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    Chapter 11—A Home for the Publishing Work

    Let us make a visit to Rochester, New York, this pleasant morning in May, 1852. We walk to 124 Mount Hope Avenue. As we knock at the door of a large two-story house, Mrs. Sarah Belden, the bride of six months, welcomes us into a large unfurnished room. There she introduces us to Annie Smith, a young woman of twenty-four, who is sitting before an improvised desk.SMG 80.1

    “Miss Smith and I are preparing copy for the next issue of the Review,” Mrs. Belden says. “This packing box is the editor’s desk until we get something better. And that long plank resting on those two upright barrels is where we fold, wrap, and address the papers. It also serves as dining table for our family of helpers. You see, when Elder White arrived to set up our own independent publishing work here, he had only seventy-five dollars in cash. But God is providing for our needs. Many small contributions are coming in from those interested in the work.SMG 80.2

    “Number 2 of Volume III of the Review will have the honor of being the first paper printed on our own press,” she continues. “Because of a delay in getting the handpress from New York City, Elder White had the first number printed in a downtown office. We have no stitching machine, so he is asking those who receive the papers to stitch the pages together with needle and thread. He also suggests that they lay the papers away, ready for lending to their neighbors.SMG 80.3

    “And this is Mrs. White’s little book Experience and Views,” she tells us, handing us a sixty-four-page pamphlet. “We had to stitch this before sending it out. First we punched holes with an awl for the big needle to go through, and sewed the leaves together with strong twine. Then we pasted the paper covers on.”SMG 81.1

    We step into the hall and meet Ellen White coming down the stairs. We notice that she is about Annie’s age. She greets us with a warm smile and asks, “Would you like to see our new Washington handpress? Brother Edson lent us the $600 which it cost.”SMG 81.2

    We find Stephen Belden in the pressroom taking off proof sheets. He shows how the press works. First he runs a roller over the ink pad. Then he inks the type with the roller, pushes the type into the press, lays a sheet of paper on the type, and covers the paper with a piece of pasteboard. He swings a lever which brings the press down over the paper. Then swinging the lever back, he releases the press, carefully lifts the proof sheet, and places it on a newspaper to dry.SMG 81.3

    “That’s a lot of work,” we sigh, thinking of the many times that lever will have to be pulled for each issue of the Review.SMG 81.4

    “The regular printing is not quite so complicated,” Belden informs us, “although the lever does have to be drawn for every sheet printed.”SMG 81.5

    “We’re getting along all right,” Ellen says. “James is hiring a professional printer, Lumen Masten, to supervise the work and to instruct us all in the printer’s trade.” Later we meet the young man himself in a side room, busily setting up machinery and arranging fonts of type. Mrs. White continues, “We pay only $175 rent a year for this building; and we are hoping that it will provide a meeting place as well as a publishing office, and also a home for our family of helpers. We must find some way to furnish the large front room for an assembly hall, because Elder Bates expects soon to be with us to hold evangelistic meetings.SMG 81.6

    “Would you like to go upstairs?” She steps toward the doorway.SMG 82.1

    Perhaps it is the expression of surprise on our faces as we look around the desolate bedrooms that leads her to remark, “Those old chairs are all right for our needs; they’re strong, even if they aren’t very elegant. My husband is getting acquainted with the secondhand dealers in town. First he bought two bedsteads for twenty-five cents each. Then he found six chairs, no two alike, for one dollar. Soon he found four more, all bottomless, that cost sixty-two cents for the lot. I’m making seats for them with strong cotton material, and I think they’ll be as sturdy as new when I have them finished.”SMG 82.2

    In the kitchen we find Clarissa Bonfoey entertaining little Edson as she peels turnips for dinner. “Potatoes are too costly this year, and so we eat turnips instead,” Mrs. White explains. She peeks into the oven. “How good your bread smells, Clara! I think it’s almost ready to come out.”SMG 82.3

    Then, looking over the nearly empty shelves, she says, “For dessert you may cut up that cold porridge and serve it with a little sweetened milk. The beans are nearly done. I’ll be in to set the table as soon as our guests have seen our garden. The office boys will wash the dishes so you can have a little rest.”SMG 82.4

    Opening the kitchen door, she motions for us to follow her. “We are starting a kitchen garden,” she says, “but we hope to have a larger one soon. We have a whole acre of land waiting to be planted. See that nice barn? That’s the home of our horse, Charlie.”SMG 82.5

    Soon after moving into the home they hired a man to plow the garden. While he was plowing, Mrs. White looked out the kitchen window and saw small, round, white things lying on top of the ground. “Those must be potatoes,” she said excitedly. “Evidently last year’s crop was considered too poor to be worth harvesting.” She took a pail and followed after the plow, picking up several bucketfuls and carrying them into the house. “A special treat for special days,” she said, her eyes sparkling.SMG 83.1

    Lumen Masten watched her with a deepening frown on his face. “Is that my master’s wife out there following the plow, picking up those little potatoes? I’ll not work another day for such a concern!”SMG 83.2

    Mrs. White walked in carrying a pailful. She knew Lumen’s thoughts. “Is it not a sin to waste food?” she asked. “Didn’t our Lord say, ‘Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost’?” The young man calmed down and went on with his work.SMG 83.3

    That first summer was a busy one for the Review family. Whenever there was extra work, every member of the family pitched in to help. Lumen Masten, the hired foreman, was the only one who received wages. The others worked for board and room, and when necessary, a little money for clothing. The strictest economy was practiced in supplying the table. Butter was considered an unnecessary luxury; applesauce took its place. Porridge and beans were nourishing foods and not expensive. There was no complaining, although when Uriah, Annie’s brother, joined the staff a year later, he once remarked that he had no objection to eating beans 365 days in succession, but if he were asked to make a regular diet of them he would protest.SMG 83.4

    During that first summer Elder and Mrs. White were needed for meetings and conferences in Vermont and elsewhere. The two-month trip was to be made with Charlie and the carriage. But a new problem arose: little Edson was ill. For several days he had eaten nothing, and consequently he was so weak that they were afraid to take him on a long trip; nor did they like leaving him at home. What should they do?SMG 84.1

    They decided to ask a sign from God. “If our baby takes food before we have to leave to meet our first appointment, we’ll accept that as indicating that we should take him with us,” they said. The very day they planned to leave, Edson drank a cup of broth. That afternoon they were on their way.SMG 84.2

    At the first stopping place the baby was restless, and his mother sat up most of the night, rocking him in her arms. Their hostess declared, “If you take that baby with you, you will surely bury him somewhere along the road.”SMG 84.3

    “It seems that Satan is trying to hinder us; what shall we do?” James groaned.SMG 84.4

    “If we go back, I’m sure the child will die,” said Ellen. “Let’s go on, trusting in the Lord.”SMG 84.5

    Climbing wearily into the carriage, she remarked with a sigh, “I’m so tired I’m afraid I’ll go to sleep and drop the babe on the way.”SMG 84.6

    She laid Edson on a pillow, and James fastened the pillow to her waist. Mother and baby relaxed, and both slept most of the day as they rode along.SMG 84.7

    Autumn had returned. The leaves were turning crimson and gold. Charlie again enjoyed munching apples along the roadside and cropping the grass while the family ate a noon meal. After lunch mother and baby rested, while James took out his pencil and paper, and using the lunch box for a table, wrote articles and Sabbath School lessons for the new monthly journal The Youth’s Instructor. Each number of the paper must contain lessons for a month. The subscription price was twenty-five cents a year; but, like the Review, the Instructor was sent free to those who could not afford to pay.SMG 84.8

    Little Edson improved every day; and by the time they returned to Rochester, he was well again.SMG 85.1

    Elder White was glad to see that the publishing work had been running smoothly during his absence. Jenny Fraser had joined the family as cook, and Clarissa was housemother to the large family of workers.SMG 85.2

    John Andrews wrote tracts and articles and conducted evangelistic meetings. Stephen Belden managed the business, kept accounts, collected contributions, and helped run the press. Annie gathered reports and articles that came in from the traveling ministers and prepared them for the paper.SMG 85.3

    The three teen-agers, Oswald Stowell, George Amadon, and Warren Bacheller, who had joined as apprentices, were becoming more proficient every day. Everyone was rapidly learning the printer’s trade with their foreman, Lumen Masten, as teacher.SMG 85.4

    These young people formed the first Review and Herald Publishing House staff. Though young and inexperienced (all except James White were in their early twenties or younger, and he was only thirty-one), they were all earnest Christians, and God blessed their efforts. Most of them were to stick together for life. Uriah Smith, who entered the work at the age of twenty-one, continued with the Review for nearly fifty years, most of the time as editor. His sister Annie, hymn writer and poet, continued with them for three years, then retired because of failing health, and two years later was laid to rest.SMG 85.5

    While the Whites had been absent, a near-tragedy had occurred. One day Lumen Masten failed to appear at work. Cholera was raging in the city, and he had been stricken. Two of the press hands went to his rooming house and brought him on a cot to the mission home. His landlady became ill the same day and died within twenty-four hours. Because Lumen was not a Christian, he was terrified at the thought of death. The office workers gathered at his bedside and prayed for his healing. The disease was checked, yet he did not recover.SMG 86.1

    Lumen, who had been watching the earnest, self-sacrificing Review workers, noticed how kind they were to one another and to him. After he had attended Bible studies in the mission home, he knew deep down in his heart that he had found the true church. But like many others, he hunted excuses for not joining. While he lay thinking of these things, his body tortured with pain, one of the workers came to him and asked, “Lumen, if God should heal you, would you give your heart to Him and keep His commandments?”SMG 86.2

    “Yes,” he whispered, “with all my heart.”SMG 86.3

    Again the workers knelt and prayed. Before they rose from their knees, Lumen fell into a restful sleep. Within two weeks he was strong enough to walk a mile to the post office and back. Soon he was at work again.SMG 86.4

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