("Uncle Alec" or "Uncle Alex" are referring to the Presiding Patriarch of the RLDS church at the time - Alexander Smith, the son of Joseph and Emma Smith.)
Dec. 28, 1901
My Darling Wife,-
It has been over a week since I wrote a word to my wife. It has been a long time, to me and I have thought of you, my own sweet girl; you and the baby.
We left Auckland, Monday 5:30 P.M. That night and all the next day the weather was fine, but Christmas morning there was a gale blowing and the sea was high. The sudden change made me feel as if I were going to be seasick. My appetite for breakfast was weak and I felt bad until 11 o’clock, after that I felt first rate and took my meals without trouble. One wave washed over the cabin which is built 8 feet above the deck. It smashed out 3 port hole windows and bent the aff rail, also demolished dishes in the dining room. At the table our soup, tea, coffee, and water ran over the table, and some of it was tipped into the bread plate; dishes were thrown onto the floor and smashed although we had a rack on the table to keep them from sliding off. We had Christmas dinner at 6 P.M. Turkey and plum pudding among other things. Altogether I did not enjoy Christmass much although I had the consolation of “looking” towards America. (I am able to look towards the land where my chosen abides, with the hope of sometime returning to her.)
The next morning the weather was still worse, and for awhile the bow of the boat was turned toward the wind, which made it easier for us, as the side waves make the boat rock a great deal worse. Towards evening the wind quieted down, and the next morning there was no trace of a storm, except the broken windows and dishes etc. The 27th. In the evening a concert was given in the cabin, singing, recitations and piano solos being rendered. $10.00 were collected for the benefit of some wrecker’s relief Association. We have hope of reaching Sydney by 6 o’clock, tonight. The U.S. mail steamer should be there in the morning, and I anticipate getting a letter from my wife. If I don’t, I shall have to wait 3 or four weeks, and that is not a pleasant anticipation.
Just before we left Auckland, Mr. Brown, our host, asked me to send one of his post cards to you, so I wrote a few words on it and he said he would mail it. I have some Christmas and New Years presents for you, but must wait until I can bring them to you. I wonder when we shall enjoy another Christmas Day together. (I love you, Sweetheart.) I have been reading in the Book of Mormon, and I read where Nephi saw Mary the Mother of Jesus in a vision, and he said she was white and fair and beautiful above all other virgins. I think my wife is like here; to me she is the fairest and sweetest of all women. I love you. Kiss the baby and be just as happy as you can. Dec 30, I love you Sweetheart.)
We arrived in Sidny at 6 P.M. Saterday. Took our luggage to a hotel, hunted up Bro. Ellis, found that Conference had begun that day. The next morning Uncle Alec went to Newcastle to attend and left me here, lacked money to take me so I have to get along without, you see. Well I have got along alright. I went to Church and Elder Seaburg invited me home. I am at his home right now. They are good people. In the afternoon I was asked to assist at the Sacrament Service which I did as well as I could. It is such hard work. Dear, and at night I dreamed of my Darling. I kissed you, Pet, and I was real happy. I love you my own sweet one.) I am going to the post office today, hoping for a letter from my fair bride. I am a little doubtful about getting one as I am afraid the steamer left S.T. too soon after you got the second mail; so I shall try and not be too disappointed if I must wait another month. (I love you my own sweet girl, I love you.) My insides seem a little out of order, the changes from sea to land make a difference. When I get home I am going to show you just the kind of a dinner I had first in Austrailia. We well have to wait till peach season though. I’ll tell you what we had. When we sat down to the table we found our plates well filled. There were 3 potatoes, 3 or 4 slices of boiled mutton, and a large mess of green peas in each plate. Then there was tomatoes sauce, bread, and water on the table. The second course consisted in peach pie. They don’t make pies here like we have in America. They make them in a deep dish like chicken pies are made, with just an upper crust. A pie was set on the table and the hostess filled each of our plates.
Dec. 31—when we had eaten that we had another plate full. The peaches were put in whole with seeds in, and there were seven in my second piece of pie. (You see, Darling, that right after the first piece of pie was on my plate I had to quit writing, to go to breakfast.) When breakfast was over I went down to Bro. Ellis’s to see about our luggage and got a telegram from Uncle Alec to come at once with the luggage. I had $2.50 in American money and is 6 d. in English money. I ran around town to get it changed and got 8a. 1d. for it; cast me 50 cents to have it changed. My ticket cost 8s (second class) and then there was 9 shillings to pay on the baggage. Bro Ellis had just 8s. in his pocket, I had 1 so I just got off, broke, and so was he. I was so discourage, dear, that I thought a man better just give up trying to gain Heaven, and be content to go to the other place, than to leave home, and wife, and baby, to travel around strapped, depending on someone else to feed, clothe, and care for him. (Then I began to think of my fair bride and her priceless love, and I felt that as long as I could have her sweet tender love, I could endure most anything else, if I could be permitted to grumble a little once in awhile. But, Darling, I could not endure without your love. My sweet, Dear, beautiful mamma wife I love you, I love you, I love you; my blessed Bride, I love you, I love you.) I went to the post office, but was disappointed and I guess that had something to do with making me discouraged, as we whirled along up through the hills and “bush” I almost thought I was on the Brainard & Northern, for the timber, and the logs, and lumber, and little stations, lakes, creeks, with once and awhile a settlers shanty and a small clearing looked so much the same. Then I begun to feel homesick. I arrived at my “dusty nation” at 7:45 P.M. and was met by Bro. Kaler and Bro. Holworth, as I stepped from the car in the dark I stepped between it and the platform and went down like a wicked man whose feet slippeth. Bro. Kaler helped me up. I was not hurt; had 3 bundles in my arms, including the typewriter.
Today I was called to assist Bro. Kaler in the prayer meeting. I did not feel any better about it than before, but after it is over, I feel better, if the Lord will forgive my poor stumbling effort. An now, Darling, I am going to venture on telling you something else, which I hope may prove good news; but time will tell. The Conference here elected Uncle Alex as a delegate to General Conference, and Bro. Kaler thinks he will go back in time for the Conference. So I am going to tell you not to write to this region after you get this letter. You will get this about the 2nd. of Feb. and the boat that takes this will bring whatever mail has reached S.T. The next boat, then won’t get here till after wll will leave which is March 11th. getting to S.T. April 7, (I hope all this won’t be an April fool.) and you may have a letter there for me when I land. send it in care of J.A. Anthony, 231 Castro St. San Francisco.
If I find out that I have acted with a little too much foresight I shall let you know as soon as possible. The work that Uncle Alec came to do will be accomplished, the ordaining of a bishop etc, right here, to night. I think, so there will be nothing but the blessings to be attended to, and so we are ready to go back now as far as official work is concerned. We expect to go to “Ina’s” next week. So Darling, be cheerful and pray that the Lord’s will may be done, and I shall, if we return, see you right away after Conference, I suppose.
I don’t whether I should be justified in running away from Uncle Alec during the General Conference or not. I don’t see how I could help but do it, but I suppose I should feel glad that I could be at Independence rather than Australia. However we will see about that. (I love you Darling, and long to kiss you Sweetheart, I love you, I love you.) Tomorrow is New Years. This is the last day of 1901.
Tomorrow people will be making good resolutions, to break. I don’t know that I ever made a resolution on New Years day, in particular. I always made them when ever they occurred, and usually broke them before New Years, I guess.
(However if I made one tomorrow, I think it should be to love my sweet wife harder than ever if possible, and do all I could to show her that she was, and is, the dearest, darling, sweetheart mamma wife that a man could have. I love you, Pet, I love you, Darling, you are very, very dear to me. I don’t know how to write about baby; but I know that I love it, mamma and every time I see a woman here with a baby, I love to see our baby, Darling, and tell my mamma wife how much I love her and how proud I am of her.)
I see by the Herald that Bro. Ackerlen is dead. It will be a hard blow to Lillie; and I feel sorry for her. She was worrying about her father when we were in the islands, and seemed to be expecting his death. I am learning to feel more sympathy for other people that are in trouble and trial, since I have had my longing anxious times. (I do pray God that I may be permitted to enjoy my Darling wife’s love and companionship yet again many times, much, Darling.)
Jan.7, 1902---My Sweetheart I hope your New Years has been a Merry one and that little Lovite is getting to be real good and white. I hope she is not as cross as the one that lives here. Today I have rattled the typewriter and done some reporting. Have listened to some wonderful tales of adventure, too, which I may be able to tell you. There are some curious animals in this country of which I shall write in my diary. Darling, I love you, I love you, I shall mail this, tomorrow, love and certainly will try to mail another in time for same boat. Dearest mamma, my heart is full of truest love for you, I love you will all my heart. I love you my Pet, my bride, my wife.
Your Husband till death.
Leon A. Gould
(transcribed by Samii S. Gould)