From Hankow. There is still no letter from Emily since the one dated November 23. One came from [William] Rowley this week which was very kind and appreciative. H B R has just been reading [John W.] Pell's copy of the Methodist Recorder of December 14 and he sees that Lydia 'has gone over' [died]. He supposes that one ought to rejoice but it is difficult for they had been friends since H B R was aged seventeen or eighteen. 'I suppose I was in love with her in a way, without knowing what it all was; but she was ten years older and took good care on that score & so it remained a close & helpful friendship...She was a good woman & got the husband she deserved...'.
Dr Norwood of the City Temple is in Hankow for three days and H B R went to the Union Church this morning to hear him preach. The place was quite full, showing the potential for progress if only the Church [of England?] had the right minister here.
It has been a very hard week. The [financial?] grants are now apportioned and the people have now returned home or are en route. It has been a rather sad business '& yet, as I cast my memory back, it seems as though Chinese & foreign human nature was much the same'. Yesterday they completed the Hupeh District Audit and the next few days will see the completion of the Mission Audit - he will never have to do it again.
The Gedyes [family of Alfred John Gedye] and Miss Robinson arrived on Friday and the Grattons [family of James Maxwell Gratton] and Miss Sanderson set off [on furlough] last Monday.
He has finished reading [Leslie] Weatherhead's How can I find God? and considers it the best thing that he has done.
H B R is planning to go with Jack to Anlu in the middle of February on what will be practically his last Hupeh journey. If plans remain unchanged, he will be in North China in March, followed by synod, Nanking [M.E.M. Quadrennial Conference] and farewell in April, Yunnan and Canton in May and June and finally home to England. 'In 12 months the loose strings of this District have been pulled together, Methodist Union has taken place & really means something, foreigners & Chinese are facing things with new courage, new hope & new expectations. So it has not been 12 months spent in vain'.
It has been a very hard and strenuous year with no time to get lonely but it has not been easy. 'I have to deal just now with a question of an infatuation of a married Chinese for a young widow which may be incapable of solution without the shattering of a reputation & the destruction of a home'.