10th September 1932

 

Letter : Herbert Davy to “Chanji“ Dadachanji ( India )

Written from : No.1 Pei Sze Ting, Nanking, China                   Telegraph : Davy Nanking

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Dear Chanji,

                    Please show this letter to Baba – I am also writing separately to Him ( see 12th Sept. ), & then to Rustom, Pendu & Vishnu & Jal & the others, Kaka ---

Thank you Vishnu very much for the book it was my fault & I am very ashamed.

      At last I have reached my empty house in Nanking, tired of travelling as I have done continuously for over 3 months, never staying longer than 9 days in one place and usually for 3 or 4 days. Italy ( 2 )-[ travelling time ] – Geneva 5 [ stay time ], ( 2 ), Berlin 1, ( 2 ), Warsaw 3, ( 2 ), Moscow 1, ( 2 ), Manchouli 5, on the Siberian-Manchurian frontier.

Venice 2 - Marsellies, Peking 9, Taonan 5, ( Mt. )Tai shan 1, Chufoo 1, - London 9, St. Margherita 2 & 9, Assisi 5, Fierole 5, Florence 1.

 

      Here I found 25 passengers some of whom had waited already for 20 days unable to move, surrounded by extraordinary rumours, helpless because neither Japanese or Manchikou authorities would do anything or accept responsibility, added to this was Soviet control of C.E.R. ( Chinese Eastern Railway ) and presence of a numerous and oppressed Chinese population. On the same train were 2 Chinese students now suspected and gruelled by the J ( Japanese ) & M ( Manchiko ) authorities, they claimed a kind of protection from me in order to save their lives.

 

     We were watched and cross questioned by innumerable spies, had to sleep in Railway carriage and to eat in the Station.

     Floods, politics, Bandits, Chinese volunteer armies, destroyed tracks cut us off on all sides.

( added ) Save Russia,  ( then are needed----------------& much   money ? )

 

    They promised us aeroplanes but it was no good. Eventually after 5 days wait as the local situation was very dangerous ( since [ 111 ] one hundred Japanese  have been killed here and in Hailar ) 16 of us decided to press on, no matter what risks, taking the 2 Chinese students with us if possibly could, 6 nationalities – 5 women, 15 suitcases which the men of the party had to handle. We had a catering, a transport, a finance, and a diplomatic divisions of our party. I was in all the Rail groups – three.

     No less than 10 changes on our second day – trains for many kinds, trolley cars, boats, walking for the line was swept away by floods for many miles, standing on platforms for hours being told that no trains would or could run. That night at 10 we slept in a Japanese Inn. It was impossible to reach Harbin or to fly. We went by circular line, Angangchi – Taonan – Ssupingkai – Muhden – Daisen ( Diaren ), and exposed to much danger from the train wrecking and gunfire –   Taonan – Ssupingkai line.

 

 

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    We travelled for 2 hours or more in a boat across floods, then we prepared to sleep in a tent and at last a train turned up. It was fired upon but only 3 or 4 shots, we wondered if it was a put up job ; the next day we passed 2 derailed trains one was still burning and so to Ssupingkai where we rejoined the S.M.R. ( Southern Manchurian ) railway. Then to Dairen, boat to Tientsin, train to Peking where I stayed 9 days, then Tsinan University for 5 days, where I lectured and was asked to join the staff. It’s a wonderful joint missionary University. Then to the most sacred mountain TAISHAN where I slept and saw the dawn then Chufoo ( Chefoo ) the birth and death place of Confusius. All these 3 places are in a sacred land of ChinaShantung the cradle of the race. The people and peasants of the north are so very attractive after Nanking and all its sordid dealings. We are extremely fortunate to get through, after we met and heard of people who had been severely handled, stripped of all and we were the last train to pass on the Taonan – SS line, at any rate for some time.

     I saw the sights of Peking and the Great Wall. Many troubles in the University while away, 3 times opening has been postponed – Sept. 1, Sept. 20-1, and now to Oct. 11, tomorrow. This has for me a peculiar after effect, 1) I could have stayed longer in Europe and so have seen Mother again,      2) if I had started 5 days later I might never have got through and the students would probably have been killed, or I might had to go by boat. But at the time this delays were unknown even in Nanking I understand. Now my house here seems so lonely, I have to buy furniture 2nd hand ( before it was only hired ) and it was too expensive that way. In the wire I got at Geneva was no hint that Mother’s illness was mortal, hence Kitty’s wire which was forwarded to me in Peking was a complete surprise and shock.

     Did you get my wire to say “Unsure” from Warsaw ?

     It is no use to say more about this.

     Students who came to see me today are not very optimistic about this term’s prospects, ie. of an uninterrupted terms work. Three Presidents ( Uni. ) since July and they do not like the present one.

     Best wishes and love to all.               Herbert.

 

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Dear Chanji,

     Please see that photographs are sent to Mr. K. Ting as requested as soon as possible. Letter was delayed for so long in part to Geneo and back.

     Many thanks for your letter, long and very welcome letter, from India.

     Please thank Vishnu and tell him, I am very unworthy and that his letter should have been written by me to him.  I hope to see Vishnu before long.

 

 

     Note : This letter was typed from the original hand-written letter by Anthony Zois