The One with the Pups, the Piccalilli, and the Platinotypes.

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Madampe

14.VIII.00

My dearest Tommie

It is getting hotter again and I wish it wouldn’t. It is only about 85 degrees but the air is so much moister this monsoon that it feels worse than when it is dry. The wind is still fairly high though so that prevents its being oppressive.

I have just been giving the pups their breakfast. They have bread and milk and blow themselves out with great gusto. George is perfectly disgraceful. Last night when the Boy brought their bread and milk in for their supper, he announced in a loud voice: ‘Here comes the Tummy Tightener!’ And to think we once thought him so modest.

I don’t believe I’ve told you the pups’ names. Moses, Ginger and Nipper. We called the biggest Moses because he is the leader of all the mischief. He is a most impertinent small person, very fat and square with a snub nose and a wrinkly forehead, and perfectly impossible. Ginger is a sort of gingerbread colour (very ugly) hence his name. His great talent is for digging holes in my flower boxes and he gets many a smack. He is a great coward and retires to a corner at once if he hears a footstep and has a guilty conscience. Nipper was rather a screwed up little animal when she was small but has grown apace lately. She is most like her mother with a long nose and short legs, but all their legs are rather short.

Moses is the favourite, especially with George. He will have him on his lap at mealtimes and then of course he tries to poke his nose in everything. Yesterday he rapturously laid it on a piece of piccalilli and retired hastily, sneezing. I hope it may be a lesson to him.

I don’t know what we should do without our animals. They are a great source of amusement. The cat plays with the puppies a lot now. She is so good and never hurts them a bit, not even when they try and shake her tail. She only astonishes them by leaping over their heads.

I have some plants given me this morning. One of the mill coolies put them in the verandah. They are some lovely bits of tradescantia, the red variegated sort and some round leafed plants, sort of pink and greeny colours. They are always very interested in George’s and my gardening operations. I am gradually repotting all the plants. They don’t understand about drainage properly here. I am saving up all my old pennies to send to Nuwara Eliya for some flower seeds. George gives me all the five cent pieces he gets. They are such clumsy things to carry about, three times bigger and thicker than a penny and you have to get a great heap of 20 before you get a rupee.

Oh, thanks awfully for the photo. It is good. Although George makes remarks about chubby cheeks, but it is mostly jealousy. I am afraid it will fade dreadful quick out here as only platinotypes keep, so bear that in mind when you have yours taken. As I hope you will. Poor Jack is getting paler and paler, the one that Freddy took. I shall soon have to confine him to the oblivion of an album.

I am so sorry you and mother have rheumatism so badly. I think you must have been doing foolish things. Does Mother sit at the back door without a ‘little shawl’ to keep the draught off? What is a rheumatic ring? I have never heard of them.

I do hope it was fine for the river picnic and that you had a good time. I wish I could have been there too. It isn’t fair.

George had a letter from his mother last mail and she talked about taking a house at Billingshurst. It sounds like a benighted hole to go to. George does not think much of it as he says the soil is all clay and he thinks it will be very damp and raw in the autumn and winter. It is no good saying anything about it as she is evidently entirely ruled by Ethel. I only hope she won’t regret it.

Tell Joyce it is a very long time since she wrote me a letter. I think she must have forgotten all about Auntie Mab. I hope they have had a good time at Worthing.

Goodbye.

Love and kisses to everybody

From Mab

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4 thoughts on “The One with the Pups, the Piccalilli, and the Platinotypes.

  1. Good old Mab! Love the comment about Billingshurst – I live 15 mins from this village. It has a fantastic second-hand bookshop & tearooms, so is not quite the ‘benighted hole’ as described by Mab…

  2. I just love these letters Sophie! Reminds me of much simpler times. Thanks for sharing.

    I’d love to see these put into a book of letters with appropriate picture, maps etc etc.

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