February 17, 1921

Dear Esther:

I enjoy your letters very much and surely appreciate getting them. Wish I had time to write personal letters oftener. There are so many things I can talk to you about, that the rest are not interested in in the same way.

I had a letter from Mrs. Plate and she said you had mentioned following me soon. I wonder just what soon means?

I had a three page letter from mother this week, the only one I have had since I left home. I was so glad to get it. It had a really cheerful tone, and made me feel better about her. But as you say, I think it will be better for her to have some responsibility. It will keep her mind off of her own ailments and grievances. I know there is not a lot of time here to think about that. I never had such a lot of different things to do. It is the lot of the second term missionary. There is no cause to complain about not being given enough to think about. I have been put on enough committees to make my head swim. One of them is the finance committee, the most important one of all. I surely did not dream I would be put on that at least for awhile. It is interesting and gives you an idea of the inside working of the Conference. Then I was made secretary of the Women's Conference, which means I am responsible for getting out the yearly reports. That is a good sized load. These duties along with the evangelistic work of two districts is quite load enough for one of my calibre. I shall never sigh for work.

However, it is good to be back again and in the swing. I did enjoy meeting the missionaries and Indian people again. There is no doubt of their welcome. Everyone is delighted to welcome back any of the number who have gone home. As one remarked, "It seems so good to get even one back again."

Miss Dalrymple was transferred to another station which simplified matters here very much in regard to relationships, although it means that Grace is alone in the school, and when I am away, alone in the house. It is so hard for her to let me go, and hard for me to go, knowing she is alone, but I do enjoy the work out yonder among the villages. Grace is a very capable girl, and is getting along well, but we are hoping that she may get a teacher to live in the house with her - an Anglo-Indian or a European. That will help about the work and also about staying alone.

I wish I might tell you more about the situation here in India. There is such a variety of opinion about it. Some feel that there is no danger of an upheaval, and some feel it is imminent. It is hard to tell which is right. Many of the missionaries of the United Presbyterian Mission think that before another year there will be a sifting of the church. Perhaps awful persecution. We all know that anything foreign is unpopular in India. And there is a feeling that the Christian religion is a foreign one. During these days there is preparation being made for the taking of the census. Pressure is being brought to bear on all Christians to enroll as Mohammedans or Hindus to increase the number of representatives which will be given to the various sects according to population. Another movement is the Non-co-operation movement. Leaders are agitating in colleges, railways and all kinds of government service, demanding that all relationship with the government be cut, and the government thus be crippled and forced to give them anything they demand. Whole colleges have walked out, great gatherings have been formed and excited discussions taken place, leaders have stirred up enthusiastic crowds, but so far nothing more serious has taken place. Mr. Stuntz feels that although much criticism has been made of the government's action in the Amritsar affair, yet the prompt action of the General there saved the Panjab and perhaps all India from some awful times. The true details were not given in America at all. It sounds like quite a different story to hear it from Mr. Stuntz.

We all feel we live in quite a new age. It is the age of the Indian people, and not the foreigner. His time to step back has come, and we all need to walk softly in order to make the change and not do harm in holding on too long or letting go too fast.

I feel as if I am getting dreadfully out of the world away from magazines and I welcome the chance you give me of getting some. Thank you! I shall give you the names of the magazines and let you send them to me. I would like the Missionary Review of the World. The Independent, The National Geographic and the Atlantic Monthly. Now I do not know the prices of these, they may be more than ten dollars, I suspect they are, but send what you can. If you omit any, let it be the first one, for I think I can buy copies out here should I want them. I shall be hungry to get them, I feel so out of date and rusty.

So glad you are getting a good collection of records. They are hard to get out here, at least choice ones are.

We are training in a new kit of servants and it is some job. When I got here the girls were spending so much of their time doing things which servants ought to do for them. They had only one house servant and so it could not be helped. Now that Grace has so much more to do, and I have to have one all my own when I go away, we hardly know what to do to keep them busy when I am in. Grace has a cook and also a school teacher. That is, a man who does errands and buying of the supplies of the school. He also helps in the house, especially when I am away and my servant is with me. But when they are all together, there is really not enough to keep them all properly busy. We have to scheme to get enough to keep them all out of mischief. However as they stay and we find out what they can do, and more of what there is to be done we shall have no trouble of that kind. Mine is the best man; he never makes a fuss about what he does. I go into my room and find my shoes blacked, without having to give an order for it, and so in other things. I can not be too thankful for that; you know how I dreaded having servants again. It means so much peace of mind to have a really reliable one.

This will be all this time. I will try to keep up my end of the writing as well as I can. This typewriter is a benediction to me, whatever my friends may think about getting letters written on it.

Lovingly,
Lydia

 

A note from Dave Reichlinger, who has the original copy of this letter: The letter from Lydia was written February 17, 1921 from Lahore. I did a little research. The non-cooperation movement she talked about was led by Gandhi. Punjab (the province in which she was stationed) was the scene of great unrest. In 1919 the British opened fire on demonstrators and hundreds were killed. This led to a great deal of retaliation. Gandhi rejected violence from both sides

 

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