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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 22 / G99 Vol 1 – 35
Sunday 22 Montague Place
Dear Mr Chesson,
After you had gone Te Wheoro exclaimed how tired and troubled he was, and then it came out that he had driven abt in every direction but the right the cab man not comprehending I suppose the address he gave him at Mr Spencer’s. Then I asked him wd he have tea and he was very glad, but ate very little and said his heart was too full. Mr Spencer had sent for him on important business. I made no answer, after a little silence he said, do you know the secret. Monday Mr Fuller coming with likeness of the Queen, do you think they are photographs or oil paintings?! Then he informed me that he thought as Mr Spencer had been kind and … he ought to stick to him. That he cd not stay over the way at Mrs S. after Tawhiao’s departure that Mr Spencer told him it had been most unfortunate their being in that house and hindered their cause. That he heard Mrs Grace tell me she was not sure abt lodgings, and that she supposed Te Wheoro and Skidmore wd occupy the one bedroom that he shd not like that. That he and Patara each had a large bedroom at No 13, and had paid much too much for it, that Mr Spencer said board and lodging for each cd be got at 30/ a week. My answer was that if he did not care to go into the country and share expenses he shd had said so as I shd have gone yesterday to … seen them before they went abroad. I had only come to London to be a friend to the maories, but that betwixt one man’s temper and another man’s fancies and another one’s hastiness all one’s arrangements for their good would fail. I thought it was best to speak plainly to him. If it had not been so late and I in much pain I shd have enlightened him as to Mr Spencer’s being paid wh Mrs Grace said they ought to be told, for that Mr Spencer talked and wrote as if at a great loss to himself he devoted himself to the maories. She was amazed when I told her that he had not been near them on Sundays, and she told me much more and that he had already been thrice engaged to be married, and was going to tell me a disedifying story, wh I …. I told Te Wheoro I was not going to pay all the expenses at Rickmansworth or anywhere else. He has a large well furnished house in the Lower Waikato where he mostly lives with his family and besides rents on a lease a 6 roomed house at Alexandra because its in a convenient situation and when up with the king occupies a native house all to himself ch was where Mr Kerry … saw him. When parliament is sitting he goes to an hotel at Wellington the one at wh Sir G. Grey stays. He is not poor at all and its an absurd idea that Mr Spencer has put into his head that all this while they ought to have been provided with all they needed. I told Te Wheoro that wd be like being paupers. That old Wiremu came in ignorance as to expense but that these quite well know. He looked crestfallen, but owns that he has plenty of money. Tawhiao at one time wished all to remain until Nov but that he doubted if their money cd have done that, but of course he added I cd get a … of a £100 or more thro the Bank. I told him economy was praiseworthy but that maories … economy and prudence, that temperance and classness were their besetting sins. I added that I was not intimate with these five but speaking generally those 2 faults combined were strong in the maori. Very true he added but I am worried, I thought if Mrs Grace did not get rooms, I shd be on Wed without a house to go to. I shd not like going the Tailors, Miss Weale you have your place Church House to go to but I have none and Mr Spencer says to live with one of his people cost very little and … on my part. You tell me it’s a hasty foolish move which am I to believe?
I felt sorry for him, albeit I don’t admire his main ideas, it was he who told Tawhiao not to go to Plymouth as it wd cost money. This morning no one came over until half past ten when Skidmore came to say that Tawhiao had gone out before anyone else was up and he did not know where to that Patara had just gone off to look for him and that Te Wheoro being overtired was still in bed. Skidmore said Te Wheoro had told him it was no use to ask Patara or Rapiha to go via Plymouth for that he shd oppose that, they must all go together. So I wanted Skidmore to take the telegram to go to go you but he cdn’t stop, but went off to take Topia to Ch as I sent one of the servts to Southhampton Street. At 5 this aftnoon Skidmore came again said he had not in the morning found Topia or any of them but that now he had seen Tawhiao, Te Wheoro, Topia and Rapiha all at … the tailor’s having tea. But that the king had had neither breakfast nor dinner, that Patara had gone to see a number of persons to big them goodbye and had been wandering from one house to another, that all the king said abt the departure was that he had told everyone he was going on Wed and that all Mrs Saintsbury’s friends were coming to see him off and that at Plymouth he shd be a stranger and it wd be all in a hurry the getting off there. Then Skidmore told me Ropiha was presently coming up to go to Ch with Skidmore and me, they supposed I shd take them. Then poor fellow he cried, 5 pictures of the Queen are to be given away at two tomorrow, Mr Spencer is coming with Mr Fuller to see you but there is noe for me only since Mr Spencer going abt with Mr Fuller am I despised and left out. My mother a great maori lady my father the captain of a whaling ship: at that time no one get married and all these maories every one of them had heathen parents. I am not the worse because my mother only a heathen. I worked on the English side all thro the war and when I go to a house of worship I always pray for the Queen. I feel for Skidmore it is … I think I comforted him and last night I got Te Wheoro and Skidmore to pray the lord’s prayer with me. So to go back to this day’s doings, Ropiha Skidmore and I went to Ch and the clergyman who I let know we were coming, with the Ch warden met us at the church door with a solemn greeting and we all went and had a talk. We were 1/4 an hour too early at Ch … the clergyman behaved charmingly and the prayers of the Ch were asked for the maories who wd be leaving England on Wed specially for George Ropiha. I found all the places for him in his maori prayerbook and in slow voice he said the prayers in maori and when we got into the cab after service he exclaimed ‘better day all the time so good’ and Skidmore interpreted it to mean that this had been Hori Rapiha’s happiest day. Next Hori asked if Mr Mosley was a Bishop he was so courteous. The coloured glass window represented our Lord blessing little children delighted him, and he wd like to go daily to such a good church. Tomorrow the clergyman is coming to see me about them. I cd not go to bed without writing for my heart is very full, glad to have been to Ch with these 2 and still disturbed over Tawhiao’s refusal to go to Plymouth. After we returned fr Church Ropiha and Skidmore had a good meat tea and went away with radiant faces tho Skidmore said ‘it will feel bad to me to be left out tomorrow and not have the Queen’s likeness. But hundreds of men and women halfcastes and yet some very good people. Why shd the Queen not let me go about with the chiefs?’ So I am glad he is going with Tawhiao to breakfast with you as it will cheer him and I hope Tawhiao will give Mr Sheldon a proper sitting. But he ought to have gone to church and Te Wheoro also when Ropiha asked them to come here and go with me. I have seen none of them excepting Ropiha and Skidmore. I said the king was probably going to sleep at the Tailor’s in Holborn. I think how tired Mrs Chesson must have been to day. I felt quite sorry for you both and for Mrs Grace as well as sorry for myself that Te Wheoro kept aloof and all the others yesterday afternoon. As their ‘hearts are dark abt things’ they shd have been here when Mrs Grace was at hand to translate. More and more do I trouble that Mr Spencer did not fufil his futy by their souls. The Ch I have been to is very near, the clergy if asked wd have gladly visited them, made them welcome at the church etc. Ropiha was so delighted with the Ch that he said they ought all to go to church there before leaving London. This was his spontaneous remark also with a sigh, so often I see that church I ought to have gone there sooner. I shall let Skidmore have this at eight tomorrow to take to you.
With kindest regards to Mrs Chesson and yrself,
Yrs sincerely obliged,