Feb 16th 1906
My dear Ethel
I have just about half an hour to get your letter written provided I don’t get interrupted. I wrote to Father last night and left [?] the coach doesn’t start till 12.20, as Dolly and I have had time since breakfast for a little walk, it is a glorious day and if only we can get this weather for all our coaching we shall be very fortunate, yesterday was the first really fine day for some time, there has been so much cold and wet weather lately. Poor Dolly had a horrid passage from Wellington, she started Wed. evening (interruption No.1, Aunt L came to hear something splendid about the coaching route and fares which I have pass over with already over and over again, however such is life!) and should have got to Christchurch about 9.30 next morning but the boat was about 4 hrs late so she didn’t get there till well after 1. We all came on here in the afternoon. Auntie thought it better to spend the night here, but which meant a very early start from Christchurch this morning to catch the coach here at 12.20 and it is these early starts that don’t suit Aunt Lottie. She seemed rather awestruck when we got to Christchurch from Dunedin, however the quiet time there and still are at the Byrches has done her a lot of good and she is now I think quite fit for the remainder of the trip. I also was glad of a letter rest at the Byrches, we had been going it so hard well since we started. We have been looking at the coaches this morning, they are far superior to the Lumsden ones and I hope and expect we shall find this drive much more enjoyable than our last coach drive which could hardly be desir able as such. It is nice having Dolly with us, often I like to go out as Dolly and I did this morning to explore a bit in a fresh place, when Auntie doesn’t want to, Maidie of course used to come with me, and now I shall have Dolly. I got to know Christchurch quite well going about so much by myself, Auntie is quite hopeless about finding her way in a new place, it takes her such ages to learn, we were in Christchurch nearly four days altogether and it was about ten mins walk from Mrs Everists where we stayed to Cathedral Square which we went to almost every time we went out, the way was as plain and easy as possible, yet she was never sure of it even by the time we left. One day she was telling someone Sladdens haven’t the bump of locality, but I thought she might speak for herself and suggested that some of them had! Dolly made a just suggestion to her yesterday that it would be possible to divide our southern trip and do some later and she seemed to think it not a bad idea so I hope it may be arranged so. Hubert’s wedding is to be quite at the end of April. I don’t know whether the date is actually fixed yet. Dolly is to be a bridesmaid. Lita is coming to Wellington early in March about her trousseau so I hope we shall see her before we start off again. The new servant at Petone is according to Dolly a treasure at present. Long may she remain so. I have to go now to meet the tram and see if the umbrellas which we left behind at the Byrches (heinous sin!) have been sent on as we hope they will be, fortunately though Auntie has her own. It was her case which contained all the rest which got left behind. No time for more.
Much love to all
Your loving sister May E Sladden
I am being worried and worried and worried to go to the station!