Jan 12th /06
My dear Ethel
I must answer your letter of Nov 23rd this mail. I have such lots to write this time and have been getting some done early as we are probably going a long drive – 35 miles to Featherston tomorrow, and shall stay the night and come back on Sunday, then we must post [?] that day for the South. You shall have some pcs from the South Island, I haven’t sent you any yet of Wellington but there will be time later. I must have a good look round for some nice ones at a good shop. I am glad you like my letters. I am always very glad too to get yours. You were lucky on your birthday. I hope the poultry went on laying for a long time. I was sorry to hear Mother had rheumatism but I hope that is quite a thing of the past by now. Give her my best love, it will be her turn for a long letter next time.
The luggage question has become more satisfactorily settled by now, did I tell you that Cook’s Guide book recommended Gladstone bags and Auntie seemed to imagine at one time that we could manage for five weeks with a Gladstone apiece and a hat box between us. However, Frank, whose opinion is considered even superior to Cooks! told her that ladies could not manage with only a Gladstone, so since then she has decided that we share my black box and she will take her Gladstone and hat box. I hope she won’t want too much room in my box, I want most of it myself! From what the others say there is no reason why one shouldn’t take what luggage one wants in moderation, and of course staying at decent hotels one must have something for the evening. Today I had on a white blouse and white drill skirt. Auntie asked if I meant to take it, she thought it would do so well for the evening! I said I should take it but not for evening, I should take my long white muslin for that, she seemed rather horrified and thought it quite unnecessary. We mean to get some things washed if possible at Queenstown, that will save taking quite so many under-clothes.
I had a letter from Mr Hutchinson the other day saying that he was stopping in Auckland for some months so I expect we shall see him there in March. He is in a doctor’s hands undergoing some treatment which will last at least three months. He had been badly hurt by a fall from his horse and was not quite cured by his voyage to England though it had done him good. Meanwhile he says he is doing some work at the Auckland Museum, he is a great naturalist so I can imagine that sort of thing just suits him. It will be nice meeting him and Miss Laird up there.
Tuesday 16th I have been busy packing this morning – you will be pleased to hear that in spite of Cook’s we are not taking a single Gladstone among us! Auntie’s was discarded in favour of a holdall which holds more, so with that and Auntie’s hat box and my black box I have managed to get in all I want to take.
I wonder how Sunday school is getting on, I think CAB’s retirement from the scene of action must have been rather a blow. I must finish off now and get my letters posted – my dress changed and luggage labelled and done up. I am sending Miss Byrd a p.c. there is no room to write on it, will you tell her it is a view of the railway up the Rimitaka’s we drove up the road which is some miles off the railway but the kind of scenery is the same. Tell Judy I send her a kiss with the p.c.
Much love from May