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Letter from John Cawte Beaglehole to his Father, 3 August 1929

page 1

My dear Father,

I think I can just
get a note off to you at Plymouth
that will go by the next N. Z. mail
& so get to you about five weeks from
now, by which time I sl suppose
I shall be at Fremantle & able to
write to you again.

I sent a cable to you yesterday
which I trust was clean though abbre-
. You will have got the Osterley’s
dates I suppose from the Orient people
in Wellington — I see she is due to get
to Sydney on — no, I haven’t got the
paper with me; but if you write to
the Bank of N. Z. at Sydney I will
page 2 pick up my letters there.

Well, there is nothing doing in
the way of jobs yet; & as I hear there
are 25 people in for this Singapore
job I do not feel very optimistic about
that. However the Col Office assured
me that I should be considered just as
if I were still in London.

I got a letter from you (the
first from Wanganui) two nights ago —
I’m sorry you have had the trouble
of writing further letters, but I’ve
arranged for them to be posted back
to me. I am confoundedly sorry not
to get them at the proper time.

I note your words on culture
in N. Z. — & also the news that the
N. Z. libraries have banned All
Quiet. We do need some rag like
the old Triad again, don’t we! Culture
I should like to discuss with you
later. I don’t believe there’s much of it
in the Old World on the whole, anyhow.
page 3 Talking of art galleries, I am bring-
out one or two prints I think you
will like & a book of pictures of England
I think you will like particularly.
Bumpus’s have been very decent over books
too — I have arranged to have a running
account with them, & they are sending
out some stuff for me which will reach
N. Z. before I do. — including the
Shakespeare Head Plutarch, to celebrate
my sojourn in & departure from England
& various other things. Sir T. Browne
I shall have to keep till later, but I
understand he won’t go out of print in
a hurry. Anyhow I’m not going to
pay N. Z. prices for books!

Packing has been a terrible
business. I sent away on Thursday
page 4 7 5 packing cases full of books & papers
& 2 cabin-trunks also containing books
among lesser things. I followed to-day
with suit-case, attaché case, swag, brown
paper parcel containing my portrait,
& wooden box containing a fine glass
lamp-standard Ern has given Elsie &
me. I got Waring & Gillow’s to send
along for me another large wooden
box containging a large vase for
another lamp standard that I picked
up at their place very cheap. I left
N. Z. with two cabin-trunks & a

It is pleasant having Elsie on the
same ship; I needn’t say what it
would be like without her. England
has a good deal of my heart now,
whatever N. Z. may regain. This in
spite of the shameless way in which
England exploits its “culture” — this
thought prompted by last week-end
spent in Warwickshire — Warwick,
Kenilworth & Stratford on Avon. S on Avon
page 5 may very well regard Shakespeare
as a priceless heritage! you can’t
even get into the church where he
is buried except for 6d; & on Sundays
you’re not allowed in at all unless
you guarantee you are a worshipper
(not of Shakespeare) — then of course
you’re not allowed to walk around.
The churchyard is beautiful though,
& so are the old houses & the sur-
country. We gazed at Sh’s
dwellings merely from the outside;
unfortunately as it was Sunday the
Sh. Head Press was closed. Kenilworth
is very fine; & I am desperately in
love with sun-drenched old brick.
Wooden houses by the way will
page 6 look funnyfunny to me when I get back —
especially of that peculiar W’gton
style of architecture.

The week has been pretty
hectic. I could not go up to see the
Johnsons again, or get north at all,
much to my sorrow — I do regret un-
York & Liverpool Cathedral. But
I must remember henceforth what I
have seen & done, not the omissions.
I took a last bus ride along the
strand & up Ludgate Hill yesterday to
see St Paul’s as I saw it first; & last
night at 1 o’clock we went down to
Waterloo Bridge & gazed down the river —
a very lovely sight & London & its at
the culmination of its mysterious beauty.
I needn’t say anything of what I feel
coming back to N. Z. (if it is that)
at this time, by this ship — life is a
rum show, as I have heard you ob-
more than once. I must post
this now.

with much love