Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 8 April 1918

Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 8 April 1918



April 8th 1918


Dear Mr Payne,


You will see by the above address that I am not now in Egypt as well as some thousands of miles from where I addressed my last letter to you.  I trust that it reached you before Ash Wednesday and that you were able to give the children my message at the usual service at school.


We are well “up country” and do not find things so easy as they were in the “Land of the Pharaohs”, where the weather was all that one could desire, while here we have had to contend with the rains which are not conductive to a pleasant time in bivouacs. However in spite of the hardships & fatigue I am most thankful to be able to say I am keeping quite fit & well, while I feel that the hand of Providence has proved a protection on more than one occasion.


I cannot tell you what is happening here but probably you know better than I from the reading of the English papers, but I do not think I shall be giving any military information away when I say that the English work behind the lines is simply marvellous. Roads appear in a very short time and there is practically no delay in transport of food & other necessities for carrying on a successful campaign.  With regard to food we are supplied with fresh meat & bread while “bully” & biscuits we see but seldom.


Of course there is much one would like to see improved in the matter of food but when the difficulties can be appreciated one only feels thankful that it is not worse.


Work there is in abundance so that we get but little leisure. As we are not issued with candles we are practically deprived of opportunities for correspondence and have to get it do be during odd moments of the day time which up to the present have been but few.  The hot weather will probably give us more time as I believe but little can be done on this front during the hot season.


I have not yet had an opportunity of visiting any places of Biblical interest but I hope that if I am spared I shall have the chance to visit Jerusalem before returning home.  Even in passing the part of the country where we are working I feel that many parts of the Bible will be more intelligible to me.  The manners & customs, dress & industries appear to have changed but little since Bible times although I believe there will be a big move forward now.


While in Egypt I was much interested in the Moslems and the effects of Christian missions.  I came into contact with several missionaries connected with the Americas Missionary Society, who spoke most hopefully of their work from a civilising point of view but they did not seem so optimistic from a spiritual aspect.  Personally I think the war will hamper the work in Egypt for sometime owing to the enormous influence of British who, while coming from Christian country, set anything but a Christian example.


I trust that the children at school are manfully doing their “bit” while I have not the slightest doubt that the Staff is still” carrying on” in spite of the many difficulties with which they have to contend. I shall be glad if you will kindly remember me to them and I may say that they are frequently in my thoughts & prayers.


With kindest regards & trusting both your sons are still fit & well.

I remain

Yours sincerely

A.E. Smith.

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