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an enlightened and noble Government, now happily bent on the glorious task of rousing the intellect of India from its sleep of ages.
Almanoa, 5th July, 1854.
My Dear Brother—Last Saturday I discharged the last workman from the Mission premises. In the Church brother Hebich, who paid me a visit on his return from the French Rocks to Cannanore, preached the first sermon to the infant Congregation of Almanda, a fortnight ago. Besides the regular Sunday and weekday services, I use it daily for morning and evening prayers, at which the whole little company attends.
Puakka and her boy have been led by a special providence, almost blind-fold to Almanda, but are now happy in the fellowship of Christians, and the hearing of the word of God. I hope to baptize them soon. Their story is very simple and yet singular. Last year, when I lived in Mr. Griffith's house at Mercara with the Almanda family, I superintended the thatching of the roof before the monsoon, or rather Stephanas did it for me. We purchased the straw from Coorg people of the neighbourhood, who used to carry their bundles past our house to the bazaar. Among the Coorg farmers, who came several times to us, there was Kambaya and his wife, people of M6diir, a village at a distance of a mile or two. They conversed with Stephanas and his wife once or twice. But no particular notice was taken of them. On their part, however, a question of life and death arose. Kambaya told his wife, that he thought of joining the Missionary, as Somaya (Stephanas) had done, "for I know," he said, "this is the true way." Puakka would not listen to such a proposal. To leave caste and property (she had by her diligence and thriftiness contrived to ac
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quire some property, though very poor, when she commenced house keeping with her first husband, Ponnappa's father, the elder brother of Kambaya) for nothing 1 never! Kambaya renewed his efforts at persuading his wife, but to no purpose. At last he said: well, then, you stay at home and do, as you please; keep your property. But let me take Ponnappa with me and join the Padre. This proposal was equally unpalatable to the poor woman, who is excessively fond of her only boy. She did all she could to dissuade her husband. We went to Almanda, where Stephanas was reinstated into his house and property. The monsoon set in, and poor Kambaya was taken ill with fever, of which he died last October.
Had Puakka allowed herself to be led by her husband, who knows but Kambaya might be alive now and a member of the new Coorg Church. May the Lord have had mercy upon him! But who would have thought, that Kambaya's death would be the salvation of his wife and step-son 1 Yet so it was: sometime after the decease of Kambaya, the Coorg Panchayet decreed, that Monnaya, the only remaining brother of Kambaya and of Puaya, Ponnappa's father, though married to Puakka's own elder sister, and separated, since thirty years, from his father's house, (having joined his wife's family),should now become Puakka's husband and the step-father of his nephew. Puakka was most miserable; she hated the very idea of this new marriage and dreaded, that her darling boy would be roughly treated, yea, fare worse. But what could the poor woman do. The whole world (». e. her little Coorgworld) was against her. She herself was seized with fever, her brother-in-law commanded in the house,-her dear boy had to bear harsh language. In this perplexity the thought, a thought of despair, shot across her mind : "if I run with my boy to the Padre, and if we become Christians, we shall be safe. Ponnappa will become a learned and happy man." She spoke secretly with the boy, who remembered, what his father Kambaya had spoken last year, and joyfully agreed. One morning they left the house together, to go to Beppunadu; but when they had gone a little distance, Puakka lost her courage; she could not give up everything, and go among strangers. They returned. After a few days, however, Monnaya came again to the house, forced the fever stricken woman to load rice, and abused the boy; —and now the final resolution was taken. On the following Friday, mother and son packed some clothes into bundles of straw, and walked towards Mercara, as if they were going to market. At Mercara they sold the little straw, made one bundle of their clothes, and directed their steps to Beppunadu. Riding home from my market-preaching on Friday evening, as I drew near Almanda, I saw two persons in the twilight at some distance walking wearily on the path before me. They looked like strangers. I passed them, but felt drawn back, for I fancied they had looked at me, as if they wanted something. I turned and asked: "whither so late ?" They replied : to Beppunadu. "And whither in Beppunadu?" To Almanda. "To Subaya, I suppose?" (Subaya is Stephannas' heathen relative.) No, to Somaya (Stephanas' old name.) "Are you relatives of Stephanas." No, but we know him. "Well," I said, "I will go before you ; we are close to Almanda." In a few minutes they followed me. The mother said, that she had come with her son to ask for my protection; they wished to enter our Church, and would give up caste and everything ; and then she gave a short account of herself which is given in the above narrative. She had taken with her a bond for Rs. 50, which she had lent to a shopkeeper at Mercara, and a sum of money, part of a little purse she had made at home.
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Everything else she considered lost, but she hoped, that I would take charge of her son, and educate him. For herself she would contrive to provide. There was the bond, and her little store of rupees, and she could work. The first appearance of these two refugees from heathenism pleased me much. The evident mutual affection of mother and son, their straight forward and unembarrassed manner, their alacrity in putting their words into practice (the boy's jutta quickly disappeared without a word from me) everything prepossessed me in their favor, and now, after a further acquaintance of several weeks, I see no reason to change my opinion. They have been led by God by a way they knew not. They now hear the word of God daily, and begin to understand it, and to feel its power. It is a great joy to teach such people, perfectly ignorant of course, but predisposed to receive the word of God reverentially, and to see their faces lit up now and then with the brightness of joy, as they hear of the riches of God's love to sinful men. May the Lord give unto them His Holy Spirit and make them His own ! Is not this a good and gracious beginning for the new Church, a first gift to the new house from Him, who is the giver of all?
Puakka was surprized and glad, of course, when she learned from me and Stephanas, that she need not lose her property. The family property will be divided between her son and her brother-in-law.
My letter grows so long, that I am tempted to ask you, to send it to the Herald, as a Coorg Mission report, and to go on with my story. A fortnight ago I had another new arrival, which gave me great joy. But to make things clear, I must go back to the beginning of this year. In the end of January a poor woman, badly dressed and looking very miserable, came to Almanda house, and begged Salome, Stephanas' wife, to receive her into the house. She had Jived for two years like a slave in her mother's house, having been cast off by her husband on a charge of adultery. "My parents/' she said, "did not permit me to enter their house, but made me live outside, and work with the slaves. Since a year I have thought of seeking refuge with you, for I am sure, you will treat me more kindly than my own people. I will gladly work like a- slave, if you receive me." Salome and Stephanas asked me, what they should do. I said, that if they were inclined to receive such a poor woman, I had of course no objection, but I thought, it would be wise, to send her away to some distant Mission-station, rather than keep her in a neighbourhood, where every body would talk about her and her reception at Almanda. I begged them therefore to tell Shiauwa, that she might stay, if she was willing after a time to go to Cannanore or Mangalore. She replied: "I'll go anywhere, and do anything, only receive me." Thus she was received. For some time the poor woman looked at Church and at prayers, more like some wooden figure, than like a living body. But gradually she thawed into life and intelligence, she began to repeat the Lord's prayer, and to understand the reading and expounding of the Scriptures. Salome gave her an excellent character. She bad never seen a person work harder than Shiauwa. "It is a pity," she said once to me, "that Shiauwa cannot stay here. I would gladly have her for ever in my house. But you are right, she must go. At Mangalore she may be baptized after a time, and afterwards, she added, I hope, she may find a husband there, for she is only 24 years old, and will make a good wife now, I am sure." In April, you remember, I went to Mangalore to deliver my little Coorg son by adoption, Gabriel, to my sister, Mrs. Weigle, who had agreed to take charge of the little fellow for some time and bring him up with her own two boys. On that occasion I asked