August 19th. /81
My darling Lucy,
I am sure it is your turn for a letter this time. Susie is writing on one side of me & Tom [Tom (1862) is the son of Robert and Emma (nee Matthews) MacDonald.] on the other. Tom has come up to sleep at our house to keep him out of the way of the fever. Poor Aleck [Aleck (1869) is the son of Robert and Emma MacDonald.] is so bad – it is singular how very badly they have all taken it. I am seriously thinking of getting Lottie [Lottie (1871) is the daughter of Robert and Emma MacDonald.] to stay with us for I feel poor Aunt Emma will scarcely stand it if any more take it. She is almost knocked up as it is. Of course poor Father is a difficulty but I think if Lottie stays here for a week without getting it her Aunt Amelia will take her after that. Of course there is a little risk about Fred but he is only at home at night that I don’t think there is much if we keep her away from him. I feel that Aunt Emma never thought of herself at all when my dear Mother was ill that it is such a trial to me not to be able to help her with the nursing. In both Fanny’s [Fannie (1874) is the daughter of Robert and Emma MacDonald.] & Aleck’s cases the scarlet fever has been complicated with typhoid symptoms from the beginning. If we take Lottie there will only be Ada [Ada (1860) is the daughter of Robert and Emma MacDonald.] exposed to it & of course she has been helping her Mama all the time. Poor little Fanny wants four or five meals a day she is so naughty, but she is getting on nicely now only very very thin. I think dear Father has been better on the whole the last few days. I saw Mrs Thompson and had a nice long chat with her and felt strengthened after it. We do need such an amount of gentleness & patience. I hope you never forget to ask for it for us.
I am busy refronting some of Father’s old shirts for Fred & find I have to bring my old fine work into practice again. I bought the fronts but had to make bands for the neck & stitch them by hand. I have finished two & they do very nicely & really they are not so formidable as you might expect. Sue, Lena & I have been very busy making marmalade – we made 34lbs of oranges so we have a nice little lot of preserve which is a real help.
I think we shall get on splendidly when Fred once begins to get his salary regularly. He has not been paid anything yet but will at the end of the month. He has been away for a more than a week doing some survey work for Mr Hickson. Strange to say it was to survey the boundaries of the farms that used to be Sam Clarke’s & Ludbrook’s. He staid (sic) in Sam Ludbrook’s old house. I think Fred & Mr Hickson get on splendidly & I cannot feel thankful enough that he got that situation. It was so evidently of the Lord. But it is getting late & I must stop. You have no idea how I yearn for a sight of you all but we must wait patiently & we may yet. I don’t think Fred would care to return to Invercargill, he likes Auckland better. All send much love to you & Arthur & Emma & take a goodly share for you all from your loving old