Letter from Frances Hodgkins to Isabel Hodgkins

22 Jun 1892
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22 Jun 1892
Cranmore Lodge Wednesday
My dearest Sissie
Your long cheery letter arrived this morning. We made the most of it and read it twice over for I expect if Will is coming down this week we will not hear from you again till after his return to Wellington.
I was so awfully glad to hear of your success at Fisher’s, tho’ I wish I could have seen the picture before it was sold. I too have had a small stroke of luck. Mrs Woodhouse has given me a £2.2 commission for a picture. She prefers a duck subject so I will not have to waste any time on an idea hunt.
Mrs Spooner has been staying with us for a few days. She has just come out from Home & is well up in the family pedigree. She is very deaf and it is very hard work carrying on a conversation with her. May starts for Sydney on the 12th if you are not home by that time she is going to run up and see you in Chch. She is getting a fairly extensive trousseau, and is very satisfied with herself and all her belongings. Her recitation went off splendidly, and without a “’itch” to quote Mrs Howorth. She is quite elevated with her success & is agitating for another little performance. I have been inveigled into a nigger minstrel affair. They are getting up “ten little nigger boys’ and I am the little nigger who over-eats himself. There was a rehearsal yesterday at the Websters and I practiced choking over muffins for half an hour. Who says that the dramatic art is not elevating after that!
I enclose you a letter from Winnie Brotherton. It is a fine example of “cultchaw” at 17.
The Savage last night was at the Rattrays. I went to dinner at the Spences and went with them. Maudie Butterworth was chair-woman and got together a very good programme. Maggie Gilk was there sar plain she looked too. Manie Reynolds and Mrs McKenzie both gave recitations, respectively of the milk-and-water and fire-eating types and Miss Cumine gave a chapter from Pickwick deliciously, & for the rest the entertainment was mostly vocal.
I hope you are having fine weather for Will’s visit. We have had snow & heavy frosts, & the ground has been frozen hard for some days. My poor old cow has been almost starved. Yesterday Phemie lost a kerosene-tin stopper and couldn’t find it anywhere, but tonight it came to light in the most wonderful manner. Frank rushed in and said the cow had got a fit, and I ran out to find the poor animal choking violently in the stable. Presently it opened its mouth and with a final convulsion out shot the long lost stopper, and the cow of course recovered rapidly. Mother’s vivid imagination discovered a keroseny flavour about the milk tonight but as the cow refused to digest the stopper that could hardly be so. You say nothing about coming home, dear. Your sorrowing relatives ask for news. If I wasn’t so busy I would miss you horribly. I spend all my spare time with Miss Wimperis and as yet I despair of ever being able to draw in a fairly decent manner. She is a cheerless little lady & it is like swimming against the tide without you to jog along with. Mother is very well and sends her best love & thanks for your letter which she is going to answer in a few days.
With best love to you all, ever your loving sister, Fanny
Did I tell you Nettie Ramsay is engaged to a handsome divinity student at the University, named McKenzie, it is a very good match I believe, as he has both brains and prospects.
8 pages
Sender's address
Cranmore Lodge
Institutional No.
Credit Line
Letters from Frances Hodgkins. Field, Isabel Jane, 1867-1950 : Correspondence of Frances Hodgkins and family / collected by Isabel Field. Ref: MS-Papers-0085-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.