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not supplemented by some facts gathered up as fragments from the story of the eighteen years spent in India.
It was a very great change to Miss Tucker to leave work in England— both parish and literary--and undertake new and untried duties in an unknown land at the advanced age of fifty-four; but she was animated by a loyal enthusiasm in the Master's service that was ready to face all difficulties, in a spirit that would not be daunted.
Most deeply interesting are the letters she wrote home throughout her missionary career, giving such vivid descriptions of the difficulties she had to encounter, the help she received from her fellow-workers, the accounts
of the various converts, inquirers: and her correspondence enables us to picture her and her surroundings in a series of word-pictures.
The Mission ladies at Batala divided the work between them, Miss Tucker taking the Zenana visiting, as well as the literary work she was continually engaged in. Miss Hoernle superintended the six schools in the city as well as two in the outlying village of Futteyghar (Fathgar); and Miss Dixie devoted herself to the Dispensary—of which she was the founder. The little building was called "The Star," as suggestive of the fact that the Light of Truth emanated from the ministry of healing carried on there; for Miss Dixie always had portions of Scripture read to the patients while they waited for their turn. Miss Tucker took the deepest interest in the work of her companions.
On one occasion, as Miss Hoernle had no house or room to go to at Futteyghar, Miss Tucker, who would never ask for anything for herself, made special efforts to get some rooms built at this out-station, offering liberal help herself to ensure the plan being carried out.
Miss Dixie's efforts amongst the sick were very near her heart; and though she knew but little of dispensing medicines, she found herself obliged to prescribe for patients many times during Miss Dixie's absence for a much-needed holiday. And all the time she was carrying on her own line of work, which was no easy task in that bigoted Mohammedan city. One Zenana against which she had written the word "closed" five times, was at last opened to her persevering attempts to find
It was the house of Fazl Shah—the youth who died a Christian in faith, though he was never baptized, owing to the opposition of his family. We cannot but trust that he passed from that dark, bigoted home to the presence of the Saviour he loved.
On the occasion of this visit, Miss Tucker took a copy of the Pilgrim's Progress to show the family; drawing suitable lessons from it; likening Fazl Shah to Christian: describing his joy on coming to the cross where his burden of sin rolled off his back-as well as various points of his pilgrimage—till he crossed the river of Death and reached the Shining Land beyond. The two bibis (wives) listened, and then she read part of St. John iii.
Once she met a Brahmin bibi in a Mohammedan Zenana, who asked her to visit her. This was an encouraging circumstance to one accustomed to sow the good seed under many difficulties; especially as the
Hindus in Batala were for the most part shy, and more difficult to reach than the Mohammedans, though less careful about matters of faith than the followers of Islam.
In one Zenana about fifty women and children gathered round her, evidently thinking. her an object of curiosity. But her kind manner quickly won their hearts, and they were soon good friends. She showed them a likeness of the Queen, and told them that she was a worshipper of God, trusting in the Saviour whose blood was shed for sinners.
Miss Tucker also showed active pity for the Mihtars (sweepers), who are the very lowest caste in society-the opposite end of the social scale to Brahmins: they gladly received a missionary. She felt much for these poor creatures, saying, "Should I fail, there will be no one to take my place in more than 100 Zenanas."
In 1888, Miss Tucker's nephew, Colonel Louis Tucker, was appointed for six months as acting Chief Commissioner of the Andaman Islands. This suggested to her the needs of the 13,000 convicts on the island; and she determined--if she could get leave from Government-to carry them, in their banishment, the good news of the Gospel.
She wrote home making the generous offer, proposing to pay all expenses. But the plan had to be abandoned, as Government could not sanction religious proselytising among the political prisoners.
We cannot forebear giving a few extracts from her letter to the Committee at home, when making her offer of going as a missionary to the convicts in the Andaman Islands. She writes:
"The Andaman Islands are to India what Botany Bay was to England. They contain 13,000 convicts, thieves, murderers, and murderesses, besides a rapidly dwindling Native race of savages, and the soldiers and sailors and police needed, of course, to keep order in such a place. . . .
"There is a chaplain, who seems to take a kind interest in savages; but are perhaps aware how completely a Government officer in charge of criminals, as Colonel Tucker is, is excluded from anything like proselytising. Government is very jealous in this matter. But I have written to the Andamans to inquire about the feasibility of two ladies, or perhaps a married couple, going to tell some at least of the thirteen thousand criminals, Mohammedans, Heathen, &c., of ONE who died for sinners, ONE who granted salvation to the poor thief on the cross! I have consulted some of the wisest and holiest missionaries whom I know, as to whether they think that my having a near and dear relative in the Andamans may be the opening of a door for me to go, as Joshua's spies went, to spy out this land flowing with milk and honey, but inhabited by
grievous sinners, whom we have not to destroy but try to save! It seems to me that the majority of my spiritually-minded friends incline to my going. Mr. Clark does not, alleging my age as unsuiting me for new work, saying that I am needed at Batala. I am too old to do much personally, but not too old to look about me, and see whether there be a promising field for others more capable than myself. I am perhaps the only missionary sister in all India who could at once find a comfortable home in the Andamans, and go without being an expense to any Society.
"As regards Batala, I should probably return after two or three months to the city where literally thousands of visits have been paid, God's Word read, but, alas! where only the few have received the precious seed into good ground. Batala has just closed Miss Hoernle's four schools for Mohammedan girls! The dear, devoted worker is turning to village work. . . . I am waiting for God's call; I do not wish to go without it. I can decide nothing till I hear again from the Andamans. I went yesterday to the prayer-meeting at Amritsar, feeling that the balance hung pretty evenly between go and stay, about six on either side. A very emphatic message of encouragement sent from that noble worker Miss Hewlett's sick-bed (she was too ill even to see me), weighed down the Andaman side to number seven. Go, and draw others after you."
Yet Miss Tucker was never so much engrossed with her own plans as to overlook the interests of others. The same letter that brought her offer to go to the Andamans, contained also a bright little notice of the successful work of her loved fellow-labourer. "I think," she writes, "that Miss Dixie's Dispensary work will now be our most successful means of attacking the enemy in Batala."
But A.L.O.E. was not to go to the Andamans. In a letter dated December 6th, 1888, she says:
"I wrote in November about a project, which then seemed not unfeasible, of my visiting my nephew in the Andaman Islands to ascertain the possibility of establishing a branch of our Mission amongst the thousands of convicts banished to that penal settlement. But a letter received from the head authority shows that my plan is not feasible: 'The female jail has over 300 inmates, but I am sure that the Government of India would not tolerate any Bible-reading or form of instruction there. We have villages of self-supporting convicts with wives and children, that might perhaps be visited, but they are quite inaccessible from Government House to any one who cannot ride and walk long distances.'
"This was the answer to my question, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? It is clear that a feeble old woman is not called to the Andaman Islands."
About this time she made a nice expedition to Ogreaneval (a village