Skip to main content

January 27th 1901 - Letter from May Sladden to her sister, Kathleen Sladden

27th January 1901
Correspondence From
May Sladden, École Normale d'Institutrices, Orléans
Correspondence To
Kathleen Sladden
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Ecole Normale d’Institutrices

Jan 27th 1901

My dear Kathleen

There is but one subject which has been upper most in my mind all through this week, as in that of all English people, it seems all so dreadful & unreal & I am only just beginning to realise that it is true.  I heard on Monday morning that the Queen was very ill & as by that time there was not much hope it came as a sudden shock to me.  I longed to be in England to hear the news more quickly.  I did not hear that she was dead until Wednesday afternoon; as we are a little way out of the town we heard it later than we should otherwise have done.  Madame la Directrice told me.  Everyone was as nice & sympathetic as they could be, but they have no idea of how much she was loved by all her people & consequently cannot realise what a great & personal sorrow it seems to all of us.  Directly after hearing of her death I had to give a lesson which I was heartily glad when at length it came to an end.  Mlle Robin was very nice, she came to my room that (Wednesday) evening to correct my French composition & afterwards stopped a few minutes to give me a few words of sympathy & a most affectionate embrace.  She is such a dear little thing, she knows I like her, though it is strange how I often find it more difficult to talk to her than to the others.  I suppose it is because one doesn’t like to say common places to people that one really likes.  It struck me that everyone was a little surprised to see how much the sad news affected me, (that is those who did see for of course I did not blag on forth my grief to all the world).  In private in my own room I have shed many bitter tears & I do not mind confessing it, I expect there are few English people who could say they had not a shed a tear.  Of course I put on black & was very glad that I had a black dress & jacket & hat.  I suppose nearly everyone is in black in England.  

I have had numerous papers from home & Father wrote to me on Tuesday evening just after he had received the sad news, I could tell by the tone of his letter that he felt very, very sad.  Your last letter was not quite satisfactory, you did not write in your usual spirits, I hope you are quite well, you must try & read as much as you can to give yourself a change from everlasting mathematics.  I hope you will get to be better friends with Miss Biden in time, don’t despair & remember what Miss White used to tell you you must come out of your shell.  I am so glad Auntie Lottie has given you an evening dress black is always useful & generally becoming.  I am told here that black suits me very well, of course I am not wearing black for the sake of looking nice, but it is a comfort to feel that one looks all right, that one’s dress fits well & that one’s skirt is the proper length.  Of all things I do hate a too short skirt & here they wear them even longer than in England.  

You talk about half my time here being over, but I am afraid you are advancing rather too quickly, I shall have been here half the time about the end of February.  However I expect the second half will go much quicker than the first for both you & me, I think the summer generally goes quicker than the summer.  I am glad Dip went to see you, I had a letter from him this week describing his ten days away from home.  I am so glad he enjoyed himself, he does not often get a change of that sort.  

I like Mlle Préan rather better now than when I last wrote, I have seen rather more of her lately & she improves on acquaintance, however I am not infatuated.  Still no letter from Miss White, but I rather hope she may have written during the holidays, if so I ought to get the letter soon.  I owe Emily a letter & must write before long.  I must congratulate you on having passed in Latin, it is a very good thing to get that off your mind.  Next Sunday will be Septuagesima, that means Lent will soon be here, & then Easter.  The time will soon fly round to summer again.  

I am beginning to wonder when Mother intends to make her visit to France.  I hope she won’t put it off too late.  I hope Detty will get on well with her pupils I expect I shall find her rather changed when I come home, grown into quite the young lady, she was beginning quickly to develop into that last summer holidays.  I suppose you & I notice it specially because for so long we looked upon her as so much younger than us, but of course she is not really.  I went to a dentist’s yesterday & had two teeth stopped & have to go again on Thursday to have another one done.  It is sad to think my teeth are beginning to go.

Goodbye with much love from your loving sister

May E Sladden


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
1 double sheet of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference