June 12th 1900
I have only just finished a lengthy epistle to Jo, so I am afraid I have not much time left for you. Your letter has not come this week. We are wondering why. The mail was in on Saturday night, and I got letters from Arthur and Lottie. I thought yours would come last night but it did not appear. I hope it is not lost but perhaps it will turn up later. It may have got put into the wrong bag by mistake.
Tell Joyce I have got a dear little grey kitten and it is lying on the table quite close to me now fast asleep and it has been playing with a piece of paper till it got tired. It is fat and cosy looking. George is as fond of it as I am and looks proud but pained when it plants itself on his lower chest just after breakfast or dinner as it is very fond of doing. Last night as we were sitting out on the tennis court after dinner, the dog began barking at something it had found in the ground and when George went to look he found it was a large scorpion. Such a beast of a thing with claws just like a lobster. He made a noose with a piece of string and tied it round its tail and then we forced it into a bottle of spirits of wine and I will send it home one of these days. It has to fix hold of you with its claw before it can sting with its tail and I should not like one to get hold of me. It is the first one I have seen and I am not keen on seeing another.
We have had some rain the last few days, some heavy showers, but not a bit what it ought to be. They are beginning to be afraid the monsoon will be a failure. It will be bad for us if it is because George is afraid the mill well will fail and it will be difficult to get water to wash the cocoa-nut. If we don’t get heavy rain now, we shan’t get it in any quantity till the N. E. monsoon bursts in October. They can’t use canal water as it is brackish and makes the cocoa-nut a bad colour. It is a little cooler now, varies from 80 to 84 degrees.
I am so glad to hear Walter looks so well and I should think Margate would be a capital place for him. George seems to think it will agree with his mother very well, in fact was very pleased when he heard Margate was the place. I hope people won’t keep casting doubts about it because then she will go there with the idea that it is not going to suit her and if she feels a little poorly will think at once that it is the place.
I kept thinking of you all on Saturday and hoping the tea was going off all right and that it was fine. I wonder how long Kate stayed, I suppose she would go to the Academy and Earl’s Court. I wonder how long it will be before we have a happy day at the Academy again. The thought of tea at Callard and Bowser’s makes my mouth water dreadful. How I long for a ‘sit up to the table’ tea sometimes.
I was very busy last week staining our bedroom floor. We had Indian matting over it but the boy’s sweeping is so cursory and it got so dusty that we came to the conclusion staining would be more healthy. I have got the floor such a jolly colour, not too dark, a nice lightish brown. I did it with permanganate of potash, 1 oz to a gallon of water. Then I rubbed it well with linseed oil and then polished with beeswax and turpentine. Oh it did make me hot but it pays and it won’t wear white like those bought stains which don’t sink in and it is much cheaper. I think the rubbing was good exercise for me. I think the boy thought I was more or less mad to do it myself but a cooly would have made such an awful mess of it and used pounds more stuff. I want to do the verandah too as we only have matting over parts and the boards are so grubby looking. They never scrub out here, wouldn’t know how to do it. They just wipe over feebly. Mother would go mad. Please thank her very much for her jolly letter. It is so nice to get one from her too. I will answer her next week.
I tried all my frocks on. They are all dreadful tight in the arms and round the neck. I suppose I have swelled in the heat. They are all right everywhere else except one which is rather tight across the chest. I may have to let it out but I think it was a case of ‘old stays’.
George will be up for this in 2 secs so I must finish up.
Much love to everybody
I see old Saunders was married yesterday, a Roman Catholic too.