Letter 20th December 1906
20th December 1906
Your kind present to your aunt Louisa reached us this morning. It is awfully good of you to send us this substantial gift, but you really ought not to do it. You both have to work hard enough for what you get, and besides you have your mother to look after.
We have been doing somewhat better this winter owing to having an English queen; two diplomatic ladies are rubbing up their English with me in consequence; those sort of people pay rather better than just the common herd, and they are pleasanter to teach and live in nice houses.
I was rather unfortunate last month; one evening coming home from my two awful boys I came down an awful cropper. I banged my head and face against a wall and fell on my knees. I felt quite stunned at first and thought I was all smashed up. However I managed to get up and got home somehow; fortunately I fell near home in a little street where hardly anyone passes so my fall was not seen by the public, besides which it was a very dark night.
When I got home I applied arnica and water to prevent the bruises on my face from turning black so I was not disfigured.
I had a very bad headache next day and must have been rather foolish, for the mother of the boys paid me that evening when I was in the middle of the lesson (£4). I put the money as I thought in an inside pocket of my blouse and never thought about it again, till two days after, and when I went to look for it, it was gone.
It was very annoying to think I had spent three hours every day with those horrible boys for nothing.
Your aunt Louisa and I are sending you some ..... You probably will not receive it till the end of the year. We were waiting to know how much Mrs. Burgess wished us to order for her, and her letter only came this evening.
It is rather a trying time ordering ..... from this particular shop we go to, as there is always a "queue" at this time of year, so we thought we would do the whole business at once.
Mrs. Burgess has also asked us to send her 24 barrels of olives!! Your aunt Helen and Ida will have to see to all that, as we have not the time. We shall get a day or two at Xmas, but no more. Sometimes I feel I must throw up the boys, they tire me so and are such ill behaved wretches, savages can't be worse, they have such bad instincts. I believe the eldest will come to the gallows one day; I told him so, and he seemed quite proud of it.
They have nicknamed the young queen "el pavo real", the peacock - pavo or pava is equivalent in meaning to a goose. Spaniards find her stupid, and very lovely, as the name ..... I don't believe she is stupid; she probably cannot understand some of the coarse ways and sayings of the Spaniards.
All the foreigners find her perfectly charming.
One of the ladies I give lessons to had an audience with her lately. She complained to her Spanish etiquette; told her that on her birthday she was quite done up with the reception she held. She had to receive all the different kind of people separately and speak to each individually.
She received them standing on the throne and then came down to speak to each. She said she was quite tired "climbing up and down the throne!! (grimper et de grimper)."
I asked this lady did she really say "grimper et de grimper"? Yes, she answered, but you must never repeat it to a Spaniard.
All join me in very much love to to you all, and thank you both very much for your kind gift to us.
Your affectionate aunt
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We have heard Guilliamo English is in some big trouble owing to a man having been killed at the mine. Since your uncle Arthur left, he has not had a proper engineer, so probably that is the cause of the trouble; but we do not know the particulars. [Guilliamo English may have been related to Carolina English (1856 - ?) who was married to Arthur Haselden (1849 - 1918)]
We do not mind him being in trouble, but we hope it will not affect your uncle and aunt. He may have to pay a big fine and make relations bear the loss; for he never misses a chance of reducing their allowances.
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