Mabel has a visitor.

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Madampe

September 4th, 1900

Dearest Tommie

If the mail happens to be a little late this letter ought to arrive on the 25th so ‘Many Happy Returns of the Day’, my dear, and lots of love from us both. I am going to send you a minute present in a few days but it has not come yet. I was so hoping we might have been down to Colombo before this so kept putting it off, but now I have written to Mrs Maxfield to get what I want.

I do hope the change and Fairbank will have done you good. You don’t sound up to much what with your shoulder and your tummy. You’ve been doing too much, that’s what it is, and it is a good thing the doctor has knocked off your tennis for a bit.

I do feel badly not having done anything for Miss Kew but somehow I always seem to have a  lot of work on hand, sewing the buttons of George’s trousers is quite a day’s work every week. The Dhobi is most skilful in pulling them off. We have not got a new Boy yet but expect one in a day or two.

The puppies are growing very fast and require plenty of nourishment. We have to give them a dish each as when we give them their food in one dish they gobble so tremendously that we think it must be bad for their little digestions. We had a dreadful fright last week. Our little cat disappeared on Wednesday and did not come back until Sunday evening. I was unhappy. I quite thought she had been killed in some way or else  someone had stolen her. We think she must have got shut up in the copra shed as she goes in there to eat shavings and it was shut up and not opened till Sunday. She was not much thinner, but very frightened, as there are lots of rats and mice in there. Of course someone might have caught her and kept her shut up but if they did I know she would have come back directly she got a chance. The puppies were pleased to see her again, in fact their welcome was almost too energetic. When Moses, who is very broad in the beam, charges at her, he knocks her head over heels.

I hope the Longs party was nice but it was sure to be jolly. I should think that silk would make an awfully pretty blouse and go very well with the yellow skirt. I expect she will have jolly presents. How sad its being so wet on Thursday for cricketing. I expect you were all miserable, especially with your best clothes on.

Of course that beastly little machine won’t work. I never thought it would. George has slaved over it, so have I until I cursed. One of these days I shall chuck it into the canal.

Please give my love to Mother and thank her ever so much for her lovely long letter. I do hope the scorpion etc has arrived quite safely, it would be sad if it didn’t.

Things are going very satisfactorily at the mill just now and they are getting much better reports from London so I hope George’s worries are over. He is still very busy though as they are building onto part of the factory and it needs a lot of looking after. By the way, the petitions I sent back home were not written by the people themselves but by regular professional writers whose business it is. They only just say what they want to and the man composes it, thinks he writes uncommonly good English too, I expect.

We had it very wet on Saturday and Sunday, most unusual for this time of the year as it ought to be pretty hot, but instead it’s fairly cool and breezy. The NE monsoon might break in about a month and then I expect we shall have a lot of rain.

I was nearly forgetting to tell you that I had a caller the other day, quite an exciting event. She was a native lady, a Mrs De Oliveira, very high caste and perfectly English in every way. Her husband is the Police Magistrate at Chilan and he comes over to Marawila, a village a few miles away, once a fortnight, so they have a little house there too. She was very nice indeed and very good looking, a sort of soft browny colour. She had on a brown coat and skirt and pink vest and hat and they were just the colours for her. Her brother is the Maha-Medliyan, the native A&C of the Governor. She has been in London, was there for the Jubilee and was presented at one of the Drawing Rooms. Her sister, Miss Bandaranaika is very well known in society and I think has married an Italian count. I am going to call on her next Tuesday. I wish it didn’t mean going for miles in a bullock cart though.

Don’t laugh at the little home made birthday card but I can’t write for them. It is so unsatisfactory and I thought you might like one I had made myself.

Good bye, I wish I were at home to make you a birthday cake. Oh, I’ll tell you what I want you to give me for a Christmas present – a cake with walnuts in it! There’s nothing like asking for what one wants but the ones we get are rather heavy and underdone somehow and I don’t fancy them and I do long for a nice homemade one. That is of course, if it won’t cost too much to send, it must be just a tiny one.

Lots and love and kisses to everybody

from Mab

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