Letter from Frances Hodgkins to Rachel Hodgkins

01 May 1908
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01 May 1908
[Rijsoord] Dordrecht May 1st 1908
My darling Mother
I was so very glad to get a letter from you late last night. It came just as I was going to bed I won’t say how early & sent me to sleep happy to hear you are well & bright. Too bad about the mongrel puppies – I am sorry you had rack the poor little mother’s heart by drowing quite so many of her family. I hope she is not under the house still. This is the first of May, so far not very full of promise though the dead winter grey is fast turning into a living green. Your can feel the grass growing under your feet. We have had a dreadful April – one long savage howl of wind & rain & snow. I am longing for the sun & warmth & a skyful of blue to rouse me out of my winter torpor. The days go by rather slowly waiting for pupils. So far only 2 have written for particulars – no one can think longingly of sketching classes & a channel crossing in such weather as this. I should like to go up to Haarlem & feast my eyes on the spring bulbs & steep my self in colour. I believe I am losing my colour sense living so long in this sombre sunless land. I enclose one of Gertrude’s letters with a fine description of a beautiful dancer now in London whom everyone is crazy over; the Church of course denounces her performance as profane & sacriligious . Personally I don’t wonder Herod felt weak when he saw Salome if she danced as well as they say Maud Allan does. No doubt there are many modern young Herods offering her half their kingdom. The strange & inscrutable methods that the R.A. has as regard pictures is well illustrated in their selection of Maud Nickalls picture & the exclusion of her more talented (ahem!) friends. Maud does many things better than she paints. The pictures she sent in she painted with me in Dordt. I stood behind her & made suggestions. It isn’t really fair play is it? Mr Moll who sent a really fine thing has also been chucked. The fat boarder is a great thorn in my side – she does not improve. I daresay it is good for one’s liver to have to put up with disagreeable people – they don’t let you get lethargic. The roads are too muddy for rides, the long endless roads are dull for walking. I believe I want a perpendicular hill to climb. I am suffering from mer de pays. There goes the luncheon gong & the fat lady is waddling straight to the soup tureen. She always looks as if she would so much rather have it than the soup plate. Much love to you dearest From your loving Frances.
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Letters from Frances Hodgkins. Field, Isabel Jane, 1867-1950 : Correspondence of Frances Hodgkins and family / collected by Isabel Field. Ref: MS-Papers-0085-20. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.