This for yourself; show the letter only to my mother.
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Sourabaya, Java. July 20, 1861.
My dear Mother,—I am, as you will see, now commencing my retreat westwards, and have left the wild and savage Moluccas and New Guinea for Java, the Garden of the East, and probably without any exception the finest island in the world. My plans are to visit the interior and collect till November, and then work my way to Singapore so as to return home and arrive in the spring. Travelling here will be a much pleasanter business than in any other country I have visited, as there are good roads, regular posting stages, and regular inns or lodging-houses all over the interior, and I shall no more be obliged to carry about with me that miscellaneous lot of household furniture—bed, blankets, pots, kettles and frying pan, plates, dishes and wash-basin, coffee-pots and coffee, tea, sugar and butter, salt, pickles, rice, bread and wine, pepper and curry powder, and half a hundred more odds and ends, the constant looking after which, packing and repacking, calculating and contriving, have been the standing plague of my life for the last seven years. You will better understand this when I tell you that I have made in that time about eighty movements, averaging one a month, at every one of which all of these articles have had to be rearranged and repacked by myself according to the length of the trip, besides a constant personal supervision to prevent waste or destruction of stores in places where it is impossible to supply them.
Fanny wrote me last month to know about how I should like to live on my return. Of course, my dear mother, I should not think of living anywhere but with you, after such a long absence, if you feel yourself equal to housekeeping for us both; and I have always understood that your cottage would be large enough. The accommodation I should require is, besides a small bedroom, one large room, or a small one if there is, besides, a kind of lumber room where I could keep my cases and do rough and dirty work. I expect