Dorothea Allison to Milborough Mackay, 9 September 
Miss McMasters sent me the paper knife and I got it within a day of my birthday. Thank you so very much — it was good of you to think of me so long before. It is a lovely knife. Bob says we need a silver table to put it on — why a silver table I don’t know — because it looks nice & precious, I expect. I’m afraid I am late for your birthday. Very many happy returns, anyway. I have been so busy with fruit since back here, & after the rest and being waited on at home it seemed awful & one felt very sorry for oneself out here. Up to the present we have picked & packed 1400 lbs of cherries, 7000 lbs of apricots, 6800 lbs of pears, 48,000 lbs crabapples, 4,600 lbs plums. And after this we are just going to start apples — probably 200,000 lbs. A lovely crop but a lot of work.
We have quite a nice lot of labour this year — better than usual in that way. And they happen to be rather nice people — one is an Oxford man, and old, or rather ex school master & one is a parson’s son. So I have got up several little dances which we have over the boat house in a nice big empty room with a balcony hanging over the lake. Very lovely. It means more work making food for refreshments but it is rather jolly. Agnes Rimmer is also out here & picking fruit for us. It is very nice having her. The bright red apples against the blue sky rejoice her heart, though she finds the life hard as indeed we all do. The weather after great heat is almost too cool at present & tonight we are sitting round a log fire but it makes work easier & yesterday I bottled a dozen bottles of peaches amongst many other things I had to do.
I am glad mother got safely down to Buckfast. I felt worried after she had been ill. She is wonderfully good to the children & they really are devoted to her. I don’t know if I’ll have the courage to go home again. It is such agony to leave it all behind and turn one’ face to this wilderness again, — a beautiful wilderness but still a wilderness. I expect you feel the same sort of thing about India. When do you expect to go home again? No chance of your coming this way, I suppose? We mean to go down to the Pacific coast for a few weeks this winter. I should really like to go down to California, or over to Honolulu, or even Japan, but must wait a little after our expensive trip home last winter.
Much love and very many thanks for the beautiful knife. Yes, we have a dub and bathroom combined, a cellar, a dressing room, spare room, bedroom, drawing room & dining room (joined by an arch!) a kitchen, back kitchen. So the paper knife will feel quite at home! really!
Loving remembrances to Charles.
Bob gave me a nice Kodak for my birthday and this is one of the first snaps. Agnes Rimmer took it of Bob & me picking apples. I wish you could see the colour of them! It is a 12 year old tree and loaded with red apples.
Typescripts, 1913-1922 — Dorothea Scott-Coward Allison Letters