This cross-hatched letter was written from left to right then turned sideways and, beginning again on the first page, written from bottom to top.
Turanga, March 17th 1845
My very dear Kate, We have just received two large packets of your Record newspapers, which are very acceptable more particularly as they indicate that we are not quite forgotten, but we should like to see rather a better specimen of your handwriting than mere newspapers directions, a privilege we have not enjoyed now for more than twelvemonths. However I am willing to hope you have written to us, tho’ having had arrivals from both Auckland and Wellington within the last three days without anything from you, it will be some time before we have another chance of seeing anything. I hope some of the many letters I wrote during the last year have reached their destination, among them were three for yourself, and three for dear Maria and Dorothy, one to Lydia and one to Betsy. My last I think was written soon after my dear husband’s return from the Bay of Islands: since then he has been to the East Cape, northward & to Ahuriri southward, and he is now absent on a journey to Opotiki, Wakatane & Tauranga with the intention of taking a round to calling on Mr Chapman at Rotorua Ruatahuna (Ruakituna on the map) Wairoa and Table Cape which will occupy [him?] till the middle of April, so you perceive we have not had much of his company at home during the summer. If he can remain during the winter it will be a great comfort as well as benefit to his family, and an advantage to his flock but there is a possibility of his having to go to Port Nicholson and Waikanae for a time in consequence of the illness of our poor friend Mr Hadfield (who may even before now have been called to his rest). The Bishop is going to spend the next two or three months in that neighbourhood to supply his place, and it is very probable he may require William to succeed him, it being necessary to have an influential person in that quarter of the island. I shall be thankful if his Lordship can find another substitute, but there are not many competent to fill that post. We have now Mr Hamlin and Mr Colenso settled in our district tho’ they are not very near neighbours to us: the former is at the Wairoa where poor Mr Dudley was to have been located; the latter at Ahuriri. Mrs Hamlin and six of her eleven children were with us for some weeks while Mr H went forward to prepare their abode and during the same interval our nephew Samuel was our visitor having taken advantage of the same vessel to take a peep at us. But unfortunately he had no such good opportunity to return and he with Leonard and Sydney were obliged to work their way to Auckland overland. They left us on the 17th of Feby; their outset was rather inauspicious for bad weather detained them for two days within a few hours of us and they did not dare to return lest their natives should change their minds and refuse to go again with them having had some difficulty in getting them in the first instance and when they were able to go on their stock of provisions was rather low, being disappointed of a supply they had expected to find at the foot of the hills, so they had to be content with short commons till they could reach Mr Wilson’s at Opotiki the most difficult and fatiguing part of the whole journey. The addition of Mrs Hamlin and her family made us rather busy in our small quarters, but we managed better than I had expected: we made sleeping accommodations for them in our old house, and being fine weather with the exception of two days or three, the walks backward and forward were no great inconvenience and we were enabled to keep the little ones a good deal in the garden & veranda. The greatest disadvantage was not being able to have our regular school with our own young ones, and they consequently fell into idle habits, which we have found some difficulty in overcoming. They all arrived the day before Christmas day, and Mrs Colenso (my former pupil and inmate Elizth Fairburn) came from the ship to spend Christmas-day with us, and having Mr Hamlin & his elder son too we were a tolerable party, larger indeed than our room and table could accommodate; quite a novelty at Turanga. Now we are reduced to our former winter circle, viz Mary, Jane, myself and the younger ones, and have fallen into our usual routine. We have little Joseph with us who is sadly backward, and not very quick, and we are trying to get him on a little; he and James are very nearly the same age; and are nice companions; they ought to go to school in another year but I am afraid the Bishop’s school will not be the place for such young boys. Our native community is I hope improving a little, and if they could but have constant superintendence and instruction, we should not have so many relapses and untoward occurrences among them to deplore. Our women’s school had well-nigh died a natural death but has rallied a little the last two or three weeks, but we seem to have quite lost the first class which at one time could read and write well and had they but continued and persevered might have been led on to something more. Unfortunately the general idea is that if they can read the words it is sufficient without at all concerning themselves as to their meaning or whether they understand the import of what they read. Our infant school is yet in the distance; we collect between 40 & 50 on a Sunday and have them washed, dressed and taken to church but the instruction they get is but little at present. Now, my dear Kate I do wish you would give me particulars of your proceedings a little oftener; I am aware your time is full occupied and that like us, night often finds your work unfinished, but do steal a few minutes now and then to tell us something about yourself, your school, your church and a short all our former friends and those brothers & sisters who don’t write for themselves: the church is a particularly interesting subject to us and we long to know how you succeed. We hear thro Marianne of Caroline’s marriage & now I find from Maria she is the mother of a little girl. She has our best wishes for her comfort and happiness and I should imagine she has a fair chance prospect of both. The dearth of letters is so great that I have taken to reading old ones as I cannot get any new ones and yours written between 1825 & /30 have beguiled some of my lonely moments since my husband’s last departure. I can’t describe to you the sensations and feelings they have excited, but one effect has been that of making me desire more earnestly to hold more frequent intercourse with one so dear to us and who is (to us) the representative of nearly the whole family or that part of it inhabiting the northern hemisphere. I can’t give you any news of the dear folks at Paihia and elsewhere for it is so long since we heard any; but you have from Marianne I dare say all particulars respecting all her sons, daughters & grandsons. I will therefore no longer encroach on your time but with very kindest love to Marianne Browne and any relatives you may have with you and remembrances wherever due conclude myself your very affectionate sister, Jane Williams