White Hart Hotel, New Plymouth
Monday June 11th 1906
My dear Father
I must post tomorrow by the Vancouver mail. Aunt Lottie has had your letter of April 26th via Naples & I got one at the same time from Arthur via Frisco which is rather strange as Mother’s to me has not arrived & they have had none at Petone, so I think Arthur’s must have come another way by mistake. The upset in the Frisco mail seems to be lasting a long time, according to the post office notices there will be no outgoing Frisco mail from N.Z. till early in July. By the time you get this it will be too late to post to us any longer at Petone but of course we shall look out for letters at various places on our way home.
We expect to leave Wellington for Sydney on August 18th, we shall call at the post office Sydney for letters or they could be addressed to the “Oroya” by which we sail from there Sept. 8th. From Colombo as I think you know we shall come on in the “Ortona”.
We are leaving New Plymouth next Saturday shall stay the Sunday again in Marton & get back to Petone on Monday. They have been writing urgent appeals to us to return there, but there is still time for them to get one before we arrive. In this country with servants it is a case of Quickly come – quickly go! Mrs Gillow of Westport seems really anxious for us to go there so Auntie thinks we will go June 30th for about ten days. After that we really shall not run away from Petone again until we leave for good. Uncle Dilnot was concerned to hear about Uncle George & wired to Auntie the other day to know what news you gave of him. I hope by this time he is much stronger again I daresay you have been down to see him & Aunt Susan. The last day or two have been very cold except just in the middle of the day when the sun is strong, then it is quite hot for a little while. One hardly knows how to dress. This morning we took a good walk out to the Breakwater to get warm. It is Lewie & Francie’s wedding day, the 5th anniversary, they are going to keep it next Wednesday by having us to dinner & they are to come to have a farewell dinner with us on Friday evening.
Tuesday 12th Today we are going out to Inglewood a place a little way down the line to spend the afternoon with a Mrs Vicars, a friend of Lewie’s who was staying here a night last week & very kindly asked us to go out & see them. It is a beautiful day so we shall go I must post my letters before we start. I am writing this sitting out on the balcony in the sun which is beautifully bright & warm this morning. Aunt Lottie was quite horrified just now because I had opened the sitting room windows wide to let in the warm sun & thus warm the room. No, she would have it that to open a window must necessarily make a room colder – so I had to shut it & she is sitting shivering in there. This balcony looks out over the sea & gets all the mid-day sun it is sheltered too from any cold winds.
The newspaper this morning is full of the account of Mr Seddon’s death which seems to have been terribly sudden. The paper is issued with black edges & flags are flying half mast all over the town. I have spoken in my diary of our visit to the Halkes the old man was pretty well that day, his face is very bad but Mrs Halke says he does not suffer much from it. She is a wonderful old lady so lively & active. The old man is very proud of his garden. He showed us an illuminated address that had been given him expressing appreciation for what he had done for the dairy industry – he was the first to introduce Jersey cows in this part. Mr Richard Cornwall, Frances’ eldest brother, lives next door to them in the farm house that they used to occupy, they seem to like him & his wife very much, they often go & see the old people. Mr Halke said he came out in 1840 & has never been home nor had any wish to go. That sentiment is however quite unusual among most New Zealanders I am glad to say.
I am looking forward to getting back to Petone again it seems a long time since we were there. I hope to get some more letters soon after we get there, the mail steamer started from San Francisco May 31st I suppose it is bringing me Mother’s letter which you spoke of in your letter to Auntie.
Much love to you all from your loving daughter
May E Sladden