Letters of Mary Neate


Susan Walter contacted me from Australia as follows:

"My husband's great-great grandmother Mary Neate was living in Swan Street Kingsclere at the time of the 1881 census with her spinster daughter Mary Stephana Neate and her married daughter Anna Maria Heanly and her husband and family. The Tombstone transcriptions list Mary Neate's death in 1885 along with a mention of her husband Stephen who was interred at Mortaise in France in 1855.Unfortunately Mortiase does not exist and we have yet to locate where exactly Stephen died and why he was in France in the first place. A pity the headstone no longer exists as we would love to have another look at the word "Mortaise" to see if it was misread. Another Neate Headstone at Kingsclere is for Stephen Richmond Neate (1884) and his wife Helen (nee Drake) (1883) formerly of Hong Kong. This is another child of Stephen and Mary Neate.Stephen and Mary's youngest surviving child, Charles John Humphries Neate immigrated to New Zealand in 1875 with his new wife, had 6 children in New Zealand and then moved on to Victoria Australia. At the time of the birth of his first son, Percy, in 1878, Mary Neate and Mary Stephana Neate were writing letters to Charles from Kingsclere, of which some survive and are in our possession. Mary Stephana was learning to play the new organ in the church (St Mary's) and was also a teacher. The letters contain the names of various other residents of Kingsclere.

If transcripts of these letters would be of any interest to you please let us know. The original handwriting is hard to read as the paper was written on twice, once in normal fashion and then secondly at 90 degrees to the first writing, but we have trancribed them to our best ability some 120+ years down the track."

Susan kindly sent me the transcripts which are reproduced here ( using cut & paste) together with her notes (in italics) after each letter.

40 Bussell Street
Febry 25th 1878

My dear Charley & Eva

I begin my letter by wishing you both a happy new year. We are very anxious to get a letter from you to tell us some good news I do sincerely hope all has gone on well you have my good wishes. I fear you must think me very negligent not to have written before, in Oct. I went to Anvilles to get Arthurs house in order then I went on to Bishopstone stayed a fortnight there on to Mrs Hammons ten days as I had to come thro Reading on my way I came here to see aunt Frank and I have been here ever since last June. Aunt had a letter from Mr Meeks to say she was not able to manage her own affairs.
In Decr notice was sent that two Lunacy Commissioners would come down to the Great Western Hotel & hold a meeting before they assembled they both came here to see aunt and asked her a few questions she answered foolishly Maurice & May took their certificates. Mr Meeks wrote to say he was coming before xmas. We have waited ever since to hear their decision. The suspense I expect will make her mad. Soon after the Johnsons returned from America. Last week Martha came up as Mr Meeks was too ill he is gone to Torquay for two months and on Friday Mrs J wrote to say Mr Meeks wishes hers & Mr J to be with aunt while he is away. Kind Mrs White who has been here ever since March had notice to leave in a month. I only hope aunt will worry them as much as she has us. This house is to be advertised to be sold, & Mr Meeks will not give any more rent so there will be another alteration in June. Jany 3 aunt took up the Devizes papers read Charles Bayly of Baths death. It was a week afterwards no one was .written to nor any cards sent, it was a great shock to aunt Bayly he died by her side in bed. She keeps upstairs in her drawing room.
Sad news will have to be sent to Stephen & Helen in Hong Kong. Mr J Drake died on Friday after only a few days illness. Do you know Stephen has built a house and they went into it in September. I heard from Helen she had not been well, liver out of order. Stephen was well he had so many presents at Christmas joints of mutton & beef 6 hams 13 fowls 2 geese oranges potted meats & preserved fruits a wash stand set of ware tea sherry 2 doz a silk umbrella 20 yards of light brushed silk a dress for Helen given them by those Stephen is over, it shows how much he is respected. Do you know Mr Edmond ??? Corser New Brighton Christchurch. The new vicar that is at Bishopstone is related to him, he sent them a photo of a new church built since he went out there. How are the Stockers. Do you know the remedy for sore throat a lump of salt put into a bit of muslin or linen just wetted & push on. Have you sold your house in Ceylon. I want to know how busines is getting on & if you have been successful. Emily Toms intends coming home in the spring. I have had only one letter from her since she went out. She seems disgusted - not to have more ??? society. How are your knees. Frank Rowland is at Shrivenham. Dr Parker professed to cure rheumatism by fireing with a hot iron the knee. Mary Benjamin had a very severe illness in the autumn inflamation of the lung & pleuresy. She is still only allowed to go out when very fine. Dr She ??? went down from Reading he considers her very delicate. I believe they sent for the Johnsons to return & are going to undertake the responsibility of Aunt to have a home as Martha said whoever was here was to come from a pure motive of kindness. They want a home I am got quite tired of it I think aunt gets worse. She does not sit still two minutes unless she has work. She sleeps badly wakes early & no rest for Annie who sleeps in her room. I think she has taken a dislike to me because I will speak & have plenty to eat. Aunt Toms has been very poorly Uncle went up to Hungerford he is agent for some wine company fortunately he did not go to see Arthur or to Kingsclere.
The new organ is part up Mary will have enough to do now. The Carter Holdings are come to Elm Grove they are all musical and disposed to be friendly with us. I do hope soon to hear from you on the 20th a mail is due. I am anxious to go home as Anna is expecting another baby this month, I hope it will be a girl. Hoping you are both well. With kindest love, Believe me dear Charley & Eva

Your Affecte

Aunt.Frank’s kindest love to you & she hope the little stranger is arrived. Who is it like. & was she born on time.

Letter dated 25/2/1878:

I assume Bussell St is in Kingsclere. Can you confirm this? (I think this is in fact Russell Street in Reading, due to the mention of the Great Western Hotel within the letter, other readers comments welcome-Ed)
Charley is C.J.H. Neate, Eva is his wife Evaline (nee Jaques)
Arthur is another of Mary’s sons; Arthur Webb Neate
Aunt Frank is Ann Neate (nee Maskell) widow of Mary’s brother Francis Webb Neate
Mr Meeks is Alex Meeks a family friend and solicitor who seemed to be involved in most legal family documents (wills etc.)
The Johnsons refers to a married niece of Mary’s via, her brother Stephen Richmond Neate.
I think Mrs White is the married sister of Stephen Richmond Neate’s (above) second wife
Charles Bayly is the husband of Mary’s sister, Stephana Bayly (nee Neate).
Stephen and Helen are Mary’s son Stephen Richmond Neate and his wife Helen nee Drake (from Kingsclere we believe).
Emily Toms is the daughter of Mary’s late husband’s sister, Johanna Toms (nee Neate). Emily later married Mary’s son Francis William Neate.
Frank Rowland is the son of Mary’s sister Rachel Rowland (nee Neate)
Mary Benjamin is another daughter of Mary’s brother Stephen Richmond Neate
Mary (in reference to the organ) is Mary’s unmarried daughter Mary Stephana Neate who lived with her mother ca 1878-81
Anna is Anna Maria Heanly (nee Neate) another of Mary’s daughters who married Frank E. J. Heanly and lived at Kingsclere also.

Kingsclere February 26th 1878

My dear Charley & Eva,

I hope by this time there has been an arrival & that all has gone well. We shall soon begin to look out for tidings & I hope they will be good ones. Miss Barnes asked me the other day if we had heard as she is most interested, of course you had a paper from Arthur announcing his marriage on Sepr 29th. I fear I have not written to you since then and yet I am sure I must have done so, however in case I have not I will say a little about it, I went & am glad I did though I was only asked a few days before. Dick, Alfred, Walter & Albert her brothers were there. C V Steven’s was best man Emily Taylor & “Little Mary” were the bridesmaids they wore white with blue trimmings & Arthur gave them silver lockets, Ellen wore a fawn coloured silk & white bonnet. They went to Hastings for a few days then back to town for a few more & while there A took “his Bride” to spend a day with the Hulberts at Watford by invitation. Mama went to Anvilles to put it a little in order to receive them, she spent a little time there as Arthur was very busy with sales and thought Ellen would find it dull and then went on to stay at Bishopstone & Garford & has since been at Reading. A & E called to see Aunt Frank on their way home and she gave them the drawing room clock they had a nice bundle of other presents. I went to stay with them just after xmas and accompanied them and Walter to a very pleasant dance at the Hungerford Corn Exchange. A waltzes very nicely can you fancy it. My next visit was to Miss Brooks. She & her mother live at “......... Villas” which no doubt you remember hearing was going to be built. It is a very comfortable little house. Katie ????? spent an evening there, both she and Annie asked for you, The latter is going to be married soon to a Brewer named Foster aged 36 but remarkably stout living at Berkhamsted where they went last year as her younger brother was there for a few months as lay reader. While at Marston I & Annie walked over to Cricklade, our old house is a private Lunatic Asylum in a small way, I called on Mr Brooks the doctor & Miss Rew? where I used to go to school. My next visit was to Bishopstone, while there we had the concert followed by a dance in the village school room & a dance in honour of Arthur Dore’s coming of age, when about 40 assembled we went to a very nice concert at Shrivenham, when several titled people performed amongst others the Honrble A Yorke now in attendance on Prince Leopold. Mrs Dore was not at all well when I was there but when I went down a fortnight afterwards for the Bachelors Ball at Swindon she was much better. Arthur Bayly the ??????? was one of the Bachelors & he invited me when he was at A Dore’s party, Willie Dore said he would give me my ticket but when he found there were none to be sold he went in with the others in sharing the expenses, 193 invitations were accepted & we spent a very pleasant night from 8 till 6 the next morning, I went to Mr Alfred Plummers at Swindon & the Bishoptone party joined me there, after going hunting the next day I went home with them & back home the next day. I wore my old white silk done up with coral coloured Tarlatan & bunches of dark ivy leaves, silver oak leaves & coral. Mary Bennett that W. Dore used to be engaged to was there, they had one dance together but I thought that a gentleman who came up with her & her sister & brother from Herefordshire was very attentive to her. She looked very well in a cream coloured silk, the prettiest dress there was a pale pink silk trimmed with swans down. During my holidays I also spent a few days with Joan & James Hammans, the latter has a bad knee something like yours used to be. Also I spent a day on my lot at Reading, Aunt was better while I was there as she always is when anybody else is present, but she is at times most provoking. It is quite amusing as well as annoying to find how Mr Benjamin & Martha Johnson have succeeded in their little plot which they evidently made, in a letter from Martha last Autumn to Mary & which she sent for us to read were the words “What will be my responsibility if I have the care of Aunt Frank” so it was evident Mary had said something about their coming home & going to Reading as in the letter before that they said they had decided to stay the 2 years so as to get Mr J’s official papers signed, and they did not come when Mary was ill but waited till some weeks afterwards. Martha says a relation is not to be paid but I should say if she is placed there & allowed to have Mr J living there too that is equal to one being paid as if she does not get it in money she does in board & lodgings for him & what they want is a house not money. Aunt wrote to say she wished Ma to be appointed and Ma wrote to say she wished to be, neither of which letters Mr Meek took any notice of, so no doubt Mary asked him to wait for Martha’s return as before deciding anything. Mr Maurice’s wife I think you know ran away with a Mr Pain & then left him and went off with another man. Mr M has just got divorced from her I mean the doctor at Reading. Annie Booker has the drawing she did from the one you borrowed for her hanging up and says she promised you she would never give it away, she has done some more pictures but a different style, the Holy Family & a head of our Saviour. She had been to see the ship & had packed one lot towards going back to Africa with Mr Jackson when Mr Foster asked her to remain in England. Poor Mr John Drake was buried today, he died last Friday, he was out walking the Saturday before, he has had a cold & cough ever since Xmas but at the last it seemed like fading away more than any illness, he sat up to supper & walked up to bed at 9 o’ clock & died very quietly at 3 o’ clock. Charlotte was with him at the time as Mary Anne was going to lie down Fred Emma & Jabez were sleeping at the Brewery they had no idea he was so near his end. F Heanly attended the funeral & made a cross of snowdrops & violets for Helen he also made up one of some flowers Lavinia wished sent she could not come as her pupils have had scarlet fever. Poor Nellie it will be sad news for her but she will be partly prepared for it as they have written to say he was very ill. Charlotte will feel it most having lived with him most. Gussie Deane lost her 5th baby in Decr about 3 months old and Uncle Bayly died almost suddenly early in February, they did not write to Ma or Aunt Frank for ???? of alarming the latter but left her to find it out from the paper!!. The organ was opened on Sunday 17th & we like it very much its cost is nearly £200 Mr Barnes was very pleased that my brothers all contributed towards it tell Mr Stocker about it, it has 492 pipes 10 stops with room to add 6 more a swell 3 combination pedals by using which one can make it soft louder or very loud according to which is pressed down 2 octaves of wooden pedals which I am going to get some lessons from Mr Godding of Newbury on, I shared the duty with the Builder (Mr Smith) from Bevingtons the first Sunday & last Sunday had it all to do myself. I get on better than I expected but of course I have to practise as much as I can. I go for an hour or two every evening that I can it is really a pleasure to play it after the other old thing, & I long to be able to manage the pedals properly as they give it more bass & make it sound so much fuller. Miss Barnes nearly lived in the Church the week it was being built & the Vicar spent a good deal of time there they were so interested in the “Organization of it” Mr Barnes’ pun. I have been scribbling on & now find it is just post time so I hope there are no mistakes as I have not time to read it through. Anna & Frank join me in kindest love to you both & hoping very soon to hear good news of & from you.

I am dear Charley & Eva your very Affcte sister

MS Neate

Your nephews send love & kisses to Uncle Charley & Auntie Eva
remember me kindly to Mr & Mrs Stocker when you see them hope they are well.

Letter dated 26th Feb 1878

In reference to Arthur’s wedding (Arthur Webb Neate), Ellen is his new wife, nee Whistler
(I believe there were other Whistlers buried at Kingsclere)
Gussie Deane is Sarah August Toms (Mary’s husband’s niece) who married Henry Augustus Dean in 1871
MS Neate is Mary Stephan Neate, (as above)

March 26th 1878

My dear Charley
I was very pleased to receive your letter & must congratulate you on being Papa also do offer Eva my best wishes for her recovery and that her dear baby may grow to be a comfort to you both. I expect you will indeed be proud of him. I am sure your anxiety must have been very great and much cause for alarm. We are hoping soon to have a good account & that Eva is getting strong. I am delighted to tell you that dear Anna had a daughter at 10 to 10 Sunday night & both are going on extremely well baby is a contented plump little dear & promises to thrive. Anna sends her love to you both and hopes all will go on well with Eva & baby. I am sorry to say Frank H is very poorly indeed a very violent cold & a bad cough I fear a slight attack of bronchitis he has had five linseed poultices on his chest with mustard. He is to have a constant fire in his room. He has Mary’s room & we go into his room. The children have all been very poorly with colds & bad coughs.
We have plenty to do at present the children are very good they are to see their little sister this evening. Sunday & yesterday we have had snow showers it is very cold, the trees were forward in leaf, this will check them.
Old Collins has been very ill, bronchitis and delirious at times, he asked for you and desired his respects when I wrote he was better the last account four old people ill with bronchitis now. Mrs Benjamin went to 40 B S and she took Aunt into Castle St in lodgings for a week as they were obliged to leave the house the well of the W.C. overflowed. Aunt was quite sorry to return home, the change has done Mary B good, she remains there until Mr & Mrs Johnson go & take up their abode. They seem to be doing just as they like. I trust you continue well and business is flourishing.

With very kind love to both
Believe me dear Charley
Ever your Affecte

on same piece of paper we have

March 26th

My dear Charley

We were very glad indeed to hear of the arrival of your little son but very sorry that Eva was so very ill. We are anxiously looking out for your next letter & hope it will bring much better news of Eva. Please congratulate her on being a mother & accept my best wishes for the future of your son & heir. I had an announcement put into the Devizes paper as I thought many of Eva’s old friends would see it who might not otherwise know of the arrival. I send you a paper by this mail thinking you may like to keep it and also going to send Stephen & Frank each one and asked Mary Benjamin to send hers to Mrs Jaques as I dont know her address. I enclose a letter and the “Bill of Lading” from Arthur, it was very remiss of him not to have sent it last Autumn, but I suppose the omission is excusable under the circumstances. I hope you got the things at last but it was very tiresome not to have had them by the time you wanted them. Wilfred did not seem jealous of his little sister when he saw her, I dont know how it will be when he sees Anna nursing her. He says “I am not the baby now” he is a regular boy & often tries to be master over his brothers in their games that he quite enters into with them.
Mr John Drake died about a month ago. Charlotte is still going to live here and keep on her school. He was ailing for some little time a sort of break up, but he did not keep his bed a day & was out walking a few days before he died. Stephen & Helen tell us they expect an arrival in July, they have sent for Mrs Hollick to send out lots of things. I hope you will tell us what name you give your little boy, who he is like & who you choose for sponsors. Frank & Anna’s daughter was born on Mamas birthday. Cyril & Percy send their love & they would like to see their little cousin. Charlotte’s love & is glad you have a son & hopes to hear a better account of Eva soon. I am delighted with the new organ & spend hours practising on it & am glad to be able to say I get on better than I expected though can’t play much with my feet yet. With kindest love to you both & hope Eva will be quite strong again before you get this.

I am dear Charley your Affecte sister Mary.

Letter dated 26th March from Mary Stephana Neate (sister)

Stephen and Frank are her brothers Stephen R Neate and Francis William Neate Mrs Jaques would be Ann Jaques, mother of Evaline who married Charles J .H. Neate Wilfred is Wilfred Neate Heanly, son of Anna and Frank, as are Cyril and Percy

Kingsclere, June 17th 1878

My dear Charley,

I was so very glad to hear such an improved account of Eva & hope we shall hear that after she began getting about she steadily gained strength & is now quite well. Also that Percival Jaques is flourishing. What made you choose his first name. Mary Benjamin sent us a letter from Addie Jaques to read in which she said she was to be Godmother, who are the Godfathers to him & was he christened & did Mr Stocker baptize him. I was very glad you got all the things safely at last it was very tiresome indeed that you hadn’t them sooner also very glad you liked the things & that the hooded cape and shoes suit the baby’s “style of beauty”. Very many thanks for sending the stones, I have not asked the jeweller yet, but I am almost afraid neither piece will be large enough to cut into a triangle the size of the two stones already in the ring. What do you think of Franks choice. We were very much surprised as we had heard something about a Mr Rolls, who when in England some time ago went to see the Dean’s with a letter of introduction from Tommy. It is odd after all her chances that she should choose to settle down quitely in Ceylon which she has always said she disliked but she seems very happy indeed at the prospect & Uncle & Aunt are also very pleased at the match, first cousins are very near, but they are the only ones likely to worry so I daresay the family won’t become quite like some of the Browns, the only thing I fear is the Toms propensity for spending money but be sure you don’t allude to my having said so when you write back. I expect if you want to write to him you had better direct or enclose it to us as if he comes in 4 months time from the date of his letter April 30th he will be in England in September. I send you a paper with SYN’s announcement, is it not carefully worded, when we heard Mrs MacKinlay had obtained her divorce I remarked a chance for SYN. now, she had to go to Texas to get it, and as they were married at Niagara I suppose he went to meet her, he wrote for his sisters opinion, but I think did not intend to let it bias him as the paper was the next intimation they had of the event. I am going to break up this week & start off on my round of visits. I think I am going to see Arthur Dore’s, Hammans, Aunt Frank in her new home and a Miss Baldwin whom I met at the Dores & who lives near Bath.
It is post time so I must only add kindest love to you both & kisses to my nephew
from your very afftce sister Mary.

Letter dated 17th June 1878 from Mary S Neate (sister)

“Percival Jaques” is Percival Jaques Neate, first child of Charles and Evaline
Addie Jaques is Evaline’s sister
Frank (re Franks choice) is Mary’s brother Francis William
“ The Browns” are a related family from around Aldbourne WIL, much intertwined with the Neates.
SYN is Stephen Young Neate, son of Mary’s uncle Stephen Richmond Neate

June 18th 1878

My dear Charley & Eva
I was very pleased to have your second letter to give us a better account of Eva. You must have had great anxiety. I am glad to hear your bonny boy is progressing nicely. We are again looking for a letter. We have had many losses in our family the last few years still the name of Neate bids ...... to continue here and to be transported into other quarters of the globe. We are expecting soon to have news from China. I hope theirs will be a son. I send you the marriage of SY Neate he seems determined to have a Dudley. Martha & Mary first intimation was the paper. They do not approve of divorcee people but feel some family will keep him happy and a good wife. She had more influence over him than any one else. He left off whisky after his last illness and they hope and pray this is the turning point in his life.
Now I must tell you that Mr Meek has appointed Mr & Mrs Johnson to take charge of Aunt Frank & said certainly not take another house in Reading so they have decided on one at Keynesham 4 1/2 miles from Bristol. They have taken it on their own responsibility in the village low windows small garden & little greenhouse we invited aunt to come and see us but on Saturday I had a letter from her saying she could not come so I went up to Reading with Anna & baby to see her. When we got there Arthur and his wife had come up. Mr Meeks could not find the inventory Arthur made so Mr J wished him to make another so they were very busy. Today Mr J and Mary Benjamin take her by train in a first class carriage to stay a few days at Devizes at Mr B’s. The plate is to go as her luggage. Mr J returns this evening to help Martha pack and the furniture goes in two vans on Friday. “Kill or cure I think”. Mr W Bavant & Arthur are to manage her money and of course Mr & Mrs Johnson are only delighted to get a home & furniture. Martha told me I was the only one that objected to their arrangement. She asked me to go to see them & I said I did not know. I feel it is a cruel thing to break up her home and for her to be under them at her age. I should not be surprised what may happen to her, she still threatens destruction.
Now I must tell you how very much surprised I was to have a letter from Frank from Ceylon in May saying “Emily Toms left for England by the Sultan on the 25th of April. I am sure you will be surprised and I hope glad to hear that I am engaged to her. I intend coming home for her in about four months time to be married”. Of course Mr & Mrs Toms are delighted, I am glad he has chosen a favourite of mine tho’ he might have done better. The deEsteres have not behaved well to either of them they say. I have heard from Aunt Toms they are in Birmgham at present but are moving. Emily says Mrs Dean is to decide on a house - I suppose suitable for the event to take place. Dear Franks visit to us will be very short I fear. Emily will come here I expect at the same time.
I am glad to give a good account of Frank & Anna & the children, Mildred Mary is a fat dear little child, very lively, sleeps for three hours at a time, a great pet with us all. In April old Dr Humble died at Ramsgate, now this house comes to the first Mrs Humbles nieces. Mr Barnes of Winchester married one of the Miss Bishops, he has written to me today. He intends coming to see the property, I have not had much done, since I have been here 10 years - I have very heavy expenses.
The weather is thundery with heavy rain & the farmers complain sadly about the hay & corn being injured by so much wet it will make every thing dearer.
I saw old Collins last evening he is tolerable. I never see him but he asks for you, and he always says give my respects to him. Arthur got me a mowing machine it cost £6 but I got it for 5 shillings Wallace has repaired it & it makes the grass look very nice when mown it requires two to use it. I have had a man to do up the garden very few gooseberries the marrows will not be like they were when you attended to them. I expect your garden is perfection I hope business goes on satisfactorily & that you enjoy good health and getting rich.
Only a few changes in Kingsclere. The house Mr Taplin lives in is to be sold it is doubtful about their remaining. Mr Carter Holding is come to live at the Grove he is chosen church warden with Mr Edwards. Mr H wants to leavel the graves. Mr Barnes does not approve of it. William Holding the nephew is a magistrel (sic) they cut quite a dash
Frank Heanly came upstairs while I was writing to ask if he may write a few lines to you so I was obliged to take half a sheet to finish my letter. The new organ is an impressive one. Mary has to go to the church to practice & school rooms twice a week so she has her time fully taken up, 22 pupils also to teach at home. The racehorses here have been fortunate. Mr Porter has been so kind as to give flowers & ...... to the church decorations Frank & Anna do the crosses, with a few more to help - he made a dove with white pinks and white stocks it was much admired, a nice idea. We are in a bustle having two woman (sic) to clean the house. F & A and children are gone for a walk. The Edwards are well also the Barne’s the Drakes are coming to pay Edward a visit next week the (sic) live at Winchester. Charlotte is well I am sure I must name her kindly to you. She still has her school & lives in the same house.
With our united kind love to you both & hoping to hear soon, Believe me

Ever your affectate


This half page is written across the last page of the last letter

My dear Charlie
Only time to add our love to your wife & yourself; I am (& so is Anna) very glad you chose an uncommon name for your boy one not already in the family; it is so much more sensible in my opinion to have different names - I am very sorry to say I have not yet got any employment if you hear of anything suitable let me know & we will struggle to come out to you. I have answered advts till I am sick. Anna would write but is engaged with Mildred. She is such a pet, the boys grow very fast & are sometimes rather mischevious. We are going to take them out for a run so I must wind up - believe me
very truely yours
Frank E J Heanly

since you appreciated our poor little presents you shall have some more the next opportunity

Letter dated 18th June 1878 from Mary (mother)

Stephen Y Neate married Fanny Alice Dudley in 1878, Martha and Mary are his sisters Martha Johnson and Mary Benjamin
Mildred Mary is the daughter of Anna & Frank Heanly born 1878

Wooben Green
27th May 1915

My dear Mabel

I am so very sorry I have been so long answering your last letter, written 11 months ago, but you know what it is if one begins putting off things, & when it came I was so very glad to hear you had gone to live with your aunt & uncle that I meant to write at once, & say so for I think it such a nice arrangement, & hope you continue all round to like it, I think it is quite the next best thing to having a house of your own. Mildred did not get home till March 8th. We were very anxious while she was on the sea, & very thankful she reached here safely, they had a few excitements, but no mishaps, life belts were served out all round at Malta, & port holes kept darkened at night from there, & cruisers escorted them up the Channel & to the mouth of the Thames, & now so many boats have been torpedoed we feel we cannot be thankful enough. Mildred brought home such a number of paintings she did of some of the grand views in the Himalayas, they were I think about 7000 feet high at Lebong, where they were for over a year, till Mr Spooner, brother of the friend M went with, was moved to Darjeeling, quite near but considerably higher & then down to Dinapore (now Dinajpur) on a branch of the Ganges, he being the Army Chaplain got moved when the Regiment came home to go to the Front, where so many of the officers they knew so well have been killed or wounded. M also did a number of Pastel Portraits amongst others the Maharajah of Cooch Behar & his wife (who was Baroda & educated in England & a very pretty & charming woman) his brother Prince Victor, & a cousin; she also painted a lot of scenery for they (sic) plays they got up at the club, & helped act in 1 or 2, so she did not have an idle time, & earned some money. I was not so well as usual last winter, had a tiresome cough, & shortness of breath, but was not really bad till a few days after M got home, them I had to give up & have breakfast in bed, & be very lazy, & between 2 & 3 weeks ago I woke early one morning feeling I could not breathe, M put mustard on front & back, & after coughing & gasping for some time I was able to relieve my chest, & felt better, but it was very exhausting, the Dr says it was not Bronchitis, but pressure on the bronchial nerve, I still get little reminders sometimes but hot cloths on the throat loosen the cough & give relief, I have been under a London Dr’s treatment for 2 or 3 years, & dont much expect ever to be really well & strong again at my age 72 last September, I am so thankful I did not break down till after M’s return, now she is doing everything she possibly can for me, my appetite is bad, but I am taking a strong tonic & hope soon to be some what better, & to be able to write and tell you so. I do not remember the name of Mr George at Kingsclere, what was he there? I am sure we never knew anybody of that name, to visit I mean. I am very sorry your eyes were troubling you, but hope you had an occulists opinion about them & that glasses have given you relief. Is not the war truly dreadful, Percy Heanly has joined for “Home Defence”, Wilfreds elder boy is a sailor helping in coaling the Navy, Richmond Phelps is on the “Ajax” somewhere in the North Sea & several other relatives & friends have joined. George Neate of Newbury I believe went from Canada to Melbourne & thought of joining the Army Medical Corps, if he did go to M. he probably went to the Whistlers relatives of his mother living there, meant to tell you before. I hope all your belongings are as well as when you wrote also the Jaques, thank you for the nice illustrated paper you kindly sent me for Xmas. I did not send to anybody this last Xmas. Very glad you liked M’s tiny likenesses. She joins me in love to you & your aunt & please tell her I had a letter from Mrs Dicksee not long ago, asking me to go to see her this summer, but I fear I shall not be well enough to pay many visits, your Uncle Frank & his wife want me to go to them near Bournemouth, but I cannot arrange any visits just yet.

Hoping to hear from you soon your loving Auntie Mary.
I am so sorry your Aunt Addie & I have not written to each other for so long, trust they are both well.

Letter to Mabel (Mabel Neate, daughter of CJH Neate) dated 1915 from Mary Stephan Neate

Mildred is Mildred Heanly, she was an artist as an adult.
Richmond Phelps is Aubery Richmond Phelps, son of Emma Benjamin (daughter of Mary Benjamin nee Neate)
George Neate of Newbury is George Whistler Neate, son of Arthur Webb Neate and Ellen Whistler
Uncle Frank is Francis William Neate and (?) his second wife Ada
Addie is Adeline Jaques