Letter to her sister, Amy, from Mab.

Saturday, January 27th, 1900

Dearest Tommie

I am going to begin my letter today, as I expect with our moving next week I shan’t have much time to spare. George is coming back from the mill at 3.30, and then after tea we are going to start repacking the big case, and we hope to be able to squeeze a few more things in as I have taken away some of the clothes that were in it before. We are going to send all the cases that we can, and my big trunk, off on Monday to go up to Horekelly by paddle boat, as it is cheaper than by bullock cart. They will take 4 or 5 days to get there but that won’t matter. The ‘boy’ is rather like Barnes was when we moved, he is going to clutch every mortal thing he can lay his hands on. I don’t believe he will leave a single plant or flower behind, and he is always bringing in curious things when we are at dinner and saying ‘Master going to take this? Might be useful’. He also likes to take time by the forelock and is longing to begin to pack, in fact, I think he has privately in the background.

George will be in soon so I think I must attire myself. I am in a state of negligé at present, consisting of combies and dressing gown, unbuttoned, so I’m hardly decent.

Grand Oriental Hotel
January 31st

We got off all right yesterday and came here by the 2.20. Our belongings went in four bullock wagons, such quaint things but they hold a fairish amount. I expect they will arrive on Friday morning and I hope the boy will have got fairly straight by the time we get there in the evening.

The volunteer contingent go off some time today, we don’t quite know when yet. They are all over the place, you see nothing but khaki uniforms, some of them look such jolly fellows. There was a dance here last night. Wednesday is always Guest Night and they did kick up such a row. They did not leave off singing ‘Soldiers of the Gunnery’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ till about 2 0’clock. The Hotel is perfectly crammed. George and I could not get our proper room as the people in it had decided to stay, so we had a single room, and G. had to repose on a sofa, but it was such a jolly big one, quite as comfortable as a bed. We have got another room for tonight, I am glad to say. We found the other one rather crampy.

I am afraid this is a very meagre letter but I have not really had any time to spare. There have been a good many odd things to do that I did not care to leave to the boy.

How jolly you getting a prize at badminton! I can play quite nicely now and beat G. sometimes, much to his disgust. We shall have to make a court at Horekelly as there is nothing of the kind there at present.

I am so glad Mother is getting better and do hope she will soon lose her cough. If only you could get a servant. I can’t make out about that sov, but what a lucky find. I have a faint idea that my drawer was open when I went to the cashbox that time, so it may very likely have slipped in. I told G. about it and he said, ‘Of course, Amy is to keep it all. Tell her I say so most decidedly’. But there is one thing you might send me if you don’t mind, and that can be my share of it. And that is 3 setting boards for butterflies, one quite big, one the next size, and one small, and a box of pins. I thought if I were to get some butterflies, Eric might like them for his collection. There are some huge ones that are very pretty if I can only catch them.

Well, I must finish up now, as I want to go out. George has gone over to Veyangoda and will be back to lunch. We are going shopping this afternoon and then to a hockey match. I had to have breakfast all by myself this afternoon and felt very grand and important. You have meals at ordinary times in Colombo.

Goodbye. Please give my love to everybody and thank Maud for her letter, and Kate.

Much love
From Mab


2 thoughts on “Letter to her sister, Amy, from Mab.

  1. I cannot tell you Sophie, how much joy and pleasure from reading Mab’s letters. I have been stressed to the max getting the art show organized, dealing with the Town organizers of Summerfest , who do not have a clue about how to set up and run an art show, who email with major show changes they’ve made at 10pm the evening prior to set up, and with tempermental artists whose ego’s are quite grandeous, those who have health issues, parking issues, issues with their place in the show etc.

    This wonderful letter from Mabs just transported me to a quieter life, but full of excitement and anticipation of the road ahead. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. So glad you like them. And hope the show is worth all the stress. I love your paintings and I know where you got your talent. Our family that go before us leave their legacy one way or another.

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