My Dearest Tommie

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A letter from my newly-married great grandmother, Mab, to her sister, Amy, aka Tommie.

Madampe
N.W.P.
Ceylon
3.IV.1900

Dearest Tommie

Every day has been so hot that I have put off beginning my letters “till tomorrow” and now mail day is here and I’ve not done one. So if this is short you must think of the temperature and not bear malice.

I’m very glad the parcel arrived all right. I was rather anxious about it. I’m sorry Doris’ ring is tight, couldn’t Mrs Dearling stretch it? Is yours big enough? I’ve had jolly letters from Arthur and Carrie. I’m so glad the bangles are all right and the children pleased with them.

You are a dissipated person going to two theatres. I don’t think I like the sound of Don Juan. Tell Jo I’m ashamed of her. She said “never again” after The Tree of Knowledge.

I am so sorry to hear you have rheumatism. George says you’ve caught it from that nasty north east wind. What is that plaid blouse? You’ve never told me about it.

We revel in the Chambers, and Kate is going to send me The Lady, isn’t it jolly of her. I get through a great deal of reading now as I can’t work for long, my needle gets so sticky.

We had some lovely rain on Sunday afternoon and some thunder but not very close. It made it cooler for just a little while but the sun soon made it hot again.

The doctor came to call the other afternoon but we were out in the launch but he says he is coming again soon so I hope we are in then. The heat is making my liver sluggish. I can drink Eno by the quart and it has no effect. So I’ve sent to Colombo for some pills. George went to the doctor on Sunday and asked him to send me some medicine. He sent a mixture which I took and then I took another dose and then I got cross and told George he might have the rest. It was utterly filthy but I did not tell him that. So last night when he was going to bed, he “thought he would take a dose” to see if it would do him good. You should have seen his face when he drank it, he made such a fuss, knew “he was going to be sick” and all sorts of things. I offered him a second dose this morning but he declined and imbibed Eno instead. I don’t know what one would do without Eno in this climate, doctors all recommend it.

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The ants are awful, they get everywhere and in everything, and the tiny ones bite. I always have to search my combinations before I put them on. Tell Mother it is all very well to talk about not scratching. Wait till she has about 20 fleas at once and then she will understand what mosquitos are. But I am much better now, although I still have moments of anguish.

We were sorry to part with that ring too but I know George would never have worn it, so it seemed the best thing to do . His skin is very thin and it would have worn his fingers quite raw and in this climate if your blood is not in a good state, it is not good to get a sore place. He has got a slight gathering in his throat as it is. The places on my feet have nearly all healed up now. I think I was lucky that they did not get bad, it shows I was in a good state of health.

I find those three thin white blouses a great comfort. The print ones are very hot when they are clean and starchy. They are perfectly awful round the neck. The dhobies do tear them, especially the white ones. they are all torn where the tapes are put to draw them up. I wish there was a thin, non-starchy material. It would be a great comfort. I wear the unlined Lusson blouse sometimes of an evening, that is beautifully cool.

Well, I must close this very uninteresting epistle. I’ll write a better letter next week.

I am sorry to hear of Mrs Tom Fagg’s death. What did she die of?

I noticed old Mr Read’s death in the Advertiser the other day.

Give my love to the Musical and Reading girls, won’t you, and tell them I often think of them on Mondays and Tuesdays and wonder if there is a meeting going on.

Lots of love to all

from Mab Gillespy

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2 thoughts on “My Dearest Tommie

  1. Love how George believes Tommie caught her rheumatism from the ‘nasty north east wind’ and possibly the plaid blouse was at fault too – wonderful! You couldn’t make it up, Sophie. Do you have any photos of Mab at that age to share?

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