As tho' to breathe were life
Someone else with an imperfect memory was the relict of Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji or Lady ‘Bom’ as she was always referred to - although she probably thought of herself as Lady Frainy Dhunjibhoy Bomanji. The image on the right looks like someone has had a go at it with a sharp implement - I suspect my wicked granny! Lady Bomanji wrote (5 March 1955) to Dum's son Dick - or rather "my dear Nelson" as she always called him - on hearing of Dum's death as follows.
It was with feelings of the deepest regret that I learnt of the passing away of your dear Father and considering the circumstances under which he was placed this sad event would seem a merciful release for the dear departed. I am thankful that even after years I had the pleasure to see him in May last and that was solely because of a letter which I received from Mr Law of Maidenhead for which I wrote to thank him last year.
Naturally you would not know why your dear Father left The Willows Cottage, but someone had put an idea into the heads of your dear parents that running a Pub would be more lucrative and they also found difficulty in keeping a servant maid, so they chose to leave a beautiful home - an income of £500 per year as also other advantages, which was such a pity. [The only clue I have as to the pub is that an address book of Dick's from around 1938 gives as his, Dick's, address The New Inn, Farm Road, Maidenhead. There are also some photos of Dick's that show a pub from about the same time.] Your dear Father also would insist upon maintaining that I would not have the means to keep on the Willows Estate, [after Sir Dhunjibhoy's death] therefore, it would be better to make a break. All my arguments seemed in vain when I personally saw him in November 1937 when I had to come over to obtain the Probate as he had already made his own plans. Captain Elliott-Smith his successor is still with me and of his own free will chose to leave The Willows Cottage about two years ago because he wished to buy a house of his own in Windsor Town where he lives at present, still managing everything for me though of course there is nothing much to manage these days, but I do not believe in sending away those who have served me faithfully - in their old age and so Mr Lucey still remains in my service doing practically nothing at the age of 80 years. Therefore, your dear Father had no reason to think at that time that one of these days he would have to leave my service. I agreed to allow Captain Elliott-Smith to live in the town because it gave me a good opportunity to sell off The Willows Cottage to a Colonel Archibald Dunbar.
In 1949 I sold The Willows and Mr Lucey, Taylor, Mrs Price (who was paying rent) and Pottinger had all to leave. Mr Lucey went into rooms or I should say a room. Taylor came to Pineheath to act as Butler; for Pottinger I bought a house for £500 to live in as he could not work any more and had been with me for 26 years and Mrs Price was given another flat by the purchasers as anyone paying rent could not be shifted unless alternative accommodation was given. Six months later Captain Elliott-Smith informed me that The Willows Garage was for sale for £2,500, so simply in order to house Mr and Mrs Lucey and the Taylor family I bought it back to send them to live into it again much to their joy and I am being offered Rs 3000/- now by the purchasers but bearing in mind the services of Mr Lucey and Taylor, I have to keep it on although it imposes a heavy strain on me. All this just to point out that I would have seen that your dear parents came to no grief after the demise of Sir Dhunjibhoy and your Father was the only employee on the estate who received Rs 2000/- upon Sir Dhunjibhoy's death. Captain Elliott-Smith got 250 per annum. All this is past history but I have never stopped regretting the mistake that your dear parents made for they have been so unhappy since the Maidenhead Pub proved a failure and that too in no time. They could still have been in The Willows Cottage today. After all they were in Bombay with us and it was a happy association of many years which cannot be lightly brushed aside. I always think of them in the old terms and still have a soft corner for your dear Mother.
I felt very happy at the idea that your dear wife and you had them in your home. [Longwaters, Dorney.] Unfortunately, unlike the Orientals, aged people in England are not cared for so much by their progeny, so it made me think a great deal of Peggy and yourself and I feel sure your joint kindness will bring its own reward. Of course I quite understand that sometimes things become difficult between the elders and the youngsters, but the elders should understand that a new generation with different ideas springs up and these ideas should always be met half way. On the other hand the youngsters must also feel that there is something great in the traditions in which their parents were brought up and so it is with this spirit that I have Mehroo and Phili living with me at Bomanji Hall, Cooverji, his wife and three children - Naval, his wife and two children. We are all a very happy family. I feel sure that you will also look after your dear Mother in her old age and not allow her life to become too miserable even if she has to be on her own later. Mehroo and Phili wish to convey their deep sympathy. Best regards and love to Peggy, the boys and yourself. F.D.B.