Letter from Thomas Wilby to Rachel Hodgkins

18 Jan 1905
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18 Jan 1905
3 West 29th Street New York City 7th Floor Jan 18 ‘05
Dear Mrs Hodgkins
I know you so well through Frances that I suppose there is no excuse for writing you necessary. It is her wish & mine that I should make your acquaintance: it was just a little formal wish on her part, though she has already introduced me to you in the nicest way imaginable. And I’m sure she didn’t half realise what it meant to me: that perhaps the “dear little woman” as she affectionately speaks of your good self, might fill a very great parental blank in my life. You will perhaps feel surprised at this, knowing through Frances that I have parents. But surely birth does not command affection always; and so I fancy I have tons of it to bestow even upon a prospective mother-in-law.
It is difficult to know exactly what to say in this preliminary letter. You of course know my intentions with regard to Frances. She has, in a weak moment, promised to make me the happiest of men as his wife and his mother-in-law.
The business side of the matter I have already communicated in part to Frances & to Miss Richmond. I would have liked very much to come over to New Zealand this year, but the difficulty of getting away is insurmountable. Finally the obstacles were removed by Frances’ proposal to meet me in Europe. Of course I fully realise that if the marriage is to take place it should be in New Zealand, in your presence. But even if the marriage takes place in Europe, Frances would be desirous of returning to N.Z. for a short time as I understand though I don’t see how I could ever let her go from me once we were man & wife. I should feel the separation too keenly. But perhaps the difficulty could be overcome by my sailing for New Zealand with her in 1906.
However this is anticipating things, is it not? I am endeavouring just now to make arrangements by which I can settle down in London or in Paris, as it is in one of those cities I should like to make my home with Frances.
I feel that you must naturally be very anxious about Frances & that you imagine she is taking me very much on trust in the absence of anything more tangible than my love for her. I have no relatives, so called, only friends who have an intimate knowledge of me & to whom I could refer you, because I feel it is only right that Frances should know something about me from an outside source. But Frances & I know each other in a way that no relatives could add to. I know her whole life & nature through my own heart. Very sincerely yours T.W. (Brighton?) Wilby
4 pages
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Other family correspondence and miscellaneous papers. Field, Isabel Jane, 1867-1950 : Correspondence of Frances Hodgkins and family / collected by Isabel Field. Ref: MS-Papers-0085-51. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/22432991