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Sylvia du Maurier to Emma du Maurier - 1885

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Letter from Sylvia du Maurier to her mother Emma, dated 19 September 1885.

[Not in Peter’s Morgue]


7 Ellice Place
St Andrews
[Postmarked 19 September 1885]

My darling Mama
Your sweet letter has just come, & oh! weren't we very glad to get it, but as it was written to May & me, we don't quite know who had better keep it.
We all want you to come home quickly because it is so sad without you & Papa.
This morning Mrs James & Georgie came to fetch us to go out fishing with them. We enjoyed it very much. Gerald & Georgie thought it lovely. We had the fish for tea, most of them were codlings.
Your box came today & I sent it off as soon as possible. I had better write and tell Annie so.
I think I shall go & see Mrs Lehmann tomorrow if I dare. Mrs James thinks she drinks some stuff that makes her stupid, because sometimes she is so genial & sometimes the other thing.
[Crossed out: The eldest Miss Priestley is] (I told you that.)
May is not looking very well but she takes her iron often & doesn't feel ill.
Gerald is alright & I think he eats a little more, but if we all look pale, & feel it too, it is because we are separated from you two sweet things.
Another letter came from Vanwart, bother him, to ask us to go, but I really think we can't don't you! I will send the letter on.
There is no letter from Trixie yet, when there is I will send it on. (if it's proper)
I hope you will like staying at Aberdeen - if the people are all like the flowers & Drumond. I should think it would be no.
For your peace of mind it is better that Lady Aberdeen is like Maggie Stevenson, for if she was a beauty & had all the beautiful blue blood as well, it would be very serious.
Has A. brought all his drawings?
I bought a pr of the guinea shoes & they fit me beautifully.
We have all written you letters this time. I hope you will write to us a lot.
Now my dearest Mummy good bye, with my best love to you & Papa
Ever your loving daughter

[Not in Peter's Morgue, therefore none of his comments. From Leonee Ormond's excellent 1969 biography of George du Maurier:
"In the autumn of 1885, Du Maurier at last visited Scotland, taking lodgings in St Andrews, and going on from there to visit [John Everett] Millais at Birnam Hall. He took Sylvia with him, by now a striking girl of twenty, leaving Emma, who was suffering from rheumatism, at St Andrews with May and Gerald. The visit was a huge success, the witty Sylvia delighted Millais, who subsequently took a great interest in her welfare. When his own daughter announced her engagement later in the year, he told du Maurier: “Love to Sylvia who I hope to see soon in a similar position although it will be a heavy blow to me”.]


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