WHITE HART HOTEL
New Plymouth N.Z.
Saturday, June 2nd 1906
My dear Mother
I was very sorry to hear of Uncle George’s alarming attack, it gave me quite a shock, we have always thought him so strong one was not prepared to hear of his health giving way however I hope by this time he is much better again. Poor Aunt Lizzie and the Sandwich people must have been alarmed.
I wrote and told Uncle Dilnot as soon as I got the letter, I hardly suppose he heard by the Italy mail, the Kent people never seem to write except by the Frisco mail. The Frisco letters we should have had two weeks in the ordinary course only left San Francisco on May 31st no doubt they will bring us further news of Uncle George but we still have to wait awhile for them. I sent on the ship containing the obituary notice of Dr Thornton when I wrote to Uncle Dilnot, no doubt he will like to see it. I had seen in the Weekly Times a Dr Thornton’s name in the obituary list and wondered if it was Father’s old head master.
I am so glad Jack got down for his Easter holiday and had such fine weather. Your Easter bank holiday seems to have been just such another glorious day as we have had in Auckland, when Bessie Laird and I climbed up Rangitoto. I hope Oliver Jelfs will be much better after his stay at Weston. I was very glad to hear you found your gold pince-nez again, it is annoying to lose things. I hope Aunt Florence’s change to Italy set her up again after her illness.
There does not seem a great deal of news to give you since I wrote last week to Father. I spent part of the morning at the dentist’s today and have to go on Tuesday to be finished off. I had a tooth wanting stopping and thought it best not to let it wait though I don’t at all want the expense of it just now. However I have a small nest egg left in the savings bank at home from which I can repay Aunt Lottie if I have to borrow from her.
Aunt Lottie is giving Lewie and Francie tickets for Andrew Black’s concert here next Tuesday – we heard him in Napier as I told you so we did not think of going again, only Lewie seemed rather surprised when he heard we were not going so Auntie said, “oh well you can take May if you like.” Isn’t it kind of her, it will be so jolly going with them – they are to dine with us that evening and go from here.
We are going up there again tomorrow afternoon, they make us very welcome as often as we like to go. Francie has lent us some books and let me look through her music and borrow some, there is a piano in our sitting room so I can often have a practice only I had no music with me. Frances has a nice piano in her drawing-room, she told me Lewie used to tell her she played very nicely but she has no time for it now. That is the usual cry of all the wives, and girls, in the colony no time – the daily round uses it all up. I am often envied as coming from England and having so little to do, but I am sure when at home I should feel their envy wasted on any of us!
You will see in my diary that we have been to the Cornwalls, they were very friendly. Mrs Cornwall is so young looking and active though Frances says she is older than Aunt Bessie. Eileen Cornwall is the youngest and is pretty though I don’t admire her so much as Frances. They are [?] family altogether, those two are a good deal younger than the rest and were the only ones born out here. One son lives at home and manages the farm, he was I think a naval engineer and was badly injured in an explosion some years ago – the eldest son is married and lives near Bell Block, another is in South Africa and another is commander on one of the home boats. Mrs Pott was coming with Frances to call the other day but could not leave her children – no doubt we shall see her some time.
I expect we shall be leaving here in a fortnight’s time. Aunt Bessie wrote to Aunt Lottie a day or two ago and they evidently want us to go back whether they have a servant or no. They seem to be getting on very well without one and like having the kitchen to themselves – we know that feeling don’t we? – but as Birdie says they are quite ready to assign it to the first competent applicant, there have been times when we could have shared that wish haven’t there?
Dolly did not appear to be much in danger of knocking up Birdie wrote and said she had been for a walk with some friends to the Wainui reservoir and back about 24 miles altogether and was as fresh as possible next morning. Personally, I think it is rather silly to do quite so much when they have a lot of house work to do as well and Uncle Dilnot and Aunt Bessie keep hoping the girls won’t knock up.
This letter has spun itself out fairly well in spite of there being little news. I must go and get tidy and then write to Kathleen. I often think of her and hope she will soon find a paid post.
Much love to you all from
Your loving daughter
May E Sladden