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October 11th 1905 - Letter from May Sladden to her father, Julius Sladden

11th October 1905
Correspondence From
May Sladden, RMS Orontes, The Orient Pacific Line
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, at Broadlands, Weybridge, Surrey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter


Oct 11th /05

My dear Father

I will send Mother the first part of my diary & you shall have a letter this time & I shall post them to Weybridge where I hope you will have a nice little time together.

Well, here we are now past Gibraltar & well into the Mediterranean, it seems so funny sometimes to think we are really seeing all these places one has so often heard about. So far we have been most fortunate in the weather the Bay of Biscay treated us very well on the whole though some of us felt a little queer just at the end, however since then even the worst invalids have revived.

I find my Orient guide most useful & interesting when we are in sight of land I generally have it handy also the field glasses which Uncle Fred lent Aunt Lottie. Auntie is delightfully “vague” about a good many things though not so much now as at first for instance during the first few days she didn’t seem to realise which way the ship was going, & didn’t know at all whereabouts we were on the map. I try to keep her informed & take care never to tell her any fact unless I am sure of it, but of course she doesn’t believe me half so much as any one else on the ship! Since we left Plymouth she has been asking half the ship what is the best way to see Pompeii (or “Pompay” as she insists on calling it) & consequently gets into a hopeless state of conflicting opinions. I think she has perhaps realised that it is not much good for she has let the subject alone more today, though it may be only that Gibraltar has been occupying her thoughts. I daresay everything will right itself when we get there, we can probably join with some others & get a guide for the party. We had a delightful time at Gibraltar this morning, we joined with Miss Laird & Miss Rutherford & all four went for a good long drive for 7/6. Miss R is a very good natured old maid, she & Auntie get on very well, she lives somewhere near Auckland & came to England in the same boat with Miss Laird, now they have the same cabin the one opposite ours. Miss Laird is a very jolly girl & we see a good deal of each other. She agrees with me about our fellow passengers in the record that there are not many one wants to have very much to do with though there are just a few who are quite nice. Opposite us at table are a row of 6 Reverends – four near us we conclude to be Nonconformist missionaries going to Colombo, very decent sort of young fellows but not quite -! Next to them is Mr Mayo, chaplain of the ship, a quiet Church of England man going to Brisbane & lastly a very lively young clergyman, a Mr Holmes who incurs the displeasure of some severe people because he dances & talks to some of the girls. Beyond these I have hardly seen more than one or two men whom I call gentlemen. The women kind too are of course a motley crew. There is a Miss McKellar who is a great friend of Frances Sladden’s – she lives in New Plymouth & has been to England for a year’s trip she is a very tall graceful & nice looking girl.  Frances she describes as very handsome & her little girl as very lively & up to mischief.  Miss Rutherford found out on board the wife of the coxswain to the Admiral at Gibraltar, she was landing there & told us to call at her cottage which we should pass on our drive to Europa Point, so we did & she took us into the Admiral’s garden, of course Auntie got muddled as to who this woman was & inquired once whether she was the Governor’s wife! Even Miss Rutherford laughed at that.

Auntie is looking well & is enjoying the voyage, she spends a good deal if time losing things in the cabin & finding them again & more often than not arrives on deck & finds she has forgotten something however she is improving in that respect.

Oct 12th  - I shall post this today as we reach Marseilles tomorrow morning & they chose the letter-box three miles off each port. I don’t think we shall land at Marseilles they say there is not time to see much & as they chare 2/- each for the tender it would not probably be worth it. I shall send the next letter from Naples Roma. Much love to you & Mother & to Auntie Fanny & the girls.

Your loving daughter

May E Sladden

[Postscript squeezed in at top of letter] - It was nice getting letters at Plymouth I had quite a bundle am looking forward to more tomorrow. I had to pay 6/6 for my luggage. I found the parcel from Miss Jackson on board & a letter for forwarding & money in case there was duty to pay.

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 1 double sheet of headed notepaper
Location of Document
Personal archive of Patsy Miller (née Sladden)