April 27th 1906
My dear Father
You will be surprised to see we are staying in Wellington but the fact is we have not quite finished our travels yet but we had to come down to fetch some of our warmer clothes from Petone. Frances however is still there with Marjorie so Auntie got Uncle Dilnot to find us rooms here for a week after which we intend going again to Napier, for a few days & thence to stay with Mr Hutchinson’s people, he you may remember is an ”Orontes” friend, he lives 17 miles out of Napier & Auntie had a letter from his mother the other day asking us to go there, we shall stay at the Masonic Hotel where we were before for a day or two & they will drive over in a buggy & fetch us. From Napier we intend going across to New Plymouth, Lewis & Frances ought both to be back home by then. It is too far to be able to get there in one day but we can stop at Marton again & break the journey. We had such a nice little visit there last week end from the Saturday to Tuesday – though we stayed at the Hotel we saw quite a lot of Percy & Mary, both of whom we liked very much. Percy reminds me of our George in the way he talks & specially in one look that he often puts on, but he is a smaller man & not a bit “lordly”, Mary is very bright & nice she is a fair height & has nice eyes & a good colour. Their house is very comfortable & the garden is really quite a large one & was looking gay with autumn flowers. The babies are dear little things especially little Dil who is getting to an interesting age he is a particularly fine little fellow & has pretty dark blue eyes, fat rosy cheeks & a big crop of golden brown hair. We were quite glad to think we should see them all again passing through to New Plymouth.
Frances is a very handsome woman & looking very well at the wedding the other day. She has a very pronounced chin which Aunt Lottie says is like Dora Day’s, her eyes a dark & pretty though not so very large & she has a pretty complexion though the girls say she ought to have more colour than she has just now. She is better but not quite so strong as they would like. It will be nice to see her in her own home & Lewis too of course we are anxious to see. I think we shall run over to Petone tomorrow & probably have dinner with them, they dine at 2 0’clock on Saturdays, so we shall see Marjorie. I expect they will be going back to New Plymouth next week as the servant leaves I think on Wednesday I do hope they will soon hear of some-one else. Lita thinks she has a servant in view to come in as soon as they get back from their honeymoon. The Petone girls will be busy getting the house in order ready for their arrival. Hubert didn’t seem to think he could be away more than a week. He has been working so hard lately that he could do well I think with a longer holiday.
I was very sorry to hear George had not got in, it is very disappointing for you & for him. I hope some opening may be found for him before very long. I wonder whether Kathleen will have much difficulty in finding fresh work, I do hope she will drop into something good this time & something she really likes. I heard from Mrs Byrch the other day, I think I told you they have sold Mount Brown, some one said the other day Mr Byrch got £10,000 for it anyway whether that is true or not Mrs Byrch said they had a very good offer for it. She asked if I had heard of the engagement & said her hair stood on end when she heard it & has refused to come down ever since! She had only heard indirectly of it, not a word from Miss Byrch herself, she wonders if the pug has given his consent! I forgot to tell Ethel I had a letter from Evelyn Hands the other day, my hair nearly rose at that, she wrote to thank me for one or two post cards. Arthur wrote Aunt Lottie a description of the “Torpids” & I also heard from him last mail. Hubert & Bob know Mr Robertson the Rhodes scholar from N.Z. He was at Wellington College with them. I am glad some more children will come to Badsey who may be companions for Juliet. I was amused at Mother & Ethel being caught by a caller, sitting so long over my diary. Fancy its taking 50 mins. to read. How long will the still larger budget I sent from Auckland take I wonder!
There was a good deal in the papers here about that young Field, it is very sad for his people, the Byrches were quite upset about it, Connie wrote that they had got his room ready as he was to have gone on his arrival.
I have heard nothing from Mrs Jackson since I came out. I hope Brab continues to get stronger.
Wasn’t that a terrible earthquake in San Francisco? I see the next mail will be twelve days late in Wellington, the mail was at San Francisco at the time but fortunately escaped the fire, it was to be sent to Vancouver & forwarded from there. It is sad to have to wait so long, but there will be Italy mails first. I am sending this lot of letters via Naples as according to the papers the Frisco mail is disorganised this time. Frisco letter were being sent by the “Gothic” which sailed from Wellington on Thursday – I waited till the Italy mail which leaves on Saturday (tomorrow) so as to be able to tell about the wedding.
Poor Aunt Lottie will I am afraid be quite “stoney broke” with all this gadding about, I had no idea we should be travelling so much, I hope there will be enough funds left to enable us to stay in Sydney & in Ceylon.
Now with much love to all
I am your loving daughter
May E Sladden
Please give George my love & say I will write soon. I enclose one sheet of diary in your envelope the rest is in Ethel’s.