SIR ROBERT ANDERSON
Secret Service Theologian
In one aspect Sir Robert Anderson's theological writings reflect the man - his sturdy Ulster inheritance and training, his clear-cut, logical habit of thought, his impatience with any form of "mediating" theology, his capacity for dealing hard straight blows, and his unsparing condemnation of anything he judged a departure from the truth. What they do not reflect in adequate measure is his fundamental geniality, beautiful simplicity of spirit, and abundant kindness of heart. These are enshrined not in books but in the hearts of all his friends.
E. H., in The Christian, 28th November 1918
"SOME who only knew Sir Robert from his writings and public
utterances may have missed any clue to the traits which endeared him to his
more intimate friends. He had a rare genius for friendship."
So wrote one of the oldest of these, Mr. J. W. C. Fegan. The expression "a genius for friendship" may sound almost trite; but I know not how else to account for that which won the warm affection of a host of men and women of high and low estate and widely differing character and interests.
One can think of few temperaments in some respects more dissimilar than those of Dr. Handley Moule, sometime Bishop of Durham, and my father. Yet there was between them a close bond of understanding and Christian affection. When this memoir was first being prepared Dr. Moule said: "It will be a personal happiness to me that anything affecting me should be included in your memoir of your father, that friend whose never-failing friendship was for long years one of the treasured possessions of my life. Anything to make those who had not the privilege of his friendship know something of his rare character, its gifts and the many-sided power behind them, must be of value for both minds and hearts."
Dr. Stuart Holden, who contributed the Foreword to the first edition, in thanking me for letting him see an intimate letter, wrote: "It gives me no surprise, as I have had the privilege in recent years of getting many such a glimpse into the heart of love and tenderness sometimes disguised by an austere manner." The letter was one asking forgiveness for some expressions misunderstood by a great friend. "I now recognise," it said, that my words are open to the construction you have placed upon them". and I wish frankly to withdraw them, and to express unreservedly my deep and sincere regret for the pain they have given you. Forgive me this wrong. And may I venture to hope that it will be 'as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you,' reaching on to and including the 'no more remembrance'?
Reference has already been made to the life-long friendships formed at " T.C.D." and in the south and west of Ireland. Some of them, notably with the Blands, Trenches and Talbot-Crosbies, and the family of the Rev. J. Denham-Smith, have been continued to the third and fourth generation. But all along the way his devotion to the life of Christian service and witness was repaid by the love and affection bestowed upon him; whilst many whose acquaintance was made in the course of official or public duty became warm friends.
But it was only to those who got beneath the surface that his real character was revealed. After his death Mr. Fegan wrote in the Christian When I was on my first evangelistic visit in Kerry, Mr. F. C. Bland, who was - to use a word of his own coining - a very judgmatical man, said to me in his characteristic vein of affectionate raillery, 'Bob Anderson is a daring impostor. He assumes an air of stoical reserve ; but the truth is that his heart is as tender as a woman's.' In all the varying experiences of a friendship of forty-five years I have found it so. I have often said to those who took exception to some harsh phrase of his in controversy that if I was in deep sorrow or trouble I knew no friend to whom I could turn with greater assurance for heartfelt and comforting sympathy. . . . I must say no more. I could not withhold this much in tribute to one of the staunchest, tenderest friends that ever man had."
Association with Lord Aberdeen in the work of Royal Commissions led to a sincere personal friendship, invitations to Haddo House following the official intercourse. Letters to my mother tell of one of these visits, apparently in 1876. (The letters are undated.) On the evening of his arrival he said : I had a first séance with Lord A. over business; then a walk by the lakes; after lunch a drive with Lady Aberdeen and Lady Harriet Lindsay; a game of tennis with Lady Katherine afterwards. Since then I've been romping with the children (Lady Harriet's). I so wish you and Artie were here. Now on coming to my room I find the fire lighted and everything most snug. Lord A. assured me he liked his friends to act as if they were really at home, and if I wanted a fire early in the day, or tea at any hour, I was to ring and order it. As for the tea, it is to be had in the hall at 4.30 and goes on till 6, so that I am in clover. Indeed I never was in a pleasanter house (except Ardfert !) or with kinder people. Lord A. interrupted me by coming in to explain that ladies were scarce and that he couldn't find one for me, but asked me to sit next his sister's ' young man,' Lord Balfour of Burleigh, whom I know in official circles, a very nice fellow indeed. We sat down 16 to dinner, a very swell affair; the first time I ever dined off silver plate, save at a city dinner! After dinner we had some music, Mr. Turle playing much - for 50 years the organist of Westminster Abbey, a very nice old gentleman. At 10.30 we all tooled off to a little chapel or meeting-room, and Lord A. conducted family prayers. I counted 12 servant women and 5 men. Afterwards I had some talk with Lady A. whom I found to be a true Christian. I am now gone to bed."
The following day: I have just had my romp with the children. I couldn't have believed I should be so thoroughly at home. I have only wanted you to share it all to make me supremely happy." Next evening, Sunday : I feel I have really made friends here. I went to the Parish Church in the morning. Two omnibuses started, one with the servants, women inside, men out ; the other with the ladies and those who preferred driving to walking. . . . At 6.30 p.m. Lord A. read the evening service, Mr. Turle at the harmonium, a new one presented to Lady K. by the servants. Dinner at 8 and sacred music all the evening."
A visit in 1884 was on the occasion of a reception to Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Gladstone; he was at that time the famous Victorian Premier, the opponent of Disraeli and Salisbury. Monday, 15th September was the great day. About midnight a description was written to my mother
The people had collected in hundreds in front of the house, awaiting the G.O.M., [the Grand Old Man,] as Mr. Gladstone was popularly called. At 6.30 Lord Aberdeen who had gone to old Meldrum to meet them rode up amid cheers. A few minutes afterwards arrived the Gladstones in a carriage-and-four escorted by about 300 of the tenantry on horseback. The Gladstones came up to the house where all the party had gathered round Lady Aberdeen, the cheering being worthy of some 1200 Scottish throats. After the G.O.M. had shaken hands with the Haddo guests, one of the oldest tenants addressed a few words of welcome. Meanwhile the 'cavalry' had formed up under the balcony, the people on foot on the grass beyond, and Mr. Gladstone made a speech in reply. All this you can read in the papers. The dinner was a big one, as a number of local celebrities were invited. The biggest swells among the new arrivals were Lord and Lady Elgin. . . . P.S. (Tuesday). I am at the library table, and the G.O.M. has just sat down beside me at the next blotter and might look over my shoulder!"
Again, late that night: After I wrote to-day we had the photo of the house-party. Then I got Mr. Glyn, Lord Elgin and Mr. Henry Gladstone, and we had two good hours tennis. We had a big dinner again; 34 sat down." I still have the photo of this group, which included, in addition to the Gladstones and Aberdeens and the present Marquess as a small boy, the Rev, the Hon. E. Carr Glyn, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough, and Lady Mary Glyn, the Earl and Countess of Elgin (he was Viceroy of India, 1894 - 99), Mr. Henry Gladstone, and various Scottish notables. The last letter from Haddo has a postscript: I think my fate is sealed and I suppose I'll stay another day. We have had a particularly pleasant party this evening; the Glyns, Lady Tavistock, Mrs. and Miss Hogg, Dr. Donaldson and Mr. Henry Gladstone. We had great fun all round, and very definite appeals to me to stay another day. Mr.. Sholto Douglas comes to-morrow. I had a long quiet chat with Lady Aberdeen this evening. She and A. were kinder and more cordial than ever in the leave-taking."
His hostess wrote in reply to a thanks-letter: I hope there may be many repetitions of your visit. It is a great comfort to me to think that you are to be the one with whom Aberdeen is to work for the next year or two." And his host: Yes, I think Miss Hogg's ideas, for instance, underwent a revolution or got a revelation as to the formidably staid and respected Mr. Anderson!"
Mention of Mr. Sholto Douglas recalls another incident. Writing the same year from Douglas Support, Coatbridge, my father said: This morning I drove with Lady de Crespigny to see Bosworth Castle; we are sworn friends. I find Mr. Douglas had been warning the ladies that all levity was to cease when I came, and nothing to be spoken about except evangelical and prophetic topics. Lady de C. confessed they had looked forward to my advent with anything but pleasure!" When at Haddo again the following year, he wrote describing a Sunday: Professor Henry Drummond and I absconded after breakfast and made for the Free Kirk, where I occupied the pulpit. . . . Tea at 5.30 and Chapel at 6.30. It was full and many were shut out. Lord A. read the service and Professor D. gave the sermon. Dinner at 8.45, and after a spell of talk and some sacred music, I was very glad to see A. bring out a heap of hymn-books, and we all had some hymns before separating. It is very happy to see this element in the midst of such princely and luxurious living."
There is a beautiful photograph of the Haddo Chapel in We Twa, the memoirs of Lord and Lady Aberdeen. Lady Aberdeen tells there that Archbishop Tait advised against a formal consecration, as this would involve its belonging to and being under the authority of one particular Church. He thought, and the Aberdeens agreed, that it would be much better for it to be nominally just a room in the house, built in the form of a chapel, and dedicated to the special service of God. Accordingly it was opened on 11th December 1881 by a service conducted by Mr. Carr Glyn, then Vicar of Kensington. My father seems to have lost touch somewhat for a time with the Aberdeens, possibly on account of their very divergent views on the Irish Home Rule controversy. When Governor-General of Canada, however, Lord Aberdeen wrote thanking him for the gift of a book, and kindly added : If ever I can be of any use, e.g. in showing attention to any friends to whom you might wish to give letters of introduction, pray let me know." And a diary entry during a visit to Dublin at a later date reads : To Vice-regal Lodge to tea. Aberdeen as friendly as of old."
The last letter I have come across was one thanking my father for an "expression, most warm and true, of deep sympathy" on the death as the result of an accident on 16th December 1909, of the Hon. Archie Gordon at the early age of twenty-five. A photograph in the uniform of A.D.C. to his father, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, accompanied the letter, and a booklet giving the story of his short life. Under the photo are the words: "Thanks be to God Who giveth us the victory." Ties of warm friendship and fellowship in the Gospel and Bible study were formed with the Rev. Sholto D. C. Douglas, mentioned above, Rector of All Souls Church, Langham Place, and afterwards of St. Silas, Glasgow.
After his marriage to Miss Violet Paget visits to their summer home at Balmacara on Loch Alsh became a delight. "Such a view!" runs a letter to my mother. "The hills looked as they do in Herbert's frescoes of the East, save that the colouring far surpasses the East. Not a cloud from horizon to horizon, and a panorama of lake and sea and mountain like Rigi and Derryquin in one. . . . Evening service (Church of Scotland) at 6, which I took ; the little place packed, the majority men, not a few of them kilted."
In the summer of 1893 my brother Alan and I were there with my father on a never-forgotten visit. Others in the house- party were Dr. E. W. Bullinger, the Rev. H. L. C. and Mrs. de Candole, Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Davidson, Count Moltke of Copenhagen, Mr. Alister and the Hon. Mrs. Fraser, and Mr. Thomas Stockdale. Our hostess divided us into major and minor prophets for the daily Bible Readings which made the Balmacara visits so much more than the sheer enjoyment they were in any case. As ever my father wrote home about it all. One letter tells of a visit to Skye: "We weighed anchor in the Skeandhu for Portree at 11.30. The occasion was to see Lord and Lady Macdonald (Mr. D.'s cousins), and he came on board as soon as we arrived. We had a very enjoyable run back, reaching home at 8, and dinner was late. Now all the party are gone to bed, and I'll follow. . . . P.S. I didn't. I took up the Graphic and became so interested in the sinking of the Victoria that before going up I read the report of the court-martial. Then I saw a steamer with brilliant lights coming as it seemed ashore. This morning I found she was the Iolanthe, Sir Donald Currie's yacht. The day broke exquisitely, and throughout it was one of Mrs. D.'s 'blue days' in which everything looks unnaturally beautiful. . . . The evening meeting was crammed; Sir D. Currie, Sir J. Pease, Mr. Shaw Stewart and others (three M.P.s) ; also a number of the crews of the Jolanthe and Fire Fqy (R.Y.S.). Very solemn. Mr. Stewart and I went back with Sir Donald and dined on board."
His diary for 1892 records : "In the yacht to Glenelg. Tea at the Master of Blantyre's; then up the Glen to see the famous Pictish tower, a wonderful ruin said to be 2000 years old." Warmhearted invitations to Balmacara came year after year; and Mrs. Douglas in her inimitable way describes the attractions of that lovely spot. To my mother she wrote : "We are in a spell of Divine loveliness which no words out of the Bible can describe. Even Balmacara is more like the New Earth than it has ever been; and I have grudged every hour of it, feeling all through how your dear man would revel in it all, how he would roast himself in the hot sun and grow speechless in the beauty. I cannot tell how I long for you both to come and enjoy it with us. Do pack up and come to-morrow, dear, dear people."
One summer our own family and our friends the Cootes went to Ramsgate, taking two adjoining school buildings, complete with swimming-bath, playing-fields, and other attractions for boys and girls. A letter from Mrs. Douglas containing some choice sarcasm came to "My very dear friends" : "We wonder," she wrote, "at the vulgarity of your preference for Ramsgate over Balmacara. . . . Ramsgate ! ! ! Well, it is nice to see the 'arrys enjoying themselves and to listen to the band and watch the niggers. And the wild shrieks of the Pipes welcoming us at night, as we come home in the sunset from the rugged Coolins or the lonely Lochs, of course cannot compete with the music of the Spa ! But still we wonder at you ! " Then follow more raptures about the beauties of the Highland home : "I feel I could open my arms and take into them the scenes, the peat smells, the weird lights, the lovely bare rocky heathery stretches, the Highland cattle and shaven sheep, as if they were human things to hug and love. Don't you feel just that same sort of drawing towards the nigger minstrels and the donkeys on the sands, and the elephantine hotels on the parade? I am sure you do!"
Another letter in July 1896, to my father, speaks of all the hills being lit up with lights such as are only to be seen at "Bal." or in Heaven; "and we groaned that you were not with us; we are having a proper honeymoon this time, expecting no one except you or Bully, or such like odds and ends " - Bully being Dr. Bullinger. A few days later: 'We are delighted to think that you will be an 'odds and ends' with us. We will let you do exactly what you feel inclined for from morning to night; unlimited tea, fresh made! What other inducements can we offer? Absolute rest of mind and body. If you care to join us in Biblical researches you shall; but we promise not to be scandalised if you snooze on the beach instead, for we have great sympathy with what must be your longing to think of nothing but food and air."
A note thanking my parents for going to call on Mr. and Mrs. Douglas when on a short visit to London says : "Yes, it was nice of you to toil up to us so often, real friendly; but indeed I could as little doubt your true and lasting friendship as I could Sholto's love to me!" Visits were often paid to Rossie Priory, Perthshire, the home of Lord and Lady Kinnaird. Writing after my mother's death, the Hon. Emily Kinnaird said: "Your father and mother have been associated with our whole life, and we have such happy recollections of his visits and her devotion to you all." My father's diary for 1908 records : "Chapel at 6. Full. Spoke on Luke iv. 14-30. Bishop Taylor Smith took the opening prayer. I spoke for near 50 minutes: very attentive: ended with the story of my conversion . . . ." (Later) "Fourth day of rain ! I perambulated the corridors ; from the end of mine to the end of the picture room is 16o yards; the hall is 50 yards."
Yachting on the Clyde used to be enjoyed with special friends Mr. and Mrs. William Sloan of Dunara, Helensburgh, whose eldest daughter was one day to be my wife. The diary mentions my father's preaching in the two parish kirks (Church of Scotland) at Helensburgh and in the Congregational and United Free churches. The Duncan Davidsons of Inchmarlo, Captain and Mrs. Bisset at Lessendrum, and the Blackwoods at Gogar Mount near Edinburgh, were other folk in Scotland who welcomed my parents. The "Reminiscence" in Blackwood's Magazine were the basis of the book The Lighter Side of my Official Life.
Besides frequent visits to the Dublin relations, Irish hospitality was extended by the Barcrofts at Newry, the Boyds of Ballymacool, Lord Langford at Kilcock, and Sir Algernon and Lady Coote of Ballyfin. A diary entry refers to a visit to the latter: "At evening prayers I had all the household and a number of the outside staff (31 in all) and gave them a talk on Acts xvii and God's gifts to us, forgiveness, life, sonship." Ballyfin, like Moore Abbey, not far away, has since then passed into other hands.
One of the chief pleasures of my father's later years came as a result of his official duties. During the dynamite campaigns Scotland Yard officers were stationed at various home and foreign ports: and at places such as Dover, Folkestone, Calais and Boulogne their presence had proved of such value that it was decided to continue their services. A gang of criminals had for years lived in luxury on the contents of purses and pocketbooks stolen on the Channel steamers. But some had far bigger game in the shape of valuable securities in the ships' treasure chests, keys for which they were able to secure. The C.I.D. men were of great assistance to the French police in keeping watch on these gentry, but there was always some danger of friction, and it was thought advisable for the Chief to pay occasional unexpected visits. The railway company who were also the owners of the steamers gave him a free pass between London and Calais, very kindly making it available for himself and another. Not only so, but they continued issuing the pass after his retirement from Scotland Yard. This meant that my mother or one of us could accompany him on cross-ChanneTrips, having lunch or tea on the French side. Often my people stayed at Dover, crossing on fine days, and enjoying not only the trip but meeting friends and acquaintances on board. In this way they got to know the Marine Superintendent, Captain Dixon; the Harbour-Master, Captain Iron; as well as the Commanders of the ships, amongst whom were Captains Bennett, Dane, Paine, Hancock, King and Belchamber, some of whom became warm friends. A genuine welcome always came from the railway officials as well as from the detective officers and others. My mother and Sister too became familiar figures on the Admiralty Pier at Dover, receiving friendly greetings on every hand. Amongst the fellow-passengers most frequently met was Mr. Alfred Harmsworth, afterwards Lord Northcliffe, whom they often saw in London also. In view of the supposed influence of newspaper magnates in the making and unmaking of politicians and governments the following note is of interest. (Mr. Asquith had resigned the Premiership in December 1916 and been succeeded by Mr. Lloyd George)
"PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE, "LONDON, E.C.
"I4th Jan. 1917.
"DEAR SIR ROBERT, - I would have replied before, but I have been out to the war.
"Miss Asquith is rather sanguine if she thinks we shall hear any more of Papa. I understand that he has no desire for further work.
When not crossing themselves my people used to find constant interest in watching the sailing and arrival of the Channel steamers. Many diary entries refer to this, such as - " Madame Sarah Bernhardt and Company on board." Amongst the crowned heads and others mentioned are the Kings of Spain and Portugal, the Shah of Persia, the Khedive of Egypt, the Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden, the Maharajah of Jeypur. Other items in the diaries are: "Passed Holbein on his swim about 1.5 miles out. . . . Saw Lord Roberts receive the Freedom of Dover." (Both on 28th August 1902). A few days earlier: "Banquet to Officers of German Warship Stein"; and the same year: "Procession of the Court of Guestling; Mayors of the Cinque Ports, etc."
In those days a trip from London to Calais and back in a day was not quite such a trifle as it is now; and many people had unpleasant memories of the crossing. When discussing the Channel Tunnel scheme during the visit to Walmer Castle, mentioned in Chapter IV my father spoke of going over for pleasure Lord Salisbury's response was - " For pleasure?" However, when occasionally at breakfast he decided to "go to France," everything possible used to be done by the officials to make the journey by train and boat comfortable and pleasant, and of course he. chose his day. From the diaries I find that thirty-seven visits to Calais were made in 1898 and thirty-eight in 1902, and many almost every year, most of them just from Dover.
The view of the White Cliffs from the Channel suggested thoughts to him besides the customary ones. When pleading for prison reform in his book Criminals and Crime he wrote: "Some who read these pages will know nothing of the structure of a gaol. When next they find themselves upon a Calais steamer let them glance up at the prison on Dover Cliffs, and realise that all those rows of cells are so designed as to prevent the imnates from seeing the English Channel. . . . There may be gaols where no outlook could be given that might not be deemed unsuitable. But here, if the cells on the southern side were fitted with windows extending from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling, the prisoner could look on nothing but sea and sky, and in Nature's brighter moods the far-off coast of France. And the prospect might well make him pine for liberty with moistened eyes instead of with clenched teeth and knitted brow."
Apart from the enjoyment of the sea trips, one of the great , attractions of Dover was visiting the Worsfold Mowlls, the Martyn Mowlls and their families. Years afterwards Mr. Rutley Mowll recalled "with happy memories those visits to Whitfield; days of sparkling wit, delightful anecdotes, and spiritual joy." One of the family, Dr. Howard Mowll, Archbishop of Sydney, wrote recently to my sister:
"It was such a pleasure to hear from you. It brought back so many memories. I always remember several of Sir Robert's Bible Readings in our Hall in Dover, especially his saying on one occasion, 'What is your conception of God? How few have the Psalmist's majestic conception of God !' . . . His books are still a great help to our theological students. Then I think of dear Lady Agnes and her many kindnesses, and her pleasure when she saw me carrying a large Bible !"
Recalling those Dover days Colonel C. M. Davidson of His Majesty's Bodyguard wrote: "I look back with pleasure to the bright talks I enjoyed with Sir Robert on Dover Pier - so full of interest and always impressing one with his Christian faith. He was so consistent, and one always felt the better." My father's 1912 diary records "a long talk with P., who declared himself an infidel and seemed very hard, but softened somewhat at last." That talk was on Dover Pier.
Amongst the friends with whom my parents used to stay in England were the Barrow Cadburys of Birmingham, Sir Victor and Lady Buxton in the Epping Forest, the Herbert Apperleys and D. C. Apperley , the T. A. Dennys, the Boakes and the Brand-Apperleys. There were, too, the Edward Trotters, Herbert Trittons, and Hanburys, as well as the Fegans, Macalisters, and others mentioned elsewhere. Referring to one of his visits to the Whit- wells at Oxford, my father's diary records : "Dined at All Souls. I sat at head of table with Prof. Dicey on left and Prof. Edgeworth on right. . . . Very pleasant evening; told a series of Irish and other stories." The Rev. W. Mitchell-Carruthers wrote after my mother's death: "How greatly I valued the friendship of your parents, and what a delight your father's annual visits to me in the days when I was at Holbrook." (Mr. Carruthers was the rector.)
Some of the friends from across the Atlantic who visited our home were the Revs. Dr. Harris Gregg, Dr. James Gray, Dr. Robert Cameron, Dr. A. C. Dixon, Dr. C. I. Scofield, editor of the Scofield Bible, and Mr. Charles Alexander of the Torrey Alexander and Chapman-Alexander Missions. Dr. Cameron wrote: "I want you to know that I count it one of the highest joys of my life to have enjoyed your fellowship." And Dr. Gray spoke of the possibility of meeting my father as one of the great attractions of a visit to England. The recent war gives added interest to this extract from a long letter in 1916 from General Ralph Prime of Yonkers
"These two years of awful history have been full of intense concern for you with all of us. I need not tell you that England and the English have the deepest sympathy of all our people. I do not know of an American but thinks and feels for your people. If we were all fellow-citizens of Great Britain we could not feel more deeply for you. . . . We send you our best wishes and prayers for God's protecting care and grace. May the Good Lord have you and yours in his keeping."
Other welcome visitors from overseas included the Hon. W. H. Edgar of Australia, the Revs. Alexander Reese and Eldred Hercus of New Zealand, and the New Hebrides missionaries Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Frater and the Rev. Fred. Paton. On hearing of Sir Robert's death, Dr. John Hoskin, K.C., of Toronto, wrote: "It is with much deep sorrow of heart I learn that my very dear friend has been summoned Home. My friendship for him was deep, and so long as I live I shall remember him." And Miss Carpmael, Dr. Hoskin's niece, has sent this kind appreciation of my father:
"He was so utterly sincere, so devoted to his Lord and so genuinely kind to all, high or low, rich or poor, that he was greatly beloved wherever he went. . . . My uncle when dying asked me, to read a passage from The Gospel and its Ministry."
My father was fortunate in the medical men whom be numbered amongst his friends. Dr. T. Gilbart-Smith, one of the oldest of these, wrote once: "Robert, my old friend, your friendship is one of the brightest spots in this dark London." And years later Mrs. Gilbart-Smith said : "Oh, how Gilbart loved him, I think more than any other man outside our own family." Another friend of early Irish days was Dr. Hamilton Bland; right to the close of my father's life he had unbounded confidence in this beloved physician. Others who attended him from time to time were drawn to him in a special degree; Mr. Mark Hovell said: "I always thought of him more as a friend than a patient." At a time of distressing heart weakness, Dr. Bezley Thorne wrote, "I am so thankful to learn that you have had a restful night. Thank God for it." Although not treating him professionally, Dr. Frederick Price became a warm family friend in later years. "Your father," he wrote, "was a great man and his life had far-reaching influence. He had a really great intellect; besides which he had a child-like faith in Christ - not a frequent combination. I got to love him."
"Why, oh why did we not know each other in bygone years?" said the Rev. J. H. Townsend; and a letter from the Rev. Dr. C. H. Waller ended, "Yours ever (but I do love a scrimmage with you !)." Two letters began thus: "My dear old over-worked Detective," and "My dear Darius, the friend of Daniel," the latter a reference to Daniel in the Critics' Den. Remembrance of the early Irish days is in these other brief extracts. Mrs. Pery Knox Gore wrote: "Many and many a time you and the dear old days are in my mind. God bless you, dear old friend. May He in His own good time send you to be among us here again." Another letter, referring to those times, begins: "Very dear old Andern, It is good to find you are just the same affectionate old friend as of old." In lighter vein, thanking him for a new book, Miss Bland of the Kerry family says: "You blessed man, not only will I forgive you anything you have done (and that is saying a good deal), but I will forgive you anything you may do!"
I can think of only one occasion when my father committed a real faux pas. Shortly after I went to the Leys School he came to see me, and in the course of conversation with the famous Head, Dr. W. F. Moulton, he introduced some of his favourite criticisms of the Revised Version of the Bible. He told me afterwards how if suddenly dawned on him that "the Doctor" in defending the Revisers was using the word "we." He had had no idea that he was speaking to the Dr. Moulton, as he put it. The latter, however, far from being offended, became a warm friend and admirer, writing to him two years later: "No book of yours that I have seen has failed to interest me greatly, and certainly this is no exception. I sympathise deeply with your object."
He was referring to For His Name's Sake, incorporated later in The Honour of His Name (" A Plea for Reverence "). Dr. Moulton went on, however, to deprecate an expression "strange pedantry" used in connection with two Revised renderings, pleading that the words implied not merely inconsistency but falseness of motive. He then kindly explained at some length the reasons which had decided the choice of the English renderings; referring to the fact that a two-thirds majority was required for alterations to the Authorised reading. The question was the translation "King Eternal" in I Tim. i. 17, and " King of the Ages" in Rev. xv. 3.
Reference has been made in Chapter III to the attacks upon my father in Parliament. One happy result was the way friends rallied to him. One of them wrote in 1910 "My Dear Robert, - I always say that if there is one man who is able to take care of himself it is you ! At the same time, when offensive things are being said, it may be some little satisfaction to you to know that old friends are as they were with unshaken confidence. The sickening personalities of public life at the present time must disgust all reasonable men.
Always yours affectionately,
And this came from Lady Tritton:
"I have been thinking much of you during the storm that has been raging around you. I have often prayed for you in my hours of quiet and leisure. I have a conviction that God has a very special purpose of blessing in all this. I know you will forgive me for saying so much, and accept the word of comfort I have been wishing to send to one whose words have been a help and inspiration for many years."
The last letter recalls one from Lady Kinnaird at another time: "I think you said yesterday on the doorstep that you had prayed for me lately by name; I want to thank you particularly. I wish we had more of that personal ministry." And this brings to remembrance an unusual appeal from Mrs. Sholto Douglas for prayer-help:
"Mv DEAR FRIENDS BOTH, - We are coming to London to preach in Portman Chapel for four Sundays, and I long with a great and growing longing that our month may be a real mission among the rich. Old friends are coming to hear Sholto, and may God fill him. I want your earnest prayers, I don't often ask praying people for their prayers, because I know what a serious thing it is to pray in earnest. And yet, as one sees miners converted every week, as we have done all winter, thank God . . . and as one hears of work in Uganda, China, amongst Esquimaux - everyone seems to be reached except the poor rich people. Do, do pray, dear kind people, as you love souls; here are real heathen to be reached."
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