Luebo March 25, 1921
My own dear homefolks:
The Lapsley arrived yesterday. This is a great event not only for the missionaries, but for the natives, and this is the first time I had gotten to watch the old boat roll in. The last time we were on it. This time it brought Mr. Gilliam and Mr. Shine. Mr. Shine will go on to Mutoto and Mr. Gilliam stays with us. If you will remember, he is the man we met and learned to like in Brussels. There was talk for a while of his staying in our extra room, but there is another place where he will be able to have more room. Then we did not feel that we could board him just now. You see, I am new on the job of housekeeping, and feel that Mrs. Steagall could do better by him. Of course, we would like to have him if it wasn't for that.
Besides the people who came on the boat, there was also lots of cargo for Luebo. We got our order from Montgomery Ward and Co. and several others got their orders, too, so this means we won't starve for quite a while yet.
They had lots of trouble coming up on the Lapsley. The natives had smuggled on a great deal of gun powder. They are not supposed to bring powder on any of the boats. The state prohibits it on account of war between tribes, which is going on somewhere above us, and to think they would try to bring it on the Lapsley and so much, too! In fact there were very few who did not have some.
The way they found it out, two men were quarreling over some one night and in some way it caught fire, burning three men very badly; one of these men died a day or two afterwards. The others are getting along very well; as soon as the Lapsley came they took them to the hospital. They certainly do look bad. Two of the men had powder of their own, but so far they have been unable to find that one of them had any. This accident caused the search. They found powder everywhere, down in the hold, in salt sacks that had been sewed up again, in trunks, and even found some in a hollow log, which might have been put at any minute into the fire. Oh! it is just a wonder that the whole boat wasn't blown to pieces. God must have just been with them. Mr. and Mrs. Daumery had to stay on board the steamer last night as there is more powder on the boat that has not been found. We are pretty sure that this has been going on for some time and I suppose there was lots on the steamer when we came up. Mrs. Daumery found about a hundred franks worth that belonged to one man. The natives just can't stand temptations.
Luebo is certainly not a quiet station. There is something going on--I think there is entirely too much inviting around to meals. We took both dinner and supper out yesterday. There is something to do or somewhere to go every evening. B.M. is gone all day, gets up at five thirty and sometimes before, and is away until breakfast time, then as soon as breakfast is over, he is off again. He stays home until two in the afternoons, and comes home for a few minutes at three for tea, and Mr. Martin always comes then. He works till five or generally six, so you see I don't get to see him much alone, and we hardly have time to read or study together. He is almost as busy Sunday as any other day. We go to church three times a day, generally twice to native service and at 6:00 P.M. to the English service, and Sunday evening seems to be the favorite time to invite people to dinner; however, we don't do it, and don't believe in it. I haven't invited many people to meals yet. Mr. Martin and Mr. and Mrs. Steagall are all I have invited; we are not expected to do much inviting yet though. I think we are going to cut out lots of our going. We are trying to read "In His Steps," but don't find much time to spend on it. It is certainly good. Have you ever read it?
Mrs. Steagall and I have gotten to be very good friends. Whenever I need any advice or help, she is always ready and willing to give it. She has given me several things for my yard and porch. The Clevelands and Hobsons are very close friends, owing to the fact that they are both from the same place, San Antonio. Mrs. Cleveland is quite nice to us, also. She sends us a pretty bouquet of roses for my table every other day.
Some boys are at work on our yard now; we are going to try to have a b’____ [?] lawn. It was once all planted, but it had not been taken care of. We planted some things in our yard several days ago, but the things haven't come up yet. They may be planted too deep. We have fourteen chickens and one hen lay seven eggs, then went to setting. We made some soap yesterday and it looks so nice. The boys use so much soap we just can't afford to buy so much. I have to furnish my table boys with soap to wash their clothes. They are small boys from the fence and do not get full pay. By the fence, I mean Mr. Martin's academy boys, not from the village. I also had one of the boys some clothes made and have been working the buttonholes in them today.
We got a long letter from Miss Buse where we stayed in Brussels; she sent me some more bulbs by Mr. Shines. Evelyn sent me the prettiest scarf and pin cushion cover for my dresses. It was supposed to be a Xmas present.
We had quite a nice time at a Texas Dinner at Mrs. Cleveland's yesterday at noon-the Clevelands, Hobsons, Mr. Martin, Schlotters, and the ShadeIs. If you will remember, they are the people we met at "Leo" from the Methodist mission. They were having a ship built at "Leo" and Mr. Shadel is captain. They came here to build the cabins, as they could not get wood at Kinshasa.
I have to stop now. I owe so many people letters. Now Mother, please don't you all forget me. You told about having such a good time Xmas and did not say a word about missing me. However, I am so glad you had a good time.
Love to all,
Look at the date. I have just happened to think that this is the baby's birthday. [Refers to Hickman's baby son, James.]