal,--I confess I am rather
    glad that he is not to illustrate my books any more. There is
    no saying what creature he might turn my characters into next.
    Mr. Inglis is going to have the picture altered; so this may
    occasion delay.’



CHAPTER XI

A.D. 1867-1868

GIVING COMFORT TO OTHERS


Three more years only remained to Charlotte of life in the dear old home
of her infancy. Those three years passed quietly, marked by no stirring
events. On the 11th of December 1867, Otho St. George Hamilton, son of
her sister Laura, died at the age of thirteen, after a long illness;
and during these years Fanny continued steadily to fail. The delicacy
developed into a case of decided consumption, but of a slow and lingering
description. A few sentences are culled from the many letters which
remain, belonging to this period.

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                   ‘_Feb. 1867._

    ‘I wish my sweet Leila to receive a few lines on her birthday....
    _Tempus fugit_, indeed. When you open this you will be thirteen
    years old. It seems to me as if each year now were growing
    more and more important; the stream is widening; the mind is
    opening; and ... may the heart be opening too to that Love which
    is beyond all earthly love.

    ‘I had a pleasant childhood. My mind was very active, as well
    as my bodily frame; and at your age I dare say that life lay
    before me, a bright, hope-inspiring thing. It is well that it
    should be so; it is a kind arrangement of Providence that the
    young should be usually full of energy and hope. I like to
    recall how I felt, that I may enter into the feelings of others.

    ‘Now of course I have not exactly the same kind of landscape
    before me as I had at thirteen. I am in my forty-sixth year,
    have known care and sorrow, and have at present but feeble
    health. And yet, dear, I don’t want to exchange my landscape;
    I have no wish to go back. I have found that middle age has
    its deep joys, as well as early youth its sparkling ones.
    Sometimes I ask myself,--“Now, in my present position, if I had
    no pleasure in religion, if everything connected with that were
    cut off, what would be left me?--what would life be to me?” O
    Leila, what a tasteless, what a bitter thing! We want delights
    that will not grow old, that will never pall, that will be just
    as fresh and lovely at eighty as at eighteen. Religion is not
    merely, as some seem to fancy, to prepare us for death, but to
    be the happiness of life. It calls indeed for the sacrifice
    of self-will in a hundred little ways; but it repays those
    little sacrifices a hundred times over. Just think what it is
    to realise such thoughts as these,--“The Lord Jesus loves me! I
    am His own! I shall see Him one day, and be with Him!” How can
    such thoughts ever lose their sweetness?’

TO THE SAME.

                                              ‘_April 28, 1867._

    ‘How different your still, noiseless dwelling must be to ours
    at present! Not that we have much noise, but sometimes so
    much seems going on. Yesterday M---- A---- D---- and a young
    cousin came in the morning; then before they had left Cousin
    M---- E---- and four fine children, then Uncle St. George and
    his wife. All this before luncheon; others came after it; and
    I went to the Poorhouse, and then lodging-hunting with Uncle
    St. George. He _is_ so sweet and loving and good.... He delights
    Grandmamma.’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_July 1, 1867._

    ‘It is mournfully interesting to read my darling’s papers, of
    which L---- has brought home many. Her prose is usually lively;
    her poetry full of tenderness, often very sad.... The two latest
    dated poems were, I think, written August 14. They were called
    “An Early Grave” and “All is Vanity.” Every stanza of the
    first expresses desire for an early departure. The second thus
    beautifully closes--

        “There’s rest beneath the yew; I know
          There’s deeper Rest in realms above;
        The Saviour’s Arm the valley through
          Will me uphold with strengthening love;
        My hope His Righteousness; my buckler, faith;
        Why should I fear to tread the shades of death?”

    ‘If this really be the darling’s last written stanza, what a
    touching interest it gives it!’

TO MISS B. F. TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Sept. 9, 1867._

    ‘Poor little Otho has rallied again, though the doctor holds
    out no hope of ultimate recovery. This is a sad time for
    my poor Laura, though there are sorer trials than that of
    bereavement.’

The Hamiltons were at this time in great trouble, as they watched the
long-drawn-out sufferings of their dying boy; and many letters were
written by Charlotte to her favourite sister, full of intense feeling.
Day by day she lived with them in their sorrow, anxiously looking out for
fresh tidings, and thinking what she could say to comfort or soothe.

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Oct. 30, 1867._

    ‘PRECIOUS SISTER,--Your touching letter has quickened the
    spirit of Prayer; but oh, I feel as if my prayers were often
    so weak and worthless. I want more faith, more earnestness. I
    have not time to write more, but could not let _that_ letter be
    unanswered by your loving

                                                      ‘C. M. T.’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_Nov. 9, 1867._

    ‘Fanny and I have been conversing to-night on the subject
    of your dear suffering boy. You long fervently to see him
    rejoicing in the prospect of departing and being with Christ.
    Perhaps the one obstacle to his being able to do so is the
    thought of parting from you. If his Mother were going with him,
    he may think, he would be happy to go.

    ‘Now to me, were I in your darling’s position, there would be
    comfort and pleasure in the idea--“Perhaps, as regards me,
    leaving the body will _not_ be real separation from dear ones.
    Perhaps I may be allowed to come to them, and minister to them,
    and cheer them; though they cannot see me I may see them!” This
    idea does not appear opposed to Scripture. The rich man in the
    parable believed that Lazarus _could_ go to Earth; and Abraham
    never said that he could _not_. If dear Otho thought that he
    might possibly be permitted to watch over his Mother, and help
    to make her happy, and be one of the first to welcome her to
    bliss,--perhaps the real bitterness of death would for him seem
    taken away. It seems quite possible that dear Robin was by his
    child’s sick-bed, and that she _saw_ him, when her face so
    lighted up with joy. “I believe in the Communion of Saints.”

    ‘Your dear boy is very young. A child’s religion seems almost
    to begin with the Fifth Commandment. We can hardly yet expect
    dear Otho to love the Lord whom he has not seen _more_ than the
    parents whom he has seen and fondly loved. Do you not think,
    darling, that you are almost _too_ anxious on the subject of
    Otho’s state of mind? He is only a lamb; and the Good Shepherd
    knows that he needs to be carried.

    ‘I should like to know when your dear boy takes the Holy
    Communion, that I may be with you in thought and in prayer.
    Otho is an invited guest to the Great Feast above; his robe is
    prepared by his Lord,--don’t fear, love, that it will not be
    very white and very fair....

    ‘_P.S._--_Nov. 10._--I have been thinking much of your dear one
    in church; and I open my note to add another reason suggested
    to my mind, as a cause why he may be unable ... to feel joy in
    the thought of departure. You and I, my Laura, have known many
    of God’s saints now in bliss; we have almost as many dear
    friends in the world of spirits as in this. Perhaps we are
    hardly aware of the influence which this has on our minds,--how
    it helps to make Heaven a home. Your dear boy may feel that he
    is going to enter amongst a great company of saints, almost
    every one of whom is a stranger to him. To one so reserved as
    Otho, this may be rather an awful thought. I wonder if it is
    a comfort to him to think of sweet Letitia and Christian[13]
    being there. Perhaps if you reminded him of that, it might
    remove a feeling which--if he entertains it--he might not like
    to mention even to you.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Nov. 13, 1867._

    ‘I thank God that He has made your darling willing to depart,
    even to leave you. Your note is deeply interesting; and I think
    you may feel that your prayers have been answered.... You must
    now only think of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of
    glory.” Probably every hour of suffering in some mysterious way
    enhances and increases future rapture,--rapture more intense
    than we can conceive. The longer I live, the more convinced I
    feel that there _is_ this mysterious connection--in the case of
    God’s children--between personal pain and future delight. So
    that, if we could, as we fain would, shield our treasures from
    suffering, we might be depriving them of some rich blessing.

    ‘_You_ are in the furnace, my precious sister,--a hotter
    furnace, perhaps, than that which tries your child. I need not
    repeat that whenever you want me, you have only to send for me.
    You and I understand each other! How sweet is the tie between
    us! Dear Mother is apt to indulge hopes of your boy’s recovery.
    I think that she hardly realises his state, and probably she
    scarcely knows how to write under the circumstances. She has
    had a cold these last few days, but is, I hope, throwing it
    off....

    ‘I send you a little book,[14] which I am sure will interest
    you. It has been a mournful pleasure to me to prepare it. Your
    lamb as well as mine will probably soon “be folded above.”’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Nov. 14, 1867._

    ‘My heart feels more with you, my Laura, in that still
    sick-room than here. Perhaps many angels are about you and your
    boy, though you see them not.

    ‘Like your dear invalid, I am especially fond of St. Luke’s
    account of the dying thief. There is something so touching
    in his looking at such a moment to the Saviour, whose Blood,
    shed for his salvation, was at that moment trickling down in
    his view; and there is something so sublime in our Lord’s
    conferring Eternal Life,--such a gift,--at the time when He was
    Himself undergoing the terrible sentence of death! We may envy
    your dear suffering child, my Laura, when we think how soon, in
    human expectation, his eyes will behold the King in His beauty.

    ‘O darling, you could hardly wish to keep him back, when the
    Master calls him,--calls him to His Home--His Arms!

    ‘I feel for your dear husband; this is a time of sore trial
    for him; but you suffer together. May God give you both “songs
    in the night.” Those songs are perhaps sweeter to Him than the
    Hallelujahs of the Angels.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Nov. 21, 1867._

    ‘How well I know that feeling which you describe,--the feeling
    of being unable to pray fervently,--of being scarcely able to
    pray at all! This is probably caused ... by fatigue of body, and
    overstraining of mind and nerves. Perhaps God permits it, that
    we should just sink in complete helplessness at our Saviour’s
    Feet, and ask Him to pray for us, since we cannot pray for
    ourselves.... You may be like a very little child, that can’t
    even _ask_ for what it needs, but yet trusts and fears not.’

TO MISS LEILA HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Dec. 11, 1867._

    ‘Your very very sad account of dear Otho received this morning
    makes one think that, even before this reaches you, the
    sufferer may have been called _home_! Oh what a blessing it
    is that it is indeed Home.... Dear Otho has had a sorely trying
    journey, wintry and wearisome indeed; but there is no shadow,
    never can be a shadow, on the Home to which he is bound. He
    will never have to leave it again, to learn the lesson of
    patience in pain. He will, through his Lord’s merits, be
    ready there to welcome the dear ones whom he is now leaving
    behind,--when they too may quit their school, and go to their
    Father in Heaven....

    ‘This is a solemn time for you, my Leila. I had reached the
    age of thirty before I ever looked upon that which is called
    death, in my own home. These events make the invisible world
    seem nearer. They should draw us upwards; they should bring us
    closer to our God.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Dec. 12, 1867._

    ‘MOST PRECIOUS LAURA,--When Lady Catherine L----‘s only son was
    called, she sank on her knees, and said,--“My child, I wish you
    joy!” so wonderfully was she enabled to realise the happiness,
    the ecstasy, of the freed spirit, rising up to the presence of
    her Saviour and God. Happy, happy Otho! No more to be pitied,
    but to be envied!

        ‘“O change, O wondrous change!
            Burst are the prison bars,--
        One moment past--how low
        In mortal pangs,--and now
        Beyond the stars!”

    ‘I will not write much to you now, darling. I am going to see
    your Freddie, but intend to tell him nothing.

    ‘Express my tender sympathy to your dear husband. God support
    you all.--Your loving

                                                      ‘C. M. T.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Jan. 14, 1868._

    ‘It was not with dry eyes, my beloved Laura, that I could
    read what was written in those volumes, to which a tenfold
    value is given by their being last Remembrances from your
    lately suffering, now blessed boy. Oh, with what a heavy heavy
    heart must you have put up those parcels, and written those
    inscriptions! It will perhaps be a long time before you can
    realise with calm thankfulness that it is indeed so “well with
    the child” that you can rejoice in his safety, his happiness....
    I am now much more disposed to praise for my angel-girl than to
    weep for her.... I can see so clearly the Love and Wisdom that
    took her Home. Presently, my precious sorrowing sister, you may
    feel the same about your boy. Your intense love will remain,
    for love is immortal; your sorrow will die, for sorrow with
    Christ’s people is _not_ immortal, thank God.--Your tenderly
    loving

                                                 ‘C. M. TUCKER.’

TO THE SAME.

    ‘I have enjoyed your dear letter, and it makes me feel
    thankful. I have often thought that freed spirits probably lead
    a life of delightful activity; none of the “burdens of the
    flesh” to fetter them down. The idea of spirits preaching to
    spirits is, however, rather new to me. But there seems nothing
    against it, and probability rather in its favour. That verse in
    St. Peter, to which you refer, certainly strengthens the idea;
    for the disciples are permitted in so many ways to follow their
    Master.

    ‘It is thus possible that, while you are weeping for your
    darling, if your eyes were opened, you might see him the
    bright, joyful centre of a little group of spirits of Indian
    children,[15] repeating to them the lessons which he first
    learned from you, but which he would now know better--oh, how
    much better!--than you could ever teach him. I am sure that you
    would not wish to take him back again to pain and weakness from
    such an occupation.’

TO THE SAME.

                                              ‘_April 14, 1868._

    ‘MY OWN SWEET LAURA,--I feel that this month must be full of
    heavy recollections to you; and oh, it is hard to have a bright
    face to hide a bleeding heart. I hope that you will not put
    any restraint upon yourself with me.... Easter has its peculiar
    message of hope and joy to the mourner. Nature, bursting into
    new life and beauty, repeats the message, gives it to us as it
    were in an illumination of green leaves and bright blossoms.
    The Church says, “Christ is risen indeed!”--and all around
    us joyfully adds, “And _we_ shall rise again!” Your parting
    with your boy is over; now only the meeting is before you. The
    shadows fall behind; the glowing sunshine is in front.’



CHAPTER XII

A.D. 1868-1872

THE OLD HOME BROKEN UP


One letter at about this time gives particulars of how Charlotte tried
to influence, not without results, a poor Roman Catholic woman, whom
she came across in the Infirmary. Another makes allusion to the Ragged
Schools and their work, in which she was always greatly interested. Yet
another contains the answer to an inquiry from a niece about a book
which should be bought, probably for a gift. The suggested choice ranges
between Sir Walter Scott, Felicia Hemans, Jean Ingelow, the Author of
_The Schonberg-Cotta Family_, and Miss Sewell,--a rather curious mixture.

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_July 7, 1868._

    ‘I met a mole the other day in a field. It did not attempt to
    get away, but let me stroke it; and had I chosen I could easily
    have taken it up in my hand. This seems quite a country for
    moles. I have seen them repeatedly. I take a greater interest
    in them, from that book, _Homes Without Hands_, which your
    father kindly gave me.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Aug. 11, 1868._

    ‘We have strange pets here. There are numbers of wasps; I never
    saw so many at any one time, I think. They sting our poor maids
    in the kitchen, but behave in such a gentlemanly way in the
    drawing-room, that, instead of a plague, they seem a pleasure
    to dear Grandmamma. She watches them, feeds them, admires
    their beauty, and calls them her babies. One got within Aunt
    C----‘s jacket, which naturally rather alarmed her. She drew
    the jacket off, and I found the wasp in the sleeve. It had been
    between it and C----‘s bare skin, and yet had never stung her.

    ‘I dare say that you are rather impatient to be settled in
    Firlands.’

TO THE SAME.

                                              ‘_Sept. 21, 1868._

    ‘On Saturday ---- and I read my _Castle of Carlsmont_ aloud
    to dear Grandmamma. I have been amused at ----‘s little
    criticisms, and shall like to know how far yours agree with
    hers, if you read my Tragedy. ---- says that “Clara is rather
    stupid”; that she likes Agnes best. “I have rather a sneaking
    likeness for Agnes,” says she. She says that the ending
    disappoints her; she would cut off the last page and the four
    preceding lines, which would completely alter the whole ending.
    The ending stood originally just as she would have it; but
    years afterwards I added the page and four lines, which _I_
    think an improvement.

    ‘Tell me frankly what you think, and whether you approve of
    the style of binding. You remember when I talked to you about
    the Tragedy, as we sat together in the garden. The two things
    that occurred to you were,--how could I get the work, when
    printed, _sold_; and that people would not like it in pamphlet
    shape. Messrs. Nelson have obviated the first difficulty; and
    by having covers put on by the Jewish Society, I have obviated
    the second. I am sure my wee book will have your good wishes,
    dear, that it may bring in a little sum to dear Auntie Fanny’s
    Mission purse.

    ‘You will wonder what has become of that work of mine, of which
    I read part to you last year. I can only warn you, my dear
    Leila, when you write a story, don’t call it _On the Way_,--for
    it seems to be always on the way, and never to arrive.

    ‘What a long note I have written! Pay me back by a review of my
    Tragedy, and be as blunt as ever you like; for if you tell me
    that my poor lady is “very stupid,” instead of “rather stupid,”
    you will only make me smile.’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_Feb. 4, 1869._

    ‘It is only fair that I should send you a long account of the
    wedding.[16] I thought that I should be the first of the party
    in church, for I went early; but I was mistaken. Gradually
    a large family party gathered.... There was a good deal of
    how-d’ye-doing and kissing and that kind of thing, before the
    word was heard, “The bride is coming.”

    ‘Dear Bella looked nice and sweet, leaning on the arm of her
    father. A large Honiton lace veil fell over her pure white silk
    dress; her lovely hair plaited, instead of made into an ugly
    chignon, appeared graceful under the white wreath, from which
    a spray drooped down her neck. I did not think the bridesmaids
    looking picturesque; there was too square a look about the
    purple trimming of their white alpacas. The bridegroom
    and bride stood side by side. I could see Bella’s profile
    distinctly, and could hear every sentence, both when James and
    when she repeated their vows.... There was no crying that I could
    see.... You know that there were eight little children present,
    four little boys and four little girls. Some of them were given
    flowers from an ornamental basket, to strew in the path of the
    bride, as her husband led her down the aisle.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_June 12, 1869._

    ‘Sweet Grandmamma continues much the same,--serene,--without
    pain, not exactly ill, but so delicate that she is still
    carried up and down stairs, and sees none of the family
    but Aunt Clara and myself, and only a little of me.... Dear
    Grandmamma sent for me while I was writing the above; and to my
    surprise I found her, pen in hand, busy with a note to welcome
    Uncle Willy. I am much pleased that she should send him one,
    though I should not have thought of asking her to make so great
    an effort. Of course the note is very short.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_July 10, 1869._

    ‘My heart should be full of thankfulness, for to-day dear Aunt
    Fanny was able to pay her first visit here to see Grandmamma.
    Uncle and Aunt St. George[17] drove her here in their
    pony-chaise; and she had quite enjoyed the drive. I thought
    Aunt Fanny decidedly better; but dear Grandmamma--who has
    scarcely realised the severity of her late illness,--said to
    me, with evident disappointment, “I was surprised to see my
    own Fanny look so pallid. I think she looks worse than I do.”
    This is true; but then the fact is that Grandmamma’s lovely
    pink and white complexion often makes her look stronger than
    she is....

    ‘Uncle St. George has given me such a lovely piano-piece.
    Grandmamma likes me to play it through every day, or I should
    be inclined to lend it to your dearest Mother. It would remind
    her so of the dear Ancient Concerts, the delight of our youth,
    and of good old Mrs. Burrough. It is Glück’s music, arranged by
    Calcott, from _Half-Hours with the Best Composers_, published
    by Lonsdale. The piece commences with the delightful chorus
    of Furies, Cerberus barking, etc., which your dear Mother may
    remember.

    ‘I am ashamed of such an untidy scrawl as this. I do not know
    how that blot on the first page made its appearance. Of course
    the _writer_ was not to blame!... I could chat much longer with
    you, dear one, but I have other notes to write; and my pen, or
    ink, or paper, or something or other, will go wrong to-night,
    so as to make the act of writing irksome, as well as the note
    untidy.’

Another heavy blow, not less heavy because sooner or later inevitable,
was now drawing very near. Mrs. Tucker, who had reached the age of
eighty, had of late failed steadily; and Charlotte must have seen that
this dear Mother was soon to pass away from their midst. Before the
close of July the call came; and already every word that she spoke was
treasured up by her daughter, as may be seen in the following letter:--

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_July 12, 1869._

    ‘So many thanks to my beloved Laura for her valuable and
    gratifying gift, which reaches me to-day. Dear Mother has heard
    your sweet music twice over already, and both she and Clara
    admire it. So do I. I wish that your song were published,
    that more might benefit from it. I am pleased that you occupy
    yourself in composing, love. I dare say Mother will often ask
    for her Laura’s song. “Is not she a darling?” exclaimed Mother
    to-day.

    ‘I not unfrequently sing, “Hark, my soul,” to sweet Mamma.
    It is better to go over and over the same than to give much
    variety, though I sometimes sing “Rock of Ages” also. I heard
    Mother saying to herself one day, “Jesus speaks, and speaks
    to me”; and she once observed of that hymn, “That takes one to
    heaven.”

    ‘Dear Mother is much the same; not ill; with no fever, no pain;
    just very delicate and weak. She was so particularly sweet
    yesterday, Sunday. She looked lovely sitting by the large open
    window, with a light gauze veil to keep off the flies. Mother
    said that it had been “a holy day”--“a solemn day,”--and twice
    asked me to read the Bible to her.... Once after waking she
    observed that she felt “between Heaven and earth.” Mother has
    repeatedly alluded to her dream of being in Heaven with Mrs.
    Thornhill; and often talks of her father,--“such a holy man!”

    ‘She said yesterday, “I have been dreaming.” I observed, “I
    hope they were pleasant dreams.” “Mostly prayerful,” was her
    reply.... She is very serene and peaceful, which is such a mercy.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_July 24, 1869._

    ‘BELOVED LAURA,--So tenderly and so gently the Lord has dealt
    with our sweetest Mother! She woke this morning, and told
    Cousins that she herself had slept too long. There was a slight
    feeling of sickness about eight, which made Cousins call poor
    Clara. In about an hour she gently fell asleep.... No pain
    nor even consciousness at the last. I had gone to London on
    business, as you know. I was telegraphed to; but ere I arrived
    she--the sweet, the beloved--was where she had wished to be. O
    Laura, Laura, she has long been drinking the _dregs_ of life,
    however sweetened by affection. I felt for her. But I seem
    as if I could hardly write connectedly. All the three dear
    brothers have been here. St. George still is here. Poor dear
    Fanny also,--she is to have my room, for she is so thankful to
    be here. We have, however, only been allowed one very brief
    glimpse and kiss of the revered remains. _Only_ remains, my
    Laura. Think of her bliss! _She_ is not here.... Your fond

                                                      ‘C. M. T.’

In Charlotte’s desk, kept as one of her greatest treasures, and found
there, years later, after her own death, was the last note ever written
to her by Mrs. Tucker. It contained these words--‘_My precious Charlotte,
you have been such a comfort to me!_’ No wonder the loving utterance was
treasured up by the daughter through the rest of her life.

During forty-eight years Charlotte Tucker had known but one home--No.
3 Upper Portland Place. Now at length in her forty-ninth year the
inevitable family break-up had come; and the dear home of her infancy,
of her girlhood, of her middle age, could be hers no longer. No. 3 had
to be given up; and the sisters had to go forth into fresh scenes. The
trial must to all of them have been great; perhaps least so to the gentle
Fanny, already on the border-land of the Life beyond.

As a first move, Charlotte and Fanny went together for about two months
to Sutton. An idea had, however, arisen of a home, at least for a time,
with their brother, Mr. St. George Tucker, and his wife; and the next
step was to join them at Wickhill, Bracknell, in the month of September
1869. This was Fanny’s last move. She was taken thither, from Sutton,
most carefully by Charlotte, in a post-chaise; and the long drive does
not appear to have materially affected her. Although by this time wasted
to skin and bone, Fanny still kept about in the house; spending much time
in her own sitting-room, yet often coming down among the rest for a short
time; and during this autumn Charlotte seems to have chiefly devoted
herself to Fanny. Before the close of November, however, the end of the
long illness was reached.

One day, when speaking to her brother, in allusion to her earlier good
health and plumpness, Fanny observed: ‘My dear St. George, I have been
imprudent.’ She did not specify what manner of imprudence hers had been.
Probably, like many another in a thoroughly healthy family, she had not
soon enough read the true meaning of suspicious symptoms. During some
four years past she had been steadily failing; and the end could but have
been a joyous release to one so ready to go.

Thus blow upon blow had fallen between the years of thirty and fifty upon
the golden staff of Charlotte Tucker’s Will. Her Father’s death; the
death of Robert; the death of Letitia; the death of her Mother; the death
of Fanny; all these one after another make a list of sorrows. Doubtless,
_the_ most keen and bitter losses which she had to endure were, above
all, the death of her almost idolised Father, and the death of Letitia.
No other pain would equal these, dearly as she loved her brother Robert,
her Mother, and Fanny, until her own peculiar sister-friend, Laura
Hamilton, should be summoned away. Mercifully, that blow was not allowed
to fall until a very short time before her own call Home.

Charlotte was not crushed by these sorrows. This is plainly to be seen.
Although the wild spirits and abounding glee of her childhood were toned
down, she was still active, still buoyant, still able to enjoy life.
She sorrowed, but by no means as one without hope; and if her life was
shadowed, it had not lost its spring. As time went by, the spirit of fun
and mirthfulness revived; and the little ones in her new home could not
fail to be a fresh delight to one who so greatly loved children. Even the
earlier letters after her Mother’s death are not only calm but cheerful.

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Aug. 23, 1869._

    ‘I cannot help hoping very sincerely that Uncle St. G. may find
    a house near Bracknell, large enough to hold Aunt Fanny and
    myself, as well as his own party. Would it not be nice? But I
    am rather guarded about setting my heart on anything of the
    sort. Aunt Fanny would like it very much.... It would be like a
    haven to me. I think I know one young maiden who would not be
    sorry to have her old godmother within reach of a walk. But I
    am quietly waiting to see how things are arranged for me.... I
    have to manage things for Aunt Fanny, as well as for myself,
    just as if I were her husband. It is very new work to me. I am
    not, like your dear Mother, accustomed to think and arrange
    about a mass of property.’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_Dec. 2, 1869._

    ‘I hope that my sweet Leila has not thought me unmindful of
    her loving sympathy because I have not thanked her before
    for her note. I am sure that you have heard of us from your
    beloved Mother, who so tenderly shared my watch by the bedside
    of my heart’s sister. O Leila dear, does not such a peaceful,
    holy departure show us that our Lord has indeed taken the
    sting from death? Without Him, how terrible would be the dark
    Unknown!--with Him, how bright is the valley!

    ‘Sweet Aunt Fanny quoted to me not long ago, I suppose in
    reference to departure,--“When Thou wilt; where Thou wilt; how
    Thou wilt!” I think that the last chapter which I read to her
    was Romans viii. It is such a long chapter, that I stopped at
    about the 25th verse, fearing to tire the dear invalid; but she
    made me finish the chapter.

    ‘I went out of the drawing-room window before sunrise to-day,
    to gather flowers to make into wreaths. The gardener had not
    opened the greenhouse; but I found much more than I should
    have expected in the beginning of December,--even rosebuds.
    The ferns look lovely still. A few days ago I made a wreath of
    myrtle. I thought it like an emblem of my own sweet sister;
    sweetest when bruised; with an unfading leaf; and a white,
    simple-looking, yet lovely blossom.

    ‘Good-night, my Leila. May the Almighty make you, my dear
    Godchild, as unselfish, conscientious, and lowly as was the
    loved one by whose grave I am to stand to-morrow.’

Although the plan of living with Mr. and Mrs. St. George Tucker was at no
time regarded as a permanent arrangement for the remainder of Charlotte
Tucker’s life, yet it actually lasted six years. For about eight months
from September 1869 they all remained at Wickhill. In 1870 they removed
to Windlesham, in Surrey; and in the following year, 1871, they again
moved to ‘Woodlands,’ at Binfield in Berkshire, nine miles or so from
Reading, and only about two and a half miles from Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton’s
home, Firlands, near Bracknell. Charlotte had, therefore, from that time
not only the interest of her little nephew and two little nieces in the
house, but also of her sister Laura’s children within three miles. The
companionship of a very favourite brother and of his affectionate wife,
together with these little ones, work among the poor, writing, and many
other occupations, made her life still a busy and a bright one.

In one letter written to a niece from Firlands, in 1870, she describes
‘the rural seclusion of this lovely place. I am charmed with Firlands,
and the groves of fragrant pine in which I wander every morning.’ In
another letter, dated February 1871, she says: ‘I hasten to give you the
good news that Uncle St. George has taken “Woodlands” for seven years.
I am so glad, and I am sure that you will be so also.’ This was to her
Godchild. Thus she entered upon the final stage of her English life.
Before the close of those seven years Charlotte Tucker was in India.

The following extracts from letters belong all to the two or three years
after her Mother’s death:--

TO MISS LAURA V. TUCKER.[18]

                                               ‘_Feb. 10, 1870._

    ‘I took Sir Frederick and Lady Abbott[19] to-day to the Infant
    School at Bracknell. They seemed to be much pleased, and so I
    am sure were the Infants, as their visitors treated them with
    sugar-plums and lemon-cakes, in return for a number of songs....
    A translation of my _War and Peace_ has been made by Madame de
    Lambert, and is coming out in the _Musée des Enfants_,--under
    the name, I believe, of _Le Soldat Aveugle_.’

TO THE SAME.

                                               ‘_Dec. 12, 1870._

    ‘A lady was here the other day, who has a curious taste for
    different creatures. She has had a slow-worm round her arm as
    a bracelet--has kept an oyster which seemed to know her--and
    taught frogs to come out of the water at the sound of their
    names. One day, when she was quite young, she showed an old
    gentleman one of her dear snakes, coiled up. He thought it an
    imitation-one, and said something about good imitations,--when
    the reptile began to hiss at him.

    ‘“O you horrid girl, it’s alive!” exclaimed the poor old
    gentleman, forgetting his politeness in his sudden alarm and
    disgust.

    ‘Baby is now thriving nicely, and getting quite fat. It is
    funny to see her looking at the picture of the white kittens
    and cherries. She gets quite excited, trying to clutch hold of
    the cherries with her tiny hands.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_May 12, 1871._

    ‘Many thanks, my sweet Leila, for your affectionate letter, and
    also for your kindness in going to see Sarah Jones.

    ‘My darling Letitia! Notwithstanding all that has passed since
    she was last pressed to my heart, the sudden blow of her loss
    has left, I think, a deeper scar than any trial before or after
    it. I seldom mention her name; and now my heart seems rising
    into my throat as I write of her....

    ‘I feel tired, dear one, so will not write a long letter. I had
    a long business walk before luncheon, and then the overland
    letter to Uncle Willy to write, and a great deal of proof-sheet
    of the _Lady of Provence_ to correct.’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                               ‘_Nov. 13, 1872._

    ‘I am very busy, for there seems an almost endless field for
    work in making foreign wall-texts; quite a new occupation
    for me. In Italy and Spain they will now be warmly
    welcomed,--India, Syria, China, Labrador, all offer openings.
    I feel it so gracious in my dear Master to give me this little
    work for Him, now that the power of composing seems to be taken
    away. I find delight in going over and over the precious texts,
    which I have to copy in various tongues. I do not think that I
    ever before so realised their sweetness. I tried to gild my own
    little works with Scripture truths; but now I have pure gold
    to give to others,--without admixing with it any alloy of my
    own.’

For awhile at about this time she seems to have lost almost entirely her
power of writing; the failure being no doubt due to the state of her
health, or to re-action from the strain of all that she had gone through
in past years. She therefore spent many an hour in painting texts in
different foreign languages, on a large scale, to be sent abroad.

The sacred poem which closes this chapter was written in the summer of
1871. It appeared in a little volume, called ‘_Hymns and Poems_‘, by A.
L. O. E.

A DREAM OF THE SECOND ADVENT.

    ‘I dreamed that in the stilly hush of night--
    Deep midnight--I was startled from my sleep
    By a clear sound as of a trumpet! Loud
    It swelled, and louder, thrilling every nerve,
    Making the heart beat wildly, strangely, till
    All other senses seemed in hearing lost.
    Up from my couch I sprang in trembling haste,
    Cast on my garments, wondering to behold
    Through half-closed shutters sudden radiance gleam,
    More clear, more vivid than the glare of day.
    What marvel, then, that with a breathless hope
    That gave me wings, forth from my home I rushed,
    Though heaved the earth as if instinct with life,
    Its very dust awakening. Can it be--
    Is this the call, “Behold the Bridegroom comes!”
    Comes He, the long-expected, long-desired?
    Crowds thronged the street, with every face upturned,
    Gazing into the sky,--the flaming sky--
    Where every cloud was like a throne of light.
    None could look back, not even to behold
    If those beloved were nigh; one thrilling thought
    Rapt all the multitude,--“Can HE be near?”
    Then cries of terror rose--I scarcely heard;
    And buildings shook and rocked, and crashing fell,--
    I scarcely marked their fall; the trembling ground
    Rose like the billowy sea,--I scarcely felt
    The motion; such intensity of hope--
    Joy--expectation--flooded all my soul;
    A tide of living light, o’erwhelming all
    The hopes and fears, the cares and woes of earth.
    Could any doubt remain? Lo! from afar
    A sound of “Hallelujah!” Ne’er before
    Had mortal ear drunk in such heavenly strain,
    Save when on Bethlehem’s plain the shepherds heard
    The music of the skies.
                            Behold! Behold!
    Like white-winged angels rise the radiant throng
    That from yon cemetery’s gloomy verge
    Have burst, immortal--glorious--undefiled!
    Bright as the sun their crowns celestial shine,
    Yet I behold them with undazzled eye.
    Oh that yon glittering canopy of light
    Would burst asunder, that I might behold
    Him, whom so long, not seeing, I have loved!
    It parted--lo! it opened--as I stood
    With clasped hands stretched towards Heaven; my eager gaze
    Fixed on the widening glory!
                                        Suddenly,
    As if the burden of the flesh no more
    Could fetter down the aspiring soul to earth,
    As if the fleshly nature were consumed--
    Lost in the glowing ecstasy of love--
    I soared aloft, I mounted through the air,
    Free as a spirit, rose to meet my Lord,
    With such a cry of rapture--that I woke!

    ‘O misery! to wake in darkness, wake
    From vision of unutterable joy;
    Instead of trumpet-sound and song of Heaven,
    To hear the dull clock measuring out time,
    When I had seemed to touch Eternity!
    In the first pang of disappointed hope,
    I wept that I could wake from such a dream;
    Until Faith gently whispered, “Wherefore weep
    To lose the faint dim shadow of a joy
    Of which the substance shall one day be thine?
    Live in the hope,--that hope shall brighten life,
    And sanctify it to its highest end.”

    ‘Fast roll the chariot wheels of Time. HE comes!
    The Spirit and the Bride expectant wait,--
    Even so come, Lord Jesus! Saviour--come!’



CHAPTER XIII

VARIOUS CHARACTERISTICS


In the last few chapters we have had glimpses of Charlotte Tucker’s
life rather from within than from without; chiefly in reference to her
successive losses, and her own feelings connected with those losses or
with passing events. Now we will try to obtain a few glimpses of her,
rather from without than from within; to see her as others saw her, not
so much as she saw herself. I do not for a moment mean to imply that the
two views must be antagonistic. The view of a castle from within and the
view of that same castle from without are totally different; yet they are
not in the least antagonistic. The one is as true as the other.

In doing this it has to be remembered that A. L. O. E. was a many-sided
and to some extent a complex nature. Hers was not a character to be
lightly sketched in a dozen lines. Probably no character of any human
being can be satisfactorily so disposed of; and there are complexities
in the very simplest nature. But the main outlines of some people are
more easily perceived, more ‘consistent’ according to popular notions
of character-consistency, than the main outlines of some other people;
merely because they happen to embrace fewer opposites. There were a good
many opposites in the character of Charlotte Tucker.

All people did not see her exactly alike,--partly because of necessity
they looked upon her with different eyes, and partly because of necessity
she was not the same in her manifestations to all of them. Being a
many-sided individual, one side of her became prominent to one person,
another side became prominent to another person. While one friend
remembers vividly her spirit of ardent devotion, and another recalls
especially her work among the poor, a third pictures her sparkling
conversation, a fourth her spirited games of play with children. While
one has the strongest impression of her resolute sternness, her horror
of evil and self-indulgence, another cannot speak warmly enough of her
intense unselfishness and her unlimited kindness, and yet another smiles
over the remembrance of her irrepressible fun. All these things were
included in her; but naturally not all these things were equally apparent
at all times, or to everybody who knew her.

Nor need it be supposed that Charlotte Tucker was a being all light, with
no shadows. She was thoroughly human. There were shadows of course,--what
else could one expect?--and she had many and many a hard fight, not in
girlhood only, but all through life, to overcome her faults.

Again, it is not claimed for Charlotte that everybody who crossed her
path loved her. We do read in certain little books, of a particular
calibre, about angelic heroines who were invariably worshipped by
everybody in their small world, without a single exception. This,
however, is, to say the least, uncommon; and with one of Charlotte
Tucker’s strong personality it would be all but impossible. A very wide
circle did most heartily esteem and admire her, did most dearly love
her. But of course there were exceptions. In the course of her life some
few with whom she was thrown failed ever to come within the grasp of her
affectionate influence. But this was only natural. Everybody is not made
to exactly suit everybody else.

Among some of her most marked features were an intense vigour and energy,
an extraordinary force and vitality, together with great eagerness in
whatever she undertook, and a burning desire to be useful in her age and
generation. She was very resolute; very persevering; very affectionate;
reserved, yet demonstrative; untidy, yet methodical; exceedingly anxious
for the happiness of all around; apt often to think people better than
they really were; generous to a fault; unselfishly ready at all times to
put her own wishes aside; vehement and impulsive, yet never in a hurry or
flurry; unyielding, yet tender; severe, yet frisky.

Of course there were other natural characteristics of a different kind;
weaknesses not wholly mastered; faults not entirely conquered. She was
not perfect,--who is? The strength of determination would occasionally
run into obstinacy; the resolute manner could be a trifle dictatorial;
the very wish to help and please others might be carried out in a way
which did not gratify. With all her exceeding kindness, hers could
hardly be described as the true sympathetic temperament. Opinions here
vary a good deal among the friends that knew her best; but those who at
different periods of her life lived for any length of time under the same
roof, will be able to recall certain instances of an absence of tact, a
lack of quick understanding of the feelings of others, which certainly
never arose from want of a desire to understand. She had any amount of
heart, of pity, of thought, to bestow; but while feeling fully _for_
others, she could not readily so place herself in the position of others
as to feel entirely _with_ them, to see matters from their standpoint and
not from her own. The highest form of sympathy is a rare and subtle gift;
and it can scarcely be said that Charlotte possessed this gift. Still, if
any one did bring a burden or a trouble to her, she would spare no pains
to help and to comfort to the utmost of her power.

One direction in which she showed through life a marked deficiency was
in the housekeeping line. Both early and late she had always an intense
dislike and dread of housekeeping. Whatever else she undertook, that
was if possible a thing to be avoided; and it seems to have been an
understood matter between her friends and herself that anybody rather
than Charlotte Tucker might be housekeeper. Probably she had an innate
sense of want of power, an innate consciousness that she could not do the
task efficiently. If compelled to attempt it as a duty, she would not
refuse; but she never took to the occupation, or overcame her dislike.

Moreover, the gift of nursing was not hers. Although in a threatening
case of scarlet fever she could be the first to offer herself as nurse,
with entire unconcern about the infection; although she shared with
others the watch beside Fanny’s dying bed, and later on the watch beside
Mr. Hamilton’s; yet she repeatedly speaks of herself as no nurse, and
alludes to her own want of experience. Experience no doubt she might
have had, before the age of fifty, had her natural bent lain at all in
the direction of nursing; but the necessary gifts were not hers. She had
not the reposeful air, the placid voice and manner, above all, the ready
tact, which for good nursing are essential. Self-indulgence, laziness,
cowardliness were unknown factors in her existence, and could never have
held her back; but here too there was probably an innate sense of lack
of power; and here too she never through life took to the occupation,
‘as to the manner born.’ It is noticeable also that, frequently as she
would offer her services in times of illness, these offers were seldom
accepted. Others doubtless knew as well as she knew it herself that
nursing was not in her line.

Somewhat late in life, when a friend, after hours of hard study, was
endeavouring to rest, with a severe headache, Charlotte would bring
her guitar, sit near, and sing and play to the sufferer. A gentle
protestation was of no avail; for so sure was she of her remedy, that
she only supposed her friend to shrink from giving her trouble, and the
music went on unchecked. This--which happened repeatedly--was done with
the kindest and most loving intentions. Charlotte was devotedly fond
of music, and she did not herself suffer from headaches. But it is an
instance of the want of tact occasionally shown in small matters. The
_will_ to do good and to help others was abundantly present; only she did
not always find the right mode.

It must not be forgotten, however, that, whatever her natural
disqualifications for the part of a nurse might have been, she did in
her old age so far overcome them as often to take a share in tending the
‘brown boys’ of the Batala High School when ill, in a manner which won
their loving gratitude, although she did not prove successful as a nurse
to English invalids.

One who knew her intimately has written the following short sketch, which
is well worth quoting _verbatim_:--

    ‘I think one marked point, physical and mental, in her, was
    her tireless energy. Her very walk was indicative of this; the
    elastic springiness of every step. Also of another point in her
    character, stern determination,--the resolute folding in of
    her arms and hands, as she paced along a road or up and down
    a garden,--drawing herself up to her full height the while,
    with sparkling eye and compressed lips. She was teeming with
    life and energy;--whether it were over her favourite chess,
    when she would wait patiently but eagerly, thinking out each
    move; or enjoying the small-talk of society, watching faces and
    reading characters, to treasure them up for painting in one of
    her forthcoming volumes; or teaching a niece the beauties of
    sound and thought in the Italian of Dante; or playing at some
    game of thought with young people; or reading aloud one of her
    two favourite dearly-loved and untiringly-studied authors,
    Shakespeare and Boswell’s _Life of Johnson_. She was very
    sociable, lively, and threw her whole heart into the kindly
    entertaining of guests of all ages. Her eldest brother used to
    be very much struck with the unselfish way in which she bore
    any interruptions and calls upon her time. Even in the midst of
    her literary work, she would at once rise, leave it, and give
    her whole attention to any subject an incomer might wish to
    speak to her about.

    ‘Clever and stern, she was not one to be trifled with. Purpose
    seemed woven into all her liveliness; and she tried to keep
    others up to her level.’

Another writes, in reference to the time when A. L. O. E. was living at
Birch Hall, Windlesham, with her brother and his family, in 1870:--

    ‘I had just arrived on a visit, and she came into the
    drawing-room, kissed me, and said, “I am Aunt Charlotte.” She
    was not good-looking, but was always full of life. Her ready
    wit and charming conversational powers made her a welcome guest
    everywhere, and made many a dinner-party at her brother’s house
    go off well.... She was always thinking of others, and seemed to
    count time spent on herself wasted.

    ‘I well remember a time when I longed to see Windsor and the
    Queen; and Aunt Charlotte immediately said she was longing for
    the same thing, and gladly undertook to pioneer an expedition.
    I was far from strong, but could not wait for lunch in my
    anxiety to have a good place at the railway station, to see
    Her Majesty arrive. Having seen me and my young cousin safely
    placed, Aunt C. disappeared, and after a while made her way
    through the crowd, laden with cakes for us all, finally
    producing a glass of claret for me from under her cloak, which
    I was obliged to take then and there. Her enthusiastic loyalty
    made her enjoy the sight, no novel one to her, of our dear
    Queen, as much as any of us.

    ‘Our evenings owed much of their brightness to her presence.
    She could sing,--sometimes lively little songs, accompanying
    herself with the guitar. Her ear for music was so correct, that
    on one occasion she came downstairs from her room, to tell me I
    had played a wrong note in a chord of Beethoven, and the exact
    note I should have played.

    ‘Sometimes she thought of games for us. One was called
    “Statues.” We each had to pose as a statue, suggestive of
    some subject, such as Melancholy, Joy, Fear, etc. Whilst she,
    personating a visitor to the sculpture studio, would try to
    upset our gravity by her amusing remarks on the statues....
    She also invented a geography game for us, providing us
    with skeleton maps, and small round counters, on which the
    names of towns were printed. As these were drawn and the name
    called out, we had to claim them and give them their places on
    the map. Whoever had a map filled in first was the winner....
    Sometimes we read Shakespeare together, each of us taking a
    part....

    ‘I think things were only a trouble to her when she had to do
    them for herself. Nothing was a trouble if it helped another....
    Work for the Master whom she loved was her animating motive....
    She was, I think, the most unselfish character I ever knew. She
    lived for others; whether in the great work of her life, the
    use of her pen, the proceeds of which went to fill her charity
    purse, or in the simple act of leaving her quiet room, on a
    dull, rainy afternoon, to play a bright country dance or Scotch
    reel, and set the little ones dancing to vent their superfluous
    spirits.’

These slight recollections are from the pen of one among her numerous
adopted nieces.

Another niece, not adopted but real, says:--

    ‘I think the first thought that would have occurred to any
    stranger, as regards her appearance, was the peculiar fashion
    of her dress. I remember her in the days of crinolines,
    standing straight and dignified in her plain dress, without the
    least attempt at fulness in the skirt. I should think it must
    have been always so; her individuality and disregard of the
    world’s opinion were so strongly marked.’

This question of dress does not appear to have become a matter of
principle with her. She was simply independent, and utterly careless of
what might be said. She had not by nature the art of dressing well, and
she ‘thought it a bother.’ As observed by one of her brothers, ‘Charlotte
never cared what she put on. She never had the art of amalgamating the
different parts of her dress!’ In plain terms, her taste in dress was not
good, and she did not take trouble to improve it. Nor had she the knack
of putting on to advantage what she wore. Things that would have looked
well upon another did not look well upon her.

Caps were a trouble, and she was most grateful to any one who made her
a present of a cap. She could not make nice ones for herself, and she
disliked the style of bought caps.

One little story of middle life days at No. 3 illustrates her
indifference to what she wore. A friend was staying in the house, to go
to a wedding; and when the time came her bonnet had not arrived. Old
Mrs. Tucker, knowing that Charlotte possessed a new bonnet, and knowing
also that there was no fear of vexing Charlotte by the act, lent this
new bonnet to the friend, to be worn at the wedding. Charlotte was then
absent. But meeting the friend, either at the wedding or afterwards,
she noticed the bonnet, failed to recognise her own property, and most
innocently begged to apologise for remarking what a particularly pretty
bonnet it was!

She had unconsciously a good deal of manner, and used certain gestures,
which either were natural, or through long habit had become a part of
herself. One trick of manner was that of clasping her hands, as an
expression of certain feelings; also her head was apt very often to be
slightly on one side. Seeing a young girl, upon Sunday, busily engaged in
copying music, Charlotte Tucker sat down and looked earnestly, with her
head a little on one side. ‘People have different ideas about occupations
for Sunday,’ she remarked at length. ‘I, for instance, would _not_ copy
music on a Sunday.’ The hint, pleasantly given, was at once gracefully
taken, and the music was put aside.

Another time this same young girl had been confessing herself very much
of a coward, and regretting the fact. ‘Oh, never mind,’ was Charlotte
Tucker’s consoling reply. ‘Some day, when there is real danger, you’ll
flash out!’ Perhaps she was thinking of the scene in one of her own
little books, when a timid young governess confronts an escaped panther.

Once a young girl, at table, being vexed by words said in depreciation
of a near relative, showed her feelings very decisively. A. L. O. E.
afterwards put her arms round the girl, and said, ‘_Quite_ right, my
dear!’

Again, she had a mode of crossing her hands upon her chest, with a
meditative air. Many recall this attitude as peculiarly characteristic of
her. If she were thinking deeply, her hands would instinctively take that
position.

She was very warm-hearted, and, as one has said, liked ‘to make you happy
and pleased with yourself.’ Ever eager to see the best in everybody, she
wore rose-coloured spectacles which now and then would lead her into
thinking of people much better than they deserved, and ‘disillusionment’
had to be gone through. Always endeavouring to see the best, she often
saw more than the best; and small harm if she did. At least she ensured
thus the making of mistakes on the right side, instead of on the wrong.
The common tendency is so very much the other way. The romantic side of
Charlotte’s nature would interfere with her judgment, and the impulsive
first view would be erroneous. When she had had time for calm thought
she generally worked her way to a sensible view of a question. But the
tendency to over-estimation of others continued through life, and was
perhaps especially to be marked in her Indian Missionary work.

In her religious opinions she was a warm Churchwoman, belonging to the
‘Evangelical’ school of thought. As she grew older, however, she became
more and more large-hearted towards those from whom she differed on minor
points, more and more ready to hold out a kind hand of friendship on all
sides. This side of her appeared more distinctly, and developed more
markedly, in India, than in her secluded English home.

Both at No. 3, and in her brother’s house, she was wont to read aloud
her own stories to her young nephews and nieces, for the sake of their
‘criticisms,’ and perhaps quite as much for the sake of amusing them.
Some of the then children, now grown up, recall those readings with
pleasure.

Life at Binfield was quiet and regular. Charlotte kept up her habit of
early rising; and from eight o’clock till half-past eight each morning
she would take her ‘devotional’ walk in the garden,--hands folded on
chest, head up, step firm and dignified. The impression left by her
‘dignity’ is strong, singularly so, when considered side by side with a
step so springy that some describe it as even ‘jerky.’

Mornings were mainly given up to writing in her own room; and little was
seen of her, as a general rule, between breakfast and luncheon. In the
afternoon she was always ready for callers; and if not needed for them or
aught else, she would go and visit the poor. On these rounds she commonly
carried with her the conventional ‘bag,’ full of painted texts and tracts.

Evenings were devoted to sociable enjoyments; frequently to music and
dancing. Charlotte was an adept at playing dance-music for her nephews
and nieces; and at Binfield she also danced a great deal with her brother
and the children. It does not seem that she had lost any of her old
light-footedness, whether or not she had had practice during some years
past. Sir Roger de Coverley, the Lancers, and the Minuet were great
favourites. When the Gavotte began, the children stopped, for they could
not spring high enough; but Charlotte was able to make the most wonderful
springs. This does not look as though her spirit were yet broken by all
that she had gone through.

Besides playing for the children, she would plan games for them, and
would superintend charades; and when they grew older she would read
Shakespeare with them, often knitting busily all the while as she read.
Singing too had a share in these sociable evenings. She still steadily
refrained from going out to parties at other people’s houses; but she
never failed to be present at any party in their own house, not only
making her appearance, but contributing her utmost to the entertainment
of guests.

Her village work included visiting of the poor, and also, for a while,
a class of big boys in the night-school. With the boys she was not
successful. They were very troublesome and naughty, and she could not
get hold of them at all. This failure is curious, in contrast with her
after-success among the Native boys in India, those ‘dear brown boys,’
as she often called them. Western and Eastern boys differ considerably,
however; and no doubt the explanation resides in this fact. Also, an
English ploughboy requires different treatment from a high-caste Indian;
but she was ‘friends’ with boys of all castes there.

In a letter to Mrs. Hamilton, written from Binfield, she says: ‘The
Curate is already a comfort to me personally, for he has taken my
night-class off my hands. I have no scruple in letting him do so, for
I believe it is far better for the boys. They were too much for poor
old Char. I had seventeen last night, and felt my inefficiency.’ And in
another letter, soon after: ‘We had a talk about the proposed Sunday
School. I asked not to have boys. My feeling is that I am too old for
them.’

She was not too old, many years later, for Batala boys; but plainly she
had not the requisite gifts for managing or winning rough English village
lads.

A few recollections, jotted down by three of her nieces, may close this
chapter:--


I.

‘In 1869 she came to her house near Sutton; but that sorrowful
year to her did not leave much impression upon me, probably
because she was so little with us, and so much with her sister
who died in our house. I remember her next in the summer of
1870, when my sister was born, coming into the nursery to
announce the fact, and afterwards showing us the baby, assuring
us that she was “as fragile as egg-shells.” She played the organ
in our little country church, and visited the poor,--on one
occasion going out at night to administer a mustard plaster to
one poor woman, who thought herself dying, and sent for Miss
Tucker....

‘As we grew older she would help us with our charades and games,
planning wonderful card games herself, and ornamenting them with
brush and stencil. It was she who introduced us to Shakespeare,
making me love him as no one else ever could, and making us read
him in parts.... On Sunday afternoons she would take us up to
her room, in order that my Mother might rest in peace from the
children; and there we always spent a delightful time, looking
over her dressing-case with its treasures, and listening to
the histories of each trinket and curiosity, or messing with
her paints. I do not remember that we ever felt ourselves to
be in the way in that happy room. It was during this time that
she wrote _The Haunted House_, which thrilled me with so much
horror, that it was not until years after that I learnt there
was a spiritual meaning underlying the tale.

‘She was never ill, but always felt the cold extremely in
winter, though she did not complain much. One day I came down
to breakfast, exclaiming, “How beautiful the snow is!”--when
she told me how pleased she was that I could say so, instead of
saying, “How _cold_ it is!” When I was ill in the year 1872, she
often came to see me, quite disregarding the infection of my
throat; she would play her guitar to me, or, as I grew better,
would patiently guide my little fingers to the right places on
the strings. She made up a pretty letter in rhyme, and sent it
in a stamped envelope to amuse me. I do not remember her ever
talking to me on religious subjects; but her untiring energy and
gentle patience made much impression on me....

‘My aunt would never give way to us little ones when she was
convinced that we were wrong; and I well remember a prolonged
struggle between her and my baby-sister, who was left in her
charge one day.... My aunt regarded the sin of drunkenness with
the greatest horror; she rarely mentions it in her books, and
generally, where it is touched upon, she writes with the deepest
pathos, as in _The Great Impostor_. She would only talk of
brandy by its French name, and considered it dangerous to take
Tincture of Rhubarb, on account of the spirit it contains....

‘My aunt would never have expressed disapproval of others, as
many of the younger generation do, who are of her own way of
thinking. Where she did not approve, she was usually silent....

‘But stern as she was by nature, her intense love--the love of a
strong nature--made her gentle to the weaknesses of others. She
could not sympathise often with the weak, but she could pity and
love. Long years of home-discipline gave humility, self-control,
and gentleness.’


II.

‘There are some lives that carry about with them an atmosphere,
as it were, of influence and example.... It was thus with “Auntie
Char.” We used to think and say, “How she would have admired
such a deed!”--“How she would have grieved at such a want of
courage!” if anything mean or underhand were done. One knew
beforehand what her opinion of the transaction would be; at the
same time her marvellous sympathy, so readily given, was the
first sought in cases of bravery or of moral courage....

‘She rarely “preached” to one. I should say she rather suggested
little things that somehow were never forgotten. The letter I,
for example--when written with a capital letter--called for
playful comment. Up to the last I would often count in a fearful
manner the all too plentiful I’s in my letters to her....

‘My father remembers “Sister Char” as the life and soul of their
nursery circle in Portland Place,--how in the gardens close by
she used to lead their glees and songs.... _We_ knew what a great
hand Auntie Char was at games of all kinds. No one could play
like her. She seemed far younger than any child present, and was
quite an enthusiast in them, as in everything she undertook. No
one could play half-heartedly with her....

‘Auntie Char had a wonderful way of strengthening and
encouraging one to open out one’s heart to her, and a great
and rare capacity for putting herself in “her neighbour’s
shoes.”[20] It was during a visit to us, in the May of 1875,
that she acquired the pet name of “Fairy Frisket,”--the name of
one of her own works,--owing to her marvellous activity. She
would come home after a long day’s walking, and run lightly
upstairs, faster than we young ones cared to do. In many of
her letters to me from India she playfully alludes to this pet
name.’


III.

‘She never seemed to care a bit to receive any praise for her
books, and she never let writing interfere with any family
duties. She was wonderfully sweet-tempered, but there was no
weakness in her sweetness. If others were inconsiderate to her,
I never saw her resent it.... Her unconscious influence was, I
believe, much larger than she has ever dreamed. She was more
utterly regardless of personal ease and comfort than any one I
ever knew, but was ever ready to praise others....

‘My aunt had a guitar on which she enjoyed playing as far back
as I can remember, and on which she used to play to us with much
animation and impressiveness, singing to her own accompaniment;
but I never remember her playing to herself for her own personal
amusement. One of her songs I do not remember hearing from any
one else. The refrain in each verse was--“Till green leaves come
again.” ... Another song that she sang took my fancy,--I believe
it was an old-fashioned one in MS.,--and she at once copied it
for me, making time to do so amid the many things occupying her
at the time. Most people would have let me copy it for myself,
as I was quite a girl and had plenty of leisure; but she never
seemed to do things like other people....

‘Nothing that I can say would explain how beautifully unselfish
she was, how utterly regardless of herself, and thoughtful for
others. She was one of the few whom one could most truly call
_noble_, and yet so sweetly humble. I mourn her irreparable loss
all the more for the long parting since she left us for the
Mission-field abroad.’



CHAPTER XIV

1875

AN UNEXPECTED RESOLVE


It is not quite easy to say at what precise date the idea first seriously
presented itself to the mind of Charlotte Tucker, that she might go out
to India as a Missionary. Some years earlier, after the death of her
sister Fanny, she had evidently regretted that she could not do so,
looking upon herself as too old. But the question again arose--Was she
really too old? That question Charlotte now faced steadily.

The plan of living in her brother’s house, never looked upon as entirely
permanent, had lasted several years; but various causes pointed to a
change before long as probably necessary. In January 1875, Mr. Hamilton,
who had long been in failing health, passed away; and Charlotte seems,
either in anticipation of the event, or directly after, to have had some
floating ideas of making a home with her widowed favourite sister. Here
also, however, there were certain difficulties in the way of an entirely
permanent arrangement; and meanwhile the thought of India was becoming
prominent.

Charlotte was now close upon fifty-four years old,--an age at which
few women dream of making an absolutely fresh start in life. Some
are and some are not elderly at that age; but as a general rule no
doubt a woman’s best and most vigorous days are then over, and she is
more or less disposed for an easy existence. Many at that period can
thoroughly enjoy travelling for pleasure. But to make a new home amid
new surroundings, to learn a new language, to enter upon a new line of
work,--these things after the fiftieth birthday have a somewhat alarming
sound.

Not so with A.L.O.E.! For her these fifty years and more of quiet English
existence had been years of preparation, of training, of patience. For
her parents’ sake she had dutifully held back, during the noontide and
early afternoon of her history, from much that she would fain have done;
and though the latter part of her ‘afternoon’ had been full and busy,
with freedom to do what she willed, yet even this was not enough. At
fifty-four she stood practically alone, with no near relative entirely
dependent on her kind offices. She was absolutely necessary to none. Had
she been, she would not have gone to India. But finding herself thus
unfettered, the thought came up,--Why not devote the Evening of her life
to Missionary work? Why not set an example to others who, like herself,
might with advancing years be left free of ties? Or at least, why not
put the matter to the test of actual trial, and prove whether or not
elderly women, and not younger ones only, might go forth to work among
the Heathen?

There was the question of health. Could she stand the trying climate of
India? Would she not be a mere burden on others?--an additional care
instead of a help?

Well, at least she could try. If her health failed to stand the climate,
she could but return home. If she succeeded, she might be the Pioneer of
many more, who would perhaps venture to tread in her footsteps.

Had it been a question of going out at the expense of the Society’s
funds, the Society might rightly have hesitated; but Charlotte Tucker
had enough of her own. While placing herself under the authority of the
Zenana Society, and obeying orders, she would pay her own way; therefore,
no risking of Missionary funds was involved.

No doubt she was peculiarly well adapted for the attempt. Although thin
and delicate-looking, she was distinctly wiry, with much underlying
strength, and an immense amount of vigour and vitality. A woman of fifty,
who can lightly dance the gavotte, with springs which a child cannot
emulate, is not quite an ordinary specimen of advancing years. The
failure of power which had followed upon the death of Letitia, lasting
more or less during some years, had now pretty well passed off; and there
seemed to be good promise of a healthy old age.

She was generally sound, with no especial delicacy; she did not suffer
from any tendency to headache; she was not fussy, or self-indulgent,
or dainty as to her eating, or particular as to personal comforts, or
squeamish as to her surroundings, or shy in making new friends, or
afraid of toil and trouble. All these things were in her favour. She
was in fact no timid shrinking Miss Toosey,--dear little old lady that
Miss Toosey was!--but a fine spirited specimen of A middle-aged Lady of
England,--well fitted, it might be, to become even then A Lady of India.
Those who think of following the example of A. L. O. E. ought to possess
at least some of her qualifications. Had a Miss Toosey, instead of a Miss
Tucker, been the Pioneer of elderly ladies in the Mission-field, the
attempt would have been a disastrous failure.

Although the matter was not definitely settled until the spring of 1875,
it had plainly been for some time in Charlotte’s mind as something more
than a bare possibility; for during many weeks she had been studying
Hindustani. She had, however, said not a word about it to any of her
relatives, beyond privately consulting her elder brother, Mr. Henry Carre
Tucker. She thought much, prayed much, and waited to be shown her right
path: meanwhile beginning to prepare for what might be her duty.

When at length she gave out her intention, as a matter already decided,
the announcement fell among friends and relatives like the bursting of a
bomb. Nobody had dreamt of such a career for ‘Auntie Char.’

[Illustration: LAURA

About the Year 1871]

The following letter contains her first intimation of what was coming to
her sister, Mrs. Hamilton:--

                                              ‘_March 24, 1875._

    ‘MY BELOVED LAURA,--I do not know when I shall send this, for
    I hardly hope that when you know my plans for the future you
    will say, as Henry did, a month ago, “Selfishly I should be
    delighted,”--but I hope that when you have quietly thought and
    prayed over the subject, you will not let your tender affection
    make you wish to keep me back from the work for our dear Lord
    for which I have for some time been preparing myself by hard
    study.

    ‘Years ago I said that if I were not too old to learn a
    new language I should probably--after sweet Fanny had
    departed--have gone out as a Missionary. This year the
    question came to my mind, _Am_ I really unable to learn a new
    language? I find that I can learn, and the only real objection
    to my going is taken away. Yes, sweet Laura, the _only real_
    objection; for I can leave you rich in the devoted love of your
    children. Thank God, _you_ are not lonely; and circumstances
    might easily arise to make it undesirable that I should make a
    third or fourth lady in--perhaps--a Curate’s dear little home.

    ‘I have not come to my present decision in a hurried moment.
    In the second week of February I made my Missionary project
    a subject of special prayer; on the 24th I had an important
    interview with Henry, with whom I had corresponded on the
    subject. He had no fears as to my health standing the climate,
    or as to my being able to learn the language. I began to learn
    it on the 14th February, and by many hours of diligent study
    have nearly gone through St. Matthew in Hindustani, besides
    making a vocabulary of more than three hundred words, learning
    by heart, etc. I have thrown my soul into the work, thankful
    and happy in the hope that the Lord would open my lips, that
    my mouth should show forth His praise to the poor Zenana
    prisoners in India. The enclosed, being the two last letters
    which I have received from the Secretary of the Zenana Mission,
    will show you how graciously God has smoothed the way for me,
    providing an escort all the way to the place which I now think
    of as my home--Amritsar.

    ‘But you will say--“Why choose India? Why at your age be not
    content to work in England?”

    ‘I will give you a few reasons for my thinking it desirable for
    me to go to the East:--

    ‘1. In that corner of the Vineyard the labourers are indeed
    fearfully few; scarcely _one_ to many, many thousands of
    perishing heathen.

    ‘2. Not one Englishwoman in ten is so well suited to bear heat
    as myself.

    ‘3. Not one woman in a hundred at least is so free from
    home-ties as myself.

    ‘4. There is a terrible want of suitable literature for
    Indian women. If God enabled me still to use my pen, intimate
    knowledge of even _one_ Zenana might be an immense help to me
    in writing for my Indian sisters.

    ‘Do not grudge me, dear one, to the work for which my soul
    yearns. You see by the enclosed that my arrangements are made,
    and that expostulation would but pain me. I would have told you
    of my plan some time ago, only I feared to distress you when
    you have had so much of trial. But why should you expostulate,
    or why should you be distressed? Is not Missionary work of all
    work the highest? I only fear that I am presumptuous in coming
    forward; but it seems as if my dear Lord were calling me to it;
    and my heart says,--“Here am I; send me.” I own with shame that
    much that is unworthy mingles with my desire to serve the Lord
    in India; but the desire itself has, I trust, been put into my
    mind by Him.

    ‘Cheer and encourage and pray for me, my Laura, that my Autumn
    may be better than my Spring and Summer--that the richest
    harvest come in the latter days. Ask the Lord to give me Indian
    gems in the crown which He has bought for His servants.

    ‘On the 28th February, at Holy Communion, I devoted myself to
    the Zenana Mission. But I am bound by no vows. I go out _free_,
    an honorary Agent of the Society.--Your loving

                                                 ‘C. M. TUCKER.’

Writing again on the 7th of May, she said: ‘I have been formally
presented to the Committee of my own Society, who were very courteous.’
The Society was then known under the cumbrous name of ‘The Indian Female
Normal School and Instruction Society.’ A few years later it separated
into two distinct Societies; one of which, ‘The Church of England Zenana
Society,’ Charlotte Tucker joined.

As was to be expected, her new plan met with some opposition. Many who
dearly loved her were most sincerely grieved at the thought of such a
parting; and others were disposed to look upon the scheme at her age as
somewhat crazy. Small marvel if they did. Such an attempt had not been
made before; and the untried always contains unmeasured elements of
danger and difficulty. Probably her unusual fitness for the undertaking
was hardly realised as yet even by many of those who knew her best. She
had not, however, the pain of opposition from her best-loved sister, Mrs.
Hamilton. ‘It will be a sore pang to her to part with me,’ she wrote to
her niece, Mrs. Boswell; ‘but her feeling will be that she gives me to
God. And to my great comfort she does not attempt to stay me.’

Before going to India, she resolved to take another voyage--a trip to
Canada, for a farewell sight of her nephew, ‘Charley’; the youngest of
‘The Robins.’ She would have his brother, her other nephew, Louis Tucker,
for a companion on this preliminary journey. Of its perils and pleasures
Charlotte Tucker’s own pen can best tell the tale.

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                                      ‘_May 24._

    ‘I had more than an hour to wait at Paddington, but ----, who
    was with me, gave me a little lesson in Hindustani. P. E.
    did the same yesterday; he let me repeat and read from the
    Testament to him, and then he read a little to me. I generally
    understood what he was reading when he went slowly. I am so
    thankful to snatch lessons in pronunciation.... Louis and I are,
    if all be well, to start in the _Nova Scotia_ on Thursday, at
    one o’clock.... What a beautiful hymn there is in _Hymns Ancient
    and Modern_, “for those at sea”! Not that I consider drowning
    a worse way of going Home than any other. As a lady said, “We
    cannot sink lower than into our Father’s Hand”; for it is
    written, “He holdeth the deep in the hollow of His Hand.”’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                      ‘GRESFORD, _May 26, 1875_.

    ‘I am almost packed, ready for my start to-morrow morning; but
    I have a nice quiet time for a little chat with precious Laura.
    Loving thanks for your sweet letter....

    ‘You wished me to see Dr. Griffith. I have seen him to-day,
    though not in the character of a patient, I am thankful to
    say.... The dear old man appeared to feel real gratification at
    hearing of my going to India as a Zenana visitor, inquired
    with interest about the language,--health did not appear to
    enter his medical mind,--and really affectionately gave me
    his blessing. I am glad to have it. I told him that I am
    fifty-four, and Dr. Griffith made nothing of it. Dear Aunt is
    so loving and motherlike; but she sympathises in the cause,
    which is a comfort to me. It would have been very painful had
    she disapproved,--almost as painful as if my favourite sister
    had disapproved. Dr. G.’s visit really refreshed me.’

TO THE SAME.

                                      ‘ON BOARD THE NOVA SCOTIA,
                                                 _May 27, 1875_.

    ‘I did not think that I should have had an opportunity of
    having a letter posted from Derry, but it appears that I shall.
    I am now quietly scudding over the Atlantic. There is not much
    motion in the vessel, which seems to me to be a very large one.
    There are a great many emigrants, but I doubt whether it will
    be easy for me to communicate with them.

    ‘You who are so kindly anxious about my comfort will be pleased
    to know that I have a very fair amount of wraps, and am more
    likely to suffer from heat than cold, seeing that my cabin
    port-hole is never opened, and that the only way of ventilating
    it is by leaving the door open,--a thing not to be thought of
    at night, as ladies’ and gentlemen’s cabins are not at all in
    separate parts of the vessel. By-the-by, the latter part of
    that long sentence will not please you. I should have broken
    the paragraph into two. I have at present the luxury of having
    the cabin all to myself, and only hope that when we touch at
    the Irish port, we will take in no fair passenger to share it.

    ‘Now I think I will go on deck.... I am perfectly well at
    present. The only thing I fear is using up my oxygen at night.
    I have had such a nice letter of welcome from Mrs. Elmslie.’[21]

    CIRCULAR LETTER TO SEVERAL OF THE FAMILY.

                                                ‘_June 5, 1875._

    ‘“Yes, you will see icebergs, plenty, more than enough,” said
    the Captain to me on the 3rd. “This is an exceptional year for
    ice.” He spoke so quietly that I did not at the time give full
    significance to his words.

    ‘But on the next day, the 4th, we beheld icebergs indeed,--I
    believe more than a hundred, and some, O how glorious! Our eyes
    were satiated with beauty. Now a bold iceberg rose before us,
    reminding me of pictures of Gibraltar; but this berg was all
    of snow,[22] and, as well as we could guess, about 150 feet
    high. Then another, most graceful in shape, appeared, like a
    sculptured piece of alabaster, wearing a huge jewel of pale
    greenish blue; this, from its pure beauty, Louis called “The
    Maiden.” We turned from its softer loveliness, to gaze on that
    which I thought the finest iceberg of all, the ruins of some
    huge amphitheatre.

    ‘As we gazed, some of the bergs changed greatly in shape. The
    “Maiden” split quite in two. Fancy these glorious wanderers
    from Greenland or Labrador, with the sea-spray dashing against
    their sides, showing that they were aground; for, as you are
    aware, the mass of ice below water is far greater than that
    which is visible above it. One could not but think, “What a
    mercy it is that we did not pass those large icebergs in the
    night!” Had our great emigrant-ship, freighted with 2000 tons
    of iron, dashed up against one of them, we should have gone to
    the bottom like lead. Nothing more would have been heard of the
    _Nova Scotia_, and the more than 600 mortals on board.

    ‘But the day was clear, and it was easy to give the bergs a
    wide berth. Every one’s spirits rose. There was nothing but
    enjoyment of the beautiful scene, admiration at the strange
    sights before us. The sun at length sank; but a few icebergs
    loomed in the distance, and I had an idea that we had almost
    come to the end of the ice-tract. We had delightful music in
    the saloon, and all appeared cheerfulness and peace. Even when
    my attention was directed to strange dark objects on the ocean,
    which I could see through the round saloon window, no thought
    of danger came into my mind.

    ‘At the invitation of another lady I went on deck, where I
    was able better to watch the strange scene before me. Out
    of the ice-tract, indeed! Why, we were in the very midst of
    _thousands_ upon _thousands_ of masses of floating ice, through
    which the vessel very, very cautiously as it were felt her way,
    sometimes stopping altogether. Strange to say, even when I
    heard the keel _grate_ over ice, it was very, very slowly that
    I received the impression of danger. The night was exquisitely
    lovely, the stars shining gloriously. I could hardly have
    supposed that any star would have cast such a reflection on the
    smoothest water as Mars threw on the still ocean.

    ‘The brightness of the starlight, the quietness of the water,
    greatly added to our chance of safety. One felt that a watchful
    and skilful captain was cautiously piloting us, avoiding the
    larger masses of ice, though our vessel passed right over some
    of the little ones. I watched the tiny globes of phosphoric
    light which sometimes gleamed on the water, and the dark
    objects which I knew to be pieces of floating ice. There was
    pleasure in watching them; for though reason at last convinced
    one that danger there must be under the circumstances, a touch
    of fear, or rather sense of danger, rather enhances enjoyment.

    ‘I was tired, but lingered on deck, till a lady came up to me,
    and suggested that we had better go below, as she believed that
    lights were put out at eleven, and if we did not go we might
    have to retire to bed in the dark. Down I descended to my cabin
    in the lower part of the vessel. Some of the passengers on
    deck had been considering the possibility, on so fair a night,
    and with Newfoundland near,--for we had sighted the light
    on shore,--of our being saved by the boats, even should the
    vessel be lost. But we remembered that there were more than 600
    persons on board. The Captain would do well, if he could manage
    to place half the number in the boats. It was clear that all
    could not expect to be saved.

    ‘When I went to my cabin, I was not disposed at once to go to
    rest. I knelt on my sofa, so as to be able to look out from my
    port-hole on the ocean and its numerous floating fragments of
    ice, seen in the starlight. Not only was the sense of sight
    exercised, but that of hearing. Nine times I thought that
    I heard the keel grate against the ice. I may possibly be
    mistaken in the number of times; but the noise was distinct,
    and its nature not to be mistaken. At a short distance--it did
    not look a hundred yards--the clear, smooth sea appeared to be
    skirted by a tall hedge. It was not _land_, for occasionally I
    saw a light gleam through it. I asked a seaman afterwards what
    it was,--it was, as I suspected, a bank of fog between us and
    the coast of Newfoundland.

    ‘I watched till my cabin-light went out, and I was left in
    darkness, save that my port-hole looked like a pale moon in the
    dark cabin. I turned into my berth, but not at once to sleep.
    I lay thinking, reflecting on the possibility of feeling the
    vessel going down, down,--and reflecting on what an easy death
    drowning would be. Still, I did _not_ really expect to be
    drowned.

    ‘The vessel stopped dead still,--I listened for the sound of
    pumping, or of preparing boats. I heard one--to me--strange
    noise, I can hardly describe it, between a blast and a bellow.
    I thought that it must be a signal, and I was not wrong; for I
    hear this morning that it was the fog-whistle from the shore.
    It seemed to me that it was useless for me to rise; if there
    were any use in my returning to the deck, dear Louis would call
    me. He would be sure to think of my life before his own.

    ‘After a while I went fast asleep, and did not awake till
    the bright, clear morning, when there could no longer be the
    shadow of danger. I rose, dressed, and went on deck. The sea
    was beautifully smooth, blue, and clear from ice, except a few
    bergs in the distance. I had a happy, thankful heart.

    ‘One lady had remained on deck till past three. She told me of
    a field of ice, and great masses of ice, through and beside
    which we had passed; and she had seen the Northern Lights,
    which I am sorry to have missed. The Captain never slept till
    the drift-ice was passed. He was at breakfast, however, this
    morning, and I doubt not felt very thankful. I believe that he
    has had three anxious, wakeful nights; but the change in the
    weather must have been a very great help to him. We had had
    such miserable dull weather, and such heavy rolling seas. Last
    night all was so clear; and I saw the stars, I think, for the
    first time since our starting. Please pass this letter on; for
    I cannot write over the same thing to all dear ones.’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                 ‘ON BOARD A HUGE RIVER STEAMER,
                                                 _June 9, 1875_.

    ‘Here we are steaming up the St. Lawrence to Montreal.... Quebec
    is a wondrously fair city.... We went this morning to see the
    Montmorency Fall, a cascade where a great volume of water
    churned into foam dashes down a precipice 300 feet high....

                                                     ‘_June 10._

    ‘I finish this off in Montreal, a very handsome,
    thriving-looking city, with far grander buildings than Quebec:
    but it wants the dreamlike, exquisite beauty of its sister.
    More kindness meets us here.... Have you seen the account of the
    loss of the _Vicksburg_ in the ice, just three days before
    we encountered the ice off the same coast? Only five sailors
    saved; not one passenger! We should have gone down faster than
    the poor _Vicksburg_, because of our heavier cargo. I should
    not have had a chance; and my gallant Louis would probably have
    lost his (life), because he would never have deserted me.’

Although Charlotte Tucker’s Indian life lay still in the future, this
seems to be the right place for quoting a few words from her pen, written
after years of toil in the East. Her mind was plainly reverting to the
voyage above described:--

    ‘It seems strange that the idea of an ice-bound vessel should
    suggest itself to a Missionary, working in the “glowing East”;
    yet it is so. We, in Batala, seem for years to have been
    labouring to cut a passage through hard, cold ice, with the
    chilly bergs of Muhammadanism and Hinduism towering on either
    hand. But though channels which had been laboriously opened may
    be closed, _the crew are by no means disheartened_. The worst
    of the winter is now, we hope, over. We see on various sides
    cracks in the ice. A Brahmin convert, brave and true, has been
    like a bright fragment broken from the berg, helping somewhat
    to throw it off its balance. The way is becoming more open, and
    there are tokens of melting below the surface of the ice. We
    know that one day of God’s bright sunshine can do more to make
    a clear way than our little picks can accomplish.’



CHAPTER XV

1875

BESIDE NIAGARA


There can be no mistake about Charlotte Tucker’s enjoyment of fresh
sights and scenes across the Atlantic, or about the fact that increasing
years had at least not dimmed her appreciation of beauty. Most kind
and warm hospitality was shown to her at Quebec, at Montreal, and at
Toronto. She was met at Oakville Station by her younger nephew, Charles
Tucker,--the latter in ‘a state of joyous expectation’ which had kept him
awake through three previous nights. Then followed a welcome from his
wife, in their ‘pretty little home,’ elsewhere described by her as ‘a
Canadian settler’s little farmhouse.’

While there, finding the life quiet, and plenty of time on her hands, she
‘took to Persian characters,’ as ‘an interesting riddle to solve,’ and
also worked hard at her Hindustani, spending many hours over both.

Also she insisted on doing in Canada as Canadians do,--making her own
bed, and even essaying to accomplish some ironing. Perhaps the last
attempt did not meet with brilliant success. She wrote home about it:--

    ‘“‘Though seldom sure if e’er before
    That hand had ironed linen o’er ...”

the great matter is that the things are _clean_; but I own I am glad that
I shall have a _dhobi_ in India.’

Another day she wrote to Mrs. Hamilton: ‘The little maid here amuses
me. She is very fond of music, and likes me to sing for her. She asked
me--kindly--if I would like my boots cleaned, and as I thought that I
should, the little dear cleaned them, and brought them to me to show off
her work,--as a six-year-old child of the house might have done. She
looks such an innocent duck!’

An expedition to Niagara was achieved with much success; after which she
wrote to one of her aunts in England: ‘My nephews think me amazingly
strong, and yet I have become almost a teetotaller. Except your little
bottle of sherry, I have only tasted wine twice since I left you. How I
did enjoy your lemon-juice!’

Her glowing description of the Falls themselves, sent to Mrs. Hamilton,
must be at least in part quoted. Though an oft-related tale, it may
perhaps gain some freshness from her mode of telling it:--

                                  ‘CLIFTON HOUSE, NIAGARA FALLS,
                                               ‘_June 22, 1875_.

    ‘I must write to some dear one while the sound of Niagara is in
    my ears, whilst the impression of Niagara is fresh in my mind;
    and I direct my letter to you, sweet Laura, knowing that you
    will let others see it....

    ‘I have looked on the most glorious scene, I believe, that
    is to be seen on this planet. How can I attempt to describe
    Niagara? When I gaze on what is called “The American Fall,” I
    ask myself a dozen times, “Is it possible that there can be
    anything more beautiful?” ... though I have only to turn my head
    a little to behold the “Horse-Shoe Fall,” which is even _more_
    gloriously beautiful. The American Fall would make in itself
    twenty or thirty cascades that would delight us in England.
    O the sparkling rush of diamonds,--the white misty foam
    breaking on the picturesque rocks beneath,--the accessories so
    beautiful,--the cloud-like veil so transparently lovely!

    ‘Earth here is so fair, with bold crags draperied with the
    richest foliage, that one could imagine her contending for the
    palm with water; but water carries the victory at Niagara;
    Earth but serves to frame and set off her magnificence. If
    Earth be green, so is water. Where Niagara plunges over her
    Horse-Shoe-shaped rocks, the colour of the water is often
    brilliant, crystal-like green. Then as the river emerges from
    its veil of spray,--spray sometimes rising pyramid-like for
    hundreds of feet,--it assumes a deeper green, more blue than
    that of the surrounding foliage, but pure in tint.

    ‘A lovely, most verdant island, Goat Island, divides the two
    grand Falls,--or, I may rather say, three, for one glorious
    cascade is called Central Fall. In this exquisite island, and
    other smaller ones, you wander amongst silent shady woods, or
    stand so close to the rushing waters, that one or two steps
    would send you over the brink into the cloudy chasm below.
    Perhaps, Laura, nothing can better convey to you the impression
    left on me, than to tell you what was my repeatedly recurring
    thought. “If I had to suffer martyrdom, in no form could it
    appear more attractive than by being thrown over Niagara!”
    To be launched into eternity, shrouded in that cascade of
    diamonds, would rouse such a thrilling sense of the beautiful
    and the sublime, that half one’s fears would be swallowed up
    in something almost like joy. It would seem ten times more
    horrible to be flung from a high tower on to the hard, cold
    earth. This is not a mere fancy of my own. I find that I am not
    alone in thinking that death would appear less repulsive at
    Niagara than elsewhere.[23]

    ‘I have seen the many beauties of this place well.... I have
    looked on the rapids above the Falls. They seemed to me an
    emblem of human life. Such a rushing,--such a hurry,--chafing
    against obstacles,--impatience, passion, excitement. Then comes
    the grand leap--boldly, almost joyously, taken,--the leap into
    cloud and mystery,--and below, the river emerges from froth and
    foam, comparatively calm. One wonders that it is as quiet as it
    appears to be after such a plunge!

    ‘Yes, I shall never see such a sight again, till I behold the
    Great White Throne, and the Sea of Glass, like unto crystal.

    ‘We all wandered about yesterday, till we were too much tired
    to wander more. We had intended to sit up to see moonlight on
    Niagara; but instead of so doing we separated at 9. I soon fell
    asleep, but I woke in the dim twilight, I suppose at about 3
    A.M. The opportunity was not to be lost. I washed and dressed,
    as much by feeling as by sight, opened my venetian shutters,
    and walked out into the verandah which commands a fine view of
    both Falls.

    ‘I was in utter solitude, under the light of the moon. Not in
    silence, for the sound of many waters is unceasing. I suppose
    that for thousands of years Niagara has been praising her
    Creator, as she does now. The sound is not at all _noisy_; on
    the contrary, it does not disturb conversation, which surprises
    me.

    ‘I sang snatches of the Hallelujah Chorus, as I looked on the
    waterfall by moonlight. There was no distinct play of moonbeams
    on the water; there was an immense amount of mist,--one felt
    as if looking down on clouds. Presently the clouds in the sky
    flushed rosy in the dawn; the moon grew pale; Niagara with
    her emerald green more distinct. I waited till I had seen the
    sunrise--it was not a very bright one--and then I retired to
    my room, and went to sleep again.... Solitude is congenial at
    Niagara.... I do not care to write on trifling themes now....

    ‘A thought came to my mind as I was resting just now. As
    photographs, however faithful, convey but a very inadequate
    idea of the real Niagara, so must our highest conceptions of
    Heaven fall short of Heaven itself. Who that has merely seen
    a photograph, or many photographs, of the Falls, can drink in
    the beauty of the living, bounding, changing, glorious miracle
    of Nature, which is beheld here? Yet Niagara itself is but a
    bubble, compared with “the glory which shall be revealed.”’

Towards the end of July she returned home, to spend a few last weeks with
her dear ones before bidding them a long farewell and going forth to
her Indian campaign. Through all these weeks she does not seem to have
relaxed in her persevering study of Hindustani, or in her struggle with
the difficult gutturals which had to be mastered. Apart from this she
must have had enough to occupy her time. Among lesser employments, she
is said to have spent hours at a time in looking through her papers and
letters--the collection of a literary lifetime--and consigning masses of
the same to destruction. One cannot but wish that the destruction had
been less wholesale.

The Dismissal Meeting of Missionaries was on the 11th of October; and two
or three days later the _Strathclyde_ sailed.

To most of her relatives the parting was a good deal softened by the
conviction that Charlotte Tucker would surely soon find herself compelled
to give in, and to return to England. One of her nieces can say: ‘We all
thought, when she left us for India, that she would fail in health, and
be obliged to come home again. And so I could stand at the doorway, and
watch her as she turned round in our carriage to wave her last good-bye,
without any misgiving that it was indeed the last time that I should see
that bright smile.’

But her sister, Mrs. Hamilton, the loved Laura of early days, had a
truer prescience of how things would be. Speaking afterwards to a friend
about that day of parting, and about the intense, loving devotion which
had always existed between them, she said: ‘When my sister and I parted
from one another, it was a parting for ever on Earth. My sister will not
return to England on furlough, as other Missionaries do, for the reason
that she could not again go through the pain of separation.’

At the time little was said in letters about that heart-rending pain. It
had to be endured, and it was endured courageously.

So ended the fifty-four years of Charlotte Maria Tucker’s English Life.
She turned herself now, with a smile of good cheer, to the eighteen years
of her Indian Life--the Evening of her days. Three-quarters of her tale
is told, counting by years. Only one-quarter remains to be told.

Fifty-four years of preparation; and then the Evening of hard toil.
Fifty-four years given to slow perfecting of the instrument; and then
eighteen years of use for that instrument. This was what it came to. Not
that her English life had been without its uses and its fruits; but the
long, quiet home-existence had doubtless been mainly a making ready--or
rather, a being made ready--for that which was to come after. The first
was subordinate to the second.

Was it very long preparation for comparatively short work? But the worth
of work done does not depend upon the length of time occupied in the
doing. We may better understand this if we think of our Blessed Lord’s
Life,--the Thirty Years of silent preparation and waiting; and then the
Three Years’ Ministry. Each moment of His Life upon Earth bore fruit; but
none the less, those Thirty Years were mainly of preparation for what
should follow.

There are some who would not agree with Charlotte Tucker in considering
‘Missionary work of all work the highest’; yet in one sense, if not in
all senses, it certainly is so. The soldier who goes on a forlorn-hope
expedition ranks higher in the minds of men than the soldier who remains
in camp; and the pioneer is counted worthy of more honour than the
settler.

We hear in these days many a careless sneer levelled at attempts to
convert the Heathen, at the uselessness and fruitlessness of such
efforts. Nothing is easier than for a man, sitting at home in his
luxurious arm-chair, to flout those who go forth into heathen lands.
And there is a certain trick of seeming common-sense in the arguments
used, which sounds convincing. So much money spent, and so many lives
sacrificed,--and for what? Half-a-dozen converts, perhaps, in a dozen
years, some of whom prove in the end to be faithless, while others are
very far from being faultless saints. Is the result worth the outlay?

As for the characters of some of the converts, we only have to look at
home, and to see for ourselves what the average civilised and well-taught
and highly-trained Englishman is--how very far in a large majority of
cases from being either blameless, or saintly, or entirely faithful to
his Baptismal vows. After that glance, one may feel less surprised to
hear of failures among young and untrained converts, the whole _pull_ of
whose previous lives has been utterly adverse to Christianity; not to
speak of the baneful effects of a surrounding heathen atmosphere, always
present after conversion.

But as to the main argument,--whether the result is worth the outlay,--I
should be disposed to say at once frankly that, from a purely mercantile
point of view, it certainly is _not_. Very often indeed the immediate
results, seen to follow upon Missionary work, are not at all commensurate
with the amount of money spent. Many a Missionary has given his time, his
income, his life, his all, for the sake of no apparent results in his own
lifetime. There have been grand men, who have toiled steadily on through
ten years, twenty years, thirty years; and at the close, if they have had
any converts at all to show for their labours, those converts could be
counted on their fingers.

It may well be that one man brought out of the darkness of heathendom is
a prize worth fifty times--or five thousand times--the money expended in
bringing him. But this would not be seen from the mercantile point of
view. Neither does it touch the true gist of the question.

A little story told of the great Duke of Wellington, so ardently admired
by Charlotte Tucker, shall supply us with a clue here. Whether or no
the tale itself be genuine hardly affects its value as bearing on the
subject. A young clergyman is stated to have one day, in the presence of
the Duke, spoken about foreign Missions in the disparaging terms often
affected by a particular class of young men. One can exactly picture how
he did it,--the supercilious contempt of one who knew little about the
matter; and the careless looking down upon all who did not agree with
himself. But the Iron Duke is said to have responded sternly:--

‘SIR, YOU FORGET YOUR MARCHING ORDERS,--“GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND
PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE!”’

If the Duke did not speak the words, they sound very like what he would
have spoken. It is a soldier’s view of the matter, and it is the view
which all true ‘soldiers and servants of Christ’ ought to take. For this
is no question of mercantile views, of business arrangements, of what
will or will not repay, of so many converts more or less, of success and
failure. This is not in any wise a question of results. It is purely and
simply a question of Obedience. The Church generally is commanded to
preach the Gospel throughout the world; whether men will hear, or whether
they will not. Individuals are bound to go, _if called_,--and if not
themselves called, they are bound to send others.

All of us who are Baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit, are bound to His Service who is our Royal Master;
and His orders we have unquestioningly to obey. Whether or no we can
see the wisdom, the necessity, of what He commands to be done, makes
no difference. We are but privates in His Army; and a private has no
business with an opinion of his own as to where he shall go or what he
shall do in the time of war.

When the ‘noble six hundred’ of Balaclava were ordered to charge the
Russian guns, they knew the uselessness of the act, the certainty of a
blunder; but with that they had no concern.

    ‘Their’s not to make reply,
    Their’s not to reason why,
    Their’s but to do and die!’

And though with our Royal Master we have no fear of mistakes, the same
spirit of absolute obedience must be ours, whether or no we fully see
the reasons for each command. What would be thought of an English
soldier who, on being ordered to some lonely and difficult post, were,
instead of going at once, to begin to calculate whether it were worth
while,--whether the cost and trouble of his going would be sufficiently
repaid by results? Yet such is the spirit in which certain soldiers of
the Cross--somewhat faithless soldiers, surely!--are disposed to regard
this great Marching Order of our Captain and King.

Another way of looking upon the question is embodied in certain popular
ideas that, on the whole, the Heathen may be hardly worse off as
Heathen than they would be as Christians. The less knowledge, the less
responsibility, we are told; and a good deal of cant is talked on this
subject. Those who have seen how things verily are in heathen lands,
those who have witnessed the awful and desperate cruelties which there
prevail, know what the argument is worth as to the present life. While as
to the future,--let it be fully granted that ignorance means few stripes,
that every excuse will be made for those who did not and could not know
better, that increase of knowledge must of necessity mean increase of
responsibility. But there again we come back to our ‘marching orders.’
If Christ died for the heathen, if God wills that they shall know the
Truth and shall at least have it in their power to rise thereby to higher
levels, what are we to dare to decide that they shall be left in darkness?

The whole question of our duty as Christians, on this point as on all
others, hinges here,--Are we doing, or are we not doing, that which God
wills us to do? All theories respecting outlays, values, results, sink
into utter insignificance beside this question. If we are called to
go, it is not for the sake of honour, it is not for the sake even of
success, but it is simply for the doing of the Will of God. If we are
bidden to remain at home, it is still for the doing of His Will,--and
that Will includes the spreading of the Church of Christ throughout the
world. Those who stay at home can at least help those who go on this
mission.

In the matter of results very unreasonable expectations are often formed.
The best results do not commonly appear at once, and may not appear for a
lifetime. A farmer ploughs his land, then sows his seed, and then waits
months for the harvest. The Church too frequently scratches the hard
ground with an impatient hand, drops in a few seeds, and immediately
breaks into lamentations, because no instantaneous harvest springs forth.

It may take twenty years merely to plough the hard ground in some heathen
spot, and to sow the seed; and years more may pass before the first
tokens of a harvest are seen. Sometimes the fuller results are the longer
delayed. Mustard-seeds spring up a good deal faster than acorns.

The main work of Charlotte Tucker’s eighteen years was to be that of
ploughing. And whether few or many converts rewarded her toil is an
entirely secondary consideration. They would have been very gratifying
to her own feelings, no doubt; and that said, all is said. Results there
were; but not all kinds of results can be reckoned upon one’s fingers.
Charlotte Tucker went out in obedience to what she felt to be the Divine
call, the Divine command. So long as she was steadily endeavouring to do
the Will of God, results might very well be left in His Hand. The Word of
God does not return to Him void; but naturally its working is not always
apparent to us.



PART II

LIFE IN INDIA


    ‘O Spirit of the Lord, prepare
      All the round Earth her God to meet;
    Breathe Thou abroad like morning air,
      Till hearts of stone begin to beat.

    ‘Baptize the Nations; far and nigh
      The triumphs of the Cross record;
    The Name of JESUS glorify
      Till every kindred call Him Lord.’



CHAPTER I

A.D. 1875

FIRST ARRIVAL IN INDIA


In the second week of October 1875, Miss Tucker left English shores,
never to return. The voyage was uneventful, differing therein from her
trip to Canada. On its very next voyage the good ship _Strathclyde_,
which carried her to the East, went down within sight of Dover. But no
threatenings of such a catastrophe disturbed A. L. O. E. on her way out.

A fellow-passenger on board the _Strathclyde_ wrote long afterwards:--

    ‘My first introduction to A. L. O. E. was when I was lying in
    all the helplessness of the first days of my first voyage,
    quite unable to stir from the deck. I became conscious of
    a grey-haired lady stooping over me, offering some _eau de
    cologne_, and with a winning smile asking if she could do
    anything for me. She was a good sailor, and in those miserable
    days moved about amongst the sea-sick passengers like an
    angel of mercy. Even then dear Miss Tucker looked very frail
    and delicate; and one could scarcely have expected that she
    would be spared for eighteen years to work in all the heat and
    discomfort of India. One thing remarkable about her on that
    voyage was the influence she had over the men on board,--some
    of them quite indifferent, if not hostile, to religion. No one
    could withstand her genial, loving ways; and it was a sight to
    be remembered, to see her gathering the young fellows round the
    piano, while she led off in some old English ditty.’

Her own letters to Mrs. Hamilton, while on board, are cheery as usual,
and speak no word of pain or longing for all that she had left behind;
indeed the very first ends merrily: ‘Please give my kindest love to your
dearest girl, and tell her that I have already hung up her famous bag. I
hope that no ayah will _bag_ it! I could not resist the pun, bad as it
is.’

There were five ayahs on board, and she soon struck up an acquaintance
with one of them,--a Christian ayah,--reading aloud her Hindustani Bible,
and delighted to find that the ayah could understand what was read. ‘I am
bribing one to teach me,’ she wrote. ‘The ayahs ought to be glad to help;
for they, at least two or three of them, seem to regard me as a kind of
supplementary nurse, and if they want to go to work make over the baby to
me.’ In the same letter she states: ‘We have a strong Missionary force
on board; two Scotchmen, the wife of one of them, and six Missionary
ladies. We have not quarrelled at all; but then, most of us have been
sea-sick!’--again a little glimmer of fun. ‘We lady Missionaries get on
very well together,’ she says in another letter. ‘Very gentle and modest
are the Misses A., “your pretty girls,” as Lady I. called them to-day.’

As to amusements on board, she wrote:--

    ‘Lady I. has started a game which dear Leila and Fred may add
    to their store at Christmas. She wrote something, missing out
    all adjectives. A gentleman went round and collected adjectives
    haphazard from the passengers, inserting them in the places
    left blank. The piece was then read out. It was a description
    of the voyage and many of the passengers. Of course nobody
    could be offended, because the adjectives came haphazard. But
    how your young folk would have laughed when, amongst other
    personages described, came--“Miss Tucker, of a _grandiloquent_
    disposition, with other _bouncing_ Missionary ladies.”’

About a fortnight later she wrote:--

    ‘A contrast to ---- is Mr. S., the competition-wallah,
    probably the most highly educated man in the ship. I look
    upon him as the Squire of the Mission ladies. In his most
    quiet, proper fashion, he is ever ready to do our behests;
    and he never seems to tire of hymn-singing.... He has evidently
    plenty of moral courage. The very funniest thing was that Mr.
    S. was actually present at the solemn conclave held by us six
    M. L.[24] to decide whether we could conscientiously attend
    a second theatrical amateur performance, _Mr. S. having been
    the principal actor_ in the first one, which we did attend. It
    was as if Garrick had been present at a Clapham conference on
    the subject of whether it were right to go to see him act!!!
    Mr. S. was very amiable and good: he had taken a great deal of
    trouble to amuse the passengers, and _his_ part was perfectly
    unexceptionable; but if we all absent ourselves next time I do
    not think that he will take any offence. I proposed that we
    should all sleep over the matter, one of my reasons being that
    I could not but feel Mr. S.’s presence a _little_ embarrassing.
    On the following day we met without him, and decided that the
    question is to be an open one; each M. L. is to judge according
    to her own conscience. I believe that we shall divide; but this
    is not, we have agreed, to disturb the harmony between the M.
    L.’

After a few days spent in ‘bright, beautiful Bombay’--these are her own
words--she proceeded by rail with one companion to Allahabad. A pause at
Jabalpur had been planned, but this fell through; and they accomplished
the whole long journey of 845 miles without a break. Wisely, her friends
had insisted on first-class, and she was none the worse for the fatigue.
On the very morning of her arrival at Allahabad she could say: ‘I had a
nice warm bath, and then a good breakfast, and I feel almost as fresh as
if I had not travelled 845 miles at a stretch, but merely taken a little
drive. Think how strong I must be!’

Later in the same letter, a long and cheery one, bearing no signs of
fatigue, she speaks of Mr. George Bowen, an American Missionary, who had
‘laboured without intermission for twenty-eight years’ in the East, and
who was known among Natives as ‘the English Faqir,’ on account of his
wandering and self-denying life.

    ‘He will take no salary,’ she wrote, ‘but has earned his own
    living, I hear, by teaching, supporting himself on the merest
    trifle. I esteem it a great honour that I sat beside him at
    breakfast at the Zenana Mission House last Thursday. Mr. Bowen
    looks quite skin and bone, wondrously thin, but not in the
    least unhealthy, but as if there were plenty of work in him
    still. He told me that he does not “believe in age.” He seems
    to feel as fresh as he did twenty-eight years ago; and yet at
    the beginning of his career he was so fearfully ill that his
    life was given up, and he wrote his farewell to his mother.
    As India has agreed so splendidly with Mr. Bowen, I asked
    him--as I generally do those who thrive in the climate--whether
    he drank only water. “Tea,” he replied, smiling. He gave his
    opinion that to take stimulant here is “the way to have to
    leave the country.” Almost all the Missionaries whom I have
    met appear to be water-drinkers. I am particularly delighted
    with the American Missionaries whom I have seen.... I am ashamed
    of ever having had a prejudice against Yankees. I am attracted
    also by Native Christian ladies.’

On her way up-country she came in for the wedding of a Missionary lady,
and after her usual fashion she was most active in helping; working hard
at the making of wreaths and at the decoration of the Ludhiana Church
porch. As the married pair were about to drive off, rice was brought to
be thrown; but somebody present objected to the custom for India, as
originally heathen, and liable to be misunderstood.’ Then the horses
shall have it!’ declared Miss Tucker; and with two hands well filled she
went to the horse’s heads, and fed them, amid much laughter, in which she
heartily joined. Her own description of the event is overflowing with
spirit and enjoyment. It is dated November 30.

    ‘I have just come in to rest a bit, and wash my soiled
    hands,--for what do you think that I have been about?--at
    the express request of the bride, helping to decorate the
    church for her wedding, which is to come off to-day. This
    house is jammed full--that is to say, a good deal more full
    than is comfortable; but the kind folk would not hear of my
    leaving till after the wedding, so I do not go to my home till
    to-morrow morning. Indian railways are regardless of convenient
    hours. I, who was up this morning soon after five, must be up
    to-morrow morning soon after three. Of course I had to arrive
    here by starlight; and on the same night there had been another
    arrival at one A.M. ... There is a grand tamasha[25] about the
    wedding. Every one seems pleased. It is Missionary wedding
    Missionary, and--perhaps I had better go and make myself
    useful....

    ‘_Later._ Oh, such a pretty wedding! The little church fresh
    white-washed within, clean as a wedding-cake. The porch almost
    like a bower. A border of flowers on either side up the centre
    made a kind of path. Then the presence of the school-girls
    in their white chaddahs; the number of Natives in their
    picturesque costumes,--both Christians and heathen, inside the
    church and looking in from the outside,--all made a charming
    scene.

    ‘But before we went to church, a Begum, a royal lady,
    granddaughter of Shah-Soojah, came to see the fun. And only
    fancy, Laura, I was left for perhaps a quarter of an hour to
    entertain the fine old lady. Would not your Fred and Leila have
    laughed to have seen me, making gallant efforts to keep up
    conversation with my dreadfully bad Hindustani. I dashed at it,
    tried to explain why I wore a black dress when I had lilac and
    blue ones at Amritsar, told her that I had never been married,
    answered questions regarding my family, etc. The Begum laughed,
    and I laughed, for I knew that my Hindustani was very bad; but
    I did remember always to use the respectful “Ap”[26] to the
    princess.

    ‘Presently the dear old Missionary, Mr. Rudolph, appeared. The
    “pardah”[27] lady, on seeing a man, hid behind an arm-chair.
    But when I told her that it was “Rudolph Sahib,” the old lady
    said that he was her father, and that she would make her salaam
    to him. I hear that the Begum is almost a Christian, and she
    can read. Wrapped in her chaddah, she walked with me to church,
    and stayed through the service. I was close behind her. When it
    was over, I managed to say a little sentence to her in rather
    better Hindustani, “The Lord Jesus Christ is here; He gives
    blessing.” The Begum gave a sound of assent.’

Next day, the first of December, Charlotte Tucker reached Amritsar,--the
spot which she fully expected to be her home for many a year to come.
But Amritsar was only a stage on the road to Batala, where her Indian
work really lay.

All who know aught of India know the name of ‘The Panjab’;[28] that
province to the far north, a land of five great rivers, where in Mutiny
days so much was done for the preservation of our Indian Empire.
Amritsar[29] is one of the larger cities of the Panjab, containing a
population of about 135,000 inhabitants,--Hindus, Muhammadans, and Sikhs.
It is the Holy City of the Sikhs, and has their ‘golden temple,’ wherein
they worship, and wherein also is kept their sacred book, the ‘Granth.’

Missionary work has been mainly carried on in the Panjab by the Church
Missionary Society; just as, in many parts of Bengal, Missionary work
has been mainly carried on by the Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel. Where the one great Church Society has obtained a footing, the
other great Church Society does not interfere in either case, but goes
elsewhere in the Mission field. It is greatly to be wished that this
spirit of courtesy were more widely seen in the working of Missions
generally among the heathen. During late years the ladies of the Church
Zenana Society have come in as an additional help to the Societies
above-named,--as true ‘handmaids,’ alike in the Panjab and in other parts
of India.

The Mission premises are about half-a-mile distant from the City of
Amritsar. A. L. O. E.’s first Indian home was here; in a bungalow,
surrounded by a large compound or garden which was part of the Mission
premises. When she arrived, in the beginning of December, roses were in
full bloom, as well as abundantly-flowering shrubs and creepers. The
great banyan-tree, which grew and still grows in front of the bungalow,
was soon named by Miss Tucker ‘The Mission Tree.’

A warm welcome was given to her by the Missionary ladies living
there:--Miss Emily Wauton, who still labours on in the same spot, though
nearly twenty years have passed since that day; Mrs. Elmslie, widow of
Dr. Elmslie, the Pioneer of Missionary work in Cashmere; Miss Florence
Swainson; and Miss Ada Smith;--not to speak of the C.M.S. Missionary
gentleman living close by.

After her wont, Miss Tucker was very eager, very bright, very anxious to
become immediately one of the little circle. That first evening, as they
sat round the table, she said: ‘I don’t want to be “Miss Tucker” here.
Can’t you all call me “Charlotte Maria”?’ The ladies naturally demurred.
‘We could not possibly,’ they said. Miss Tucker’s face fell a little;
then came a happy thought, and she brightened up. ‘Call me “Auntie,”’ she
said. ‘So many call me “Auntie.” All of you must do so.’

‘But we cannot directly. We don’t know you yet,’ objected the others
again.

She was very much delighted when Mr. Rowland Bateman, one of the
Missionaries, began the same evening, without hesitation, to speak to her
as ‘Auntie.’

Soon after, news came of the death of her brother, Mr. Henry Carre
Tucker. It was needful to arrange for her mourning; and pending the
arrival of other things, one of the younger ladies offered to alter
for her an old black silk dress which she had. Going to her room, the
young lady knocked and said, ‘Miss Tucker, may I have the dress now?’
No answer. Another attempt;--and ‘No Miss Tucker here!’ was the result.
‘Unless you call me “Auntie,” you will not have it.’ ‘But how can I so
soon? I don’t know you yet,’ was once more the unavailing plea. Miss
Tucker had her way, however; and thenceforward she became ‘Auntie’ to an
ever-increasing circle of nephews and nieces in India.

Some extracts from her own letters, written to Mrs. Hamilton in the
December of 1875, will give, far better than words of mine can do, the
impressions received in her new position.

                                            ‘_December 2, 1875._

    ‘It is early morning, before 6 A.M., my first morning in my
    new home. A cock has been crowing, otherwise everything is
    profoundly still. I hear a cart in the distance. You will like
    to hear something of my surroundings.

    ‘Mrs. Elmslie came to meet me at the station; also Mr. Clark
    and Mr. Baring. It was slightly bewildering, for, says Mr.
    Clark, “the Bishop wants to see you; he and Miss Milman are to
    go off by this train.” Now the thought most in my mind was, “I
    won’t let poor dear Miss F.[30] think that I desert her for
    new acquaintances.” She also was going on by the train; but
    there was a pause at Amritsar station for perhaps a quarter of
    an hour. So I had to be agreeable to the Bishop, Miss F., and
    all,--and keep Mrs. Elmslie waiting besides.

    ‘This is a splendid room of mine ... about twenty-four feet
    each way, and so lofty. I am surprised at the elegance of
    these Indian bungalows. Please put from your mind all idea of
    _hardship_.[31] I have now lived in four bungalows, and all
    have elegant rooms, and there is such an air of refinement that
    I have great doubts whether it would be the correct thing to
    put out my hand and take a slice of bread off a plate. Mrs.
    Elmslie is a lovely lady, tall, slight, fair; but however tall,
    a lady every inch of her; she might be a Countess with her meek
    dignity....’

                                                  ‘_December 9._

    ‘I directed _via Brindisi_ my sad letters to the almost
    broken-hearted mourners, and I thought, “I will write no more
    by this mail. I should only write on one theme, my precious,
    noble Henry.” But I have since thought that I was wrong in
    this determination. My own sweet Laura will be closing a heavy
    year.... If I can turn the channel of sad thoughts, it is better
    that I should write, and not only on one theme. She will like
    to hear of my home and my work, and I ought to write to the
    darling!...

    ‘What shall I say of Mrs. Elmslie? She is one of a million. I
    never met with any woman in my life so like an angel without
    wings. Tall, fair, elegant, graceful, with a face that Ary
    Scheffer might have chosen to paint for a seraph,--her soul
    seems to correspond to her external appearance. Saintly as she
    is, she is not in the _least_ gloomy; she tries to make all
    happy, and is business-like and practical. Fitted to grace a
    drawing-room, she throws her heart into school-work, and seems
    to manage the house beautifully. It will give you an idea how
    winning she is, when I tell you that Miss Wauton and Miss
    Hasell call Mrs. Elmslie “Mother,” “Mother dear,” though the
    name seems strange from one who looks quite as old as herself.
    You should see Mrs. Elmslie with a black baby in her arms,
    looking at it with such loving tenderness and pleasure too,
    just as its guardian angel might....

    ‘I must not fill up all my letter with my sweet friend, and it
    is nearly time that I should take my morning walk. I always
    take a rapid one in the compound, which is large, with a good
    many trees and nice flowering shrubs in it. I hope always to
    keep up the habit, which is so very conducive to health; but of
    course I shall not walk so _fast_ when the hot weather comes.

    ‘It may give you a little idea of life here, if I describe
    yesterday’s occupations.

    ‘I rose about six, dressed, and wrote a little. My Ayah brought
    me early breakfast. I went out and took my walk, then returned
    and prepared for my Munshi.[32] He is a convert, and was
    baptized last month, with his two little children. The Maulvi,
    as we call him, is a dear good man, but too indulgent for a
    teacher. He is not particular enough in correcting my faults.
    I have an hour with him before breakfast; and after the meal
    comes family worship--the morning hymn, prayer, and chapter,
    always in Urdu.

    ‘After prayers yesterday I returned for a short time to my room
    and occupations. I was engaged to go to “the city”--within the
    walls of Amritsar--with Mrs. Elmslie; for it is desirable that
    I should see work going on. The conveyance is a kind of large
    box of a carriage, contrived to let in air and keep out sun.
    Yesterday we went to four native houses; Mrs. Elmslie went to
    a fifth, but went alone. Such strange narrow lanes one has to
    go through; sometimes on foot where the gari could not go,
    mounting up to the first floor of the houses by very steep
    steps....

    ‘We returned home after our city visits, and had dinner.
    Yesterday being Wednesday, after dinner we went to church;
    we always attend the _Native_ church. As the prayers are a
    translation of our own Liturgy, I can join in them well enough,
    but I can yet make very little of the sermon....

    ‘I find it a good plan to go to Mrs. Elmslie’s Orphanage, and
    sit and listen to the lessons, and thus learn myself. The girls
    in their white chaddars[33] look, generally speaking, well
    and happy. I was to have amused some of the younger ones last
    Sunday with Bible pictures; but when I had had the sad letters
    I gave up my intention of helping sweet Mrs. Elmslie in this
    way. I hope to do so another time.’

                                                 ‘_December 13._

    ‘I have so much to interest me here, and every one is so
    kind.... I call this bungalow “House Beautiful,” on account of
    the dwellers within it. It is also a nice refined place, with
    an extensive compound, and plenty of trees and flowers. If I
    were not so busy I should like to send you a sketch of it; but
    daylight seems too short for what I want to do; and when once
    my mouth is really opened, I shall feel as if I never could get
    through all the interesting work that is to be done. The ladies
    here have a kind of general superintendence of twenty-two
    schools--_not_ Christian--but where they are allowed to teach
    the Bible. Fancy what an opening!’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                     ‘_Dec. 13._

    ‘There are some things in Indian life which would strike you as
    curious. For instance, I have _five_ glass doors to my bedroom.
    One alone is never opened ... but through all the others people,
    especially my Ayah, come in; and she never knocks.... Folk can
    walk in from the outside of the house through two of my glass
    doors. It is a very public sort of living, but it is Indian
    fashion. The great thing is to let in abundance of air; and
    where air comes in other things come in too. I have, however,
    “chick” blinds to my outer doors; these are made of thin split
    bamboos; and if I let them down, no one can see in. Of course
    they would not keep out my dear little Ayah; she can always pop
    in by lifting the chicks. She is the only one who really laughs
    at my bad Urdu.... My Munshi laughs a little, but not in the same
    way. He is gentle and pleasing.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                     ‘_Dec. 21._

    ‘I have been waiting to write to you till the tardy mail
    should come in. But why wait any longer, when I have always so
    much to say to my Laura now?--only I lack time--and light--for
    this is the shortest day, and the houses are built to keep out
    light, which comes in underneath a heavy verandah, so that I am
    sometimes obliged to feel rather than to see....

    ‘I did not open my picture-box for some time after my arrival,
    but when it was opened it would have pleased you to have seen
    the pleasure given by its contents, including your lovely
    tidies. Mrs. Elmslie was eager as a girl, settling where the
    different pictures were to be hung, jumping up on chairs, and
    keeping us up beyond our usual hour for retiring, for she
    could not bear to leave the picture-question unsettled. We had
    consultation, trying this place and that place on the walls,
    trying to balance sides and keep all things straight. For the
    angel-lady likes to have everything pretty.... It seems to me as
    if both England and America had sent their cream to India. But
    then Amritsar is a specially favoured place.... As is natural
    where the Missionaries are first-rate, there is a great deal of
    leaven working amongst the heathen.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                     ‘_Dec. 23._

    ‘Though I posted a letter to your sweet Mother only yesterday,
    perhaps I had better tell you of my visit to the Zenana of ----
    whilst it is fresh in my mind. Dear C., Miss H., and myself
    went to-day to visit this Muhammadan house. It is a handsome
    one, in the midst of fine park-like grounds; and from the lofty
    verandah we had a better view of part of our city than I have
    seen before.

    ‘The Muhammadan Sahib has three wives. I suppose that they were
    the three middle-aged or elderly native women who sat on a
    bed; the other five women present, old or young, may have been
    servants; but one of them, a handsome girl, with very dashing
    nose-ring, and eyelids blackened on the edges, native-fashion,
    shook hands with us as well as served us. There were a fair
    number of free-and-easy little dark children playing about. The
    eldest is C.’s pupil; and one of the first things done was to
    hear her repeat her part in a kind of catechism--Christian, of
    course.

    ‘One of the ladies smoked a hookah; had it been even invisible,
    we should have been made sensible of its presence by an
    occasional bubble-bubble sound, and then a perfume--to our
    minds by no means odoriferous. Another lady had her teeth
    horridly blackened by what she had been chewing; but, generally
    speaking, the natives’ teeth are very nice and white.... I
    showed off my beautiful chatelaine, your dear Father’s gift,
    which I think pleased; and Miss H. showed hers, which is quite
    different in style. You must not suppose that this was a mere
    visit of amusement.... No, we had Bible-reading and hymn-singing;
    and afterwards C. was evidently holding a religious discussion
    with the elder lady.

    ‘_Dec. 24._--I find that only two of the ladies were wives of
    the Sahib; the third was somebody’s relation.

    ‘Mr. Clark[34] approves of my Oriental tale, only he wishes
    some names altered. He is going to give me a list of names,
    Muhammadan and Hindu.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                          ‘_Christmas Day 1875._

    ‘I was awakened in the night by the Indian Waits, children
    singing in the language of the Sikhs ... one of their native
    airs. My little Ayah came up to me and shook hands when she
    entered my room early in the morning,--is not this the great
    Day, and is not she a Christian?--so she may indeed rejoice
    and be glad in it. I have prepared little presents for the
    dear ladies here, except C., to whom I gave a wedding-present
    yesterday. I will pause now, and go on later in the day, when
    I may better describe our Indian Christmas. 6½ A.M. Orphans
    singing hymns at the top of their voices. They are evidently
    very happy. They are to have a Christmas tree.

    ‘_Later._--I have come home from church, from receiving the
    Holy Communion. Thank God, the sheaves _are_ being gathered
    in! What would dear Henry Martyn not have given to have seen
    what I saw to-day? So many Natives remained to share the holy
    Feast, men and women, young and old,--in our little church
    there must have been nearly if not quite fifty communicants. I
    received the Cup from the hand of a Native. I felt the scene
    quite affecting. It is a great privilege to be in India, and
    specially now, when the blades are ripening,--though, oh, how
    few in number, compared with the Muhammadans and heathen!

    ‘After church and luncheon I went to the Orphanage Garden, to
    help sweet Margaret[35] to deck the Christmas Tree. In less
    than half an hour the little guests are to be summoned to
    receive their dolls, tops, books, etc. I expect a charming
    scene.’



CHAPTER II

A.D. 1875-1876

A HOME IN AMRITSAR


In the previous spring, when first Charlotte Tucker decided to go
out, she wrote in one letter a statement of the financial plan to be
followed. ‘I have arranged with the Society,’ she said, ‘to pay 200
rupees a quarter for my board and lodging, exclusive of Munshi[36]
and conveyance.’ For this she had been told to expect a bedroom and a
bathroom; meals being taken with the other Missionaries. She had also
been told that she would require an Ayah and ‘half a tailor.’ ‘I do not
want superfluities,’ she wrote; ‘for mine is a modest income, and I
should not like to spend it all on myself.’

Modest though it might be, she gave away largely, restricting herself
to a limited amount, and practising great economy. After being for a
while in India, she seems to have been strongly impressed with a dread
of needless luxuries, and to have become eager to set an example of
extreme simplicity in the Missionary life. The rigid simplicity which she
cultivated was, no doubt, partly a matter of pure economy, that she might
have the more to give away,--partly a matter of her innate generosity;
but partly also it arose from a deep-rooted desire to remove the
reproach, which has of late been often levelled at the ease and luxury,
real or supposed, of many Missionaries in India or elsewhere.

It is always a difficult question to decide in such cases what does or
does not constitute luxury. For example, the number of servants kept,
which often startles an Englishman, is unavoidable to some extent,
arising from the very low wages given, and the small amount of work
which each servant will undertake. Indian servants sleep often in the
verandah or in outside huts, and provide their own food out of their
small wages; so, keeping several of them is a very different matter from
keeping many English servants. Moreover, an Englishman, still more an
Englishwoman, labouring in such a climate as that of India, _must_ as
a matter of simple safety have many things which in England would be
entirely needless. To walk any distance under the heat of the Indian
sun would for the ordinary European often mean death. To ‘rough it,’ to
brave the climate, to be reckless of hardships, would in the majority of
instances be tantamount to suicide. Yet, on the other hand, it may well
be that under the guise of necessity some things not necessary have here
and there crept in. A story has been told of an officer, himself a hearty
supporter of Missions, who received a very unfavourable impression of
one particular Missionary from observing the large amount of comfortable
furniture which arrived at the said Missionary’s bungalow, for the
latter’s use. The officer felt at once, as he said, that the Missionary
‘was not made of the right stuff.’ He may have judged hastily, and he
may have been mistaken. It is by no means impossible that the Missionary
_may_ have been ‘of the right stuff,’ despite his superabundance of
home-comforts. Nevertheless, such judgments will be passed, and it is
well if Missionaries can live a life that shall render them uncalled for.

The more closely modern Missionaries can approximate to Early Church
Missionaries, the better. One can hardly picture S. Paul as settling
down in a very luxurious bungalow, with a very huge amount of luggage;
and though the conditions of life are greatly changed, and allowance has
to be made for the change, yet the principle and spirit of Missionary
work remain the same. Things harmless may become harmful, if they prove
an actual hindrance to success in the work, if they cause an actual
lessening of influence. The question should be,--not, How much may I
allow myself?--but, How little can I do with? This was the question asked
by Miss Tucker, and she set herself bravely, as the years went on, to
test and to prove how much or how little was truly needed.

On first arriving she had of course to do simply as she was told,--not
always even that, without protest. When the first Sunday came, she was
informed that they would all drive to church. Miss Tucker objected. She
did not like horses to be made to work on Sunday. She was told that it
was a necessity, but she was not convinced. She would put her large thick
shawl over her head, and walk. Nothing could hurt her through that shawl!
Others had to yield to her will; not without fears of consequences;
and Miss Tucker trudged off alone, with the thick shawl well over her
head--heroically half-suffocated. When they all came out of church,
she would not wait to be driven, but again severely marched off alone.
However, the result of this was so bad a headache--though in general
she never suffered at all from headache--that she was once and for all
convinced. Evidently she could _not_ do in India precisely as in England;
and from that time she consented, when it was necessary, to be driven
to church like the rest. Of course this question of walking or driving
depends largely on the time of year, as well as upon the hour at which
the Service is held. As will be seen later, Miss Tucker never lost her
habits of good walking until quite late in life; and when the hour of
Service or the time of year rendered walking safe, she always preferred
it to being driven.

Some friends who knew her best in India have been requested to jot
down their recollections, and have most kindly responded. Certain
‘side-lights’ upon what she was will be best thrown by quotations from
two of these papers as to the beginning of her Indian career.

Miss Wauton writes:--

    ‘I have been asked to put down a few reminiscences of A. L. O.
    E. in her Missionary life in India. But how shall I do it? It
    seems like being asked to help in painting a rainbow. We can
    hardly compare her to anything else; so varied, so harmonious,
    so lovely were the rays of light which she reflected. Spirit
    and mind were as a clear prism, through which the light of
    Heaven fell, irradiating the atmosphere in which she lived, and
    which shone out all the more brightly when seen against the
    dark clouds of heathendom.

    ‘The first mention of her intention to come out to India
    reached us in May 1875. Well do I remember the evening when
    Mr. Clark, coming to our Bungalow, with a letter in his hand,
    said, ‘Who do you think is coming to join you here as a
    Missionary?--A. L. O. E.!’ The title instantly brought to mind
    books such as _The Young Pilgrim_, _The Shepherd of Bethlehem_,
    which had delighted us in our childhood’s days. And now we were
    to welcome the well-known and gifted authoress into our house!
    This _was_ a privilege; and earnestly did we look forward to
    the pleasure of receiving her; though at the same time we were
    perhaps conscious of a slight shadow of doubt crossing our
    minds, as to how far one of Miss Tucker’s age would be able
    to accommodate herself to the new surroundings, and bear the
    trials incident to life and work in a tropical climate.

    ‘If such doubts did occur to us, they were soon dispelled
    by a closer acquaintance with the object of them. The
    letters received during the following months by her future
    fellow-Missionaries showed with what whole-heartedness she was
    coming forth, prepared from thenceforth to make her _home_ in
    the land of her adoption, and to devote all she was and all she
    had to the grand work of winning the people of India to Christ....

    ‘Miss Tucker reached Amritsar on the 1st Nov. 1875. The warm
    kiss with which she greeted her sister-Missionaries showed the
    affectionate nature; and it was not long before we felt that
    we had in her, not only a fellow-worker, but a loving and true
    friend. At her own request the formal “Miss” was soon dropped,
    and she was always addressed as “Auntie.” The family of adopted
    nephews and nieces, beginning with three or four, gradually
    widened, till it finally embraced more than twenty members. Nor
    was this relationship a mere formality. It represented on her
    part a very special share in the sympathetic interest extended
    to all fellow-Missionaries, and on their side a reverential
    love and esteem, which in many cases could not have been
    deeper, had the tie been one of natural kinship.

    ‘She soon became known amongst the members of the Indian Church
    as the “Buzurg,” or “Honourable” Miss Sahib; and the title of
    “Firishta” or “angel” was not unseldom heard in connection with
    her name. And indeed they might well call her so. Every time
    she spent even a few hours under our roof we felt that we had
    entertained an angel, though not unawares, so bright were the
    memories she left behind in loving words and deeds....

    ‘She was so considerate for servants, that she would, during
    the first hot weather, often stop her pankah-walas at two or
    three o’clock in the morning, for fear of tiring them. Her face
    and hands covered with mosquito-bites showed what she endured
    in practising this self-denial. It took a long time to convince
    her that there was no hardship in employing these men in
    night-work, seeing they had plenty of time to rest during the
    day.

    ‘A. L. O. E. lost no time in beginning to use her pen in the
    service of India. I think it was the very day after her arrival
    that she came to us with the MS. in her hand of a little book
    she had written on her way up-country. It was called _The
    Church built out of One Brick_; its object being to stir up
    the Christians of this land to give more liberally, and to
    work more heartily, for their own Churches. We were amazed, on
    hearing the little story read, at the wonderful knowledge which
    Miss Tucker had even then gained, or rather, which she seemed
    to have intuitively, of the people amongst whom she had come to
    live. She said, “I want to Orientalise my mind”; but she seemed
    to have been born with an Oriental mind. Parable, allegory, and
    metaphor were the very language in which she thought; and her
    thoughts always seemed naturally to clothe themselves in those
    figures of speech in which the children of the East are wont to
    express themselves.

    ‘She always wrote her books in English, as there was never any
    difficulty in getting them translated into the vernaculars.
    Many thought that, on this account, she would not care to
    study the language; but she had no idea of reaching the people
    only through her pen. She was determined, as far as it was
    possible, to use her own lips in telling out the message of
    salvation she had come to bring.

    ‘Accordingly, she was soon hard at work with primer, grammar,
    and dictionary. At the end of a year she passed the Hindustani
    Language Examination, and then began Panjabi. She learnt to
    express herself intelligibly in both these tongues, though the
    acquisition of them cost her many an hour of hard labour.

    ‘How she did toil over them! I remember, when sharing a room
    with her once, waking about four o’clock on a cold winter’s
    morning, to see her, already dressed, with a book before
    her, in which she had herself written in very large printed
    characters, that she might the more easily read them, a
    long list of Hindustani and Panjabi words, which she was
    busily learning off by heart. By this incessant industry she
    acquired a large vocabulary, and was also soon able to read
    intelligently many vernacular books, which gave her an insight
    into the religious life of the people.’

The Rev. Robert Clark writes:--

    ‘I remember well her arrival, when she was received by Mrs.
    Elmslie and Miss Wauton in the Mission House.... We felt that a
    spiritual as well as an intellectual power had come amongst
    us.... Like the great Missionary Swartz, she never went home on
    furlough; and she never took more than a month’s[37] holiday
    in the year, but remained at her post, hot weather and cold
    weather, sometimes eleven months, sometimes twelve months in
    the year, during her whole service....

    ‘Her first endeavour on her arrival in India, as she said, was
    to seek to “Orientalise her mind.” She noticed everything,
    watched everything around her, sought intercourse with the
    people, and tried to think with their thoughts and feel
    with their feelings, and to realise their position and
    circumstances, in order that she might bring God’s Word to bear
    on them _as they were_. It was in this way only that she could
    hope to do them good....’

During the greater part of 1876 Miss Tucker remained at Amritsar,
cementing her friendship with the ladies there, learning the Hindustani
and Panjabi languages, studying the ways of the people, and writing
little books for translation into the Native tongues. At her age it
was by no means so easy to master a new language as for a younger
person;--indeed, hard as she toiled, she never did absolutely master
any Indian language colloquially, though for a time she became thorough
mistress of the Hindustani grammar and construction. In later years much
that she had conquered, with such hard and persevering toil, slipped from
her again.

Also, it was less easy for her, than for a younger person, to fall in
with _modes_ of work, so entirely unlike aught to which she had been
accustomed. Her very warm-heartedness and impetuosity were now and then
somewhat of a hindrance,--as when, on her first arrival, going into a
Zenana, she pressed forward and eagerly shook hands with a bibi,--an
Indian lady,--forgetting the difference of Indian customs and English
ones. Had it been a Christian bibi, this would not have mattered. As
it was, the mistake was so serious, that it might have resulted, and
very nearly did result, in the closing of that particular Zenana to all
further efforts.

The letters home from this time are so full and so abundant, that the
only difficulty lies in selection. By far the larger number are of course
to her much-loved sister, Mrs. Hamilton. For the saving of space, it may
be understood in the future that letters not especially stated to have
been written to any one else, were written to her.

    ‘_Jan. 8, 1876._--My expenses have been less than I expected.
    I think that Margaret must be a very good manager.... I can now
    form a rough idea of my expenses, and I think my sweet Laura
    will like to see a rude estimate.[38] As rupees and annas may
    puzzle you, I write in English fashion--

        Board and Servants (there will be pankahs to pay for),
          say--                            per annum, £80
        Carriage                               ”       15
        Travelling                             ”       25
        Munshi, say                            ”       10
        Postage, say                           ”        5
        Dress, etc., etc.                      ”       20
                                                     ----
                                                     £155

    ‘As I allow myself £270 in India, you see that I have a nice
    balance to spend; so you may be quite easy, and I quite
    thankful, regarding finances. One ought to thank God for
    independent means; and I am very grateful to my honoured father
    also.’

FROM MRS. ELMSLIE TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                     ‘_Jan. 13._

    ‘I am sorry to have been unable to write to you sooner, as
    I should have wished to tell you how much we love your dear
    sister, and how truly she has already become an honoured and
    trusted member of our Mission circle. You know her gentle,
    loving, winning ways too well to doubt our soon learning
    to love and cherish her; but I dare say you also know her
    unselfish character so well, that you will often feel anxious
    lest she should suffer on that account. She had not been one
    hour with us before I found out that it is her delight to be
    giving to others the comforts and honours which are due to
    herself; and it shall be my endeavour that she shall not lose
    one iota of anything that should help her, or of anything that
    is truly good for her. Being the housekeeper here, I can manage
    this....

    ‘Her understanding of the language and character of the people
    is quite wonderful. I hardly think any one ever read character
    so clearly and truly as she does,--or so charitably. She sees
    good in all. And when she must acknowledge some blemishes,
    she finds some kind excuse for them. “Thinketh no evil” seems
    written on her brow. I believe she will do much for India, if
    spared; she sees where teaching is needed, and her ready mind
    so cleverly weaves the lessons into sweet stories which, when
    read by the people, will do wonders in opening their minds.
    I hope she will be persuaded to go to the hills in summer,
    for this work, which is so peculiarly her own, can be carried
    on there as well as here, and at one-thousandth part of the
    expense to physical strength.’

C. M. T. TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Feb. 1, 1876._

    ‘I feel as if one of my chief works here must be to try and
    keep up the spirits of my poor, anxious, overworked companions.
    I cannot possibly take much work off their hands; but my
    loving, clinging Margaret seems to feel it such a comfort to
    have an _elderly_ friend to lean on.’

Towards the end of February Miss Tucker went, with Mrs. Elmslie and two
Bible-women, on her first itinerating expedition,--not, as she herself
said, to use her lips, but to use her eyes. Writing while away, she
says:--

    ‘Behold us here, my Queen Lily[39] and I, encamped in the midst
    of a Sikh village, and living in a tent, without lock or key,
    with as little sensation of danger as I had at Woodlands or
    Firlands....

    ‘It was indeed romantic to travel along that wild path by
    starlight.... Do you remember the well-known engraving of Una
    with her lion entering a witch’s cave? Now, as I jogged along
    in my duli,[40] while Margaret rode on her white pony, she made
    me think of that picture of Una. She is so fair, so graceful,
    so pure-looking, with her chiselled profile and her sweet
    expression; I could not make out, however, anything that would
    do for the lion.

    ‘Dear Leila’s most useful bag is now fastened up in our tent....
    Poor Sarah Jones’ night-bag is on my bed; please ask dear Leila
    to tell her so, when she sees her, with my kind remembrances.

    ‘Oh, a Sikh village is a curious place; built of mud, and
    pretty thickly populated, it reminds me of an ant-hill. I
    wonder how such houses stand the rains. The people are not
    very dark, and they seem to be very friendly. It is not from
    rudeness that they crowd about one, and examine one’s dress.

    ‘It would have amused you to have seen Margaret and me
    perambulating the village, going through its muddy lanes;
    sometimes so narrow that one could have touched the walls on
    either hand,--or nearly so. Do not suppose that we walked
    alone. We had wished to take a quiet stroll together, but this
    was out of the question. We carried a train with us; and when
    we had entered a tiny court, inhabited by four families, when
    I raised my eyes I saw a set of spectators perched on the
    wall above, like so many sparrows, gazing down on the English
    ladies. One had not in the least the feeling of being amongst
    enemies,--only once or twice I saw a man look sternly at us.
    I concluded that these men were Muhammadans, of whom there
    are, I believe, a few in this village. The Sikhs seem to be
    a good-humoured, friendly set, who have not the slightest
    objection to our speaking as much about our religion as we
    like. Some of the people here--like the Pandit[41]--know Urdu,
    but by no means all of them.

    ‘But, Laura, you who have an eye for the picturesque, and a
    soul for the romantic, you should have had a glimpse of us
    yesterday in the Pandit’s house, at evening prayer! The long
    mud-built room looked strange enough by day; but at night seen
    by the gleam of one lamp, it looked--like the entrance to a
    cave or a catacomb.

    ‘There sat the Pandit on his large mat, and at a little
    distance his wife on a very small one, the dull lamp throwing
    their black shadows on the mud wall behind them. A black
    buffalo calf was at one end of the apartment; but the place was
    too dark for us to see much of it. The Pandit bending over his
    book was a study for an artist, with his white turban and his
    extraordinary spectacles. I was asked to choose the chapter;
    I chose Romans xii. The Pandit had such difficulty in finding
    the place, that it seemed evident that he is not familiar with
    the Epistles. But he must have been pleased with the chapter,
    when he did find it; for he not only read it, but the one which
    followed it. Then came a long Sanscrit prayer.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 7._--One of the things most admired has been a prism,
    which I have as a letter-weight. The splendid colours which
    through it an Indian sun casts on the walls excite much
    admiration and pleasure. My little Ayah to-day asked me what
    my Zouave had cost. I should hardly call her _my_ Ayah, as,
    luckily for me, I have only one-third part of the little woman.
    To have a whole Ayah would be too much of a good thing.

    ‘I took your _Illustrated_ yesterday to show to the
    Mother-in-law of the German Missionary.... I tried as I walked to
    the house to get up a little German; but, O Laura, the Urdu had
    driven it almost all out of my head. If I wished to call up a
    German word, up would come an Urdu one! I did indeed remember
    “wunderbar,” and “shrecklich,” so that helped me with the
    _Illustrated_, but they would not have been very useful in a
    lengthy conversation.

    ‘If I had had time to write yesterday, I might have given
    you such an interesting account of the Panjabi Munshi, which
    I heard from Mr. H. This Munshi, I forget his name, is the
    son of one of the four priests of the Golden Temple, and a
    man of character, some talent, and influence. Mr. H., who is
    translating some of the Bible into Panjabi, wanted ----‘s
    assistance. The Munshi courteously declined, as he feared
    that the Bible would be contrary to the “Granth,” the Sikh
    Scriptures. These Scriptures, so far as they go, Mr. H. says,
    are not bad at all; and true Sikhs detest idolatry. “Well,”
    says Mr. H., “both you and I worship the Great God. We will
    make a bargain. If in the Bible we meet with anything against
    the Great God, we will close the book at once.” The Munshi
    instantly closed with the offer; and the result is that at last
    he has told Mr. H. that there is no book in the world like the
    Bible. When the Munshi’s sister lay dying, he nursed her night
    and day, and used to carry to her what he had been reading with
    Mr. H.

    ‘The Munshi’s father, the priest, seemed to have had rather a
    natural fear of his son’s imbibing what he would consider wrong
    doctrine. He therefore, with two friends, made the Munshi read
    over to them what he had been busy about with the Christian
    Sahib. After a while the priest observed, “At first I listened
    as a critic; now I listen with interest.”

    ‘What an honest, conscientious man the Munshi is, was shown by
    his conduct to a rich tradesman in the city. This rich man paid
    the Munshi to come and read the “Granth” to him,--I suppose
    for amusement, as he himself is a Hindu and idolater. When
    ---- came to read, he saw an idol in front of the Hindu, and
    the Sikh positively refused to open the “Granth”--his sacred
    book--in presence of the idol. “Why,” says the Hindu, “you
    worship the picture of your saint, so you need not object to
    my image.” But ---- positively denied that he worshipped the
    picture. “Bring one here,” he said; “and in the presence of
    witnesses, I will tear it in pieces. Will you do the same with
    your idol?”’

The following letter to one of her aunts, dated May 8, 1876, refers to
the above expedition:--

    ‘I see you have an impression that we Missionary ladies dress
    oddly, behave strangely, and undergo all kinds of hardships.
    You think that I slept on the ground when I went to O----. Not
    a bit of it! Margaret and I took beds with us, and a table and
    seats and cooking utensils, and a stock of provisions--and
    _Common sense_!!! We were never the worse for our adventure.
    The Missionaries scold each other more for imprudence about
    health than any other thing, and I am the scold of the party,
    so that as I preach I must practise.

    ‘_2ndly._ As regards dress, I consider that we dress rather
    prettily than otherwise. Of course in England it would look
    funny to see a lady of my age all in white, with a topi and
    pugri and white parasol; but it does not look funny in India.
    Why, the very soldiers look like figures in plaster of Paris.
    As for the natives thinking us “Chinese,” there is no fear
    of their doing that. I believe that we Missionaries are much
    respected; we are treated with courtesy; and one of us may walk
    alone through crowds of hundreds of natives, and never have a
    disrespectful word....

    ‘Then you so kindly take a little anxiety about my health; but
    I do not know that I was ever better in my life. I fancy that
    I am even a trifle fatter. Thank God, I have not had a touch
    of fever or headache yet; and though my pankah has been up
    for days, I have not cared to have it worked. Of course the
    greatest heat is to come; ... but heat, except of course exposure
    to the sun, does not seem to injure me; and I am more afraid of
    December cold than of July heat.’

In April she went to Lahore for a visit, as companion to a Missionary,
left alone. Writing from there, she observes: ‘Visits to Missionary
stations are a part of my education; and one which Dr. Murdoch strongly
recommended for me. He would have me running about the country; but
really I am too old to be a comet like my nephew.’[42] And again,
speaking of a walk through the narrow streets of Lahore: ‘Presently
we met a cart drawn by buffaloes, which filled up the greater part of
the width of the road,--of course one does not expect pavements for
foot-passengers. Miss H. was a bit frightened, and seemed to think that
the big ugly creatures would leave us no room to pass; but I could see
that there was plenty of room, if we went single file. And as for being
afraid of a stolid buffalo, that looks as if it never would dream of
goring any one, even if its horns were not so set on that it _could_ not
do such a thing, there would be small excuse for that. Why, Margaret
one day, when she was in Cashmere, saw a big black bear only a few
yards from her, with just a little icy stream between, and she was not
terrified. One bear would be equal to a hundred black buffaloes. I am
rather struck by the amount of _dash_ amongst Missionaries! Miss ----
is perhaps an exception, but then hers is merely school-work. I think
that Margaret is a gallant lady, and that Emily[43] would be true as
steel. As for some of the gentlemen, I feel sure that there is plenty
of real heroism in them.’ In almost her next letter she says of one of
these Missionaries: ‘I do hope that your cheque may make my nephew take
a _little_ more care of his health. He is so careful of Mission money,
that he almost provokes us by travelling in ways likely to make him ill.
I believe that he has seriously injured himself by economising in his
own comforts. He ought not to be knocked about, for he is very fragile
indeed.’

    ‘_April 20._--The weather is gradually getting warmer. The
    thermometer in my verandah to-day, where it had been in the
    shade all the day, was about 107°, that is more than twenty
    degrees hotter than I have ever seen it in the most sultry day
    in England. But do not suppose that I mind the heat, or that
    it has hitherto done me the slightest harm. Thank God, I am in
    perfect health, not in the slightest degree feverish. I charmed
    Margaret at dinner to-day. “You are better in the hot weather
    than the cold,” she cried. “I never knew you ask for a second
    help in the cold weather.” And the two poor dear girls opposite
    me sat with plates sadly clean; neither of them would touch a
    bit of meat.... Of course we shall have the weather a good deal
    hotter presently, but then pankahs will be up.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 8._--There is a little romance going on here. A little
    native maiden was betrothed to a native lad. Before the
    marriage came off, the destined bridegroom and his parents
    became Christians. The girl’s parents wanted to break off the
    match, and unite the girl to a heathen. But _her_ heart was set
    on her young bridegroom. The case came before court,--Emily
    thinks about a year ago. It was adjudged that the maiden was
    too young to fix her own fate. But she is old enough now,
    and she has kept true to her lover. The final decision must
    be made in twenty-one days. The young girl--she looks such a
    child--wants, I hear, to become a Christian. Emily fain would
    ascertain whether she does so from love of religion, or only
    from love for her boy. I hope to be at her baptism,--and her
    wedding too, if all be well.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 29._--I have done so few lessons to-day, I had better
    set to them bravely. I have written out, large and black, so
    that I may easily read in dim light, more than 1300 words, to
    go over regularly every fortnight, masculine separated from
    feminine nouns. I know others that I have not written down.
    But, Laura dear, all these words--rather a tax on an old lady’s
    memory--take one on but a small way in speaking this difficult
    language.’

Early in June she yielded very reluctantly to Mrs. Elmslie’s pressure,
and consented to go for a short time to Dalhousie; and the letter
following was written at an inn on the way:--

                                 ‘DÂK BUNGALOW, _June 13, 1876_.

    ‘I have been giving dear Leila an account of the first part of
    my journey; now I will go on with you. I slept a good deal in
    the gari. I dreamed that I was talking with you about Margaret....

    ‘Well, I reached the dâk bungalow (kind of inn) early in the
    morning, took early breakfast, and started in my duli (kind of
    palanquin) at about 6.15. I wanted to start earlier, knowing
    that I had a nineteen miles stage before me, and that the
    day would probably be hot. I had nine men to carry me and my
    luggage. They made little of it, but went at the rate of nearly
    four miles an hour, including brief stoppages. Three times the
    poor fellows asked for leave to stop and drink water. This
    of course I granted. Twice I was asked for bakhshish; but I
    declined giving any until I should arrive, and then if they
    carried me nicely I promised them something.

    ‘They did carry me very nicely. When they had gone about ten
    miles, and might be supposed to have grown pretty tired, then
    they began to be lively, laughing and chatting together, I
    suppose to beguile the way. It would be well if we took life’s
    journey as patiently and cheerfully as these poor half-clad
    mountaineers. _Note inserted._ Oh, doubtless it was a relay!...

    ‘The thunder has been grumbling. Perhaps I may take a little
    walk before I start on my long night expedition. This seems to
    be a lovely place, but of course I shall not walk in the heat
    of the day....

    ‘It is indeed a miracle how a mere handful of Englishmen rule
    such a country as this. Since I left Amritsar I have seen but
    one English face, and that was the face of some one lying full
    length in a duli which I passed. He was very likely ill. Yet
    one feels oneself under a _very strong_ wing of the law,--far
    more so than one does in England. There have I been travelling
    with a band of natives to whom threepence is a good present
    ... my language, my religion, are strange, and yet I neither
    receive nor fear the slightest disrespect. Is not this like a
    miracle?

    ‘Thunder again! If I have a storm to-night in the mountains,
    how sublime it will look!’

But though she enjoyed her time in the mountains, she was eager to return
to work; and even from Dalhousie her letters contain chiefly details of
what was being done, there or at Amritsar, in her absence. On the 18th of
July she was on the road; and again she wrote from an inn:--

    ‘I have bidden farewell to Dalhousie. The skies were weeping
    violently when I started; so was not I!... Dalhousie is grandly
    beautiful; but I have been asking myself why I have not been
    in raptures with its beauties. I think that two things are
    wanting to its perfection;--first, the soft blue haze which
    one connects with distant mountains. High and hard, some
    snow-crowned peak cuts the sky. You are told that it is a
    hundred miles off. You don’t believe it! It is as clear and
    sharp as if only two. Then water is a very great want, at
    least to me. Certainly, there is the Ravi, one of the five
    famous rivers of the Panjab; but at Dalhousie it looks, at
    least in June, first cousin to a swamp. One wants waterfalls.
    One-hundredth part--one-thousandth part--of Niagara, glorious
    Niagara, would be a boon at Dalhousie....

    ‘It is a curious thing, dear Laura, that kind of _instinct_
    which one acquires in India! I have often and often thought
    on the subject. One feels as if one belonged to such a lordly
    race. It is that odd kind of impression upon one that, though
    one may _personally_ be weak as water, one forms a part of a
    mysterious power. There is a kind of instinctive persuasion
    that neither man nor beast would dare to attack one,--except
    perhaps a vicious horse. One travels by night, without the
    slightest protection, surrounded by half-clad, ignorant
    semi-savages; one never dreams of fearing them. One takes one’s
    early walk in a lonely place, where the cheetah or snake may
    lurk, without the smallest alarm. They would not surely attack
    one of the English!...’



CHAPTER III

A.D. 1876

CURIOUS WAYS


More than half of Charlotte Tucker’s first year in India was now over;
and still no thought of work for herself in Batala had arisen. She knew
about Batala, and was interested in the place, no doubt, as in all other
outlying parts where Missionary work had been even fitfully attempted.
But Amritsar was thus far her home; and there she expected to remain.
She continued to study hard and perseveringly, in preparation for fuller
work, often lamenting her own slowness in learning to speak; and already
she was making herself known and beloved by a few Indians,--either
Christian, or disposed towards Christianity.

After her return from Dalhousie she wrote in joyous strains: ‘Here I am
at dear Amritsar again, which I much prefer to the abode amongst the
clouds.’ There was some idea that she might have to go all the way back
to Dalhousie, to nurse a sick Missionary there; and she was perfectly
willing to do so, without hesitation on the score of fatigue, without
a thought of the long, troublesome journey. No one else could be so
well spared at that period from Amritsar as herself; and this she fully
realised. ‘If however dear Florrie rallies nicely,’ she wrote, ‘I have
not the slightest intention of going to cloudland again. Pankah-land
suits my taste better.’ Happily, it was not necessary for her to go.

It was in the spring or summer of this year that she began to name her
various new friends after certain jewels, according to her estimate of
their respective gifts and characters. She possessed, in imagination, a
jewelled bracelet, representing the different Missionary gentlemen of
her acquaintance,--Diamond, Opal, Amethyst, etc. A companion bracelet
was supposed to represent the Missionary ladies,--consisting of Diamond,
Sardonix, Onyx, etc. Also she had in mind ‘an extraordinary necklace,
Oriental pattern, formed of Native friends,’--those Indian Christians,
whom she had begun to know and to love, many of whom repaid her love, and
did not disappoint her trust in the coming years.

A little later, in the letter describing this favourite idea, she adds:
‘Now we come to my yellow girdle, studded with gems. This is composed of
dear ones in Old England; my own Laura being the Pearl nearest the heart.’

A more prosaic and less romantic nature can perhaps hardly understand,
much less sympathise with, the delight afforded to her curiously
symbol-loving mind by this manner of regarding those whom she loved.

In July a letter speaks of ‘seeing more of the lights and shadows of
Missionary life’ than before. A certain young Muhammadan, in whom they
were greatly interested, after long inquiry and hesitation, at length
made up his mind to come boldly forward, and to be baptized. Arrangements
were made for his Baptism in the Church by a Native clergyman; the matter
being kept as quiet as possible, for avoidance of the opposition which
was sure to arise. Miss Tucker was told only on the morning of the day
what was about to happen; and great was her delight, as well as her fear
that some hindrance might intervene.

‘I had a kind of intuitive feeling,’ she said, ‘that something might come
to prevent the Convert from openly confessing his Lord. I knew not how
great the danger was.’

One hour remained before the time fixed for the Baptism, when the young
man--Babu G. he may be called--came in, troubled and pale. His Mother had
somehow divined his intention, and was doing her utmost to prevent its
being carried out. She flung a brick at the head of one Christian Native,
who had had a hand in influencing the young Muhammadan; she raved and
beat her breast; she cursed and tore her hair; she declared to her son
that if he became a Christian she would die.

Babu G. believed all this, and was sorely shaken. His Mother was brought
to the Mission-house, and a vehement scene followed. The old lady sat
upon the ground, pouring out threats and curses, beating her breast and
tearing her hair anew,--only, as A. L. O. E. somewhat drily observed
afterwards, she very cleverly avoided hurting herself by her blows, and
none of her hair seemed to come out with all the apparent ‘tearing.’
But the young man could hardly be expected to see this as a stranger
would! He wavered--hesitated--and at last gave way. The Baptism did not
take place; and the unhappy young fellow, convinced of the truth of
Christianity, willing in heart to be a servant of Christ, had not courage
to take his own decision, but remained a Muhammadan. Bitter tears were
shed over his defection by gentle Mrs. Elmslie; the first that Miss
Tucker had ever seen her shed.

Such stories as this show conclusively that _the_ work which most of
all needs to be done in India is to transform the Mothers,--to educate
a generation of Christian Mothers. Their sons then will be Christian
too. No power in the world surpasses that of a mother over her children,
whether she be English or Hindu or Muhammadan.

Charlotte Tucker’s stern side seems to have come out in this stormy
interview with the furious old lady. ‘Are you not _afraid_,’ she
demanded, ‘that God’s anger is on you? You have been your son’s enemy.
When affliction comes, remember,--_remember_,--REMEMBER!’

Side by side, however, with this great disappointment, were other more
hopeful aspects of the work. Light and shade naturally go together. A few
days later she wrote:--

    ‘The mother still holds her unhappy son in bonds, and forbids
    him even to breathe the air of our compound.... But even about
    her we need not despair. I was reading the Gospel to-day with
    the sweetest-looking elderly woman that I have seen in India.
    All beauty generally departs with youth, but this woman is
    really attractive still. She was in bitter grief at the baptism
    of her eldest son; when the next was baptized she blessed him;
    and now she is quite ready for baptism herself. Such a sweet
    expression came over her face yesterday when I reminded her of
    her former grief and her present joy!’

On August 8th she wrote:--

    ‘The old Chaukidar[44] made us laugh the other evening by his
    earnest, emphatic warning against our ladies driving out at
    night. He uses sometimes almost frantic gesticulations. He told
    us that there is danger of meeting at night a dreadful being,
    in appearance somewhat like Mr. H.--a tall, fair, blue-eyed
    handsome young friend of ours!--whose object is to _cut off
    English heads_. I have heard of a similar superstition in the
    Hills; but there I fancy that Native heads, not English, were
    in requisition. You can imagine from this what a funny fellow
    the old Chaukidar is; but we look on him as true as steel.
    One day Mrs. E. found him most good-naturedly pulling Iman’s
    pankah for him. She was so much pleased that she gave him four
    pomegranates. The old fellow was delighted, and at once gave
    three of them away, keeping only one for himself. His friend,
    our half-blind Iman, was one to benefit by his generosity.’

The name ‘Iman,’ meaning ‘Faith,’ was bestowed by Miss Tucker upon a poor
pankah-wala, whose affectionate disposition made a strong impression
upon her. The poor fellow, although half-blind, volunteered one day to
walk the whole twenty-four miles to Batala and back in three days, to
carry medicine to a sick woman there,--the wife of the young Muhammadan,
Babu G., above mentioned. Iman himself was, to say the least, disposed to
be a Christian. These little side facts all serve to show the manner of
influence which was acting gradually in all directions.

In another letter, belonging to August, are the words: ‘We are rather
on the tiptoe of expectation about our Bishop that is to be. There is a
rumour that good Mr. ---- is the man; but surely it is impossible that
such a shy, boy-like Missionary should be turned into a Right Reverend
Father!’ The appointment when made proved to be that of Bishop French,
well known in Mutiny days as Mr. French of Agra, who utterly refused to
allow the Christian Natives to be banished from the town, as was proposed
by some faint-hearted people there. If they went, Mr. French said, he
would go with them; and he undertook to answer for their faithfulness.
His resolution prevailed; and the little band of Indian Christians were
faithful to the end of the Siege.

About this time a change took place, which A. L. O. E. ‘quite approved,’
but which she did not ‘like.’ Mrs. Elmslie left the Mission Bungalow,
to live at the neighbouring Orphan House, taking charge of the orphans.
A superintendent under her had hitherto done the work, but had proved
inefficient; and the new plan was not only better in itself, but promised
to save money--always a prime consideration where Missionary funds have
to be considered.

On August 23rd comes a letter of some importance, respecting the kind of
Missionaries wanted out there. This subject will recur from time to time
in the course of the correspondence; but even at so early a stage as
this Miss Tucker seems to have clearly grasped what was and what was not
required.

    ‘It is very kind in you to send me the _Illustrated_. After
    it has been seen here, and at the Orphanage, and by the dear,
    good Germans, off it starts for Dalhousie, and Florrie probably
    makes it over to the soldiers after she has done with it; so
    you see that you benefit many by your kindness.

    ‘I do not think that my Margaret at all enjoys being away from
    us in the schoolhouse, though she keeps bright and brave. “The
    Mother is as home-sick as can be,” was the description given
    by one of our ladies, this house being the “home” meant. Of
    course, we go over and pet her, and get her here when we can.
    I hear that her room was leaking so last night; that must be
    looked to at once. But rooms had a fair excuse for leaking; we
    had such a storm!...

    ‘It was amusing when Emily, Ada, and I were talking over our
    youth the other day. Dashing, energetic games had been the
    delight of my companions; and I begin to imagine that cricket,
    rounders, and bolstering form no bad preparation for Missionary
    life. Dash and energy and physical strength are very desirable.
    We want ladies who fear nothing, grumble at nothing, and are
    ready to carry the Holy War into the enemy’s camp. One of
    Emily’s many advantages is that she is a fearless rider. I am
    rather alarmed at hearing that an extremely delicate lady is
    coming out to us. We want hearty, strong ladies, not sickly
    ones. The Missionaries are too short of hands to be able to
    undertake much sick-nursing. If I were to require to be nursed
    at night--which, thank God, I have not done--I should feel
    inclined to run off somewhere or other, so as not to tax the
    strength of my nieces.’

Only two days later we have mention of the first Baptism in Batala, her
future home during so many years. She writes: ‘A deeply interesting event
took place yesterday at Batala; the baptism of a Brahmin, a man in a
very influential position, and in Government employ. Dear Sadiq[45] and
I believe other Christians went to Batala on Wednesday for the Baptism,
which was to be as public as possible--in a tank.’ This was written
August 25; and on the 29th she gave more particulars.

    ‘The jackals treated us to their varied music last night; but
    one does not mind them a bit, for they never seem to attack
    people, or intrude into houses. I wish that they would teach
    their good manners to the sparrows. The cheetah also is a
    modest creature. There was an account very lately of a cheetah
    going into a verandah at Dalhousie; nothing between it and the
    interior of the house but a chick blind; but it was too polite
    to intrude. It would be rather exciting to look at a cheetah
    through a chick blind; you can see through it quite well, as
    the light is outside.

    ‘But, O Laura, I ought not to waste my space on cheetahs or
    jackals, when I can write of things so _much_ more interesting.
    I had such an interesting account of the Baptism of B--n,
    the Brahmin at Batala, from Mr. Beutel,[46] supplemented by
    one from Sadiq. They were both present.... Mr. Beutel observed
    that he (B--n) had had to go through more than many do in
    a campaign. Why, except the Catechist and his wife, he is
    the only Christian that we know of in that fierce, bigoted
    Batala. As the Muhammadans did not know of the time fixed for
    the baptism, at the beginning of the Service by the tank not
    many people gathered; but seeing that something was going on,
    gradually a crowd collected. At last the crowd grew large--and
    excited also--and the police authority had to be called in for
    protection.

    ‘Perhaps the worst of all was the Christian’s reception at his
    home; his wife came with her three little ones to meet him,
    beating her breast, etc. Sadiq had intended to carry B--n back
    to Amritsar with him, to let the first fury of the storm blow
    over; but poor B--n preferred remaining at Batala, because if
    he left his wife, he did not know what she might do with his
    children. So there the brave fellow remains. We ought to pray
    earnestly for this our brother.’

In a letter to her niece, Mrs. Boswell, on September 1st, Charlotte
Tucker spoke of herself as ‘heart-sick with anxiety’ about the convert,
regretting much that he had not come to Amritsar.

    ‘Would that he could have carried wife and children off with
    him! but I suppose that this was impossible, against the
    woman’s will. Dear Sadiq soon went again to Batala;--alas!
    he was not suffered to see the convert, who is surrounded by
    enemies, and seems to be quite in their power. B--n’s wife,
    after starving herself for three days from grief at his
    baptism, has died, it is said from an attack of cholera.

    ‘Our fear is that the heathen are starving B--n and his three
    children to death! One poor lamb is but a few months old.
    If I were a man, I would be off to Batala. My friend Mr. H.
    has written a strong note to an English official at no great
    distance from Batala,--there _not one_ Englishman resides,--and
    I feel little doubt that he will bring the strong arm of the
    law to protect B--n. But the note will not reach till this
    evening. For eight days B--n will have been in the fiery
    furnace. How long can he hold out?’

Reports, happily false, of the retractation of the convert came to
distress them at Amritsar; and Mr. Beutel, leaving his wife and mother
dangerously ill, went over to Batala to inquire how matters stood. He
found B--n, though much tried and sorely pressed, still standing firm.

It is melancholy to read of Charlotte Tucker’s eager delight in carrying
the good news to her favourite Maulvi Z.,--of whom at that time she
thought so well and hopefully as an established Christian, and who in
later years was to grieve her most bitterly by himself becoming an
apostate.

Letters at this time show her steadily growing interest in Batala, her
ever-increasing desire for systematic work there.

    ‘_Sept. 14, 1876._--I have been delaying writing till I could
    give you news from Batala,--that place towards which Missionary
    eyes longingly turn, as those of the Germans did towards
    Strasburg. May Batala be given to us, as Strasburg was to them.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Sept. 20._--As regards my little Indian tales, I have sent a
    good many to Nelson, who has accepted them; and consequently I
    suppose intends to publish them. It is very likely that they
    have been appearing in the _Family Treasury_.... Sadiq had
    just come from Batala, where he had seen B--n. Dear Sadiq! I
    think that he must have gone altogether seven or eight times
    to Batala. He is a friend worth having. B--n expressed his
    willingness to bring his little girls to Amritsar; but his baby
    was so very, very ill, that he feared she could not be moved....
    The little lamb appeared to be sinking fast. My surprise is
    how she has been kept alive so long. The last account was that
    the baby was “not fit to be picked off the charpai”;[47] she
    seemed dying. Dear little martyred innocent,--dying because her
    father gave himself to Christ! B--n intends to bring his two
    elder children; but of course nothing can be done while baby is
    dying....

    ‘O Laura, I feel as if these two deaths in Batala marked the
    place as _our own_. So much cannot have been suffered in vain.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                              _‘Sept. 26, 1876._

    ‘Those rogues of sparrows have fairly driven me out of my room
    this morning. They make such a chatter. I intend to request
    Mr. H. benevolently to shoot a few; just to show the rest that
    really they must not expect to be allowed to build, and gossip,
    and make themselves disagreeable in every possible way in the
    room of a Buzurg Miss Sahiba....

    ‘It is much cooler. These two last nights I have needed
    no pankah, and was able to bear a blanket. I have resumed
    wearing a merino vest by day, and it is very comfortable. The
    darzi,[48] who squats in the verandah, is busy on a magnificent
    dressing-gown, which I have ordered. I brought out flannel from
    England, but not a flannel dressing-gown, so I have bought a
    rich shawl-pattern, and the flannel will line it, and I shall
    look like a Maliká[49] and feel--almost as comfortable as a
    sparrow.... It seemed to be a question with the darzi whether the
    white flannel was to be inside or outside! The matter appeared
    to interest some of the servants. One lives in such a public
    way in India. Whatever one gives to be made or mended is made
    or mended in the verandah; and the darzi, as he cuts out,
    clips, and sews, talks--perhaps with the pankah-wala, perhaps a
    stranger, perhaps the munshi (tutor) whose pupil is not quite
    ready to take her lesson.... There is no shutting the world out;
    and the Indian world is such a curious world.

    ‘Then people’s characters are so public; no one seems to think
    it worth while to wear thick cloaks over them. Everybody seems
    to know about everybody else. The very public papers seem
    personal. ... O yes, India is a very curious place,--people
    curious,--ways curious,--insects curious,--dress curious, etc.
    The very Anglo-Saxon character appears in a new and curious
    aspect. India is a place to develop an instinct to command,
    and to carry things with a high hand. Weakness does almost as
    much harm as wickedness. But I feel myself too old to learn the
    zabardast[50] way of going on. I am not fitted to grasp reins
    of government, and drive a team of twenty-two Indian servants,
    syces, pankah-walas, bearer, khitmatgar, ayah, etc., see that
    the horses are not cheated of grain, that pankah-walas pull,
    that kahars don’t take French leave, etc. etc. I hope that
    Florrie[51] will hold the reins, if she and I go off together.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 5._--We had a visit from our good Pastor Sadiq
    yesterday. I was the one to receive him. You know that I am
    not strong in the language yet. I knew that Sadiq was speaking
    about sickness, castor-oil, and quinine, and people going
    about to look after the sufferers; but I could not get at his
    full meaning; and as he was clearly on business, I thought
    it better to call in C. to my aid. It was well that I did!
    Sadiq’s heart was full of Batala--our Strasburg--where people
    are dying of fever, faster than even in Amritsar. Sadiq wanted
    a subscription to be made instanter to send off quinine and
    castor-oil. The Christian lawyer, R., would go on to-day or
    to-morrow, and Sadiq himself would follow on Monday. Talk of
    languid, apathetic Hindus! Sadiq, when he takes a thing into
    his head, goes at it like a battering-ram....

    ‘To-day I had what seemed to poor me a long _tête-à-tête_ with
    the Pandit from O----, that village which you will remember I
    visited with Margaret. O dear! it was a bit of a mental effort.
    He is a learned man! I longed for C. to come to my rescue, but
    battled with verbs and genders as well as I could.

    ‘I was determined to do the polite, so I boldly asked the
    Pandit to stay to dinner. I could do so, as, oddly enough, I
    am now the senior Missionary at Amritsar,[52] though I feel
    such a child in the language. Rather to my surprise, the Pandit
    accepted my invitation at once. He would not eat with us when
    he was here before, nor when at O----, for he is a curious
    half-and-half sort of Christian,[53] leading such a lonely life
    amongst heathen. The Pandit shared our meal, but only took
    vegetables and bread-and-butter.

    ‘Do you not laugh at the notion of poor Char, sitting at the
    head of a table, and entertaining a Pandit, and feeling her
    ignorance, and plunging about in a bog of Urdu? I did not,
    however, attempt to talk much after C. came in, as she has been
    nearly four years in India, and speaks the language well.’

When the next letter was written, on October 14, the Batala plan was
under discussion. Padri Sadiq seems to have first suggested the idea that
Miss Tucker should proceed thither with Miss Swainson, and open a Mission
in the place. Miss Tucker does not appear to have at first viewed the
scheme with any great enthusiasm.

    ‘Such a merry breakfast we had this morning! Our three dear
    ladies, Margaret, Emily, and Florrie, arrived at about 9 A.M.
    after nine hours of raft,--very tiring, for it involved much
    walking, and it was raining away,--and twelve of dâk-gari.
    Margaret looked young and lovely; Florrie much improved.... She
    is delighted with the Batala scheme; but Margaret tells me
    that it cannot be carried out till December at earliest, and
    I have my doubts about its being carried out at all. At any
    rate, the difficulties will not have come from _me_. I am quite
    willing to go; but of course a new station would involve the
    Committee in expenses, and it is not easy to procure a suitable
    house, etc., so it is likely enough that Sadiq’s plan will be
    disapproved of in high quarters. I quietly wait to see what
    direction is taken by “the fiery, cloudy pillar.” ...

    ‘Last night I had to chaperon to our noisy, bustling station
    after dark a young Missionary, who looks to me quite unfledged.
    There I met the school-teacher, Miss ----, with her young
    sister, yet more unfledged, bound on the same errand.... I
    think that the stations at Indian cities are more noisy and
    bustling than the worst London ones. It almost shocks my sense
    of propriety, young girls travelling at night,--it is funny
    even to an old lady, hurrying up and down a bustling platform
    amongst Natives. I think that I managed pretty well for _my_
    charge, for I got her into a carriage with a lady and children,
    so she was safe enough; she was not to cross the Sutlej till
    daylight. Poor little Miss ---- was put by her sister into
    an empty carriage; but who knows whether some drunken, low
    European may not have got into it at the next station? And the
    poor, simple little thing was to cross the Sutlej at midnight,
    with her baggage to look after!!! We would hardly do such
    things in England. I have slept a night here, _with not a soul
    in the house but myself_, and the house seems so strangely
    open; but I was not a bit afraid.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 20, 1876._--When this reaches you, perhaps you will be
    feeling the first pinch of winter. We do not escape it here in
    our bright, glowing Panjab. I cherish a fond hope that if we
    go to Batala, we shall find it warmer than Amritsar.... Emily,
    Florrie, and Sadiq have gone off to-day on a house-hunting
    expedition to Batala. It is considered a very healthy place;
    except, of course, at present--an exceptional season. If I go,
    I do not expect to have much to do at first except learn the
    language. I leave school-work to Florrie; she is well up to it;
    and I hear that Zenanas are likely to be very slow in opening....

    ‘My Munshi ... asked me to give him leave of absence on the next
    day, or that following it, as it would be the Muhammadans’
    _great day_. He could not tell me which of the two days it
    would be, because all would depend on the moon. If the moon
    were seen on the night after the 18th, then the 19th would be
    the feast day, the end of the long Muhammadan fast. If the
    moon were not seen, the poor people must wait till the 20th.
    “Suppose,” said I, “that the people at Lahore see the moon,
    and that those at Amritsar do not, will the Lahore folk have a
    feast and you a fast?” A. answered in the affirmative....

    ‘I talked with A. a little about the fasting. He told me with
    gusto that he had once gone to the house of a Muhammadan
    friend, who happened to have a little hole in his door, on one
    of the days of the fast. A., the old rogue, peeped through the
    hole, and detected his friend in the act of eating. A. then
    knocked at the door. His friend--it made me think of Friar
    Tuck!--popped the food into a box, wiped his mouth, and was
    ready to receive his visitor. “What were you doing?” asked A.
    “Reading,” was the reply. Then A. opened the box, and showed
    the discomfited hypocrite the food, and--according to his own
    account--gave the man a lecture. I have my doubts about the
    latter part of the story--I mean the lecture.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 26._--Our poor city has been bearing some
    resemblance to a hospital. Some think that not one of her
    inhabitants--120,000--has altogether escaped the fever, and
    many have died; but I am thankful to write that the sickness
    is on the decrease.... I cannot, however, go to dear Louis, for
    the Beutels, who have been very ill, are going to Ludhiana;
    and their mother, too ill to be moved, must have some one to
    look after her a little during their absence. I am the only
    lady available, being well, and with no pressure of work. I am
    almost astonished at having been so exempted from suffering,
    when thousands and thousands have been so ill. I have not spent
    a day in bed ... since leaving England. It is a cause for much
    thankfulness. Of course I had a little fever, but it has left
    no dregs. The weather is so nice, that one hardly understands
    why any one should be ill....

    ‘The Batala plan is rather hanging fire at present. Day after
    day passes, and no reply is received to the letter asking
    permission for us to occupy apartments in the palace. No other
    place in or near Batala seems to be available. Even in the
    palace considerable alterations would be needed, to make the
    rooms at all suitable for English ladies.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 16._--Sadiq does not quite approve of our selection of
    a house. He would have liked one right in the city; but it is
    far pleasanter to us to be a little out of it.... I asked him
    if he had any news of B--n. Sadiq told me that he had seen
    him at Batala, the beginning of last week. Our brave Brahmin
    convert had been very ill, and had written--or caused to be
    written--a paper stating that he wished his body to be buried
    by Christians, his children brought up by Christians, and his
    property taken care of by the Mission. I am thankful to say
    that B--n did not die; but as Sadiq said, he has had affliction
    upon affliction.... In a few months this convert has lost wife,
    babe, and only brother. Sadiq said that B--n’s regret about the
    babe was that it had not been baptized. But when I remarked
    that I thought the babe had been a kind of martyr, like the
    little ones killed by Herod, Sadiq looked pleased.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 1._--I suppose that my next letter will be addressed to
    you from my new home in Batala. My nieces are very anxious to
    make arrangements for my comfort. I am not to have the trouble
    of helping to put the new house into order. Two ladies go
    before to make everything nice....

    ‘I went to dear S. Begum to-day,--the one who was lately
    baptized with her young daughter,--to speak to her about Holy
    Communion. I am glad that I shall have the First Sunday in
    Advent in Amritsar. It will seem strange to reside in a place
    where there is no church! I suppose that we shall go over to
    the Catechist’s house, and have Urdu service there....

    ‘It was very interesting to hear Mr. Wade’s account of the
    opening of a little church in the village of G. The peculiar
    and very interesting feature of the affair is that in this
    Rajput village a little flock has been gathered just by
    _Native_ agency. And the way for the Native evangelist, the
    excellent C., was wondrously prepared.

    ‘In old Runjit’s time a kind of Native prophet declared that
    our Lord was greater than all others. This Pandit was succeeded
    by another, who declared that all the people would become the
    Lord’s followers. They who came first would receive _honour_;
    they who came next, a mere _subsistence_; they who came last
    would be _driven_ in! Then a third teacher arose--the present
    one. He said that a shepherd pushes one sheep after another
    into the fold, and when all are in follows himself; and that
    so _he_ would get the people into the Christian fold, and then
    follow them.

    ‘It seems to us a most extraordinary way of evangelising; but
    when the Rev. C. came to the village, he found that these
    strange teachers had really ploughed up the ground to receive
    the good seed; and the third teacher _has_ come himself into
    the fold with four of his relatives. His wife still holds out.

    ‘The opening of the tiny church was a delightful scene. There
    are only 14 or 15 baptized Christians; but the people, men and
    women, flocked in, till there was hardly room to sit on the
    ground. In the thoroughly Oriental church there are no seats.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 4, 1876._--I have this morning read your loving
    expostulation to Margaret and myself regarding Batala.
    You think that your strong point is my unfitness for an
    out-station. But, sweet one, you forget that I am so specially
    fitted, by age, for the post, that if I were to draw back, the
    whole promising plan might fall to the ground. The Natives
    reverence grey hairs; and I dare say that some of them will pet
    me. As for the language, I manage to get on after a fashion,
    and smiles go a good way.

    ‘I assure you that I have never felt my heart lighter than I
    have done lately, fond as I am of those I leave. It seems as if
    the way were so plain. If I were perfectly dumb, I should still
    be useful as a chaperon. But I am not quite dumb.

    ‘I had such a golden First Sunday in Advent yesterday.... Fancy
    the encouragement of seeing B--n, the one Christian convert
    residing in Batala, and sharing the Cup with him in our dear
    Amritsar Church. I shook hands with him after afternoon
    service. I am sorry that when I uttered the two words, “Hamara
    bhai,”[54] I should have said “Hamare,” instead of “Hamara.” It
    was a pity that my first word should have been incorrect; but I
    could not think of grammar at such a moment.... Then I have had
    such an encouraging note from dear Emily, who is making things
    straight for me at Batala....--Your happy

                                                          CHAR.’



CHAPTER IV

A.D. 1876

A PALACE FOR A HOME


In December 1876 Charlotte Maria Tucker entered upon the final stage
of her earthly career. Final in a sense; for though more than once
Batala had to be temporarily deserted, the place was never given up.
Thenceforward, Batala became in very truth her home; Batala work was
essentially her work; and the remaining years of her life were devoted to
Batala.

Having once made up her mind that she was definitely called to this
particular post, nothing could withhold her. Difficulties, oppositions,
hindrances, prospects of loneliness, imperfect knowledge of Indian
languages, increasing age,--all these were as nothing in the way. If she
was called, she would go! And Miss Tucker believed that she _was_ called.

Others were not so sure. Mrs. Elmslie wrote on the 8th of December to
Mrs. Hamilton: ‘I agree with you that your beloved sister’s power lies
in gifts which can be used to perhaps greater influence here than in an
out-station. This isolation from European society is not what I should
have chosen for one who can exercise so much influence for good among
her own countrymen; and whose pen can do more for India than perhaps the
lives of many others.’ No doubt this view of the question weighed greatly
in the judgment of many. For one who can write books suitable to Indian
requirements, there are scores of Missionaries who can with ease learn
the Native languages, and who can visit and teach in Zenanas, perhaps far
more effectually than A.L.O.E. did.

To lookers-on it may seem that she judged wrongly here; that her
eagerness for personal work was a mistake; that she might have done more
by following the advice of her friends, and remaining at Amritsar. Advice
she had; for Mrs. Elmslie says in the same letter: ‘We have one and all
of us tried to dissuade her from going; but she sees the Pillar going
straight on before her. And who are we that we should gainsay it?’

Suppose she only _fancied_ that she ‘saw the Pillar,’--in other words,
that she was called or led or ordered to Batala? A mistake of this
description is not impossible, especially in the case of an ardent
and impulsive nature. If so, it was the mistake of burning love and
self-devotion; and one can well believe that such a mistake must be
dearer to the Heart of our Lord than the correct attitude of those who
always decide on the safe and comfortable side.

But why should we imagine it to have been a mistake? The true gist of
the matter is not, after all, to be found in the question as to which
particular type of work she might be best fitted for intellectually. The
main question was rather--to which especial work was she bidden by her
Master? One can hardly live many years on Earth, with observant eyes,
and believe that people are always or generally given exactly that work
to do, for which they are by natural powers best adapted. Things often
seem, indeed, just the other way; people being put to work for which they
appear to be least well adapted, and simply having to do their best. To
us it may seem that A.L.O.E.’s pen was worth more to India than all her
heroic struggles to conquer the languages and to teach in Zenanas. But
if, as with her whole heart she believed, God had called her to work
in Batala,--‘who are we,’ to say that she should have remained away?
The Commander-in-Chief of an army has a perfect right to place his
soldiers where he will; and so long as the soldier who is ordered to any
particular post hears the word of command, it matters very little whether
anybody else hears it also.

Suppose A.L.O.E. had _not_ gone to Batala, but had taken the advice of
others, and had remained at Amritsar! Possibly she might, by devoting
herself to writing alone, have accomplished treble or quadruple the
number of little books and tracts for India which she did accomplish.
But then a very heroic example of courage and self-devotion would have
been lost to the Church. At Amritsar she would have had plenty of loving
friends, and would have been altogether more comfortable, altogether in
easier circumstances. Easy and comfortable examples, however, are not
rare. Even the writing of a good many more little books might not have
made up to us for what we should have lost in other respects.

Besides,--she believed that she had her ‘marching orders.’ Even if, by
any possibility, she were mistaken in that belief, she could not disobey.
A soldier always instantly obeys what he _believes_ to be the order given.

Yet it could have been no light matter,--this going forth alone, with
only one young companion, into a very fastness of Muhammadanism and
Heathenism. Miss Tucker herself was no longer young. Though marvellously
strong and spirited for her time of life, she was now in her fifty-sixth
year; hardly an age when, at the best, a woman is commonly willing to
undertake great responsibilities in a new and untried direction. It
was, however, true, as she said, that if she did not go, the Mission in
Batala could not be at once started--as a resident Mission. No two young
women could have gone there alone. They must have waited for a married
Missionary and his wife to head the effort.

In this step of Miss Tucker’s a clue may perhaps be found for some lives,
here or there, where a vocation is earnestly sought and not yet found.
Why should not other middle-aged ladies go out, as she went out?--not
necessarily always to attempt full Zenana work; but to be protectors,
housekeepers, nurses, to younger and more active ladies? Whether it
would be right to use any portion of Mission-funds for such a purpose
may be doubted; and in many a case Mission _rooms_ could not be spared;
but there are exceptions as to the latter. And as to the money part of
the question, doubtless many a warm-hearted lady, over fifty years of
age, free from home-ties, with a spirit full of love and self-devotion,
could afford to spend £150 or £200 a year on such an object. Much might
be done by her to cheer up the workers, to leave them more free for all
that needed most to be done,--and indirectly she might help forward the
work of evangelisation by the mere force of a fair Christian example in
a dark land. There can be no question that Miss Tucker’s _life_ worked
far more effectually than her words. What she said may have been long
ago forgotten. What she was will never be forgotten. Her spoken words
doubtless had at the time some power; her written words perhaps had much
more; her life had by far the most of all.

For any such line of life as is above suggested, however, only that type
of woman is fit which has been already described in some of A.L.O.E.’s
letters. Thin-skinned, anxious, feeble-spirited ladies, easily worried
and easily vexed, will not do; and angular, managing, argumentative
ladies would be quite as unsuitable. Those alone may venture who are
not only fairly strong in health, vigorous in spirit, fearless as to
difficulties, and careless as to discomforts, but who are also gentle,
kind-hearted, sympathetic, willing to yield to the judgment of others,
ready to please and not to rule. Almost above everything else, there
should be a freedom from grumbling tendencies. If _such_ elderly ladies
of England are willing to tread in A.L.O.E.’s footsteps, and to give the
Evenings of their lives to Mission-work, openings enough for them might
be found.

The closing words of Mrs. Elmslie’s letter to Mrs. Hamilton on December
8, show what Miss Tucker’s presence in the Amritsar bungalow had been: ‘I
shall miss my darling Charlotte much. She has been sunshine to me ever
since she came; and I am accustomed to think of her as a very precious
gift from a loving Father Who knows our need. I hope to have her again
at Christmas. Please feel assured that we shall tenderly watch over your
dear one, even though not so closely together as formerly.’ Miss Wauton
also, speaking of that time, says: ‘Her general presence was a great
cheer to her fellow-workers there.’

Mention has been made of the Mission-tree,--a large banyan, in front
of the Amritsar bungalow, where Miss Tucker had now spent so many
months. The central trunk had received the name of Amritsar, and other
slender trunks around, already rooted, had received the names of
various out-stations, where occasional work had been begun, but where
no Missionaries yet resided. One slender shoot was called after Batala.
It had then just reached the ground, but was not firmly rooted. Now, in
1895, it is ‘a thick, substantial trunk.’

Batala, a walled town, about a mile across, has a population of some
25,000 people, and is twenty-four miles to the east of Amritsar. The
Dalhousie range of the mighty Himalayas lies about fifty miles off;
but the mountains, when snow-capped, look very much nearer. In those
days there was not, as there is now, a line of rail connecting Amritsar
with Batala. The journey from one to the other had commonly to be
accomplished, either by _tum-tum_, a light cart, with two or three
changes of horses; or else by _ekka_, a country cart, which last mode of
conveyance was very often used by Miss Tucker in coming years. It was a
peculiarly rough and wearisome mode of travelling, the ekka having no
springs; but very early she took to doing as far as possible what the
Indians do in such cases. Anything that would tend to make her one with
them was eagerly attempted. For instance, she began speedily to sit upon
the floor as Natives do; and at Indian gatherings or feasts she would
not only sit as they sat, but would share their food. She must have
been singularly supple-jointed for her years, to be able to adopt this
position without any serious inconvenience. The Rev. Robert Clark writes,
with reference to her Batala mode of life:--

    ‘No conveyance was kept. Miss Tucker always travelled in her
    little dhoolie (or bird’s-nest carriage), or in an ekka, a
    native conveyance without springs, where a seat about a yard
    square was perched on wooden wheels. On this she spread her
    bedding, which is always carried about by Missionaries. She was
    so well accustomed to sit on the ground, that her legs in this
    conveyance never were in the way. She gracefully folded them
    before or under her--we never could tell how--in a position
    which was very painful to most English people, but which seemed
    quite natural to her. She often used to trot over in this way,
    in an ekka, to Amritsar, on a road which caused many bumps
    and aches to most people’s heads and arms and bodies; but she
    would never allow that the shaking of twenty-four miles of such
    travelling as this ever did her any harm. I think she wished to
    be an example to us all. We used to travel then in tum-tums or
    buggies, or other vehicles with springs. But ekkas have much
    more become the fashion in our Missionary circles.’

One idea Miss Tucker had, on first going to Batala, which the other
Missionaries dissuaded her with great difficulty from putting into
execution. This was to _dress_ as the Indians do! It was not considered
a wise or desirable plan, from any point of view; but Charlotte Tucker
had gone so far, in her enthusiasm, as to provide herself with a Native
dress, and her heart was very much set upon wearing it. To make her give
up this favourite idea was no easy matter.

Batala is a picturesque old town, with fine banyan-trees, and many old
mango-tree gardens towards the north, enclosed either by walls or by
aloe hedges, curiously appropriate for A. L. O. E. It is said that in
her younger days a review of some of her books spoke of them as being
‘bitter, like the name of their Author.’ Did Miss Tucker ever recall this
little notice when she looked upon the aloe hedges of Batala?

There is also a large lake-like tank close to the house in which Miss
Tucker lived, and other tanks lie further off. This nearer tank has an
ornamental pleasure-house in the middle; and the tomb of the man who
dug the tank is on its bank. Many handsome old tombs are to be seen in
the place. The town itself is old, with exceedingly crooked and narrow
streets; so narrow, that a duli when carried through often touches the
walls on both sides. The Batala people have the character of being
particularly bigoted, hard-natured, quarrelsome, and difficult to deal
with.

Early in 1876 Miss Wauton had written in the Society’s Report: ‘I think
we may consider the Batala Mission now thoroughly established.’ This
meant that about five Girls’ Schools had been opened for Hindu, Sikh,
and Muhammadan scholars, under the superintendence of the Catechist’s
wife, being from time to time visited by the Amritsar Missionary ladies.
The children were taught elementary Christian truths; they learned to
sing simple hymns; and books were given to them. The work, however,
was hardly more than begun, when A. L. O. E. decided to make Batala her
home. One Native Catechist and his wife were there; one Batala man had
been baptized; and a certain number of children had begun to learn a
few simple truths. For the rest, Batala was ‘a stronghold of bigoted
Muhammadanism.’

And the first thing which had to be done was _not_ to reap a harvest,
_not_ to begin looking for results, but simply to plough the hard ground,
and thus to make seed-sowing a matter of possibility. When the ground was
broken and softened, then the seed might be sown; after that, the sown
seed could be watered, and the harvest patiently waited for.

Almost every letter at this time contains something of interest. To quote
half of what might be quoted is impossible, for lack of space. It seems,
however, worth while to give fuller records of these early days, when
all was fresh, and when Miss Tucker’s interests were keenly awake to her
novel surroundings, even though more fulness here means some curtailing
later.

A certain change in the style of her letters is observable after she
reached India, especially in the long series to Mrs. Hamilton. Personal
matters are pushed very much into the background; while tendencies to
introspection or to moralisings are almost non-existent. The letters
fall naturally into a simple record of the work being done. She is far
too fully occupied with things and people around to have any leisure
to bestow upon her own feelings. Moreover, the mode of expression
gains a terseness and vigour, not always characteristic of the earlier
correspondence.

To write the life of A. L. O. E. at this period is hardly possible,
without at the same time writing the life of the Infant Church at Batala.
The one is almost identical with the other.

The house in which their first start was to be made is described by Miss
Tucker, as will be seen, in somewhat glowing terms. She was resolutely
bent upon making the best of everything, and upon seeing all around
through her rose-coloured spectacles. There were, however, two sides to
the question. The ‘house,’ so called, was in reality an old Sikh palace,
‘used by Sher Singh, son of Maharajah Singh, as a hunting-box.’ Sher
Singh is said to have spent no more than one night in it. The building
was very substantial, and two-storied. A central room below was over
thirty feet in length, and another exactly over it was of the same size.
Other smaller rooms lay around, and of these one was chosen for Miss
Tucker’s bedroom. The great, ponderous, creaking doors were difficult
to close; and the wind would sweep through them in a manner suggestive
of chill and rheumatism. In the winter months they were very cold and
comfortless apartments. The name of the old palace was ‘Anarkalli.’[55]

‘When we first used these rooms, during occasional visits to Batala,’
writes Miss Wauton, ‘they were largely haunted by owls, bats, and rats;
and it was a long time before these occupants understood that they had
notice to quit the premises. Then it seemed impossible ever to make those
huge, weird, gloomy-looking rooms at all cosy and home-like. However,
we did our best with matting, screens, and furniture, to make it look
habitable. And in Miss Tucker’s eyes the very strangeness and romance of
the place made up for its deficiency in warmth and comfort.’ Mr. Clark
also, referring to this large and somewhat dreary palace, says of it:
‘The winds blew through many chinks in the uncurtained doors; and the
house was once likened to Eden, because four streams flowed through it.’

Two days after her arrival she wrote to her favourite sister:--

                                        ‘BATALA, _Dec. 8, 1876_.

    ‘Do not connect Batala with any idea of self-sacrifice. I
    am astonished to find myself in such a beautiful home. It
    is more suited for an Earl and Countess than for two lowly
    Missionaries; and yet our rent is only a little more than £20
    a year! Certainly, we have had to make that very necessary
    article, a fireplace, and to build servants’ huts; but the
    house is grand! It seems unnatural to be the lady of it.

    ‘We do not intend to furnish the room in which I am now
    sitting,--till the fireplace is finished in our smaller room we
    use this fine apartment,--but its length is about thirty-six
    feet. Poor Shere Singh! little he guessed, when he built
    the fair mansion, that he was but to sleep in it for _one_
    night, and then be murdered at Lahore! He never dreamed of
    Mission-books, Bibles, etc., being stored up in those most
    convenient presses in the walls, which add exceedingly to one’s
    comfort. For really the native house is not only stately, but
    wondrously comfortable. It seems to me to be decidedly warmer
    than Amritsar bungalow--a matter of real importance to me. It
    is a great deal lighter, and I suspect that in summer it will
    be cooler also, at least in this room, which is splendidly
    protected from the sun.

    ‘Another advantage as regards both health and cheerfulness
    is that we live on the first floor, and this first floor is
    a good height from the ground. One first ascends five steps
    to the substantial platform on which the house is built, and
    then twenty-nine steps to our apartments. Florrie and I have
    each a nice, light, airy bedroom, with bathroom attached. We
    shall soon have a pleasant sitting-room, to which this splendid
    unfurnished apartment will serve as a vestibule.’

    ‘_Dec. 9._--I have just come from the City,--we live more
    than half-a-mile out of it. O, my Laura, a wide door is open
    before us. I was told that Batala is a place where we could not
    read the Bible: but I have copied a great deal into my Bible
    picture-book; and there is no let or hindrance that I can see
    in showing the pictures, and reading the descriptions, which
    are God’s own Word.... I find that a good way to begin, when I
    enter a house, is by showing off my Zouave.[56] ... Every one is
    delighted with it. A good large group of women and children
    assemble.... It is harder for me to understand the women, than
    it is for them to understand me,--they sometimes jabber so; and
    if they mix Panjabi, I am all at sea. In the evenings I intend
    to do a little Panjabi with Florrie; and in return I teach her
    to play the guitar. I have begun to learn the alphabet, which
    has thirty-five letters. We hope next week to have an Urdu
    Munshi; but I only intend to have one hour and a half with him
    [_i.e._ daily]....

    ‘In nine days we hope to make a day’s itinerating tour to two
    villages. There are little schools in them,--not of course
    Christian. The poor women here seem inclined to like me, for
    which I am thankful. Florrie told me to-day that she thought
    she would have gone into fits of laughter at what was said
    of me. My being elderly and unmarried seemed to be giving an
    impression that I was a kind of saint or faqir,--perhaps my
    being thin and wearing my faithful old green dress added to the
    impression. One woman asked me whether I had eaten anything
    that day. Florrie thinks that it was from a courteous wish to
    feed me, if I had not.

    ‘I arrived here on Thursday,---this is Saturday. Yesterday I
    saw poor, dear B--n at the house of the Catechist. He looked
    sad; not as he looked in the Amritsar church. I suspect that
    his Cross is still very heavy....

    ‘I am in excellent health, thank God, and Florrie seems to be
    getting all right again. She and I “pull well together, when
    yoked twain and twain.” I have not seen a single white face
    but hers--not even in travelling here--since I left the dear
    Amritsar bungalow. I think that I shall improve more rapidly in
    the language here than if I had remained at my first station.

    ‘What an extraordinary and somewhat romantic position I am
    in, for an elderly lady, who in her youth hardly ever stirred
    from a London home! How amazed we should have been when we
    were girls, if we could have known that I was to find my home
    in an Oriental palace--afar from all Europeans--and itinerate
    a little in heathen villages! How good God has been to your
    loving sister!’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                               ‘_Dec. 11, 1876._

    ‘I have not been many days in this my new home, but I could
    fill pages and pages with Batala. My time, however, is
    precious, and I must not waste too much even in writing to dear
    ones.... I was much struck by an incident which occurred to-day.
    Four workmen are still engaged in making a fireplace for us.
    This morning, as I sat reading, waiting for my Munshi, one of
    the men stood near, as if silently watching me. I thought
    this strange; but, as he was not rude, I made no remark but
    read on. Presently the man said to me, “Is that the Gospel?” I
    said, “Would you like to hear the Gospel?” He assented. I read
    part of Matthew v.; and the three other men came and listened.
    Afterwards at morning prayer I sat very near the open door
    leading to the room where two of these men were working at the
    fireplace. Two of our Muhammadan servants come now regularly
    to family prayers. The men at the fireplace were so perfectly
    still that I am sure they were listening to God’s Word.... Of
    course, it is quite optional with the servants to attend or
    not; and the workmen could easily have drowned my voice, if
    they had chosen to do so....

    ‘I find my walking Zouave so very useful in opening a way,
    that I much wish for five or six clever clockwork toys, such
    as would take the fancy of natives.... The toys should be rather
    small, and such as I could easily show off. The floors are so
    rough, that I am obliged to make my Zouave walk on the top of
    his own tin box, short as it is. I feel the toys, if really
    clever, so important....’

TO MRS. E----.

                                               ‘_Dec. 14, 1876._

    ‘I dare say that you will be rather curious to know how I like
    my new home. I like it very much indeed. I cannot tell you what
    the city is like; for though I have been into it every day
    but to-day, I cannot say that I know anything of its general
    appearance, except that the streets are extremely narrow, and
    that the houses appear to be made of brick. The fact is that I
    never go into the city, except shut up in a duli, a kind of box
    with no window. Unless I push the curtain a little back, I see
    nothing, and nobody can see me. I am rather careful about the
    proprieties; and to be carried in a box is the correct thing.
    My duli is red; Florrie’s moderately white.

    ‘Now fancy yourself at my side, dearest Aunt. I will give you a
    kind of rough idea of what is said and done, after my duli has
    stopped at the door of one of the four Zenanas now open to us
    at Batala. I will suppose C. M. T. alone, as she sometimes is.

    ‘C. M. T. gets out of her box, and enters,--perhaps mounting a
    small, rather dark staircase. Presently she finds herself in
    a place where there are perhaps a dozen or twenty women and
    children.

    ‘C. M. T. smiles, says, “Salaam,” and informs her who seems
    the chief woman that she is happy to see her. A bed or perhaps
    an arm-chair is politely put for C. M. T. to sit down on.... C.
    M. T. begins by showing off a clockwork figure that can walk.
    Women and children look on with curiosity and pleasure. Says C.
    M. T., “The doll is cleverer than the idols; it can walk.” The
    house being Muhammadan, the observation is approved of; and C.
    M. T. amuses the good folk by a few lively remarks as to the
    doll being weak or tired, etc.

    ‘Then C. M. T. says, “I have made a very long journey from
    Europe by sea. I have come thousands of miles. Why have I
    come?” Silence amongst my auditors. “I have come to give good
    news.” They listen with interest. “Jesus Christ came into the
    world to save sinners. This is good news. We are all sinners.
    He died for us,” etc. None look angry; some look pleased; some
    look tenderly at me, as if they thought me very kind to come
    such a long way to give them good news.

    ‘Then a Bible picture-book is opened; perhaps the story of
    the Fall read. Muhammadans believe a great deal of the Old
    Testament; one can talk to them of “Father Adam,” and “Mother
    Eve,” without shocking them in the least. I cannot talk
    much,--very little indeed,--but I can say such things as I have
    written above, and tell the dear women that I am happy, that I
    do not fear death at all, because I believe that the Lord bore
    the punishment of my sins on the Cross.

    ‘I have not met with any discourtesy. There are three things
    in my favour--my age; my family being of the Sarkar-log;[57]
    and my receiving no salary.... Another thing which seems to
    awaken a sort of interest is the fact of my being unmarried. I
    have met with the idea that there is some merit in celibacy. I
    repudiated it, and said that in our Book marriage is spoken of
    as an honourable thing.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Dec. 16, 1876._

    ‘We never drive _in_ Batala, but on the roads outside. Of
    course we often meet Natives. Some of them salaam to us, and I
    make a point of bowing with marked courtesy when they do so.
    One feels the salaam a breaking of the ice. Those who have
    exchanged greetings on the road with us are less likely to shut
    their doors against the polite strangers. Florrie has been
    admitted into a fifth Zenana to-day. The Catechist thinks that
    after a while there will be more work than we can overtake.’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                         ‘_Christmas Day, 1876._

    ‘Is not this a curious life for me? What a contrast Batala is
    to Marylebone! But I stand up for Batala. This is a capital
    house, in spite of rats. You should see Florrie and me in
    our tam-tam driving along kachcha roads,[58] the odd-looking
    conveyance plunging up and down or from side to side, like a
    boat on a rough sea. Or fancy me seated in my red duli starting
    for the city. I remember how I looked on the picture of such a
    red duli, painted on talc, and pitied native ladies for having
    to travel in a box. It really, however, is not bad, and it
    is the only practicable conveyance for the narrow streets of
    Batala.’



CHAPTER V

A.D. 1877

DISAPPOINTMENTS AND DELAYS


The year 1877 dawned full of work and full of hope, in Batala. Fresh
openings were appearing on all sides; and to the four Zenanas which
at first could alone be entered, others had been already added. Then
suddenly came a check. Miss Tucker’s hard-working companion, who had
all through suffered much from the Panjab climate, broke down, and was
ordered off to England. For Miss Tucker to remain alone at Batala,
without a single European companion, could not be thought of; and so many
Missionaries had been invalided during the past unhealthy year, that no
one else could possibly be spared. She had perforce to return to Amritsar.

The great disappointment--and very great it was--she took patiently, even
cheerily. Some considered a few months more at Amritsar no bad thing for
her or for her future work. She had freedom from responsibility, and more
leisure in consequence for study and for writing. Many a short story went
forth from her busy pen that winter for India’s millions. But her eyes
were still bent longingly upon Batala; and her whole desire and prayer
were that she might soon return there again.

Nor had she to wait long before the granting of her wish. Mr. and Mrs.
Beutel, then resident at Amritsar, were appointed C.M.S. Missionaries at
Batala; and when they went she could go also. Mr. Beutel describes as
follows the course of events:--

    ‘One day--it was early in 1877--after returning from a
    preaching-place in the city (Amritsar), I met Miss Tucker on
    my way home. She was glad to see me, and then told me of her
    intention of going to settle at Batala, provided that my wife
    and I were willing and prepared to go with her. After a while
    this was sanctioned, and consequently we left Amritsar for
    Batala in April, and settled in the old house ... which is still
    used for the Christian Boarding School. It then looked like a
    haunted house, inhabited by owls,--which regularly had a dance
    in the loft almost every night!--bats and wasps, etc. Miss
    Tucker occupied the one wing of the upper story, and we the
    other. The centre-hall served as a dining-room. She was our
    daily boarder.

    ‘As a rule she rose very early in the morning. After her
    morning walk, service, and breakfast, she regularly went out
    into the city, to see and teach some women in their houses,
    occasionally accompanied by my wife. Now and then she also paid
    visits, like myself, to the villages in the neighbourhood. As a
    rule the afternoons were filled up by her with the study of the
    language, reading and writing, etc.

    ‘But, alas! not quite two months had passed, when both Miss
    Tucker and my wife were laid up with fever. The chief cause
    of this, as the Doctor afterwards explained, seemed to be the
    stagnant water almost all around the house; and he ordered them
    both away as quickly as possible. Consequently we all returned
    to Amritsar by the end of May 1877, and settled again in our
    old quarters.

    ‘As soon as the hot season was over, we all went back to
    Batala, a second time. The condition of the house was as bad
    as before; but Miss Tucker immediately offered her help, and I
    set about fifty people to work. The ground near the house was
    soon raised about two feet or more; and consequently the place
    became more healthy, so that this time we could stay there all
    the winter, doing our work as before.’

After a few months, however, came a renewed check. Mr. Beutel was
required for work in Amritsar; and when he and his wife left Batala, Miss
Tucker had to leave also. Once more she was obliged to settle down for a
term of patient waiting and study at Amritsar.

Not till the spring of 1878 was any really permanent arrangement made.
Then a school of Panjabi boys was removed from Amritsar to the old
palace, under the presidency of the Rev. Francis Baring; and Miss Tucker
went to live under the same roof, to carry on the work among women of
Batala. Thenceforward her home was at Batala to the end. Throughout the
year 1877 she had much of doubt and disappointment to endure; but her
brave trustfulness never broke down under the strain. Charlotte Tucker
was a thoroughly loyal soldier of the Cross,--willing to go, or willing
to stay, as her Master might dictate. Her heart’s desire was to live and
toil in Batala; but a yet deeper desire of her whole being was to carry
out His Will, whatever that Will might be. The Centurion’s words, ‘I am
a man under authority,’ may be cited as peculiarly applicable to her. If
God’s Will for her were Amritsar, not Batala, she would be content.

For a short time, seemingly, things were so; but not for long. Fresh
plans in 1878 would make all clear. Meanwhile some months of change and
uncertainty did no harm. They were but part of the polishing of the
golden staff of her Will,--to revert to her own allegory of earlier days.

The history of these months, beginning with the time when she was first
at Batala with Miss Swainson, will best be told by occasional extracts
from the abundance of letters remaining.

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                        ‘BATALA, _Jan. 4, 1877_.

    ‘Here we are in a regular “fix,” as the boys would say,--no
    bread nor butter in the house, and with the probability of a
    grand lady, a Commissioner’s wife, coming to-day, perhaps to
    stop the night. Pity the sorrows of--of ladies twenty miles
    from civilised life. I’m not housekeeper, so I can laugh; but
    poor dear Florrie!! You can feel for her. This is how we got
    into the fix.

    ‘We settled on to-day, Thursday, for a general giving of prizes
    in the six City schools. Several pounds have been spent on
    prizes, and Florrie and I were for hours yesterday ticketing
    and preparing them. The prize-giving is of real importance; for
    we give prizes _instead_ of money, as the Government gives.
    To throw _éclat_ on the affair, we asked Mrs. T. to give the
    prizes away, which she kindly consented to do. A note was sent
    to her on Tuesday morning by a kahar,[59] to tell her the day,
    and the kahar was to bring back bread and butter, which we have
    always to get from Amritsar, twenty-four miles off.

    ‘Thursday morning, the grand morning, has arrived,--nay, it
    is nearly eleven o’clock, and the children of six schools,
    their teachers and their mothers, and perhaps scores of women
    besides, will be on the tiptoe of expectation,--and our _kahar
    has never returned_!!! We don’t know whether Mrs. T. is
    coming; we don’t know whether she is sticking half-way on the
    road, waiting for the horse which we offered to send twelve
    miles, _if_ she required it! Like the famous little pig, we
    have eaten all the bread and butter; and if the grand lady
    arrives--without that faithless kahar--what shall we give her
    to eat? I urged Florrie at least to send to the city for meat;
    but she fears that in the absence of the cook the guest may
    arrive.

    ‘O dear! O dear! Why did we trust that _sust_[60] kahar,--or
    eat up all the bread? O how shall the bari Bibi ever be fed? I
    must go and try to cheer up poor Florrie, who suffers from her
    head, in addition to being in this “fix.” I must tell you how
    the matter ends afterwards.

    ‘Don’t fancy we’re starving! Oh, nothing like it! We had a
    famous breakfast, chapatties,[61] eggs, etc. We don’t starve!

    ‘_Later._--No one has appeared. No tidings either of lady or
    kahar; but Florrie has sent for meat. She told me that the poor
    children had said that they would be ready at 7 A.M. If so,
    they must be rather tired by this time, nearly 11½ A.M. ...

    ‘_Later._--The kahar came at last, and brought the provisions,
    and a note from Mrs. T. to say that she is coming to-morrow.

    ‘_Jan. 6._--I was rather glad when yesterday’s grand affair was
    over. As we had two dulis for three ladies, we had to manage by
    Florrie always going first,--_i.e._ she proceeded to School 2,
    while we lingered at No. 1--to School 3, while we stopped at 2,
    etc. I had to try to amuse and show off the children to Mrs. T.
    during the waiting time, which sometimes seemed rather long,
    especially where the girls would _not_ sing. In vain I started
    even a bhajan[62] in one of the schools.

TO MR. AND MRS. CHARLES TUCKER.

                                        ‘BATALA, _Jan. 6, 1877_.

    ‘How well I can fancy you in your home, with the wide blue
    expanse of Ontario stretching in front. I suppose the world
    looks very white with you just now; with us it is pretty green.
    We have no garden, but our large house stands in the country,
    without any enclosure. Herds of goats or strings of camels
    could pass near to our mansion. There is certainly not much
    noise of carriages. Here the sight of a dâk-gari is somewhat
    rare; and in the city I have never seen any wheel vehicle,
    except bullock-carts in the wider streets. We can sometimes
    hardly get through the narrow streets in our duli; and I am not
    aware that there are any other dulis in Batala except that of
    the Catechist’s wife.

    ‘Very funny things we hear of ourselves; and I dare say many
    funny things are said that we do not hear. In one place which
    my companion visited, in company with E., the Catechist’s wife,
    she overheard the remark that she---Miss Swainson--was the
    husband, and E. her bibi. I think that I excite more curiosity
    than my companion on account of my age. On account, I suppose,
    of an Englishwoman with any silver hair being a rarity in
    India, I seem to be sometimes considered wonderfully old.
    Florrie told me that she had heard the women talking as they
    might have done had I been a hundred years old.

    ‘One day I wore brown kid gloves. My hands were looked at with
    surprise. I suppose that the women wondered why I should have
    brown hands and a white face. I pulled off my gloves, and this
    seemed a new cause for surprise. Natives are very curious.
    One ... young man of good family acts as my Munshi. He told me
    to-day that his aunt wished to know whether I have any salary.
    How astonished we should be if French or drawing masters asked
    such questions in England! I have been asked what salary my
    nephew receives. My being unmarried makes me doubly an object
    of curiosity to the Hindu women.

    ‘A poor woman came the other day to see us, and brought us
    some common yellow flowers. I did not at all admire them,
    but I thought it only courteous to accept so small a present
    graciously. Miss Swainson did not like to accept the flowers--I
    did not know why.... She told me afterwards that she was afraid
    they were brought as religious offerings,--flowers are what are
    used for such offerings,--and she had heard repeatedly that we
    are ‘devi.’[63] What gross, fearful ignorance! I heard on good
    authority that in one place in India, not the Panjab, offerings
    are actually made to a dead European, who was a special
    object of dread to the Natives, and whom they therefore wish
    to propitiate as a kind of _demon_! Do not the poor, deluded
    creatures want teachers? I find the women in general very
    gentle and courteous, and quite willing to listen when they are
    spoken to on the subject of religion. With the men--except of
    course the servants--we have little to do.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                              ‘BATALA, _Jan. 9_.

    ‘Florrie and I hired four extra kahars, took earlier breakfast,
    and started this morning for O----, the village in which, as
    you may remember, I encamped for two or three days with my
    Margaret, about ten or twelve months ago.

    ‘We started on foot, as it was not at all too hot for a walk;
    and though we never walk in the city, we have no objection
    to doing so in the country. Our dulis, white and red, with
    eight kahars, followed us. When we had walked about a mile,
    whom should we meet but the postman, with the English letters!
    I popped the rest of the things into the duli, but read my
    Laura’s despatch as I walked along the dusty lane. Very many
    thanks both to you and to dearest Leila. _The_ bonnet has not
    yet arrived,--I dare say it will be very elegant,--and yet, as
    well as the bag, owe its chief value to the love sewn up in it.
    Your lovely tidies ornament my Batala home.

    ‘When F. and I returned from the village, being rather tired of
    going about twelve miles in a canvas box,--of course there is
    no seat in it; one sits half-Oriental style on a kind of coarse
    carpet,--I got out to walk the last mile home.’

    ‘AMRITSAR, _Jan. 13_.--My note to dear Leila will tell you of
    the change which now a good deal engrosses my mind. You did not
    like my going to Batala; and as far as we can see, our Heavenly
    Father does not intend us to remain there. He is Wisdom; and
    what to us seems mysterious and trying must in the end be seen
    to be right....

    ‘Ah, well, it is doubtless good to have the branches shaken, on
    which we perch; and happily I have built no elaborate nest.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                             ‘BATALA, _Jan. 20_.

    ‘I am writing in such a dismantled room, making a table
    of a chair, and sitting on the floor. My luggage went off
    yesterday--such a quantity! My big boxes and little boxes,
    chairs, tables, almira, sofa, etc. I do not intend to unpack
    more than I can help, for I rather hope to have another move
    before long,--a move back to dear Batala....

    ‘I have been round to the six schools and three Zenanas,
    explaining the sad cause of our sudden departure. I have found
    sympathy and kindness. On three faces at least there were
    tears. Facts are often more eloquent than words! The Batala
    people have seen B--n suffering keen anguish for Christ’s sake;
    they see that the property which was ----‘s is his no more,
    for Christ’s sake. They have seen two ladies going fearlessly,
    trustingly, amongst them, one of them old, and the other so ill
    that she has fairly broken down in her work--for Christ’s sake!
    These things may tell more even than preaching.... With God’s
    blessing Batala will yet be ours.

    ‘Strange to say, the Mission has just bought a house in the
    midst of the City; not hired, but bought it out and out. I went
    over it yesterday.... There is room on that ground to build a
    church on. And, please God, we shall have a church there some
    day. _Nil desperandum._’

To another she wrote on the same day: ‘It seems very sad, when there had
been such a promising beginning; a new and interesting Zenana opened to
me only yesterday; and I must quit Batala to-day, for one lady cannot
stay by herself. But I am not in the least discouraged. I believe that
the Almighty will not suffer the Mission to be permanently broken up. He
will send some one to take poor Florrie’s place; and then I am ready, at
twenty-four hours’ notice, to return to my post. I hear that the women
are very sorry for our going. I have myself seen tears on brown faces.’
Her confident hope was soon to come true.

    ‘MISSION BUNGALOW, _Jan. 29_.--Here I am, back again in my
    nice large room. My nieces would have it so, and made all
    arrangements during my absence.... I must tell dear Leila what C.
    H. said one day, absurd as it sounds; but it was a compliment
    to _her_ work, therefore I repeat it. “How bonny the Auntie
    looks in her new bonnet!” There is a bit of flattery, spoken
    for once by one who is particularly plain-spoken! But it was
    the bonnet that was bonny, not your loving old sister.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_March 5, 1877._

    ‘Many thanks to you and your sweet Mother for your loving
    notes and the _Illustrated_. I am glad that I have not been
    sent _Froggy’s Brother_. Not only am I afraid of shedding one
    useless tear; but I seem to have scarcely any time for reading
    what is unconnected with my work. I have begun the Koran, which
    will be rather a tedious task,--only in English,--but I think
    it well to read it, and a few books of manners and customs.
    Then I have two Munshis; and with my imperfect memory, I must
    be perpetually going over and over what I learn, so as not
    to lose it. Then I ought to write, whenever I can, and visit
    Natives a little; and we have so many interruptions. The day
    passes so fast; and perhaps at the end one feels--“What has
    been done?--how little!” But as for sitting down to amuse
    oneself with an English story-book,--how can that be done by
    your attached old Missionary Auntie?’

TO W. F. T. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_March 9, 1877._

    ‘I am about a very tedious work, reading through the Koran
    in English. I think that it may be very desirable for me
    to be able to say--“I have read your Koran right through.”
    But, oh, how sleepy one gets over the book! It is so full of
    repetitions; the same ideas and stories over and over again.
    I am perfectly well, and the weather is now charming,--such a
    comfort to get rid of the cold!--but I believe that I twice
    this forenoon went to sleep, simply from reading the Koran. I
    read and read, then leant back in my comfortable chair, and
    took a nap!

    ‘The poor Muhammadans must get a painful idea of the Almighty
    from their book. It seems almost a mockery to head almost
    every “Sura” with “In the Name of God the Compassionate, the
    Merciful.” One is so perpetually reading of the torments of
    unbelievers, the fires of Gehenna, etc.! Our Lord is written of
    with great respect, and His Birth regarded as quite miraculous;
    but the Muhammadans will not believe Him to be the “Son of
    God.” There is a great deal about Abraham, Moses, Joseph,
    etc., in the Koran; Old Testament stories altered and enlarged
    upon, to suit Muhammadan tastes. I have met with no reference
    to the Blood of Atonement; in the account of the Exodus,
    given over and over, there is no allusion to the Paschal Lamb;
    Muhammadanism appears as a religion of works.

    ‘It would seem to me to be a dreary kind of religion, and well
    suited to make men hard and stern. Of the three religions in
    the Panjab, I think Sikhism by far the best; but then the race
    of those who profess it in purity seems to be dying away....
    The Enemy would not leave poor Man even the scraps of Truth
    bequeathed by the noble Guru Nanak. It is a sad pity. Hearts
    which had only known _pure_ Sikhism might have formed a rich
    soil to receive the seed of the Gospel.’

Early in March it was arranged, to her great joy, that before the close
of the month she might expect to be back in Batala again, living there
with Mr. and Mrs. Beutel. When the time came, the roads being especially
bad with the heavy rains, Miss Tucker performed her journey from Amritsar
to Batala in what she called ‘a most luxurious conveyance,--the big,
heavy Government dâk gari,[64] in which one can recline at ease, as
if in a bed.’ The twenty-four miles’ drive proved, however, to be not
altogether luxurious; for on the worst and roughest part of the road the
whole gari went over on its side,--‘one big wheel aloft, another big
wheel below.’ Miss Tucker being entirely unhurt, thought mainly of the
safety of her desks and of her ‘dear travelling clock.’ She found them,
to her great relief, ‘quite serene,’ as serene as she was herself in her
‘funny position,’--the clock ticking placidly on, undisturbed by the jar.
Describing the scene afterwards, she continued:

    ‘A number of men came to the aid of our forlorn conveyance,
    down in the mud. The horses were of course released from the
    traces. Many hands make light work; so, with a good deal of
    pushing and shouting and tamasha, the carriage was set up
    again on its wheels. I got out, thinking that I should have to
    trudge through the mud on foot, carrying my clock in my hand.
    But I was not obliged to make my entry into my palace in so
    humble a fashion. I was able to re-enter the gari. Of course, I
    presented the natives with a reward.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 14, 1877._--I wrote to our Commissioner to ask his
    permission for fish to be caught in the large tank, close
    to which our mansion is built. He politely replied that we
    were welcome to fish with hook and line, but that a net
    is prohibited. I am rather amused to find that our dear,
    kind-hearted Germans cannot bear to give to the fish the
    suffering which a hook would inflict. I think that we shall do
    without fish.

    ‘Such stormy--oh, such stormy weather as we have had, night
    after night! There have been such thunder and lightning,
    and rushing blast, and banging of doors and windows, as if
    in this great echoing house there were pistol practice....
    Those Indian unmanageable doors and windows are the worst of
    it, particularly if any inmate of the house has headache or
    fever. One wanders about in the dark,--perhaps helped by the
    lightning,--to find the region of a door that is the chief
    offender. The one which I managed to shut in the night, for the
    first time since my coming chose to shut itself in the morning,
    so that neither I nor my Ayah could open it. Some one had to go
    round by another route to lift the latch, which had gone down
    without being touched.’

In the same letter, speaking of a young Indian, who had eagerly said to
her that ‘the Bible is the light of our eyes, and the root of our faith,’
she sadly remarked that it was ‘almost sickening’ to think what the young
Muhammadan ‘would have to endure, did he openly confess Christ,’--even
while earnestly hoping that he _would_ be constrained ‘by the cords of
love’ to leave all and come forward.

TO MISS LAURA V. TUCKER.

                                                 ‘_May 2, 1877._

    ‘Thanks many, darling Laura, for your dear, sweet letter. You
    speak of the flowers. Ah, if I could but give you a sight of
    the glorious pink water-lilies or lotuses out of our nice
    tank! I am not sure, however, whether I would not change
    them for--cabbages; certainly I would for cauliflowers. It
    is not very easy to get our vegetables, twenty miles away
    from an English garden. However, V. brought two cucumbers
    to-day,--a welcome sight,--and a Native presented us with some
    kelas,[65]--more welcome still. My experience is that fruit and
    vegetables are particularly conducive to health in India.

    ‘You may rejoice to hear that we have got rid of our very
    wicked cook.... But it is funny to have no cook at all!! Mrs.
    Beutel’s old mother does all the cooking; perhaps Mrs. Beutel
    helps a little; and it puts her quite into spirits. If we
    were not likely to go into Amritsar in ten or eleven days, I
    think that we should be obliged to procure a cook. It is a
    most unusual thing for Europeans to cook in a Panjab _May_;
    every day likely to get warmer and warmer! And if Mrs. J. fell
    ill, as she did last year--her daughter is constantly off and
    on with fever--where should we be? In a laughable dilemma, I
    should say; for I don’t think that Mr. Beutel could cook; and I
    am sure that _I_ can’t! I forget--“can’t” is not a Missionary
    word! But I really don’t see what I could do, except boil eggs;
    we have plenty of them. You know that Fairy Frisket did not
    fancy a kitchen!

    ‘We have bread brought in regularly; for I did not think the
    heavy, solid German home-made bread suitable for India. The
    bread we get is so beautifully light. I do not know exactly
    where it comes from,--I fancy from Gurdaspur or Amritsar. I am
    not housekeeper.

    ‘What a greedy letter this seems! so much about eatables! But
    it may help you to picture to yourself life at Batala. I am
    very happy here.’

The end of May found her back again in Amritsar, but by no means
downhearted. The fresh check was evidently regarded by Miss Tucker as
only temporary.

    ‘_May 30._--It does my heart good to see Emily walking off to
    her work, perhaps at 6 A.M., so brave and bright, with firm,
    elastic tread.... Sweet Margaret has been very unwell. She looks
    too much like the statue of an angel in white marble. But
    she is better again; and if we can coax her back to her old
    quarters here, and pet her to any extent--her medicine--I think
    that she may weather the hot weather well.

    ‘As I have little need of a separate kahar here, I was advised
    to part with V. I tried to do so, but I really could not.
    The poor fellow pleaded,--it was so hard to get work,--and I
    remember how miserable he looked when out of situation before.
    Then he is a married man, and such an intelligent, faithful
    creature.[66] So I gave in! It seems to me very hard to cast
    off good servants, just because the perpetual changing about
    makes one rather a supernumerary. V. is invaluable to me at
    Batala; and I hope to return to Batala. I was rather pleased at
    C.’s pleading for his companion. He seemed quite eloquent; but
    I confess that I did not understand much of his eloquence; only
    he evidently did not want poor V. to be cut adrift. I would at
    any time, if troubles arose, trust my life either to C. or V. I
    get quite interested in some of the servants, and they seem to
    be really affectionate. They are much like children.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘AMRITSAR, _June 11, 1877_.--Emily said quietly to me
    yesterday, “You certainly have wonderful health.” Not that
    I was well during my last trying time at Batala; but I have
    surprised my friends by getting all right again so very
    rapidly. The heat is very moderate as yet. I have only once
    this year had the thermometer in my sleeping room up to 90°. It
    seldom rises above 85° or 86°, which is nothing.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 22._--The banyan-tree has dropped its brown leaves at
    last. Fancy a tree waiting till May or June before it will put
    off its old dress! It waits till all its new leaves are well
    out; and in midsummer throws off the withered ones. It is a
    grand tree; the one here is a fine one, but not to be compared
    to the one at Batala.

    ‘The quite new school at Batala, the first _Boys’_ School in
    which Christianity is taught, has already risen to 175 pupils.
    The house is too small, and I. D.[67] is going to give up his
    for it, and take another. The religious instruction has been
    given by three natives.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 30._--Dear Emily is done up. She actually asked me for
    an amusing book, feeling evidently fit for little but to lie on
    the sofa and read. She overworks, and the season tells on her.
    When dear Leila happens to be writing to Bella Frances, would
    she kindly ask her to send me by post “Fairy Know-a-bit,” and
    “Fairy Frisket,” and “Pride and his Prisoners,” my funniest
    tales. We have three trying months at least to come; and I want
    to keep my ladies as cheerful as I can. They have not much time
    for reading, except when poorly, and then a laugh is medicine.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 2._--The work is going on at Batala, love, though we are
    absent. The Bible-woman, lately sent, who was here to-day, has
    access into nearly double the number of zenanas that Florrie
    and I had. There is also daily bazaar-preaching; and I. D.
    tells me that he has great hopes from the new Batala Boys’
    School, where the little lads listen readily to daily religious
    instruction. The women, I hear, want me back; but I do not see
    my way to returning till the rains are over. It would not do
    to dwell in a house which might be surrounded by water.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 14._--It was so nice last Wednesday welcoming my
    dharm-nephew[68] back to Amritsar. Dharm is a good word to
    distinguish my Missionary relatives from my relatives by birth.
    A Godmother is a _Dharm_-mai. The Natives themselves have put
    me up to adopting the distinction. One of them asked Emily
    after me as her “dharm-poti,” (religion-aunt). My dharm-nephew
    was only two days in Amritsar; he is off to Dhamsala, to be out
    of the heat of the plains. He looked better than I had hoped to
    see him, and just his own bright self.’

TO ---- ----

                                               ‘_July 20, 1877._

    ‘Mr. Clark told us the other evening that he had had an hour’s
    interview with a Brahmin, who has come from beyond Benares.
    This man’s views remind one of the Brahmo Somaj; but God
    grant that this Hindu may find more light than those Hindu
    Unitarians ever found. He is a man of great courage; he has
    flung aside the prejudices of his caste; he vehemently opposes
    idol-worship, and will readily eat with Christians. One of his
    special difficulties in regard to our faith is, I believe, the
    difficulty of reconciling God’s justice with the punishment of
    the Innocent. The Brahmin is a gifted, eloquent man, and many
    go to hear him.

    ‘Margaret and I were taking a moonlight drive after the heat
    of the day, with lightning flickering in the sky, when we
    passed a house in which I knew that the Brahmin has taken up
    his abode. It is some little way out of the city, and is a
    European bungalow. I pointed out to Margaret a little crowd in
    the compound, in the picturesque white Oriental costume, and
    told her that it was formed of those who were listening to the
    preacher.

    ‘Margaret stopped the carriage, and we tried to catch the words
    which could reach us at the distance. They were, however, few;
    so we got out of the carriage, and without going near the crowd
    drew a little nearer and nearer to the place where the Brahmin
    was addressing his audience. We were still too far off to hear
    much, and there was too much of Hindi mixed with his Urdu to
    make his language clear; but we could see the man’s eloquent,
    animated gestures, and hear the rich tones of his voice.

    ‘It was a very picturesque scene; the mingled torchlight,
    moonlight, and heat-lightning,--the quaint, white-robed
    crowd,--the man who has dared to break through so much, who
    calls himself a Luther, telling idolaters of the folly of
    idol-worship. I should think that it would be wise to place
    in communication with this remarkable man some of our most
    talented converts from Hinduism--not Muhammadanism.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_Aug. 11, 1877._--I missed a grand opportunity the other day
    of killing a centipede. It lay so quiet, as if to invite me to
    make myself illustrious. But I hate crunching creatures, so
    called out for some one to kill my centipede.... It is not fear
    of being bitten, but dislike of killing. The ladies think that
    it would not do for me to keep house, for that I should spoil
    the servants. I _did_ give C. a decided rebuke the other day
    for beating his wife. He promised me to be kind in future.’

    ‘_Aug. 13._--I have this morning received my precious Laura’s
    letter, with a request for a certain prayer--which I shall
    certainly remember. If a feeling of fear comes over my Laura,
    it must surely be as regards the _act_ of departure, not what
    follows; for there is “no condemnation” to Christ’s people, no
    death in the real sense of the word.

    ‘But why, love, should we fear the act of departing? How
    many, many, pass Jordan, as it were, dry-shod? Remember how
    peacefully sweet Fanny sank to rest,--dearest Mother,--how
    my Letitia’s face was lighted up with a smile,--how our
    Bible-woman at Batala sang aloud a happy hymn within a few
    hours of her going! To me it seems such a simple thing for
    the--I had almost said _imprisoned_ soul, to leave its “cottage
    of clay,”--for the bird, as soon as fledged, to spread its
    wings! We are winged creatures, and it seems a humiliation to
    be creeping on earth so long. Only think what the first sight
    of the Lord will be! I am not sure whether some departing ones
    do not see Him before the last breath is drawn.’



CHAPTER VI

A.D. 1877-1878

A BROWN AND WHITE ‘HAPPY FAMILY’


Though Miss Tucker had by no means fallen in love with Dalhousie during
her former visit to the Hills, she was again this August to be, as she
said, ‘almost trapped’ into going there. Mrs. Elmslie, albeit in need of
rest, could not leave a child in the Orphanage who was dangerously ill,
perhaps dying; and Miss Wauton, worn out with heavy toil through the
very hot weather, imperatively needed change, yet was in no condition to
manage the long distance alone. Miss Tucker therefore resolved to go with
her; and the two started off in company, Miss Tucker in her duli, Miss
Wauton on a pony. They travelled slowly, with frequent rests by the way,
so as to extend the usual two days’ hard journeying into six days of easy
advance. On August 22, before leaving Amritsar, Miss Tucker wrote:--

    ‘Man has been described as a “laughing animal,” “a cooking
    animal,” to distinguish him from the lower creation. I
    would suggest “a packing animal,” for neither birds nor
    beasts--except the elephant--have anything to do with filling
    trunks! What an amount of packing I have had in the last two
    and a half years! Of course, these thoughts are suggested by my
    present business of packing for the Hills.

    ‘One must be prepared for all sorts of weather, for burning
    heat, bitter cold, or furious rain. One may have all three in
    the course of a week. Then one must prepare--as for an attack
    of cavalry--for a dinner-invitation from the Commissioner’s
    wife. One is pretty certain that one will meet some worldly
    folk, who are inclined to think Natives “niggers,” Converts
    hypocrites, and Missionaries half-rogues and half-fools; so
    that one must not “appear as a scrub.” I do not wonder that the
    weary Emily wants to keep in the jungle as long as she can.
    Ah! if we could but keep in the jungle _all_ the time, I need
    not pack up my “Conference Cream,”[69] nor my faithful moire
    antique. There would be some fun in meeting with a cheetah or
    a hyena,--I should not like a bear unless there were a kud[70]
    between us,--but I shrink from the world and his wife. However,
    Missionaries, like sailors, are bound for all weathers....

    ‘If it won’t shock dear ----, I think that I must give you a
    laugh over a funny little story, which was told me the other
    day as a true one. A very attractive Scotch clergyman was
    teased in the same way that the Energetic used to be. At last
    a--one can’t call her _lady_, actually wrote to offer him “her
    purse, her hand, and her heart.” The cream of the story is the
    clergyman’s reply. He wrote to his silly sheep: “I advise you
    to give your heart to God, your purse to the poor, and your
    hand to him who asks for it.” Was it not clever? I hope that
    the lady profited by the pastoral rebuke, though she can hardly
    have enjoyed it....

    ‘Thanks for the paper about the Telephone. But I hope that we
    may _not_ hear our Queen’s voice by it, if it is to sound like
    a trombone.’

From Dinaira, a place some twenty-two miles short of Dalhousie, she
wrote:--

    ‘There is something more soothing to the eye in the softly
    wooded mountains in which we are now cradled, than in the cold,
    stern white peaks, seen higher up. The great want is water.
    One sees the rough, almost precipitous, channels of mountain
    torrents, but there is not a drop trickling in them. The land
    suffers sorely from drought. The early crops were partly
    spoilt by furious storms, the second crops are threatened with
    destruction by the failure of the rains. A peasant saw me
    yesterday very slowly getting down rather a rough bit, and with
    kindly courtesy came and offered me the help of his brown hand.
    He almost immediately afterwards began to speak of the want
    of rain; it is the uppermost thought amongst the poor, dear
    people....

    ‘I feel that I was rather ungrateful last year about
    Dalhousie. Though I do not like the place much, it is a very
    great blessing to have it.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘DALHOUSIE, _Sept. 3, 1877_.--This ought to be a good day for
    letter-writing; for it is like an exaggerated November day in
    England: rain more violent; wind more furious.... I amuse our
    ladies by my indignation at one of our best hands, Miss H. of
    J----, deserting us for matrimony. Merrily laughed the bonny
    blue-bell at my proposition that, in addition to the fine of
    £100 imposed on Mission Miss Sahibas who marry within three
    years of coming out, it should be part of the contract that
    they should have all their hair shaved off on the day before
    the wedding. Don’t you approve, dear? In the Strathclyde,
    beside Miss F. and myself, there were four Mission Miss Sahibas
    going out for the first time. One of the four has gone home,
    invalided; two have married; only my noble Miss G. remains
    in the field! It is a great deal worse when experienced
    Missionaries marry; we do not know how to supply their places....

    ‘You must not fancy that we have always weather like this in
    the hills. When we first arrived, and for days afterwards, the
    weather was lovely, July in the middle of the day, October at
    night. The scenery was glorious. I hope, however, that I may
    get back next week. I intend to travel rapidly, as I travel
    alone.’

A few days afterwards saw Miss Tucker back in Amritsar; and later in
the same month she went all the long journey to Murree, giving herself
only six days of absence, to be present at the wedding of her nephew,
Louis Tucker. Thence she again returned to Amritsar. Exciting events had
happened at Amritsar during even that absence, in the shape of fresh
Baptisms and fresh persecutions. In October she was once more off on a
short itinerating tour through villages. A letter written on the first of
October refers to the Batala work, of which her heart was full.

    ‘Mr. Beutel told me with regret that Mr. Baring, on account
    of low funds, had desired him on Nov. 1st to stop two
    village-schools near Batala, in which 50 or 60 boys are
    receiving instruction. I had my Laura’s £5--grown to £5,
    10s.--half of her handsome gift, of which Margaret has the
    other half. This will keep the village schools going till
    April; and by that time, please God, others may send help....
    People do not seem to care for _village_ schools. Government
    does not. And the people--our dear Natives--are so anxious to
    have them. The nicest boys seem the village ones.’

An undated letter belongs, probably, to about this time.

    ‘I think I mentioned to you that a troop of guests invaded my
    poor Margaret almost in the middle of the night, 3 A.M. She
    had too much bustle, too much discomfort. She fell ill, as was
    almost to be expected; but I left her up again, and going to
    work. When she was lying on her sick-bed,--lovely she looked,
    with her soft pink cheeks, and her long golden hair hanging
    loose,--I went and had a chat with her. She has had too few
    chats with those whom she loves since going to live at the
    Orphanage.... Says Margaret, “What caps are you going to take
    to your nephew’s?” “Oh, killing caps,” said I. Perhaps they
    would look killing if Margaret wore them! She would not believe
    me,--her playful banter, her arch smile, so reminded me _of my
    Laura_! Margaret went on exactly as you would have done. She
    was certain that my velvet cap must want a new ruche; would
    I send over a whole set of caps for her to improve? It would
    amuse her, she said. The Doctor came in, when I was having
    one of my playful chats with Margaret; and he highly approved
    of my giving her a little laugh.... She called me “sparkling
    champagne.” There is a fine name for a Missionary Miss Sahiba!
    Fancy my discovering one day that, in her crowded little
    dwelling, she had so emptied herself of needful comforts,
    that she had not so much as a basin to wash in. If she wished
    to wash her hands, she must stoop or kneel to perform the
    ablution in her bath! Off went I to the city, and procured a
    toilette-set for our house in Batala, which Margaret has the
    use of till we go,--when I hope that she will return to the
    Bungalow.’

The above must have been written before her visit to Murree, already
mentioned. By the middle of October she was on the point of again
starting for Batala; and she wrote cheerily beforehand, on the 15th:--

    ‘Many, many thanks to my own sweet Laura for the pretty sketch
    of what was once to me a very happy home. I am so pleased that
    your hand has not lost its skill. I am in great hopes that,
    like myself, you may have renewed vigour as you walk down
    the incline of life’s hill. My companions here wonder at me.
    In another month I shall have been two years in India,--only
    two months, journeys included, spent in the Hills; all the
    remaining twenty-two in the Plains, with one peculiarly
    unhealthy season, and another of unusually prolonged heat;--and
    yet I am just as strong and well as if I had been just
    sauntering about an English garden all the time....

    ‘I am considered to have a wonderful constitution; and as my
    Laura is my own sister, I always hope that she has one also....

    ‘Take no fears about Batala. Fear is another thing with which
    Missionaries should have nothing to do. It seems to me that
    English folk in India rather change in character. I never
    imagined the effect of being in a land like this, where you
    belong to a conquering race. I must not just say that no one
    seems afraid of anything, for that would be an exaggeration;
    but physical courage seems to come quite naturally. Those
    who might be timid girls in England fearlessly travel at
    night, quite alone--save for the company of wild-looking
    natives,--through lonely mountain-passes, perhaps through
    lightning and storm, with the possibility of meeting cheetahs,
    bears, and snakes. I feel no more afraid of being at Batala,
    with or _without_ Mr. Beutel, than you would of sleeping in a
    London hotel.’

FROM MRS. ELMSLIE TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Oct. 18, 1877._

    ‘I have just returned from seeing our darling off to Batala.
    I know you will be sorry to hear she has gone there again;
    and Miss Wauton, Mr. Clark, and I have tried hard to prevent
    it,--in vain! She thinks it her duty to go, and she makes it
    her pleasure. How we miss her here, I cannot tell you. She is
    beloved and honoured by rich and poor, young and old. She is
    our Sunshine. Her bright fancies, her quick perceptions, her
    wise suggestions, are invaluable to all of us in the Mission.

    ‘While she frets over her want of power in speaking Urdu and
    Panjabi, we are rejoicing, not only in her power of writing for
    the people, but in her wonderful perception of the national
    character, her insight into the weaknesses and also into the
    virtues of our Native friends, Christian and heathen. Her
    loving, unselfish ways are wonderfully soothing and sustaining;
    and life has seemed to me a different thing since God brought
    her to us.

    ‘She has been wonderfully free of fever during the past year;
    and the excitability which used to make me anxious has quite
    passed away. I think she has been looking quite lovely of
    late; the expression of her dear face has been so restful, so
    sweet, so angel-like. She has been a little less thin too, and
    has been wearing more becoming caps and bonnets. We find it
    necessary to look after her in such sublunary things; and many
    a laugh she has at our anxiety about her appearance. You asked
    me to tell you of anything she ever needs; and I think you may
    like to know that she has no intermediate dress for everyday
    use; nothing between the dark green cashmere and a very pale
    kind of Chinese silk.

    ‘A light material of a rather dark grey colour, nicely made up
    with a tunic bodice and belt, would be very useful to her. But
    what would she say to me, if she thought I had written this?
    Another thing is a _feather_ pillow. Such a thing is not to be
    had in India; and her dear head is, I am sure, often tired. We
    put our only one into her gari just now, hoping she would not
    notice it. Off went her coach, and we were so pleased to think
    it was with her, but she found it out before reaching the end
    of the Avenue, and sent it back. If you could send one with a
    coloured cover, it could do either on bed or sofa; and I think
    it might be well to put her name on it in indelible ink, for
    she is so very likely to give away such a desirable thing....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    C. M. T. TO MRS. E----.

                                       ‘BATALA, _Nov. 15, 1877_.

    ‘Where do you think the gay Mission Miss Sahiba has been
    to-day? Never consider mine a monotonous life! Why, I have been
    to a fair, a _mela_, as they call it here. I had never thought
    of a lady’s going to a heathen fair; but two of our Mission
    ladies are here for ten days, to conduct examinations in the
    schools. Our valuable Miss Wauton said that she would like to
    go to the mela. Of course, I would not let her go without a
    lady companion; so we both accompanied Mr. Beutel in his light
    covered cart, plunging over ruts in the kachcha road in fine
    style.

    ‘It was a pretty sight. The weather was delicious. Numbers of
    people in their picturesque costumes were threading their way
    to the village of A----, white being the prevailing colour of
    the men’s costumes, gay red that of the women’s, with a fair
    sprinkling of green, a touch of yellow and blue, and here and
    there a grand display of glittering gold. But we did not go
    just to look at the folk, or to buy fairings either. Emily and
    I went armed with books and pictures, to try and sow a little
    good seed amongst the women, whilst Mr. Beutel and the two
    Catechists preached to the men.

    ‘Mr. Beutel found a shady place for us, and Emily and I tried
    to gather women around us. The men were curious, and wanted to
    see and hear also. We could not secure an exclusively feminine
    audience. It was a Hindu mela; and not many Muhammadans
    seemed to be present, which made matters easier for us.... No
    one objected to hearing as much about the Blessed Saviour as
    we could tell them. Emily speaks Punjabi famously; I have only
    about a thimble-full of it; so I chiefly listened to Emily, and
    held the umbrella to shield her from the sun.

    ‘It was interesting to look at the faces, when Emily, with
    admirable fluency, told the story of the Prodigal Son. At this
    time her audience seemed to be principally Sikh men. They
    crouched upon the ground around us, and listened with hearty
    interest. Nowhere, either from men or women, did we meet with
    any rudeness; nor did any one seem vexed with our describing
    what our Lord had done for us....

    ‘The way in which Batala is opening out is marvellous. I go
    from Zenana to Zenana, and have not by any means finished
    paying all my _first_ visits!! Our Bible-woman thinks that
    about _thirty_ Zenanas are open to her. I doubt that nearly
    so many are open in the large mother-stations of Amritsar or
    Lahore. We ought to have two or three clever, active, strong
    Miss Sahibas here, instead of one elderly lady, who is slow at
    both learning and teaching.

    ‘The two ladies from Amritsar are delighted with Batala. To-day
    is, I think, the anniversary of my arrival in India; so I have
    entered upon my third year! My Missionary life has, on the
    whole, been a very happy one....’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_Dec. 13, 1877._--The overland mail was particularly long in
    arriving this time. I hoped that it would bring me something
    particularly nice; and what should come to-day but your
    dear loving letter, and the first halves of your munificent
    contribution to our schools! How very kind and liberal my
    Laura is! I had been speaking to Mr. Beutel but yesterday of
    those two village schools, which would--from the lowness of
    funds--have been dropped, but for your last handsome gift. I
    was asking Mr. Beutel how far your Rs.55 would carry them on.
    He replied--till past the beginning of March. Beyond that there
    was no provision for them at all.

    ‘How delighted Mr. Beutel will be, on his return from Amritsar,
    to hear that a bountiful supply has come in! I think it
    better to apply your gift to the village schools, than to the
    girls’ schools in Batala. The latter, I think, excite more
    interest, and are not so likely to be in want of funds. These
    poor village schools--since for retrenchment sake they were
    cast off--are like waifs and strays. Government does not care
    for village schools; the School Society cannot afford to
    keep up half the desirable number. Mr. Beutel often receives
    applications for new village schools, and is so much interested
    in them that he and our Catechist have one between them....

    ‘We are to have a grand tamasha here at Christmas-time. Mr.
    Beutel is going to gather, not only the boys of our Batala
    Mission School, but boys from village schools. Of course, this
    is not merely to give enjoyment, though the enjoyment will
    probably be great, but to bring more forcibly before the lads
    the tidings of great gladness. We are a little puzzled about
    the poor little girls; as their cruel and absurd pardah rules
    prevent the possibility of gathering them all together, even in
    the Bible-woman’s house.’

The beginning of 1878 found Miss Tucker at Batala; and though once more
for a short time her work there was to be broken through, the spring of
this same year, as explained earlier, would see an end of the difficulty
which had attended her permanent residence in the place. The letter
to her sister, written on January 5th, is all through a particularly
characteristic one. A large amount will bear quotation.

    ‘The warm dress which you have so very kindly procured for me
    has not yet arrived; but I should not wonder if it were here
    on Monday or Tuesday.... We have been guessing of what colour
    it will be. Mrs. J. and I both fixed upon grey, Mrs. Beutel
    purple, and Mr. Beutel brown. Perhaps after all it will turn
    out to be blue. I hope that I may have it in time to wear at
    B.’s baptism, which I do hope may take place to-morrow week, if
    some clergyman will only come from Amritsar. To this baptism I
    look forward with joyful interest. B.’s white dress is probably
    ready now. We like converts to wear pure white at baptism. I
    intend to give J., the Bible-woman, a new skirt to wear on the
    occasion; and I should like to wear something perfectly fresh
    too....

    ‘I was in a Zenana to-day, which it is always a mental effort
    to visit; but it is very interesting. Instead of talking to the
    women there, I am certain to have one or two men, descendants
    of the famous Guru Nanak, who engross the conversation with me
    almost entirely.

    ‘The religion of the fine old fellow who is the principal
    talker is a regular puzzle. He talks Panjabi; so you may
    imagine how very difficult it is for me to understand him; and
    he _wants to make me understand_. I do my best to do so. This
    is what I gather of his views. S. is _not_ a Muhammadan; he
    says that he is a Hindu; though by his birth he ought to be a
    Sikh. He reverences Guru Nanak,[71] very properly, but thinks
    that Guru Nanak has given religious tenets such as I am certain
    that he never did. We have no reason to suppose that the
    excellent Guru had ever heard of our Saviour. But S. propounds
    doctrines that are amazing from the lips of a _Hindu_. He
    believes in the one true God. He believes that a time of great
    war and trouble will come; and that then Isa Masih (Jesus
    Christ) will come like a flash of lightning, and become the
    Ishar (Divine Lord) of all the Earth.

    ‘I had taken a Gurmukhi Testament with me. Neither of the men
    seemed disposed to read it. I thought that perhaps neither
    of them _could_; so I opened it myself, and chose a pretty
    easy place. I had never read the Gurmukhi character in a
    Zenana before. My old Sikh--for I cannot help considering him
    one--listened very attentively, correcting my pronunciation
    now and then. I did not venture to read much. Then he took
    the Testament himself, and began to read it in regular Sikh
    fashion, in a kind of measured chant, as if it were poetry. It
    was clear that he _could_ read; so I left the precious Volume
    as a loan in that house. May God bless it!...’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Jan. 9, 1878._--Hurrah! the box has come! It is in process of
    being opened.

    ‘Was I not a real witch? Did I not guess a grey dress? What an
    elegant, ladylike, quiet costume! And so warm and comfortable!...
    When I opened my tempting box, I thought of the dear fingers
    which had been employed in putting it up! How very, very
    kind you have been! So many, many thanks! And what loves of
    cushions! You have remembered my weakness for cushions. Soft,
    warm, and so pretty!... I am obliged to go to Amritsar, just for
    a few days, as Mr. Clark and Margaret cannot come here; and we
    must have a serious, prayerful discussion about what is really
    very important, and too complicated for letters.... I see my
    _own_ path clearly. I intend, please God, to stick by Batala.
    My friends will not hear of my staying alone.... May God guide
    us! Batala should NOT be abandoned.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Jan. 23._--I have come back from Amritsar, with nothing
    settled, except that the Beutels are to go to Amritsar about
    the middle of March. The Batala affairs have been much talked
    over.... I earnestly hope that I may not have a third time to
    retreat from Batala, for lack of a companion. We are beating
    about for one, but it seems a hard thing to find, we are
    so undermanned. Every one seems to acknowledge the great
    importance of Batala....

    ‘As for its being unhealthy, I regard it as _more_ healthy than
    either Amritsar or Lahore. The tank is a lovely tank, with no
    bad smell; and when it is very full I can _see_ the current of
    water flowing in on one side and out at the other. Fishes live
    and jump about in it; and birds delight in its bright waters.
    I have a better chance of keeping well through the hot weather
    here than at the bungalow at Amritsar. This house is far better
    built, with thick walls, lofty rooms, etc. But none of my
    Missionary friends at Amritsar will listen to my staying here
    alone. So I must just wait, and see what is God’s Will. He can
    send me a companion, if He sees right to do so.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Feb. 7._--Perhaps you will be glad to hear that all our
    attempts to find a companion for me at Batala have failed.
    Poor ---- must go back to England; it was a mistake ever to
    have sent out so delicate a lady. Miss ---- with whom I was
    in treaty, is going home too. Mrs. ---- has been secured for
    another station.... Perhaps I have been too ready to say to
    myself, “There is no place on earth where I can be so useful
    as at Batala.” I must come down a little, which is wholesome.
    But I have not any sense of defeat; no, thank God,--every visit
    to Batala, it seems as if fresh ground had been gained. The
    waves retreat again and again, while the tide is advancing.... I
    believe that a far better spirit, a spirit of kindness towards
    us, a lessening of prejudice, a most encouraging readiness to
    listen, is now spreading in Batala.[72] Maulvi Z. felt the
    difference. B--n feels the difference. I believe that there
    will be _real_ regret at our leaving Batala. Dear B--n!... I had
    brought for B--n’s children two gay little coverlets.... B--n
    took them and wrapped them round the plump little girls as
    chaddahs. I think that he was quite pleased....

    ‘Oh, did I tell you--I told somebody--about my other Brahmin;
    the elderly man who prays by the side of our tank? I have
    repeatedly spoken to him in my indifferent Panjabi; and I
    spoke to my nephew, R. Bateman, about him, when he was here
    for two days. So on one of the mornings I see my nephew seated
    beside my Brahmin close to the tank, with only a handkerchief
    round his delicate head. His old Auntie soon supplied him with
    an umbrella. R. Bateman gave me afterwards an account of the
    Brahmin’s strange view of religion. One can hardly imagine a
    mind in which the whole visible creation is regarded as God.
    The Brahmin had no idea of _sin_; he had _never seen it_, he
    said,--as if it were a thing like a stone or a tree!

    ‘I saw the poor fellow by the tank yesterday morning, and went
    out and spoke to him. I invited him to come to morning prayers.
    Rather to my surprise, the dear man really did come. He must
    be a wondrously meek Brahmin; for he seated himself on the
    floor amongst the servants, labourers, etc., apparently quite
    forgetful of the tremendous difference between their castes and
    his own. Mr. Beutel makes morning family prayers almost like
    a regular service. He not only reads the Bible, but expounds.
    I had asked him, for my Brahmin’s sake, to make his address
    as Punjabish as possible; so he stuck in Punjabi words where
    he could. My Brahmin looked very attentive. He has a sort of
    childlike readiness to listen, looking full at you when you
    speak; and his face quite brightening as if with pleasure when
    you talk of a Saviour. It must be all so strangely new to him!
    I wonder if he will come again....

    ‘To-day I went to two new houses,--I have such a number to go
    to! When I sang of the Saviour’s invitation, to a Hindu, not
    only did she seem to listen attentively, but I saw her wiping
    moist eyes.

    ‘Margaret and E. Clay intend coming here the day after
    to-morrow for two days.... I must not dwell on parting with
    Margaret.[73] I rejoice in the happiness which I hope she will
    enjoy. She has worked long and very hard.... No doubt there are
    some wise and merciful reasons for sending me away from Batala.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘BATALA, _Feb. 14_.--Another curious phase in my strange,
    strange life! I told you or dear Leila of the idea of the
    Boys’ Orphanage being brought here. That idea was knocked on
    the head; but another is taking such shape that it is likely
    enough that I shall find myself, not exactly planted in, but on
    the top of--and underneath also--_another_ boys’ school! The
    Rev. F. Baring, the Bishop of Durham’s son, has fallen in love
    with Batala, and has set his heart on buying this house from
    Government, for a Boarding-school for Christian Native Boys.

    ‘We have no wish, however, to lose our hold of our beautiful
    palace as a station for the Zenana Mission; so it is likely
    that, if Mr. Baring succeed in buying Anarkalli, he will allow
    our Mission to rent from him, on easy terms, that part of the
    house which we now occupy (by we I mean myself), with the
    addition of the drawing-room and part at least of the grand
    dining-room. Dear, good Babu Singha and his wife and family
    will probably live in another part of the palace, he being
    Under-Superintendent of the School!!

    ‘Here’s a brown and white Happy Family for you! Natives and
    Europeans can hardly chum together; yet it would be absurd
    to have _three_ cooks for us. The present idea is for Mr.
    Baring and me to chum, _till_ I am joined by any young lady.
    Mr. Baring ... is quite happy with me, because of my venerable
    age, which I have found such an advantage in India. He asked
    me to-day to have him as a nephew! How rich I am in these
    dharm-nephews,--to say nothing of the real ones! Now I have
    _five_; one of them being my Afghan, and the others four of
    the most valuable clergymen in the Panjab Mission.[74] Henry,
    my Afghan boy,[75] you must know. He is the youngest of all my
    dharm-nephews.

    ‘Now, what does my sweet Laura say to my plans--and my family?
    I like you to know all my nephews.... I have more nieces even
    than nephews; but you have had enough of my dharm-family for
    the present. Mr. Clark wanted me to take him in too. If he had
    asked to be a _brother_, I should have welcomed him; but I
    really could not have as a nephew one to whom we look up as a
    head-pastor, a kind of bishop! I don’t think that my nephews
    should be more than forty years old.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘AMRITSAR, _Feb. 23, 1878_.--Here I am again in dear old
    Amritsar.... I know that you will be curious to hear how the
    Batala school plan progresses. Well, we are waiting to hear
    what our saintly new Bishop says to it. In a matter of such
    importance it is right to wait for the advice of such an
    Apostolic man.... I wait passively. There is plenty of work for
    me at Amritsar, more than I can do at all properly....

    ‘You see, Laura darling, there are quantities of Aunts in
    England; but an old Auntie is a rare bird in India, and
    therefore in request. I am like a hen with such a large brood!

    ‘Dearest Margaret will be much missed. Many, many, both English
    and Natives, love her.... The Native Christians have quietly
    subscribed for a shawl for her Mother, as a token of their
    grateful love. I think the Natives very affectionate. People
    talk of their being ungrateful; but those who talk so have
    perhaps never _earned_ their gratitude. If you love them, they
    love you! They are very sensitive, both to kindness and to
    unkindness....’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_March 4, 1878._

    ’ ... Missionary work can be just as truly done in England as
    in India; but only a few of the dear workers _can_--without
    forsaking other duties--come out so far as the Panjab. Those
    who come here should be strong also, physically as well as
    mentally suited for the peculiar work and trying climate....

    ‘There are plenty of poor in Amritsar, as well as Batala. I
    went to Mrs. Clark’s yesterday, at the large Mission House.
    In her garden were quantities of poor folk; between three
    and four hundred, counting children. A Catechist preached to
    them first; and then a great number of chapatties, a kind of
    thick flat cake, of very simple make, with a small quantity
    of dal,[76] was handed round and distributed. Adults had two
    chapatties each; children one. Mr. Clark had had a Brahmin to
    cook, for Hindu beggars would not otherwise have liked the
    food, and Muhammadans do not object to a Brahmin’s cooking.
    Station-people subscribe to help in the distribution of this
    food....

    ‘Mr. Clark and my new nephew, Mr. Baring, have gone to Lahore
    to see our new Bishop.[77] He is known to be such a saint,
    that thanksgivings have been offered again and again for his
    appointment.’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                               ‘_March 4, 1878._

    ‘Is poor, dear ---- going to remain in the same house, so full
    to her of sad memories? People feel so differently on this
    subject. Some cling to the spot where they have loved and
    sorrowed,--others fly from it. I should never like to cross
    the threshold of No. 3 again. I am rather pleased that it has
    another number now. There is _no_ 3 Upper Portland Place now.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_March 8._--I can fancy the request to have my letters
    directed to Batala has excited a little curiosity. It really
    seems likely that our comical arrangement will be carried out;
    and that I and my nephew will find ourselves chumming together
    in the midst of a Boys’ School!!

    ‘The Panjab is eager to have a boys’ school for young Christian
    Native gentlemen. The Bishop approves. Our boys are to pay
    Rs.5 a month. This may cover food expenses, but of course not
    the expense of first-class teaching. Batala is to have this,
    the nucleus of a future Panjabi Eton or Harrow (if it please
    God to prosper it), the training-place for our clergymen,
    lawyers, and merchants. I am _not_ to be Matron. I am the sole
    representative--European--of our Ladies’ Zenana Society; but it
    would be strange if I lived in the same building with the dear
    boys, and took no interest in them. It is probable enough that
    I shall find myself playing at Oxford or Cambridge, or giving a
    music-lesson to young Panjabis. A comical idea suggests itself.
    I have a large family of new Nephews and Nieces in India. Am I
    to have a whole troop of brown Grandnephews in perspective!!!
    Don’t fancy them ugly savages. Many will probably be winsome
    enough,--bright, attractive, and courteous.

    ‘Good Babu Singha and his excellent wife will probably be in
    the house, but not chum with Europeans....

    ‘Only imagine my darling Laura dreaming of coming to Egypt to
    meet me!! But I doubt her being up to such a journey; and mine
    would be about as formidable a one. But the dream is one of
    “old,” not “young Love”!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 15._--Now, darling, to answer your objections to my
    spending the hot season at Batala.... I doubt that the risk to
    health from climate will be at all greater at Batala than
    at damp Amritsar. Always remember, love, that at the former
    place I am high above the ground, while at the latter I am on
    it. This makes an immense difference. The large inner room at
    Batala would be cooler than any room here....

    ‘I intend to take my large harmonium to Batala. It may be of
    immense use there. I suppose that I shall have charge of all
    the music; for I do not believe that either my Bhatija (nephew)
    or the Singhas know anything about it. It is of _immense_
    importance. Mr. R. told me yesterday that the Rev. C., perhaps
    the most valuable convert in all the Panjab (he is a Bengali),
    was first brought to Christ by listening to Church music. It
    carried his soul away! I wish that I were more competent for
    the charge; but I must hope and pray that God may bless my
    little attempts to serve Him by music. I am so thankful that
    age has not affected my voice; at least, it does not seem to me
    to have done so.’

The latter fact would tell little. People in advancing years are seldom
able to judge of their own voices. Others, however, speak of the unusual
manner in which Miss Tucker’s voice lasted. It had never been one of much
power or sweetness; but she had always had a sensitive ear, and had sung
well; and to the end she still sang in tune, even when the voice itself
became cracked with age.

One other point in the above may be noted. Miss Tucker was throughout
anxious to make the best of her beloved Batala; and undoubtedly this was
a case of ‘making the best.’ If Amritsar was damp, so also must Batala
have been,--at all events, in the seasons of heavy floods, when it was
often impossible to get about, from the state of the roads. There were
times when Anarkalli was all but a veritable island, in the midst of a
kind of lake. This could hardly be regarded as healthy, while it lasted.

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               _March 28, 1878._

    ‘I am to have my “pen,” about which my dharm-nieces joke a
    great deal. Mera Bhatija[78] is going to cut a slice off his
    magnificent dining-room, to make a cool retreat for the Auntie.
    As a bamboo-screen right across would be very unsightly, if
    seen in its bareness, I am going to have mine covered on both
    sides. Fancy a screen, twenty feet long and six feet high! I
    have been very fortunate in securing a most suitable cloth for
    the cover. A bedroom chintz would have looked quite out of
    character, but I have bought a native cloth, with an Oriental
    pattern, very tapestry-like, old-fashioned conventional flowers
    and birds on a blue ground. It is such a pattern as one might
    see in a picture, and will not destroy the effect of the
    Oriental hall. Every one who saw it at once fixed upon it as
    _the_ thing....

    ‘Emily has ordered eight chairs for my rooms,--I had two of
    my own,--and your beloved Mother knows that I am splendidly
    supplied with cushions; such dainty cushions! I like my rooms
    to look rather nice, as young Panjab may get an extra polish,
    if admitted to an English lady’s drawing-room.’



CHAPTER VII

A.D. 1878

PERSECUTIONS


Once more Miss Tucker settled down in Batala--for life! She would only
leave the place again for her short and well-earned holidays; and at the
last for her passing away.

During many years her home was still to be in the quaint old palace,
described by others as draughty, weird, forlorn, desolate; though she
herself so resolutely looked upon the discomforts of the old building
through rose-tinted glasses. But its dreary aspect was soon to be
changed. The bright faces of Panjabi lads, the merry voices of Panjabi
scholars, were to fill with fresh life those big and empty rooms. ‘The
Baring High School,’ as it was called, had its first existence in the
shape of a small boarding-school at Amritsar, which Mr. Baring decided
to remove to the palace at Batala. About fifteen boys were, in the
beginning, at Anarkalli,--described by A. L. O. E. as ‘our choicest young
Natives, converts or descendants of converts; one is the grandson of a
martyr!’ These boys or their friends paid fees, when they could, which
was not always; and the fees, though perhaps sufficient to cover their
food, were by no means sufficient to cover the cost of a good education.

From the spring of 1878 Mr. Baring resided there, as C.M.S. Honorary
Missionary, with control of the Boys’ School, which indeed had been
started mainly at his own expense; while Babu Singha worked under him as
the Master of the School. Miss Tucker, as she stated in her letters, held
no such post as that of Matron. Her position was entirely independent,
being that of Honorary Zenana Missionary. She paid for her own rooms
and her own board in the Palace, and regarded Zenana visiting, and the
writing of small books for Indian readers, as her prime occupations. But
for Charlotte Tucker to live under the same roof with all those boys, and
not to give them loving interest, not to attempt to teach or influence
them, would have been a sheer impossibility.

Another Boys’ School had been started in Batala, which must not be
confounded with the above. The Baring High School was--and is--distinctly
for the education of Indian Christian boys. The Mission School, known
later as ‘The Plough,’--Miss Tucker recognising strongly that this early
stage of work in Batala could only be compared to a farmer’s ploughing
of his fields,--was for Indian boys, not yet Christian. They received
Christian teaching; and when a boy in the Plough School became a convert,
he was passed on usually to the High School. The very starting of this
‘Plough School’ was due to Miss Tucker’s liberality. Out of her own purse
she generously paid the main part of its expenses.

We must turn again to her letters, with all their curiously fresh,
_young_ eagerness and enjoyment, to realise what her life was at this
time. Charlotte Tucker might call herself ‘old,’--she was very fond of
doing so on every possible occasion; but certainly none of the weight of
age had as yet descended upon her spirits.

TO SIR W. HILL.[79]

                                      ‘BATALA, _April 13, 1878_.

    ‘We hope next Sunday to have a Baptism in our lovely little
    lake; and we have been practising baptismal hymns to sing on
    the joyful occasion. We had some anxiety about our young
    convert.... He went to Amritsar on business; and at the time when
    we expected his return he did not come back.

    ‘What could have happened? Had the dear youth been seized by
    his Muhammadan relations? Such things do happen; the danger is
    a very real one. It is often no easy matter to confess Christ
    in India. Mr. B., who was here, wrote off a note to a Christian
    Maulvi in Amritsar to search for the lad. He did so, and found
    him, and brought him here in safety last night; but not before
    ---- had had a painful time of it in Amritsar.

    ‘I looked with interest on that Christian Maulvi, as he sat in
    our drawing-room, conversing with the English Missionaries....
    _He_ has known well enough to what dangers a convert may be
    exposed; for he has experienced them.... He was the first of
    his family to take up the Cross. His Muhammadan neighbours
    formed the fiendish design of _burning him alive in his house_.
    They piled up his clothes, etc., in an under room. He was
    sleeping above. The Muhammadans set fire to the pile; and the
    clothes, etc., were quickly consumed; but the fire did not,
    as was intended, set the whole house in a blaze. The ceiling
    was charred; that was all; and the Christian slept unharmed,
    watched over by the Eye that never slumbers nor sleeps.’

About this time A. L. O. E. wrote home to another quarter:--

    ‘Yesterday a letter arrived from the schoolmaster of O---- with
    tidings that a lad of fifteen has had the courage to declare
    to his friends his desire to become a Christian. The natural
    result of such a declaration has followed,--the young confessor
    has been beaten. It is no small matter to stand up thus openly
    for Christ in a heathen village. The lad may have to endure
    much. I have seen one who was made to stand in boiling oil by
    his own father, to hinder him from going to the Christians.
    Whether the O---- boy’s conversion has been the result of the
    Good Friday expedition we know not; but whether it be so or
    not, the lad claims our sympathy and interest. We shall try
    to bring him here, to the Batala Boarding-School, where he
    may at least receive food and protection. “It is a refuge,”
    said our Christian Maulvi to me yesterday, glancing up at the
    goodly building raised by the Maharajah Shere Singh, who little
    dreamed that he was preparing in it a home for a Christian
    Natives’ Boarding-School, and also for the ladies of a Zenana
    Mission. I am at present the sole English Agent of the latter
    Society here.’

TO MRS. E----.

                                                ‘_May 10, 1878._

    ‘You may like to hear a little more about our School of young
    Panjabis, as it is rather a curiosity.

    ‘My nephew, Mr. Baring, has succeeded in making these young
    Natives like not only cricket, but gardening. We are to have
    a Horticultural Exhibition in August, when prizes are to be
    given for the best flowers and fruit. Considering that the
    gardens are all on ground _redeemed from the lake this year_,
    it will hardly be expected that the show will equal one in the
    Botanical Gardens. But oh, you should see our glorious pink
    water-lilies! They grow wild in the water, and would be a sight
    anywhere.

    ‘I want the boys also to take to intellectual games. I am much
    pleased at having succeeded in making one nice lad compose two
    Sunday enigmas. I by no means despise this small beginning
    of authorship. Sunday enigmas greatly increase knowledge of
    Scripture, and also help to make the holy day pass pleasantly.
    There is a great deal of singing here also; and such a lovely
    text for our Chapel wall is now almost ready.... Our dear lads
    cannot, as ---- did, give a beautiful pulpit, but I think that
    they take a pride and pleasure in their Chapel.

    ‘It will look rather pretty, I hope, with its white walls,
    and striped pardahs of red and white, and the pretty blue
    ecclesiastical-looking carpet which is promised for it. A
    _Baptismal Register Book_ is ordered. I want a large one! God
    grant that it may fill up rapidly. We shall require a cemetery
    too, and have rather set our hearts on a pretty mango tope[80]
    at a suitable distance from, but not quite in sight of, the
    house.’

       *       *       *       *       *

           ‘BATALA; _my beloved Laura’s Birthday, May 20, 1878_.

    ‘On this day of all days in the year I could not but write to
    my own precious sister, even if I had not such a nice, long,
    interesting letter to thank her for, as I received yesterday....

    ‘Like you, I earnestly hope that the Almighty will preserve
    our dear land from the fearful evil of war. You and I would
    scarcely now care to sing--

        ‘“In the proud battle-fields
        Bounding with glee.”

    ‘How little realisation the juvenile writer had of what war
    is!... _We_ are in another kind of warfare here. This living in
    the First Century, instead of the Nineteenth, seems to give a
    more vivid colour to life. I suspect that I should find some
    Missionary stations so dull after one like this! Such as those
    where year after year passes without an adult baptism being
    witnessed,--hardly expected,--perhaps in some instances hardly
    _hoped_ for!... The fact is that it needs some moral courage in
    the Missionary, as well as all sorts of courage in the Convert,
    to face the storm that may follow a baptism.

    ‘One feels almost ashamed of remaining in such perfect
    security,[81] when encouraging a poor brown brother or sister
    to go up, as it were, to the cannon’s mouth. I was thinking
    to-day what would be the _most_ painful sacrifice which one
    could make. It seemed to me that of the _love and esteem of
    all our dear ones_. And that is just the sacrifice which some
    of our brethren have to make! No wonder that they hesitate,
    weep, shrink from the flood of sorrow before them; but the
    true-hearted ones make the plunge at last. “The love of Christ
    constraineth.”

    ‘The enclosed to ---- will give you an idea of some people’s
    trials; but ever and anon new cases seem to crop up. I expect
    that our fair Batala will be a kind of harbour of refuge
    to hunted ones. Mera Bhatija has been telling me that a
    Missionary--I forget where--is about to have a Baptism, and
    wants to send the new Christian over to us for a week, to let
    the storm blow over a little. Another lad was all packed ready
    to come, but he was caught. He means to take the opportunity of
    escaping when he can....

    ‘Mera Bhatija and I are curious to see the Rainbow glass.
    Perhaps, if it be small, I may show it off in the Zenanas. New
    and curious things give much pleasure. From a little round
    pin-cushion of mine the pretty glass picture of a Cathedral
    came off. I often take it with me, and show it, and say, “This
    is an English Church, in which God is praised every day!” Mere
    prints do not take with the Natives. They like coloured things
    that glitter.’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                                ‘_May 21, 1878._

    ‘It is wonderful to me how an English lady can go without fear
    or danger all about Batala, meeting with so much respect and
    courtesy. I do not feel it the slightest risk. Into narrow
    lanes, up dark staircases,--amongst women, amongst men,--I go
    without the smallest excuse for being alarmed. The people,
    too, generally listen very quietly, though what is said may
    be dead against their views. I make the slender concession
    of calling Muhammad “Mr. Muhammad”--“Muhammad Sahib”--but no
    one could object to so common a title. He is never called
    “Hasrat”--Saint--like Moses and David.’

TO THE SAME.

                                                ‘_May 29, 1878._

    ‘Three new boys have arrived to-day. I am glad that they did
    not come till I had pretty well learned up the first seventeen,
    tacking the right names to the right faces. It took me a good
    while to do this, for I have a difficulty in remembering faces....

    ‘The Natives who send their boys to this upper-class school
    are of course anxious that the lads should be good English
    scholars. At this time of high-pressure education it is
    necessary that they should be so. Mr. Baring drudges day after
    day at the English classes; but it occurred to me that I could
    give a little help in play-hours. I have written an English
    charade for our young Panjabis to recite; and the idea has, I
    think, taken with them. It needed a little management to give
    a separate part to every one of seventeen boys, apportioning
    it to the individual’s capacity. Pretty little P. (five years)
    could not be expected to manage more than a line and a half;
    but it would never have done to have left him out. Into each of
    the three divisions of the charade I have introduced a lively
    chorus, in which all can join. The song that takes most is--

        ‘“I am a brisk and sprightly lad,
        But newly come from sea, sir!”

    ‘This is rather curious, as none of our Punjabis have ever seen
    the sea. The chorus will be first-rate practice for rapid,
    clear pronunciation; for

        ‘“When the boatswain pipes ‘All hands aloft!’”

    would not be an easy line even for some English boys. If the
    lads manage tolerably well, the charade will be great fun. Who
    would ever have dreamt that part of a Missionary’s work should
    be to set boys to learn a lively charade!

    ‘I pity the City boys. I suspect that there is a sort of
    wistful longing raised in many a young heart, “I wish I were
    one of those Christian boys!” If there could be a blind ballot
    of Batala boys, as to whether the whole town should become
    Christian, I am by no means sure whether the votes would not
    be in our favour. I do not mean that the poor, dear lads are
    _converts_, but that they use their eyes and ears,--and think
    that ours must be a very pleasant, genial kind of religion,
    connected in some sort of way with singing, and cricket, and
    kindness.’

Another short English play, written by Miss Tucker for the boys, was
called _The Bee and the Butterfly_. Miss Mulvany, a Missionary, went one
day, somewhere about this time, to Batala for a few hours; and in the
course of her visit she was sent upstairs, while Charlotte Tucker gave
the boys a lesson in acting the said little play. Miss Mulvany has never
lost the impression made upon her by the peals and shouts of laughter
which came up from the merry company below.

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_June 19, 1878._

    ‘I am reading the Granth,[82] the sacred book of the Sikhs.
    Like the Koran, it is very long,--I think more than 600 quarto
    pages,--and with an immense deal of repetition in it. But it
    leaves on the mind a very different impression from the Koran.
    As far as I have read, it is wonderfully pure and spiritual. If
    you could substitute the name “Almighty” for “Hari,” and “Lord
    Jesus” for “Guru,”[83] it might almost seem the composition
    of hermits in the early centuries, except that celibacy is
    not enjoined. Woman seems to be given her proper place. Many
    exhortations are addressed to women....

    ‘There is something touching in the longing--the
    yearning--after God,--the intense love of His Name! The Sikh
    idea of God is not that of the Hindus, with their fiend-like
    deities. The Creator is light, and goodness, and happiness.
    There is indeed the ridiculous idea of people having to pass
    through 840,000 states of existence,--unless the probation be
    shortened by meditation, purity, and the repetition of God’s
    name,--but this fearful number of births is regarded as very
    tiresome indeed.

    ‘One might call the Granth “the book of yearning,” and I feel
    humiliated that I, with Gospel light, should in spiritual
    contemplation and longing for closest communion with the Deity
    come so far behind these poor Sikhs. Unfortunately, the Sikh
    religion has been so much corrupted that it is almost dying
    out. I suppose that it was too pure to please the Enemy;
    he knew that the Granth would offer no strong opposition to
    the Bible. Here, in Batala, his stronghold seems to me to be
    Muhammadanism. It shocks me to find how that invention of
    Satan darkens the moral sense. What would be thought sin in
    another, is by some openly defended as no sin _if committed by
    Muhammad_!!

    ‘The Muhammadans too are so ready to stand up for their false
    faith; far more inclined to defend it than the Hindus are to
    defend theirs. Mera Bhatija was saying to-day that no book has
    been written against Christianity by a Hindu. I have myself,
    however, seen a very bitter article in a paper. But, generally
    speaking, the Muhammadans seem to be much sterner opponents of
    Truth than the Hindus. I feel it in the Zenanas.

    ‘Now, my own Laura, I am going to my long task of reading
    the Granth. It puts me on vantage-ground when I can tell the
    Natives that I have read their Scriptures.’

The High School was not to have broken up before the middle of August;
but circumstances caused Mr. Baring to fix upon a fortnight earlier,
and this decided Miss Tucker to go to Amritsar on July 28. She at once
planned that two of the hard-worked ladies at the Mission bungalow should
then take their holiday, while she remained as a companion to the third.
It does not appear that she had any idea of the Hills for herself. No
doubt the change to Amritsar would mean pleasure, if not rest; and
she was still able to speak of herself as ‘wonderfully well’; but the
unselfish thought for every one else, rather than of her own needs, is
not the less remarkable.

To one of her correspondents she wrote from Batala on the 6th of July:
‘You know that I am the only Englishwoman within twenty miles. Now and
then friends pass a night here; but in the hot weather not often....
The 29th will, if I stay till then, complete sixteen weeks of steady
residence, during which I have only twice seen English ladies,--for less
than twenty-four hours. I doubt whether any European has ever stopped
in Batala so long before without a single night’s absence.... Once from
Friday evening to Monday morning I saw no white face. There is a nice
brown lady in the house.’[84]

At Amritsar she found herself as usual in the midst of engrossing
interests. Fresh Baptisms were taking place; and about these she wrote to
Mrs. Hamilton on the 21st of August, describing one just past:--

    ‘There was a sweet-looking woman, D., a convert from Hinduism,
    and her two dear little girls. Her husband, who is not brave
    enough, or perhaps not sufficiently led towards Christianity,
    to follow her example, saw her depart for church. “You know
    that she is going to be baptized,” said Emily. “Yes, yes,”
    was the reply. “You must be kind to her, and receive her
    back.” The man made no objection,--even to his two children
    being baptized; though he had formerly put obstacles in the
    way. There was a fourth, a convert from Muhammadanism, T.,
    whose baptism was the most interesting of all.... The clergyman
    subjected the poor girl to the ordeal of a severe examination.
    She had never probably spoken to an Englishman before; and it
    would have been no wonder had she flinched or faltered. But
    she, who has already been beaten at home for Christ’s sake,
    showed no sign of weakness. Her answers came clear and firm.
    “Is it because of Miss Wauton’s speaking that you come?” “No,
    it is because of my heart’s speaking.”

    ‘The miseries and persecutions that may be coming upon her were
    almost, I think, _too_ faithfully set before her. “If they were
    even to kill me, as they did M.’s father, what fear?” said the
    dauntless girl....

    ‘I remarked to ----, on my return from the baptism, that I
    thought that the Indian women were braver than the men. He
    quite agreed; he knows that _he_ dare not come forward like D.
    and T. Our noble N. is, we believe, a Christian at heart, and
    we know other men of whom we think that the same might be said,
    but they linger and linger, and _dare_ not yet ask for baptism.
    Here this year in Amritsar we have had five women, and last
    year two, who, in the face of what we might have considered
    almost insurmountable obstacles, have bravely confessed Christ
    in baptism. It must be much harder for them than for the men,
    but they seem to have more courage, or more faith.’

Several weeks later another reference in home-letters is found to
the brave girl, mentioned above: ‘By last accounts dear T. is holding
out nobly. We are not allowed to see her; but I hear that one or more
Maulvis[85] have been brought to try to argue the young maiden out of her
faith. But she tells them that they may read to her all day long, but
they never will change her. They say that Christianity is ‘written on her
heart,’--what a testimony from Muhammadans!--and that the ladies must
have bewitched her. It reminds me of Lady Jane Grey in prison; for dear
T. _is_ a prisoner.’

Plans did not fit in as Miss Tucker had intended. Once more she found
herself called upon to act escort to a sick Missionary, who had to go
to the Hills, and was not well enough to travel alone. Miss Wauton
could not just then be spared from Amritsar, and she appealed to the
‘Auntie,’ whose readiness to help in any emergency was by this time well
understood. ‘It seems as if by some fatality I must go each year to
Dalhousie,’ Charlotte Tucker said in one letter, adding, ‘But I hope to
return back in a few days.’ Then, in allusion to a scheme that she should
join her nephew at Murree in September, ‘I do not propose staying long.
After sixteen weeks of unbroken residence at Batala, behold me rushing up
and down hills like a comet.’

TO MISS L.V. TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Aug. 14, 1878._

    ‘We are to have a Confirmation here on the 3rd of November.
    I should be much tempted to come up from Batala to witness
    it, particularly if any Batala Christians are confirmed. I am
    afraid that ----‘s wife will shrink from breaking pardah,--that
    nonsensical pardah, which is a real snare to some baptized
    bibis.... There is one dear baptized young bride in Batala, whom
    I have not seen, but hope to search out on my return. The brave
    girl dared to be baptized in Amritsar, but was then carried off
    by her husband to Batala, and we know not in what part she is.
    She is likely to be having a hard time of it, but it is quite
    right in her to be with her husband....’

Writing home, she described drolly her absence from Batala as--‘this
strange episode of my life;--seven weeks acting Superintendent of the
Orphanage,--three of those weeks sole Missionary at Amritsar,--and--oh,
bathos! ten days an ayah--for I had none other.’ Still her health seemed
to keep good. She could stand the plains in hot weather as scarcely
another Missionary was able to do. While one and another broke down, and
had to be off to the Hills, Miss Tucker kept about, much the same as
usual, filling up as far as possible the gaps left by others.

She was full of ardent sympathy at this time for certain converts from
Muhammadanism, undergoing severe persecutions, and was much distressed at
the difficulty of doing anything for them. She even formed a daring plan
for carrying off one brave young girl from her relatives, and taking her
to a safe distance; and Miss Tucker was with difficulty dissuaded from
a scheme which others of longer experience knew too well might lead to
serious complications.

Another, a wife, and also her daughter, were at this time in frequent
peril, because they had become Christians in heart, and were earnestly
desiring Baptism. The husband, a Muhammadan, would sometimes sit between
the two, sharpening a knife, and threatening to stab them. Once he
violently seized the daughter by her throat. Life with them must have
been one long unhappiness; yet Miss Tucker, after an interview with the
poor wife, could describe her as looking ‘_worn_, but so bright and
brave.’

In September she was at Murree, helping to nurse her niece, and to take
care of the tiny baby,--which latter occupation, she wrote, was ‘more
formidable to an old maiden Aunt than conversing in Urdu with a learned
Maulvi, or doing the agreeable to a Rajah, would be.’

Of the place itself she said: ‘Murree is not a cheering place to a
Missionary.... One sees numbers of Natives; but how is one to tell the glad
tidings? I feel like a doctor with multitudes of sick around him,--and he
cannot get at his medicine-chest. I have brought Urdu religious books; I
find no good opportunity of giving even one away.’

October saw her once more in the spot where she loved to be, writing
joyously home--

    ‘Here I am, in my own Station again, and glad to be back. I
    find that our little Christian flock has been increasing in
    a very encouraging way during my absence. There was a nice
    little round of visits to pay to Christian families.[86] Those
    who had been last baptized I had never seen before to my
    knowledge. A man of some forty or fifty years of age, employed
    in the Government ----, who has been thinking on the subject of
    religion for about nine years. For about two years he has been
    going to some quiet place, when he had leisure, to weep and
    pray. He appears now to be a very earnest and bold Christian.
    At his own desire he was baptized in the middle of the city, in
    a room set apart in the school.’

Very soon after Miss Tucker’s return came the death of a little Christian
Native baby; and the quiet Christian funeral was in marked contrast with
the wild wailings usual at Muhammadan funerals,--though some Muhammadan
lamentings were heard from one visitor present.

    ‘We decked the little sleeping form with flowers; a rose was
    placed in each hand, a fragrant white Cross on the breast.... I
    attended the funeral; so did a good band of Native Christians,
    including our schoolboys. The cemetery was a Muhammadan one.
    We must buy one for ourselves, as we are, thank God, a growing
    body. I hope that in another month we may number fifty baptized
    persons in Batala; and I have lately been writing out the
    heading for a Subscription for a _Church_ at our dear Batala.
    We have now only schoolrooms turned into Chapels. My list is to
    lie on our table for visitors to see. Perhaps it will be one or
    two years before we have collected enough; and by that time,
    please God, the flock may have doubled or quadrupled.

    ‘It will be so--and more--if we go on at the rate at which the
    Church has been growing. The bringing the Boys’ School here has
    been a grand thing. The dear fellows, on the whole, set such a
    nice example, and they seem so happy.

    ‘_Nov. 4, 1878._--I have come to Amritsar for a few days, for
    the Confirmation, and had the pleasure of receiving your dear
    letter of October 1st yesterday.... How can beloved St. George
    send me such bad advice? I like his example better than his
    counsel. What did _he_ do in time of trouble? Stick to his post
    like a Tucker! Those of our Missionary family, with whom I have
    spoken on the subject,[87] all agree with me that we should
    never desert our flocks. What sort of army would that be, in
    which all the officers ran away at sight of an enemy?... But take
    no thought about me, dear one. Unless we meet with serious
    reverses in Afghanistan, I do not see danger of a rising,
    especially in the Panjab, where, on the whole, I think that we
    are considered tolerable rulers.

    ‘And if there _were_ troubles, I suspect that we Missionaries
    would run a better chance than other Europeans, we have such
    numbers of friends amongst the heathen.... Just fancy--our
    Bible-woman and her husband are actually collecting money from
    Hindus and Muhammadans for our Church! A poor woman gave some
    barley. If you were to hear all the polite little speeches, and
    see all the smiles that pass between Missionary and Natives,
    you would not expect us to be afraid. A Missionary in any case
    should have nothing to do with fear,--it is dishonouring to the
    Master.

    ‘My love, how can you think of sending me another dress for
    winter? Do you think me so careless and extravagant as to
    have worn out the graceful Grey already? I never take it into
    a duli; I keep my faithful Green for such rough work. But if
    a new winter dress is actually in hand, let me send you even
    before seeing it a thousand thanks for it.’

FROM AN INDIAN CHRISTIAN, CONVERT FROM MUHAMMADANISM, 1878

    ‘MY DEAR MISS TUCKER,--I received your kind letter, dated 13th
    instant, and the newspaper yesterday. I am very thankful to
    you. I read it many times, and it truly made me brave. I like
    the piece of poetry you quoted very much. Every day I pray to
    God to lead me in the right way. I think my prayer is heard,
    for I do not feel so lonely as I did at first; but I get
    fever nearly every day. I had gone over to Lahore on Friday,
    and stayed there for Saturday and Sunday.... I remember you in
    my prayers, and I hope you do the same. Now I will not feel
    lonely. Please do not be anxious....’

C. M. T. TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_Nov. 8._--If I were not a Mission Miss Sahiba, who should
    never complain, I might give a groan or a grumble to the mice
    and rats. They get into my almira, and what is even worse,
    into my harmonium. I had a tin plate made for the pedal part,
    expressly to keep creatures out; but they managed to pass it.
    I have now had a second large one made, and hope that it may
    prove more effectual. The creatures have bitten almost all
    the red Persian away; to-day I found lumps of wadding in my
    harmonium. “How could they have come there?” I asked of my
    sharp kahar, V. I suspected the rats, but did not know where
    they could have got the wadding from,--when V. suggested the
    beautiful padded cover of my harmonium. Sure enough, the rogues
    had bitten holes in that, and pulled out wadding to stuff
    into my harmonium, doubtless to make a comfortable nest for a
    family of young mice or rats. I tried a Batala trap; it was of
    no use: I have bought an Amritsar one, and Mera Bhatija has
    bought another; but the rats, I fear, will not be much thinned
    in numbers. We try to get a weasel, but have not succeeded yet.
    But things might have been much worse. The rats never try to
    eat _us_!’

    ‘_Nov. 14._--I do not think that I told you of two Christian
    fakirs, to whom I was introduced at Amritsar. They were very
    badly clothed, fakir-like, but--especially one of them--had
    pleasing, sensible faces. I suppose that they wander about, and
    lead a kind of John the Baptist life. How curious such a style
    of Christian would appear in old England!’

    ‘_Nov. 20._--I have been wanting--wanting--my English letters,
    expecting them these four days. At last here they are, and such
    nice dear ones....

    ‘I shall much like to hear what you think of my sweet Margaret.
    I doubt whether she will be in good looks, she has been so
    sorely tried by her dear Mother’s illness, and the struggle in
    her own mind,--longing to come to our help, yet unable to do
    so! I feel for her.

    ‘I think that dear Emily benefited little or not at all by her
    trip to the Hills. She _ought_ to go home in the spring,--after
    more than six years’ work,--so ought Miss Fuller; but neither
    can leave till they fairly break down; for there is no one to
    take their place....

    ‘You think, love, that by September 4th “the most dangerous
    season was over.” Far from it! September is, I think, the most
    dangerous month in all the year in the Panjab. Very hot, and
    full of fever. My hardest pull up-hill since I came to India
    was, I think, in September. You have had the heat then for so
    long, you have less vigour, and the air is so unwholesome.
    Sickness all around.

    ‘How good you are to send me another dress! My graceful Grey
    still looks very well. I consider it rather a company dress,
    and have my Green for the Zenanas, which are sometimes _so_
    dirty! I am wearing it now, for the weather is becoming very
    cold. It is rather amusing to see our Panjabis come in for
    Morning Prayers, about sunrise on a sharp morning. There is P.
    with a red comforter round _head_ and neck; J. is wrapped in
    his white blanket. Poor Babu Singha, with a cold of course,
    is wondering how the big room below is ever to be kept warm.
    Mera Bhatija and I are going to change our drawing-room. The
    northern room is far the best in summer; but in winter we
    escape to the southern, and what was our guest-room becomes our
    sitting-room. There is actually a fireplace in it!--and the
    sunbeams stream in....

    ‘Instead of spending the long winter evenings in solitary
    grandeur upstairs, I now come down and make one of the
    cheerful party in the schoolroom. It is much less distracting
    to be amongst a score of boys than you would suppose. I and
    some of them have been trying the vitre-manie (?) for our
    Chapel-window. Yesterday I brought down my chess-board and
    challenged the boys, and fought P., R., and I. C., one after
    the other....

    ‘On Sunday evening we sing hymns for ever so long together,
    just like one huge family. The boys never seem to quarrel, or
    say one spiteful word of each other. We have just had two new
    boys; one is an Afghan; so we shall have the sons of Christian,
    Muhammadan, Hindu, and Afghan, (by race,) parents all together.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Dec. 13, 1878._

    ‘This evening as Mera Bhatija has gone to Amritsar, I asked
    three of our lads to tea.... After tea I taught the lads “Cross
    Questions and Crooked Answers,” and showed them my splendid
    bubbles and my chatelaine, which were greatly admired, and my
    photograph-book, a great treasure to me. But what gave perhaps
    more amusement than anything was the Beaconsfield handkerchief.
    I was so glad to get some photos at last.... My visits in the
    city were interesting. Dear B--n’s troubles have re-opened his
    mother’s Zenana to me. She even paid me a visit here. I do not
    see any inclination in her to become a Christian, however;
    she says that I shall go to Heaven my way, and she hers. I
    suggested the disagreeableness of 840,000 transmigrations;
    but she did not seem troubled. Perhaps she hopes that she has
    passed through a few hundreds of millions already.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_Dec. 23, 1878._--“I shall go to rest to-night nestling under
    my Laura’s love, and I shall rise very early to thank her,”
    was my thought last night, as I got into my nice comfortable
    bed, with her soft, light, warm quilt above me. And here I am
    sitting by my blazing wood fire, long ere dawn, with that same
    quilt like a shawl round my shoulders,--so comfy! Luxurious
    Char! But, after all, I have not begun my thanks, and where am
    I to end them?

    ‘Your wonderfully packed parcel reached me in perfect safety
    yesterday. It was something like a nut, for it was rather
    difficult to get at the kernel. So much careful stitching by
    dear fingers. At last, however, the beautifully warm skirt and
    quilt, and most exquisite cards, were fully displayed to view.
    A thousand, thousand thanks! I have so _many_ things, such
    goodly gifts, to remember my Laura by!...

    ‘Our Christmas festivities have already begun. Our house is
    pretty full with Native friends. Perhaps the most interesting
    is dear B., the once Muhammadan wife of a Christian Catechist,
    and mother of Christian children, who was so sturdily bigoted
    that she held out for thirteen years, before she would give
    herself to the Saviour. But then she did so in her honest way.
    B. was never a hypocrite; we respected her when she vexed us.
    It was something for her to remain with her husband; for,
    by Muhammadan law, baptism of husband or wife constitutes
    divorce. Mera Bhatija told me of a curious case, which excited
    much interest,--to Europeans it would excite much surprise.
    A Muhammadan, who had, I suppose, read Christian books, was
    travelling with some other Muhammadans, and was imprudent
    enough to say that Muhammad wrought no miracles, and expressed
    doubts as to his being really a prophet. The poor man happened
    to have a rich wife, who, we may believe, did not care for
    him. To _speak against_ the Prophet is enough to constitute a
    divorce! The companions of the man did not let their chance
    go of half ruining him. The case was brought into Court, and
    an English judge was obliged to give a verdict against the
    unfortunate fellow, who had expressed an honest opinion. He
    lost his wife and her rich dowry....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘AMRITSAR, _Dec. 28, 1878_.--I am sitting with my sweet Laura’s
    delicious quilt wrapped closely round my shoulders, for it
    is warmer than a shawl; and I am up before the fire-lighting
    period. Not being at home, I do not know how to light the fire
    myself.

    ‘Our Christmas at Batala went off beautifully, and has, I
    think, left a feeling of thankfulness on both Mera Bhatija’s
    mind and my own. The following day we both came to Amritsar.
    Yesterday was the grand opening of the Alexandra School. Mr.
    Clark asked me to write an account of it for his report. I
    did not like the task; it makes one feel so penny-a-linerish;
    and one is afraid of writing to please this or that person,
    etc.; but I could not well refuse, so I have been scribbling
    something in pencil in the cold, which I mean to submit to dear
    Emily’s criticism....

    ‘Oh, I must tell you what a boon your Beaconsfield handkerchief
    is! It gave much amusement at Batala, both to Europeans and
    Natives; it is giving much here at Amritsar. I am engaged to
    dine with the Clarks this evening; so I dare say that the good
    Bishop, Archdeacon, and all will have a laugh over my puzzle.
    On Monday I am to go to Lahore, and sleep a night at Government
    House. I mean to take my handkerchief with me....

    ‘Batala will present rather a contrast to bustling Amritsar and
    Lahore. When I return, there will probably be no European but
    myself there for days, as Mera Bhatija must be absent at the
    Conference till the 6th.’

So ended the third year of Miss Tucker’s life in India. She had now
thoroughly settled down to her own especial work in Batala.



CHAPTER VIII

A.D. 1878-1879

EARLY CHRISTIAN DAYS IN THE 19TH CENTURY


It is clear that Charlotte Tucker was profoundly impressed with the sense
of living, as she said, in the First Century, instead of the Nineteenth.
In another letter, soon to be quoted, she describes her Batala experience
as ‘being carried back to the days of the Apostles.’

For in Batala the complex conditions of modern life, the intricacies
of Nineteenth Century Christianity, were absent. Here in England it is
more or less the correct thing to be in some measure religious, to be at
least nominally a Christian. People are on the whole expected to go to
Church,--or, if Dissenters, just as much to go to Chapel,--and though the
going to Church, as a matter of course, does not at all indicate the lack
of deeper reasons, of purer motives underlying, it does make the going a
very easy matter. So, also, a mother takes her little one to Church for
Baptism, again almost as a matter of course; often indeed with heartfelt
prayer and longing, but with no question of danger involved in the act.
It is a perfectly simple thing to do. More attention would in fact be
drawn by _not_ doing it than by doing it.

At Batala, as in thousands of other Heathen and Muhammadan cities, things
are widely different. Sharp lines of demarcation are drawn between the
Christian and the non-Christian,--between the Church and the heathen
world around. It was so most markedly when Charlotte Tucker lived in
Batala. There, as in Early Christian days, was the great mass of those
who neither knew nor cared for the Names of God and Christ; and in their
midst was the Infant Church, a tiny body of brave men and women, who had
come out from amongst the Heathen and Muhammadans, to be known as the
servants of Christ.[88]

And the step which led from the one to the other stood clear and defined,
with no possibility of a mistake. The marching-orders which our Lord and
Master issued were not _only_ to go forth and teach. Here is the fuller
version: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach’ (_Rev. Ver._ ‘make disciples of’)
‘all nations, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON,
AND OF THE HOLY GHOST; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you.’

That was the great order given; that was the command which had to be
obeyed, whether at Batala or elsewhere. And however easy a matter Baptism
in England may be, it is no easy matter in the Panjab for Converts
from Heathenism or from Muhammadanism. It is a step of overwhelming
importance. It means leaving the world of idolatry, ignorance,
superstition, behind, and entering the Church of Christ. It also means
too often leaving all things earthly that have most been loved. It means
persecution, beating, cruelty, hard words and harsher deeds. It means
wives separated from husbands, mothers separated from children, loss of
money, loss of the means of livelihood, danger not seldom to life itself.
It is the passing of the Rubicon.

Again, in that Infant Church at Batala,--or, one may equally say, in the
Church at Amritsar, and throughout the Panjab,--we find reproduced the
various elements which existed in Early Church days. There are strong
Christians and weak Christians; there are whole-hearted ones and wavering
ones; there are the true and the false. What wonder?--when the very
foundation-stones of the Church of Christ included a Judas. Wheat and
tares will grow together until the end; and bad fish as well as good will
be caught in the net. The Church planted in a new place is seldom long
without her Demas, who loves this present heathen world, and goes back to
it again.

But for one who is unfaithful, for one who turns his back upon the Light,
after seeming to be indeed a Convert, there are many who stand firm,
persevering to the end, despite difficulties, discouragements, and bitter
oppositions. These brave brown brothers and sisters of ours, who are
still in the fires of persecution, from which England has been so long
delivered, deserve our warmest sympathy.

In giving the story of Charlotte Tucker, and of the growth of the Church
at Batala, with which she was so intimately associated, it is of very
real importance to show frankly both sides of the picture,--the dark
side, as well as the bright; the cloudy as well as the sunshiny. There
were of course disappointments as well as encouragements. There were
goings backward as well as pressings forward. Missionary life is no
more one of unbroken success, even at its best, than any other kind of
hard-working life, with a high aim before it; and to present it as such,
by omitting to describe failure side by side with success, would--and
often does--produce only a sense of unreality. The story of the Church
throughout the ages has always been a chequered tale.

Hard as Miss Tucker toiled, she had not the delight of seeing many
individuals won to Christianity through her own efforts. Results of what
she did, still more of what she was, were visible enough to others,--but
rather in the shape of a general and widespread influence than in the
shape of conversions directly due to her labours. The worth of any work
can never be truly gauged by the amount of success which may appear to
follow within a given time; and to measure the extent or the effects of
her loving influence, alike among younger Missionaries and among Indian
Christians, especially among the boys in the Baring High School, is
utterly impossible.

No less impossible is it to measure the results of her years of toilsome
work in Zenanas. Some here are disposed to assert freely that she
accomplished very little. One Native Christian, sending a few slight
memoranda, goes so far as to say: ‘I feel sorry to have to add that she
signally failed as a Missionary, if by that term is meant the preaching
of the Gospel to the heathen of India.’ A very great deal more than mere
preaching is, of course, meant by the term; but in any case this would
be a most rash judgment for any man to venture to pass, were he English
or Indian. No _man_ could have entrance into the scores upon scores of
Zenanas which she visited, to test for himself the effects of her work;
and we all know what hearsay evidence is worth. Even if he could find
entrance, he would have no Divine power to see into the hearts of the
people there. The fact that she herself saw few results says nothing; for
the best results are often slowest in appearing. Judging from apparent
results is always a defective and a shallow proceeding.

From beginning to end she never so far conquered the languages of North
India as to speak them with ease. Grammar and construction she might
and did to a considerable extent master, but colloquial fluency was not
in her case attainable. Still, though she never became actually fluent,
it is a matter of unquestionable fact that she did both understand and
make herself understood, despite occasional verbal mistakes. There are
testimonies from all sides which abundantly prove this.

Her mode of working in Zenanas was peculiar to herself; and though she
always held to it, she did not put it forward as a model for every one
else to imitate. She made no attempt at systematic instruction, probably
feeling her knowledge of the languages unequal to the task; and this in
itself was a drawback. ‘In point of fact,’ as one says who was associated
with her, ‘she never considered herself as a teacher, but rather, like
St. John the Baptist, as a “voice crying in the wilderness.” Her visits
were almost always short,’--though to this rule there were evidently
exceptions,--‘she seems to have gone in, greeted the people, given her
message, and taken courteous leave. She always deprecated any attempt
to judge of her work by the number of Zenanas on her visiting list; and
indeed it would not be fair to do so, as she did not undertake regular
teaching in them.’

Zenana-visiting was only one portion of her work; regarded by herself
as the more important portion, but not necessarily the more important
because she thought so. We ourselves are poor judges of the comparative
worth of the different things which we have to do. She was also a warm
and true friend to the Indian Christians, entering into their trials and
difficulties, throwing herself into their interests, doing her utmost
to help them onward, to lift them upward. In this direction she had a
remarkable degree of influence; and in her intercourse with them she was
absolutely without pride, she was full of kindliness, consideration, and
affection.

With the schoolboys, as already seen, she was in her element. The
old spirit of fun, the old devotion to games, were invaluable here;
neither having faded with increasing age. One of her dharm-nephews, Dr.
Weitbrecht, writing about the High School in Batala, says:--

    ‘From this time for years to come Miss Tucker was a mainstay of
    the Boys’ Boarding School, teaching the elder boys the English
    language and history, taking a motherly interest in all their
    pursuits, writing for them Batala School songs, inviting them
    in the evenings to little social entertainments, enlivened by
    parlour games; visiting the sick, comforting the home-sick
    new boy; mothering the young convert, who had been sent to
    Batala not less for spiritual shelter than for instruction;
    and upholding the hands of workers in the School and Mission
    generally; besides carrying on without fail her regular
    visits to the town and villages, and her literary work for
    publication, both in England and India.’

One of the former schoolboys, now a Native surgeon in India, Dr. I. U.
Nasir, writes on the same subject:--

    ‘Her good influence on the young minds cannot be overrated. Her
    Bible Classes were eagerly looked for and well attended,--it
    may be, for the sake of lozenges and bits of cake which she
    distributed at the end, but also for the interest she made
    everybody feel in the meeting. She would begin by asking the
    verse and subject of the morning sermon, and the various points
    of interest worth remembering. This led to the habit of closely
    attending to the sermon.... Then every one had a choice of a hymn
    to be practised for the evening services of the week; a short
    verse of the Bible was repeated; and Sunday enigmas from the
    Bible were solved.’

And also with reference to social week-day evenings:--

    ‘She amused us with stories, comic songs, historical anecdotes,
    making anagrams, giving riddles to be solved, and several
    amusements of the kind. Many an evening was spent in Miss
    Tucker’s drawing-room, playing various indoor games, of which
    chess and word-making and word-taking were her favourites. In
    the latter game she would consider it a great triumph to have
    made such long words as “Jerusalem artichoke.” But she took
    particular delight in showing her old scrap-album to any one
    who desired to see it. Many an interesting incident was dropped
    in connection with her relatives, as she turned leaf after leaf
    with her old slender fingers. She never got tired of this. Then
    she would select good scenes from Shakespeare, whom she called
    “The Poet of Conscience,” and give us lessons in recitation and
    acting.’

Charlotte Tucker had a profound belief in the good _moral_ influence of
Shakespeare. She is said to have greatly wished that the Indians could
have the benefit of Shakespeare translated into their Native languages.

In addition to the Baring School boys, she had a never-failing interest
in the lads of the Mission Plough School, started mainly by herself, and
afterwards endowed by her with the sum of £50 a year. She constantly
visited there, and taught the scholars, knowing many of the older boys
by name, and asking them from time to time to pay her Sunday afternoon
visits.

Moreover, outside all these occupations, A. L. O. E. was still an
Author. For some years, indeed, after her arrival in India she wrote for
India only, and not especially for England. When, however, it became
gradually clear that books suitable for Indian readers were not adapted
for England, she found time to accomplish separate volumes for home
publication. Some would say that her writings for the Native population
of Hindustan are by far the most important part of her whole Missionary
work. By her pen she could reach thousands, even tens of thousands,
where by her voice she could reach at most only dozens. Her tiny Indian
booklets, published by the Christian Literature Society at very low
prices, are among the most widely selling of the Society’s productions.

It was only by an exceedingly systematic mode of life and endless toil
that Miss Tucker could get through what she did. She was always up
very early,--at 6 A.M. in winter, at 4½ or 5 A.M. in summer,--and her
day was carefully apportioned out. Six weeks’ holiday in the year was
permitted by the Society under which she worked, and she would seldom
take more than a month of this in the hottest weather, that she might be
able to get away for a few days at some other time, without infringing
on her full ten months and a half of work. Often part of her so-called
holiday was spent in looking after or in acting as companion to somebody
else,--or in undertaking work during the absence of other Missionaries
from their posts. The marvel is, not that after a few years she should
have grown to look older than she was, but that her health could in any
degree have stood so great and constant a strain. Few people in the prime
of life could have done and endured what she did and endured in the
evening of her days.

Very early after her arrival in India, as stated in a previous chapter,
the Natives seemed disposed to credit Miss Tucker with an astonishing
number of years; but too much must not be thought of this. It arose from
the fact that a grey-haired English lady out there is a complete _rara
avis_--a sight seldom to be seen. Miss Wauton’s first impressions of her,
jotted down as follows, do not give the impression of a very old lady,
dearly as Charlotte Tucker loved to describe herself in those terms:
‘Tall, slight, with lofty brow, sparkling eye, face constantly beaming
with love and intelligence; genius in every look; figure frail and
fairy-like, agile and graceful; very brisk movements and light tread.’
Hardly like a hundred years old! After a few years had passed she did no
doubt age rapidly.

Mention has several times been made of Miss Tucker’s readiness to give;
and when one recalls the abounding generosity of her father, not to speak
of the story of her grandmother on the Boswell side giving away to a
beggar the last coin in the house, one can hardly be surprised at the
generous tendencies of Charlotte Tucker’s character. She had the gift of
liberality by inheritance; and she cultivated her gift as a matter of
principle. Giving was at all times a real delight to her. A quotation on
this subject from Mr. Beutel may well come in here:--

    ‘Miss Tucker was always very liberal. Wheresoever there was
    need or distress that she heard of, she gave substantial help
    immediately. I well remember, for instance, after I had taken
    over charge of the Boys’ Orphanage, one time there were between
    thirty and forty boys to be fed and clothed, and no money left
    in hand. As soon as Miss Tucker heard of it, she immediately
    sent me £10; and I must confess such a blessing rested on that
    money, that I never came into similar straits during the twelve
    years that I had charge of the Boys’ Orphanage.

    ‘And again, before we settled at Clarkabad, there was a great
    scarcity of grain, in consequence of the failure of crops among
    the Zamindars. They had very little to eat, and no seed-corn to
    sow. All wanted some help, and I had no money in hand.... When
    Miss Tucker heard of it, immediately she sent us Rs.300; and
    our greatest need was at an end.

    ‘Again, in 1889, when a dear friend of mine, Pastor and Teacher
    in the United States of North America, with whom I had come
    out to India in 1869, had decided to return to India as a
    Missionary, in order to join and to help me in the multifarious
    work at Clarkabad, and he found that the money in hand was
    insufficient to pay for his and his family’s voyage from
    Germany, and Miss Tucker heard of it, she immediately sent
    me £100, with the direction to forward that sum to him, on
    condition that he had not left Germany again for America. This,
    however, had already taken place in the meantime, and the money
    was returned to her.

    ‘Again, in 1892, after we had returned to Kotgur, where there
    was a great scarcity in the district, and many poor people had
    hardly one meal a day to eat, and Miss Tucker heard that I gave
    relief work to some forty or fifty people, she sent me another
    Rs.100.’

These are merely a few among innumerable instances which might be
quoted; though generally the gifts were so quietly bestowed that few or
none except the recipient knew about the matter. It was not, however,
only in money that she was generous. The very necessaries sent for her
own use, the very clothes sent for her own wear, would be given freely
away to the first person who seemed in need of them. Mrs. Hamilton,
learning something of this, at one time tried in despair calling her
gifts ‘loans,’ in the hope that they might be thus secured for Charlotte
Tucker’s own benefit. In later years, when a parcel arrived from England,
Miss Tucker would sometimes not allow her Missionary companions to see
what it contained, that she might feel more free to give away as she felt
disposed.

The Rev. Robert Clark speaks of Miss Tucker as ‘an English Christian
Faqir,’--a curious use of the term, which he applies also to one or two
other Missionaries. The original idea of ‘Christian Faqirs,’ sometimes
referred to in Miss Tucker’s own letters, was of Native Faqirs, who, on
becoming Christians, kept still to their old mode of life, going about as
before, teaching Christianity instead of false religions, and not begging
any longer, but receiving a small sum for their support from Englishmen.
Mr. Clark, in speaking of A. L. O. E., doubtless uses the word in
reference to her peculiar mode of entering into Indian ways, Indian
customs, Indian thoughts,--as, for instance, sitting on the floor among
them, instead of on a chair, travelling in an ekka like them, and so far
as she was able living their life,--as well as to the rigid simplicity
and self-denial which she cultivated.

After alluding to the manner of her earlier English life, and contrasting
it with the manner of her existence at Batala, where ‘two chairs were
placed on two sides of a table in a large and almost unfurnished room,’
Mr. Clark continues: ‘Miss Tucker ate very little. She always told us
to tell her beforehand if we were going to see her, in order that she
might have something to place before us. There was then no railway; and
everything had to be brought from Amritsar once or twice a week. The
bread often became _very_ hard. She sometimes said, “Do try this piece;
it seems a little softer.” Her guests were thinking all the time of her
tender gums, and of her teeth which were no longer young.’

On first going to Batala Charlotte Tucker had had the idea in her mind of
inaugurating there a sort of ‘Zenana’ of maiden Missionary ladies,--a
close retreat, from which the foot of Man should be utterly and always
excluded. Probably this was part of her desire to imitate the ways of
Natives. Some judicious combating was needed to break her loose from it;
though when once a gentleman-Missionary had actually arrived, theories
went down before the spirit of hospitality.

Once again it should be noted, that when in her letters she writes home
enthusiastically about all her comforts and luxuries, these descriptions
must be taken _cum grano salis_. She had not the slightest intention of
misleading anybody; but she was very anxious to put a brave face on the
matter; moreover, she was a Missionary Miss Sahiba, and she might not
grumble. Everything was for her right just as it was. But another side to
the question did exist.

In the year 1879 Mrs. Elmslie, being at home, paid a visit to Mrs.
Hamilton; and one day she could not help remarking, ‘When I see how
comfortable you are here, and think of your sister, it makes me sad.’
Her tone was almost reproachful; for she was mentally comparing A. L.
O. E.’s barely furnished rooms with the abundance of comforts in this
home. Evidently she thought Miss Tucker badly off, and wondered why her
friends did not assist her more. Explanations naturally followed; and
when she learnt the true state of the case, when she heard the amount
of Charlotte Tucker’s comfortable little income, she was astonished.
The manner of life steadily followed out was, in fact, no matter of
necessity, but purely a matter of principle. Miss Tucker counted a life
of rigid simplicity worthier her vocation as a Missionary than one of
greater ease could have been. She therefore kept to a certain sum of
money yearly for her own expenses, while giving much away in addition;
she made her clothes last as long as it was possible for them to hold
together; she had hardly any furniture in her rooms; and she refused
all luxuries, including some things which in India are commonly reckoned
_not_ luxuries, but absolute necessaries.

The following particulars have been kindly supplied to me by Miss Wauton
and others.

Her style of living, at all times extremely simple, was particularly so
at the time that she shared a home with Mr. Baring. She scarcely, indeed,
allowed herself even the most ordinary comforts. Her bedroom furniture
consisted of a native bedstead, a small table, a wardrobe and two
chairs, with a piece of thin matting on the floor, and one or two thin
‘durries.’[89] Always an early riser, Miss Tucker never liked her Ayah
to find her still in bed. When she first got up, she used to heat a cup
of cocoa with her little etna, for her ‘chhoti hazari.’[90] Miss Tucker
always disliked very much being waited on, and preferred to do things for
herself. She treated the servants very courteously, always addressing
the Ayah as ‘Bibi ji’; and any little thing offered to her at table was
accepted with a ‘Thank you,’ or declined with a ‘No, thank you,’ spoken
in English, as there is in Hindustani no equivalent for the expression of
gratitude.

Together with her marvellous activity of mind and of body was seen a
wonderful amount of patience under suffering or discomfort. In the very
hot weather she would say to her companions, ‘Let me be the first to
complain of the heat’;--and of course she never did complain. She used to
ascribe her good health in Batala to the absence there of three things,
generally counted indispensable by Europeans in India. She had, first, no
_doctor_; she had, second, no _gari_; she had, third, no _ice_. The want
of the latter must have been a serious deprivation. The lack of a gari,
or carriage, was supplied by her duli, by the native ekka, and by her
own walking-powers. As for doctors,--she had, when ill, to go to them,
like other people, and to be grateful for their help. Doctors were not,
however, favourites with A. L. O. E. She was perhaps a little hard upon
them; since, on the one hand, she professed not to trust their skill; and
on the other hand, she looked upon them as rather cruel than kind, in
trying to keep her longer upon Earth, away from the Home where she wished
to be.

Miss Wauton says:--

    ‘All she had was put at the disposal of others. Every book sent
    out was lent round to the different Mission circles, or in any
    place where it might give pleasure or profit. She always had
    some interesting book on hand, and kept her mind richly stored
    with knowledge, being specially fond of history. She allowed
    me once to be present when giving an English History lesson to
    a class of Baring High School boys. I could have wished myself
    one of them, to have had such teaching constantly! She was very
    independent of intercourse with other minds, yet thoroughly
    enjoyed social pleasures. I never saw any one so carry out
    the precept--“Rejoice with them that do rejoice.” Nowhere
    did she seem so much at home as at the wedding-feast; and no
    wedding-party seemed complete without her.’

But though she could be the life and soul of a wedding feast--perhaps
especially of a Native wedding feast,--Miss Tucker was not in all cases
an advocate of marriage. The Rev. Robert Clark speaks of her as--‘jealous
of the marriage of any of our Lady Missionaries, especially to those
gentlemen who were, as she said, “outside of the family.”’ He adds: ‘In
her verses on the duties and qualifications of ladies for Missionary work
in India, the last couplet was, I think, as follows:--

    “The Mission Miss Sahiba must single remain,
    Or else she’ll step out of her proper domain.”

A friend who married one of our Missionary ladies, and who was nominally
outside the Mission family, but who was and still is one of us, added the
words--

    “And never will be a Miss Sahiba again!”’

This quotation from Mr. Clark lands us in another subject, and one of no
small importance. Charlotte Tucker, going as she did to India when well
on in middle life, looked upon herself as a possible Pioneer, a possible
example to others, and hoped that many more might be led to do the same.
But she was never under the delusion that anybody and everybody is fitted
for a Missionary life,--even granting the spiritual adaptedness. There
must be of course whole-hearted devotion to Christ, whole-hearted love to
man, and whole-hearted self-abnegation; but there must also be certain
natural capabilities, certain conditions of health and vigour. Beyond
all, there must be the Divine call to work in the Mission-fields. All
this Charlotte Tucker felt with increasing earnestness as years went on;
and she was often at pains to explain the kind of workers wanted out
there, to warn against the kind of workers _not_ wanted.

Before giving extracts from the correspondence of 1879, two or three
quotations of different dates shall be given on this subject, beginning
with a letter written to a lady who had thoughts of offering herself:--

                                        ‘BATALA, _Dec. 3, 1878_.

    ‘MY DEAR MADAM,--Hearing that you have some idea of giving
    yourself to Mission work in India, I think that you may like
    to hear the impressions of one who--after dear ones no longer
    required her care--gave herself to that work.

    ‘I have now been for three years in India, and I have never for
    one minute regretted coming. I do sometimes feel that there is
    need of patience; one has a number of petty inconveniences and
    annoyances, from which we are guarded in England. Whoever comes
    out as a Missionary should pray for a brave, patient, cheerful
    spirit, and a submissive will. But if these be granted, I
    should say that the Missionary life is a very happy one.

    ‘There is a great charm in being carried back to the days
    of the Apostles; for in an isolated station, like Batala or
    Kulu, there is much to remind one of the First Century. Then
    there is joy in the hope that one is putting out the intrusted
    talents--be they few or many--to the best interest. One’s
    time, one’s money, one’s efforts, seem to go further here.
    I have often thought, “India is the place to make the One
    talent--Ten.” The work is so very great, the labourers so few!

    ‘There is another thing which has intensely sweetened my
    Missionary life. It is finding myself a member of the
    Missionary Family. It has been said that there are no
    friendships like those made in youth. It has not been _my_
    experience. I have no dearer friendships than those made in
    advanced years. God has given me a number of new Relatives (I
    call them dharm nephews and nieces), and the tie is as real as
    that made by blood-relationship....

    ‘In coming out as a Missionary, one has to devote oneself to
    duties which are sometimes what would be called drudgery, and
    leave the care of one’s happiness to the Divine Master, whom
    we attempt to serve. He takes far better care of our happiness
    than we can.

    ‘Allow me, dear Madam, to add another word. If you come out,
    you should start _soon_, to avoid the heat of the Red Sea. As
    regards outfit, you would find a tin-bath, in a basket-case, to
    be used in travelling as a trunk, a great comfort here. It is
    well to bring out a few pictures and pretty things; and, if you
    are musical, your instrument. Medicines are very useful. Warm
    clothes are requisite, as well as light ones. Cotton gloves are
    a comfort in the season when kid shrivels and dries.

    ‘Not without a hope that I may one day welcome you as a
    Sister-worker, I remain, dear Madam, yours very sincerely,

                                                  C. M. TUCKER.’

In a paper written some few years later by A. L. O. E., containing a list
of things needed to make a good and serviceable Missionary, the following
are enumerated--as usual, symbolically expressed:--

    ‘We need not dwell on the necessity of Faith and Love, which
    may be represented as Gold. To start without these would be
    presumption worse than folly.... And so with the only less
    valuable metal, Silver--Knowledge. It is self-evident that such
    is required....

    ‘And a great deal of Steel is needed ... some physical, and,
    above all, _moral_ Courage is required. Nervous weakness of
    character is undesirable at home; it would be a grievous
    misfortune in India.... A Missionary should claim the Christian’s
    privilege of fearing no evil....

    ‘The old saying is, _Nothing like leather_.... What I would
    symbolise by Leather is a capacity for encountering _drudgery_,
    something that will bear the strain of daily and often
    monotonous work.... Give us tough leather, such as harness and
    straps are made of; no romantic sentimentality, but steady,
    resolute Perseverance.

    ‘Another useful article is a _Letter-weigher_, by which I would
    represent Sound Judgment.... There is special experience required
    for work in a foreign land. It has often occurred to my mind
    what a blessing in disguise it is that Missionaries have to
    toil to acquire a new language; such delay giving them time to
    learn something of Native character, manners, and ideas. If
    language came by intuition, we should make many more blunders
    in other things than we do now; and such blunders are numerous
    enough already....

    ‘Another necessary must not be forgotten--a _White-covered
    Umbrella_, representing Prudence regarding health. The white
    cover is specially mentioned, symbolising the pure desire to
    economise health for the sake of God’s cause, without which
    mere prudence would be of very minor value....

    ‘Only one more necessary I would mention, and it may provoke
    a smile: Be sure to bring a box of _Salve_, and not a very
    small one either. When maidens of different antecedents, rank,
    age, temperament, and--in minor matters--opinions, are brought
    together in closest proximity, in a climate which tries the
    temper, there is at least a possibility of some slight rubs,
    which without the soothing ointment brought by the Peacemaker
    may even develop into sores.’

TO ---- ----

                                               _‘Feb. 19, 1879._

    ‘I hope that good Miss ---- will _not_ leave her present field
    of great usefulness for India. It is a sad mistake for those
    with her delicacy of head to come out to the Panjab. “Panjab
    heads” are proverbial. Our band is too small for any to be told
    off as nurses. Very delicate workers should not come out to
    this trying climate. For those whose constitutions are fitted
    for it, the Panjab is a glorious field. It is a place where
    the one talent may become ten. All sorts of gifts come into
    use; aptitude in buying and selling; engineering skill; love of
    music; a mechanical turn, etc., may be turned to such valuable
    account.

    ‘It is _not_ a mere matter of preaching to the heathen. An
    Infant Church has to be built up; openings are to be made for
    converts, that they may earn their bread; churches have to
    be raised with small funds and no architects, etc. A man who
    can carpenter, garden, or put in panes of glass, may find his
    knowledge most useful. A bold rider, a good shot, is at an
    advantage here.

    ‘Missionary life is not just like what one fancies it
    in England. We do not want bookworms so much as active,
    intelligent, devoted men, who can turn their hands to anything,
    and who, in addition to Missionary zeal, have plenty of _common
    sense_. God grant that Cambridge may send us many such! Mr.
    ---- is one; a very valuable man, though not gifted with
    eloquence, nor quick at learning languages. He has a clear
    sound judgment, and a power of adapting himself to varying
    circumstances, and of undergoing drudgery.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                              _‘March 24, 1879._

    ‘No, my dearest Leila, I could not in conscience urge poor
    dear ---- to come out here. It would be cruel. Any one who in
    England suffers from headache, liver, back, and uneven spirits,
    I would rather entreat to avoid the Panjab.... She would be one
    of the choice delicate palfreys, yoked to artillery, who break
    down and give extra work to the already fully-taxed horses. If
    you only knew what the illnesses of those _who ought never to
    have come out_ have cost others as well as themselves!... The
    Lord does not call _all_ His children to India. There ought to
    be a certain fitness of constitution to dwell in a fever-land.
    I am so thankful that I am not constitutionally liable to
    headache, and that fever does not naturally cling to me. But I
    walk warily, as one in an enemy’s country.’

TO W. F. T. HAMILTON.

                                    ‘_May 20_ (_probably 1879_).

    ‘Your dear Mother sends me delightful accounts of the devotion
    of some of the Cambridge men, and their readiness to engage in
    Missionary work, if they saw the way clear. Now, dearest Fred,
    could there be a clearer opening than at Batala for an earnest
    Christian man, whether in Orders or not? I am not thinking
    of you, for I would not have any one subject to headaches
    come to this feverish land; but I am thinking of your brother
    collegians. Batala, for evangelisation, is a very central
    point; no end of work might be done; and it is a hopeful place....

    ‘But I will be more minute in particulars.... I am not writing
    of one who wishes to become one of the regular salaried
    Missionaries of our Society; but of one who has the means to
    be an Honorary worker. Say he has an income of £100. He would
    find at Batala a _home_,--not a very luxurious one, but quite
    enough so for a Missionary. His £100 would be enough for all
    his personal wants, unless he travelled much; and he might
    keep a little horse, unless, like ----, he preferred spending
    his extra rupees on something else. He could at once help with
    English classes, if he chose to do so, and in the meantime
    learn the language.... If he had a taste for shooting and
    fishing, he would find means of gratifying it; and if he were
    a good cricketer, it would add to his influence over our boys.
    If he had any architectural skill, he would help us to build
    our church. If he were musical, it would be a great advantage.
    He might lead a very happy life, and an exceedingly useful
    one. We are in such want of _men_; not mere bookworms, but
    earnest, devoted, bright, active Christians, who can turn their
    hands to everything, and help to mould the minds of our rising
    generation. We want more St. Pauls!’

This chapter can hardly be better closed than by quoting Miss Tucker’s
descriptive lines as to the necessary qualifications for a ‘Mission Miss
Sahiba,’ already alluded to. They were written at Amritsar, as early as
the year 1876:--

RULES AND REGULATIONS

    ‘The Mission Miss Sahibas must never complain;
    The Mission Miss Sahibas must temper restrain--
    When “sust”[91] pankah-wala won’t pull at the cane;
    Must never be fanciful, foolish, or vain.

    ‘The Mission Miss Sahiba in dress must be plain;
    The Mission Miss Sahibas must furnish their brain,--
    Of two or three languages knowledge obtain,--
    When weary and puzzled, must try, try again;
    We cannot learn grammar by _leger de main_.

    ‘The Mission Miss Sahiba must know every lane,
    Climb ladder-like stairs, without fearing a sprain;
    The Mission Miss Sahibas must speak very plain,
    Must rebuke and encourage, must teach and explain;
    The Mission Miss Sahibas must grasp well the rein;
    The Mission Miss Sahibas must not look for gain,
    Though doctoring sick folk, like Jenner or Quain.

    ‘Let Mission Miss Sahibas from late hours refrain,
    For they must rise early, and bear a hard strain,
    Like vigorous cart-horses, drawing a wain,
    That pull well together, when yoked twain and twain.
    The Mission Miss Sahibas must work might and main,
    And therefore good nourishment should not disdain,--
    Or danger is great of their going insane.

    ‘The Mission Miss Sahibas must topis[92] retain,
    Must guard against sunstroke, to health such a bane;
    And midst frogs and mosquitoes must patient remain,
    Yes, e’en when tormented, must smile through their pain;
    And, with courage like that of the knights of Charlemagne,
    By Mission Miss Sahibas snakes should be slain.

    ‘The Mission Miss Sahibas should sow well the grain,
    Dark babies should fondle, dark women should train,
    And Bibis and Begums at times entertain;
    Should smile and should soothe, but not flatter or feign;
    And to usefulness thus they may hope to attain.

    ‘_N.B._--Let all Mission Miss Sahibas single remain,--
    If they don’t, they step out of their proper domain,--
    And can never be Mission Miss Sahibas again!’



CHAPTER IX

A.D. 1879

THE CHURCH AT BATALA


The annals of 1879 are as usual very abundant, and space can only
be found for a limited selection of extracts. Miss Tucker was much
distressed about the Afghan war; not because of any possible peril or
discomfort to herself, but because her judgment disapproved of it as a
whole, and also because of the sufferings which she knew it must entail
upon the soldiers.

While the larger number of extracts given are, throughout her Indian
career, in reference to the work going on round about her, it must not
be supposed that her love for relatives and old friends, or her interest
in all that concerned them, ever for a moment waned. The letters teem
with loving words and messages; and every item of news from England is
received with delight. Her affections seem to have grown stronger rather
than weaker, through long separation.

    ‘BATALA, _Jan. 16, 1879_.--Mine own Laura, how could you write
    regarding the little meeting, at which you and sweet Margaret
    were, “Would you not like to be in my shoes at the time, and
    hold your darling friend in your arms?” I would much rather
    have been in _Margaret’s shoes_, and have held some one else
    in my arms,--only for the wrench that would have followed! But
    O love, we are travelling in the same train, only in different
    carriages; and I am thankful that though we cannot see each
    other, we can as it were talk to each other out of the windows.
    What a blessing the Post is!’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               _‘Jan. 20, 1879._

    ‘Ours is not to be a village church, dear, but one in a city of
    more than 25,000 inhabitants, where there are graceful mosques,
    a large idol-temple, etc. A mere mud shed would be quite out of
    character; our present room in a schoolhouse would be better
    than that. There is considerable difficulty and expense in
    buying a site. It ought to be _in_ the city. I have written to
    dear ---- about one which Mr. Baring has seen, but it is very
    doubtful whether the place can be purchased.

    ‘My nephew and I are both economical, and I think that you
    and dear Fred may depend on money not being wasted in useless
    decorations. But the sacred edifice ought to be of brick, and
    pretty strong, not only to endure for years, but also to keep
    out the heat. A tiny church would not cost much; one so small
    that beams could reach from side to side. But if our Church
    is to go on growing, as we hope and pray that it may, what
    would be the advantage of having a tiny chapel, which would
    not comfortably accommodate ourselves in a fiery climate, and
    in which there would be no room at all for heathen spectators?
    We should be wanting a _second_; and how could we procure a
    second clergyman? Please thank dear Fred very, very much for
    his kindness in collecting, and assure him that we wish to make
    the money go as far as possible.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_Jan. 31._--I sometimes think that it is well for me that I
    have no one to carry cushions after me,--as the dear A----s
    made the boys do in George Square,--or to watch my face to see
    if I look pale. I have been enabled to make efforts, for which
    I might not have thought my frame capable, and have kept my
    health wonderfully.

    ‘This is the eighth day that I have not seen an English person!
    Mera Bhatija has been away on duty; but I hope to have him
    back to-morrow. I shall not be sorry to see him again; we are
    becoming more and more like _real_ Aunt and Nephew. He wanted
    me to go to Amritsar during his needful absence; but there were
    strong reasons against that....

    ‘As regards health, we are between Scylla and Charybdis. People
    in India cannot help thinking a great deal about it, because
    five minutes’ carelessness may wreck health for life; yet it is
    a great matter for us, if possible, to keep from sinking to the
    languid “cannot-do-anything” point. To rest there is something
    like letting the head go under water. I often think of dear
    Uncle Tom’s expression,--“Never say die!”’

TO MRS. E----

                                                ‘_Feb. 4, 1879._

    ‘My nephew, the Rev. F. Baring, has organised little relief
    works; for, owing to drought, and partly to the war, there is
    much distress in Batala. If you were here, dear Aunt, it would
    interest you to walk about, leaning on my arm, and see poor men
    in their rags, women and children, carrying baskets of earth on
    their heads, to fill up that part of the tank which is nearest
    to the house. It is a good thing for us, but a better thing
    for the poor folk, who are thankful to earn their pice. Mr.
    Baring intends also to give poor women in the city employment
    in spinning, and to get a Christian native weaver to make the
    cotton into towels or napkins....

    ‘Both my nephews, Mr. Bateman and Mr. Baring, are very clever
    in finding ways to start the Converts in life, giving them
    means of earning an honest livelihood. One fine lad has a
    place in the Woods and Forests Department; another is learning
    work in the Press; a third is to be employed in a religious
    book-shop; a fourth convert is doing profitable business as a
    small wood-merchant. Another, who has a little money of his
    own, intends to set up a small shop in his own village. This is
    rather brave, as, only a month or two ago, he was driven forth
    by his own family with threats and curses. It seems to me that
    a very important part of a Missionary’s work is to watch over
    converts after Baptism, both as regards body and soul. In the
    Church, in the time of the Apostles, converts were not left to
    starve. They must not be idle, but they must have the means of
    earning their bread. We also greatly wish that every Native
    convert should feel it to be his or her work to bring in others
    to Christ....

    ‘We intend to have a Fancy Fair in April, for the Church
    which we hope to build; but the great puzzle will be to find
    buyers,--Mr. Baring and myself being the only white folk in
    Batala, and Natives generally disliking to spend money, except
    on marriages, funerals, jewels, and sweetmeats.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_March 3._--I have another dear letter, to-day received, to
    thank you for. You need take no thought, love, about where I
    sit. We have benches in chapel; and as for my duli--to sit on
    its flat floor does not hurt me in the least. I dare say that
    dear E. never got into the way of it; but I take to it as a
    duck to the water. The only difficulty is the scrambling out of
    the box; but this does me no harm; it is wholesome exercise. As
    for a carriage, it would be useless in Batala. I was regularly
    blocked in to-day, even in my tiny duli. The streets are so
    narrow and so crowded....’

TO W. F. T. HAMILTON.

                                                    ‘_March 17._

    ‘Our saintly Bishop, Dr. French, is now our guest.... We are
    having such an interesting time, a heart-warming time! There
    is to be a Confirmation to-morrow; and oh, through what fiery
    trials some of the dear candidates have come! There is B--n,
    ... the first man who dared to be baptized in bigoted Batala.
    His Baptism cost him wife and child. There is the thin, worn
    B. D., with his hair turning grey; the only Christian in his
    village, he whom his own mother has reviled.... There is the aged
    Faqir and his stalwart sons,--but I need not enumerate all. I
    have told you enough to show what peculiar features of interest
    may attend a Confirmation in India,--especially perhaps in
    so thoroughly Oriental a place as this, where there are no
    Europeans at all but my nephew and myself.

    ‘Ours is such a dear little Church,--I am not aware that there
    is one really black sheep in it, though there are some infirm
    ones. Ten women are to receive Confirmation. I think that
    all but perhaps one have been converts from Muhammadanism or
    Hinduism. I do not mean to say that they are all Batala people;
    but Batala is a genial place to which converts seem drawn.

    ‘To-morrow, after Confirmation, we hope to spread, not the
    _board_ but the _floor_, for a goodly number of welcome guests,
    more even than we had at Christmas. One feels very thankful
    to see such a nice large Christian family.... Of course some
    Stations are more trying to faith; some of God’s servants have
    to toil for years, and apparently catch nothing; but about here
    in various directions one hears of converts and inquirers.
    There is feeling of _life_ stirring among the dry bones.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_April 1, 1879._

    ‘Do you ever enter Trinity Church?[93] Probably not, it is so
    far from you. To your sweet Mother and myself many memories are
    connected with it. Weddings and Christenings,--the overflowing
    pew,--the corner of it where we used to see the dear bald head
    of our venerated Father!...

    ‘We have a dear young convert from a village, who, like others,
    finds in Batala a refuge. A simple guileless lad, who likes to
    come, as dear U. did, to sit at one’s feet, and have a talk
    about God’s Word.... He does not know much, but enough to have
    enabled the lad to resist temptation and endure persecution....
    I wish that dear ---- would take up the subject of _portable_
    Bibles in Persian Urdu. Even the children of clever Christian
    parents are apt to be sadly ignorant of Old Testament
    Scriptures. How much would English school-children know of
    them, if they could only buy Bibles in three (Persian Urdu)
    large volumes,--or in one (Arabic Urdu), very large and heavy?

    ‘It is not only the expense but the extreme inconvenience of
    such bulky books that must be considered. Mera Bhatija has
    English Urdu Bibles for his boys, but some read them with
    difficulty; and we cannot expect a _nation_ to adopt a new type
    utterly different from its own. There is a beautifully written
    New Testament in Persian Urdu ... light, easily carried about,
    and costing only half a rupee. This is a great boon; but we
    want the Old Testament Scriptures.... They are at present almost
    shut out from the people. Our great want is a complete Bible,
    as delicately written out, and on as fine light paper, as the
    New Testament, and not very expensive. Most of the Natives are
    so very poor. I can scarcely imagine how they manage to live.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                      ‘BATALA, _April 20, 1879_.

    ‘Your dear, sweet letter received to-day was like a nice little
    visit to me in my comparative loneliness. Mera Bhatija and Babu
    Singha are both away at Amritsar.... If, when proposing to come
    out, I could have been told that I should be all alone in a
    house with thirteen Native boys,--my Ayah is absent from late
    illness,--I should have been startled, perhaps half-frightened.
    But these dear fellows do not worry me at all. I asked one of
    them yesterday: “If I were ill, which of you would nurse me?”
    “All of us,” was the reply. I thought that thirteen boys would
    be too much for a sick-room; so--“We would take it in turns,”
    was the second answer....

    ‘Many thanks, love, for the two copies of the nice work
    on Prophecies in the Old Testament. It ought to convince
    any candid mind.... It might be valuable to English-reading
    Muhammadans. But it is not at all necessary with them to
    avoid the Blessed Saviour’s Name. Yesterday, in a Zenana a
    bright-looking young woman exclaimed, not particularly apropos
    to anything that I was saying: “Jesus Christ is the Son of
    God.” “Beshakh!” (Without doubt!) instantly rejoined an older
    Bibi.

    ‘Not that the offence of the Cross has ceased. The persecution
    which dear ---- is enduring shows this. He has been beaten
    five or six times; and I think that we shall have to try to
    get his enemies bound over to keep the peace. Personally, I
    am courteously, sometimes affectionately, treated. The poor
    converts are those who have to endure hardness!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 27._--I know that some of my dear ones think that I
    must be very lonesome, with no white woman near me. But there
    are three things to prevent this:--1st, The Presence of the
    Master. 2nd, The feeling that separation of body is nothing
    compared to separation of soul. My ties to loved ones in
    England are _not_, thank God, broken! They do not depend on
    mere space. 3rd, Real loneliness, as regards even this world,
    is the want of love and sympathy. Some count my brown friends
    for nothing in this way. I do not do so. They draw out one’s
    affections, and respond to them. The heart does not shrivel up
    in India, even when one lives in such an out-of-the-way place
    as Batala.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                 ‘_May 1, 1879._

    I am sure that your dear Mother and you would peruse with
    interest Keshab Sen’s lecture, or rather the review of it
    in the _Statesman_ which I sent home.... Keshab Sen was a
    brave man, not only as regards the Hindus, but the English
    officials, to say what he did. To aver that it is Christ’s
    Religion--not our superior strength, wisdom, intelligence--that
    holds India for us, is likely to give great offence in high
    quarters. To say what this Hindu did of despised Missionaries,
    a band of weak-minded amiable enthusiasts, if not something
    more contemptible,--as the world thinks them,--showed moral
    courage.... He has probably made a good many people, both white
    and brown, angry. His cry, “Jesus alone!--Jesus alone! India
    for Christ!” would find no echo in the large majority of
    hearts....

    ‘I suspect that there is an impression amongst some Europeans,
    as well as Natives, that Auntie is very old. I have three times
    heard the latter say that I am a hundred; and I notice that
    in the last _Female Evangelist_ I am pronounced “advanced in
    years.” To my mind that means at least seventy!!! I was guessed
    to-day as eighty in a Zenana. But I must be thought a pretty
    active old dame, to get up such steep stairs as I do.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_June 2, 1879._--Of course I cannot tell what God wills for
    me. I do not intend to do anything foolish. I do not even let
    my mind dwell _much_ on the joy of going to a Heavenly Home,
    because it would seem selfish at present to wish to desert
    others. I realise more the value of life below than I used to
    do, and am thankful that at former periods God did _not_ fulfil
    my wish to leave this Earth for a better. He is a poor soldier
    who is always pining for the end of the campaign!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 14._--I never felt so that the Word of God in my hand
    was rejected, as in a Zenana to-day. When I came out, V., my
    kahar, said, “You should not go to that house again. I was
    outside, but I heard words that grieved me.” But I had two nice
    Zenanas and a nice Native Christian home to balance. One of the
    nice Zenanas was N.’s. He spoke almost like a Christian, before
    his mother, grandmother, and handsome young bride. They all
    seemed quite friendly.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 20._--Darling Laura, your sweet letter has arrived
    since I wrote the first note. Would you fairly _kill_ me
    with kindness? You have already done too much. No, my sweet
    sister, I would never like to take your money for needless
    luxuries,--of comforts I have many. Ice is not to be had, is
    _not_ needed, and I hardly ever even think of it. We are much
    better without a carriage; walking is more wholesome, and to
    me more pleasant. I kissed the signature on the cheque--and
    then--destroyed it! Forgive me! In about two years I have had
    _three_ cheques declined; so you see that I have enough and to
    spare. I am quite easy-handed, love; not at all in straits,
    thank God.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                         (_Probably July 1879._)

    ‘I am engaged in a matrimonial affair. B., Mera Bhatija’s
    Christian servant, having just been rejected by one woman,
    solicits, through my Ayah, my good offices to find him a wife.
    He bears a first-rate character, and would make an excellent
    husband, but he has the single disadvantage of having only one
    leg. I know that Mera Bhatija wishes B. to have a nice wife;
    so--after consultation with one who knows the Orphanage maidens
    well, and has an excellent judgment,--I have fixed on a jolly,
    good-tempered girl, ... able to cook and scrub, and have written
    a note to the Lady Superintendent, requesting her permission
    for B. to pay court to C. C. is to be told of the lameness,
    etc., and then if she too be willing, B. will be allowed to
    have an interview with her. This interview decides the affair.
    Both parties have a negative voice; both must be pleased; and
    if so--the banns are published! This is the compromise between
    European and Oriental ways of arranging marriages. I think that
    Mera Bhatija takes a lively interest in the matter; and if the
    marriage comes off, we should both like to have the wedding at
    Batala. The people here ought to have the opportunity of seeing
    a Christian wedding.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_July 29, 1879._

    ‘I will give you another of my little Batala sketches. I am
    sitting reading. Enters M., the tall one-armed Faqir (religious
    beggar), who has been acting as Mera Bhatija’s pankah-wala.
    He evidently wants to talk with me; so, seeing me willing to
    listen, the tall fellow seats himself on the floor, and begins....

    ‘The poor fellow had been thinking how he could earn his
    livelihood,--he has a wife and four children, and of course
    religious begging would be for a convert both improper and
    unprofitable. “Pankah-pulling will last for but a short time,”
    he very truly observed. His plan was to start a little school
    in his own village.

    ‘“But could you get pupils?” I asked, knowing that the humble
    converts are not kindly treated by their neighbours.

    ‘“I think that I could from the hamlets round.”

    ‘Then I inquired as to the poor Faqir’s qualifications for a
    teacher. “I can read the Gospel well,” was the simple reply.

    ‘“Can you write?”

    ‘He was weak in that, poor fellow. Having only one arm
    increases the difficulty.

    ‘“Do you know accounts?”

    ‘“No,” he frankly owned; but he could learn; he would take
    pains.

    ‘“You had better speak to the Padri Sahib; he makes all the
    bandobast (arrangements); he is wise and kind.”

    ‘If _I_ would speak to the Padri Sahib,--he could tell _me_;
    but with the Padri Sahib he was shy, etc.

    ‘It is rather refreshing to see a Native Christian, especially
    one brought up to regard idleness rather as a virtue, turning
    over in his mind what he can do to earn his living. If we
    help poor M. to a little better education, perhaps his little
    village school may prove not a bad idea, for the scholars
    would learn what is good from him, though they could only
    have elementary teaching. I do not see why rustics should
    want high education. The Government are educating thousands
    of clever infidels, who cannot all find employment as clerks,
    etc., and who will despise manual labour. We want simple pious
    _labourers_ to mind the plough, spell out their Testaments, and
    try to obey God’s commands.’

August and September this year saw Miss Tucker, not at Dalhousie, but
at Dilur, 3000 feet above the sea, with forest-clothed Himalayan slopes
below, and snow above. She went there, partly for the change, but
more for the sake of staying with a young married couple, to whom her
companionship was a boon. The snow appears to have soon vanished, as in
one letter, written in September, she observes: ‘The mountains are quite
high and bold enough for beauty, though to my comfort there is not a
soupçon of snow upon any of them.’ From the budget of Dilur letters, only
two quotations can be given. The first is rare in style at this period of
Charlotte Tucker’s life. She seldom found time for written ‘cogitations.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                              ‘DILUR, _Aug. 25_.

    ‘This is a very quiet place ... so I have plenty of time for
    thinking. I have been musing to-day why it is so very much more
    easy to love some Christians than others. You and every other
    servant of God must feel this, I think. It is not quite easy
    to get at the bottom of the matter. I ought to have particular
    facilities for judging; for, thank God, I find it easy to love
    a good many.

    ‘I have been considering to-day that simile of the four
    different circles round Him Who is the Centre of light,
    holiness, and beauty. Those who live nearest to Him, I do
    believe, actually catch something, however faint, of His
    likeness.... Christ is the All-attractive; and in the degree that
    His redeemed ones reflect His Image, it seems to me that they
    unconsciously attract. If I be not mistaken in this idea, one
    sees why anything of littleness or meanness repulses. Those
    possessing such qualities may be sincere servants of Christ;
    but these qualities _spoil all likeness_! So, love, here is the
    result of my cogitations, as I reclined on the sofa to rest
    myself after rather a tiring little expedition.

    ‘But oh, what a solemnising thought it is!--The likeness
    to Him, which we _know_ will be apparent in another world,
    to begin in this! The glass of our souls, so spotted and
    dusty,--spotted with sin, and dusty with pettiness,--to be
    cleansed and polished, so as to receive such an Image! But you
    and I, love, have caught a glimpse of that Image in those whom
    we have been privileged to know; have we not?’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                    ‘_Sept. 29._

    ‘Yes, precious Laura, you might be sure that Char does not
    forget you in prayer any day; but your last dear letter from
    Ilfracombe made me more inclined to praise. It seemed as if
    God had granted just what I wished for you; that spiritual joy
    which is His special gift. Why should the Children of Light
    tread the pilgrim way in heaviness? “Light is sown for the
    righteous,” and the crop begins to show itself even here....’

Later, in the same letter, when speaking of two young converts, she says
of one of them:--

    ‘He is a Mullah’s (Muhammadan religious teacher’s) son, and
    has been brought up in a fine school for bigotry. He told me
    what a merit it is considered to kill infidels; and that, when
    a child, he had intended to acquire this merit. “Do you mean
    that, if they could, the Muhammadans would think it right
    to kill all the Europeans and Native Christians?” I asked.
    “Beshakh!” (Without doubt!) replied the lad simply. Happily all
    Muhammadans are not Mullahs’ sons!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘BATALA, _Oct. 31, 1879_.--What shall I say for the splendid
    box, which reached me in perfect condition to-night? I am
    almost bewildered by the multitude of my possessions, and have
    hardly yet quite realised their amount.... What shall I begin
    with?--not the medicine, surely,--and yet quinine is such a
    treasure in India, so often required, asked for! It is _the_
    medicine in a fever-land. And it is dreadfully expensive. I
    think that I once paid more than a guinea for a bottle, not a
    large one. But the cretonne--yes, that must have a principal
    place in my letter of thanks; such a splendid supply!...

    ‘I hope that my Laura will forgive me if I do not gobble up all
    the groceries myself!! Of the chocolate and biscuit I shall
    probably largely partake; they are such a comfort on winter
    mornings....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 13._--I think that this is the fourth Anniversary of my
    landing at Bombay,--my Indian birthday! Oh, how much I have to
    be thankful for! Surely goodness and mercy have followed me!

    ‘Shall I give you a sketch of this my Indian birthday? Up
    early--for I went to bed early. Ate two or three of my Laura’s
    biscuits, and enjoyed them. Wrote till dear good R. brought the
    hot water for my bath. Then came breakfast No. 2--tea and an
    egg. At 7 A.M., or thereabouts, the prayer-bell rings, and we
    all assemble in chapel. After chapel comes my delightful walk
    in the fresh morning air. A little more writing and reading,
    and--breakfast No. 3 with Mera Bhatija at 9. After that, off to
    the city on foot, my kahars carrying my duli behind me.

    ‘In the city I visited first a Muhammadan Zenana, then paid my
    weekly visit to our Brahmin convert, B.’s wife.... Then went to
    G. R.’s Zenana, where are four generations of the family. I
    can read the Gospel there, without let or hindrance. The sweet
    young Bibi looked as if she would like me to kiss her,--so I
    did! Then to Sadiq’s mother. After this I returned home, noted
    down where I had been, and then--did _not_ set to my lessons.
    I had something else to do. The cloth of our large screen was
    dirty; so Mera Bhatija suggested our putting the pictures on a
    nice clean one, and having the first white-washed. So I got in
    my Ayah to help me, and we were stitching away like anything,
    when I was interrupted by a visitor.

    ‘No fashionable lady,--no insipid individual, such as you must
    talk to about weather, etc., but a fine, thoughtful young
    Man,--who had been given a New Testament, which he is reading
    every day, and who sat down on the floor, and quietly, gravely,
    asked me to explain difficulties which he had met with in his
    reading, such as Daniel’s “abomination of desolation,” the two
    women grinding, etc.... When he left, I returned to my beauty
    screen, but was interrupted by dear good Bibi M., who came to
    read her report. She also wanted quinine,--I am _rich_, my
    Laura knows. This brought me up to 3 o’clock dinner.

    ‘Poor N. N. is not well, so I had no afternoon lesson from a
    Munshi, but I did a little by myself. Then out into the bright,
    pleasant air, where I had a nice talk with dear I. and P. After
    I came in, Mera Bhatija and I had tea,--now I am writing to my
    Laura by lamplight; and when I lay down my pen, I intend to do
    a little lessons. I have written out my vocabulary very large,
    so as not to injure my eyes. At 8½ I shall hear the bell ring
    for prayers; and that almost closes the day.

    ‘Now is not this a very nice Indian birthday? I feel quite well
    and hearty now; much stronger than when in the Salt range.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 22._--Cold having set in pretty sharply, I have taken my
    “graceful Grey” and faithful old Green out of their safe summer
    quarters, and have prepared them for immediate service, putting
    in lace to the sleeves, etc. The Episcopal Purple, my grand new
    dress, I reserve for grand occasions. My dress must be well
    fastened up, and decidedly more than clear the ground, when I
    go to Zenanas. See me, in fancy, climbing slowly up a dirty
    steep outside staircase. I have the indispensable umbrella in
    one hand,--though it be winter, the sun may be blazing,--my
    large books in the other. Unless I had a third hand, I could
    not hold up my dress; and the steps may be of mud. Trains,
    elegant in the house, would never do in Zenanas.... I hope
    that you and dear Leila will be interested to hear that our
    one-legged B., in search of a wife, has succeeded in finding
    one. I think that their banns have been called twice; and we
    shall probably see the happy pair next week.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Nov. 29, 1879._

    ‘Yesterday, at last, the cricket-match between our School
    and the big Government School came off. We challenged the
    Government School long ago; but they took no notice. Yesterday,
    however, a match was arranged between our Christian School
    and the Government one, which is about ten or twelve times
    as large. We were much the first on the ground, and were
    kept waiting for more than an hour. Most of our Eleven wore
    red-checked flannel vests, but R. the captain had a becoming
    grey one.... At last the match commenced; but it was hardly worth
    calling one. The Government lads could not hold their own in
    the least! The whole Eleven only made 5 runs between them!

    ‘It was a very different thing when our boys took the batting.
    It does one good to hear the thud from R.’s bat when he sends
    the ball flying ever so far. He and S. made, I think, 87 runs,
    and were never bowled out. The rest of our boys had no turns
    at all; for the sun went down, and still R. and S., tired, but
    unconquered, held their wickets. What is most pleasing is that
    our boys did not crow as they might have done,--their opponents
    were too utterly smashed. Had the contest been a close one,
    there would have been plenty of cheering.

    ‘I really hope that it may do good for it to be known through
    Batala that, in a manly game, the Hindus and Muhammadans
    “cannot hold a candle” to the Christian boys, who go preaching
    and singing hymns on Sunday! Piety is all the more attractive
    from union with manliness.

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 8._--Mera Bhatija intends to start a reading-room in
    the city in 1880, with Bibles in various languages, books,
    and some Native periodicals. The _Illustrated_--if you think
    of continuing it--will form one of the baits. Many lads now
    can read a little English; and the pictures will form an
    attraction.’



CHAPTER X

A.D. 1880-1881

LOYAL AND TRUE


The series of extracts from letters, through the year 1879, given in the
last chapter, will convey a fair general idea of how many succeeding
years were passed. To quote with equal fulness from each year would
mean--not one comparatively small volume, but two large ones; and,
however interesting the subject-matter in itself, readers might be
expected to grow weary.

Year after year Charlotte Tucker lived on in the old palace, which had so
strangely become her home, surrounded by the brown boys, whom she loved;
and by the spring of 1880 they had grown to forty in number. Year after
year she wrote little booklets for the Natives of India. Year after year
she persisted in her steady round of Zenana visits; not, like the average
district-visitor of England, going once a fortnight or once a week into
her district,--which was the whole city of Batala,--but day after day
giving hours to the work, never daunted because results seemed small,
never apparently even tempted to throw up her arduous task in despair.
She had to _plough_ for the Master of the harvest; and she was content to
leave results with Him.

It must have been a monotonous life, viewed from ordinary standpoints.
Charlotte Tucker had had plenty of society in the past; and though she
might laugh at stiff dinner-parties or dull morning calls, she had fully
enjoyed intercourse with superior and cultivated minds. Some amount of
such intercourse she had still in the Panjab; but for months together,
as time went on, she was thrown mainly upon her own resources, was left
with absolutely no European companions. It is hardly within the bounds
of possibility that she should not have suffered from the deprivation,
cheerily as she received it.

‘Missionaries in work are usually rather “yoked two and two,”’ she wrote
to an Aunt, in the beginning of 1880. Then after a slight allusion to
her successive ‘yoke-fellows’ at Batala, she adds brightly: ‘And I look
forward for the greater part of 1880 to going side by side with Babu
Singha, the converted Hindu Head-master,’--with kind mention also of his
wife and children.

Friends might say what they would. Miss Tucker had advanced far beyond
the stage when it was possible to convince her that she ‘could not stay
alone’ in Batala. Mr. Baring had decided to go to England for eight
months; and no one else was free to join her in Anarkalli; but she
refused to desert her post. In fact, she would not be ‘alone’ there now,
as she would have been two years earlier. She loved and was loved by the
little circle of Indian Christians in the place; and the merry boys of
the household were very dear to her. None the less, her position was a
singularly solitary one.

The frequent arrival of boxes from England afforded her never-failing
delight; partly on her own account, and yet more for the additional
facilities afforded thereby for giving away. Pages each year might be
filled with quotations on this subject alone.

Also month by month fresh indications appeared of the reality of the
work going on,--an inquirer here; a convert there; an abusive Muhammadan
softened into gentleness; an ignorant Heathen enlightened; a bigot
persuaded; and now and again one coming forward, bravely resolute to
undergo Baptism, willing to face the almost inevitable persecution
following. All these things were of perpetual occurrence, and they lay
very near to Charlotte Tucker’s heart.

On the 30th of January 1880 comes a pungent little sentence:--

    ‘What fearful people the Nihilists are! When one reads of them,
    one seems to see Satan let loose! There is some similarity
    between India and Russia. Perhaps some years hence a Nihilist
    crop may rise from tens of thousands of sharp conceited lads
    whom the Government so carefully educate _without God_! They
    cannot possibly all get the prizes in life which they look
    for; they _won’t_ dig,--so will naturally swell the dangerous
    classes. Such dear lads as we have here will be, we trust, as
    the salt in the mass. But they may have a difficult work before
    them.’

Two letters in February to two nieces must not be passed over. In the
first we have a glimpse of the dark as well as of the hopeful side:--

    ‘_Feb. 2._--That most unhappy lad, ----, seems to be a thorough
    hypocrite. Only a day or so after professing himself a true
    penitent, and kneeling in seeming prayer at my side, he has, we
    hear, been actually preaching in the bazaar here against the
    Christians.... The subject is too sad to dwell upon; but it is
    better that I should let you know at once, as I sent home so
    hopeful a letter.

    ‘Fancy poor E. Bibi actually paying me a visit here yesterday
    evening. The delicate creature longed to come. I told her to
    ask her husband’s leave, and suggested that he had better come
    with her. She asked me to send my kahar in the morning, and she
    would send a message by him as to whether her “Sahib” consented
    or not. The answer was favourable; so I made arrangements to
    have two dulis at her door after dark, for E., her mother, and
    her two little girls. I warned our boys to keep out of the
    chapel, into which I first introduced the Bibis. I went to the
    harmonium, and sang to it, “Jesus lives,” and two or three
    verses of the Advent hymn, etc. While we were in the chapel the
    husband joined us, sat down, and quietly listened. He was very
    silent, which I think showed good manners.

    ‘We then all proceeded up our long staircase.... I offered tea,
    but no one drank it; the children ate some pudding, and I
    presented each of them with one of the dolls which your dear
    Mother sent out, which I have had dressed.... I think the party
    were pleased. I wonder what thoughts were passing in the mind
    of that silent husband. He knows perfectly well what I visit
    his wife for; for in Batala we do not hide our colours at
    all. I sometimes think that dear M.[94] dashes right at the
    enemy almost too boldly; but as she is a supposed descendant
    of Muhammad, I dare say that her dauntless intrepidity has a
    good effect. I do not find the women made angry even by what
    must startle them. Of course one’s manner must be gentle and
    conciliating, even when meeting the question, “Do you think
    that Muhammad told lies?” with a simple straightforward, “Yes.”

    ‘I think that not a few Batala women do now believe that our
    religion is the right one, and that our Blessed Lord is the
    Saviour of sinners. But this belief may exist for years before
    there is any desire for Baptism.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Feb. 6._--One visit which I paid in the former place
    (Amritsar) would have warmed your heart. In a cottage in
    the Mission compound, occupied by one of the Bible-women, I
    found three who doubtless will inherit the blessing promised
    to all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. There
    was dear faithful Begum J., and her daughter, K. (now a
    Bible-woman). These are the two who, as you may remember, were
    threatened with a razor by Begum J.’s husband, and fled, and
    were afterwards baptized. They had come to see another brave
    Convert, who had been baptized on the previous day.

    ‘A fierce crowd had attacked her, tore the jewels from her
    ears, beat her on the head, threatened to cut off her nose!
    How she escaped she cannot tell; she was bewildered. Perhaps
    some unseen Angel took her by the hand. She reached _somehow_ a
    duli, which was in waiting for her, and was baptized the same
    day.’

The school was so growing, that by March 1880 a good many of the boys
had to sleep on the floor which formerly had been reserved entirely for
Europeans. This Miss Tucker did not mind.

Before the end of March she had to bid good-bye to her dharm-nephew, who
was starting for England. It must have given her a strange feeling,
thus to see one and another leave for the dear old country, which she so
loved, and yet which she had resolved never of her own free will to see
again.

The previous day a feast was given in Mr. Baring’s honour, the boys
‘subscribing to buy the little dainties’; and ‘speeches of love and
gratitude’ being made. Then, in the early morning, long before dawn, Miss
Tucker felt her way down the dark staircase, to see the traveller off.
‘The babies,’ as she called some of the tinier brown boys, were there
also; one small orphan looking ‘sad and thoughtful’ over the farewell.
Bigger boys also came down, and they waited in the Chapel till the
Principal appeared. Shakings of hands were followed by cheers, as Mr.
Baring drove away in the dâk-gari,--‘probably with mingled feelings,’
writes Miss Tucker. One is disposed to wonder what _her_ feelings were,
as she turned back into the palace; alone among her companions; the only
European in that Eastern city! Yet no signs of heart-quailing can be seen
in the letter to her sister, written on the same day.

In this spring of 1880 came another event of importance,--the
‘Disruption’ of the older Zenana Society, under which Charlotte Tucker
had worked as an Honorary Member.

There is no necessity to enter fully here into the causes which led to
that disruption. To some of us it may seem to have been, sooner or later,
almost inevitable. Until that date the attempt had been made to work on
what are sometimes called ‘un-denominational lines,’--which meant that
the Missionaries might be either Churchwomen or Dissenters, each teaching
according to her own convictions. A difficult programme to carry out, one
is disposed to imagine! After a while friction arose in the Governing
Body at home. Since by far the larger majority of workers in the field
belonged to the Anglican Church, it was rightly considered that the
Governing Body ought to consist of an equally large majority of Church
people; and on this point the split took place. The Society broke into
two parts. The one part remained more or less Dissenting; the other part
became distinctly and exclusively Church of England. Each Missionary had
to make her own decision as to which she would join; and Charlotte Tucker
at least had no hesitation in the matter. On the 12th of May she wrote:--

    ‘Here I am at home again, after my strange little visit to
    Amritsar; short, but by no means unimportant. All our five
    ladies have crossed the Rubicon; they have sent in their
    resignations, with the usual six months’ notice. It remains
    to be seen whether the new “Church of England Zenana Society”
    will or _can_ take them all on! We know not what the state of
    their funds will be, as they begin on nothing. Our ladies, with
    Mr. Weitbrecht the Secretary, seemed to have no hesitation as
    to what course to pursue,--that of resignation.... I am very
    desirous to know what dear Margaret Elmslie and Emily will do....
    How the complicated machinery of the Mission will work during
    the strange interregnum I know not.... One expects a sort of
    little--not exactly chaos, but--struggling along in a fog, for
    the next six months; and then we shall probably see our way
    clearly.’

On the following day she sent in her own resignation. Little more appears
about the subject in later letters. As an Honorary Worker her own
position was not affected, nor was her income placed in jeopardy; and
soon the new ‘Church of England Zenana Society,’ being warmly taken up,
was in full working order. Amongst those who joined it were her friends,
Mrs. Elmslie and Miss Wauton.

At this time she was becoming very anxious for the return of Mrs.
Elmslie, who had been detained in England far longer than was at first
intended, by family claims. Sometimes a fear was expressed that Mrs.
Elmslie might never return; and no one else could fill her place.
Charlotte Tucker did not dream of the happy consummation ahead. Two or
three references to her earlier days occur in June and July, as if some
cause had sent her thoughts backward.

    ‘_June 4, 1880._--I think, love, that one gets into a kind
    of social fetters. When we were young we had the worry of
    a footboy at our heels,--it was thought suitable for our
    position. (Do you remember dear Fanny’s lovely definition of
    that word?) When I was in Edinburgh, dear ---- was surprised,
    and I think a little shocked, at “my father’s daughter” going
    in omnibuses. As if it were any disgrace to my father’s
    middle-aged daughter to do what her precious princely Sire had
    done a hundred times! O Laura, when one throws aside these
    trammels of social position, one feels like a horse taken out
    of harness, and set free in a nice green meadow. Our honoured
    Father! what true dignity was his,--but how he shook off the
    trammels!

    ‘To be mean and miserly is quite another thing. That dishonours
    our profession. One should be ready to entertain hospitably,
    and to pay for work done handsomely; there is a free hand and a
    generous spirit quite consistent with economy.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 13._--Yes, love, we did intensely enjoy those concerts
    in H. Square. I want you to enjoy more concerts. It is curious
    how useful I have found my little music in the evening of my
    days. I sometimes think of dear Mother’s words to me,--“Do not
    give up your music.”’

In July, when Miss Tucker was congratulating herself that half the time
of Mr. Baring’s absence was over, a letter arrived speaking of lengthened
furlough. She was much distressed, fearing harm to the school, and for a
while was assailed by fears that perhaps he and also Mrs. Elmslie might
never return. Happily these fears were groundless; but plans were afloat
for some temporary arrangement while the Principal remained away. Miss
Wauton too was at this time taking her well-earned furlough in England,
and workers were sorely needed in the Panjab; while new untrained
Missionaries on first going out could do little. ‘We want Margaret,’ was
the burden of her cry; to which was now added, ‘We want Mr. Baring.’

For herself she had no thought of a furlough. Friends thought of it for
her; and she put the idea resolutely aside. Writing to Mrs. Hamilton on
September 6, she said: ‘And now for a more important subject, broached
in your sweet letter. I do not feel that it would be either wise as
regards myself, or right as regards my work, to go home next year. The
great fatigue of two journeys, the excitement of meeting loved ones,
and the wrench of parting again,--I doubt how my health could stand
it. As regards the work--I need not expatiate. It would look as if I
thought much of the little that I could do; but little is better than
nothing. It seems to me that one of the most useful things about me is
that--hitherto--I have stuck pretty close to my Station. If I were a
Native Christian, I think that I should be tempted to hate the very word
“going home,” and to regard Europe as a trap for my Missionaries. Let
them, if possible, have a _restful_ feeling in regard to at least one old
woman, whom they are ready to love.’

And a few days later to Miss Hamilton, on September 14:--

    ‘Your sweet Mother threw out a suggestion about my going home
    next year; but it seems to me, love, that if I did so,--unless
    circumstances change,--I should deserve to be shot as a
    deserter. Even if I were to become blind or paralytic, I
    believe that it would be well to stick to Batala. I am the only
    apology for a European Missionary here; and, curiously enough,
    my very _age_ is an advantage. What might be a great hindrance
    elsewhere is rather a help here.’

In a letter of September 14 occurs a passage about apparent success or
non-success in work. She had perhaps comforted herself from time to time
with such thoughts as follow.

Speaking about a certain American religious book, which had been lent to
her by one who greatly admired it, and about Mr. Bateman’s opinion of
the same volume, she observes: ‘What Rowland most objected to was the
American affirming that if you take certain means to effect conversions,
the result is as sure as harvest following breaking up the ground. As
Rowland says, we cannot even break up the ground without God.... Are we to
conclude that ---- and ---- are truer workers than dear ---- spending his
strength in breaking stones at K., while the sheaves almost drop into the
reapers’ arms at D.? Did our Blessed Lord Himself, Who was always sowing
golden seed, reap a very large harvest during His Ministry? St. Peter’s
first sermon drew in a far greater number than all the disciples of the
Blessed Lord before His Resurrection put together.’

It was evident that, although she must have felt her lonely position,
she was gradually becoming used to it; even so far as not at all to
wish for a strange young lady as a companion. Mrs. Hamilton had made
strong representations to the Society at home of the need of a helper at
Batala; and the letters given next seem to have been written partly in
consequence of this.

As early as the spring of 1880 Miss Tucker could say: ‘I used to think
it rather tiresome when business took both my English companions for a
few days away; now I am quite serene if I do not see a white face for
months.’ And in November of the same year: ‘As to earthly blessings, they
abound; the Natives are my real friends. The Lord gives abundant grace,
and cheers me with His Presence; and I have such joy in the companionship
of my Bible, that I do not miss the society I should otherwise value. Do
not send a helper to me, when many other parts of India need it so much
more.’

Again, on September 27:--

    ‘It is very loving in you to be so anxious for me to have a
    lady-companion. But, unless a Missionary’s wife, one might far
    from add either to my comfort or usefulness. To put aside the
    possibility of her being eloquent,--a late sitter-up,--of a
    melancholy or nervous temperament, or often ailing,--I really
    have no spare space for a lady companion. She must share my
    bath-room, if not my bedroom; and in India this would be very
    uncomfortable.

    ‘But why, you may say, should there be more room for a married
    pair than for one maiden lady? The answer is simple enough. If
    a _gentleman_ were here, the large family of the Singhas would
    give up their rooms and move to the Banyans. We _must_ have a
    gentleman Superintendent.’

Later in the same letter comes a reference to one of the Heroes of her
enthusiastic girlhood. Lady Outram and her gallant husband had been
intimate friends of the Tucker family; and many a loving message in these
later years was sent home by Charlotte Tucker to the former.

    ‘I have been reading much of the noble Outram’s Memoir to-day.
    As far as I have gone, I think that the Biographer has done
    his work well. The Outram of the book is just the Outram who
    was the admiration of our girlhood,--generous, chivalrous,
    noble! One feels how much pain that fine spirit would have been
    saved, had he realised how little it really matters whether
    good service be appreciated or not by man, if the great Leader
    accept it,--if all be done as to Him Who never overlooks or
    misunderstands! To our own Master we stand or fall; let earthly
    superiors say what they will.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 16._--Dear, excellent ---- thinks that my not having a
    “Revival” in Batala is because I do not study his favourite
    author. You can hardly have a _Revival_ unless there has
    been some life before.... Our work is more like clearing in
    backwoods,--there are huge trees and boulders cumbering the
    ground; not just weeds overspreading a garden that once was
    a little cultivated. Then here women cannot read, and do not
    choose to learn.... I like Miss Havergal’s _Kept for the Master’s
    Use_ so much. It is beautiful. But I do not feel with her that
    it is possible on Earth to have our _will_ exactly _one_ with
    God’s. Even the Blessed Saviour made a distinction between “My
    Will” and “Thy Will.” Dear C. T. T., for instance, submitted
    sweetly to her heavy trials; but it could not be her _will_, it
    was her _cross_, to lose all her nearest and dearest, and see
    her father ill for so many years.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 15, 1880._--Dear Mr. Clark’s return has caused so much
    joy. The Native Christians have had a loving address to him
    printed in letters of gold. I fancy that a general feeling
    is, “Now there is a hand on the reins.” ... Mr. Clark is an
    experienced and skilful driver. True, he is very weak, but he
    brings _brains_, and a power of organisation. If he were a
    prisoner to his room he might be very valuable still.... He was
    sadly missed....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 17._--_Please_, love, make no plans for bringing ladies
    to Batala. It is so awkward to me to have to explain to nice
    enthusiastic ladies that they cannot come. This is not a place
    except for elderly or married ladies. If Mera Bhatija would
    bring out a nice wife, it would give much pleasure; at present
    plans and propositions only--I must not say burden me--but they
    do not help me. I do very well as I am; I have had, through
    God’s goodness, a happy year; and if I were to be ill, I would
    _rather_ be doctored by our Sikh, and nursed by our Natives. As
    for visitors, we have hardly any except in the cooler weather;
    and a little packing then does no harm.’

Of the following extracts to Mrs. E----, only two of which are fully
dated, all probably belong to about this period:--

    ‘_July 23._--I saw to-day a sight which perhaps never met your
    eyes in India, and which I never wish to see again; though
    it was not without something of melancholy beauty. On Sunday
    towards dusk I was with some of the boys, and they called
    out “Locusts!” I looked up into the sky, and saw what my old
    eyes would have considered harmless clouds high above me; but
    the young eyes must have detected the motion of countless
    wings. To-day there was no possibility of mistake. I was in
    a Zenana, in the full light of day, gazing up at myriads
    and myriads,--dark against white clouds, light against the
    blue sky,--passing over Batala. They looked to me like God’s
    terrible army; so strong; so vigorous; not one amongst the
    millions appeared to be weary; not one did I see drop down
    as if faint from long flight. They flew as if they had a
    purpose; our fair green fields did not appear to tempt the
    destroyers,--only I saw a comparatively small number in
    one,--but they were clearly intent on going somewhere else.
    Alas for the land where they alight! A Native told me that they
    would probably come back again. How helpless is man against
    such a foe! We can only ask for mercy, as Pharaoh did.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘KANGRA, _Aug. 21_.--I paid a visit to Kangra fort yesterday;
    a grand picturesque place, holding a commanding position. The
    officer in command had prepared tea and cake for me, and
    the dear kind soldiers lemonade, so I was treated with much
    hospitality. They do not often see a lady up there. I have
    often thought of your dear M.’s words about the soldiers, and
    her wondering at my feeling shy with them. They are some of the
    pleasantest people in the world to have to do with.... While I
    was taking tea with the Commander, the soldiers were concocting
    a letter to say that they had collected _ten rupees_ to pay my
    expenses, and hoped that I would soon come again. I certainly
    do not want their money, poor dear fellows; and I mean to go
    again on Monday. Soldiers’ money seems to jump out of their
    purses of its own accord. In this the Natives are far behind
    them. Four soldiers--I think in Afghanistan--are uniting to
    support a little girl at the Amritsar Orphanage. They are
    charmed with the idea. I had nothing to do with it, except
    giving the Superintendent’s address. I have over and over again
    received help for the Mission from English soldiers, and I
    never ask them for it. Fine fellows!--and to think what they
    have to suffer!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘BATALA, _Oct. 1, 1880_.--I was amused to-day at what my kahar
    called out. I am quite accustomed, as I am borne along in my
    little duli, to hear my bearers shout, “Posh! posh!” (Hide!
    hide!), which is absurd enough, as if all must flee from my
    approach. But to-day was too absurd. I was, according to
    custom, walking to the city, with my kahars carrying my duli
    behind. There was a rider in front, mounted on a horse inclined
    to back. My attentive kahar, careful that the animal should not
    hurt me, cried out, “Save the horse!”--as if, instead of its
    kicking _me_, the danger was that a mild old lady approaching
    on foot should demolish the unfortunate animal!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘BATALA, _Jan. 31, 1881_.--As I was engaged yesterday with a
    party of our boys, I was interrupted by hearing that my poor
    dear Ayah had been stung--bitten, as the people incorrectly
    say--by a scorpion. I thought what could be done. I had
    happily by me some ipecacuanha, sent to me in 1879 by my dear
    kind sister, Laura, in case of such an emergency, and also
    pain-killer, which she forwarded to me more recently. Armed
    with these and a bit of tape, probably her present also, I
    hastened to the compound, and found my Ayah crying with the
    violent pain. She had already sucked the poor finger. I tied
    my tape round it, anointed it with a mixture of ipecacuanha
    and pain-killer, and gave some of the latter also internally.
    My Hannah appeared to derive some relief, but had much pain
    in the night. To-day, however, she is much better. I have
    never seen either scorpion or centipede in Batala; but then my
    long staircase would present a formidable difficulty to such
    reptiles.’

About this time, hearing the boys one day singing _The Vicar of Bray_,
Miss Tucker wrote fresh words to suit the old tune, and taught them to
her young companions. The second verse was curiously characteristic of
herself.

    ‘The rushing torrent bears along
      The straw on its surface thrown, Sir;
    But the rock in its midst stands firm and strong,
      Although it stand alone, Sir.
    Oh, may our steadfast courage so
      In danger’s hour be seen, Sir;
          And let the tide flow,
          And let the world go,
    We ‘ll be true to our Faith and our Queen, Sir!’



CHAPTER XI

A.D. 1881-1882

CLOUDS AFTER SUNSHINE


The greater part of 1881 passed much as 1880 had passed; Miss Tucker
continuing to live in the old palace, busy and happy among her Indian
friends, and cheery with the boys, having no second European within easy
reach. But in the spring came an unexpected joy. News arrived that her
dharm-nephew, the Rev. Francis Baring, was engaged to be married to her
dearly-loved friend, Mrs. Elmslie, and that the two might be expected in
Batala before the close of the year. Could Charlotte Tucker have had the
shaping of events for herself, for her friends, and for Batala, one can
well imagine that this is precisely what she would have chosen to take
place. In the opening of the year, however, she had no idea of what would
soon come.

    ‘_Jan. 5, 1881._--In looking over my records of 1880, I find
    that in the nine, or rather eight months, of Mera Bhatija’s
    absence,--as I was away myself for a month,--I have given
    nearer seven hundred than six hundred teas to boys or young
    men. The expense is trifling; it seems as if a couple of pounds
    of tea lasted for ever; but all these little marks in my book
    represent a good deal of innocent enjoyment, not, I hope,
    unmixed with profit. All the boys, save two lately come, have
    again and again sat at my table, chatted or played with me.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Jan. 11._--I was with a poor weeping Bibi yesterday. Her
    heart was very heavy. She told me that her husband had forsaken
    her; he has gone away and married another. When I asked her
    in the presence of her companions who Christ is, she replied,
    “God’s Son.” “Why did He come from Heaven?” “To save us.” I
    wish that this forlorn one would throw herself on His love,
    and come into the Church. I read God’s Word to another Bibi
    to-day, who is in the same position,--desolate, forsaken, ready
    to listen. A third case is somewhat similar. You would think
    it comparatively easy for these forsaken ones to come out; but
    even to them the difficulties are immense. Where the husband
    is tolerably kind, the difficulty is next to insuperable; for
    marriage by Muhammadan law,--and I have lately been shocked to
    hear, by English law also,--is _dissolved_ by Baptism. This is
    dead against St. Paul’s directions as to the duty of believing
    wives towards unbelieving husbands; and you can imagine how it
    complicates the difficulties of Zenana visitors!... If one would
    express in one word the Missionary’s worst perplexity, I think
    that I would put down the word “marriage.”’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Feb. 5, 1881._--I went to a wedding yesterday, one of the
    silly child-marrying affairs, with which the Hindus delight to
    ruin themselves and run into debt. Poor ---- quite agreed with
    me that it is very foolish; but he and his relatives cannot
    resist dastur,[95] so both my kahars receive next to nothing
    for five months, to work out their debt to me. I had to do
    rather a difficult thing for an old lady, in order to get to
    the wedding-party, climb a real ladder--not very good--of eight
    rounds. I am not as agile as I used to be, and had to go up
    and up, and then down and down, very slowly and cautiously. To
    parody Byron’s lines--

        ‘“The feat performed I--boots it well or ill,
        Since not to tumble down is something still....”

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                      ‘_May 10._

    ‘I thought that my birthday would pass over very quietly and
    silently, as it fell on a Sunday.... But my Native friends would
    not let me go without my birthday tamasha, merely delaying it
    till the Monday. I could not regret it, for certainly it was
    one of the most gratifying evenings that I have ever enjoyed.
    We had our feast, given by the Singhas, on the top of their
    house, with the glorious dark-blue sky as our ceiling, and our
    lamp the beautiful moon.... I was presented with a Batala scarf
    or chaddah, for which my dear boys had subscribed. A wonderful
    chaddah it is, with borders of red and gold. I thought by
    moonlight that the colour was grey.... In the morning I saw the
    exceedingly gay _green_, of which I enclose a thread.... It is
    precious to me, as a token of affection.

    ‘The Native Christians not unfrequently subscribe to give a
    parting gift to a Missionary whom they love, when starting for
    England; but I suppose they thought that, in my case, if they
    waited for that they would never give me anything, and that
    it was no harm to present me with something for _not_ going
    away! Mr. K. was rather astonished at the wild bhajans, which
    he declares are all on one note--but that is a mistake--but he
    says that they helped to cure his earache; a very curious and
    novel effect, which I never knew before to belong to a bhajan!...

    ‘I think, love, that these little particulars will amuse you.
    I write playfully, but the real undermost feeling in my heart
    is that of humble gratitude to Him from Whom all blessings
    flow,--the love of true and God-fearing hearts being one of the
    most precious of those blessings.’

TO MRS. J. BOSWELL.

                                              ‘_March 17, 1881._

    ‘The Hindus appear to be particularly silly at this time of
    the year. They throw about coloured water, so as to make
    almost all the white dresses of their companions look dirty
    and disreputable. My poor ---- came particularly badly off,
    for he not only had three times his raiment dirtied, but his
    hand rather severely hurt. Said I to him, “Do you think such a
    religion is from God?” “It is devilish,” he frankly assented.
    “A devilish religion; a devilish deed.” “Why do you not leave
    it?” The poor fellow was silent. It is not faith in his
    nonsensical religion that holds him back, but love of social
    ties and surroundings.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                    ‘_April 13._

    ‘Our good pastor Sadiq and I had a long talk together to-day.
    We two almost, as it were, form a little party by ourselves; we
    are regular old-fashioned Panjabis, something like Saxons after
    the Norman Conquest. Sadiq highly approves of this school,
    because we don’t Anglicise the boys.... But the Anglicising
    tide runs too fast for Sadiq and me. We get spoilt by Batala,
    where there are no Europeans or Eurasians.... This is a grand
    transition time in India; and the Conservatism, which I drank
    in at old No. 3, remains in me like an instinct now. I would
    keep everything unchanged that is not wrong or foolish--and
    there is such a fearful amount of things that _are_ wrong
    and foolish, that one might think that to get rid of them
    would give all occupation sufficient. But I know that I am
    old-fashioned, and live too much in one groove to be able to
    judge correctly.’

TO MRS. E----

                                               ‘_July 29, 1881._

    ‘You have perhaps heard that I am to have a charming lady to
    be with me; for my adopted nephew, the Rev. F. H. Baring, is
    bringing out a lovely bride, one whom I know well, and whom
    I have been accustomed to call my Queen-Lily, because she is
    so tall and fair. I expect her to do Mission-work much better
    than I can; and will not our boys love her! They seem to have
    made up their minds that she is to be their mother; so she will
    have a fine large family to look after, thirty-seven boys, or
    more; some of them really not boys, but men. Rowland Bateman is
    to perform, or rather, I believe, has performed, the marriage
    service for his friend. We expect to have grand rejoicings here
    on the arrival of the happy pair. It was a feast to see the way
    in which the news of their Principal’s engagement was received
    by his boys.... There was such clapping and delight, that you
    might have thought all the boys were going to be married
    themselves!’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Sept. 4, 1881._

    ‘I visited to-day a poor mother who has lost a fine little
    boy. I seated myself amongst the mourners, and talked with the
    mother. What she said gave me a gleam of hope regarding the
    child of ten. He had till lately attended our Mission School,
    so of course had received religious instruction. He had the
    opportunity also of learning something in the Zenana, and knew
    Christian Hymns. His illness was _very_ short; and what he said
    no one could understand; but, as his mother assured me more
    than once, “_he smiled twice_.” This seems but a sunbeam to
    build upon; yet as I have never known or heard of Muhammadans
    or Heathen smiling when about to die,--the death-smile seems
    exclusively Christian!--I cannot but hope that the dear little
    fellow _had_ looked to the Saviour. I told the mother of the
    hope in my mind, and spoke to the weeping little brother also.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 3._--It is a real pleasure to look forward to, that of
    welcoming the Barings back, and placing the reins in younger
    and stronger hands than my own. Not a giving up of work, please
    God, but a lightening of responsibility. How often we say or
    think, “Oh, we’ll leave that till the Padri Sahib comes.” He is
    to do the thinking and ordering and arrangement in his little
    bishopric. As for sweet, lovely Margaret, I expect to see her
    gentle influence bearing on all sides. We are not likely to
    disagree, unless it be on the subject of who is to sing first,
    and who is to take the coveted second part.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘PESHAWAR, _Oct. 18, 1881_.--A large military station like
    Peshawar is rather a contrast to Batala. But, poor India!
    Where one sees less of the enemy attacking in one direction,
    we find him advancing in another. Over the Hindus and
    Muhammadans he throws the chains of Superstition, Idolatry,
    Self-righteousness,--he makes them choose a murderer instead
    of the Prince of Life. For the Europeans he has coldness,
    deadness, infidelity! I noticed at Church that but _one man_
    stayed to Holy Communion.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 7._--I am so much stronger after my visit to
    Peshawar,--quite a different being. It must be a comfort to
    Babu Singha, who thought me ageing with wonderful rapidity.
    But at Peshawar I took a backward spring. I was more than six
    hours to-day on an expedition to the village of Urduhi, going
    in my duli; and I was very little tired,--quite ready for Henry
    VIII. and his six wives in the afternoon, and for Agamemnon and
    Achilles in the evening. It is amusing to go back to the old
    stories one read in one’s childhood.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Nov. 22, 1881._

    ‘The visit of the two Bishops,[96] Mr. Clark, and the Chaplain,
    Mr. Deedes, went off beautifully. Everybody seemed pleased
    with Batala; and the Bishop of Calcutta wrote such handsome
    things in the school-book, that I am sure dear Babu Singha was
    gratified. The Bishop of Calcutta is a striking-looking man;
    tall, with a simple, unaffected dignity.... He gives one the
    impression of both physical and intellectual strength, combined
    with true piety. As the vigorous, energetic practical man, he
    forms an interesting contrast to the fragile-looking, saintly
    Bishop of Lahore. Then Mr. Clark has a calm charm of his
    own,--described by a lad as “looking like an angel, with his
    beautiful white beard.” ...

    ‘Of course we had a feast. Then followed brief recitations
    from Shakespeare, and choruses. To-day the school was examined
    in Scripture, and pleased the Bishop. We had Divine Service,
    and an interesting, forcible sermon, well translated, sentence
    by sentence, by Mr. Clark. The Bishop of Calcutta afterwards
    went over the place, examining the boys’ beds, etc., struck
    at Native lads having such clean sheets, and at hearing that
    they were changed weekly. He kindly visited our poor sick
    M., who is much better, thank God, though still--after six
    weeks--confined to bed. I gave my guests plenty to eat; and
    my bottle of wine held out bravely, two of the gentlemen
    preferring tea, while the wine-drinkers were very moderate. I
    had to manage a little to make my furniture suffice for four
    guests. There was a little borrowing, but not much. I put two
    of your sweet mother’s lovely tidies, quite fresh, over chair
    and sofa, to look elegant. I wore the pretty cap, trimmed with
    blue, and my graceful grey dress, both gifts from No. 31.[97]

    ‘The Bishop of Calcutta, before leaving, kindly put into
    my hand a note for 100 rupees. I asked him to what purpose
    I should apply it; he replied to whatever purpose I liked;
    so I at once decided on our City Mission School, our Batala
    _Plough_, which has almost come to the end of its means, and
    must on no account be suffered to drop through. I was very glad
    of the seasonable supply.

    ‘Now all the boys’ thoughts are turned to the reception of the
    dear Barings. The Natives take the whole affair into their own
    hands, I merely helping by paying for the refreshments. I see
    a wooden arch in course of erection, and hundreds--perhaps a
    thousand--little earthen lamps cumbering our hall. Perhaps the
    Bishops wondered what all those funny little concerns could be
    for. There are to be fireworks too; but I have nothing to do
    with either illumination or fireworks.’

Before the end of November Mr. and Mrs. Baring arrived, to be received
lovingly by Charlotte Tucker, and enthusiastically, not by the boys
alone, or even by the Christians alone, but by many of the people of
Batala. On the 9th of December a letter went from Mrs. Baring home:--

    ‘MY DEAR MRS. HAMILTON,--I have but few uninterrupted minutes,
    but long to send you at least a few lines, to assure you that
    your beloved sister is well. She gave us a most delightful
    welcome; and a very great joy it is to be with her. I thought
    her looking extremely white and thin, although not lacking
    in her wonted energy, when we first came. Now I think she is
    looking a little better; and we shall tenderly watch over her,
    and cherish her, so far as she will allow us; but I assure you
    it is very hard work to persuade her to reduce her work, or to
    increase her nourishment. I see that my best plan is quietly
    to put things in her way that may be strengthening, but not
    to trouble her by _pressing_; and to ensure soups, puddings,
    etc., being all thoroughly nutritious, so that the amount she
    does take may all do her real good. And as to the work, I hope
    she will gradually let me have part of it, leaving herself more
    time for writing.

    ‘You will be pleased to see how the people love and honour
    her. The tahsildar[98] came one day to see us; and reverently
    bowing his head before her, he asked her to lay her hand upon
    it, and pray for him,--which she did, most earnestly asking
    that Heavenly light might be poured into his soul. I think she
    is very wise in her dealings with the Christians, but is apt
    to over-estimate some of the heathen,--and to cast precious
    “pearls before swine,” at too great an expense of her own
    time and strength. However, I am perhaps mistaken about this.
    We must pray that _all_ her loving efforts may be abundantly
    blessed, and that she may be allowed the joy of seeing some
    fruit of her city labours. Among the boys she has been _much_
    blessed. I hope to write often, if you will kindly excuse
    my notes being hurried. Much love to dear Leila. Kindest
    remembrances to Mr. Hamilton.-- Ever yours lovingly,

                                                      MARGARET.’

One little touch of depression had appeared a few weeks earlier, in a
letter written before the visit of the Bishops, wherein Miss Tucker
alluded to a slight sketch or account of herself which had been inserted
in a Missionary periodical. The tone of sadness was probably due to those
long city labours, spoken of by Mrs. Baring, so few results of which
could then be detected.

    ‘_Nov. 16, 1881._-- ... Last Sunday was my sixth _Indian_
    birthday; it fell on a Sunday, like my natural one. In 1880 I
    felt joyous on my Indian birthday. Somehow or other I had quite
    a different sensation this year. I felt so dissatisfied with
    myself,--my work seemed all sowing, and never reaping! Oh, what
    a false impression the ---- gives of me! And Miss ---- never
    published my refutation.... Do you remember the noble lines in
    “Camoens”--

                              ‘“Praise misapplied
        Is to the generous mind not callous grown
        A burning cautery.”

    ‘I do not mean that I am burnt; but I feel like one breathing
    an unwholesome, sickly odour. Here is the Bishop of Calcutta
    wanting to see me; he has probably been reading some painted
    description, and imagines me a highly capable and successful
    Missionary. O dear! O dear! If Miss ---- had only published my
    honest, blunt letter!’

For once in this little fit of down-heartedness, she seems to have
somewhat lost her usual balanced view of the comparative unimportance
of seemingly successful ‘results.’ But if in all these years of toil
Charlotte Tucker had never known depression, she would have been more
than human. Even her brave and dauntless spirit had occasionally to pass
under a cloud; more often, as years passed on, and strength decayed.
This time it had been a very slight one; and the coming of her two dear
friends had brought bright sunshine into her life.

Early in the next year another letter went to Mrs. Hamilton from the
bride:--

                                               ‘_Jan. 21, 1882._

    ‘DEAREST MRS. HAMILTON,--I often want to have a chat with
    you,--_so_ often! But now how impossible it is to go to the
    bright, home-like drawing-room at Leinster Square to have it! I
    must therefore just be content with pen and ink.

    ‘Your own beloved one writes so regularly that you hear all
    Batala news; but you do not, I fancy, hear much about her own
    dear self. She had certainly overdone before we came, and
    naturally, after six years of such continuous effort, in a
    climate such as this, she looks aged; but she is really just
    as full of brightness as ever, and her spirit is unflagging
    in its loving efforts for all around her. It is indeed a
    privilege and joy to have her here. Just at present she has a
    troublesome cold, caught by going out in the foggy morning of
    last week; but I trust it will soon yield to remedies. She is
    cosily resting in an arm-chair by the log-fire beside me, and
    has allowed me to take a little care of her to-day. The Native
    doctor comes every day to see the boys; so if anything is wrong
    with her we have him upstairs, to have a chat and prescribe. He
    is a very superior man, and she has great confidence in him.

    ‘She will have told you of the possibility of a Mrs. R. coming
    out to join us as a Medical Bible-woman.... Not only would she
    be very useful in the Zenanas, and in taking care of the
    little boys, but also in taking a look-out for our dear one
    when we are absent.... My husband thinks of adding a room and
    dressing-room to The Aloes for Mrs. R. if she comes; so she
    would be quite near us.... Dinner is announced, so I must say
    farewell. The dear Auntie kindly consents to let a little low
    table be drawn close to the fire in the drawing-room for her
    to-day, as the dining-room is very cold in this weather....

C. M. T. TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Jan. 23, 1882._

    ‘It was rather naughty in Margaret to tell you that I had a
    cold; I did not know that she would be such a blab! However,
    she is not an easy person to be angry with. I think that dear
    kind Doctor, B. D., is quite pleased with me. He thinks that I
    have done more in the way of getting well in twenty-four hours
    than I should have done in a week had I been a Zenana lady,
    because I should not have obeyed him. The Natives are so very
    lazy about anything in illness which involves any trouble....
    Dear Margaret and Francis take great care of me,--coddle me!’
    (Then comes a pleased reference to the thought of the Medical
    Bible-woman for the next cold weather.) ‘It was such an utterly
    unexpected thing.... It is so nice to meet with a servant of a
    true Missionary spirit. Of course she will need taking care
    of herself. I told Francis that he should calculate on her
    _pankah_ costing £5 a year. I do not need as much fanning as
    some Europeans do; but I count my pankah as that expense; and
    it would be folly to grudge it. You see, in the Panjab, if
    you wish to sleep at night, you must have a pankah in the hot
    weather even at midnight, unless you can sleep in the open
    air,--which I find impracticable in a boys’ school; and I do
    not see how good Mrs. R. could manage it....

    ‘Aunt L.’s book is very amusing, even to a grown-up person;
    there is such vigour in the attitudes, and the colouring is
    just suited for Orientals. I think of taking it with me when
    I pay my long-promised visit to Clarkabad. I hope to invade
    the heathen there and not confine myself--please God--to the
    Christian village. I feel a special interest in Clarkabad, on
    account of my dear Rowland. The lovely little gem of a church,
    partly the work of his own hands, gives a charm to the spot.
    Now the presence of the excellent Beutels will add to it.

    ‘I expect to find some of the flock very troublesome folk; but
    that is what Missionaries must expect. These big brown families
    have their prodigals and sloths and backsliders. What is to be
    expected from those who have had so little light for generation
    after generation? We should hail every symptom of improvement.
    The European idea of a Missionary standing under a tree,
    preaching,--and numbers listening, understanding, and welcoming
    the Word of Life,--is often a fancy picture, or gives a most
    imperfect view of the truth. The seeking to _win_ souls is but
    one part of the real work.

    ‘Only think what a regular workshop of thought has been going
    on in the heads of such men as ---- and ----. _A._ is weak; how
    is he to be shielded from temptation? _B._ is a stupid, lazy
    fellow; how is he to be made to work? What is to be done about
    _C._‘s heathen wife? Are not _D._‘s children growing up like
    weeds? Can we manage to find employment for _E._ or a Christian
    wife for _F._? It is this “care of the Churches” which was a
    burden to St. Paul, and I suppose has been a burden to most
    of his most earnest successors. It is not a thing to tell in
    a Report, or to draw out enthusiasm in a Missionary meeting.
    But we know, darling, that if a farmer went over a huge field,
    simply scattering grain, perhaps on ground even unploughed, and
    then went home, quite sure that all would go right, that he had
    only to go on for ever sowing and a harvest would certainly
    rise, he would hardly be likely to garner a crop.... _One_ such
    matured, ripened Convert as ---- is worth a hundred of those
    whose conduct shows that they hardly deserve the name of
    Christians.’

In the course of this January she wrote lovingly to her sister: ‘It
touched my heart that you should have had “grief” in your dreams about
parting again with your Char! The wrench of saying “Farewell” is what one
cannot help shrinking from.’

But despite the pain of long separation from those whom she most loved,
and despite many cares and anxieties this year in her work, Miss Tucker
still kept her health. Mrs. Baring, writing early in February, could say:
‘I am so very glad to be able to assure you that your precious sister is
much better, really looking well; though perhaps not quite so strong as
in the days when she could easily outstrip me in a walk, or work from 4
A.M. to 10 P.M. without feeling very tired.’ Few women at their strongest
could emulate such a day’s work, and not feel ‘very tired’ at the end.
It is hardly surprising that at the age of sixty she should not continue
‘_quite_ so strong.’

Money for the proposed Church had been flowing in; yet still it was not
begun. ‘We have been, I think,’ Miss Tucker wrote, ‘for nearly two and
a half years trying to buy a good site, but the Natives will not sell
one to us. We cannot build on air. We have the money--and the will to
buy--but we must wait God’s time.’ A little hospital also was planned,
but the same difficulties presented themselves as to a suitable site, and
delays were unavoidable.

Here comes a melancholy little touch of the sad side of Missionary
work--that side which must inevitably exist in everything belonging to
this world:--

    ‘Perhaps you sometimes wonder at my so often making the special
    request for prayer for _wisdom_. But oh, love, if you knew the
    puzzling cases which meet us! I observe that experienced and
    sensible Natives are taken in; so can we wonder at being so?
    I will just give you a specimen case where we have _not_ been
    taken in, because warned in time. I have not even seen the
    woman in question; I suppose that the parties found out that we
    have had notice.... A woman professes, I hear, to be an inquirer.
    She wishes baptism. Why? A Muhammadan man is at the bottom
    of her inclination towards Christianity. The woman is of low
    caste, so that the man would be degraded by marrying her, as he
    desires to do. Let her become a Christian,--that will be a kind
    of white-washing for her,--she will be received amongst us, be
    able to eat with us, etc. _Then_ the Muhammadan is to pervert
    her to the faith of Islam, and gain credit for converting a
    Christian, instead of disgrace for marrying a Mitrani.[99] ...
    We hope for more than twenty baptisms in C----, but Francis
    is in no hurry to baptize, nor I to write to Miss ---- about
    our hopes. I think that I have gained more experience in this
    my seventh year than any other; and dear Francis has also
    greatly added to his. One of the parts of this experience is
    the finding out our need of wisdom from above. Only God knows
    the heart! Do not suppose me dismayed, or that I cease to value
    the dear Natives; but it is almost sad to me to see that
    self-confidence which often arises from lack of experience.’

Miss Tucker might well have said ‘very’ instead of ‘almost’ sad. Certain
words in a letter of Mrs. Baring’s to Mrs. Hamilton, soon after, are
something of an echo to the above:--

    ‘The blessing she (Miss Tucker) is among those Christian boys
    is incalculable. Perhaps Eternity will show even more fruit
    from her bright, loving, holy influence over them, than over
    the people in the city. They are more able to appreciate her
    character and teaching than the poor degraded heathen, to whom
    she is much more like an angel afar off and above them, than a
    sister-woman whom they may seek to follow and grow like.

    ‘She does love the boys, and is in her element among them; and
    they have one and all a chivalrous admiration for her. These
    years in India have taught her some things, I can see. Formerly
    her purse was open to every one; now she has the same generous
    spirit, guided by caution and experience. This winter’s painful
    lessons in the fallibility of our best Native Christians have
    been to her a very sore discipline, and to us too; but it is
    really safer for us all to know exactly how far we dare trust,
    than to be thinking those saints who are very far from it.’

A touching little episode about this time is related in letters from
both A. L. O. E. and Mrs. Baring. The latter had been much grieved by
quarrelling in one of the Muhammadan schools; and she told her Pandit or
teacher about it. He was a Sikh, who knew much of Christianity, though
not yet a Convert. The kind words which came in answer were certainly
not what might have been expected from a heathen. ‘But do not be sad in
heart,’ urged the Pandit. Satan is strong, but God is stronger. He will
hear your prayers.’ The speaker could surely have been heathen only in
name.

In the end of May it became needful for Mr. and Mrs. Baring to go to a
cooler spot, leaving Miss Tucker in charge at Batala,--once more to be
the only European in that city. It seemed no great matter to her, and
she wrote as usual very cheerily about it beforehand. Little dreamt she
that this was to be a final parting; that she and her beloved ‘Queen
Lily’--her ‘Angel-friend’--would never meet again in this life!

    ‘_May 20, 1882._--The day after to-morrow my dear friends are
    to leave me for the Hills. You must not be sad about it, for I
    am quite happy; indeed, it will be rather a comfort to me for
    them to go, sweet as is their society, and valuable as is their
    affection. Francis stands heat so very badly.... Margaret too
    loses her pretty pink roses, and gets so tired when she goes to
    the city. On the other hand, _I_ am far fitter for work than in
    winter.... It is a mistake in kind friends to pity me, or think
    about _sacrifices_ on my part, for the lines have fallen to me
    in a fair ground. Of course, we have things to trouble us; but
    the blessings far, far outweigh the trials.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 23._--Dear Francis and Margaret started last night, the
    young May moon and the stars shining beautifully. It was a
    picturesque scene. The carriage had a lamp within it, as well
    as one or two outside; the light gleamed on our crowd of boys
    and men, mostly in white garments. Loud was the cheer when our
    dear ones drove off....

    ‘Well, love, I and our boys returned to Anarkalli. I did not
    feel lonely. I went to bed under the swinging pankah; and
    was ere long wrapped in repose. O what a startling waking at
    about 3 A.M. What an uproar!--what a fierce sound of struggle
    breaks on the silence of night,--the call for help--the whack
    of blows,--it reaches Babu Singha’s ears at the Banyans, and
    brings him in haste from his bed,--but not till the conflict
    is over. I start up, and am at the window in a minute; but the
    moon has gone down; there is only starlight; nothing can I see,
    though much can I hear. I recognise the loud, manly voice of
    G., our Christian bihisti.[100] I think that he is catching a
    thief, and that the thief has the worst of it. Of course, boys
    and men come running. I hear a call for rope,--yes, certainly a
    thief must have been caught.

    ‘Presently a wee light is brought. I can see, almost below my
    window, an object crouching on the ground, surrounded by our
    people. They have bound him; they are examining his face. There
    is a great deal of noise and talking for twenty minutes or
    more; and then the robber is evidently led away, and I retire
    again to rest. My heart beat no faster, but it certainly would
    have beaten faster, had I known the extent of dear, brave G.’s
    danger. When I came down in the morning, there was the robber,
    in iron fetters, with his face all marked with blood,--with the
    police around. He was crouching on the ground, a picture of a
    ruffian, a miserable ruffian.

    ‘Babu Singha told me that there had been _five_ burglars; but
    only two had ventured near the house. Our chaukidar[101] ...
    gave the alarm. G. rushed to the rescue, and he and B. between
    them, with some help from the dhobi,[102] succeeded in catching
    the robber; but not without G. receiving hurts from his heavy
    stick. Babu Singha told me that the robber is a very powerful
    man. But, oh Laura, what gave me the greatest feeling of the
    danger G. had been in, was being shown the razor which the
    robber had had about him. It had been dropped. Thank God,
    _that_ had not been used; indeed, I do not think that the
    ruffian had been given time to use it. If he had, he might have
    killed G....’

Two months of busy work followed; towards the close of which came another
adventure,--a robber again, but this time one on four legs instead of two.

    ‘_July 18, 1882._--Our palace was invaded by a wild cat. She
    caught a poor pigeon in the south room, carried it through the
    dining-room into my room, and left its half-eaten remains on
    my floor. Another time she had the impertinence to crouch on
    sleeping C.[103] A wild cat is not a pleasant visitor; her mode
    of attack, if incensed, being to spring at the throat. So I
    set a price, a moderate one, on the wild cat’s head. She came
    again,--she was sure to do so to a house where boys keep pets,
    and where she had already captured a pigeon. At night I heard a
    battle-royal going on over my head. I did not rise; I guessed
    that there was a furious conflict between the boys and the wild
    cat. On the following morning I saw the animal lying dead, and
    paid the reward.’

A few days more, and the bolt fell. News came that Mrs. Baring was ill;
and that her husband, away from her at the time, had hastened back,
to find her in a high fever. Then a rather better report arrived; and
Charlotte Tucker was so far cheered as to write to Mrs. Hamilton in much
her usual strain, hoping that it might prove to be ‘only a passing
indisposition.’ Before this letter was closed, tidings were received
that all was over. Erysipelas had set in, the fair face becoming
unrecognisable, and with little warning the gentle saint, so ready to
go, had passed away. It was a very heavy blow; and though Miss Tucker,
as usual, thought far more of what others felt than of what she felt
herself, the letters written afterwards show how much she suffered:--

    ‘_Aug. 9._--I feel as if I did not care to write much save on
    one theme. The enclosed letters, which you will read, will give
    you particulars of the sad, sad event, which must have shocked
    you much.... How little I dreamed, when I saw the two driven off
    in the dâk-gari, while the moonlight fell on the picturesque
    scene, that one, and that the stronger one, ... would never
    return to Batala again! But the dear Lord knew that she was
    ready. He does not call His children to mount up as on eagles’
    wings till the wings are fledged.

    ‘This is the saddest year that I have ever passed in India....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug. 11, 1882._--My dearest Leila, I doubt not that both
    you and your loved Mother have shed tears over sweet, sweet
    Margaret’s loss,--or rather, our loss,--and that you have
    tenderly sympathised both with my poor Bhatija and with me.
    This has been a year of successive trials, not only to us but
    to others in the Mission field,--a time to make us search our
    hearts and examine our work. It seems almost as if my two
    Scripture texts at present are, “Faint, yet pursuing,”--and
    “Lord, we have toiled all night, and caught nothing, yet at
    _Thy_ Word we will let down the net.” ...

    ‘It seems such an age before I can get a reply to any letter
    addressed to Francis. Time goes _so_ slowly now! It is only a
    week to-day since I received the startling news.’

The especial trials referred to, apart from the death of Mrs. Baring,
were numerous difficulties and disappointments among and with the members
of their little flock of Indian Christians. One trouble had followed upon
the heels of another.



CHAPTER XII

A.D. 1882-1883

THE FIRST STONE OF BATALA CHURCH


About the middle of August Miss Tucker went for change to Allahabad;
and very soon after her arrival she was able to speak of herself as
‘less tired’ than before leaving Batala; despite two nights of severe
travelling, inclusive of sixteen hours straight off in her duli. ‘The
change of air already tells on my bodily frame,’ she wrote; ‘and the
change of scene on my mind and spirits.... I was becoming low in every
way.’ Before the end of September she was back again in Batala; and there
she was soon joined by Mr. Baring, after his most sad absence. For a
while, but only for a while, Batala was still to be his home.

In October for the first time the idea came definitely up of building a
‘Mission Bungalow’ in the place, an idea which afterwards developed into
A. L. O. E.’s last earthly home.

It was also in the course of 1882 that some one wrote a sketch of her
life, and requested her to revise the same before publication. Miss
Tucker had not attained to modern composure on such questions, and she
wrote with indignation: ‘I am afraid ... neither you nor others may like my
note to ----.... I need not dwell upon the part about the little book; it
is too personal to myself. What would you think of a little book being
written about yourself,--and sent to you to _correct_? Oh! Oh!! Oh!!!’

For some time past Charlotte Tucker had been watching with great interest
the movements of the Salvation Army in India; at first with a disposition
to admire and approve, which tendency gave place gradually to strong
disapproval, as she saw more of the methods employed, and found the
exceedingly defective nature of the religious teaching given.

Some very curious glimpses of Indian modes of life and thought, and of
the manner in which Miss Tucker dealt with them, appear in the letters
of 1882 and 1883, as will be seen in succeeding extracts. Among the
singular things constantly happening, an old woman in a Zenana, at
about this time, composedly offered to _sell_ to A. L. O. E. one of her
daughters-in-law. ‘If you will give me a hundred rupees, you may have
her,’ the old woman said frankly. Needless to remark, Miss Tucker did not
buy the poor girl!

    ‘_Nov. 17, 1882._--I had, I thought, finished my
    Zenana-visiting to-day, when a man, at a loom in a room which I
    had not entered, called out to me, “I wish a Gospel. I want to
    compare it with the Koran.” He and the bibi wanted me to come
    into their room; so of course I went and sat down. Says the
    man, “I think my religion good. I want to compare our books.”
    “Much better,” said I. The man brought his Koran, a translation
    into Urdu, probably made by some Christian, or at least printed
    in some Christian press. The good man treated me to such a long
    reading of the Koran, page after page, I did not know when he
    would stop! I felt it not only common politeness to sit and
    listen attentively, but good policy also, for how can I expect
    an earnest Muhammadan to give the Gospel a fair hearing, if I
    will not even listen to the Koran?

    ‘The man was anxious that I should understand as well as
    hear, stopping every now and then to translate a word that he
    thought might puzzle me. But the Urdu was particularly simple
    for anything doctrinal. To understand anything doctrinal,
    even such sermons as I hear, it is absolutely necessary to
    know _some_ Arabic words. I have written out more than two
    hundred,--chiefly Arabic,--_all_ beginning with M, and mostly
    three-syllabled words, which I feel that I ought to know; yet
    they are hardly of any use with women; and if I have them
    all at my fingers’ ends, I shall still be very imperfectly
    furnished. Is it not a puzzling language? Of course, some of
    these two hundred words are provokingly similar to each other,
    but the meaning is different.’

In the same letter she mentions a visit from the Indian Christian Faqir,
M., who a quarter of a century before had given up a lucrative situation,
and ever since had wandered about India, preaching the Gospel. On 20th
November the same subject recurs:--

    ‘His type of devotion is thoroughly _Hindu_, transfigured into
    Christianity.... One part of our conversation, however, amused
    me.... It was when we came on the subject of celibacy. The Hindu
    evidently thought it better than marriage. He seemed to regard
    it as an objection to the latter, that when a husband lost his
    wife he would cry for two or three days!--the Faqir’s[104]
    religion is a very joyful one, and when his eyes moisten it
    is with religious emotion. I stood up for marriage. The dear
    man is no stern ascetic; he smiled and half gave way, and said
    that he liked people to be happy. It is pretty clear, however,
    as regards himself that it is better for him to be unwedded.
    He walks long distances; sometimes forty--fifty--sixty--miles.
    He says that he is not so strong as he was. But he thinks
    nothing of age; the spirit never grows old.... M.’s voice is
    peculiar; one could always tell without seeing him whether he
    were in chapel or not; for his “Amen” sounds like a note from a
    bassoon.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 21, 1882._--While it is fresh in my mind I had better
    give you a description of our grand day, the laying of the
    first stone of our Church by the Lieutenant-Governor....

    ‘Since the old days of the Sikhs I doubt whether Batala ever
    saw such a tamasha. Numbers and numbers of boys were gathered
    together by dear Francis, lining the roads, and cheering. Gay
    looked the many-coloured turbans. Mr. Wade thought there must
    be about one thousand boys, for we had Government School,
    City School, our Village Schools, and our own boys. We had
    a fine triumphal arch at the opening into our grounds, with
    “Welcome” in gold on scarlet; but it was far surpassed by the
    lovely one in Persian Urdu, prepared by our boys for the Church
    site: “Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.”
    Dear Emily Wauton came and helped us greatly; she specially
    took the luncheon-table under her care; and very elegant it
    looked, with the cold collation, and plenty of flowers from
    Amritsar. My bedroom overlooks our front door, so in this
    room our three _pardah-nishin_ were hidden.... I dare say that
    these poor prisoners[105] of pardah specially enjoyed what was
    to them so novel. The good Lieutenant-Governor was more than
    punctual; a happy thing, as we had much for him to do, and only
    about an hour and a half to do it in. He brought with him his
    daughter, a winsome young maiden, ... whom I called “dear” before
    we parted. I liked the Lieutenant-Governor very much; a man of
    fine presence but simple manners....

    ‘The luncheon was preceded by the reading by one of the Batala
    non-Christian magnates of an address, emblazoned with gold;
    other Batala folk, some in very grand dresses, standing in
    line. The Lieutenant-Governor gave a reply in English, which I
    doubt whether many understood. Then we went to our collation;
    fifteen sat down.... You should have seen our servant ----; he
    was quite magnificent. He had on such a gold-adorned pagri
    that it might have graced the head of a rajah, and had as
    much gold on his dress. I did not think that he looked like a
    Missionary’s servant, but we left him to enjoy his splendour.
    I had thought, darling, whether I should wear _your_ silk
    dress:[106] but no, thought I; in my Batala I will _not_ wear
    silken attire; so I wore my Laura’s purple, which was just the
    thing, sober and handsome. The collation went over nicely; we
    could not linger at it long, and no one could drink too much,
    as water was our beverage. After seeing the view from the roof,
    we started in the borrowed carriages for the Church. The first
    carriage, which held the Aitchesons, Mera Bhatija, and myself,
    had highly conservative horses, decidedly opposed to progress.
    No use coaxing and urging them; the “nat-khats” _would not_ go.
    The only thing was to get out and go into another carriage.

    ‘Of course, there were many people at the site of our church.
    We had four surpliced clergymen, my three nephews, Francis,
    Mr. Wade, and Mr. Weitbrecht, and Nobin Chanda.[107] ... The
    religious Service was very nice; of course, in Urdu. Then Sir
    Charles[108] spread mortar over the place on which the marble
    block was to descend, in what was considered a very workmanlike
    manner. We sang “The Church’s One Foundation” in Urdu; Mr.
    Weitbrecht’s and Mr. Wade’s fine voices making it sound so
    well. Sir Charles made such a nice religious speech; it was
    almost like a little Missionary address. _He_ had had, he
    said, a very private conversation for an hour with a Native of
    distinction, who was in concern about his soul; and it ended
    by the Native saying that he had sometimes prayed to the Lord
    Jesus, but would now pray to Him _every day_. Thank God for a
    Lieutenant-Governor who thus shows his Christian colours!

    ‘We drove to the station, after again forsaking the carriage
    drawn by the “nat-khats.”[109] Sir Charles made me come into
    the railway carriage, to see its comfortable arrangements.
    Thoughtful Francis had caused tea and cake to be taken to the
    station. All went off so nicely; and my dear Bhatija feels that
    he has not had his labour and expense for nothing.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 28._--In three days I am to go up to Amritsar, ... where
    I am to sleep on that Friday night.... By some afternoon train
    I shall probably then go to Lahore.... On Sunday there are to
    be special services for the Conference, and Holy Communion
    is to be administered; a meet commencement for a gathering
    together of sisters from nine different Societies. But Char
    has a special interest of her own. We have at least a dozen of
    those who were Batala boys at Lahore.... I have arranged that
    my boys should meet me on Sunday afternoon. This is to me one
    of the most interesting parts of my visit to Lahore.... I have
    been obliged to prepare two little papers, but have made them
    mercifully short. I think that one takes about five and the
    other three minutes to read aloud,--I timed the reading,--so no
    one will have time to be tired.’

Of the above event Miss Wauton says: ‘In 1882 she came to a Conference in
Lahore, in which all the Zenana Missions of the Panjab were represented,
and was with one consent elected President of the Meetings. None who
were present could ever forget the tactful, graceful way in which she
conducted the proceedings. Many, I believe, felt that the harmonious
spirit, which prevailed in that assembly, was largely due to the loving
and Catholic spirit of our President.’

    ‘_Dec. 15, 1882._--I have written to the ----s about the
    Salvation Meeting at Lahore, at which I was present. I have
    not told them, however, how sad an impression it left on my
    mind.... To _me_ there was no real joyousness in the sound of
    the drum and the tambourines.... The puzzle is to me how such
    music CAN be the means of converting any, unless it be English
    roughs. X.[110] was eager to join the “Army,” and go with them
    for a month to Calcutta. But he went to the meetings, and his
    wish appears to have evaporated; at least here he is.... The
    prevailing feeling in my heart (at the meeting) was--_pity_.
    Though I knelt, I really _could_ not pray. The big drum and
    tambourines seemed to silence any whisper of real devotion
    in my soul.... I think that I have just ascertained one thing
    which has cooled our really devout X. It appears that he asked
    ----[111] about Holy Communion, and found that he had not
    received it since coming to India! Alas! alas! and if he lets
    Natives consider themselves saved and sure of Heaven without
    Baptism,--where will all end? The Blessed Saviour’s two clear
    commands neglected! And ---- just killing himself to introduce
    such a mere--one almost fears--shadow of religion! It is just
    grievous! How inconceivably artful the Enemy is!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 21._--I paid a visit to a village to-day. I first went
    to the school, then paid my respects to the lady of the place....
    She showed me into a pretty bare room,--a chair was brought
    for me afterwards. But I thought little about the room; its
    strange occupants attracted my attention. I seemed transported
    into the Middle Ages, and found myself amongst the retainers of
    some bold baron,--men who looked like the stuff out of which
    freebooters are, or were, made. There were four powerful men,
    with four falcons; and the hoods of the falcons were grand. I
    suspect that they were valuable birds, used for hunting.

    ‘I had an animated conversation with these burly fellows--not
    the birds, but the men--if that could be called a conversation,
    where the talking was almost entirely on one side. I had my
    Parable of the Two Paths with me, and spoke very plainly about
    Paradise and Hell;--and they listened to the old lady with
    perfect good-humour. I dare say that the bold falconers were
    rather surprised to find such an apparition in the village; for
    they seemed to have nothing to do with Batala, where of course
    my face is very familiar.

    ‘As I was returning in my little duli, I saw a bullock-cart in
    front, with a kind of red, dome-shaped vehicle on it, which
    of course contained some pardah-lady, perhaps a bride. I
    noticed that the curtain was drawn back. Probably the prisoned
    inmate of the red cage had caught sight of the duli, and was
    curious to see its occupant. As my kahars went faster than the
    bullocks, I passed the red cage, and a bright jewel-bedizened
    lady--smiling, as if amused at seeing a white woman--exchanged
    brief glances with me. I thought her a pretty creature. I
    wonder what she thought of the old lady who smiled at her.’

[Illustration: _Taken at Amritsar about 1882_

_F. Jenkins Heliog Paris_]

The New Year begins with a line from Mrs. Wade to Mrs. Hamilton, in
reference to the recent Conference:--

                              ‘AMRITSAR, _New Year’s Day, 1883_.

    ‘I wish you could have seen dear Miss Tucker as President of
    our Lahore Ladies’ Conference. She did all so perfectly; one
    only feared her being over tired, but I think she is stronger
    than she was some months ago. We had the pleasure of her
    staying a night with us on her way; and her walking powers are
    wonderful! You will no doubt have a report of the Conference,
    and of her solemn and helpful words on John xiii., as it is to
    be printed in England.’

Although Mrs. Wade could speak of her ‘walking powers’ as ‘wonderful,’
Miss Tucker had at this period hardly the same unvarying good health as
in earlier years. A few days later she was laid by with an attack of
‘shingles,’ with pain in the side. The Native doctor, called in, informed
her that nothing was wrong with either lungs or heart,--the pain which
troubled her being ‘simply from the nerves,’ which were ‘affected by
the eruption.’ Miss Tucker assured him that she was not nervous. Upon
which, as she relates, ‘the Hindu doctor smiled quietly, and gave me
to understand that nerves are real things. He had not meant that I was
fanciful. So the whole thing was simple enough,’ she philosophically
adds. ‘To make a bull, I had a little toothache in my side.’ The attack
gave way readily.

    ‘_Jan. 25, 1883._--One is so apt to feel for the poor,
    down-trodden Muhammadan women, that, until I began to read a
    novelette written by a Native, I had no idea how they sometimes
    turn the tables on their husbands. I am reading the book with
    N. N., who quite confirms the truthfulness of the picture. It
    appears that a woman will sometimes be asked a question ten
    times by her husband, before she vouchsafes an answer. Some
    women burn the soles of their shoes, and make a preparation
    of them to put on the eyes, believing that by this strange
    superstitious means they will always keep their husbands _under
    their feet_! With all the talk about Woman’s Rights, we have
    hardly got so far as this!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Feb. 20._--Mera Bhatija and I took rather a long walk
    this afternoon, to look at a lovely little mosque. I had
    said before to Francis, “How is it that the mosques are so
    beautiful, and our churches here--unless expensively built--so
    ugly?” Francis gave me a simple but good reason: “We want
    people to go _into_ our churches; the Muhammadans worship
    outside theirs.” You see, love, we have first to think of room
    and comfort; so beauty gets shoved into a corner.

    ‘We went to look more closely at the graceful mosque, to see
    if we could gain hints. I made a rough sketch of the front.
    Francis says that it would be much too expensive for us to have
    anything so ornamental. We want room for one hundred people at
    least; and that dot of a mosque would hold comparatively very
    few. Mera Bhatija thinks that we might indulge in two minarets,
    and ornament our church with clay vessels turned upside down,
    and painted white, with a little Cross on the top of each. We
    must have a good-sized Cross, gilt, to glitter in the sun, on
    the top of all.... The Cross is our Banner, the Sign of Faith in
    the Son of God, rejected by Muhammadan and Hindu! It should
    crown--and sparkle on, too--every religious edifice in this
    land.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 8, 1883._--I had an extraordinary conversation with
    a Muhammadan boy to-day. His name is Y. He lives in what I
    consider a nest of bigotry. I am more likely to have to dispute
    there than in any other place in Batala. I had with me, besides
    my Bible, the “Mirror of the Heart,” which contains beautifully
    coloured pictures of the human heart, with allegorical vices
    represented by various animals, the serpent, rat, etc. It is
    a valuable help to a Missionary. The first heart is that of
    the natural man, before repentance; the second, that of a man
    repenting. The fourth is a horrid heart, of a dingy colour,
    with _a black cross_ in it, and seven devils, mounted on the
    bad emblems, wanting to get in. It is the heart of a hypocrite.
    Well, dear one, I was showing this picture in a Zenana, and
    a grave-looking boy, to whom before I had given a portion of
    Scripture, and who I think once studied in our Mission-School,
    Y., was close beside me. When I had gone over the various
    pictures, I said to Y., “Which of these hearts,”--showing the
    first and second,--“is like yours?” I meant, “Are you repenting
    or unrepenting?” The boy, perhaps fourteen years of age, would
    not agree that either was like his. To my surprise he made me
    turn over to the fourth heart, and told me _that_ was like his.

    ‘“But it is not a Muhammadan’s heart,” said I. “You see the
    Cross is in it,--but it is black.”

    ‘“And how do you know,” said the boy gravely, “_that the
    Cross is not in my heart_?” I think that he repeated this
    touching question afterwards. In short, he kept firmly to
    his declaration that _that_ heart was the one like his. What
    is passing in that lad’s soul? Does he consider himself a
    hypocrite, with seven devils surrounding him? If so, he must
    be a hypocrite as regards Muhammadanism?--for he does not
    pretend to be a Christian. I suspect that this may be the case.
    He _has_ a cross, but it is a black one, because he does not
    confess the Saviour.

    ‘There is a great change in dear ----‘s mother. (You remember
    perhaps the dear lad in a bigoted home, who so loved the Lord
    Jesus, bore persecution for Him, and died in peace.) My last
    visit to that house was so different to the first! On the
    first occasion I left the place so shocked, that I uttered the
    exclamation as I went, “God have mercy on you!” I do not think
    that I ever left any other house with such an exclamation on my
    lips. The last time I left the house with the exclamation, “God
    grant!” The mother had told me the story of her eldest brother,
    a policeman, who, like her son, had become Christian in heart,
    and incurred the fierce anger of his father by speaking
    against Muhammad. A Suni[112] had stabbed the policeman in the
    side with a knife; but the Christian refused to prosecute.
    He was very gentle, just like the nephew who followed in his
    steps. The policeman left Lahore,--this was more than twenty
    years ago,--and has never been heard of since. Probably he is
    numbered in the noble army of martyrs.

    ‘I said, “I think that both your brother and son are with
    the Lord Jesus.” “_Without doubt!_” cried this once bigoted
    woman. I urged her to follow them, and asked her if she had no
    love for the Lord in her heart. “He is the Apple of my eye,”
    she replied. You must not suppose, love, that there is any
    immediate prospect of Baptism; but I talked to her about it;
    and, as I have mentioned, left the house with a “God grant!”’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 24, 1883._--We cannot see one step before us! I was
    thinking to-day, as I was going to the City, where my work
    _seems_ of so little use, “Abraham had to wait for twenty years
    before God kept His promise to him.” Perhaps it may be twenty
    years before the promise is fulfilled--fully--to me, “Your
    labour is not vain in the Lord.”

    ‘O the utter carelessness of some of the women, who will
    interrupt the most solemn, heart-searching conversation with
    a question about my dress, or a request for a pin. They seem
    so utterly frivolous! Then those who do think, and have some
    concern for religion, are such earnest Muhammadans; it is with
    them a matter of _heart-love_! It is a mystery how it should be
    so, when Muhammad was not only a murderer and profligate, but
    has lowered woman altogether; but it seems especially the women
    who delight in his false religion. They do not care for its
    having no proofs; they _love_ it.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 28._--I had rather an interesting visit to-day, which
    you may like to hear about.

    ‘I went to the house of a Maulvi ... I had books to take to his
    sweet young daughter; and soon I found that the ladies had gone
    to a wedding; but as two servants were in the house, I thought
    it better to stop and give the “good news” to them. Whether
    they cared about it or not, I know not. After my interview with
    them, I was about to leave, when who should come in but the
    master of the house, the Maulvi himself. (He is not the same
    one who was so proud, that I could not help an unpremeditated
    rebuke escaping from my lips.) This Maulvi was fresh from a
    pilgrimage to Mecca; but the merit ascribed to a Haji did not
    seem to make him proud at all.

    ‘He courteously addressed me, sat down, and prepared for a
    _tête-à-tête_ with the Englishwoman. He told me that he had
    none of our books; that he wanted a controversial one, that he
    might compare the two religions. There was no appearance of
    bigotry at all. He asked me whether we read prayers. I told
    him that we not only had regular prayer, but that we sang
    God’s praises,--which the Muhammadans never do,--and opening
    my Bible, I read aloud several passages in which Hasrat David
    (Saint David) commands us to do so. My gentle Maulvi made no
    observation on this proof that Christians pay more obedience
    than Muhammadans do to the commands of one whom _both_
    acknowledge as a Prophet....

    ‘Accompany me now to another Zenana. A young man showed
    himself again and again, as if he wanted to take a share in
    conversation, but did not at first see his way to doing so. At
    last he told me that there was great excitement. I could not
    for some time make out what it was about; it seemed to be about
    some birth; but then it appeared to be about something else. At
    last the difficulty cleared up. The young Muhammadan made me
    understand that it was said that the Imam Mahdi had been born;
    and on account of this there was great excitement in H---- and
    over the country.

    ‘I said that I had heard about a man, calling himself the
    Mahdi, near Egypt. The young man did not seem to have an idea
    _where_ the long-expected Imam is, but he said that when the
    place should be known all would go to see him. My curiosity
    was a little aroused. I asked what the Mahdi was to do. “To
    reign over all kingdoms, and make every one Muhammadan.” “But
    if they should not choose to be Muhammadans?” “Oh, all will
    be Muhammadans.” “But if I did not choose to be a Muhammadan,
    would he kill me?” “No, his rule will be like that of the
    English.”

    ‘I would not trust the Mahdi, however, nor that animated young
    man! This was the only Zenana in which I have heard of the
    Mahdi; and I have visited plenty. I had more talk with the
    Muhammadan. I said that I thought that the Dajal was expected
    to come before the Mahdi. No,--the Mahdi is to come first; then
    the Dajal; and then Jesus Christ! It is curious to hear these
    ideas!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 28._--I almost think that the Muhammadans are stronger
    in their bigotry, from an expectation of some coming event at
    the coming Ramazan (great fast) in July. Perhaps, some of them
    think, there will be great pestilence; perhaps Christ and the
    Mahdi will come;--and the sun rise in the west instead of in
    the east. The more intelligent do not seem to expect the last
    wonder.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 27._--The beautiful monument which Francis is going
    to place over the grave of sweet Margaret was sent here
    from Delhi. I have sent a sketch of it to her sisters, and
    another to Mrs. Baring. I did not find it so easy to draw as
    I expected, on account of the perspective of the three white
    marble steps, which support the pure white Cross.... How little
    we know who will be called! I remember my pleading with her
    not to delay coming out, or she might find a Cross instead of
    her friend. The white Cross has been for her, not for me; and
    I see no likelihood at present of my soon being called, though
    of course one never knows. I have seen so many young pass away
    since I came to India.’

In the same letter she says with respect to the Baring High School: ‘I
hope and expect that our School has reached its lowest ebb,--twenty-three
boys, mostly little ones. There is some likelihood of six more coming.’

Mrs. Hamilton had begun to ask occasionally to her house in London young
Indians who had come to England for a Western education. Some of them she
saw repeatedly, and reference is often made to them in letters.

C. M. T. TO THE REV. W. F. T. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_June 19, 1883._

    ‘Shortly after writing to your dear Mother, I had myself a
    visit from a Muhammadan. I remembered what I had just been
    writing,[113] so soon plunged straight into the subject of
    religion. I had seen Sheik A. twice before; and the first time
    had had a good talk. Yesterday he listened very well, though I
    ventured to contrast Muhammad a little with the Blessed One.
    Sheik A. agreed to his wife visiting me here this evening,--I
    sending a duli for her, as she is “pardah-nishin”; and as he
    is going to L----, he _asked_ me for a letter of introduction
    to some lady there, that she might visit his wife. This was
    encouraging. Sheik A. took a cup of tea with me, and we parted
    excellent friends. Perhaps a couple of hours afterwards my
    dear Faqir, M., came to see me. He too had been having an
    interview with Sheik A. “Much excitement,” said the Faqir. I
    think that the Muhammadan had probably not been as much on
    his good behaviour with the dark Madrassee as with the white
    Englishwoman. There seemed to have been a hot discussion below.
    Dear M. was inclined to reproach himself. “Harsh!--my loud
    voice!” said he. Depend upon it, he went at his work like a
    cannon. But all seemed to end well. I think he told me that
    Sheik A. and he shook hands as they parted.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_July 21, 1883._

    ‘How different it is writing a free and easy letter to you,
    from a studied one like that to ----! I hope that my Laura
    will not consider Char a conceited old woman, who likes no one
    to find fault with her writings. But, you see, love, I know
    _nothing_ of Mr. ----‘s capacity to act as critic.... I cannot
    consent to walk in chains because Mr. ---- has a liberal
    hand and a full purse. I am so glad that I refused pecuniary
    recompense. In writing I must be _free_. I hope that I have not
    made a mistake in putting in as many proverbs as I have done.
    It was difficult to select. How inappropriate--clever as it
    is!--would it have been to put in such as this, “The sieve said
    to the needle, You have a hole in your tail”!’ ...

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug. 4._--Yes, love, I dare say that I was mistaken about
    your entering on religious subjects soon with the young
    Indians. I often doubt my own judgment. You see, it is a
    disadvantage to me to have no one to correct me. This has been,
    I think, my most lonely hot weather.

    ‘I am thankful that I do not hold the doctrine of
    Perfectionism. I should be very miserable if I did; for
    sometimes it seems to me as if I went backwards instead of
    forwards. If I thought that a real child of God ought to be
    perfect, I must come to the conclusion that I at least am not a
    child of God. But I do not hold this view, and I see that the
    holy Simeon wrote clearly and distinctly against it.’

       *       *       *       *       *

                   ‘ALEXANDRA SCHOOL, AMRITSAR, _Aug. 15, 1883_.

    ‘Here I am in this big palace, a good deal bigger than my
    Batala one,--the guest of dear, loving Florrie.[114] ...

    ‘I have been taking my morning walk. I saw the old banyan
    in the garden of what was my first Indian home with sweet
    Margaret. The downward shoot which I named “Batala” has now the
    size of the trunk of a tree.’

A visit of two or three weeks to her nephew at Dunga Gully followed,
where the children were a great enjoyment to her, letters home being
full of the pretty utterances of little Tudor and Beryl. On the 15th of
September, however, she once more gaily reported herself as ‘back again
in dear old Batala!’ and again the steady round of work went on as usual.

    ‘_Sept. 19._--A lady who knows a good deal about Muhammadanism,
    and has read from the _Hadis_ (Muhammadan traditions), told me
    something very curious that she had come upon....

    ‘There is a supposed prophecy of Muhammad, that in the latter
    days a marvellous being, called Dajal, will appear. He will
    perform marvels, bring a band of musicians, and whoever hears
    the enchanting sound will follow him, leaving friends, parents,
    etc.... I, after hearing this, inquired about Dajal from ----.
    He, having been a learned Muhammadan, of course knew all about
    the prophecy.... Dajal, who will become a king, is to have but
    one eye, and ride an ass nine coss (about fourteen miles)
    long!... Dajal is supposed to be an evil being, drawing downwards
    those whom he influences. After him the Muhammadans expect the
    Imam Mahdi;--and then, our Blessed Lord.

    ‘What extraordinary ideas these people have of our Saviour!
    They think that He never died, but was caught up to Heaven, and
    some one else crucified in His stead. This is a true doctrine
    of the devil, for of course it strikes against all belief in
    the Atonement. It would drive us from the very key and central
    point of our faith. Often have I tried to show how completely
    such a doctrine is against prophecy. Well, dear, this is not
    all. The Muhammadans believe that after our Lord comes again,
    _to convert the world to Muhammadanism_, He will die! I have
    spoken with one who has actually _seen the place_ where _His
    future tomb_ is to be at Medina! It is near Muhammad’s grave,
    and is considered a very holy place. There is a handsome black
    marble slab, bordered with white, and fine palings around.’

TO MISS LEILA HAMILTON.

                                                    ‘_Sept. 24._

    ‘I have started to-day a temporary drawing-class for the five
    poor little boys who have to stay here all during the holidays.
    They are so pleased. It was a pleasure to me to see them
    all seated, busy with pencil and paper, instead of lounging
    about wearily. I did not succeed in making them do a bit of
    carpentering for me.

    ‘The drawing lesson was a lesson to me, dear. After my own
    fashion, it seemed to me a type, and--strange as it may seem to
    you--a type bearing on the disputed subject of perfection in
    this life. We are all children,--the sooner we realise this,
    the better!--and the Lord sets us a copy; not a poor little
    one, such as I placed before the boys, but a perfect, exquisite
    one. Now, I imagine three of our boys drawing as nicely as they
    can, and then coming to me with their copies.

    ‘The first is very happy indeed. “It is quite perfect!”
    says he. “My dear child, _you_ may think so, but _I_ do not
    think so. Take your measuring paper, and go over your copy
    more carefully; and you will see that not all the lines are
    straight.”

    ‘The second comes to me, crying. “I shall never manage my
    copy,” sighs he. “It is not a quarter as good as the picture,
    and yet I took such pains!” “Yes, dear boy, I see that you have
    taken pains; and that is all that I require. You will do better
    in time. But dry your tears. Did you really think that I should
    be angry with you, because your drawing is not perfect?”

    ‘The third looks modestly into my face, to see if he has
    pleased me. He knows that he has _tried_ to please me; and
    though he has not succeeded in making a perfect drawing, he
    _has_ succeeded in pleasing.

    ‘The third child is the one whom I should most wish to
    resemble. He trusts me!’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Oct. 14, 1883._

    ‘Do you ever note what is the first waking thought when
    consciousness returns in the morning?... The other day my thought
    on awakening was so very odd, that it made an impression by
    its very strangeness. I could not imagine what could have put
    it into my head, and you will smile when you read it. “_The
    snuffers were of gold!_” I have not so much as seen snuffers
    since I came to India.... Why on earth should my waking thought
    be of them? “Well,” considered I, “snuffers are worthy of
    mention in the Bible; and those in the Temple _were_ of gold.
    What can I make out of this thought?”

    ‘Then it occurred to me that the office of snuffers, humble
    enough, being to make candles brighter, the office was
    emblematical perhaps of that which St. Paul adjudged to the
    aged women. They were to teach the young women to love their
    husbands, etc. At last I began to think, darling, that perhaps
    my place in the Church here _is_ a little like that of a pair
    of snuffers; and now, when I feel that I ought to give a little
    word in season to Native Christians, I fancy that I have to
    snuff them--not _out_!--O no!--only to remove some little
    superfluity....

    ‘I think I must have amused my Laura with my idea of the
    snuffers; but it may be a useful thought to those who
    are no longer young. A little gentle snuffing may be the
    work--unostentatious work--given to us.... What a snip dear H.
    gave to W. long, long ago, and how the fine boy admired her for
    it!... But then the snuffers were of gold. No one likes to be
    snuffed by coarse iron ones.

    ‘What a pity that I have no one to snuff me here! Were we
    together, it would be your office, love. I have to act as my
    own snuffers, and take hints never intended to be hints, like
    noble Tudor’s--“I must do my duty.” He had no idea that he was
    acting the part of a tiny pair of gold snuffers. I may almost
    say that I have taken these snuffers up, and have been snipping
    away with them at our young Natives ever since. No mortal could
    object to such a miniature pair.

    ‘_Oct. 16._--Do not think, from what is written above, that,
    as I grow older, I think it well to grow more censorious. If
    I have grown in anything this year, I think that it is in
    knowledge of my _own_ errors and mistakes. I sometimes feel
    quite disheartened. I do not think that I ever more mistrusted
    my own judgment than I do now, after my various blunders. But
    we know that, though snuffers are less straight, comely, and
    upright, perhaps, than the candlestick, they may be useful in
    brightening the light which it carries.’



CHAPTER XIII

A.D. 1884-1885

SOME OF A. L. O. E.’S POSSESSIONS


Some little time before this Mr. Baring had, for various reasons, decided
to leave Batala, though not, it seems, to give up his interest in the
High School. His departure was fixed for the last day of the year 1883;
and Miss Tucker, after her usual cheerful fashion, congratulated herself
upon the fact that, at least, the New Year would not begin with a parting.

Much uncertainty had prevailed as to who should be chosen to carry on
Mr. Baring’s most important work among the boys; but before the end of
December suspense was ended. Another of Miss Tucker’s dharm-nephews, the
Rev. Herbert U. Weitbrecht, with his wife and children, would come to
live in Anarkalli, and Mr. Weitbrecht would be the Principal. By this
time a Mission Bungalow in Batala was finished, and two German ladies,
Miss Hoernle and Miss Krapf, came in the course of December to reside in
it. Miss Tucker, however, does not yet appear to have thought of changing
her quarters. Indeed, the little bungalow was built to contain only two
ladies.

On December 27th she wrote home as to arrangements:--

    ‘The Weitbrechts are to come here on Jan. 15 for about a
    fortnight. I am to keep house until they come for good about
    the middle of March; and then my fair niece, Ellie, is to
    take the reins. She and her two children must go to the Hills
    in May. All purpose going to England in the following March.
    As Herbert did not wish to be buying much furniture, when so
    soon to be on the wing, I felt it the best plan to take some
    off dear Francis’ hands, and let the Weitbrechts have the use
    of them. Thus, I find myself the possessor of a very large
    bed, immensely long table, and a variety of other things too
    numerous to recount.

    ‘There is no use in my not wanting possessions,--they will
    come! I have even a large coffin, which is not the slightest
    use to me! I did _not_ buy _that_ from Francis!...’

The fact of Miss Tucker including a coffin amongst her possessions
requires a word of explanation. About this time the Rev. Robert Clark
went to pay a little visit to Batala; and on his first arrival he was
shown straight to the room which he would occupy while there. Miss Tucker
came running in, and exclaimed--

‘I hope you have not seen it,--have you?’

Mr. Clark naturally inquired what was the thing in question which she
wished him not to have seen.

‘I had better tell you all about it,’ she said. ‘A poor woman was dying,
and we thought they would take her away and burn her; and we wished to
give her Christian burial. So I ordered a coffin to be made. But they
were late in making it, and she died before it was ready; and they took
her away and burnt her. And then they brought the coffin. It was a very
good coffin, and I thought it would be useful; so I told them to put it
under the bed in the guest-room! You did not see it, did you?’ Mr. Clark
no doubt assured her that he had not yet made the discovery; and she went
on eagerly: ‘You must not think I kept it for myself; for I have directed
in my will that I should be buried without a coffin, and that my funeral
expenses must not exceed five rupees.’

The latter injunction was with a view to lessening funeral expenses among
Indian Christians generally, many of them being apt to spend heavily at
such times. But the whole story is eminently characteristic. Many people
shrink from the very mention of a coffin, because of its associations.
Not so Charlotte Tucker! There was to her absolutely no sadness whatever
in the thought of death. She looked forward to the day of her departure
from earth as to a day of release from bondage, of an upward spring into
a new and radiant life. It was a subject to be spoken of cheerily, and
with a smile.

What became of the coffin in the end Mr. Clark does not say; but he too
speaks, as do others, of her entire fearlessness with regard to death.
Once, when talking of it to him, she quoted impressively the words, used
long before by her gentle sister, Fanny: ‘Whenever, wherever, however, He
will!’

One time, when Mr. Clark was spending a Sunday at Batala with Miss
Tucker, she read aloud to him the 31st verse of the 40th chapter
of Isaiah, and drew attention to the fact that the verse had in it
instruction and comfort for persons of all ages.

‘“They shall mount up with wings as eagles,”--that is something for our
young people; they are always soaring and flying. “They shall run, and
not be weary,”--that is for our middle-aged people; they run and work
on, and never seem to tire. And there is something for us old people
too,--“They shall walk and not faint.” We old people cannot fly; we
cannot run; but we can walk, and do not faint. And so we all of us renew
our strength by waiting on the Lord.’

Mr. Clark, from whom these details have come direct, writes also:--

    ‘On another occasion, she came walking up to me in her genial,
    brisk manner, with a book in her hands, as I entered the
    room, and said, “You will be surprised when I tell you what
    book I am reading! You know I am a good Churchwoman; and yet
    I often like to read Spurgeon’s sermons. They are full of
    apt illustrations, and he never repeats himself. I find them
    so useful in my writings; and I know hardly any other work
    which so much helps me.” In her latter years she often read
    Shakespeare, and recommended it to educated Natives, who
    were averse to the study of the Bible. The recitations from
    Shakespeare, at the Prize-giving in the Baring High School
    in Batala, originated with her; and she thought them very
    valuable in the formation of character. The Prologues in these
    Prize-givings were, I think, till last year all written by her.’

Not only in later days, but all through her life from very childhood, she
had delighted in Shakespeare, as we have already seen; and she had a very
high opinion of the value of Shakespeare in the general education of the
Indian mind.

In confirmation of certain words above, spoken by herself, Mr. Clark
observes: ‘As regards her religious views, she was sincerely attached
to the Church of England, firmly believing that the teaching of the
Church of England, as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer and in the
Thirty-nine Articles, is in accordance with the Word of God.’ Another
also, who knew her well, has said: ‘A warm Churchwoman, she would always
be ready to see the best of those with whom she could not agree on many
points.’ This undoubtedly was the case,--in practice, if not always in
theory. She was, however, greatly opposed to Ritualism, and would be much
distressed when she came across aught of the kind in her various visits
to different places.

The subject recalls involuntarily certain words uttered by Bishop French
of Lahore,--‘our saintly Bishop,’ as Miss Tucker called him. When he was
at home some years ago, and staying at Eastbourne, I happened to put to
him a question bearing on this matter; and his reply was one not soon
to be forgotten. He said: ‘IT IS NO QUESTION OUT THERE OF HIGH CHURCH
AND LOW CHURCH! IT IS A QUESTION SIMPLY OF CHRISTIANITY AND HEATHENISM!’
To this wide and comprehensive view Charlotte Tucker could not have
fully subscribed. In her letters, from time to time, though not often,
the subject crops up, and she expresses her fears strongly as to one
individual or another. But it is noteworthy that when, soon after, she
meets with the individual himself, her fears are usually quieted; and
while conscious of differences on certain points, she is yet able fully
to recognise--and to recognise with delight--real devotion of heart and
life to the Service of the Master Whom she loved. No more unmistakable
token can well exist of true large-heartedness. There was in her no
innate love of controversy for its own sake; and though, as might be
expected with one of her impulsive temperament, she sometimes expressed
her views with energy, she did not love fighting, nor was she a violent
partisan. As a general rule, her aim was rather to build up than to pull
down.

The years 1884 and 1885 passed in the main quietly, marked by no especial
events. Work went steadily on as usual; holidays were short as usual;
failure and success fluctuated as usual. Miss Tucker’s loneliest time
in Batala was over. Now she not only lived with the family of Mr. and
Mrs. Weitbrecht, but two other lady Missionaries were settled in Batala,
helping to carry on the work. Not that Charlotte Tucker’s toil was
lessened thereby. She had a less heavy weight of responsibility; but so
far as actual work was concerned it could never be overtaken,--and it
could not have been overtaken by twice or thrice the number of workers.
Fresh openings were continually appearing, continually calling for
attention.

In the hot weather, indeed, she had a taste of her old manner of life.
Then, when other Europeans were compelled one after another to flee to
the Hills, Miss Tucker could safely remain on many weeks longer; up to a
certain point even enjoying the heat. On the whole, however, things were
altered. Not only were other Europeans in Batala most of the year, but
a railway had now been completed between Amritsar and Batala, bringing
all the Amritsar friends within a very easy distance. It became possible
to run over to Batala for a day’s visit; and Miss Tucker grew jealously
anxious, lest such visitors should in any wise hinder her work. ‘I have
let it be known,’ she wrote, ‘that I do not consider myself _off duty_
till 2 P.M., so that if friends come in the morning they visit the house
and not me. I must try to be firm in this, and make no exceptions.’

A certain little incident of this period may be mentioned. With a new
Principal, naturally new plans were adopted in the training of the boys;
and Miss Tucker did not always at first take kindly to fresh ideas. She
was now of an age to prefer the old to the new, simply because it was the
old. Dr. Weitbrecht writes:--

    ‘In 1885, by way of encouraging muscular exercise in the hot
    weather, I tried the experiment of having the boys taught
    wrestling by a Native athlete. The Auntie was at first inclined
    to be a little shocked at the new development, and would not
    grace the wrestling practice with her presence. One day, as it
    was going on, Mrs. Weitbrecht went to a window overlooking the
    arena, and there found Miss Tucker, stretched on the floor, her
    head out of the low window. In some alarm lest the old lady
    should have fainted, she offered to raise her, but was only met
    with the reply, “Hush! I’m looking at the boys.” The ladies
    soon saw they were discovered, as a handsome young Pathan
    looked up with a smiling “Salaam.”’

Extracts from the letters of these two years, 1884 and 1885, must
unfortunately, for lack of space, be very limited in number.

    ‘_New Year’s Day, 1884._--I had a very sore parting with Mera
    Bhatija; but on that I will not dwell....

    ‘The last day of 1883 was a very sad one to me; but I had
    some of the little boys in the evening, and amusing them
    shook me out of my melancholy. I awoke early--as usual--on the
    New Year’s Day, and sang New Year’s hymns. After that I heard
    unwonted music below my window. Good Miss Krapf and three of
    the Singha girls had come to salute the New Year with a holy
    song. Of course, I went to the city after breakfast.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                     ‘_Jan. 21._

    ‘I am quite _glad_ that my furniture is so simple. Had I had
    plenty of gimcracks, I might have been a fidgety old maid.
    As it is, there is no harm in having a nursery instead of a
    drawing-room. But I have a nice little drawing-room of my own;
    a screened-off bit of my fine large sleeping-room. I used it
    for my classes when sweet Margaret was here; for I think that a
    married couple should not be always having interruptions. This
    arrangement does nicely in the cool weather; and in the hot
    weather dear Nellie and her babes will be in the Hills. It will
    be the old arrangement of Auntie and one choice nephew,--for
    Herbert _is_ choice, and kind to my Leila’s attached godmother.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                               ‘_Jan. 28, 1884._

    ‘I feel as if I must have a talk with my Laura to-night; for my
    spirit feels pensive and my heart tender. The ladies came and
    took tea with us; and Miss Krapf brought her music. As Herbert
    wanted to see a photo of St. George and Francie, I took my dear
    old album into the drawing-room, which it very seldom enters.
    While the sweet, rich music was going on, I was--yes, sighing
    over my Album. More than twenty of the faces in it no longer of
    earth! Sweet Mother, Fanny, Henry, Letitia, Aunt E----,--oh, so
    many gone before! Then my Laura looked so like what she did in
    old days. I must not look often over _that_ Album; it is like
    my youth between two boards. What a changing world!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 26._--I met with a perfectly mad woman in a Hindu
    Zenana. She came and sat down beside me. V. and others made me
    change my seat to another bedstead--the usual seat. I did not
    at first know why, but was soon aware of the cause. The poor,
    afflicted woman put her head right down on my lap. She did not
    seem to be mischievous. It was insanity, not idiotcy.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                              ‘_April 22, 1884._

    ‘Among the little matters which vary our regular life at
    Batala, I may mention almost nightly alarms about robbers.
    The servants have got into a nervous state.... It is not a
    comfortable state of affairs.... The Weitbrechts and I have been
    putting our heads together. I forget which of us suggested the
    plan which we hope may succeed. I sleep in the front room,
    opposite to the servants’ house; so a great tumult naturally
    awakens me, especially as my windows are open for air. The
    Weitbrechts are more out of the way.

    ‘Herbert is to lend me his revolver, loaded, and we are to take
    care that every one knows that I have the formidable weapon;
    but no one but ourselves is to know that I would on no account
    hurt any one with it. On the next alarm of robbers, I am to
    jump up, and--fire--at the trees or the stars. The report
    will probably awake Herbert, who has a rifle. Now you see the
    double use of this arrangement. My Ayah may possibly even sleep
    out-of-doors, if she knows that a yell from her may bring a
    pistol-shot from her vigilant Miss Sahiba; and robbers, if
    such there be, will doubtless dread my prowess, not knowing
    how peculiarly peaceable I am, and that I would prefer being
    shot myself to shooting another! I am to have a very determined
    look; and we have all tutored each other _not to laugh_! Both
    Herbert and Nellie have some fun in them, but they are to
    look as grave as judges, as if Miss Sahiba were a dead shot;
    especially on a very dark night, when there is no moon! Have I
    not spectacles?’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                    ‘_April 23._

    ‘Well, my loved sister, if you read my little note to Leila
    first, you will be pleased to hear that the night went
    over serenely. Even my frightened Ayah seems to have slept
    peacefully under the wing of the Buzurg Miss Sahiba, armed
    with a revolver! Would not dear Rowland have laughed to see
    old Auntie learning from Herbert how to cock and fire a
    pistol! I wonder how Nellie kept her countenance, when one
    of the servants expressed a hope that Miss Sahiba would give
    some notice before firing, for fear of a casualty to one of
    the household; and then wanted to know what would happen if
    Miss Sahiba _killed_ a thief! Nellie told the inquirer that
    we English--she was too truthful to say the Miss Sahiba in
    particular--only aimed at limbs to disable, not at bodies to
    kill. Nellie knows pretty well that, if _I_ aimed at anything,
    it would be at the stars.

    ‘I took care to lock up my dangerous weapon before sunrise,
    treating my revolver with great respect. Do you remember that,
    when I was known to be coming out to India as a Missionary,
    dear, kind H. Boswell wanted to make me a present of his
    pistol? I declined it, as a very unnecessary part of a
    Missionary’s outfit; but I could not help remembering H.’s
    kindness yesterday. Though I never fired Herbert’s revolver,
    yet the _report_ of it--to speak in Irish style--had a great
    effect.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 3._--O yes, my Laura, _love_ your K.[115] The Native is
    affectionate. Indians are not usually considered grateful;
    perhaps they are not grateful for benefits bestowed through
    general benevolence or a sense of duty; but my impression is
    that they readily respond to _affection_. This is one of the
    great secrets of ----‘s power.... I was rather amused yesterday,
    when I was describing Philemon’s funeral to the dear Pandit of
    O---- (K. S.), and had said that we went singing towards the
    grave. “I will not sing at _your_ funeral,” said he. And then
    he told me how he had _tried_ to sing at dear Margaret’s--but
    it was quite a failure; he could not sing, his heart was much
    troubled. The Pandit is a lovable man; and he loves.’

       *       *       *       *       *

                               ‘_May 8, 1884._ (_Her Birthday._)

    ‘When I came down in the morning before 6 A.M. I found in
    letters of gold on a purple ground over the large front door,
    “God save our beloved Miss Sahiba.” I told dear Babu Singha
    when we met, as I walked on towards the city, that I liked the
    “our.” He observed that “buzurg” seemed to put me farther away
    from them. I quite agreed. I like “our,” which makes me seem
    like the boys’ property....

    ‘I was surprised in a Zenana to-day by a request for some _old_
    article of my clothes for a baby. “I will give you some new
    cloth,” said I; for I make exceptions to my rule of not giving
    presents to Natives in Zenanas, in favour of new babies and
    brides. But the grandfather did not want _new_ cloth at all. He
    insisted on something old. So I humoured him, and looked out on
    my return home for something that I had worn....

    ‘How much I have to be thankful for, my Laura! I begin my Tenth
    September with a quiet, peaceful feeling. “Oh, how kindly hast
    Thou led me, Heavenly Father, day by day.” But the best is to
    come. “Light after darkness--” Not that my present position is
    darkness; but there is often weariness, of course.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 15._--I can so well enter into the “thought and anxiety”
    caused by ----. His mind is probably in an effervescing
    state; but we must trust and pray that, after the froth
    works down, something precious may remain. Young India is at
    present in a peculiar state; and ---- does not stand alone
    in his dangerous love for oratory. You must expect, love, to
    see some of the weaknesses of the Native character even in
    those on whom our Blessed Religion has made an impression.
    With the English--Truth, Honour, and a sense of Duty are
    often found even in those _not_ very religious, and it shocks
    and disappoints one to find the want of this kind of moral
    foundation in some Natives, whose piety one cannot doubt!! “I
    must do my duty,”--“Honour bright!”--are expressions that in
    this land need to be taught.

    ‘The Native character is a study. _We_ can hardly disconnect
    pious feeling from purity and conscientiousness. One must make
    great allowance for those brought up in a tainted atmosphere.
    Do not be easily discouraged, love. India does turn out some
    really fine fellows; but a school like this is greatly needed,
    to begin _moral_ tuition early. We want our flowers to have
    stalks and leaves, and not to spread out their petals so close
    to the earth as to be defiled by its dust. Let ---- expand his
    eloquence in trying to draw ryots[116] to Christ. Close contact
    with really hard evangelistic work, if persevered in, would
    probably do much to sober his mind. Let him be persuaded that
    the Baptism of one true Convert, however ignorant and poor, is
    a far higher honour than the plaudits of an English audience.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 3, 1884._--I have had two comical though not very
    pleasant incidents.

    ‘I sent dear Mrs. Singha as a present what I believed to be a
    bottle of lemon syrup, delicious in hot weather.... When next I
    went to the Banyans, Mrs. Singha told me that I had sent her
    a bottle of _brandy_! I was astonished,--I, who am virtually
    a teetotaller! I could hardly believe it. She produced the
    bottle; and, sure enough, it was full of brandy. What a villain
    of a grocer must have sold it, thought I, smuggling brandy
    in this way.... “This is sure to be trashy brandy,” thought I,
    “which I should not dare to give in a case of illness.” So,
    in my indignation, I poured it all out on the grass. I also
    thought that I would write to good Babu ---- at Lahore, who
    had bought the bottle for me, to tell him of the wicked cheat
    played on him. Most fortunately, I first mentioned the matter
    to Herbert. “Do you not remember,” said he, “that when we
    wanted a large bottle, you emptied your brandy into a small
    one?” I had perfectly forgotten the fact. O stupid, most
    stupid, old Auntie! And I had emptied my bottle on the grass!

    ‘The next incident was also a provoking one. You know that
    I have had boils. Well, Herbert said ... that the best way
    to stop a boil was, at the very first threatening, to put
    caustic to the place. So I bought a bit of caustic, knowing
    as much about it as I do of Hebrew.... Just before starting for
    afternoon Wednesday Service in the city, I thought that I had
    the slightest possible sensation of a boil on my nose. “Not a
    pretty place to have a boil on,” thought I; so I took out my
    wee grey stone, dipped it in water, and applied it. It did not
    burn at all, so I applied it again. Then, seeing a black spot,
    hardly visible except through spectacles, off I went to Service.

    ‘On returning home, to prepare to go out to Miss Hoernle’s,
    how surprised--I may say almost shocked--was I, on looking in
    my glass! A big black smutch on my nose; another on my chin;
    and another on my thumb. Washing was of no avail; salts of
    lemon none; chloride of lime none; soap useless! I could not
    help laughing, I was such a figure; and my Ayah laughed too. I
    determined to give it to Herbert roundly for putting me up to
    make such a fright of myself.... As soon as I could get hold of
    my naughty nephew, who was playing at lawn tennis as happily
    as if nothing had happened, I scolded him in Miss Hoernle’s
    presence as hard as I could,--considering that both of us were
    laughing. At last my wrath blazed into verse:--

        ‘“You told me it would make me smart,--
          The fear of pain was slight;
        You have not made me smart at all,--
          You’ve made me just a fright!”’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 10._--You will like to know that I have managed almost
    entirely to get rid of those spots, which made me think of Lady
    Macbeth, and gave me rather a dislike to the use of caustic;
    for one does not like to appear as if one never washed either
    face or hands.’

In November another sorrow came; the death of Miss Tucker’s nephew in
Canada, Charles Tucker, whom she had visited before starting for India.
He was one of her ‘Robins’ of earlier days; and she felt the loss much.

It was in the course of 1884 that Miss Tucker related to her sister a
certain Christian Pandit’s dream. His wife had long been dangerously ill,
and the husband had tenderly nursed her. No other Christians lived in the
village except these two; and no one but the husband had been near the
dying woman for many days.

    ‘I think it was the day before the sufferer’s departure,’ wrote
    Miss Tucker, ‘that the Pandit fell asleep; but as he said, “In
    sleep I was praying.” He dreamt that he heard a voice say, “I
    will take her; she suffers so much!” Another Voice, which he
    thinks was a Divine one, said, “Wait!” On waking, the Pandit
    went to his wife. She told him that Jesus Christ had stood by
    her, and laid His Hand on her head. “How did you know Him?”
    asked the husband. “_His Side was red!_” Whether the appearance
    was a dream or not, it gave comfort. The sufferer departed at
    last in peace.’

There is no necessity for any one to believe this, on the part of either
husband or wife, to have been more than a natural dream--a reflex of the
state of mind and thought previously. At the same time, it is undoubtedly
possible that help or comfort, whichever was required, might be sent
through the medium of a dream. Several remarkable instances of dreams are
mentioned from time to time by Miss Tucker in her letters,--occasionally
vivid enough to decide a Muhammadan on the great step of becoming a
Christian. There is many a simple and natural means by and through which
God speaks to the heart; and dreams _may_ sometimes be one of those
means,--especially in ‘Early Church days.’

One other instance of the kind can be mentioned here, while the subject
is to the fore. In Charlotte Tucker’s Journal, some few years later,
occurs the following singular little entry, when she is describing a
visit to a certain village:--

    ‘_Aug. 16._--J. R. told me dream of Christ, which he had had
    three or four years ago. Indignantly repudiated idea that my
    pictures were like Him Who was so much more beautiful. I read
    part of description of Christ in Rev. i.; but the old man, with
    simple truthfulness, said that _that_ was for the superior
    person who had written. He was a poor man; he had only seen the
    white dress and beautiful shining Face. I asked if he had seen
    it distinctly. “Do I see you who are before me?” he replied.
    “So I saw Him.” His nephew certified to J. R. having told him
    of this dream soon after having it.’

It is very probable that the old man might have been dwelling on the
thought of Christ, consciously or unconsciously endeavouring to picture
the Divine Form to himself; and the dream _may_ have been a perfectly
natural consequence of his own cogitations. But to say that a thing is or
may be natural is _not_ to say that it can have been in no sense Divinely
sent, or that it might not bring quickened realisation with it.

The New Year’s Day of 1885 was not altogether cheerful, despite
courageous efforts made, and parties of Indians: children in the
afternoon, seniors in the evening. Two unfortunate Hindus were
accidentally drowned in one of the large Batala tanks; happily not that
tank which lay close to the palace, wherein the schoolboys were wont to
disport themselves. This naturally threw a shadow over the proceedings of
the day.

Early in the year came a letter from the Bishop of Lahore to Miss
Tucker:--

                                                     ‘_Jan. 10._

    ‘DEAR FRIEND AND SISTER IN CHRIST,--May I venture to ask if
    in the little room you may assign me kindly, during my short
    visit to Batala, a little cot may be placed for a brother of
    mine from New Zealand (a brother in Christ also), who is always
    pleased to _chum_ with me, as he does at Bishopstow also, our
    house being full?

    ‘I am sorry to say my visit must be limited to a sojourn with
    you from Friday, 30th January, to Tuesday, February 3, as
    the Ajnala work hedges me in behind, and Lahore and Amritsar
    Confirmations before. May I ask your special prayers, lest this
    rather overpowering crush of work may not impair strength of
    mind or tone of spirit, both of which I have a little reason to
    dread at this season? It is a comfort to know and to be assured
    that our Faithful Lord will “stablish and keep us from evil.”
    May His peace, and love with faith, be our portion; and then in
    the storm we may sing our watchword, “All well.”--I am, yours,
    with ever affectionate and grateful regards,

                                              ‘THOMAS V. LAHORE.

    ‘Affectionate good wishes to your whole party.

    ‘This will, alas! break up my itinerating plan; not for ever, I
    trust.’

A fortnight later Miss Tucker wrote to her sister, on January 24:--

    ‘You will have seen in the paper that our good Bishop has lost
    his daughter. I wrote to him a little note of sympathy which
    he was not to answer; but he did reply in his own gracious,
    characteristic style. We expect the Bishop here next week for
    a Confirmation; and he has asked leave to bring a Christian
    brother from New Zealand. Whether the brother be an emigrant or
    one of the aborigines, we know not. We are prepared for either.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_Feb. 4, 1885._

    ‘The interesting Confirmation took place on Saturday, ... after
    which we partook of the Holy Communion. I think Herbert said
    that there were 41 Communicants. We never had so many before in
    our chapel. The dear, saintly Bishop left on Tuesday morning.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                              ‘_March 28, 1885._

    ‘You should have seen Ellie and me down on the floor to-day,
    pinning down the dusters for the chess-board. It so happens
    that there is an unusual influx of Native Christian visitors
    at present--R. R., his winsome lady and two daughters, J.’s
    mother, and S., a fledged bird, and these with the numerous
    Singhas and the Native Pastor will make quite a gathering. I
    rather expect to play badly; but the great thing is to be
    quick and dashing, and to move as many pieces as possible;
    and not to be disturbed by the bursts of laughter likely to
    follow any check given or piece taken. Would you not like to be
    present,--near me?

    ‘Well, as I rather expected, I was beaten, though I had the
    best of the game at first. I never heard such noisy pieces
    of chess as the dear brown boys were, when they were first
    marshalled on the board, and had to don their crowns, regal or
    mural, their mitres and their horses’ heads. Our Afghan hero,
    C. C., was a knight, and enjoyed himself very much. I think
    that there was only one piece, or at most two, that was not
    moved.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 23, 1885._--My nephew Herbert ... is absent again on
    Mission work. He has heard that there is a spirit of earnest
    inquiry amongst a number of poor low-caste village folk, I
    think about ten or eleven miles from Batala. He has gone to
    look personally into the matter; and if he finds that these
    lowly peasants are really seeking after God, we will try to
    make some arrangement for their instruction. Herbert will see
    if it be advisable for an English lady and Native Bible-woman
    to go for a short time, and to fix some suitable agent (Native)
    to reside amongst the poor people, and start a school. Of
    course, this involves expense; but if corn at last be springing
    up, it must not be neglected. It is such a comfort to have one,
    wise, good, and active, like dear Herbert, to look after such
    matters....

    ‘If you happen to meet with dear Mrs. W----, please tell her
    that her Cross gleams in my room every night. Her pretty straw
    basket is so _much_ admired in the zenanas....

    ‘Our Church-building is growing rapidly under Herbert’s
    auspices. The “Mission Plough” too surprises me by its
    growth. I hear that there are 105 boys there now. But we have
    not a sufficiently strong staff of teachers. The Inspector
    (Government) was pleased with the school, but said that we
    should have a stronger staff. We know that too.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 8._--I saw Miss B. a few days ago. She saw you in London,
    and thought that we resembled each other. “But I hope that my
    sister looks much younger than I do,” said I. “Does she look
    twenty years younger?” To my satisfaction, Miss B. agreed that
    you did. So my Laura keeps her looks, though not feeling so
    strong as I should wish her to do.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 22, 1885._ ... I must amuse ---- with the following
    _perfectly authentic_ anecdote. There was a nice young couple,
    as nice as Fred and Maud perhaps, and they had a nice little
    baby. One day the inexperienced Mamma banged the baby’s head.
    Accidents _will_ happen, you know, in the best-regulated
    families. The young mother was conscientious; she felt that she
    ought to confess the banging to the father of the child. With
    tearful eyes she went to her husband, and owned that she had
    banged her baby’s head. Then the husband, gaining courage from
    the brave woman’s truthfulness, confessed that _he had done the
    very same_! he had banged the baby’s head, but had not liked to
    own it. The baby does not appear to have been the worse for the
    two bangs; perhaps they were on opposite sides of the little
    head, and counteracted each other. Still--fathers and mothers
    had better not try the experiment of how much banging a baby
    will bear. Don’t you think so, darling?’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 13._--I was interested in hearing what was said to
    E. by the lad last baptized.... “I have nearly got through my
    temptations,” said he. Of course, I cannot give his exact
    words, which were in Urdu; but their drift. The lad thought
    that forty days of temptation succeed a convert’s Baptism, and
    said, “I have only eleven left.” ... “But do you think that you
    will never be tempted afterwards?” asked E. Poor B. did not
    think that, but he thought that the first forty days were the
    worst; and perhaps he is right.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 13, 1885._--I think that it will amuse you and my dear
    god-daughter, if I tell you of my first attempt regularly to
    make a marriage, and what were the consequences thereof.

    ‘I had been told by the experienced Native Christian, whom I
    will call M., the proper way to carry on a negotiation. He told
    me long ago that a “Buzurg” (elder) should ask the parents for
    the maid. There being a union which we Missionaries thought
    suitable and desirable, ... I, the most buzurg of all our circle,
    at the desire of the fine young suitor,--whom I will call
    B.,--went in my duli to M.’s house, to ask his lovely daughter
    in marriage for my client. I managed to have both parents
    present, and sent the maiden away. It would have been a great
    breach of etiquette for her to have heard me.

    ‘I felt that I was doing all in proper Oriental style. The
    parents listened; we talked over the advantages of the union;
    and M. and his wife were to give me their reply on the
    following day.

    ‘But Orientals take their time. I heard nothing on the
    following day; so on the third I sent my salaam to M. and
    desired to see him. He came, smiled, was highly agreeable, said
    that _he_ was willing, but must consult his brother, etc.

    ‘_I_ thought that some one else should be consulted; namely,
    the young lady. I was going to Amritsar ... so I resolved to
    have a private interview with the maiden, whose future was to
    be decided upon. The lovely--let’s call her X.--had returned
    to ----; so there I sought her, and had a _tête-à-tête_. I
    wanted to know whether _she_ cared for B., whom she had had
    many opportunities of seeing from her childhood.... We had almost
    taken it for granted that X. must care for him.

    ‘Hitherto all had gone pretty smoothly. I had even thought what
    presents I should give, and the Weitbrechts and I had talked
    over the day for the wedding. But an unexpected obstacle arose.
    X. could make no objection to B.; I do not think that she has a
    thought for any other suitor; but she does not want to marry at
    all! “I want to read,” she said. “I wish to remain _like you_!”

    ‘This opened our eyes to a peril in the infant Church, of
    which you probably never would dream. Ellie and I set to
    counting up young maidens who are of a suitable age to become
    brides,--well-educated, nice girls,--and came to the conclusion
    that a kind of fashion is setting in _not to marry_. The Native
    delights in imitating the European. The girls see that most
    female Missionaries, whom they love and honour, are unmarried.
    They enjoy freedom.... Christian women are at a premium. _Widows_
    are eagerly sought as Bible-women....

    ‘Of course, I would never wish X. to marry one she does not
    care for. I have told her father that the matter is at an end.
    But _he_ looks grave enough, and sees the peril to our Infant
    Church as clearly as we do. If our nice maidens scorn to marry,
    where are our fine, well-educated men to find Christian wives?
    How are girls--except in very rare cases--to work in zenanas
    without the care of a husband? It would be thought improper,
    hardly safe.

    ‘“The consequences are” that I have written a little book
    in honour of the holy estate of Matrimony; which--the new
    book--has had Ellie’s approval, and I am sending it to Herbert
    for his. What we want in India are good wives and mothers. No
    science or literature can make up for the lack of such.’

It was in the summer of this year that Miss Tucker mentioned in
one letter a curious little scene at the railway station. She had
gone there to meet a friend, who failed to arrive. Two young Native
Christians happening to be present, and also a young English officer
of her acquaintance, she brought them together with a kind of half
introduction. When she had left the station, the officer began talking to
the two, asking lightly why they had left their own religion for another.
‘It’s all the same,’ he said. ‘Muhammadans, Hindus, Christians, all
know that there is One God.’ This far from brilliant remark received an
answer which it well deserved. ‘If so,’ one of the Indians replied, ‘what
difference is there between you, us, and the Devil?’ The train moved on,
carrying the speaker away; and no more could be said. But more might have
weakened the force of the retort.

A few slight memoranda, contributed by two Native Christians, come next.
The first are sent by Dr. I. U. Nasir, formerly one of the boys in the
Baring High School, already quoted in an earlier chapter. He speaks
of himself as an adopted ‘son’ of Miss Tucker’s, not, like others a
‘nephew.’ The second set of extracts, which I give last, not because
they are of inferior interest, but because I wish to accentuate one
suggestion, by letting it end the chapter, are from the Rev. Mian Sadiq,
at one time Indian clergyman in Amritsar, and later the same in Batala.


I.

    ‘Of all the India’s sons, especially those with whom she had
    to deal at Batala, it was my privilege to be called her “son.”
    She was an “Aunt” to a good many Missionaries, but only did she
    allow me to call her “Mother”; and she did love me as a true
    mother....

    ‘The one thing most noticeable about her was that she was so
    self-denying and humble, considerate for others’ feelings, and
    tender-hearted. She would tend the sick with such motherly
    care; and if the disease was a dangerous one, or infectious,
    she would insist on sitting by the bedside, and not allow
    others to run the risk of contracting the disease. On one
    occasion a poor, dirty convert was suffering from fever, and
    had no clothes. Miss Tucker gave him her bedding for the night,
    and spent the winter night herself sitting before a fire. Above
    all she hated “I’s.” I remember only one occasion when she
    desired us to do something for her. She had regular morning
    and evening walks in the fields; but getting a little tired
    sometimes of waiting till the Church bell sounded, she wished
    a small terrace to be raised, just sufficient to seat her. A
    small rude platform was raised for her by the side of a babūl
    tree. She may have selected that particular spot, because it
    gave a very picturesque view of the “stately palace,” with the
    “tank with lilies blowing” in the foreground,--now turned into
    an artificial canal.

    ‘Her reticence regarding her own life and work was extreme.
    This much I remember from her occasional talks, incidentally
    dropped from her: that she was eight years old when she read
    Shakespeare; she was eleven when she began to compose; and
    at twenty-one she sent her first book to press.[117] She
    wrote to me once how much she exulted over her first printed
    composition....

    ‘At that advanced age how much she could accomplish in a single
    day was a wonder to everybody. Her vast correspondence, reading
    of books and papers, her literary compositions, her school
    classes, Bible-meetings, various interviews, were so gracefully
    and naturally managed. Still, all these were held in the
    background, and jealously guarded against encroaching upon her
    Missionary work....

    ‘She was reading the sermon (Spurgeon’s) on Christ’s first
    miracle at Cana. She read there that our duty was to fill
    the jars to the brim; and it was Christ’s work to turn them
    into wine. This led to the self-examining question, “Am I
    filling the jars to the brim? Can I not work a little more
    for Christ than I have hitherto done?” This gave her strength
    in her feebleness; and from that day she spent an hour more
    in the zenanas than she used to do. Considering the various
    discouragements she met in her Missionary work, it was no small
    matter to take this step,--and this too at a time when it was
    an effort to walk, not to speak of ascending perpendicular
    flights of stairs in the zenanas....

    ‘The one thing which was not liked by some people about her was
    that she had an extreme disgust of Natives taking to English
    dress, which she invariably designated “ugly.” She regretted on
    several occasions that her age and habits did not allow of her
    adopting the “graceful _dopatta_” (head cover) in preference to
    her hat....

    ‘Her ideas about the burial system were very definite. She
    would take up the thread of St. Paul’s argument, and compare
    the human body to a seed of grain, which should be simply
    buried under the earth, and not shut up in a box and placed in
    the ground. She several times expressed her desire to be simply
    wrapped up in a clean sheet and carried by her boys to the
    cemetery when her turn came, and then laid in the grave as one
    naturally sleeping.’


II.

    ‘During Mr. Baring’s absence in England in 1881, one cold night
    Miss Tucker noticed in the Chapel a man shivering with cold.
    He was one of the non-Christian servants of the school. After
    Service she called him, and asked him if he had more clothes.
    The man said “No.” He was shivering, as he had fever. She told
    him to wait, and ran upstairs. She came back in a minute with a
    beautiful rug. She told the man she could not give it to him,
    as it was a present from her sister, but she would lend it to
    him for the night, and would buy a country blanket for him the
    next day. I asked her what she was going to do herself. She
    said she would keep a fire in her bedroom, and that would keep
    her warm.

    ‘I saw her many times picking up pieces of broken glass or
    bottles. She said poor people who walk barefoot get hurt by
    these. She has known cases in which men suffered for weeks from
    wounds received from these.

    ‘She was not kind to men only, but to animals. One summer
    morning, as she was coming from the city, after doing her
    work in the Zenanas, she saw a poor donkey with a sore back,
    troubled by a crow. She came home, took a piece of cloth, went
    to the place where she saw the donkey, tied the cloth, and came
    back and took her breakfast....

    ‘Her example has done a great deal in removing caste feelings
    among Christians. Batala was a place for feasts. In these
    feasts all Christians were invited. She generally sat with
    low-caste Converts, and ate with them....

    ‘Once for sending a girl to an orphanage she sent for a
    prospectus of the school. In it two warm dresses were put down
    in the list of clothes. ‘It is very unreasonable,’ she said,
    ‘to require two warm dresses.’ She had herself only one, and
    that she had been using for the last nine years. Her poem,
    “What a Missionary Miss Sahiba should be,” is an embodiment of
    what she was.’

One more short sentence from the same source is worthy of particular
attention: ‘When ill, Miss Tucker did not like to inform her friends of
it, lest her friends should leave their work and come to nurse her. She
often expressed a wish that there were MISSION NURSES, who could attend
to the sick Missionaries. Without these, when one got ill, others were
taken from their work to nurse her.’

In an earlier chapter it was suggested that some ladies, wishing to
find a vocation, might offer themselves as Honorary helpers to the more
regular Missionaries in certain lines, among which Nursing was included.
Here it seems that the same thought had distinctly occurred to the mind
of Charlotte Tucker. Why should not a little Band of Honorary Nurses for
India be organised,--Nurses, trained and capable, holding themselves
ready to go wherever their services may be required by any sick
Missionary, so that the steady work of other Missionaries should not be
unnecessarily interrupted by the illness of one of their number? The idea
is at least worth consideration, since apparently it would have met with
the approval of A. L. O. E.



CHAPTER XIV

A.D. 1885-1886

ON THE RIVER’S BRINK


Changes again were impending. Mr. and Mrs. Weitbrecht, after two years’
work in Batala, were to quit the place; and in their stead would come Mr.
and Mrs. Corfield,--the former as new Principal of the High School. It
is singular to note one Missionary after another thus coming and going,
while Charlotte Tucker, with resolute perseverance, held to her post.

At last she too began to think of a change. Not of leaving Batala; not
of going home, for even the shortest of furloughs! Such an idea perhaps
never so much as occurred to her mind. She simply began to think of
altering her residence in Batala. At Anarkalli she had lived with Miss
Swainson, with Mr. and Mrs. Beutel, with Natives alone, with Mr. Baring,
with Mr. Baring and his wife, with Mr. and Mrs. Weitbrecht; and now
another ‘upheaval’ had become imminent.

The notion of a move was apparently at first her own, though others soon
looked upon it as desirable. Two German ladies, Miss Hoernle and Miss
Krapf, dwelt together in the cosy little Mission Bungalow, which they had
named ‘Sonnenschein’ or ‘Sunshine.’ No room remained for a third inmate;
but Miss Tucker formed a plan of building a small annexe to the west of
‘Sunshine,’ for her own use; and to this tiny annexe she resolved to give
the name of ‘Gurub i Aftab,’ or ‘Sunset.’

Mrs. Hamilton, on first hearing of the scheme, was somewhat distressed
at the thought of such a change for her ‘Char’; but Miss Tucker wrote to
assure her of no move until the new building should be perfectly dry.
Also a long letter from Mr. Weitbrecht set before Mrs. Hamilton, with
kind clearness, the advantages of the plan. Among other reasons urged was
the overcrowded state of the palace, where more room for the School was
urgently needed; and also the desirability that Miss Tucker, in advancing
years, should not constantly have to climb a steep and awkward staircase,
which had of late greatly tried her strength.

It is probable that for some little time past there had been a certain
failure of power, evidenced by such facts as this, though made very
little of by herself, and perhaps little marked by others, because of her
determined cheerfulness and persistence in work.

Still, as always, she rose at six in winter, and at half-past four in
summer; had her little breakfast of cocoa and sweet biscuits; then read
and studied till eight. At 8 A.M., whether in summer or in winter, she
seldom failed to take her rapid ‘Devotional walk’ out of doors, up and
down, till summoned to Prayers by the Chapel gong. Then came breakfast
proper; after which she would still, as always, go out in her duli for
three or four hours of Zenana-visiting. Next followed correspondence;
lunch; classes of English history and English literature for the elder
boys; then afternoon tea; then sometimes more reading of a Native
language, and visiting of Native Christians. This was the manner of day
that she spent, week in, week out, month after month, often for ten or
eleven months at a stretch; varied only by itinerating expeditions into
neighbouring villages, or an occasional trip to Amritsar,--the latter
seldom, except on business of some kind. And she had been living this
life now for at least eight or nine years! Small wonder that a breakdown
should come at last. The marvel was that it had not come sooner. A chill
and a bad smell were the immediate cause,--they usually are in such
cases, acting upon exhausted powers.

Up to Thursday, December 10, things were much as usual. That morning she
went on her ordinary city round, and then to a Native wedding, where
she was very much tried by a bad smell from a drain, though her innate
courtesy would not allow her to hurry away. On reaching home she was in a
chilled and shivering condition, with the beginning of a sore throat. In
the afternoon fever and drowsiness came on.

For a day or two there seemed to be an improvement. Mrs. Weitbrecht, who
was to have left Batala before Sunday, on account of health, deferred her
journey until Monday.

Nothing could induce Miss Tucker to remain at home on Saturday. She
started as usual for the city; and on her return she told Mrs. Weitbrecht
‘how glad she was to have gone,’ adding, ‘I am always especially glad
when I go to the city, feeling it a little effort to do so.’ One is
disposed to imagine that it must have been more than a _little_ effort,
on that particular day; and the words contain a revelation as to past
‘efforts’ when unfit for the work which she never would neglect. Dr. H.
M. Clark had been asked to come over, but she utterly declined to see
him, except as a friend, refusing to consider herself ill. On Sunday she
was at both the Church Services, ‘kept up,’ as Mr. Bateman said, ‘by her
indomitable spirit’; and in the afternoon she had, as always, her Class
of boys. On Monday morning she made her appearance early, to see Mrs.
Weitbrecht off,--very bright and cheery, wrapping up sandwiches, and
determinedly hiding how ill she really felt, for fear Mrs. Weitbrecht’s
departure should be again delayed.

Things could not go on thus much longer. Miss Tucker had made a brave
fight,--too brave for her own good!--but illness was now fast gaining
the upper hand. She did not again attempt city visiting,--a sure sign
of her condition; and much time that day was spent in a half-doze.
Towards night she became light-headed, and was so weak that they had to
carry her to bed. Miss Hoernle decided to sleep at the palace, so as to
be within easy call if needed; but in the early morning she found her
patient up, writing a letter, and of course avowing herself ‘better.’
The improvement, if it existed, was very brief. Fever again set in, with
weakness and delirium; and Dr. H. M. Clark was sent for. On Tuesday Mr.
Clark came too, and that evening he sent for Miss Wauton to go over from
Amritsar on Wednesday morning. Mr. Rowland Bateman also was speedily on
the spot. Somewhat later in the week a telegram summoned A. L. O. E.’s
nephew and niece, Major Louis Tucker and Mrs. Tucker.

For three days the greatest possible anxiety was felt; and on the
Thursday another medical man was telegraphed for, that a consultation
might take place. The result of the consultation was not favourable. Dr.
P. on first seeing Miss Tucker thought she might live a week, but when
going away he expressed a fear that half that time would see the end.

Both before and after Dr. P.’s coming there was excessive restlessness,
and a great deal of delirium, though the latter was never of a painful
kind, and she always knew those who were about her. She was at times
extremely anxious to get up, and she showed vexation at not being allowed
to do so. Once, when thus controlled, she said to Mr. Weitbrecht with
respect to her nurses:

‘Couldn’t you take them to see the Church?’

‘But, Auntie dear, we have seen the Church already,’ they assured her.

‘Then take them somewhere else,’ she said,--‘only take them _a long way
off_!’

This evidently remained on her mind; for the next day she began to talk
about the Salvation Army, and the doctrine of Perfection in this life, as
taught by its devotees.

‘It is a doctrine of the devil,’ she said emphatically. ‘Tell ---- that
I had an outbreak of anger and petulance only yesterday. I wanted to go
to my own room, and I was quite cross when they would not let me. I think
the Lord let that be, that we might see how weak and sinful we are. I am
sixty-four years old,--and they who are so much younger than I am would
not let me get up! They treated me just as if I were a child; and I could
not bear to be made into a little child; and so the Lord put me down.
These doctrines are the snare of the devil. They make presumptuous people
more presumptuous; and they are calculated to drive conscientious people
_mad_!’ The last words were repeated; and Miss Tucker went on to mention
two cases, known to herself, where individuals had become actually insane
through ‘perfectionist’ teaching.

She talked in her delirium almost incessantly, showing extreme mental
activity, an activity which never failed, even when exhaustion was
greatest. She dictated letters; she composed verses and comic parodies;
she repeated texts and long sentences in Hindustani; she sang with
animation a cricket-song for the boys, and then a hymn in Hindustani or
English. Sometimes her drollery was so intense that her nurses, in all
their anxiety, shook with laughter to hear the things she said. And all
through, from beginning to end, one thing never failed,--her radiant
happiness in the thought of going Home.

While recognising those who were really present, she fancied that others
were there also, and talked to them. Generally she could reason quietly
about these appearances, saying that she knew they were ‘shadows.’ She
does not seem to have felt thus about the evil spirits, which she thought
she saw. She pointed to where she believed them to be, asking, ‘Do you
see them?’ Then addressing the spirits, she continued: ‘I am not afraid
of you! You can do nothing to _me_! I belong to Jesus! Don’t sit there,
at the foot of my bed. Go away; you cannot touch me!’

The strong doses of quinine made her very deaf, so that she could hear
little of what went on around her bed; but she heard what others could
not hear,--sounds of music filling the room.

Sometimes she imagined herself to be in Zenanas, talking to the Bibis,
and pleading earnestly with them. Or again she wondered why her kahars
did not come to take her thither.

‘What to me was most remarkable,’ wrote Mr. Clark afterwards, ‘was her
perfect cheerfulness and happiness; thinking of everything and every
one around her, and talking of the most common things, and doing it all
in the light of Eternity; standing on the very brink of another world,
and yet forgetting nothing, but thinking of almost everything in this....
It was at times even amusing, for there was no sadness in her perpetual
sunshine.’

On Friday morning, the day after the consultation, Miss Tucker woke very
early, and asked to have her desk, that she might write. This of course
could not be allowed. Later in the same day Mr. Weitbrecht went in to see
her, just after an interview with Dr. Clark, and she inquired, ‘What does
the doctor say?’

Mr. Weitbrecht endeavoured to avoid giving any direct reply, speaking
only of one symptom which the Doctor had named as encouraging. Then came
the point-blank question:

‘Yes; but does he think I shall die, or recover?’

‘He cannot tell.’

Miss Tucker was not to be so put off. An answer she would have. ‘I am
very deaf with the quinine,’ she said. ‘I can’t hear what you say. If he
thinks I shall stay, do this!’--holding up her hand;--‘and if sinking,
this!’--dropping it.

There was no choice left. Truth compelled Mr. Weitbrecht to lower gently
his hand. ‘Whereupon,’ as Mr. Bateman relates, ‘a smile and an almost
shout of joy escaped her.’

‘I am so glad!’ she exclaimed. ‘So glad to be dying in harness! And to
think that I shall be no trouble to anybody!... It is too good to be true,
that I am going Home.... The bowl is broken at the fountain!’ Then she
repeated the simple verse beginning,

    ‘“And when I’m to die,
    Receive me, I’ll cry,
    For Jesus has loved me,
    I cannot tell why!”’

What Charlotte Tucker experienced, on seeing that lowered hand, may be to
some extent realised by reading her ‘Dream’ of the Second Advent, given
in an earlier chapter. Heaven to her was ‘Home’; many of her nearest and
dearest were already in Paradise; and ‘death,’ so called, would mean
re-union with those dear ones. Charlotte Tucker could from her very heart
re-echo the poet’s words,--with a most practical belief in them,--‘There
is no Death; what seems so is Transition.’ During years past she had
longed for this Transition; striving only not to be impatient, but to
await cheerfully God’s own time.

And now, it seemed, she was to go! Not only to leave sin and sorrow
behind; not only to be young and strong again; not only to see such
beauty and glory as our Earth can never show; not only to ‘mount up with
wings, as eagles,’ into splendid new spheres of knowledge and thought, of
employment and work. All these things, though real, were secondary. _The_
overwhelming delight of going Home, whether by the Coming of Christ, or
through the ‘grave and gate of Death,’ was that she would meet her Lord
and Master face to face! That was the grand expectation which thrilled
her whole being, which drew from her an ‘almost shout’ of joy, even in
extreme weakness,--the prospect of seeing HIM, ‘Whom, not having seen,’
she loved.

So intense was the joy that it had a remarkable result. It appeared to
take the same effect as a powerful stimulant upon her sinking strength.
The very delight which she had in dying brought her back to life; the
very rapture with which she desired to go kept her from going.

It is not needful to suppose that this alone saved her life. Skilled
physicians and devoted nurses had done and were doing their utmost; and
a fresh remedy was being tried, which brought down the very high fever.
But the fact remains the same, that, until Charlotte Tucker was told that
she would die, hopes of her recovery had been given up, at all events by
those best qualified to judge; and that, from the time when she learned
the verdict of the doctors, she began to revive. At the least we must
allow that the stimulant afforded by this eager rejoicing was a marked
assistance to other remedies; and that, without it, in all probability
she might have sunk.

Nor need it be imagined that she was immediately out of danger.
Improvement was very gradual, and anxiety lasted long. Weeks later she
spoke of her own life as having been on Christmas Day still ‘trembling in
the balance,’ and this was nearly a week before Christmas. But hope had
revived, and every day it grew stronger.

Having once made up her mind that she was to die, it was, we may be
sure, no easy matter for Charlotte Tucker to turn her mind earthward
again. ‘She dwelt on the thought continually,’ wrote one of her nurses
afterwards; and another friend said in a letter home, at the time, ‘She
is deaf to any suggestion of possible recovery.’

Full directions were given as to presents which she wished to have sent
to relatives and friends after her departure; and many messages also,
expressive of intense delight in the prospect which she believed to lie
before her. She was very particular as to her funeral. ‘I wish no one to
wear black for me,’ she said. ‘My funeral must not cost more than five
rupees. No coffin; only a plank to keep the body straight. You must make
a recess in the grave, so that the earth may not fall on my face. No one
must carry me but my dear Christian boys.’

Then she would believe herself to be in a Zenana once more, and she was
giving a farewell address in Hindustani to all her Bibis. In the midst of
such a serious exhortation would come in quotations from Shakespeare, or
odd little remarks about her food, making it impossible for others not to
smile, as the active mind passed rapidly from one subject to another. But
still her radiant expectation and rejoicing never faltered.

‘What a happy thing it is to have conquered!’ she said once,--‘and to
know that I have a crown of glory awaiting me above! What happiness! But
I know I have no righteousness of my own. No one has that! My trust is in
the Blood of Christ _alone_! “The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from
all sin.”’

Repeatedly she remarked how ‘happy she was, dying in harness,--just as
she had wished!’ And again: ‘I want to go. You _must not_ pray for my
recovery. The Doctor _says_ I’m worse, doesn’t he?’ And again: ‘If the
Ladies of the Committee knew what a wreck I am, they would be glad that
I am going now. I cannot do any more work; but tell them that I depart
in the full, glad hope of Eternal Life, through Jesus Christ _only_!
His precious Blood _only_!... “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy
Cross I cling!” ... I am almost surprised at my ever coming out to be
a Missionary. I was so very ignorant! A Missionary needs very great
humility.’

At another time she asked: ‘How long is it likely to last? My sister
will be quite happy about me, now that I have completed my tenth year of
Missionary service.’

But near as Charlotte Tucker drew to the Gate of Death, which to her was
the Gate of Life, she was only allowed one glimpse inside; and then she
had to turn back into the wilderness of Earth once more. It makes one
think of the Pandit’s dream beside his dying wife. A ‘voice’ might well
have said, with angelic pity, of Charlotte Tucker, ‘She longs so to come!
I will take her!’ But if so, it would seem that the Divine Voice softly
interposed, ‘WAIT!’ Her hour of Rest was not yet reached. She was not
very much more than half-way through her toilsome Indian campaign. Ten
years of work lay behind. Eight years of work stretched ahead. This was
but the Rehearsal of the real Home-going.

By Saturday morning there was so far a distinct improvement that Mr.
Clark felt himself able to return to Amritsar. Miss Tucker still counted
herself dying; and her last words to Mr. Clark were, ‘Give to our dear
and honoured Bishop my affectionate _adieux_!’

When Christmas Day arrived, though not yet out of danger, she was allowed
to see all her Batala friends who could come, including the boys of the
School,--no doubt a mere passing glimpse of each. Much warm interest had
been shown by the people of the city, as well as by the Christians who so
well knew and loved her. Before Christmas Day, however, Miss Tucker seems
to have accepted the fact that, so far as could be seen, she had not yet
fought out her battle, had not yet to exchange Cross for Crown. So early
as the 21st of December Miss Wauton wrote to Mrs. Hamilton:--

    ‘I don’t think she will ever attempt so much active work again
    amongst the people; but she said to me this morning, “Though I
    shall probably not be able to do much amongst them, I can still
    _love_ them!” Darling Auntie! _how_ every one does love and
    honour her! This week has shown more than ever how she lives in
    the hearts of those for whom she is spending her life; and how
    dear she is to a very, very wide circle of friends, as well as
    to her relations. The boys have been as quiet as mice all the
    time she was ill; and the only sounds that reached her room
    were their voices practising the Christmas hymns, which she was
    delighted with, and fancied she heard them nearly all through
    the night, long after they were all in bed.’

On December 28th Charlotte Tucker was able to dictate a letter to Mrs.
Hamilton:--

    ‘MY PRECIOUS LAURA,--I have been in deep waters, but I rather
    think I shall swim. I cannot tell you what I owe to the
    splendid nursing of ---- and ----. You couldn’t have nursed me
    more devotedly and tenderly yourself. Neither you nor I will
    ever forget it....

    ‘I’ve a noise going on for ever in my ears; but my mind has
    been clear all through. The hard thing was not to be able to
    pray for what I wished. I should so have liked to depart and be
    with Jesus; but it didn’t seem God’s Will; and His Will must be
    best. I tried to ask for patience and resignation. Good-bye,
    darling....’

Loving messages to many friends are included in this letter; and she
also mentions having received on Christmas Day ‘Communion for the
Dying,’--though apparently she was then not really counted to be dying.
However, unless she misunderstood her doctor, he was not even then
hopeful to any great extent. Probably her own recollections were a good
deal more confused than she was at all aware of.

It is not a little remarkable that, after all this, she should in
letters written somewhat later quietly and decidedly assert that she
had _not_ reckoned herself to be dying, but had fully expected to get
well! The explanation is, most likely, that her strong desire to pass
away was so dominant a feeling as to entirely push into the background a
consciousness that she would recover. At the time she doubtless refused
to listen to the voice of this consciousness; but afterwards it would
naturally recur to memory,--possibly in a somewhat exaggerated form.

As soon as she was sufficiently improved for the move to be practicable,
she was taken to Amritsar,--being lifted into her duli, which travelled
by train, so that she was spared any further changes. At Amritsar she
was within easy reach of her Doctor; also she could be better nursed and
cared for there than in such an out-of-the-way place as Batala, where
personal comforts were few. Letters early in 1886 naturally contain a
good deal about her illness.

    ‘BATALA, _Jan. 2_.--My darling Laura, the last time the Doctor
    came, I said to him, “Doctor, you’re winning the game of
    chess.” He said, “You’ve been as bad as you could be; but,
    under God, you owe your life to the excellent nursing.” ... My
    sweet ladies watch me day and night, and seem to think it
    fun.... I think in England we add to the miseries of sickness by
    looking so anxious and grave. Then, another thing, love, is
    this; don’t shut out friends, for fear they should tire the
    patient. On Christmas Day, when my life was literally trembling
    in the balance, I must have seen more than a hundred, and they
    didn’t do me a bit of harm.... Good-bye, darling. Please give all
    sorts of kind messages to dear Leila and your other dear ones,
    and every one who loves me....

    ‘Please pray for patience. That is the lesson I have to learn.
    “Be still, and know that I am God.” “O rest in the Lord, and
    wait patiently for Him.” I mustn’t think even much about
    Heaven! I mustn’t be like a soldier pining to get home, when
    he’s told to keep quiet in the trenches.’

It is impossible not to remember Archbishop Trench’s couplet:--

    ‘Some are resigned to go; might we such grace attain,
    That we should need our resignation to remain!’

    ‘AMRITSAR, _Jan. 11, 1886_.--I hope that my telegram arrived
    before the news that would trouble you. The doctor pronounced
    me “out of danger” last Friday, the 8th; so I almost
    immediately thought of sending a telegram. Now I’m going to
    make a little confession of exaggeration. I told you that I saw
    more than one hundred people on Christmas Day. Babu Singha told
    me that there were only eighty-four at the feast; so, as babies
    count at the feast and didn’t come up to me, I probably didn’t
    see more than seventy. I questioned the doctor a little time
    ago as to the influx of visitors; and he only told me, that, as
    he thought I was sure to die, it didn’t matter whom I saw. But
    _I_ didn’t think I was going to die; and you see I was right....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘AMRITSAR, _Jan. 18_.--Thanks were publicly returned in
    Amritsar Church yesterday for the recovery of your Char. “Bless
    the Lord, O my soul; forget not all His benefits.” ... I am
    floating in a sea of delight, and shall certainly look back to
    this time of terrible illness as one of the happiest periods of
    my life. I am as happy as a Queen. A great deal happier than
    the Queen! One of the images that most frequently rises before
    my mind, in prayerful thought, is that of our own beloved
    Queen. There is something so grand and pathetic in that image,
    as our Sovereign Lady sits with her hand on the helm, solitary
    at her post of duty, with a revolutionary storm howling and
    shrieking around her. The Lord shield her head; strengthen her
    hands; give her increasing grace and wisdom; and grant her the
    victory over all her enemies.

    ‘I think it would gratify Her Majesty were she to know her
    _personal_ influence amongst the Women of India. In zenana
    or mud-village, “Maliká Muazima Kaiser-i-Hind”--I generally
    give our Sovereign her full title among the Orientals, though
    I love “our own dear Queen” much better!--is an object of
    interest.... Of course, we inculcate loyalty among our Native
    Christians, in our Boarding School at Batala. One of the first
    things that would strike the eye of a visitor is “God save
    the Queen,”--hung up in the schoolroom.... It would please Her
    Majesty, could she hear our Christian boys singing:

        ‘“Let the world know,
        Be it friend or foe,
        We’ll be true to our Faith and our Queen!”

    The Hindus and Muhammadans might fail us should a storm arise;
    the Atheists would be our bitter foes. I believe that many of
    our noble Christians would be Faithful unto Death....

    ‘I have had two such extraordinary attacks of malarious fever....
    For three days and nights, and more, I never slept for a
    moment. My mind was sometimes carried, at other times goaded,
    in unnatural activity. I had a torrent of thought, which I
    could not stop; the first week is to me almost a blank.... Dr.
    P. knew nothing of me, nor what a comically allegorical mind
    I have. I remember nothing of our interview, but it must have
    been inexpressibly funny....’

Letters thus far were only dictated. On January 20 is one in her own
handwriting, very feeble and shaky:--

    ’ ... One does learn such lessons, when lying still for weeks and
    weeks, with nothing to do but think. For instance, I remember
    grievous sins of omission, which I have never thought of
    before.... The duty of Intercessory prayer opens out before me.
    Of course, I have always prayed for you, love, and a great many
    more; no danger of forgetting. But I _have_ forgotten numbers.’

In a circular letter to English friends, dated January 25, she again
and more emphatically asserts her own non-expectation of death during
the late illness: ‘On the worst day I talked Urdu, nothing else, from
morning till night, to imaginary bibis. Almost every one thought me
dying, _except myself_!... I asked the dear, kind, skilful doctor of my
state; he did not know what to say, for he thought me sinking. I asked
dear Mr. Weitbrecht, and he pointed his finger straight downwards. I
quite understood, but did not believe myself dying for all that!’ This
certainly was not the impression of those around her at the time, nor is
it borne out by the things she said. No doubt she was striving to believe
what she longed for,--was hoping that the doctors’ opinion, and not her
own inner sense, might prove to be right.

Miss Tucker’s ‘horror of alcohol’ is particularly noted by Mr. Clark.
When getting better, she one day remarked to him, ‘What a dear, good
doctor Dr. Clark is! He has brought me through it all, without giving me
any spirits.’ Then, turning to one of her nurses, ‘Isn’t it so, dear?’
A judicious answer was returned: ‘The doctor gave you just the right
medicine, and you were very good in taking it.’ A little later, when
having another dose of medicine, she said again, ‘Are you _sure_ there
is no alcohol in it?’ ‘It is what the doctor has ordered for you, Auntie
dear. You must just take it, and ask no questions.’ As letters show, it
was not till February that she learned the true state of the case, which
was that she had been kept alive by small doses of stimulant every hour.
The strongest brandy had tasted to her like water. As soon as Miss Tucker
understood how matters had been, she wrote to her sister, to say:--

    ‘I made a great mistake in my letters home. If from them you
    have given to others a wrong impression, please kindly correct
    it when opportunity occurs. I wrote that I had had no stimulant
    in my illness. I thought that I had not; but I find that I was
    utterly wrong. I was kept from sinking, not only by quantities
    of quinine, but brandy also. It was strange that I should not
    have recognised it; but it was always mixed with something
    else.’

So steady now was the improvement in her health, that before the middle
of February she was able to get out for drives; on the 14th she went to
Church; and by the 18th she was back again in ‘dear Batala,’--not at
the old palace, but in the Mission Bungalow, ‘Sonnenschein,’ with Miss
Hoernle. A crowd of boys welcomed her at the Railway Station, on her
arrival; and next day a grand Batala feast was given in her honour.



CHAPTER XV

A.D. 1886-1887

IN HARNESS ONCE MORE


So severe an illness could not fail to leave traces; and Charlotte Tucker
came out of it more distinctly an old lady than she had ever been before.
Ten years of perpetual toil had used up a large amount of even her
superabundant vitality; and she could not expect to be again fully what
she had been, either as to vigour or powers of endurance.

But although strength did not return quickly, and work had to be very
slowly resumed, her interest in all that concerned Batala was as vivid
as ever. The letters of 1886 are full of details about various High
School boys,--either those who had been or those who still were scholars.
Letters to Mrs. Hamilton were as long as ever,--longer indeed than in
times of greater work-pressure,--and the shaky hand soon regained its
firmness.

Immediately after her return to Batala, she wrote as to work generally:--

    ‘O, there have been such stirring times in our Panjab Mission
    field lately! On one side, or rather various sides, the poor,
    low-caste people are joyfully receiving the Gospel. One
    hears of them listening, with tears running down their brown
    cheeks. Dear Miss Hoernle, my chum, is off to Futteyghur,
    with a new Bible-woman specially for the poor peasants.
    There, after _due examination_, Mr. Weitbrecht has baptized
    whole families,--fifty-six individuals,--and I shall probably
    hear of many more when Miss Hoernle returns.... All this is
    comparatively smooth, for people do not flare up at poor people
    being saved; but there has been desperate fighting over dear
    lads of good family; prosecution, persecution, pelting, lying,
    hand-to-hand struggling; even our chivalrous Missionary, Mr.
    Bateman, always ready to be foremost in the fight, owns that he
    has never had such a hard case as the last. The dear Convert,
    not yet baptized, refused an offer of 10,000 rupees down and
    40,000 in reversion, rather than give up Christ....’

Many other particulars, too long to quote, follow.

The 4th of March was to be, as she wrote, ‘a very great day here; the
greatest Batala has ever known! Our Church is to be consecrated; and
Christians will gather from far and near. One of the most interesting
features of the occasion will be, I trust, the presence of converts.... I
believe that many of them will gladly walk fifteen miles to be present.
One said, in regard to their dress, which is, as you may suppose, of a
very rough kind, “We will come in clean clothes, if it take us four days
to wash them!”’ The last few words were in allusion to very poor village
converts.

A letter to a little great-nephew, the day after the Consecration, gave
some particulars:--

    ‘We had a very grand day in Batala yesterday. The Bishop came
    to open our fine new Church. A great many ladies and gentlemen
    came also. There were two meat meals for them; we sat down
    about thirty-four. But one of the most interesting things was
    that a good many poor men and boys, whom dear Mr. Weitbrecht
    had baptized in the villages, came too. Now, some people are
    proud enough to scorn these poor men, because they are of the
    low Mihtar caste. But, you know, my T----, that there is plenty
    of room in Heaven for Mihtars; and when they shine in white
    garments and crowns no one will despise them then. We thought
    that it would be a good thing to eat a little with the poor
    men, to show that we do not scorn them.... Mr. Bateman, Mrs.
    Weitbrecht, and I sat down on the straw, where the poor folk
    were eating their dinner, and ate some too. I own that I did
    not eat much,--I had had the two meat meals already!...

    ‘Our Church looked very nice. We had to lend three mats for
    it; and other things were lent also.... But three beautiful
    cushions were not lent. Dear Aunt Mina, her Wilhelmina, and
    Cousin Laura worked them years ago for our Church. We took
    great care of them, and they look in fine condition.’

The Church of the Epiphany at Batala, consecrated on March 4, 1886, by
the Bishop of Lahore, is described as being ‘of brick, plastered with
lime. The style chosen is that of the Mogul period, adapted to the
requirements of a Christian Church. The Church at present consists of a
nave, with clerestory windows, chancel, and porch. Two side-aisles remain
to be added. The present accommodation is 200; when completed it will be
about 500. The Church is situated near the chief gate of Batala, on the
road leading to the railway.’

Then came the parting with the Weitbrechts; a sorrowful matter, after
two years together under the same roof. Miss Tucker, though still far
from strong, was sufficiently recovered to travel with them as far as to
Delhi, where she paid a short visit to a widowed niece. While there, on
March 18, she wrote:--

    ‘Here am I, in the famous old city of Delhi, long the capital
    of India; but I go about to see none of its many sights.... The
    dear Weitbrechts and I lunched with the Cambridge Mission
    yesterday. A fine set of Missionaries, whom one is glad to have
    met. I was invited to dine also, I fancy, but I did not care
    to have my parting at a dinner-party. I returned here; and
    dear Herbert came at past 9 A.M. just to bid me farewell. It
    was very kind in him. We were alone in the verandah; and the
    parting was almost like that between son and mother....

    ‘There is an interesting young Missionary here, Mr. Maitland of
    the S.P.G. He has been almost at death’s door, and now appears
    much in the same state as I was in Amritsar six or seven weeks
    ago, coddled and taken care of. He wanted me to come and take
    a cup of tea with him, which I did most willingly; and we had
    a good chat together. Invalids like visitors, I think. I know
    that I did....

    ‘_22nd._--O, my Laura, have you actually been sending _more_
    money, to meet the expenses of my illness? I do not know what
    to say or how to thank you. You must indeed stop overwhelming
    your Char!’

A very troublesome horse, who broke his harness and refused to be
controlled, was named by her ‘Buzdil,’ or ‘Coward.’ ‘_I_ never attempted
to drive,’ she observed in an April letter, ‘but exhorted him, when I was
beside Maria; but he never minded what I said.’ Then came some ‘rough
lines,’ adapted to an old Scotch air, ‘He’s a terrible man, John Tod,
John Tod!’

    ‘He’s a terrible horse, Buzdil, Buzdil,
      He’s a terrible horse, Buzdil!
      He gives start and skip,
      Fears all--but the whip,
    And cares not a straw for our will!

    ‘He’s broken his harness, Buzdil, Buzdil,
      He’s broken his harness, Buzdil!
      He’d plunge in a hedge,
      Or back on a ledge,
    But when urged to go on--he stood still!

    ‘He puzzles his syce, Buzdil, Buzdil,
      He worries his syce, Buzdil!
      If you take my advice,
      He’ll be sold in a trice,
    Ere our poor Mission ladies he kill!’

Miss Tucker planned starting ‘a very sober, safe kind of vehicle’ to
carry to Church those who could not or might not walk so far, even in
cold weather. It was to be a cart, with a cover to ward off the heat of
the sun, and was to be drawn by bullocks,--a humble conveyance, which
fact was no trouble at all to the mind of Charlotte Tucker. The more
humble, the better fitted in her estimation for a Mission Miss Sahiba!

In June she went for a complete change to Murree, and was soon able,
while there, to speak of herself as being decidedly stronger, ‘able
without injury to walk twice to Church and back,’ despite a tough hill on
the way.

One friend, Mrs. Rowland Bateman, meeting her at this time, wrote
afterwards:--

    ‘It was so very delightful to see her dear face again, and so
    nice to get her warm and loving welcome. You know what “pretty”
    things she says; so on this occasion she said, “I came (to
    the station) for silver, and I found gold!” Very pretty, was
    it not? And now let me tell how I thought her looking. It is
    five years since I saw her; so of course I saw a good deal of
    change. She is looking very much older; but she is as bright as
    ever, cracking jokes, and making us all laugh. Then of course,
    since her illness, she is very thin, and that makes her face
    look older than she would do, were she a little stouter. And
    she eats more than she used to do. Five years ago she hardly
    ate enough to keep a sparrow alive.... Another thing I was very
    glad of, and that was that she does not attempt to do so much.
    She gives herself time to rest.’

In July Miss Tucker welcomed with eager pleasure a present from her
sister of an ‘excellent likeness’ of the Queen. Charlotte Tucker’s love
for Her Majesty went far beyond ordinary loyalty. It was more of the
nature of a personal romantic passion.

By the middle of August she was at work again. Mr. Weitbrecht was now
gone, and Mr. Corfield had been seriously ill; so once more the School
was for some time without a Principal on the spot. Many of the boys did
not return to their homes for the holidays; indeed, some young converts
literally had no homes to go to. A. L. O. E. therefore exercised her
powers to find interests and amusements for them. About this time also
she started Shakespeare readings in Batala, of which she says:--

    ‘_Aug. 11._--Perhaps I told you that I had begun Shakespeare
    readings. I had five readings of Henry VIII., with fair
    success; so I thought that I would begin _Macbeth_, which I
    think the most striking of all Shakespeare’s dramas. But it
    was a dead failure here! The Natives could not understand it;
    and those who came to the first reading were _non inventus_ at
    the--what would have been the second reading. So I have changed
    my book, and intend to-day to begin to read aloud my Laura’s
    capital present, the particularly amusing _Life of Buckland_.
    Fish instead of furies!--salmon instead of slaughter!’

From many letters it may be seen that she was soon in a steady swing
again, both with Zenana and with Village visiting; but the amount
attempted seems to have been more moderate than formerly. Few quotations
must suffice:--

    ‘_Oct. 15, 1886._--Now I will tell you about a visit which I
    paid yesterday to a Zenana, where the Bibi used to be very
    bigoted. Yesterday I came on her husband, a grave, middle-aged
    man. So he heard what I had to say. Then he asked me to give
    him _a picture of Christ_. Very strict Muhammadans object to
    pictures; but he wanted one of the Saviour. I, as a rule, never
    give pictures, though I show them; but I happened to have three
    small pictures, cut out from periodicals,--not coloured,--and
    I felt impelled to grant the grave man’s request. I let him
    choose. He took the copy of the famous picture--is it not
    Leonardo da Vinci’s?--of the Blessed One, crowned with thorns,
    and put it carefully by in a paper. Will that suffering,
    pathetic Face speak to the Muhammadan’s heart? N. is no
    unlearned man. He told me that he had been our K. B.’s teacher.
    “Were you angry with K. B.?” I asked,--meaning for becoming a
    Christian! The grave man quietly replied in the negative.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 6._--I have lately been paying more attention to
    children in the Zenanas,--partly perhaps because they seem
    to pay more attention to what I say. When they listen in
    perfect stillness, one cannot but hope that the young hearts
    are receiving some seed of life. I had very quiet, attentive
    little listeners in a Zenana yesterday. When I went to another,
    some of the children followed me, but the bibi forbade them to
    come in. In vain I pleaded that they did not make the least
    noise; she bade them go and play. But after I had read to that
    woman, and proceeded to another house, children came after me,
    I think two or three of the same ones. That little book, with
    gaily-coloured pictures, about little Daisy, which you sent me,
    is invaluable....’

Miss Krapf in her turn had had a serious breakdown; and she did not
return to Batala. In her place, towards the end of the year, came
Miss Minnie Dixie, who was to be Miss Tucker’s constant companion and
fellow-inmate of the Mission Bungalow for seven years or more. By the
time Miss Dixie arrived, as ‘Sonnenschein’ was made only to take in two
ladies, and Miss Hoernle was still there, Miss Tucker had doubtless moved
into her own little annexe,--the new west wing of the Bungalow, which she
had prettily named ‘Sunset!’

A ground-plan of the Bungalow gives a good idea of this latest earthly
home of Charlotte Tucker. One large room was divided by screens into
bedroom and sitting-room. In front and behind were verandahs; while one
side was joined to ‘Sonnenschein,’ and on the other lay dressing-room
and bathroom. Miss Tucker lived in her own tiny ‘Sunset,’ but she took
her meals with the other ladies in ‘Sunshine,’ and their evenings were
often, if not regularly, spent together. ‘We are a happy little band of
Europeans at Batala,’ she wrote in the November of 1886.

The year closed with a characteristic little episode, by which it might
be seen that the old energy and impetuosity were by no means snuffed
out of existence. A young lady, not of the Batala party, was going to a
certain doctor at ----, of whose skill Miss Tucker was more than dubious.
She had, as we have seen, no very flattering opinion of the medical
faculty in general; always with charming exceptions, where personal
intercourse interfered with theories. On the present occasion it was not
a man but ‘a dreadful woman doctor’ in the case. On learning that all was
arranged, Miss Tucker exclaimed, ‘You shall not go alone, dear. I will
go with you.’ And go she did; regardless of age, of weakness, of cold
weather, of long journeying.

Nor was this all! On reaching ----, Miss Tucker was so utterly
dissatisfied with the apparent state of things, that she flatly refused
to give up the patient to the doctor. After what she describes as ‘a
fight,--will against will!’ she fairly carried off her charge to the
house of a friend in the place; and next day ran away with her, by
train, to a distant town. The patient happily fell thereafter into kind
and skilful hands; and Charlotte Tucker congratulated herself upon
her own prompt and decisive action. Whether or no her fears were well
founded, one cannot but admire her self-sacrificing readiness to endure
any amount of worry, fatigue, and responsibility on behalf of another.
The last thing Charlotte Tucker ever did was ‘to pass by on the other
side,’ when a human being was in need of help. She never dreamt of
sparing herself.

Many letters this year bear reference to the different pretty and useful
articles sent out by friends and working-parties for sale or for gifts.
With respect to those for sale, she did indeed exclaim in one letter: ‘I
wish dear kind friends would sell the things themselves, and simply give
us the money! They do not think of the added difficulty of insects and
climate! I fear that a good many things get spoiled.’ This however was
not the usual strain in which she acknowledged such parcels. Here are a
few specimen sentences, culled from letters of different dates, to Miss
Longley:--

    ‘I received your kind letter to-day, and do not delay thanking
    you heartily for the account of what the dear Warwickshire
    children are doing for the Mission cause.... The dolls are
    capital gifts to send. Our little Fatimas and Barakats, etc.,
    like them so much.’

    ‘Your very nice box of attractive dolls, those that can open
    and shut their eyes, and a number of prettily-dressed sisters
    clustering together like birdies in a nest, safely reached
    me to-day.... They have come in excellent time, for our annual
    examination has been delayed.... How pleased our little Panjabi
    maidens will be with their dolls,--even blind girls would be
    charmed, I think! The clever dolls that can open and shut
    their eyes ought to be very special prizes.... Dolls are great
    favourites with Native children, and I do not wonder at this.
    The Native toys look very coarse beside the elegantly-dressed
    little ladies from dear old England.’

    ‘Dolls are much liked by our dark-eyed little maidens. Not only
    little girls; but I suspect that many a mother would be pleased
    to possess one of the quiet, rosy-cheeked babies from England,
    that never cry nor give any trouble. Your useful work-basket
    must, I think, be presented to some Native Christian girl who
    is fond of work.... Native Christians also would, I think, most
    value the scrap-books so kindly prepared. At Christmas we have
    a bran-pie, only for Christians, and we have to get ready about
    eighty gifts, even in this out-of-the-way Batala. I begin my
    preparations very early. I assure you that our children are not
    “black.” Some of the Natives are quite pretty, and I think not
    darker than Spaniards. I every now and then see a child with
    brown hair, perhaps curly.’

    ‘We have numbers of young people here. It would amuse some of
    your workers to hear a few of their names translated. We have
    amongst girls, Flower, Beloved, Lady of Light, An Offering,
    etc.,--amongst boys, Valiant, Feet of Christ, Diamond-pearl,
    Welfare, etc. A nice young convert has the pretty name of
    “Gift of the Merciful.” A little boy is “The Mercy of God.”
    His father’s name is “The Power of God.” Fancy a number of
    dark-eyed men, women, and children, with these curious names,
    assembled around our bran-pie (it is really a bath), and some
    of the pretty presents from Warwick popping out to delight
    them.’

Dolls are spoken of again and again, as if too many could not possibly be
sent; but many other things are mentioned also,--such as antimacassars,
pretty handkerchiefs, boxes of sugar-plums, a nice inkstand, and so on.
An unlimited amount of presents for Indian Christians at Christmas-time
was evidently a pressing need. Articles for sale had to be sent to
Amritsar or elsewhere, as there was no demand for them in Batala.

In February 1887 two little ones came to her for a short stay at Batala
on their way to England,--the tiny grandchildren of her brother, Mr.
St. George Tucker. Children had always a great attraction for her; and
immediately letters became full of the small pair, their pretty ways
and sayings and doings. Miss Tucker had to make arrangements for their
journey home. Writing on March 17 to her niece, Miss Edith Tucker, she
exclaims:--

    ‘O these children! they are such darlings! Edie will not be
    three till the 19th, but she is as sensible as if double the
    age; and seems to take a sort of care of her brother. She is
    such an honourable little girl too. Mrs. C., the very nice
    matron here, has been very much struck by this. “It must be
    hereditary,” she said; “she could not have got it from her
    ayah.”[118] ... My heart feels very tender towards the loving
    pets, whom I shall never see on earth again. God grant us a
    joyful meeting before the Throne!...

    ‘I sometimes think how proud dear Sir Frederick Abbott[119]
    will be of his descendants. Please congratulate him and dear
    Lady Abbott from me.’

In another letter, about the same date, and also on the subject of the
children, written to Miss Alice Tucker, A. L. O. E. speaks of having been
kicked by a horse in a small Muhammadan courtyard,--happily not a severe
kick. The horse struck out sharply, but she had just stepped back, and
the force of the blow was also broken by the umbrella which she held. She
escaped therefore with only ‘a harmless contusion.’ It might have been a
very grave accident.

On March 26 comes a short letter to Mrs. Hamilton, jubilant at the
thought of a visit from her friend, Mr. Francis Baring:--

    ‘To-day my darlings embark on the wide, wide ocean, dear little
    “travellers by land and by water”! What sweet blossoms of the
    fourth generation grow on our honoured Father’s family tree! I
    am sure that you think _your_ pet no exception....

    ‘I received a note the other day, which made my heart joyful:
    it was from Mera Bhatija.

        “He’s coming again! he’s coming again!
        Oh, but he’s been long awa’,
          Far frae his ain,” etc.

    He is coming all the way from M----, for Batala’s ninth
    birthday. I correct the boys’ letters to-day, and am pleased at
    the tone in which they write regarding his coming.

    ‘R. “Won’t it be a grand thing to see our dear old Principal
    again?” R. C. “The Rev. F. H. Baring will be here, and I hope
    there will be a grand feast, and racing, jumping, etc. How
    happy we shall be to see the father of our school!” ... I shall
    like to look at dear Babu Singha’s face, when he grasps the
    hand of his old patron.’

Another letter, April 6, refers to a slight operation which she had had
to undergo, for continued weakness of one eye. ‘It needed the prick
of the lancet and the entrance of the probe. It was a mere trifle of
an operation; Henry[120] is so gentle and kind, she wrote cheerily;
then, later in the same letter: ‘Now I must be off for church. We have
a great deal of church-going in this Holy Week. I have to play the
harmonium to-day. This week Minnie and I have been taking the privilege
alternately.’

She was greatly interested this year in a young Muhammadan, who seemed
much disposed towards Christianity, yet was never able to make up his
mind or to act with decision. He appeared, as she said in one letter, to
have clearly ‘two wills,--one desiring Baptism,’ the other drawing him
among the enemies of Christianity. ‘He swings from good to evil like a
very pendulum,’ she observed. ‘We cannot keep him from the Muhammadans;
yet the Muhammadans cannot keep him from Christ.’ In another May letter
she wrote of him: ‘B. P. interested me yesterday by trying to make me get
one of the boys here off with the latter part of a punishment. “You are
a kind of mother,” said he. “When the father is angry, the mother should
plead.” Natives do not clearly understand about discipline and justice;
even Christian Natives are apt to think that offenders should be quickly
forgiven, however disastrous the results might be. Abstract justice
to the Oriental sometimes looks like revenge. How often have I heard
Muhammadans say, “God is the Forgiver!”--with this they put conscience to
rest. But a good many, called Christians, fall into the dangerous mistake
of imagining the pure holy God to be too loving to be just. It is the
echo of Satan’s lie, “Ye shall _not_ surely die.”’

In June came one of the heaviest blows of all her Missionary career,--a
very dark shadow indeed upon its brightness. This was the sudden and
unexpected apostasy of one who for years had belonged to their little
band of Christians,--one of the first Native Christians whom she had
learnt to know on her earliest arrival at Amritsar,--one whom she had
loved and trusted, and whom she had looked upon as not only a follower of
Christ by profession but in very truth. She felt the defection of this
man with exceeding acuteness. He has been once or twice already referred
to as Z., or Maulvi Z., and he might have been referred to dozens of
times. The first letter on this sad subject to Mrs. Hamilton was written
while Miss Tucker was away from home, staying with Mr. and Mrs. Francis
Baring.

    ‘_June 23, 1887._--I am certainly stronger, and should like the
    visit to the dear excellent Barings much, if I had not such
    troubles. From Batala Mission has come such a shock! Fancy
    Maulvi Z. and his family going over to the Muhammadans,--he who
    for about twelve years had been such a well-known member of
    the Church,--she who for eighteen months worked as an Honorary
    Bible-woman! Both, with their nice eldest son, took the
    Communion with me this very month! It is terrible! The wretched
    Maulvi is to receive 40s. for teaching in an opposition school,
    just set up to injure our Mission School.... The Muhammadans have
    had rejoicings and fireworks,--the enemies of the Lord will
    triumph and blaspheme. But I believe that Z. has no faith in
    the false prophet, and that he _has_ loved the Saviour. The
    prodigal may come back, but probably after terrible judgments,
    for he is sinning against light and love. I have not the heart
    to write on other subjects.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 29, 1887._--I propose starting for Batala early on
    Monday the 11th. I must be in time for the prize-givings and
    a feast. Mera Bhatija had a letter to-day from ----, who does
    not think that Z.’s terrible apostasy has done any harm to the
    Christian cause in Batala. The more respectable Muhammadans do
    not trust him, and our preachers are listened to as well as
    before. But oh, the wretched man himself and his family! I must
    not dwell on a subject which has made me so unhappy.’

She could not, however, keep from recurring to it once and again, as
darker details came out. Indignation at the conduct of the apostate was
equalled by her pity for the unhappy man himself. Writing on July 29,
still on the same subject, she said: ‘He did harm in the school while
teaching here. Some of the Muhammadans despise him. A most sarcastic,
_withering_ article has come out in a Muhammadan newspaper against the
apostate.’

On reaching home another trial assailed her. One of her most trusted
servants, mentioned repeatedly as V., proved to be utterly dishonest,
and had to be dismissed. Miss Tucker felt this too very acutely. ‘In all
my Missionary life,’ she wrote on July 16, ‘I never knew such a year as
this.’

Miss Dixie was at this time away, and two or three short extracts from
letters to her may be given:--

    ‘_July 18, 1887._--Welcome, dearest Minnie, _home_! We are to
    have a picnic in celebration of your return. Please travel in
    a duli, if the roads are very bad, as they are pretty sure
    to be. Tell us when and where to send for you. We have had
    many troubles at Batala since you left,--the unhappy Maulvi
    not only apostatising himself and family, but slandering his
    former friends right and left. I have dismissed V., and P. has
    followed him. A sight of your dear kind face will be a cheer to
    your affectionate Auntie.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 30._--What an adventurous journey my dearest Minnie
    had! Thank God, dear, that you are all safe and right.... I seem
    always to be asking you to excuse short letters; but the fact
    is that almost everything is an effort to me. I just manage to
    get through a little work, but seem not to be able for much
    correspondence just at present.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug. 10._--I am glad that you are well and happy. You must
    not think that I forget you, because I write little. It is
    rather a case of “duties thronging round,” and not much
    strength to perform them.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug. 16._--We have had _such_ floods! On Sunday there was
    no attempt to reach the large Church. There was Service in
    Anarkalli; but _that_ was surrounded with water. Some went on
    horseback, some in dulis.’

One letter to Mrs. Hamilton contains a brief description of her own
work:--

    ‘_Aug. 31._--I go, you know, to city work in the morning. After
    our late breakfast I have a succession of people coming. For
    instance, to-day,--1st, Munshi and four boys. 2nd, A convert
    came, to read the Bible to me. 3rd, A teacher came, for me to
    explain difficult English idioms. 4th, Three lads for English
    lessons. 5th, A fourth lad more advanced. You see, love, that
    this is not a sleepy life, though in this warm weather I
    usually get some sleep in the daytime. I like having the dear
    boys. They have done much to keep the heart green under various
    Missionary discouragements.’

On the 9th of September, responding to Mrs. Hamilton’s letter upon the
unhappy subject related above, she said:--

    ‘I fear that I cannot share your hopes.... A man who for nearly
    twelve years passed as a Christian, took the Sacrament not
    many days before he became apostate, spoke coarsely of the
    Holy Communion to Muhammadans, and bitterly of Christians,
    ... seems to me _almost_ past hope. He has, as far as he
    could, “crucified the Son of God afresh” and “put Him to an
    open shame.” ... Instead of, as you sweetly write, “bitterly
    lamenting, like St. Peter,” poor Z. day by day sits by his
    mosque, deceiving the people.’

One more quotation on this sad subject may be made from a letter,
dated April 12, 1889, when Miss Tucker was perplexed what to do about
seeing some relatives of the unhappy apostate, who were staying with
him. ‘Bishop French excommunicated ---- (we do not call him Z. now),
and forbade Christians having intercourse with him.... It would clearly
be wrong to throw over the ----s, who had _not_ left the Fold. I asked
counsel from Herbert, and guidance from One Higher.’ Eventually she did
manage to see the relatives while avoiding the apostate.

Until the year 1886 Miss Tucker apparently kept no regular written record
of her daily work. But in the August of that year, doubtless from a sense
that her memory was becoming less trustworthy than of old, she started a
Journal, which was kept up until within three weeks or so of her death.
The Journal consists of 273 closely written foolscap pages; and, as Miss
Wauton says, they ‘give us a glimpse of the earnest, unremitting toil
of those seven years in the Batala Zenanas.’ The volume opens with a
list of about 173 names of those whom she was then visiting; and this
continued to be about the average number throughout the seven years; some
Zenanas being from time to time closed, while new ones were opened. To
quote again from Miss Wauton, whose long Indian and Missionary experience
renders her judgment especially valuable:--

    ‘Besides being a record of Zenana work, the Diary records many
    little incidents in connection with the daily life; _e.g._
    notices of the arrivals and departures of fellow-workers, and
    of the many friends and visitors who came to see her. There
    are numerous references to the boys of the Baring High School,
    any sickness or death amongst them, the subjects taken in her
    classes with them and with the boys of the Mission Plough....
    All speak of the many objects embraced by her wide sympathies.
    But the Zenana teaching is always first and foremost. Other
    things come in, as it were, by the way. The whole Diary shows
    how carefully and methodically she carried on this visiting,
    and what infinite pains she took to find out and invent things
    which would help to attract the people, and open the way for
    the delivery of her message.

    ‘Her inventive genius enabled her to do this very effectively;
    and the wonderful pictures and allegorical designs she took
    with her opened many doors, which would have probably remained
    fast barred against a less winning visitor. These charms were
    very varied. She seems generally to have taken one with her to
    every place she went to; and to have changed it from time to
    time, as the lesson to be taught from it had been learnt, or
    the novelty had worn off.

    ‘These are all entered in the Diary as “Ladder,” “Jewel,”
    “Zouave,” “Pagoda,” “Prism,” “Crosses,” “Tree,” “Purse,” etc.
    The first was a ladder, painted in various colours, showing the
    different steps by which the sinner mounts up from grace to
    glory. The second is a jewel, covered over with several pieces
    of cloth, representing the different veils, such as ignorance,
    prejudice, self-righteousness, which, covering man’s heart,
    conceal from his view and hinder his attainment of the jewel
    of Truth. But these contrivances were not the only key with
    which these bigoted Zenanas were opened. We find in the Journal
    frequent memoranda of little gifts to be taken to certain
    houses,--“sandcloth,” on the occasion of a wedding or birth,
    “medicine,” “quinine,” “spectacles,” “tea,” “soap,” etc. The
    Scripture subjects spoken upon each day are also entered....

    ‘Her love of children was remarkable; and in many cases, where
    the elder members of the household refused to listen, she would
    get an interested audience from amongst the little ones. She
    writes in one place, “Such nice children!” in another, “I found
    myself stroking little cheeks.” ... Another striking feature of
    Miss Tucker was the courage and indomitable perseverance which
    she showed in the most difficult and trying circumstances.
    “Nil Desperandum” was her favourite motto, and she carried it
    out fully. Sometimes she was rudely treated, sometimes even
    insulted; but nothing daunted her.’

Here are a few specimen extracts from the Journal, including one or two
of unusual length. The majority are exceedingly short. I do not give the
correct initials for either Zenanas or people:--

    ‘_Aug. 24, 1886._--A. very nice sick father, twelve quiet
    children; Mark ii.

    B. a little better, Christ blessing children.

    C. disappointing; outburst of bigotry; M. however silent.

    D. friendly; read three parables. Good listening.

    E. very indifferent. Bibis. Mark vii. N. left.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Aug. 25._--F. fair.

    G. Had very nice talk with him. Prodigal Son. From John iii.
    New. H.’s nice wife. Seemed almost Christian. Ditto.

    J. nice. Boy, ----, promised book if he comes. From Matt. x.

    K. Send cloth to new baby. Read a little of Xt.’s Birth.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Aug. 26._--L. careless.... I do not remember what I read....

    M. Only children attended. Children A., D.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Sept. 1._--L. very cross, ill-tempered, loud voice. Rebuked by
    elder woman. I showed picture of Christ healing, quoted “Learn
    of Me.” After a while face quite softened, voice subdued.... Last
    thing promised she would go to church....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 15, 1886._--Rudely treated. Man with unpleasant face
    and blemished eye shook the charpai (bedstead) on which I was
    seated four times, to make me get off. Went to second place;
    people noisy. A man asked me to read of Christ, and I began.
    Was asked to go to more open place. Went,--found open place was
    the _outside_ of the village. Had to go off.

    ‘B. H. (another village). Rejected here also. Even a tiny clod
    was thrown. I told people at both villages that I prayed God
    to forgive them for their conduct to His servant. Ours is a
    religion of love.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Jan. 28, 1887._--P. very nice. Q., a youth, hearing of Last
    Judgment, says that he wants to be a right-side one, and will
    pray to be so. He is going to marry; says wife and he will both
    be right side. He means to send her to our school. He learned
    in Mission Plough.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 12, 1887._ ... (List of names.) Except ----‘s house, none
    really satisfactory. My heart very sad. There seems hardly any
    good ground in Batala.’

The names of Zenanas, villages, and people living in either, are
generally printed in dark letters on the left side of the page, while
the coming and going of Missionaries and friends, as well as items of
home news, are printed on the right side. On February 15, 1887, is the
terse entry, ‘Operation on eye’; and the very next day, almost equally
terse, ‘I was kicked by a horse.’ Towards the end of the same month is a
characteristic notice of the death of one of her nieces, printed large:
‘VESA LEFT EARTH!’ Death to her meant simply this,--leaving Earth for a
‘better Country.’



CHAPTER XVI

A.D. 1887-1888

A VISIT FROM BISHOP FRENCH


One matter of marked interest in the year 1887 was the retirement of
Bishop French from the Bishopric of Lahore, and his return to the humbler
post of simple Missionary. This step appealed strongly to Miss Tucker’s
sense of admiration. On the 8th of October she wrote to Mrs. Hamilton:--

    ‘I have already, as you see, written a good deal by this mail,
    ... but I will not let the post for England go without at least
    a few loving lines to my own dearest sister. The dear good
    Bishop is resigning. I hear that he feels it sorely; but he has
    no intention of leaving work. He resigns the _English_ part
    into what he feels to be stronger hands,--but will, I believe,
    continue Missionary work amongst Natives. He was _first_ a
    Missionary; and--dear man!--it is not improbable that he will
    die a Missionary. To lay down a mitre is no degradation!’

A few days later, having heard that the Bishop purposed paying her a
little visit at Batala, she wrote to him direct:--

                                       ‘BATALA, _Oct. 20, 1887_.

    REVERED BISHOP,--Though I know not whether this will reach you
    till after your return from Batala, I cannot forbear thanking
    you for your affectionate letter, and intention of gratifying
    me by visiting my simple little Missionary home. I received
    your letter at Amritsar, having--for a wonder--left Batala to
    be present at the wedding of dear old Mr. Newton’s grandson at
    Ludhiana. This has occasioned a little delay in my replying.
    Mr. Corfield also was absent, having gone to bring his wife
    from Dharmsala; but we expect him to-morrow morning, and then
    he shall know your wishes. I think that you will find the
    Ghurub-i-Aftab very quiet. You will see visitors or not, just
    as you please,--only give a hint of your wishes. When the dear
    Lord’s Servants honour me with a visit, I say that they gild my
    floors.

    ‘If it be not presumptuous in me to say so, I would express
    my feeling that there is something beautiful and elevating in
    the idea of one who was a Missionary before he was a Bishop,
    becoming a Missionary _after_ leaving his Bishopric; laying
    down the crozier and mitre, to take up the simple Evangelist’s
    staff. Perhaps, my honoured Friend,--if permitted to call
    you so,--your grandest work is yet to come.--Yours with
    affectionate respect,

                                                   C. M. TUCKER.

    ‘_P.S._--Please offer my affectionate and grateful remembrances
    to dear Mrs. French.’

The Bishop’s visit came about, as hoped for; and it was a great pleasure
to Miss Tucker to receive him. Although they might differ on certain
points, they were one in absolute love and obedience to the same Lord
and Master; and each thoroughly appreciated, thoroughly delighted in,
the whole-hearted and single devotion of the other. In some respects the
two were much alike. There was in both, as Dr. Weitbrecht has said, ‘a
fiery impatience of difficulty or delay which sometimes led to mistakes.’
In both also there was a remarkable _upliftedness_,--if the word is
permissible,--an absorption in things spiritual, which made earthly
matters seem altogether unimportant by comparison.

The one drawback to Miss Tucker’s enjoyment was that she gave up to the
Bishop her own little ‘house,’--and such changes had at her time of life
grown to be somewhat of a trial. But she would not hear of a gentleman
being permitted to sleep in ‘Sonnenschein,’ with the younger ladies,--not
even her beloved and revered Bishop!! She had not perhaps entirely even
yet lost sight of her old favourite idea of a home for Mission Miss
Sahibas, into which a man’s foot might not enter. At all events, she
decided to sleep there herself, and to give up her little Sunset home to
the Bishop. Which she did.

‘It was beautiful to see them together,’ Miss Dixie has said, when
speaking of this visit, which lasted somewhat under a week. The Bishop
and Miss Tucker went about in company, attended church together, and
had many a long talk,--both of them white-haired, fragile in look, worn
out with heavy toil, aged beyond their years. Both would be so utterly
absorbed in the subject under discussion, as to see nothing around, to
hear nothing that went on. There was about each of them a remarkable
_Other-worldliness_, to use a curious term, sometimes employed in this
sense. They were citizens of Heaven, not of Earth; and they realised the
fact to an extent not often equalled.

But with all her ‘Other-worldliness,’ Miss Tucker never lost the sense of
fun and humour, as connected with the things of this world. One amusing
little incident is told of the Bishop’s visit. He had brought with him
a Muhammadan manservant. Miss Tucker habitually kept in her cupboard a
small bottle of brandy, in case of need,--the brandy being well dosed
with quinine, to render it unattractive. When the Bishop was gone, this
little bottle was found to have vanished also. Miss Tucker, on making the
discovery, went back to her friends, to exclaim, with an indescribable
expression, ‘That greedy Muhammadan has taken the brandy?’--then bursting
into a fit of laughter at the thought of his surprise on tasting the
quinine. She often referred to this afterwards with great amusement.

It was remarkable in A. L. O. E. that she still, in old age, remembered
and carefully followed in small matters her parents’ wishes. Not of
course that her life was shaped by them. Probably old Mr. Tucker would
have disapproved of few things more highly than of a woman undertaking
such work as she undertook; but here she followed the dictates of her own
conscience. In slighter questions, where conscience was not involved,
she loved to do what they had of old desired. Still, as always, she rose
early to work, and went to bed in good time, according to the promise
given long, long before. Still, when she drank afternoon tea, she always
took something to eat with it, because ‘her Mother had liked her to
do so.’ And often, though old and weak, when she caught herself to be
stooping, she still would pull herself sharply upright, and say: ‘I
remembered,--my dear Father always wanted me to sit straight.’

While habitually much interested in engagements and marriages, she was
particular as to modes of speech on such subjects. Once or twice, when
some girl-visitor spoke with what she considered an unbecoming lightness,
upon some matter of love or love-making, Miss Tucker observed, after the
girl’s departure,--‘My dear, what a vulgar person!!’

The same curious diversity of opinion as to particular points of Miss
Tucker’s character which was observable in her English life, is also
observable in her Indian life. Here again are opposite opinions. One
says, ‘She was so peculiarly sympathetic!’ Another, with equally good
opportunities for judging, says, ‘Exceedingly kind, but not sympathetic.’
One says, ‘She was so well able to put herself into the place of another
in trouble!’ Another says, ‘No tact; the kindest intentions, but she did
not always know how to manage.’

The explanation lies, no doubt, at least in part, in her own
many-sidedness, and in the very different manner in which she was
affected by different people. Some appealed to her tenderness; some only
called out her kindliness. She could and did love intensely; but only in
particular cases: and though to a wide outer circle she gave love, it was
of a less ardent nature. Moreover, she _could_ dislike people; and when
she once took a marked dislike, though this was seldom, it would be not
quite easy to make her view with fairness that person’s doings.

She was very impulsive still; the same eager, enthusiastic warm-hearted
being, who had lived in girlhood at No. 3,--modified, but not
intrinsically different. Possibly, in old age, with weakened health,
after living practically much alone, the natural tendency to hasty
judgments may have somewhat increased. But if so, there was also an
increase in the spirit of humility, a far greater readiness than of
old to acknowledge herself mistaken or in the wrong. By nature she was
not gentle and had not self-control; and physical weakness doubtless
often rendered the fight harder,--yet she persevered in the fight with
never-failing resolution.

Sometimes she would hear of a thing done by one of the younger
Missionaries, and would at once condemn it, not waiting to learn all
the circumstances, and speaking with some severity. A few days later
something would turn up, explaining more fully the why and the wherefore
of the action in question; and then she would say frankly, ‘Well, I
think I was wrong, after all! I think you were right to do as you did!’
A smaller and less noble nature would probably have refused to see the
mistake, and would have clung obstinately to its own way of thinking.

Although she would occasionally _speak_ hastily, she did not as a rule
_write_ hastily. If she could not in her letters praise a person, she
would cease to bring forward that person’s name,--at all events in
letters meant for general reading.

It may also be noted here that, as time went on, Charlotte Tucker, in
her extreme desire for Missionary simplicity and economy, had become a
little apt to push matters in that direction to an excess. Few people
are constituted as she was, to toil hard and to live long upon the
smallest possible minimum of food. As some of the weakness of old age
crept over her, she was perhaps not always _quite_ reasonable respecting
Missionary requirements and necessities. She would at times seem to
expect others, for the sake of economy, to do with what she herself found
sufficient, but which to their different constitutions meant something
like semi-starvation. This at least is the impression of one who ought to
be accounted a good judge, and it appears to have been in some degree a
trouble to certain of her companions.

During all those long years of Indian life, amid the variety of people
with whom she was thrown, while there were many whom she could love, and
some whom she could love most warmly, there were also naturally a few
who did not suit her, any more than she suited them. She may have been
somewhat of a trial to them; and undoubtedly they were very much of a
trial to her; yet despite all her natural impetuosity and impatience of
disposition, she bore long and patiently in such cases. As one says, who
was with her in some of those later years, ‘Although sometimes hasty in
judging, she was also capable of much forbearance.’

It is noticeable that one who knew her well speaks of a remarkable
softening and increase of gentleness during the last three years of her
life. Naturally very ‘up and down’ in her moods, she became then far
more uniformly bright. The fruit was growing very ripe, almost ready to
drop from the tree. Miss Wauton, too, tells of the growing loveliness of
expression in her face, as the end drew nearer. But we have not yet quite
arrived at those last three years.

By this time Miss Tucker was a little apt to fall behind in new methods
of work, and to cling to what was old-fashioned. Needful changes in
the High School were at first a trouble to her, even though they might
be real improvements, tending to render the school more efficient. She
liked, for instance, to drop in at odd hours, and to ‘take a class,’
after the manner of an English squire’s daughter dropping into the
village school. As numbers and discipline increased it was found to be
not always a convenient plan, and objections were made. Miss Tucker one
day, in a fit of depression at having to give up this and other things,
is recorded to have said, ‘My work is done! I don’t care how soon I go
now!’

This happily was a mere passing fit of sadness. It was soon after
arranged that a Class of the older youths should go to her for
instruction on Sunday afternoons; and in the class she found very great
interest. She would also ask her ‘dear boys,’ a few at a time, to spend
week-day evenings with her, for games of play, which she enjoyed fully as
much as they did. She was very much beloved by the boys; and they were no
less delighted to come to her than she was to have them. Her influence
over these boys, over Indian Christians generally, and over most of the
Missionaries with whom she came in contact, will never be forgotten.

The springy step of earlier years was not quite lost, even in old age.
Another thing that she kept remarkably long was, as earlier stated, her
voice for singing. It had of course grown thin and weak, and was now a
good deal cracked; still she did not sing out of tune; and her enjoyment
in singing never failed. It was with her the natural expression of her
feelings. When she sang in Church, and when she played the harmonium,
her whole face would light up in a marvellous manner. Indians--not
Christians--would walk long distances, and be present in Church, simply
to look upon the face of the Buzurg Miss Sahiba, as she sang or played.
Such an illumination on the face of a human being was counted well worth
some exertion to see. Another account tells of a Native who would go to
Church for the express purpose of watching her look, when she recited the
_Gloria_. It was all so _real_ to A. L. O. E. Her very smile was a sermon
in itself.

All these years Zenana teaching went steadfastly on. She ever had before
her mind a keen sense that her own call might come before another
morning’s dawn, and that the present might be her last opportunity of
speaking. Sometimes she would be depressed when reading of others who
had had more apparent results to their work; yet through countless
discouragements she never slackened.

The same Native Christian from whom I have quoted earlier as to the
non-success, in his opinion, of her Missionary labours, says also
about Miss Tucker: ‘She was far from being a good judge of the Indian
character. I remember her pointing to a Native Christian, and saying that
the very light of Heaven was being reflected from his countenance, when
in fact he had almost apostatised.’ But this was simply a repetition of
the old tendency to think always the very best of everybody,--the habit
being cultivated to such an excess as materially to interfere with her
powers of perception in particular cases. It does not touch the question
of her general understanding of the Indian character. Penetration, as to
individuals, was hardly one of her gifts; and few would hesitate to agree
to the assertion that she thought a great deal better of many Natives
than, unfortunately, they deserved. Her eyes were opened slowly through
bitter and repeated disappointments. But to the last she would probably
have preferred to be sometimes deceived, rather than to be always
suspecting.

In the continuous pressure of her work and trials, Charlotte Tucker was
a woman of prayer. Not that she was given to long and wordy outpourings;
but she lived on the border-land of the Unseen, and she held incessant
intercourse with her Divine Master. Whatever she felt, whatever she
wanted, when she was afraid, when she was depressed, when things went
wrong, when she could not see her way, the first impulse of her heart was
always--prayer! Then she would wait to see His Will.

Systematic as were the entries in her Journal, those last few years
of life, she was apt to be a little forgetful,--which no doubt was the
very reason that she started the Journal. She would come in and say
to Miss Dixie, ‘Such a sweet young Bibi in a Zenana to-day, dear. She
wants to see you.’ When Miss Dixie asked where the young Bibi lived,
her recollections were confused, and she could not say. The name of
Bibi, husband, and house had all escaped. Miss Dixie would then have to
question the bearers as to where they had taken Miss Tucker, and so find
out particulars.

The writing of books and booklets still continued to some extent; indeed,
it could not have been long before this that she achieved a good-sized
volume for young English readers, called--_Pictures of St. Peter in
an English Home_. As its name might imply, it was controversial in
character, being written against the errors of the Roman Church. She
could not, however, work so hard now with her pen as in earlier years.
Dr. Weitbrecht states that ‘her books for publication in England, the
proceeds of which went to support local work, were mostly written during
her brief summer holiday. It was when she felt her powers failing in
this line that she set aside part of her patrimony to endow the “Mission
Plough.”’

The absence of allusions to her own writings in years of correspondence
is remarkable. Once in a way she speaks of what she is doing, but this is
quite the exception. Her natural reserve showed strongly here. She had
also a curious dislike to being questioned--a fact noticed by relatives
in her English life years before; and one of her Missionary companions
tells of it also. If questions were put direct, she would say, ‘I am
not your Mother-Superior; don’t appeal to me!’--when her questioner was
longing to have the benefit of her years of experience. A story is told
of one gentleman, who came from a considerable distance, on purpose to
consult Miss Tucker about some books that he meant to publish. The call
was a failure. Instead of gradually getting into conversation, and
luring her on to tell what she knew, he asked point-blank the things
that he wanted to hear; and the result was _nil_. On his way back to the
station, he inquired whether Miss Tucker had not lost her memory. Not at
all, he was told,--but direct questioning always checked information.

In the November of 1887 the small Star-Dispensary was opened by Dr.
Weitbrecht, for Miss Dixie. She had undergone some training in England;
and though not ‘qualified,’ she had it in her power to do much more for
the women and children of the neighbourhood than their own people could
do for them. Many objections have been made to the idea of a Dispensary
anywhere, without a properly qualified doctor; and no doubt as soon as
possible the latter should in all cases be supplied. But where a doctor
cannot be had, then in default of what is better, a trained nurse can
do a great deal to help, in ordinary cases of sickness or accident. The
reception given to this little Dispensary soon showed how much it was
valued.

In a letter of December 9th are some words of depression under
difficulties, especially the difficulty of finding a new master for the
‘Plough School,’ as the former master was going away.

    ‘I send you and dear Leila a few words of St. Paul’s which
    seem to me so sweet and restful,--a pillow for weary heads.
    “Beloved of God, called to be saints.” It is often difficult
    to realise that we _are_ beloved of God, because conscience
    says we do not deserve to be so. I have often to fight against
    discouragements.’

On the 21st of January 1888 is a mention of the ‘Missionary Ladies’
Conference,’ to be held in Amritsar late in February, with a hope that
all would be ‘as friendly and good-tempered’ as on the previous occasion,
five years earlier. Towards the close of February comes her report of
what had occurred:--

    ‘_Feb. 24, 1888._--I found your letter awaiting me this
    evening, when I returned from the four days’ Conference
    of Lady Missionaries at Amritsar.... Conferences are rather
    tiring. Sittings each day from 10 to 1, and 2 to 4, and always
    something besides. We had about sixty ladies, of various
    Denominations and Societies and Nationalities too, English,
    German, American, Indian. On Thursday, after our Conference
    work, we went to Church, and had such a solemn spiritual sermon
    from our new Bishop.[121] It was the first time that I ever had
    seen him.

    ‘In the evening there was rather a large meeting of Christians,
    both white and brown, to meet the Bishop. I was introduced to
    him; and we had--in the midst of the room--a quiet talk, which
    I do not think that I shall ever forget. It was almost as if we
    could at once meet heart to heart.... I think that he takes up
    his high office more as a burden and a Cross than a dignity. I
    felt greatly drawn towards him, and thank the Lord for sending
    us a holy and humble man.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Feb. 28._--I must tell my loved Laura a little about the
    Conference, and the characteristic way in which M., the real,
    took me down a peg this evening. The first day nice Mrs.
    Perkins, presided; on the second another nice lady; I was
    particularly requested to sit in the chair on the third and the
    first half of the fourth days.

    ‘Now on the second there had been rather a hot discussion.
    There had been a show of hands; but numbers were so closely
    divided that we had to go by ballot. Even then there was only
    a majority of _one_; and some of the members were absent, and
    some imperfectly informed. In short, when Char succeeded to
    office, the question was brought up again by a strong lady on
    the one side,--and then a paper was read by a strong lady on
    the other,--and I proposed that votes should be taken _again_,
    which resulted in a majority of four, I being one of the four.
    A lady of the minority called out, “It does not matter what
    is voted; we will all do just the same as before,”--which was
    more true than polite. Then there was another lady, who got up
    time after time, to make impracticable propositions; and she
    got snubbed and sat down and cried.... Oh dear, it does not do to
    be so thin-skinned! So you see, dear, all did not go on quite
    smoothly while I sat in the chair, with the bonnet on my head
    which you wore at dear Fred’s wedding!

    ‘This evening ... Herbert asked M. about the Conference. “I
    thought the first day nice, when Mrs. Perkins presided,” said
    she. I laughed a little again, and, I think, complimented her
    on her sincerity.... It was clear that M. did not admire my way
    of presiding. Now, I had been voted thanks at the meeting; but
    dear M.’s honesty made me feel more than I had done before that
    I had _not_ been very efficient. It is a good thing to know the
    truth.

    ‘Is not this a funny little glimpse of life?... I doubt myself
    that there is much use in Conferences, except that it is nice
    that some dear workers should meet and know each other. We had
    many very choice ones.’

More than a year later Miss Tucker referred again to this Conference,
when writing to Mrs. Hamilton upon the subject of whether or not secular
teaching in schools should be undertaken by Missionary ladies:--

    ‘I cannot explain to you all the difficulties that surround the
    question. We had a kind of wordy battle on the matter at the
    Ladies’ Conference; and it was no good! When a lady proposed
    another Conference after another five years, I suggested
    after _ten_, but no one seconded poor Char! I am not calm and
    phlegmatic enough for these discussions, and, I am afraid, do
    not always see both sides of a question. I more and more now
    mistrust my own judgment, and sometimes feel rather disgusted
    with--myself!’

There are thousands of people who lack the power of looking on both sides
of a question; but among them all few are humble enough to acknowledge
the fact!--still more, to distrust their own judgment.

When the Conference was over, Miss Tucker remarked to one of her
companions, ‘I proposed ten years, because I thought that then I should
not be here.’ She was ‘here’ five years later, but was within a few
months of her call Home.

    ‘_March 17, 1888._--I will tell you of a curious surprise I
    had a few days ago. I was in my duli in one of the streets
    of Batala, when I met one of my most highly respected Native
    friends, the dear old Pandit, now the Rev. K. S.... A crowded
    street is not the place for a talk. The Pandit asked me to go
    to his village, O----, and had evidently some particular reason
    for his request. As the next day was one of my village days, I
    promised to go then.... If I thought much about the cause of a
    visit being desired, I guessed that it either concerned some
    Mission work, or the health of the good Bibi. But I was utterly
    wide of the mark, and so I think will my Laura and Leila be, if
    they take to guessing.

    ‘The dear couple had set their hearts on presenting me with a
    beautiful, richly embroidered white Cashmere shawl, which the
    Bibi, I know not how long ago, had bought ... from some one in
    distress. In vain I expostulated, in vain said that the lovely
    shawl was fit for the Queen, and that it was not suitable for
    me to wear anything so handsome; that it might be sold for the
    Mission. Both the smiling husband and wife were determined to
    have it round my shoulders; and I _had_ to go away wearing it,
    though I took it off in the duli, and took care of it, as if
    it had been a child. Now, the Pandit and his wife want nothing
    from me; this was no case of giving in hopes of receiving. The
    whole thing took me by surprise.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 21._--We are soon to go--all in the heat--to share a 3
    P.M. dinner at the Corfields, and meet the Bishop, Mr. Clark,
    and dear Herbert,--such a galaxy of good men, that we won’t
    mind the heat, especially as my plump wadded umbrella is a real
    protection.

    ‘I am reading--slowly--like a child enjoying a cake, that
    delightful _Life of Bishop Gobat_. I mean to buy a copy for
    myself; it would be so good for lending or extracting from. It
    is such a humbling book too. I feel like a barn-door chicken
    looking up at an eagle, and chirping, “I’m a bird too!” A
    pretty difference between them! Now to put on _your_ sun-hat,
    and be off.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 26._--You are quite right if you think your unnamed
    convert’s idea of his baptism killing his mother a false one.
    It seems the _regular trick_ here to draw back converts from
    Christ by telling them of a mother’s illness. We feel in such
    cases the force of our Lord’s words, “Let the dead bury their
    dead!” It seems hard at first; but experience shows us how
    needful is the caution.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 1._--Neither has April gone out smiling, nor did “May
    come laughing o’er the plain.” The one has gone out, the other
    came in,--in such a passion. It was so dark yesterday that I
    was reminded of a London fog. Minnie required a lamp to read
    by; a lamp, at 4¼ P.M. on a summer-day, shed its light on our
    dinner-table. This is my day for villages when I have extra
    kahars. I had ordered them not to come, should the day be as
    bad as yesterday; but come they did. Evidently these hardy
    fellows do not mind a dust-storm. They rather seem to enjoy it,
    ... and laughed merrily enough as we went along.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 1, 1888._--I have to thank my sweet Laura for helping
    to provide me with a nice tussore dress for my visit to
    Murree. I cannot wear white there as I do in Batala, where
    it does not look odd, as almost every man, woman, and child
    appears in white. There is nothing like it for such hot
    weather. But in Murree, where there are many European ladies, I
    must dress more suitably, and also be prepared for any kind of
    weather, heat, cold, and torrents of rain. For my cold-weather
    apparel I have the very elegant grey dress, which dear W. and
    M. gave me a few years ago. When the weather is warmer my new
    tussore will be just the thing. I do not like writing so much
    about dress; but I wished to thank you for your kindness....

    ‘Excuse a short letter, love. I have so much writing in the way
    of thanking for gifts to the Mission. Friends are so very kind.
    I have asked a kind Station-lady, Mrs. G., whether she will
    help me to sell at Murree beautiful things sent from England
    for the Mission. I am a bad saleswoman myself. I sometimes feel
    inclined to tell people _not_ to buy what they do not require.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 19, 1888._--I was so much interested to-day by our young
    Goorkha J.’s account of his own conversion and adventures, that
    I will try to write out the gist of it for you and dear Leila....

    ‘Born of a Brahmin family in Nepaul, our Goorkha thought of
    himself as a kind of god. He would motion to beings of lower
    dignity to sit at a little distance from him; he was not to be
    polluted by their touch. The child, however, attended a Mission
    School at D----, and came a good deal under the influence of
    a Christian Convert, a Pandit (learned man). At the age of
    about twelve the boy resolved to leave father, mother, all, for
    Christ. He was too young to be baptized without his parents’
    permission, and was advised to go a long way off. To be able to
    do so, the boy sold his valuable gold earrings and bracelets,
    and, having thus a good stock of rupees, he made his start, not
    by any direct route, but through wild, uninhabited jungle.

    ‘He was accompanied and helped by an older Hindu, a sad rogue,
    who had his own object, it appears, in assisting the flight of
    the wealthy young Brahmin. The country was rocky and infested
    by wild beasts. For two nights the fugitives slept in the
    trees, for protection against leopards, bears, and tigers. But
    this extreme discomfort could not be endured a third night; so
    they slept on the ground, after lighting fires to prevent any
    attack from fierce animals roaming about. The boy awoke,--I am
    not sure whether it was on that or a succeeding morning,--to
    find that the false Hindu had decamped with his money, clothes,
    etc. Happily, the boy-convert had secreted on his own person
    fifteen or twenty rupees; and with these, in the torn dirty
    clothes left to him still, the Brahmin went on, and found his
    way to where some Hindus dwelt. These were kind, but tried
    to dissuade him from changing his religion. The Goorkha was,
    however, evidently a boy of strong character. He made his way
    to a train, the first which he had ever entered, and reached
    Calcutta at last.

    ‘Here he wandered from place to place, to find a school.
    Providence at last put the boy under the kind, almost paternal,
    care of the Rev. ---- B., who nursed him through illness,
    and fed him himself. The Brahmin at first chose only to
    drink milk; evidently he still clung to caste. However, his
    prejudices wore away. Mr. B. took the lad on an itinerating
    tour, and afterwards placed him at school, first at C----,
    afterwards at R----. At R---- our boy, after receiving
    more religious instruction,--for he says that he knew very
    little,--was baptized by the name of J. After a while he was
    sent to Batala.... I hope that after a while he will study at
    a Theological College, and become a Catechist and Missionary
    to his own people. J. has written two or three times to his
    parents, but his letters have been returned....

    ‘I am writing very early this week, as I propose starting for
    Murree to-morrow.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘MURREE, _July 11_.--On Friday week I propose beginning my
    homeward flight to Batala. It will be a different sort of life
    at the Gurub-i-Aftab. Here there are morning callers, and
    afternoon visitors, and luncheons, and tea-parties, and many
    a box-wala[122] or kapra-wala brings his wares, to tempt us,
    spreading out a variety of pretty things.... One of my pleasures
    is to see the lovely fair blue-eyed children going about with
    their ayahs. I am so much accustomed to see brown babies, that
    some of the English ones look to me almost like cherubs. The
    church-going is a great gratification; it is so nice to have
    prayers and sermon in English, and I greatly enjoy the hymns....
    I enjoy my quiet morning walks in the lovely wooded paths on
    the hills. This house is very conveniently situated near the
    church; so one does not require much _mounting_, which is
    tiring. I do not attempt long walks, but stroll about. My dear
    Rowland and Helen have had much anxiety about their little
    Robin.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘BATALA, _Aug. 9, 1888_.--As our Dr. Miss Sahiba, Minnie, is
    away, I have now and then to try my ‘prentice hand a little,
    but in a very humble, cautious way. I have nothing to do with
    making pills, but have invested in big bottles of castor-oil
    and turpentine. I have quinine, of course, and ammonia in case
    of bites or stings. I don’t revel in physic, like Minnie; and
    dimness of sight and want of steadiness of hand do not serve
    to make me more fit to add Doctor to my name. What a blessing
    it is that some people actually _like_ doctoring! I remember
    saying to my ... kind-hearted ----, now a doctor, that operations
    must be trying. “I _like_ them,” was his simple, truthful
    reply. Well--Buckland liked playing with snails and snakes. _De
    gustibus non disputandum!_’

On September the 10th, speaking of a planned trip to Lahore, to see her
nephew and niece, she continues:--

    ‘I propose after parting with the dear ones to sleep at the
    Mission House at Amritsar, and to-morrow go to the hospital,
    to see my dear ayah, Hannah, whom we sent there, not knowing
    that--as we fear--a deadly illness is on her. Dear, gentle,
    loving Hannah! she has served me faithfully for about seven
    years; and in all that time I cannot remember her doing _one_
    wrong thing, or saying _one_ wrong word. A humble, gentle
    Christian, good wife, good mother,--ah! she is a sad loss to
    her family of seven, ... and also to your loving Char.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 1. 1888._--The first of November, darling Laura, and
    I am preparing for cold weather. I have taken my chhota
    janwar[123] (little animal, _alias_ dear Fred’s splendid
    foot-muff) out of its bag, to keep my feet warm in the morning,
    before my bath is ready. Eiderdown petticoat, etc., etc. O
    luxurious Char! It was a pleasure to me to-day to pay F.,
    my new ayah, her first month’s wages; there was a pleasant,
    half-grateful look in her eyes.... I _like_ paying wages.

    ‘My last dear ayah is not forgotten. I have given orders for
    a modest little monument of brick and mortar, to mark where
    Hannah sleeps. We have no stones here. I went to the cemetery
    with the mason, ... to give directions, and was struck by finding
    a tiny but touching memorial already on the spot. A very little
    wooden Cross, covered with paper, to facilitate the writing of
    an inscription. There was the date, of course in Urdu, and “Not
    dead, but sleepeth”; and “The Lord gave; the Lord hath taken
    away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.” This tribute of love
    had been placed over his dear Mother’s grave by J., the eldest
    son here, a lad of about fourteen. I mean to keep to his
    inscription, when the humble monument is placed over Hannah’s
    dust. Dear woman! she was of the meek and quiet spirits who are
    precious to the Lord.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Nov. 23._--The last mail brought me letters both from my
    loved Laura and dear Leila; to both many thanks. My sunstroke
    was nothing to tell you about; for though I was sickening two
    days, the illness only lasted about six hours, and left, thank
    God, no dregs behind. I awoke quite serene from the state which
    had so alarmed my good friends, was able that very day to hold
    a little Bible-meeting, and to go to my city-work next day.’

About this time Mrs. Herbert Weitbrecht, who was then in England, wrote
to Mrs. Hamilton, upon the question of Miss Tucker being advised to go
home. As will be seen from the following little extract, her view was
strongly adverse to this step.

    ‘For one thing, the cold, in which Mrs. ---- revels, would try
    the Auntie very severely. But there is more than this. You
    know she used to speak very freely to me; and I have a strong
    impression that she did not let you and her other friends at
    home know how much she suffered from the parting, how great a
    wrench it was to her. She used to say that she ... dreaded above
    everything the thought of having to go through such partings
    again.’

Probably no persuasions would have induced Miss Tucker to return. She
had steadily made up her mind that in India she would live and die.
Unless, indeed, she should be called elsewhere! At this very time she was
deeply interested in the Andaman Islands, over which her nephew, Major
Louis Tucker, had been appointed Chief Commissioner. On learning that a
Mission among the Convicts was sorely needed there, she is said to have
offered herself for the purpose,--if she could do good by going. Probably
she thought of it as merely a temporary thing; as inaugurating, not as
carrying on permanently, the work. But at her age, and in her feeble
health, the very suggestion shows marvellous courage and energy.

The next letter is about a difficult case in England: a young Indian,
with whom Mrs. Hamilton was acquainted:--

    ‘_Dec. 1._--I have not answered your letter about poor Q. in
    haste. I received it the day before yesterday. Perhaps you
    will not like my thoughts; but you had better know them, sweet
    sister....

    ‘It is a characteristic of the Native character to have little
    sense of sin. A conscience seems a thing to be created. Q. does
    not seem to see how grievously he has sinned, _is_ sinning.
    He is clearly denying the Lord Who bought him; and that for
    worldly gain. Darling Laura, have you _quite_ realised the
    greatness of the sin? To my view it was a mistake to ask Q. to
    dinner. “With such an one, no, not so much as to eat.” Until Q.
    deeply repents, he is not fit to sit at your table....

    ‘You may cite the Parable of the Prodigal Son. That is exactly
    what I would cite for _my_ view of the subject. Poor Q., if a
    son, is the Prodigal Son, beginning to be in want, and hiring
    himself out,--feeding swine. If, when he was longing for even
    husks, he had been coaxed and asked out to dinner, would he
    ever have “come to himself,” would he ever have cried, “I will
    arise, and go to my Father?” Was it _easy_ for him to go, in
    a far country, as he was? Was _he_ not ready to sacrifice his
    pride, and go amongst his Father’s servants as a beggar? If
    Q. would have the Prodigal’s reception, he must do what the
    Prodigal did.

    ‘Perhaps my Laura will remind me of St. Paul’s injunction to
    the Corinthians to take back and “comfort” a gross sinner.
    But, remember, that man had first had some mysterious terrible
    punishment,--“delivered over to Satan for the destruction of
    the flesh,”--and he was so deeply penitent, that there was
    danger of his being “swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.” When
    Q. repents _like that_, let us all receive him and comfort him.’

Some may count this letter stern, viewed in the light of modern lax and
easy notions. But Charlotte Tucker knew what she was about. She was
living, at Batala, in the First Century of Christianity. Things would
often be very differently viewed by us in England, if we could see them
from the standpoint of the First instead of the Nineteenth Century.



CHAPTER XVII

A.D. 1888-1890

THE DAILY ROUND


The year 1888 closed with another sharp attack of illness, not so severe
or so prolonged as that of 1885, but sufficient to cause anxiety. On the
16th of December, though ‘far from well,’ Charlotte Tucker went to church
as usual; but all her ‘wraps upon wraps could not keep her from catching
cold.’ On the 21st, Mr. Bateman, reaching Amritsar, was much disturbed
by the arrival of a telegram from Batala, requesting Dr. H. M. Clark to
go over immediately, as Miss Tucker was in high fever. There was some
hesitation whether to start at once by ekka, or to wait for the early
morning train; and the latter plan was decided upon. When Dr. Clark went,
Mr. Bateman accompanied him; and he wrote to Mrs. Hamilton on the 23rd:--

    ‘We reached Batala--“Sonnenschein”--together at 10.30
    yesterday. The Auntie was reported sleeping without fever. She
    woke about 11; and Dr. Clark, after seeing her, telegraphed,
    “No immediate anxiety,” to Mr. Clark, who on receipt would
    decide whether to go to Batala, or to come here (Lahore) for
    the “Quiet Day.” The Auntie was very much pleased at my going
    over, and would not rest again till I had been into her room.
    She is in a comfortable, warm room. To my uninitiated eye she
    seemed to have everything about her which she could desire....
    As I passed into the room Dr. Clark passed out, and behind
    the screen he whispered, “She is all right.” She met me with
    almost a shout of welcome, and said a number of quasi-comic
    solemnities, squeezing my hands with great energy. She was a
    little flushed, and owned that she was weak, but as far as
    appearances went I have often seen her look worse when in full
    work. I felt very happy about her; but Dr. Clark said that
    there was a blueness and a twitching about the lips which he
    did not like, and that she was very weak. His “All right,”
    he said afterwards, meant only, “You may safely go in.” The
    fever kept off all day, and only returned about four in the
    afternoon.... It was 105 on Friday night.... I noticed that she
    is very much more amenable to discipline than before. She
    admits that she can’t walk or write decently, and she takes her
    medicine, including five grains of quinine, every three hours,
    very carefully and with great docility....’

One little remark that she made to Mr. Bateman was, ‘Thank God, He has
made me quite comfortable’; and again, ‘I don’t find that I can pray to
God about myself; for I don’t know what to say.’

‘You are in a strait betwixt two,’ suggested Mr. Bateman.

Miss Tucker did not like this, and she showed that she did not. Her
friend adds, ‘I attribute the slight twinge it gave her to her habitual
dislike to being thought so well of, as that she might appropriate an
Apostolic utterance.’

Another observation was as to the ‘Quiet Day’ in Lahore,--_she_ was
having a ‘Quiet Week’ given to her at Batala instead.

Some slight memoranda of things that dropped from her were jotted down
at the time by Miss Dixie. ‘Nil Desperandum’ was often quoted in this
and other illnesses; also she would generally try to sing ‘Charlie is my
Darling,’--no doubt a reminiscence of her old Stuart enthusiasm.

With reference to a Muhammadan school which had been shut some months
before: ‘The Muhammadans have done us a good turn! They have rubbed hard
against our shield, and have caused our motto on it to shine bright.’

‘My little musician is playing all day,’ she said once. She was asked,
‘What kind of tunes?’ ‘Now--“The Heavens are Telling.” The harmony is
beautiful. I can hear every note!’ She was asked again, ‘Does it play
on its own account, or do you express a wish for special tunes?’ ‘It is
sometimes wilful,’ Miss Tucker said, ‘and plays, “Charlie is my Darling,”
when I would rather it played something else. It plays tunes I have not
heard since I was a child,--so correctly,--all in harmony!’ One of her
favourite hymns in illness was ‘Peace, perfect peace’;--but she ‘did not
like the last verse; it contradicted what went before.’

Happening to speak about different kinds of love, she observed,--‘There
is a passion, not a love, which I have known some women to have for
another. That is not wholesome; it is a passion, not love.’ Again, on the
question of bringing others to Christ,--‘We are only the housemaids! We
open the door; but they come in, and go themselves up to the King.’

It was either after this illness, or after another of the same type that
she said, ‘I have felt that a beautiful Wing has been spread over me,
which is lined with down and stitched with gold; and I am quite safe.
Nothing can harm me so long as I remain under it!’ Somebody rather
unnecessarily remarked, ‘But it is our own fault if we do not remain
under it.’ ‘No,’ Miss Tucker replied, ‘we can’t say that. Satan does
give us a pull sometimes.’ She was reminded that God’s ‘favour is always
towards us’; but again she asserted the undeniable truth that God does
sometimes permit His servants to be thus tried.

A long letter from herself to Mrs. Hamilton is dated December 21st, or
two days before that written by Mr. Bateman, and apparently the very day
on which Dr. Clark was summoned by telegram to Batala. This must have
been a slip. The handwriting is shaky, but she speaks of her illness as
past. With reference to the beginning of the latter, she says:--

    ‘When in the afternoon (of the 16th) it was evident that I was
    seriously ill, the effect was magical. Up went my spirits like
    a balloon,--the curious effect which severe illness seems to
    have naturally upon me.... To be bright and cheerful in sickness
    and suffering costs me nothing, for it seems to come naturally;
    but I dare say that I get credit for a great deal of grace. It
    is so difficult for others, so difficult for _ourselves_, to
    distinguish between Nature and Grace.’

One may perhaps add that it is also unnecessary to do so,--unnecessary
as regards ourselves, and utterly impossible as regards others. Better
to leave such questions in the Hands of Him with Whom alone ‘all things
are naked and opened.’ But evidently the subject had been much in Miss
Tucker’s mind. The long letter is half full of it.

On January 4 she wrote:--

    ‘Now I dare say that you will want to hear how I am.
    Wonderfully well, though, of course, not strong. I went a
    short distance in my duli to-day. My late illness has quite
    convinced me that God has given me a capital constitution. I
    had, apparently, so much against steady recovery. Yet--there is
    no doubt of it--I _am_ recovering. Except rather more weakness
    of the eyes and slight loss of flesh, no dregs seem left.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘BATALA, _Jan. 24, 1889_.--Many thanks for the printed extract
    from good Mr. Clifford’s letter about the cure for leprosy.... I
    dare say that it _is_ a valuable medicine when properly used;
    but probably the secret of its great success in the Andamans
    is that it was tried on convicts, who dared not refuse to rub
    themselves properly. Mr. Clifford writes that the exercise
    is part of the remedy; but I think that it would be wellnigh
    impossible to persuade _free_ lepers to rub themselves for four
    hours daily. They would greatly prefer leprosy and begging. Do
    you not know of the Indian mother who, when one of the Mission
    ladies told her to rub oil over her poor sick child’s body,
    refused to take such trouble? “I have another!” said she. With
    dear good Father Damien it would be different.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

    ‘_Feb. 16._--The wood-pigeons are cooing, the little
    peach-trees displaying pink blossoms, the fields are green with
    young corn. Perhaps you will half envy us when you read this;
    but you would hardly envy us six weeks hence....

    ‘In Mission life so much depends on one’s companions.... One
    must not expect too much, for all Missionaries are fallible.
    One should remember one’s own infirmities, and make allowance
    for those of others. In India we seem to live in glass houses;
    people are so well known; such a one is quick-tempered, such a
    one--but you can imagine what it is. There is little privacy
    even in the dwellings. There is no hall; the upper part of the
    outer door is glass; people see through, tap, and walk in....
    India is a good place for preventing one from growing stiff
    and precise, and determined not to be put out of one’s way. At
    Batala especially there is no starch.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_May 2._--I could give you curious anecdotes of the Ramazan,
    the grand Muhammadan Fast, which has now begun. Minnie tells
    me of women in an ostentatious way bringing their bottles, as
    if for medicine, to the Dispensary; and then saying that they
    cannot take it--it is their fast. Why did they come then? To
    be admired for piety! Others come, looking rather piteous,
    though perhaps not really ill, that the Doctor Miss Sahiba
    may _forbid_ them to fast. Minnie asked one woman whether she
    fasted. “I am poor; what can I do?” was the helpless reply.
    One not acquainted with the case might interpret this as, “I
    am helpless--I am only too often _obliged_ to fast.” It really
    means, “I am _too poor_ to fast.” You might imagine fasting to
    be rather economical. Quite the reverse! For instance, the ----
    whom Minnie employs is laying out a whole month’s salary in
    _food for the fast_, to have it extra good. She will have two
    meat meals every night, to make up for not eating in the day.
    Does it not remind one of the Pharisees?’

Miss Tucker’s birthday this year was signalised by the Baptism of one of
the servants, and his whole family, including a little brown baby. After
describing the event to her sister, with great delight, she added,--‘Of
course the new Christians were all invited to the simple feast under a
moonlit sky, which dear Babu Singha gave in my honour. It certainly was
one of the best, if not the very best birthday, kept by your now aged but
truly loving Char.’

    ‘_May 30._--These last two mornings I have gone to help Miss
    Dixie by reading to her patients in the waiting-room of her
    Dispensary. There should always be some one to read, talk,
    sing, and keep order. Dear good Rosie Singha is wanted to make
    up medicines. I do not know what poor Minnie would do without
    her.... It is strange what difficulty we have in getting Native
    helpers for her (Miss Dixie).... You will have seen in the papers
    that noble devoted Father Damien has sunk to rest; his form
    sleeps in a leper’s grave. What a wonderful life and death was
    his!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘SIMLA, _June 13_.--Here is Char in Simla, the queen city of
    the mountain; but I do not think that I shall see much of it.
    I have a nice quiet walk near, commanding a noble view; and I
    go backwards and forwards along it, not troubling myself at
    all with climbing or sight-seeing. The air is very pure and
    fine; so I drink it in, and if anything is to give strength it
    ought to do so.... There seems to be a great deal of etiquette
    here,--people placed exactly according to rank at the grand
    parties.... I do not care much for what are really trifles, and
    am thankful that I have not to go out and be gay. I make the
    most of my age, which enables me, as it were, to sit quietly in
    a corner, and not even take the fatigue of rounds of visits. A
    lady had paid sixteen in one day, she said. Evidently, it is a
    matter of congratulation to find friends (?) not at home.... We
    take our meals at a table d’hôte, happily a quiet one. I sit
    between Louis and Lettie, so hardly speak to any one else, for
    I am shy of conversing across the table.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_July 18._--Your “running about,” love, has been on a milder
    scale than mine. On Friday last, knowing that I was to rise
    at about 3 A.M. (after a dinner-party at the C.’s), I did
    not entirely undress. Miss Warren and I started on our long
    journey downhill by the dim light of a clouded moon. Laziness
    might have made us miss the evening train, for we had nearly a
    hundred miles’ drive, in a succession of vehicles, to reach it;
    and we knew not what the state of the road might be.

    ‘Vehicles, did I write? Would you call an elephant a vehicle?
    We came to a place where there was a good deal of water; the
    Gogra swollen by the rains. We were requested to quit the heavy
    gari, and go across on an elephant. The nice docile creature
    knelt down; and a man actually wished us to clamber up by its
    tail! He grasped it, so as to form a kind of loop for me to
    put my foot in! But I objected to this method of mounting,
    and managed to scramble up by means of a kind of big bag hung
    across the animal. There was no saddle or howdah; but the
    beast’s back was broad, its pace gentle, and we held on by
    ropes fastened across the elephant. The good creature well
    deserved the two biscuits with which it was rewarded.’

The following letter was with respect to two young Indians, in whom Mrs.
Hamilton had been much interested. One might hesitate to quote it, in
fear of giving pain to the really true-hearted among Indian Christians;
but _they_ are not referred to! It seems necessary to show that Miss
Tucker, despite her readiness always to think the best of people, was by
no means always easily taken in; and that she gained wisdom through sad
experience:--

    ‘BATALA, _July 31_.--I have received the following reply from
    ---- about that Native in whom you have so long taken kindly,
    I fear little merited, interest. You do not yet, darling, know
    how little it costs Indians to write or speak in a way to
    please. They deceive even old experienced Missionaries....

    ‘It seems almost cruel to throw cold water on my Laura’s warm
    generous feelings, but I confess to an impression that Natives
    try to deceive one so much more pure-minded and honest than
    themselves. We get so grievously deceived and disappointed
    here, where we have much better opportunities of judging. But
    I hope that your ---- may prove one of the real jewels which
    _are_--though not so often as we could wish--to be found
    amongst Orientals.

    ‘_Aug. 1._--Yesterday’s post brought me a loving letter from my
    Laura.... A man[124] whom my Laura calls “my friend, ----,” ought
    to turn out a fine fellow at last. Of course I cannot judge if
    the going to Paris will be good or not. I do not like hiding
    colours when a man has been baptized. With secret believers
    some indulgence is sometimes needed; but after Baptism, it
    seems to me that to pass for a Muhammadan is a sign--of danger
    at least. But you will talk over the subject with Rowland. Five
    minutes with him will be better than five long letters from me.
    O my Laura, I have so learned to mistrust myself, my judgment,
    my disposition; and I have been particularly tried this year by
    inconsistency in those of whom I had thought highly.’

TO MISS MINNIE DIXIE.

                                               ‘_Aug. 17, 1889._

    ‘J. D., exemplary young man, has put all three harmoniums to
    rights. He says that the largest has 223 tongues, and that
    25 were dumb. Perhaps I have not given the numbers quite
    correctly, but nearly so. A live scorpion was found in our
    drawing-room instrument. It cleverly managed to get away, but
    was happily found and killed. There was a regularly-conducted
    Batala Feast yesterday, given by M. in honour of Baby Baring’s
    second birthday. As I walked towards the Singhas, I spoke with
    regret of the nice old-fashioned feasts, which seem to have
    gone out, when every one sat on the ground. Pleased was I to
    behold the cloth laid in the verandah, with no tables! We were
    to have an old-fashioned feast, after all. And a very nice one
    it was! About forty partook of it. To-day my nephew gives a
    smaller party in honour of his dear wife’s birthday.’

TO THE REV. F. H. BARING.

                                               ‘_Nov. 14, 1889._

    ‘I must give you good news. Another sheaf laid, by God’s grace,
    on our Mission Plough. A nice gentlemanly young Brahmin from
    that school, K. K., openly received Baptism in the large Church
    last Sunday. As notice had been given to his family, there was
    such a tamasha as I had never seen in Batala before. Crowds
    gathered behind the extempore barricade to divide off the
    heathen in the Church--line above line of turbaned heads; and
    the doors were thronged. Without exaggeration, there must have
    been _at least_ 200 people, besides us Christians. R. C., K.
    B., and A. B. (all converts) made very dashing daring extempore
    policemen to keep the Hindus from swarming in. The font was
    very near the sort of barricade; so our young candidate had to
    face the crowd,--amongst them one or two angry members of his
    family,--at the distance of only about two yards; but he bore
    himself like a hero, giving all his answers in a clear distinct
    tone. The most exciting part was getting our lad out of the
    church and safe off! The Hindus tried to stop and make the
    horse back; our boys pushed on behind with energy; and at last
    the tum-tum was off and away. I would not have missed the scene
    for something.’

Before entering on the correspondence of 1890, the following verses may
be given, written in the course of that year for Batala boys; spirited
in style as ever, though Charlotte Tucker was now verging on the age of
seventy:--

A GENTLEMAN.

    ‘What is it makes a Gentleman? ’Tis not his high estate,
    His liveried footmen, or the grooms that on his orders wait,--
    The horses and the carriages that stand before his gate,
    The tenants who bow low to him, and think him very great.
      _Chorus_--
        These do not make the Gentleman, whate’er his station be!

    ‘What is it makes a Gentleman? Not colour of his skin,--
    The Negro, black as ebony, may yet be fair within;
    The weak, the lowly, and the poor, a glorious race may win,--
    There’s nothing makes a man so low as cowardice and sin!
      _Chorus_--
        He cannot be a Gentleman, whate’er his station be!

    ‘What is it makes a Gentleman? His dress is not the sign,--
    Though on each finger of each hand a jewelled ring may shine;
    His necktie may be elegant--his boots be superfine--
    Howe’er you dress a monkey, Sir, he is no friend of mine.
      _Chorus_--
        He cannot be a Gentleman, whate’er his station be!

    ‘The real Gentleman is he whose aims are pure and high;
    Who scorns a base dishonest act, and tramples on a lie;
    Who treats the woman and the child with gentle courtesy,
    Who holds the Christian’s faith and hope, so does not fear to die!
      _Chorus_--
        He is the real Gentleman, whate’er his station be!’

All these years, off and on, Charlotte Tucker’s pen had been at work;
and probably nothing that she ever wrote was of greater importance than
the many tiny little booklets for translation into the various languages
of India. After being composed by her in English they were rendered
by competent persons into Urdu, Panjabi, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and
were published at exceedingly low prices, to be sold by hundreds of
thousands among the Natives of the country. Many were brought out by the
Christian Literature Society for India, many more by the Punjab Religious
Book Society. A small report of the latter Society, so early as about
1877-78, speaks of thirty-seven of A. L. O. E.’s tiny booklets as already
published, and of fresh editions being in some cases already called for.
A letter to her English Publishers, Messrs. Nelson & Sons, early in
1890, gives interesting information on the subject:--

                                       ‘BATALA, _Jan. 18, 1890_.

    ‘I am much pleased to hear that _Beyond the Black Waters_ is
    out at last, and return you many thanks for the copies for
    presentation, kindly sent for me.

    ‘The subject of “cheap editions” of works published long
    ago is of great interest to me. I am living in an immense
    country, swarming with Muhammadans, Hindus, and Infidels, where
    Government is educating tens of thousands of lads, without
    giving them any religious instruction.... An evident breakwater
    for the waves of impiety and sedition is religious literature.
    But it must be very cheap, or hardly any Natives will buy
    it. I saw long ago in a Report of the Christian Vernacular
    Society, that for _one_ book costing, if I remember rightly,
    about threepence, _forty_ are sold costing a pie, less than a
    farthing.[125] I resolved to write one-pie stories; did so; and
    thousands and tens of thousands have been sold.

    ‘A lady here has told me that _The Young Pilgrim_ is out of
    print; she has vainly attempted to buy it. A cheap edition of
    that might, by God’s blessing, be useful in India. Good paper
    is not needed; but clear type and a bright cover,--not pink, as
    that soon fades in India.

    ‘As I went along in my duli, a kind of square box carried
    by men, to-day, to visit villages, I thought that the
    _Giant-Killer_--only the parable part, which would make a very
    moderate-sized book--might have a large circulation here.
    Natives like parables; and though the English portion of the
    volume, describing the Roby family, might not be suited to
    Oriental readers, Giant Sloth, Selfishness, etc., are quite as
    troublesome in India as in England. Would you like to make an
    experiment with this small publication? If so, I should gladly
    myself purchase for poor India £10 of cheap copies,--not more
    than sixpence each,--to be sent as from me to the Christian
    Vernacular Society’s House, Madras. As soon as I heard of the
    parcel being shipped, I would send the cheque.’

When Miss Tucker was first starting for India, her brother, Mr. Henry
Carre Tucker, had written to her upon the subject of literature for
that land; and a short quotation from his letter may be appropriately
given here. ‘The great thing at present,’ he wrote, ‘is to disseminate
widely Christian Vernacular Literature in all the languages, and suitable
to the requirements of all classes, men, women, and children; rich
and poor; educated and ignorant. Government is rapidly teaching most
of the boys to read. We Christians must provide them with a wholesome
literature. Few women and girls can be reached personally, but books
penetrate everywhere, and may do an untold amount of secret silent good.
The preparation and distribution of such Literature ought to be your
great object. You might organise Female Colporteurs for the Zenanas and
womenkind.’ This last suggestion Miss Tucker does not seem ever to have
taken up, or attempted to carry out.

Books for English readers still went on appearing from time to time. In
1885 she published _Pictures of St. Paul_; and in 1886 _Pictures of St.
Peter_ followed. In 1887 came _The Fairy in a Web_, and _Driven into
Exile_. The year 1888 also saw two--_The Hartley Brothers_, and _Harold’s
Bride_, both being continuations of the two Picture volumes, named
above. In 1889 _Beyond the Black Waters_ was brought out; in 1890 _The
Blacksmith of Boniface Lane_; in 1891 _The Iron Chain and the Golden_;
and in 1892 _The Forlorn Hope_. When one considers her age, her failing
health, and her ceaseless Zenana toil, one cannot but be astonished at
the mental energy shown in getting through such an amount of writing as
this.

On the 17th of February Miss Maria Hoernle left Batala, with the purpose
of soon proceeding to England; and Miss Tucker wrote next day:--

    ‘So closes a leaf of my life; for I doubt whether I shall again
    see on Earth one who nursed me too devotedly in 1885. Maria
    prefers Bengal to the Panjab; so, if she return, we have hardly
    a chance of meeting, unless perhaps at some Hill-Station.... I
    wonder if my dear Bhatija Francis Baring will ever return to
    India. He was for long my sole European companion.... Think of
    sixty-five Communicants last Sunday in Batala! We never had so
    many before.... The Bishop was pleased,--though tired by his
    village tour, seeing the seven little congregations of the
    Batala district.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 7._--You must not think of converts, love, as the
    fruits of my labour, but that, by God’s blessing, of others. I
    have so many Zenanas and villages, with limited strength, that
    hardly one place gets more than _one_ visit from me in a month,
    some not even that! My employment is trying to pull up weeds
    that cumber, and to _sow_ good seed; but I have no time to
    _water_,--or very little, so far as Zenanas are concerned.’

The 8th of May, Miss Tucker’s sixty-ninth birthday, passed quietly,
without the usual feasting, on account of the death, three days before,
of Babu Singha’s wife, who, as Miss Tucker wrote,--‘fell asleep in
Jesus,’after some twenty-eight years of happy married life. The letter
of May 8 is very full of sympathy with the bereaved husband and the nine
children. In the latter half of the same letter, finished next day, comes
the mention of ‘another book’ just written. ‘I am making out the fair
copy in my seventieth year. I have regarded _Beyond the Black Waters_ as
my chrysanthemum, a winter plant, lingering on even till December. But
my _Blacksmith of Boniface Lane_ must be a little sprig of holly. It has
its prickles and its red berries. It has a historical--I suppose that I
should say--root, not basis.’

TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.

                                                ‘_June 4, 1890._

    ‘We had a very uncommon visitor, who came at about 4 A.M. on
    the 1st of June. I do not think that he ever came before.
    What say you to a Bagh-i-bilae, or Tiger-cat? He wanted to
    steal Miss Dixie’s chickens, but lost his own life,--six men
    succeeding in the difficult task of killing the fierce beast.
    We have kept his skin, which measures three feet five inches
    from the tip of the nose to the end of his rather shabby tail;
    so you see that he was a remarkable cat. The colour pale
    grey, with a darker stripe down the back. There must have
    been another curious visitor, and one who also left his skin,
    but without giving any one the trouble of killing him. The
    day after the death of the Bagh-i-bilae, Minnie found in her
    bath-room the overcoat of a snake about four feet long. He has
    made us a present of it; for there is no use in advertising for
    the owner of the skin. He gives it us gratis!’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                       ‘MURREE, _June 27, 1890_.

    ‘This day fortnight I expect to start on my long journey to
    Batala.... Life in a large Hill-Station is hardly congenial to an
    old Missionary. It is curious how _poverty_ is pleaded here by
    the gay and fashionable, who live in goodly houses, entertain
    elegantly, ride nice horses, dress well, etc. “Every one is
    poor at Murree,”--that is to say, when money is required for
    religious or charitable purposes. L. is collecting for Lady
    Dufferin’s Fund; a rich man’s response was that the journey to
    Murree had cost him so much! The poor Chaplain complained from
    the pulpit of the shabby collections for the Lahore Cathedral.’

In her letter of July 2 she wrote,--having been told of shaking her head
in Church at something that she disapproved,--‘I am trying to cure myself
of that trick.’ It had grown to be so frequent a habit, that one of her
younger companions had already mentioned the tendency. If anything was
said which she did not quite like, or even if in thought she recurred
to something which she regretted, she would say nothing, but would sit
silent, gently shaking her head. On being remonstrated with, she showed
no annoyance, but at once said cheerfully,--‘When I shake my head, you
must _rap the table_!’ The genuine humility of this answer is even more
remarkable than the fact that, at her age, she should soon have entirely
overcome the peculiarity.

On July 16 she described herself as ‘in a frisky mood, on account
of getting back to Batala, and finding things so nice here, weather
included;’--and a little later, ‘It is so nice to be amongst my brown
Christian boys again!’

    ‘_Aug. 22, 1890._--I must amuse you and dear Leila by a little
    Oriental episode. A nice simple young widow, called W., is
    being prepared for Baptism. Female converts, who have not
    husbands, are specially welcome, as there is a great difficulty
    to poorer Christians about getting wives. Even before W.’s
    baptism, therefore, ---- wished to secure her for a favourite
    convert. I spoke for him to W., and she consented just to
    see M. N., being assured that, if either she or he were not
    satisfied, there should be no marriage. As we are very proper
    here, the important interview took place in my presence; but I
    went a little aside, so as to be no _gêne_. The man seemed very
    sensible and nice. He began religious conversation at once,
    questioning the girl to whom he was paying his addresses, as a
    Pastor might have done with a candidate for baptism.

    ‘So long as the wooer kept to this, all appeared going on
    well. M. N. questioned, and W. answered in her simple innocent
    fashion. But when something more personal was said,--I did not
    hear what, but I suppose that its gist was, “Will you marry
    me?”--I felt that there was some sticking, and came to the
    rescue. I asked W. if she were willing; and a little in the
    spirit, though not in the words of the old song--

        ‘“Amazed was the laird, when the lady said--‘Na!’”

    ‘I was surprised, and so I think was the visitor. I asked
    again, to make sure; and again came a quiet decided negative.
    So of course I let “Mistress Jean” “turn awa’.” ... W. has a
    perfect right to say “Na,” if she prefer a life of sewing,
    grinding corn, etc., to trying matrimony a second time. I like
    her the better for her independent spirit.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug. 28._--I think that this August has been the pleasantest
    month that I have spent this year. The temperature, quite
    unusually mild for August, suits me admirably; for my idea of
    a perfect temperature is from 80° to 85° in the house. It is
    getting into the 90°s that is trying. There is a good deal of
    sickness about from damp, but damp does not appear to hurt me,
    and it makes the air so soft.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Sept. 12._--I have written through dear Leila my triple
    thanks for the very elegant tasteful dress and pretty jacket.
    The cloud I am keeping for Minnie, whom I hope to see back on
    Tuesday. The women in Batala will be so glad to have the “Star”
    open again. Dear sweet Daisy Key and I will be glad too to have
    the doctoring in the compound taken off our hands. Some one or
    other seems to be perpetually ill. Castor-oil and quinine have
    to be freely used. Happily both are easily procured, especially
    the first....

    ‘As I was walking in the city early one morning,[126] a party
    of Government schoolboys passed me, marching in order, in
    evident imitation of our Christian boys. A minute or two
    afterwards a very respectable-looking middle-aged Native,
    probably their master, ran after me. I halted, to know what he
    wanted; and something like this curious conversation passed
    between us, in English,--

    ‘MASTER. “I beg your pardon. Do you pronounce opíate or ópiate?”

    ‘I. “Ópiate.”

    ‘M. “Who were the Jacobins?”

    ‘I. “Bad men, who cut off other people’s heads.”

    ‘M. “Were they Roman Catholics or Protestants?”

    ‘I. “Neither. They had no religion.”

    ‘M. “Were Jacobins connected with Jacobites?”

    ‘I. “No; those were followers of King James.”

    ‘M. “One more--what is ‘Black eye,’--‘give a black eye?’ I
    cannot find it in the dictionary.”

    ‘To this funny question also I gave a brief answer, and then my
    volunteer pupil left me,--I hope satisfied with his lesson.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 14, 1890._--The shadow of consumption which _may_ end
    fatally is on two dear Native Christians here. One is R. U., a
    well-educated Convert from Narowal, who has suffered much for
    the Faith. The other is dear Babu Singha’s youngest daughter,
    Bini. The death of her loved mother in May was a terrible
    shock to Bini. Babu Singha, a most tender father, has gently
    intimated to his darling child that perhaps she may be the
    first to see that dear mother again. Bini is quite pleased at
    the thought....

    ‘But oh, Laura, we have had in our Mission lately something
    worse, oh, so much worse! It has been as startling as a sudden
    thunder-clap. K. K., the young Brahmin, over whose baptism we
    so rejoiced, who seemed so brave, so true, who sat at our table
    ... and actually has been employed to _teach the Bible_, ... _he_
    has apostatised; _he_ has become a fearful illustration of our
    Lord’s most terrible parable,--“then taketh he (Satan) others
    more wicked than himself,” etc. I am beginning to believe
    that this wilful apostasy, after clear light given, is what
    is spoken of in Heb. vi. I can remember no example, either
    in the Bible or Mission-life, of any apostate deliberately
    choosing to forsake Christ, after being received and welcomed,
    being “renewed unto repentance.” We have had so many dreadful
    backsliders,--who have never returned. Alas! alas!... In no case
    _fear_ the motive, but worldliness or covetousness. When to
    my surprise I heard that K. K. had fallen, my spirit could
    not readily recover.... Poor dear N. C. began his sermon on
    Sunday something like this,--“My spirit is heavy; I am very
    sorrowful.” It was a brave sermon, nevertheless, about “holding
    the fort.” But now he is the only Christian teacher in his
    school; and we have to face the mockery of the exulting foe!
    The matter is of course known all over the city. But the Lord
    reigns, and all enemies shall--_must_--be put under His Feet.
    Amongst those who _will_ rejoice will be those who are saddened
    now, like your loving Char.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 25._--I want to tell you and dear Leila about the trial
    in the Singha family, but wish to wait till I have had to-day’s
    report of the state of Bini, the dear girl about fifteen, who
    appears to be dying of consumption. Bini has perhaps never
    recovered from the effects of the shock caused to her loving
    heart by her mother, Mrs. Singha’s, unexpected death. The poor
    child, arriving at the Batala station, heard suddenly that her
    mother was dead.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Later._--I have just come from the Singhas. Bini lingers
    still on this side of the river. She is more to be envied
    than pitied. On Thursday, two days ago, her pain ceased.... She
    was “quite happy,” “quite ready,” “why delay?” ... Last night
    must have been a glorious night for Bini. She spoke to this
    effect,--“I have been in Heaven, and saw Jesus Christ and
    my Mother. I did not see the others; they were there, but
    _somewhere upstairs_.” When some one spoke to Bini of her
    “dream,” she did not like the word. “It was not a dream,” she
    said.... If this be death, it is a blessed thing indeed!’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Oct. 31._--You will see from my note to dear Mr. Baring that
    sweet Bini’s long trial is over. With what joy she departed!
    I am telling the story in villages and Zenanas. She who had
    so little opportunity of working for God in her brief life,
    bears powerful testimony now by her death to Muhammadan and
    Hindu. To go joyously, in the morning of her life, to death,
    as to a bridal,--this is a proof of the truth and power of
    Christianity, which who can gainsay? I went on the day of
    Bini’s departure to three Zenanas, which bigotry has closed. I
    asked no leave but went in,--I was pretty sure of a hearing,
    when I went to describe the death of Babu Singha’s daughter.

    ‘What a contrast between Christianity and Muhammadanism,
    Hinduism, _any_ other religion! As Bini lay near her pure white
    coffin, with flowery Crosses above her, a party of the rather
    upper, educated men of Batala came to pay customary respect
    to the bereaved father. They were taken right up to where the
    white-clad form lay peacefully on a charpai.... At Bini’s funeral
    the contrast was most striking; for as the white flowery
    coffin was carried to its resting-place, we all singing hymns
    of praise, the Hindus were--about fifty yards to the left of
    us--burning a corpse. To the right, flowers and music; to the
    left, fire. The miserable wail of the heathen over their dead
    was not then heard; only our hymns, and then beautiful words
    uttered over a peaceful grave.’

[Illustration: ‘SUNSET,’ A. L. O. E.’S THREE-ROOMED HOUSE]



CHAPTER XVIII

A.D. 1890-1891

IN OLD AGE


Letters at this late period of Miss Tucker’s life become so abundant,
from numerous quarters, that the main difficulty is in selection, the
main cause of regret is that so few can be used. The history of 1891 and
1892 may be told chiefly by Miss Tucker’s details of what went on. Miss
Dixie remained her constant companion in the little Mission bungalow all
these years,--except when absent for her summer holiday, or on furlough.
Others came and went, remaining a longer or a shorter time in Batala. Dr.
Weitbrecht had settled down as C.M.S. Missionary in the place; and Mr.
Bateman, stationed at Narowal, came and went on itinerating expeditions.

Charlotte Tucker still lived her life of rigid simplicity; though
perhaps certain indulgences, immaterial when she was younger and in more
vigorous health, had now become a positive necessity. Long Indian toil,
as well as sharp illnesses, had told upon her; and at seventy she had
every appearance of being ninety. Yet, through weakness, weariness, and
languor, she struggled on, and kept up her steady round of work.

The little ‘Sunset’ house, in which she lived, consisted mainly of the
following: bath-room, size 8 feet by 8; dressing-room, size 13 feet by
8; the one large principal room, size 24 feet by 13, divided by a screen
into bedroom and sitting-room; and the verandahs. Miss Tucker’s chief
room has been described to me by one who spent months at Batala, as, at
this date,--‘Rather bare and shabby, and used to have rather an untidy
look.... As you went in from the verandah in front, the fireplace was on
your left, and a sofa, with a screen behind it, screening off the bed,
on your right. In front of you was the little table, where she used
to write. I cannot remember all of the furniture; there was not very
much,--I think some shelves on each side of the fireplace.’

This does not sound too luxurious. No doubt Miss Tucker might, without
expense, have made her rooms much prettier, but for her passion for
giving away. She seldom kept for herself more than was imperatively
needed. While on this subject, it may be worth remarking, as regards the
food of the Missionary ladies in Batala, that the cost of it has been
found to amount, on an average, to about eight annas a day,--an anna
being worth rather less than a penny. The said estimate applies to an
ordinary time, including a certain amount of entertaining of visitors.
Probably the cost would be much the same in other parts of the Panjab,
unless it were slightly more in large Stations.

A few scattered sentences from the Journal may precede the letters of
1891:--

    ‘_April 30, 1889._--Villages.... Sikh bibi very nice. I said, “I
    am very weak. If you heard that I died, what would you say?”
    Reply: “Gone to Jesus! Gone to Heaven!” After a while I asked,
    “Were I to hear of your death, what should I say?” A little
    delay; then a bibi observed on the _kirpa_, mercy, of Jesus,
    and thought that He might take them too.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug. 31._--“Faint, yet pursuing,” must be my motto. The
    two boys from ----, who came to Anarkalli, as if resolved to
    embrace Christianity, but, being without root, left us again,
    seem to have done much harm. The Muhammadans more bitter than
    before. Twice this week I--an aged servant of Christ--have been
    turned away from the Zenanas, to which I went in gentleness
    and kindness. To-day I was rejected at a fourth.... It is a
    strain upon the threefold cord of Faith, Hope, and Love, this
    deliberate choosing of darkness instead of light, Barabbas
    instead of Christ. We need the prayers of God’s people, and to
    remember the promise, “In due season ye shall reap if ye faint
    not.”’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Sept. 4._-- ... Two places very nice. B. is determined to be a
    Christian, and teach his wife. Wants Urdu Gospel....

    ‘_Sept. 5._-- ... Felt ill; half-blind; yet generally well-heard....

    ‘_Sept. 6._-- ... Ophthalmia, but managed to go to Q. five
    places....

    ‘_Dec. 12, 1889._--D.G. Hindus cross. As I mounted dark stair,
    heard “Buha band.”[127] However, I ventured up, smiling, and
    said,--“When you come to the Dispensary, the door is not
    shut.” There were four women; the two elder cross, not the
    younger. At first no seat was offered me; then some one said,
    “Buddhi,”[128] on which a small mat was brought, and the old
    woman meekly sat down. I tried to make my visit pleasant,
    showed my Golden Tree, and sang. It was a kind of breaking of
    ice. I took care not to stay very long. When I had risen, the
    two younger salaamed. I turned, smiling, to one cross old lady,
    and coaxed her to return my salaam. After a little while she
    did so; but I wanted to conquer the toughest also. The younger
    women listened, much amused, to my polite expostulations on
    her rudeness. At last the old hand went up to the brow, and I
    departed, contented. The ice was broken. One can go again.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 25, Christmas, 1889._--Nice. D., B., and children, made
    catechumens.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 27._--The best day, I think, that I have ever had
    in Zenanas.... N. B., A very nice visit. Two fine young men,
    and at least seven women of various ages, appeared pleased,
    interested, and without any bigotry. So much inclined towards
    Christianity did one man in particular seem, that I spoke of
    the advantage of a united family accepting the Truth, and
    expressed a hope that all would come out. “Sat!”[129] echoed
    the Hindu heartily, throwing up one of his hands, as though to
    give force to the word.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 29, 1890._--I have, three times in as many weeks, been
    able freely to show a Bible picture in Islami schools, and
    speak of Christ. To-day, as I walked in the streets, twice
    tradesmen in their little shops wished to see my picture. I
    stopped, and others gathered round, whilst I explained.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Sept. 2, 1890...._ K., she sad. Seems to regret death of her
    poor young S., whom she kept such a prisoner, and of whom I
    thought, “If any one in that quarter be a secret believer, it
    is she!” I could seldom get into the house. The sweet S. was
    quite a prisoner. I have even stood before the window, and
    sung in the open lane, hoping that S. would hear the sound of
    my voice, like imprisoned Richard. I hear that S. gave birth
    to a girl, “a very beautiful tiny child,” who only lived for a
    month, and the young mother soon followed. I have strong hopes
    that both are with the Lord Jesus.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Feb. 9, 1891._-- ... I have suffered greatly from chilliness
    this cold weather. Perhaps in no winter during my whole life
    more. Old age. Ague.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_March 25, 1891._--Song. W. B. Buckle; but my best hearer
    was R. L., very interesting schoolboy. He met me at my
    first Zenana, and followed me to all the others. He was so
    nice,--even singing bhajans--that I thought at first that
    he must have learned at the Plough. With interest, amid
    interruptions from women, listened to story of the three Jews
    in the furnace, and told it afterwards in another Zenana. He
    was a help to me, explaining the Buckle, etc., very nicely.
    When the subject was Christ’s Ascension, the boy said that He
    had gone up to God Almighty. I intend to write out the song
    for the dear fellow.... His heart seemed so impressionable, and
    his face brightened at the thought of the Crown to be given to
    “those who believe in Jesus.” “I want to be a Christian,” he
    said in English. Lord, bless him. Give him the Crown.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_April 13, 1891...._ R. E. took me into her arms; felt so slim
    encircled by them. I noticed a quantity of jewels on her arms.
    She popped her bare feet on my knee,--I was seated on the
    ground,--to show me the jewels on them. Her amount of clothing
    was by no means proportionate. Presently down went her forehead
    on my lap. I silently hoped that there was not much oil on her
    hair.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 14._--Hindus very nice. My A. B., cheerful-looking C. D.,
    another whom I do not know so well, E. F. These three all hope
    to meet me in Heaven. When I said to C. D., “But how can we go?
    We are sinners!”--her simple reply was, “Jesus Christ, Guide.”
    I have hopes of these three.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 15._--F. G., nice intelligent man. I was surprised at a
    _little_ boy, H. I., being able to read. Gave him hymn-book.
    Was much followed about by boys....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_May 25, 1891...._ Felt the weight of years much. Work a
    struggle! Lord, help me!...’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 4...._ L. very nice. When I said that she was patient,
    poor dying hand pointed upwards. Peace on face. Many listened....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_June 22...._ I am to start to-day for Dalhousie. Feel old and
    rather worn out. If I live to 1892 must not stay down[130] so
    long....’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Aug 14, 1891...._ I sat outside with Bibis, in front of ----‘s
    house. The door half open, behind it pretty smiling young Bibi,
    who again and again silently made signs to me to come in. Did
    so, and sat beside her. She did not utter one word, but by
    her looks tried to show me that she received the Word, and
    believed. She only said “Salaam,” when I left. I read to her of
    Christ being the Good Shepherd, His own words.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Dec. 24._--J. ill; sweet. Told me that, sitting up in bed,
    she saw beings come in, clothed in white shining raiment. Felt
    frightened. Asked why they did not speak. Afterwards fell
    asleep, and dreamed of being taken to a beautiful place. She
    is, we think, a true believer, confesses herself sinful, and
    looks to Christ for salvation. Asked her if she would like
    baptism. “Yes.” “Would your husband allow it?” “No.”’

These are specimens of the longer entries. The majority are exceedingly
brief, consisting for the most part of names, initials, and single words.
Letters to Mrs. Hamilton in the early part of 1891 are unusually few:
not that the usual number were not written, but few have been kept. In
the spring of that year there was some discussion as to the name of ‘The
Plough School,’--her own favourite name for the School, which meant much
to her. One cannot but regret that any stir should have been made about
the matter, when she had been the ‘mother’ of the school. The criticism
having been put forward, however needlessly, she wrote to Mr. Baring:--

    ‘By-the-by, the name “Plough” is objected to, as sounding
    like a public-house.... How could we choose a name that would
    signify entire dependence on God?... The Plough appears to be
    flourishing. Boys come to it even from what we call the large
    Government School. Numbers have arisen to about 113. To-day I
    had no fewer than seven rather superior boys from the Plough.
    They come for religious conversation and Bible pictures.’

On the 17th of June 1891 she wrote to Mrs. Gardiner about the recent
death of that remarkable man, Bishop French,--no longer holding the
position of a Bishop, but working as a simple Missionary.

    ‘MY DEAR MRS. GARDINER,--Though June in the plains is not the
    most favourable month for letter-writing, especially to a
    Septuagenarian, I will not let your kind note remain longer
    unanswered.

    ‘Yes, indeed, our late loved Bishop French was a saint, one
    whose memory is sweet, whose example is lofty. You will have
    seen the article in the _Panjab Mission News_. I think that it
    was written by Rowland Bateman, who, so like himself, feels not
    having rushed off in all the heat, to have been at the side of
    his venerated Friend, left alone in a land of strangers. But
    the dear Saint was not alone! What a glorious ending to his
    beautiful course! He reminds one, when dying in the grapple
    with Muhammadanism in the very home of its birth, of the Swiss
    hero, who broke the phalanx of the enemy by clasping the spears
    of the foremost in his arms, and so receiving them into his
    breast.

        “‘Make way for liberty,’ he cried;
        ‘Make way for liberty!’--and died.”

    ‘Of course there will be a Memoir of Bishop French,--but where
    is the Boswell competent to write it? Who could give all the
    delicate touches, needed for a perfect portrait of one with so
    many idiosyncrasies?

    ‘How well I remember the dear Bishop coming all the way from
    Lahore,--when there was no railway,--to visit me, when I
    was supposed to be dying.[131] He sat by my bedside, gently
    talking. I do not remember that I said anything to him. I was
    looking up at his face, and thinking what a lovely medallion
    might be made of it in wax! It was an earthly thought; but when
    you recall the delicate features, pure complexion, and saintly
    look, of that countenance, you will hardly wonder at the sick
    woman’s reflection.

    ‘My letters, or rather letter, from England came in when I was
    engaged in writing, and you will not wonder at the blot on the
    last page.... I feel now disinclined to write at all. My beloved
    sister, Mrs. Hamilton, has been seriously ill; but, thank God,
    to-day’s account of her is good.--Yours affectionately,

                                                   C. M. TUCKER.

TO MISS MINNIE DIXIE.

                             ‘(_From the Hills_) _July 4, 1891_.

    ‘I am not timid about snakes; but H. has seen four lately, and
    it is only common-sense to look under one’s bed, as the heat
    compels open windows and doors. I have only fish-insects and
    tarantulas at present, but am promised plenty of scorpions,
    centipedes, and leeches, in the rains. You know I have not your
    talent for squashing reptiles; and if I called out for help in
    the unpleasant business, I doubt whether any one would hear me.
    I rather think that this will be my last visit to the Hills,
    and that Amritsar will be my Sanatarium in future.’

The two next letters to Miss Dixie are about the outbreak of smallpox
in Batala. She was ‘quite ready to nurse a smallpox patient, should
the malady spread.’ And again,--’ Why should I delay my return? As a
Missionary, I am liable any day to meet children with smallpox full out.
I hope to be with you in about a fortnight.’

TO MISS LANGLEY.

                                       ‘BATALA, _July 29, 1891_.

    ‘It is very kind of you to ask what kind of things would be
    most useful here. For _sale_, pretty little articles of dress
    for English children, from one day old to five years, are
    most readily disposed of. We are afraid of woollen articles,
    as they are so difficult to keep. White ants are a real
    puzzle at Batala.... Happily cotton or silk they attack much
    less. Gentlemen’s neckties, of a fashionable shape, would
    be likely to sell well. Station-people in India think _at
    least_ as much about fashion as Londoners do. A few pretty
    cosies and toilet or tea-table covers would be nice, and some
    elegant dolls. These would suit for sales. For presents in
    schools--cheap dolls, gay and rather gaudy; bags, with cotton
    and tape; kurtas, common gay print, that will wash. I dare say
    that Miss Cockle could supply a pattern. The kurtas need to
    be made of Oriental shape, or they would not be worn by the
    school-children.’

An attack of ophthalmia in her eyes, which must have caused much
suffering, is made light of in her letters; and in the same passing
manner she alludes to a fall, whereby her face was turned black and blue.
The main point in connection with this accident seemed to her to be the
kindness and sympathy shown by Batala people, when she went to visit
them, and the fact that nobody smiled at her discoloured and swollen
features.

TO MISS LEILA HAMILTON.

                                              ‘_Sept. 12, 1891._

    ‘You will see a half-sheet; it belonged to a whole one, but
    the first half, alas! I have had to tear up; for it gave such
    a bright account of one, who, _only to-day_, I have found out
    has been deceiving us for many months!... Let us drop the painful
    subject.

    ‘I had a visit early this morning from a _real_ servant of
    God, dear old K. S.! One thinks of him rather as the learned
    and pious Pandit, than as the ordained Pastor; he leads such a
    wandering life. His faithful heart was heavy to-day, from the
    inconsistencies of professed Native Christians. He thought them
    better out of the Fold than in it;--so do I, for many are not
    _sheep_ at all!

    ‘I have not yet heard whether dear Mr. Bateman has recovered.
    I have written to him to-day. My letter will not cheer him,
    but he must know facts. Blindness is no benefit. We want
    _light_ and _air_. Do you know, dear, that we felt our church
    dreadfully close,--yes, for years and years. The cause was
    obvious to us ladies. The doors and _lower_ windows were often
    opened; the _upper_ windows _never_! It was troublesome to get
    at such high ones; so year after year the bad air, which came
    from breath, ascended, and had no vent. Last Sunday, after my
    earnest protest, the windows were opened, and we breathed pure
    air!

    ‘We are very quiet now; but in two or three weeks will begin
    the rush _from_ the Hills; the season for work beginning,
    and the season for visiting too.... It is possible that in the
    beginning of October I may go for a week or so to Futteyghur
    with sweet Daisy Key, to teach the Christian peasants in that
    out-of-the-way spot. I think that the quietness, with one
    choice companion, would suit me better than the bustle of many
    arrivals at Batala. About the 1st of November I am engaged to
    go for a short visit to dear Louis and Lettie at Rawal Pindi....
    The journey is not a very fatiguing one, as I can go all
    the way by train. Rawal Pindi is a city at the foot of the
    Himalayas; there is no mounting up.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘_Sept. 16, 1891._--My own sweet Sister, I do confess with
    regret that I wrote too hastily about ----, as dear M. C. does
    not think him bad, and hopes that he may be useful in time.
    I was vexed and impatient at my Laura being so worried, year
    after year.... But I was wrong, dear, I frankly own it! I wonder
    when I shall be given grace to be really loving, gentle, and
    patient!

    ‘Poor dear Daisy and I have been sadly tried lately by the
    wickedness of those in our own compound. We both feel that it
    will be a relief to get away for a while to Futteyghur, which
    we shall probably do in the beginning of October.... But oh,
    let me not be so ungrateful to the Lord, or so unjust to dear
    excellent Native Christian friends, as to say in my haste, “All
    men are liars!” Poor Daisy thinks Batala the most wicked place
    that she has ever been in; and so do I? But precious jewels
    come _to_ Batala, though very few _out_ of it....

    ‘But I must not write only of trials, love. If you could have
    dropped in upon us yesterday evening, you would have thought us
    a very happy party. See Char, in one part of the room, playing
    at chess with our good Pastor, Nobin Chanda;[132] ... dear Babu
    Singha, the excellent and wise, a special comfort to me,
    looking on in his quiet benevolent way. At the other side see
    sweet Daisy, animated and bright, playing at our famous Batala
    game with a choice set of Natives; ... and last, not least,
    dear Rosie Singha, our honorary and very steady worker in the
    Dispensary. I feel giving these kinds of parties a real duty;
    and they give, at little cost, so much innocent enjoyment. It
    is well for the Missionaries too to have pauses, in a struggle
    with so much that is repulsive and saddening.... I think that
    Rowland is not now actually ill, as he writes about being in
    the midst of a sermon. I hope that he will be able to pay
    Batala a flying visit before long.... He has so many Missionary
    troubles, and we cannot help adding to them. But--

        ‘“Soon and for ever, we’ll see as we’re seen,
        And learn the deep meaning of things that have been!”’

    ‘_Sept. 27, 1891._--I will steal a bit from the morning to
    write a little to you. We are living rather in a bustle at
    present; the tide of Missionaries running down from the Hills,
    rather sweeping over Batala. Dear Rowland is here.... Miss Boyd
    is here. She is to be married, please God, next week.... Her
    visit has been a real help to me, at a time of much Missionary
    difficulty.... Her Betrothed has been to Muscat, to gather
    information about the last days of dear Bishop French.... Miss
    ---- returned here on Saturday; Miss Dixie and the Corfields
    start for Batala to-day. One lady comes here from Amritsar
    to-day; we are to start her from hence at 4 A.M. to-morrow,
    Tuesday.... I shall be very glad to be quietly off, ... out of a
    kind of whirlpool. We will have eight at dinner to-day; quite
    as much as our table will hold.’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘FUTTEYGHUR, _Oct. 11_.--I watch with much interest the
    Christian father, R. M., when at our long Services his little
    four-years old Z. is beside him. It is lovely to see the
    peaceful confiding loving clinging trust of the little child,
    as she cuddles to her strong father, and his gentle tenderness
    to the wee girl.... It makes me think of our Heavenly Father and
    us, His weak little ones. But an elder girl of R. M. was bitten
    by a snake; and then the tender father showed “the hardness of
    love.” He resolutely cut out the poisoned part with a penknife.
    The poor child screamed terribly, but still the parent cut on.
    I dare say that his own heart felt gashed. The child was saved.
    O when our Heavenly Father thus wounds to save, may we have
    grace to lie still!’

One would much like to know the rest of this story, and how the poor
father managed to keep his little girl from bleeding to death. His
courage must indeed have been great.

Later in the same letter, when again on the never-failing topic of
troubles and disappointments in the work, Miss Tucker says,--‘O what need
we Missionaries have of wisdom! We are so liable to make mistakes.’

TO ---- ----

                                               ‘_Oct. 24, 1891._

    ‘I was in Sikh villages this morning. The Sikhs are more
    friendly than the Muhammadans. I have often told them that if
    their respectable Guru Nanak were here on Earth now, he would
    probably become a Christian. I said that I had heard that there
    was something about our Lord in the Granth. The Sikh with whom
    I was conversing at once gave me the “Slok,” and translated its
    difficult antique Panjabi. This is the Slok in English; “That
    Cutter of demons’ heads, the world’s revered Jesus!” The Sikh
    said that “Isa” (Jesus) was thought by them to be “Ishur,--God
    Almighty.” I replied that we too called Jesus, God!’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

    ‘_Oct. 30._--Many many thanks, mine own sweet Sister, for
    yours of the 8th, and all your loving thought for Char.’s
    comfort. You would keep the bird in a golden cage, lined with
    soft fur! But Char. is a bit of a wild bird, and likes to fly
    about freely. The fur will be delicious on cold mornings and
    evenings; but to wear it all day, even in December, would feel
    exhaustingly warm. One needs to adapt oneself perpetually to
    the changes of temperature in December and January; this needs
    a little Indian experience and common-sense. The want of these
    two things is one cause of Indian break-downs. Inexperienced
    Missionaries think it safe to do in India what they have done
    in old England! If you consider, love, that I have kept my
    health, with some few interruptions, for almost sixteen years
    in India, you may allow that I am a fair manager of it. I am
    thought rather a wonder.

    ‘As for having “a really nice capable maid to wait upon” me;--O
    dear!--_dear_--DEAR!! I might fill a whole line with such
    exclamations, to express my almost _horror_ at such a proposal!
    Europeans, except good working Missionaries, who can _help_,
    are dreadful anxieties and troubles. An Englishwoman in service
    is always a _possible_ invalid, and a _probable_ grumbler. I
    never in my life could stand a person running after me and
    watching me. I have an ayah to attend to my room,--and could
    have plenty of darzies to mend my clothes, but I prefer doing a
    little stitching myself. I am not always tumbling down like a
    ninepin,--but I would _prefer_ tumbling once or twice a month
    to having any one always watching me. Dear Minnie insists on
    handing me to my room at night. You must remember that I am the
    adopted Aunt of a Doctor Miss Sahiba.

    ‘This is rather a frisky note, darling. When I am a _real_
    invalid, I am said to be a good one; but I am strongly averse
    to becoming one when I am in fair health.... I know how dear
    Laura and Leila would constantly be putting soft fetters of
    love round me; but they would find me an obstreperous bird. I
    should break the fetters by sudden astonishing efforts,--as I
    fled from the Doctor lady who came from Amritsar. I knew that
    the Weitbrechts wanted her to see me. After breakfast she went
    with Dr. W. into his study, to look at something. I saw my
    opportunity, hurried down the long stair, and into my duli;--

        ‘“They’re gone! she’s gone,--over, etc.”

    I knew that I was safe, as Batala has twelve entrances; and no
    one could tell which I had taken. It was rare fun, and seemed
    to do me more good than physic could have done. So take no
    anxious thought about me, love.’

The being ‘handed to her room at night’ was found to be a necessity in
her old age. After spending the evening in Sonnenschein with the younger
ladies,--generally either reading aloud, or playing games,--she had to
go out into the front verandah, and to pass along it till she reached
the door of her own little ‘Sunset’ dwelling. If alone, she was apt to
stumble, or to run against something, and the regular plan was adopted
of either Miss Dixie or one other of her nieces always accompanying the
older lady, on this small nightly pilgrimage.

TO MISS LAURA VERONICA TUCKER.

                                               ‘_Nov. 18, 1891._

    ‘Oh, dearest Laura Veronica, what a warm capital web you
    have spread for her whom you call Fairy Frisket. Certainly I
    look very unlike a _fairy_; and a very comfy rug is far more
    suitable for me than gossamer wings or glittering wand! A bibi
    expressed surprise to-day that a weak old woman could sing; but
    I told her that I sing every day in my life. If I stopped for a
    week, perhaps my throat might find out my age! I must not give
    it a chance of so doing. The same with my feet; the dear kind
    E----s were always offering me a drive, and I often took one
    with L.; but--oh, my friends, Misses Feet, you had to do your
    work too. No laziness tolerated; or you might presume to fancy
    yourselves antiquated. Now I am back in harness again, have
    been to the city to-day, and intend to visit a village-school
    to-morrow, unless Daisy Key go instead. She is far better at
    teaching than I am. But I am afraid that I have not yet thanked
    my sweet niece for the capital rug. I do so now with a kind
    kiss....

    ‘Yesterday, in the railway carriage, I offered a wee book
    by Spurgeon to a tall big man, connected with the railway
    department. He asked me immediately if I were related to
    ----, and gave his opinion that ---- was a real good man.
    My frank companion expressed, however, a general dislike to
    Missionaries. “Why do you not like us?” I asked mildly. He had
    evidently not been fortunate in some that he had known,--their
    names were not familiar to me. He disliked their preferring
    working on Natives instead of their own countrymen, and
    evidently thought them too comfortable! But what _can_ I
    do, when my dear relatives send such charming gifts to your
    attached old Auntie Char?’

TO MR. AND MRS. ST. GEORGE TUCKER.

                                               _‘Dec. 12, 1891._

    ‘Your very handsome and very kind--only _too_ handsome--gift
    reached me safely this morning; just the right time for the
    arrival, as the air in the morning is very keen, and then fur
    is a real comfort. Much has your fine jacket been admired,--so
    “beautiful,” so “grand.” But it does not look unsuitable even
    for Missionary use. Very many affectionate thanks for this
    token of your affection. It quite strikes as well as gratifies
    me, to see how little difference _sixteen_ years of absence
    seems to make as regards the loving-kindness of my dear
    relatives. They do not seem to forget the aged Missionary, or
    weary of showing her tokens of love.

    ‘We are to have an interesting Ordination Service next Sunday.
    F. M. and I. U., Converts from Muhammadanism, tried and true,
    are to be appointed Deacons. We expect the Bishop on Thursday.
    He will, we hope, lay the first stone of our Mission School
    Building, so called,[133] on Saturday.... I have begged that the
    building may be very plain,--dear Mr. Baring gave the money for
    it.... It is a great matter for some religious instruction to be
    given to more than 130 boys from Heathen and Muhammadan homes.’

TO MRS. HAMILTON.

                                                     _‘Dec. 21._

    ‘We have been having a busy time.... On Sunday there was the
    interesting Ordination. To-day the dear Bishop kindly laid the
    first stone of Mr. Baring’s generous gift to Batala, a building
    for the City School. A number of Muhammadans and Hindus were
    present; but the service was most distinctly Christian. The
    _Gloria Patri_ was repeated again and again; the precious
    Name of Christ was not only on the stone, but in the prayers
    and portion of the Bible read.... At the gathering I saw many
    interesting persons, both English and Native.... The Bishop is
    such a lovable man; gentle, bright, affectionate; showing not a
    particle of pride. We do not call him “My lord,” but “Bishop.”’

       *       *       *       *       *

    ‘(_Undated._)--Beloved Sister, this is the last Sunday of 1891;
    may 1892 be rich in blessings to you and your loved ones of two
    generations. “He leadeth me,--oh, blessed thought!”

    ‘It is good for me to be a while in this quiet place.[134]
    Batala at Christmas time is too bustling. Merry festivities
    are more delightful to the young than the old. I expected dear
    Herbert and Mr. Channing to dine with us; and to my surprise we
    sat down twelve. It was all right; we should use hospitality
    without grudging, especially at Christmas time; but you know
    that Char. has a sorrow at her heart. I retired from the merry
    games, to prepare for the next day’s long journey. O my Laura,
    ask for me a gentle sympathising spirit,--

        ‘“To meet the glad with cheerful smiles,
        And to wipe the weeping eyes.”’

Was the ‘sorrow’ here spoken of, the delicate health of ‘her Laura?’ If
the sister in India was ageing fast, the sister in England was failing
fast. Parted as they had been during sixteen long years, the loving
sympathy between them was as fresh and ardent as ever. A dread had long
oppressed Mrs. Hamilton that ‘her Char.’ would soon be called away. But
though the summons to the elder sister was indeed not far distant, that
to the younger sister was to arrive first.



CHAPTER XIX

A.D. 1892

LIGHT AT EVENTIDE


The Evening of Miss Tucker’s life was passing fast away. Sixteen years
of her long Indian campaign were over. Only two years remained. But the
end of her Evening was to be Day, not Night. For nearly forty years she
had looked forward with joy to the great change; for more than twenty
she had longed with an impassioned craving for a sight, Face to face, of
that dear Lord and Master whom she loved. And though she did not know
it, the time was drawing very near. Could she have known it, the passing
troubles of these months would have seemed easy to bear, in the light of
coming glory. Barely two more years of toil and weariness,--and then--the
Home-going!

One more heavy sorrow had to come first; one more sharp blow upon the
golden staff of her Will. Many a blow had fallen since she wrote her
little book, _The Giant-Killer_; many dear ones had been called away by
death. And now the summons was going forth for the dearest of all; the
sister-friend, who from very infancy had been one with herself. No shadow
had ever fallen on their love one for another. Before the close of 1892
the shadow of death was to fall across it, leaving Charlotte Tucker more
lonely in heart than she had ever been before. But the shadow was to fall
for a very little while. Only a few months of separation; and then the
sisters would be together again.

    ‘“Stay thy hand!”’ Fides exclaimed, in the story by A. L. O.
    E., as blow after blow fell on the golden staff. ‘“It can bear
    no more!”’

    ‘“Yet a little patience,” cried Experience, and struck it
    again. Then the Will was restored to Fides,--straight, pure,
    beautiful,--oh, how unlike that staff which had been so deadly
    in the grasp of Pride!

    ‘As Fides stood gazing on the fair gift before him, once more,
    and for the last time, the shining robe and star-wreath of
    Conscience flashed on his sight. Never before had her smile
    been so glad, so beaming with the radiance of Heaven.

    ‘“The work is done,--the fight is over!” she exclaimed. “Thou
    art summoned to the Presence of thy King! A messenger is even
    now waiting to conduct thee to the Home which thou so long hast
    desired! Go, bearing with thee the offering of a conquered
    Will, the acknowledgment that not even that should be thine
    own, and the remembrance of foes bravely met and overcome,
    through the might of Him Who armed thee for the fight.... Go
    where all is gladness and rejoicing and peace,--where war and
    danger shall be known no more!”‘[135]

The work was nearly done; the fight was nearly over. But Charlotte Tucker
could not yet see the starry form, could not yet hear the gentle accents,
which soon would bid her to ‘rise and come away.’ Before many days of
1892 had passed, she was back again in Batala; deep in her usual round of
work and interests.

    ‘BATALA, _Jan. 10_.--Here am I at home again. I did so enjoy
    and benefit by my visit to Narowal. It was not leaving work
    but leaving cares. I worked every day, but the work was more
    encouraging, and the feeling of repose so refreshing. If I live
    to see another Christmas, I think that I shall run away to some
    quiet spot, like Narowal, where the railway whistle is never
    heard....

    ‘When I was at peaceful Narowal, I happened to read in a
    printed paper a kind of fable, which has been such a comfort
    to myself, that I have put the idea into verse, and my Laura
    shall have a copy.... As we Missionaries have a great many more
    _little_ annoyances than great afflictions, I am inclined--for
    myself--to change the last line but one into

        ‘“Change petty worries to plumage on wings.”

    ‘You know there are on a bird’s pinion, not only the long
    feathers, but the little tiny ones; but how that fluffy downy
    sort add to beauty and comfort!...

    “WEIGHTS AND WINGS.

    ‘“Sweet is a parable which I have read;
      Birds at the