From Dr Sarah Wolfe at 8 Duinsan Gardens, Shanghai, to H B R [in Hankow]. They had a slow voyage and finally reached Shanghai at 11.30 am yesterday. It was a pleasant trip and interesting in many ways. They took Bishop [Lauress John] Birney, three ladies and three male missionaries onboard at Wuhen with some other passengers. At Nanking the captain and another officer of Madam Borodin's ship [Pamiat Lenina] came onboard - Borodin's vessel is sunk opposite the town.
According to Bishop Birney, from information given direct to him by the American Consul at Nanking, the plan in that city was as bad as it could have been. The bishop said it had certainly been intended to murder all the foreign nationals, 'outrage all foreign women' and destroy all their property. He also gave them some of the evidence. It is not really any of her business, but it seems to her that [Herman Stanley] Dixon should be aware of the risk that he runs in keeping his wife and children here.
There is a rush on boats to Canada. Living in Shanghai is expensive, so Wolfe has taken a berth on a Japanese vessel sailing on April 7th for San Francisco. It costs the same as a passage to Vancouver. But the railway journey to Vancouver would of course be extra - $22 to be precise. She does not know whether Mrs Livesley will accompany her or not. They could share a cabin.
Wolfe is in good health but is tired and lacks energy. She feels that she should go on furlough at once.
She was sorry to leave things like that, especially the hospital expenditure book. It woud have only taken half an hour to put right. She has however been feeling the strain lately.
Should she turn over her private account to Miss Bolton or Miss Green[?]?.
Today [William] Rowley remarked without any lead from her, that it was no wonder that the foreign governments were displaying a firmer resolve and that if the Chinese did not alter their tactics in Hankow, none of the missionaries would get back within twelve months. 'Did Mr Kilner accomplish all that in one night?'.
She does hope that things are not too bad in Hankow and that H B R will find the strength to cope with all the responsibilities. 'I dont suppose you will ever know quite what a lot you took off the rest of us, nor how many times, how fervently we have all thanked God for your return'.
- Lauress John Birney (1871-1937) was born in Dennison, Ohio. He graduated from Scio College and Boston University School of Theology and entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1895. Birney was dean of Boston University from 1911 to 1920, and in the latter year was elected bishop. He served in China for several years until poor health forced his return to the United States. He died at Pasadena in California. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974).