|CHAPTER XXV. -- AFRICA--INCIDENTS OF THE VOYAGE--MONROVIA--FIRST FOURTH -- OF JULY THERE--A SCHOOL FOR BOYS--CAPE PALMAS-- -- BASSA--TEMPERANCE WORK--THOMAS ANDERSON.|
I arrived in Monrovia on the 18th of January, 1882. I left Liverpool on the 31st of December, 1881. On the 7th of January, 1882, I arrived at Madeira; spent a few hours with Mr. Wm. G. Smart, of the British and Foreign Bible Society. He is a missionary to the sailors. He came on board our steamer. I was introduced, and, after he had had some conversation with the sailors, he asked me if I would like to go ashore. I told him I would, and when he was ready he called for his boat, and away we went.
We had a little stroll through the very primitive old town, to the post office, then to Mr. Smart's house. He showed me some repairing they had already done, and a large place was then under repair for a school and sailors' reading room. Formerly it had been a store-house for spirits. When he told me of the change I was glad; and sang as I stood in the street, "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow."
Then we went into the house. Mrs. Smart was ill in bed; but, oh, such a sweet, earnest, out-and-out Christian, one don't often meet in a foreign land. I spent three hours with them, and had an elegant dinner, and sang and prayed.
Madeira is almost all Roman Catholic. The window of the priest's house looks right into Mr. Smart's sitting room. His windows are often hoisted mornings and evenings when they have family worship, and they say the priest is not bigoted, and they often see him listening to the songs and prayers. May the Lord mightily awaken him! Amen!
About eight o'clock the boat took me to the steamer again, and I was much refreshed and encouraged on my way.
On Monday, New Year's Day, we were at Grand Canary. A very pretty looking place from the ship. Here we got vegetables. This is the home of all the canaries in the world, I am told.
The captain and some of the officers and passengers went ashore. It was a magnificent, moonlight night. The captain asked me to join the party, but I declined; I quite preferred quiet and the lovely moonlight. After a few hours the whistle blew, the anchor lifted, and we were off. Oh, this narrow bunk, and this dreadful rolling! I shall be so glad when I am through.
The next stop is at Sierra Leone. And now three days to Monrovia. This is a very busy looking place. A great many come on board to get work. They are called coolies. Some of them opened my trunks and helped themselves. There was a white Wesleyan minister that came on board who was very kind, and as we were there for a day, I would like to have gone ashore. I asked him about the prosperity of the work and the churches. He didn't seem to speak very favorably. He said that the colored missionaries were not men that could be depended upon to advance and develop the work as one might suppose.
At this I felt quite indignant, and thought it was because he was a white man, and simply said that about colored men. But after I had been there awhile, and got to understand things better, I quite agreed with what the missionary told me on my first arrival on those shores.
The captain and purser were very kind. They were greatly annoyed to think that my trunks had been interfered with. They stopped at Sierra Leone to take on coal. My largest trunk was down in the hold, where all the large trunks were, and these coolies were loading coal all day, and so were down in the hold a good deal, where the trunks were.
The first I knew of it was, I was up on deck, and as I went to look over on the lower deck, just at the side of the ship, where the steps go down. I saw one of the officers have a pair of shoes in his hand, and I thought they looked like my shoes; but I knew my shoes were in the trunk. Then I thought somebody had come on to sell things, as they did. All at once I heard a great outcry of "Thief, thief, thief!" And then I saw them bringing a man along from aft; a nice looking fellow, tall and clean looking; and he was declaring to all that was above and below that he had not touched anything, and that he was not the thief.