Letter # 28 - This double letter from Jan’s sister Marchien and her husband Detmer Dekker is written on board ship. Part of his letter is missing. It was difficult to translate in spots, so if some parts make no sense, I did the best I could, given the complete lack of punctuation in all these letters. When people went to sea, sometimes they never came back and apparently this is being described. No phones or radios! Just anxious waiting.
Goole, July 12, 1876
To Jan G Rubingh and Wife in America,
Dear Brother and Sister and Child, through the mercy of the Lord we are here together in a reasonably good state of health, and our wish is that you together may participate in that same privilege. If it were otherwise, it would give us great sorrow.
We are again ready to depart with a shipload of alum for Scotland to Dunbus Gork(?). That lies on the Hulsete (?) River, 8 miles beyond Hull. We now have our 8th shipload this year, so the Lord has blessed us this year, and we hope that we may navigate speedily, because in general it is bad with the shipping industry.
Now dear ones, I wish you from the heart that the Lord may bless you with temporal and spiritual………
Goole, July 9, 1876
To Jan Rubingh and Wife
Dear Brother and Sister and Child, through the goodness of the Lord we find ourselves mutually in reasonably good health and our heartfelt wish is that you may take part in the same privilege. Were it otherwise, it would give us heartfelt sorrow.
This morning we received a letter from Mother Rubingh and we were able with great joy to see from it that our sisters and our children were in good health and that brother Enderik was also healthy, but he was just then gone to t’Veen to get some _____. It will close in a week or so, so they can still do it now.
Yes, dear Brother and Sister, we take up the pen in order to write you a little letter, because it is very pleasing when people are so distant from each other and yet can understand from each other that they and we find ourselves in good health and that the Lord extends His mercies to us who are so unworthy. We see that daily in the Wildervank and in our family that many are snatched away by death. Uncle van der Berg lost a child during the winter…..Uncle Pronk Boer and perhaps Uncle Harm Boer and Jan Jakob were all away and Frederik Slik was also on board…. Six weeks ago Aunt Lutgertje and now recently two nieces of Detmer. However, for Aunt Lutgertje there is still hope that she has gone in to her eternal rest. She was not young anymore; she was at most 77 years old. Oh, that the Lord with his Spirit may come and live in our hearts while it is yet day, for they are all voices speaking to us.
May the Lord be gracious so that our sprouts may become his plants and the works of his hands. Yesterday I was 33 years old. Oh, dear ones, that in that last day they may not witness against us! Oh, that we may know our deep dependence and see that we by nature are unclean from head to toe, but that there is forgiveness in the blood of Christ when we come as poor sinners.
We also note that Mother recently wrote us that you all were in good health. Now we would also really like to receive a letter from you. Perhaps if I am well in the beginning of autumn I’ll go home so that I won’t be so alone. Sometimes also I’m really seasick. I came on board on April 3. My dear Detmer was hardly home at all last winter, only ten days. They had planned just a little trip, but it did not work out. Man plans the way, but the Lord rules the outcome.
Our dear children are doing well. They are very precocious. Our Mettiena and Alieda were earlier rather cranky, but now they are so fine it’s just wonderful and they are not underweight either. Our Arien can read in the Bible very nicely already. Our Mettiena also goes to school. Now Dear Brother and Sister and Child, with affectionate greetings we are your loving Brother and Sister D B Dekker