From [Hankow]. He preached this morning on "Blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee". He has spent the rest of the day quietly, writing letters. [James John] Heady left on Friday for Teian, where he has joined [Dr Ralph] Bolton. They have had soldiers in the property there, but these have now left to join the Northern campaign. H B R spent friday in Wuchang, 'passing on my journey a well-dressed man all trussed and bound - a shell with brains blown out - being carried home by two coolies just as he was - a communist I suppose. I am glad that the children are away from the possibilities of such sights'. Miss Wagstaff and [Sarah] Wolfe get back tomorrow. Only the Hadwens [family of Arthur Preston Hadwen] remain in Kuling because of their baby's health - H B R thinks that they are making a mistake by staying on. There will be a struggle with [Sarah] Wolfe as to what to do next. They had a tennis party yesterday afternoon, which was quite a happy gathering. Emily will be in the Mediterranean by now. He is sorry about the delay but each extra week will save them £2-3 in expenses, and will benefit Miss Liu. The enclosed letter [DDHb 4/9] from [Edgar Wesley] Thompson is interesting. Apparently Ernest [H B R's brother John Ernest] has been exercising some influence, 'for which I am sorry. I am not seeking nor will I seek that or any other place'. He sees that Thompson will have been in the ministry for thirty-nine years in 1933, which is possibly what he means by talking of retiring then. H B R is not so far behind him with regard to length of ministry. He must beg Emily not to try to bring about her dream of seeing H B R appointed to the Mission House. Her letter to Edith [John Errnest Rattenbury's wife] has involved Ernest in the matter, which is most regrettable. 'Anyway the carrot is before my nose for the 4th time. (a) [Walter James] Noble (b) [George Edward Hickman] Johnson (c) [William Alexander] Grist & [Edgar Wesley] Thompson.' In any case, he is not attaching too much significance to [a Mission House appointment] and would doubt the wisdom of such an appointment at the age of fifty-five. The more he thinks about it, the more unwise his returning home for Christmas 1931 appears. His opinion is rather emphasised by this letter of Thompson's. H B R is not at present prepared to apply for a home circuit on returning to England as he does not think it would be wise at present. His thoughts are as follows; Emily will apparently get a house, say around Harrow. She will be there from 1930 until Conference 1933. Should Thompson's idea come to fruition, she would stay on but that is another matter. If H B R came home for Christmas 1931 he would be bound to 'face up to circuit [in England]' or return [to China?] in 1932. He would only have nine months at home. If he gets home in February 1932, he could have an extended furlough until 1933 and then perhaps take a circuit. That would give Emily at least three complete years in her own home and would allow A. and P. to attend one school until it is time for them to go to Kingswood. Both [Joan] and [Gordon] will be settled before H B R arrives home and by summer 1933, matters should be clear about the futures of Morley, A. and P. Emily should not leave out the possibility of a return to China. He does not often plan so far ahead and she can be assured that he has no wish to remain here a day longer than is necessary, but it would be nice to leave things tidy. This week he has read volume 1 of Winston Churchill's World Crisis - a magnificent work. Reference is made to Gladys [Stephenson]. He was unable to get a letter off to the children last week, but will try to write to [Gordon] and [Morley] today. It looks as if Chiang Kai Shek may be winning at last. He probably has 'German brains' skilled in warfare to help him. It is a pity that he does not also have access to people skilled in the art of government. The are expected here in a week or so.
- Walter James Noble (1879-1962) was born at Darlington. He candidated for the Wesleyan ministry at the age of nineteen and sailed as a missionary to Ceylon in 1900. Noble served overseas for twenty-two years and then spent twenty-five years as a General Secretary of the Missionary Society. Noble was President of Conference in 1942. Source: Minutes of Conference 1962.