Monday August 13th/06
My dear Mother
This will be my last home letter written from Petone – our time is getting very short as we start for Sydney next Saturday, this week seems likely to be pretty full, this afternoon some of the ladies who have called on Aunt Lottie are coming to tea, tomorrow Aunt Lottie & I are to dine with Hubert & Lita, Wednesday Maidie, Dolly & I want to have a final “spree” in town together – Thursday will be pretty well filled up with packing. Friday there is sure to be lots of things to think of – it is also Aunt Bessie’s at home day. I met Miss Caw at the dance the other evening & had a shot chat with her – she has been in Auckland & other places & she stayed with the Lands for a few days. She is coming to tea here I hope either today or Friday – Aunt Lottie wanted to see her again – We have had bad colds all round the house lately. Arthur was quite poorly on Friday & they thought he had influenza however he soon got better & has gone to work as usual today. Frank has it now & Maidie, Dolly & I. Birdie was not very brilliant last week but is better now. She begins her holidays a week after we leave. Maidie & she are talking of going to Marton during her holidays. I hope they will find a servant before then so that Dolly will not have the whole of the housework. They have been very unfortunate in the servant line since we have been here – the only time they had one who was any good at the work was while we were away.
Aunt Lottie is at present at her favourite occupation of turning out her various boxes. I have just been up to our room and found her with piles of clothes on the bed & all over the room. I suppose this time it is in preparation for packing, but this general turn out takes place about once a week & as you may imagine takes up most of the morning. As Aunt Bessie says it is a good thing she does it, it keeps her happy for a long time! Lewie wrote the other day saying he would not be able to come down to see us before we go as he rather hoped to be able to do, he has dome work away which will take him at least three weeks. He has not been very well since we were at New Plymouth & has been suffering from boils, he hoped the change away from New Plymouth would do him good. Frances still has her servant & is better having less work to do. Aunt Lottie heard from Mrs Byrch the other day, they are at present living in a nice house in Christchurch which Mr Byrch has bought & he has bought another station not far from Christchurch – it is 14 miles from a railway station & 10 from the nearest neighbours so Mrs Byrch & Connie are hoping that only the boys will live on the station with a married couple to look after them & the rest of them will stay in Christchurch. They seem to think this will be the probable arrangement, at present they have two good servants & say they feel quite lost with nothing to do. Uncle Dilnot says Mr Byrch paid very high price for the station. I hope it will turn out a good investment. I am hoping to get home letters by an Italy mail in a few days, it is nearly a fortnight since the last Frisco ones came. I am so anxious to hear about Kathleen & about Arthur.
Wednesday 15th The news about Arthur is just to hand, how splendid it is. I am so glad, both your letter & his sounded most jubilant. It was so nice getting the news this morning before I have to post for the Frisco mail, I was afraid the Italy mail would not get in till tomorrow, but it was kind. Father & you must both feel very proud of your second son. I feel very glad he is my brother! Aunt Lottie is delighted of course & Aunt Bessie & the girls all send congratulations – Uncle Dilnot & the boys have not come in yet, the post comes in the morning after they have gone.
I am so glad you enjoyed the Warwick Pageant so much, it must have been a splendid sight - & it made a fitting celebration of the good news you had that morning. Arthur says in his letter you nearly pranced to Badsey station that day! Maidie said perhaps Birdie would draw an illustration of Aunt Eugénie prancing! She is very clever at those sort of sketches – Aunt Bessie coming in one day after an altercation with the butcher at the door, announced that she had sat on that butcher! Birdie therefore sketched a literal illustration!
I have been busy beginning my packing today, it was too wet for us to go to town but we may go tomorrow if the weather permits. Yesterday we could not go to dine at Lita’s, the weather was so wretched & Aunt Lottie had a headache. We are hoping the weather will improve before Saturday or we may not have a very pleasant passage over to Sydney – the harbour this afternoon looked extremely uninviting for a trip & what must it be outside? Uncle Dilnot is I think looking forward to his trip with us – I do hope we shall have fine weather in Sydney & at the Blue Mts – I hardly feel as if we were starting homewards again – but it is very nice to be able to tell myself so. It will be horrid saying goodbye to them all here – but we must hope some day to see some of them over in England.
Much love to you all from
Your loving daughter
May E Sladden