[Written on one sheet of paper – maybe there was another page folded inside. But he says never writes more than one sheet]
January 25th 1881
I have not written for some time. The cause is idleness. I have been on camp since the beginning of November – am now in town for an indefinite period, I may have to go out tomorrow or perhaps not for three months.
I received a letter from you about Xmas time with cards for which please accept a perfect multitude of thanks. I received a “disguised sermon” from Mr & Mrs Rout as a Xmas card.
Of course they have told you that Father has been at work this
over the page [It does not seem to follow on, but there is nothing missing]
It does not seem to make him any better however – as he has been giving us a treat tonight. Susie is about the same as ever. She was, for a time, devoted to Miss Mofinie(?) who is an “eminently domestic” young person also excessively insignificant. I don’t think you would like her. Lately the friendship has a good deal subsided & Miss Amy Goulstone is at present all the rage. She is obese – to call her fat would not in the least convey my meaning. She is quite as stout as Mrs T.M. MacDonald [Wife of Eliza’s brother Thomas Morell MacDonald] and yet she is only seventeen. Susie says she is clever – I am sure I hope she is, for she ought to be something to counteract that awful fat.
We have the King of the Maoris here – we have been enthusiastic over him – we have cheered the dirty old beggar till we were hoarse in the throat & generally made fools of ourselves about him. When I say “we” I mean the people of Auckland. The poor old man was quite carried away by the flattery & so forth. I will send you some of his speeches if you like. He went home today. He drove down Queen St in a carriage dressed in a white sheet & a Bell –topper – nothing more, not even boots. His sister was with him dressed in the height of fashion a pull back dress & all that. The contrast was pleasing.
The Macdonalds are about the same as ever. The Bond tragedy still continues to enliven us. It appears as if he was not going to come up to time. So much the better for Ada I should think. Susie & I get the credit of being “stuck up” among them all. But really as I often tell Tom “Life is far too short to waste time among the sort of people they mix with”.
I sent you a picture of our office. It is quite a large place is it not? That is Goodson’s (Mother’s friends) place underneath & we have the two top stories.
I think I have not much more to say so I will stop, it being the foot of the page& I make it a point never to write more than one sheet. Love to you & all
Yours as ever
Mr Robertson – parson – will probably call on you . I don’t like him – awful fool – Like Ferguson.