Letter from Frances Hodgkins to Rachel Hodgkins

23 Aug 1916
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23 Aug 1916
3 Campden August 23rd
My Dearest Mother
I wonder how you all are – it seems a long time since I had a letter from you dear. I am still very busy with a big Class to be looked after – it is not very sportive work - & I am frequently bored - & often tired. I broke loose one day & went off to London by the early milk train 6.30 & had a great day, winding up with a convivial dinner at the Paddington Railway Station, & home again at 10.30, walking the mile from the Station by moonlight - & feeling rather rakish when I staggered in to the Hotel about 11, where 2 of my girls were waiting up for me with hot milk. As I had had a long motor trip the day before to Stratford on Avon I felt I could sleep for a week – tho’ I felt no end brisked up for the outing – it is great fun to get off the chain for a spell. Stratford was over run by Bank Holiday trippers, & Shakespeare’s House & Anne Hathaway’s Cottage were bulging with perspiring crowds. I contented myself with buying a p.c. of the latter – wh. I enclose. There wasn’t time for more than a glimpse at everything. Shakespeare’s House is a Museum – a little grey-haired lady, got up to look like Queen Elizabeth I thought, spouted Shakespeariana to all who would listen. We saw priceless first editions – quartos, folios, letters, masks, busts, the fireplace where he sat, the chair beside it, his bed, & goodness knows what beside. I was dazed & tea came as a blessed relief as being something more within ones ken.
I snipped a tiny sprig of rue for you in the garden where all the sweetscented herbs & flowers mentioned by him, grew in carefully ordered plots. I was firmly chided by the guardian & dropped it in my confusion. We came back thro’ villages mentioned in Shakespeare – secretly I found it tame & middling pretty but it was a pleasant run & I am glad to have seen it so comfortably. The weather has been simply topping – every day sunny & warm and we have been a fairly cheerful party thank goodness. I do hate it so when people grumble – I get very bored sometimes with so many people about me – trembling at my frown etc etc.
Did you hear poor Alice McGowan’s boy was missing? We seem to be going irresistibly forward, slow as it seems. I am glad you like the papers I send – I wish I could send you more dear. I had a visit yesterday from Mr Griffiths who came over from Great Malvern & lunched with me. His N.Z. nephew of the same name is killed. A letter today from the Judge. Betha selling on War Chest Day in Martin Place, a four hour shift from 8 – 12 – in bed next day. She has a bale of wool & two spinning machines & spins her wool & knits innumerable socks – they are both intensely patriotic.
Goodbye now dear till next time. This Studio is about as private as a turnpike road – constant interruptions. My only quiet time is between 8 & 9 in the morning. Much love dearest & hoping to hear soon – which room are you now occupying?
Has the black bolero turned up? And do you like it: I think it is just your style. 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-0085-32. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.