My dear [L?] I did not mean to have troubled you to answer mine, & yet I was so glad to hear from you & of you - thus your letter wakened up so powerfully remembrances wh. time has partly laid to sleep, that it made my heart quite full - Jan 1 13 - I sent this to show you how much better my will was to write, than my power to do so - I wanted to have written to you for New Year's day, but as I wanted too, a quiet half-hour, & not to write hurriedly, have been repeatedly dissapointed - Dear, dear, [L?], do not for a moment doubt that life will -_bud again for you & be beautiful with leaf & blossom, oh & perhaps all the more richly fruitful for the sore pruning from wh. the branches, have suffered - I know how intensely, it is difficult to say, all the shadow wh. has been cast over things that all seem, and are temporal, but there from but a small part of our sphere our surroundings, and in the strengthening of faith, in the drawing out of yr. heart's affections towards the things wh. almost seem & are eternal, they will gain tenfold in brightness and in beauty. Oh how I well know; thus perhaps it may sound strange to you, I can scarcely think of it now without tears; the heart-sickening___wh. one thinks of returning to the routine of daily work, without the ____ or elasticity of interest wh. it demands - feeling almost to hate the new faces in Sunday chapel the cold welcome to stranger-colleges the study or the _____ in wh. our father's sympathy & approbation was such an object - to begin a new sphere under any circumstance requires so much rigour & effort, and under there, one seems only to bring to it ____ & exhaustion. But painful as it is, it will not last, we have gained at our father's glorious death -bed lessons deeper than we ever learned before, of the preciousness of ____the shortness of time, the urgent importance, of the things of eternity in the longing to please them, to be what they wd. have us, to be before others their living memories, wh. have never seemed half so intense before, we seem to hear their voices saying 'spend not the time in weeping for me in wh. you might be looking for Christ'- & in the [opportunities?] provided of carrying forward that blessed work for wh. they lived, and in the midst of which they died, they seem to have us the best of legacies. I do not think life can ever be the same again - this I know, it never will be to me - thus the definition of happiness we made out for ourselves, 'plenty of love & plenty of work', has been most abundantly, most mercifully provided, I said to myself when leaving Wattons, & feel it still, no place on earth an ever be home again to me - a frontier of sorrow is opened in the separation from such a father, wh. can never be sealed up, until the time of separation has expired, thus sometimes it flows underground - but perhps it is a better, safer feeling to think of our home [page has been stuck down here for about 3 lines] are engaged in the mission wh. He has appointed for us, to be accomplished by us, & no others, but our work over, then we too may look upward for that ____from conflict, from sin, from sorrow, fr.disappointment, fr. trial, for wh. one's very heart seems to yearn now, as it never did before - One of Dr Mae Neile's little vivid words so constantly sung in my head 4 years ago, that I must send it to you, 'We have an Abba, father who never leaves us' - God grant that you may prove its truth day by day & hour by hour if our experience can comfort others, we seem never for one day to have been without the sheltering protecting care, the tender thoughtful love, of a Father's heart -forgive me if I have said what you know so well, better far than I - you know we pray for you. Ever yours most affect. [L. Dth?]
Will you send me your Hoddesdon address.
Written at Helshall, Royston. The recipient lived at Hoddesdon.