The one where Mab has a rant.





Dearest Tommie

I am cross and I should like to smack someone. I nearly did George but not quite. We did up your little parcel, sent it off gaily yesterday and the postmaster sent it back and said we must insure it. We thought it would not be necessary as it was not worth much. George went off at early dawn this morning with it to the post office to try and get it in the bag before the coach came but the postmaster had sealed up the bag and of course would not open it again so now it won’t go till next mail, as parcels have to be in Colombo a day earlier than letters. We find that 3lb is the minimum and although this only weighs 6ozs, we have to pay the same, so we are going to make up the weight with desiccated coconut.

I hope you will like the little bangle, it is not the sort you meant, but Mrs Maxfield thought it was a better kind for hanging things on and as it is rather pretty I kept it and if you would like one of the other ones I can easily get it when I go to Colombo and they are both very cheap. If the moonstone comes out, you must tell me and I will send you another to have put in. Mrs Maxfield didn’t think the ring in the little jumbo was very safe so you had better let Mrs Dealing look at it. Tell her I’m still happy and we have not come to blows yet!

Oh why did I leave my native land to come to this abominable country!  We had two earthquake shocks on Sunday night and I didn’t like it at all.  It was about quarter past four and I was sound asleep when I was awakened by hearing a sort of rattling at the door which I thought was the pups scratching to come in. Then the whole room began to shake and everything rattled and there seemed to be a sort of roaring noise and I said to George, ‘Whatever does it mean?’ He said, ‘Earthquake’. I said ‘Oh!’ and promptly got between him and the bed and even then I shook about. It only lasted about a minute although it seemed ages and then about five minutes afterwards there was another little shock. George wired to the Observer and has also sent a little account, I think. Aren’t I getting an experienced person? Of course we felt it a good deal more being upstairs. Mr Van Dort thought it was thieves on his roof as the tiles rattled about so, it never dawned upon him what it was.

The mail is late this week. We shan’t get our letters till this evening. I have written a long letter to Kate this week. I wrote to Dory last. I am going to call on Mrs D’Olivera this afternoon if it is possible to get a cart. George has been trying all over the place to get one, now there is just a chance the postmaster might be able to get one. This is a hole of a place. There was church the other day but we couldn’t go as we couldn’t get a cart. But it is the same with anything we want to do and it is certainly a trial for one’s temper and patience living in this place.

Our new Boy came on Sunday night and so far is very good but it is too soon to say. He is a Sinhalese and has a very good character for cleanliness. He cooks very well, seems to be a decent sort of man altogether. Such a funny little type with a square head.

Mr Clarke sent me the two photos that he took of the mill coolies, but they are very bad. There are men and boys in one and women and girls in the other. The women would put their hands in front of their mouths and giggle.

Did you notice the funny little seal on your last letter? George is using them for business letters as we have a faint idea the postmaster at Madampe opens the letters. They are very clever in doing that sort of thing. These seals are rather cute aren’t they? Oh, I was nearly forgetting. Could you send me one or two Ambulance books? You can have them again when we leave this place but so often accidents happen to the coolies and of course they come to George. If they are really hurt he sends them off in a cart to the hospital but generally it is only slight things. They are very fond of falling off the desiccators about eight feet onto a cement floor and naturally get very bruised. Then sometimes they cut themselves with the choppers they break open the nuts with. We have got a little medical book which is very good but there are a lot of useful things in the Ambulance ones, I know. George keeps lint and Elliman’s and a few things like that in the office for cases of emergency.


Well I think that’s all for to day so I’ll say ‘Adoo’. I am wondering how your neuralgia is, better this time, I hope, and Mother’s too.

lots of love and kisses for everybody

from Mab



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