14 Jan 60            Peter            Hong Kong            Mother            5, Hyde Park Place West




Hong Kong 14 Jany. 1860

My dear Mother


In the midst of business & busy as I am from morn till night, it is really quite difficult to find time to write letters or to find even time for one’s thoughts to turn to other matters & change for a moment their bent.

I yesterday received 3 letters from you – so I must at least give you one in return.  You were very cruel in your last epistle.  You wind up with a grand flourish to the effect that having in the goodness of your heart made up a glorious package containing I don’t know what, my Father had gone down (query – where?) to see about the best way of sending it to me.

Now this is really quite heartrending.  Here the happy revelation ceases & I am left in an impenetrable chaos, to droop & pine away over disappointed expectations.

Had it only arrived by the mail steamer, as it yet may have done, it would have done capitally for a birthday present, being only about 10 days before & as they often detain them on the way, it might even have arrived a few days after, by the next mail steamer.

Under the circumstances however I shall defer committing suicide for the present.

Will you tell Mr Northall Laurie that I have had a visit from his nephew Mr Cresswell who brought a letter of introduction to me & I shall be very happy to show him any attention in my power.  I daresay he thought me very polite at first but the fact was I had scarcely time to speak to him.  However I daresay he saw this & will excuse me.

I have received such an extraordinary letter from poor Edmund – poor fellow, I am afraid his bereavements must have unsettled his mind.  He writes four pages to me exhorting me to be religious & recalling to me that in days or rather years gone by, he recollects I was rather light upon such subjects.

It is certainly very kind of him to take an interest in my spiritual welfare, but without being in any way called for, it is rather a strange subject to write a letter of 4 pages to me about.  Poor fellow, he says he has lost his child too, but perhaps after all it is best that it is so.

My health bears up pretty well here, but I suffer from a dreadful sort of biliousness in the morning attended with violent retchings & often vomiting.  I am afraid it is liver & am consulting Dr Ivor Murray, the Colonial Surgeon about it.  He being an old China resident & understanding climatical diseases better than the Doctor paid by the house – who doesn’t pay the least attention to our ailments, being paid by contract.

It is an expense but I think all things considered it is a very necessary one.

I am so thoroughly well & strong in every other way that I cannot make it out & considering the way we work here, morn & night, it is very extraordinary that I keep up as I do.

Mr Adams dined with me on New Year’s Eve & saw the old year out.  His daughter is a very nice girl – only fearfully wild & spoiled.  She squints dreadfully which is a great pity as she would be very nice looking else.

I have lately been with them a little more & perhaps this had tended to keep my spirits up.  They are very homely & I can do just as I like which you know is a peculiar desire of mine.  Miss A rides, so I lend her one of my ponies & ride the other & do the polite now, which is quite a novelty to me after my hitherto miserable existence.  Not but that I am very miserable still.

She rides Annie late Daisy – Annie being called after Annie Laurie, but Miss A thinks after herself (that being her name) & I ride Kobang, my new Japanese pony – a fine fellow & called after the gold coins which are said to be worth twice their value in silver & which have been the cause of all the to-do in Japan.

Dr Ivor Murray, my medical adviser rides with us to see that we behave ourselves & that I don’t take too much or too severe exercise to injure my fast declining health.

I have also presented the Adams’ with a Chinese puppy which they value very much.

I think I have now touched upon all matters of interest and as I want to write to my Father & to poor Teddy, I will say good bye.

With my usual kiss to little Helen whom you may tell that the foal is thriving & that my two dogs Dora & the puppy ‘Typhoon’ (so called because he came out of the ship ‘Whirlwind’) are quite well.


Your affect. Son


Peter G. Laurie