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April 3rd 1906 - Letter from May Sladden to her sister, Kathleen Sladden

3rd April 1906
Correspondence From
May Sladden, Glenalvon, Auckland
Correspondence To
Kathleen Sladden, The High School, Monmouth
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter


April 3rd /06

My dear Kathleen

I always feel inclined to sit down and write to you directly I have read your letters.  I only got yours of Feb 18th and 21st yesterday it having had to career down to Petone and back to us here such a waste of time!  Yesterday was a day of disappointments at least the earlier part of it.  To begin with I fully expected the Frisco letters would be here by the morning’s post but they were not.  Disappointment No 1! Next after breakfast we went to museum close here where I expected to either find Mr. Hutchinson doing work there as he had told me he was doing or else to hear he was still about Auckland, but he had left and probably gone home to Napier so we shan’t see him.  Disappointment No. 2.  Then we were told another post would be in at 2.30 so I nearly counted the minutes till that hour when again there was nothing for us!  This time I nearly wept!  When Aunt Lottie had a brilliant suggestion viz. that they had sent them to the P.O. instead of straight here and there sure enough we found them so after tea we had a happy hour sitting in the gardens reading them.  I always give Aunt Lottie any suitable news out of mine after reading them and she generally does the same to me from hers, but I can’t give her more than the very ordinary workaday news, if I do some times pick out a little choice bit to give her for instance out of Judy’s letters it is generally quite unappreciated.

Yesterday I had the sweetest little letters from Scot, Grey Cat and White Pussy.  The grey cat had evidently had a quarrel with Scot and writing to her “dear Auntie May May” she says she and Scot went to Church on Sunday but “sat a seat apart, until the sermon for the text happened to be Little children love one another and I was just going to move up a seat when Scot did.”  Doesn’t Judy’s dear little mind and heart come out most beautifully in that little letter?  I couldn’t help reading it out to Auntie but she didn’t even smile or make any remark!  I don’t expect she took it in.  Ka dear that sort of thing makes me sigh some times. You told me a few private things in your letter and I must do the same.  I knew before I started off again alone this time with Aunt Lottie that I should find it trying at times and I was not far wrong.  We seem to be always looking at things from different stand points.  I mean for instance she distrusts everybody until she finds them out to be worthy of trust.  Now my method is the exact opposite at least I always try to make it so and you have no idea after two people with those different starting points can collide so that I often feel she is having to put up with me while the converse I feel still more acutely!  I feel an absolute pig to grumble in any way only you know even sights of the most beautiful scenery in the world can’t make up to one for the want of communication with a mind that can understand.  That is why I must write like this to you.  You don’t know how sometimes I long for one of our long, serious deep talks for we do get fairly deep sometimes don’t we?  At any rate we break the surface and see a little way down into each other’s thoughts and that is what as far as I can see one cannot do with colonials.  One exception certainly I have met, that was Mr Hutchinson, I think I told you in my letters on the voyage how I used to enjoy talks with him and I am quite disappointed that we shall not see him again.  However there is Miss Laird here to see, it was very nice seeing her again last Sunday afternoon and tomorrow she is to join us on a little excursion if fine.  Mrs Laird kindly asked us to stay for tea that afternoon so we had quite a long time there.  Miss Laird was just the same, she always was equally friendly and nice at all times and if she had the colonial narrowness as I call it before she went to England the trip has changed her mind and sympathies for I see no trace of it in her.  She was so glad to find we were staying here as long so that she and I can look forward to several meetings, and we must hope occasionally to be able to have a talk as Miss Laird says “without your Aunt” not but what she always was and is extremely nice to Aunt Lottie, only as she said to me she has an Aunt too and she understands.

My other letters yesterday were a chatty cheerful one from Mother ditto from Father, Det and Jack and a real characteristic one from George lots of nonsense of course but mixed up with plenty of matter of far greater interest to me than many “we dids” and “we wents”.  He gave a brief description of all the family and “impressions of Anna engaged from our special correspondent on the spot”!  Poor old boy I do wonder whether he has succeeded in his exam, he did not of course express himself confidently on that point.  Aunt Lottie has quite made up her mind he has failed because she said she told him to cable out to her if successful and she would refund the money - but I can’t help thinking he may have never thought of doing so and any way it would seem rather a waste of money as it can’t do any good either way.  There is another point that jars frequently, the excessive interest she takes in all affairs of our family which involve earning of money.  She never mentions George and his exam except with that idea as her point of view – in the same way yesterday when talking about the probabilities of your leaving Monmouth she informed me that it would only be fear of not getting another post that would make you stay on.  Well of course unfortunately money has to have a big say in the matter, but it is her idea that it must have all the say that gives me a hopeless feeling in talking to her.  Now no more talking derogatory to my Aunt!  She is doing everything she possibly can for me and if she hasn’t it in her to do more who am I that I should blame her? 

Ka dear I felt guilty when you said you would feel sad if I missed your Frisco letter knowing that I did last mail!  However as you were at home (or rather will be) when that mail arrives you will see the home letters first hand.  I like to write all my letters as late as possible up to time for posting but left them perhaps rather too long last time  and then there was not so much time for writing from Napier as I thought there would be , we seemed to be out most of the time.  The Frisco mail does not leave here till Good Friday so I shall add more to this another day.

Maundy Thursday  I really must finish this now.  I have just read through what I wrote the other day and hope you won’t think it a “grumbly” letter I don’t mean it to be!

I am really enjoying my stay here very much.  I have seen a good deal of Bessie Laird (we are Bessie and May now) and it is nice to have meetings with her to look forward to every few days.  We had a delightful long talk all to ourselves on the evening she came here to dine with us and I hope to have an afternoon alone with her next Monday, that, I am afraid will be our last meeting for how long neither of us can tell! so we must make the most of it.

I nearly forgot to tell you that we shall be home I hope some time in November, just think of it, won’t it be simply lovely to meet again at Xmas and talk about everything – there is simply heaps to say that one could never write and besides all that is past, there will be the next six or seven months experiences!  I am glad we are not staying longer, 18 months would have been rather a long time and I think we should feel we were taking up the spare room at Petone too long if we stayed longer.  So Auntie’s plans are to leave Petone towards the end of August, have a fortnight in Sydney, then on to Ceylon and spend a fortnight there, taking the next Orient boat home.  I don’t know what I shall be doing after Xmas, I don’t suppose Mrs Jackson will want me so soon and I wonder vaguely whether you will be in London and if so whether I could get work there too.  How about our flat!
Very much love dear old Ka and I hope you will find some better post than Monmouth after the summer.

Your loving sister

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 double sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference