The Oxford Mission was founded in the year 1880, and it was my very good fortune to meet the first three members who started the Mission shortly after their arrival in Calcutta; and I have never forgotten the sense of honour I then felt that their friendship conferred upon me. Their names were the Rev. Mr. Willis, the Rev. Mr. Hornby, and the Rev. Mr. Brown, and the, following year their ranks were strengthened by the advent of the Rev. Mr. Argles. I was introduced to them by the Rev. F. Stewart Dyer, above referred to, who was then acting Chaplain of the Free School. I used often to meet them at his house in the parsonage in the school compound. For about the first five years they were located at 154, Bow Bazar Street, opposite the Church of Our Lady of Dolours. After that they removed to their present spacious premises at 42, Cornwallis Street. The only one now left is the Rev, Canon Brown who is the present Superior of the Mission. Mr. Willis completely broke down in health in 1883, and went home. He died in 1898. Mr. Argles also had to leave India on account of ill-health, and died in 1883. Mr. Hornby has since become Bishop of Nassau. The Rev. Canon Holmes, who joined the Mission about fifteen years ago, is closely associated with Canon Brown in the working of the Mission House in Calcutta, and affords most valuable help. Of course there are other members working in the outlying districts.
[Up to this point I had published my Recollections in three articles in the columns of the “Statesman” of the 22nd and 29th July and 5th August last, and then left Calcutta for a tour up-country, and it was whilst staying at Naini Tal and Lucknow that I completed the series which is now published for the first time.]
[Illustration: Photo. by Bourne & Shepherd The Burning Ghat, Nimtollah]
[Illustration: Photo. by Johnston & Hoffmann. View of the River Hooghly, with shipping from Fort William]
The great cyclone occurred on the 4th October, 1864, and well do I remember it, as it was the Express day for posting letters via Bombay, and an extra fee of one rupee was charged on each ordinary letter. At that time the foreign mail went out fortnightly, alternately from Bombay and Calcutta. I happened to be rather behindhand with my letters, and was very busily engaged in office until about 6 o’clock in the evening, when I ventured outside to go to the post office, by which time the fury of the storm had almost spent itself. Although confined indoors without any actual knowledge of the awful destruction that was going on, I was not altogether devoid of a certain degree of excitement.