[Typed Airletter. Addressed to "Thomas A. E. Fletcher, esquire, c/o Box 48[5?]2, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. South Africa". 
From "Sir Angus Fletcher, East Hampton, New York, USA"

East Hampton. New York
November 30th? 1951?

Dear Tom

Rory [?] in a letter that came yesterday gave me your message asking when 
father landed in South Africa. I cannot give you the date but as far as I know the 
year was 1842. That is the year that I recall father often mentioned and unless 
I have confused it with some other event I think it must have been the year he 
came to Cape Town. I shall try to get at such records as I have before I seal 
this letter to confirm this.I should have thought that among [RA's] papers there 
would be some old letters that would give us quite a lot of interesting information, 
but they have been destroyed. So few of the younger people in these days have 
any interest in their forbears. A few [xxx? ] I have been able to keep have been 
sent to me by various of the family, Murray, Jessie, (Archie's widow) [etc?] 
Mother's letters are always as interesting and full of her vitality and her wonderful 
personality; but very few of these have been kept. If there were any among 
[Rob's]? papers I would so much like to have them. I used to think I wou;d be 
able to write a sort of account of the family but there are so many gaps in the 
records and my memory of the extraordinary journeying all through the Old 
Cape Colony is of such odds and ends that I used to hear spoken of that it 
cannot be relied on. I always hoped that R.A., Pat and yourself would make 
a note of all the various resting places where father and mother lived their 
life of hardship and sacrifice. It is not too late even now if you could get 
someone to take down from your dictation. I find that writing and typing has 
become very laborious so I do not suggest it for you.

We wish we had the courage [?] to undertake a trip to South Africa 
before it is too late. Helen knows the Colony and the Free State quite well and 
would love to see them again. The obstacle is first the expense which I suppose 
would amount to something like ₤1000; and the second is that we should 
have to be away for a long time from the boys. They are becoming more and more 
independent of us, of course, but they still like to come back here for their 
holidays and for weekends. Donald is with the New York Times and works at night; 
he usually spends Thursdays and Fridays here. It is a very busy time for him; 
there are so many things to attend to which are now beyond my strength, such as 
sawing firewood, mowing grass, cultivating the garden and orchard, transplanting 
trees etc, pruning, clearing brush etc etc. I can do a great deal, but it is all 
against the doctor's orders.

Peter is at Stevens Engineering Institute, one of the leading engineering colleges 
in this country. He gets home only for holidays. He did very well in his first year, 
getting over [xx%?] average for his work. It will be very interesting to see how he 
gets on the second year. We Fletchers (and all my boys are Fletchers), are 
unpredictable people; however , I have great hopes for Peter. He is inclined to 
be [f???] in the Fletcher manner. Recently he came back from an engineering 
camp [?] (where they are supposed to learn a little land survey), with a beautiful 
Titian red beard. It lasted for a month or two and just as we were getting to like 
it he shaved it off. The other day he was initiated into a fraternity and he and the 
others had to take [ ] it off and then fall down before it and worship it. This they 
had to do in the Grand Central Station in New York, an immense place, until 
they were moved on by the police; they then went to Broadway and so on, the 
police moving them on as a crowd collected. The police are of course quite 
used to the initiation business among students, so they never get put in goal. 
I have always hoped that when Peter qualifies he might be able to get a job in 
South Africa. That will be several years off. I think I told Rory [?] that I know the 
American company that now owns and works the copper mine that used to 
belong to father. They have made a lot of money.

We are feeling very unhappy about the plight of Britain and longing for the day 
when she can recover her independence. I wonder whether people in South 
Africa know how much they owe to the strength and wisdom of the Old Country. 
I fear not. Yet [none?] would wish them the experience of being under the 
yoke of Hitler, Stalin, or for that matter the big interests in the U.S.A. This 
country has as much anglophobia as ever it had, in spite of fact that in the two 
great world wars we stood between them and the enemy. The reason for this 
is the undying hatred of the Irish-Americans, which is much worse than 
[ ] ] in Ireland itself; then there are German Americans, who know that except 
for us they would be the dominant influence in the world; and then the big 
industrial interests are terribly jealous of our overseas trade, and of our 
interests in raw materials all of which we have built up unaided. That is why we 
are always being blackguarded as wicked imperialists etc etc.

It is a paradoxical situation; we would not want to have better or more agreeable 
friends than we have here. It is the press, the politicians and the radio that 
preach the gospel of hatred day in and day out. Who supports them and why? [?] 
Well I can only say it must be the devil. We British ( and I mean all of us 
including the S. Africans) have plenty of faults but no other people is so free 
from the worst faults in public life as we are. This is not boasting; the 
records are there.

Do send us a postcard when you get the time. I find it hard to keep up with the 
family overseas. I think back to Millwood; I recall how I used to love Violet. I think 
because she used to give me a slice of white bread and condensed milk!! 
which was the last word in delicacy to me in those days! I remember their house, 
on the right [ as we went up to the camp ?] but I am not sure whether it was white 
or black. And [so on? ] one's memory plays hide and seek. I shall stop now. 

Our love to you Helen often asks about you because she thinks she would 
like you.

Yours ever [ends typescript]


I should have said "Jinks"

[Original letter with Roderick Fletcher. This typescript by 
NF from digital photo sent by Garrick Fletcher, 26/10/2007. 

Last Modified: 25 Mar '08]