Letter from Frances Hodgkins to Rachel Hodgkins

03 Feb 1918
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03 Feb 1918
St Ives Feb 3rd
My Dearest Mother
At last Geoff has written & lifted a load from my mind. I was feeling very bothered over him. It was 2 months since I last heard. His letter came the day after I had posted one to the H. Commissioner asking him to find out if Geoff was still with his unit. Geoff writes very cheerfully from behind the lines & says he had a topping spread at Xmas. I have just posted him a parcel. Tell Sis I can’t send him any dried fruits, dates etc or chocolate. It is getting more & more difficult to get any extra ration, but I managed to scrape together some tinned things, salmon, sausages, shrimp paste, milk and a ginger bread mixed by me & baked by the fisherman’s wife below. I had a rabbit sent me yesterday & I have had an excellent meal today. I certainly do feel the better for meat. A man who has an allotment sent me a basket of artichokes & Mrs Meade, who is a dear always, brought me some tomato soup & a bag of Melox for the cat. Melox is an inspiration. He, the cat, is fattening visibly. He certainly has looked rather a half starved piece of scaffolding lately. But what could you? The land doesn’t flow with milk or honey – not even treacle – except on Mondays, when there is a stampede for it. I sold an 8gns picture to an old Paris pupil who walked into the studio the other day with her bridegroom husband, a rich Harley St doctor. They looked such a happy handsome pair – it did me good to see them - & I loved her for remembering me. And I think Col: Jameson is going to buy his portrait. They are inquiring the price. I must get to Town & take a Studio. I wld get lots of orders I am sure. Some people from Scotland have written to say they wld like to see me with a view to a portrait. But what can one do down here.
A big boat torpedoed a few miles from here at Gurnard’s Head, 14 drowned & today another crew landed. It is horrible. There are strong rumours that there is treachery on this coast. It looks bad – Cornish men have always had a taste for wrecking & the traditions of the country are all that way. A mild & lovely fortnight - & the daffys are in bud.
Miss Williams has sent a bundle of Punches wh will follow on to you. She had heard from Geoff too. I certainly feel much happier now I knew he is safe.
Much love dearest little Mother from your loving Fanny
4 pages
Sender's address
St. Ives
Institutional No.
Credit Line
Letters. Field, Isabel Jane, 1867-1950 : Correspondence of Frances Hodgkins and family / collected by Isabel Field. Ref: MS-Papers-0085-34. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.