Letter from Frances Hodgkins to Rachel Hodgkins

03 Mar 1901
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03 Mar 1901
R.M.S. Arcadia off Cape Darwin 3.3.1901
My darling Mother
I hope you appreciate this proof of my affection for you, I little thought when I said goodbye to you that I should find myself writing to you from the above address. We are still some miles off the dreaded cape and tho’ the weather is fine there is a heavy swell and the boat is rolling badly and makes it quite worth your while to keep an eye on the inkpot. The passengers are all more or less hors de combat and I sincerely hope they may remain so till after we reach Freemantle. The Western Australian element is anything but agreeable and we shall be glad to see the last of them. The boat has been very crowded ever since we left Adelaide and simply overrun with children.
Mrs Turton & self are the only members of our party who can be said to be enjoying ourselves the Pym girls have not got their sea legs yet and all we see of Miss Marchant is an occasional sickly smile from under her rug – it is fortunate for me I am such a good sailor. We have had wonderful luck with our weather and from Freemantle & Colombo decent weather can nearly always be relied on. We had two hours in Adelaide and two very hot and thirsty hours they were. We caught an early train to town and found our way to Mrs Todd’s (Mrs Butterworth’s sister) and arrived there in a state of collapse. I shall never forget my impression of that walk thro’ the sunbaked glaring streets and the furnace like heat, it simply withered one. A considerate maid rushed at us with fans and iced drinks and by the time our hostess appeared all signs of heat apoplexy had vanished and we felt sufficiently restored to enjoy our morning tea. We sat in her cool little drawing [room] for half an hour then out again into heat and wearily made for the Nat. Gallery. All my fatigue vanished when I saw the pictures and I only regretted not going straight there, they have a splendid Collection, a Rossetti made my heart beat and I positively ached with pleasure when I found myself in front of some of the more modern pictures. Byam Shaw, La Thangue and Brangwyn, all old Academy note friends and it was joy indeed to meet them in the flesh. We ran ourselves short of time & had to fly for our train and hurled ourselves in a molten condition into a carriage and it took us all that day & the next to cool down & quench our thirst. Adelaide is a good place to turn one’s back on and once seen I never want to see it again. This will be my last line to you till Colombo but I promise a good fat budget from there. I got your last letter at Melbourne and cannot hope for another till we reach Home. We breached Sis’s cake yesterday, and it was delicious. No more now dear old Mother. With heaps of love to you both. Your loving Fanny.
4 pages
Sender's address
R.M.S Arcadia, off Cape Darwin
Institutional No.
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Letters from Frances Hodgkins to Rachel Hodgkins, Gilbert Hodgkins and Isabel Field. Field, Isabel Jane, 1867-1950 : Correspondence of Frances Hodgkins and family / collected by Isabel Field. Ref: MS-Papers-0085-09. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.