Object #1004453 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

9 pages written 11 Mar 1858 by Annabella McLean in Edinburgh to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Annabella McLean (sister), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0816 (50 digitised items). Letters written from Scotland (Edinburgh, Glenorchy Manse, Stranraer) prior to her arrival in New Zealand in Jan 1864 on the Wild Duck; afterwards from Maraekakaho, Napier and Wellington. One letter was written in Sep 1858 during a visit to her sister Flora Ann Conway in North Wales.

A transcription/translation of this document (by MD) appears below.

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Page 1 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

13 Howe Street
Edinburgh
March 11th 1858


My dear Brother

I have allowed every day to pass without writing a long letter as I intended so that I hope you will excuse but a short epistle as the mail leaves today. I wrote my uncle a few days ago to enquire if there have been letters from abroad but much to my disappointment there have been none. We heard

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English (MD)

a report that you had got married and are now almost led to believe that such is the case as uncle says you are much longer in writing this sometime back than hitherto. I will not presume to go the length of wishing you the usual compliments untill I have more authentic information upon this point.

In my last I promised to give you an account of how I was progressing with my studies and really I find it a most disagreeable task to say so much about self that as Catherine is in town I shall leave that part to her. But she is in such depressing spirits at present that I do not think I shall get her to do it. The thing she is very unhappy about is wondering how my education can be accomplished as she seems so pleased at the improvement I have already made and so thoroughly anxious that I should at least get a year of it. You cannot think my dear brother how extremely desirous she has been all along to have me

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English (MD)

advanced and does not see how it can be managed without the aid of some generous friend. The kind ladies with whom I board have in some measure eased our minds in offering their establishment as my home untill such time as we hear from our brothers. It is a kind and generous action but they have done so from their respect for Catherine in seeing the motherly and affectionate interest she displays in my behalf.

I wrote to Uncle Donald

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English (MD)

[and] told him of my movements but I might as well expect sympathy from a stone wall as from him. Were it not that I thought it imprudent to enclose you his answer so far I would do it. It really is the only way in which you could judge of the parental interest you have always been led to suppose he takes in us. My board and education does not exceed £40 a year. Catherine thought that he would have advanced

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English (MD)

that sum as we felt sure that you would have had no hesitation in remitting it with a year's interest. I am sure none will be so gratified to hear of our being accomplished ladylike girls more than yourself. But do not forget my dear brother that these attainments are to be had without means. All of us have learned much from observation and has fortunately had the advantage of being in good society which has been always such a stimulus to endeavour to acquire what I thought so beautifull and refined in those around me. I am so passionately fond of travelling that I am so anxious to be well versed in the French. My governess says that if I had studied languages sooner I would have been a good linguist. I find the music more difficult but I hope when I join

Page 6 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

my brothers to be able to amuse them with a Scotch air. My drawing is not yet worth mentioning but if I should succeed I shall keep my copies and perhaps send them as pictures for wee little darling Connald. But [crossed out] I have most romantic imaginative mind and build my castles in the air which I fear will never be realized. Catherine feels so annoyed at me sometimes. Says that I just live in a world of immagination.

Page 7 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


Our dear brother Archy sailed for Melbourne in January. He left his wife behind so that we might go with her when he writes. She came on a visit to Catherine on her way and enjoyed her stay in Edinburgh so very much. I felt quite proud of her as a sister. Our circle of friends were quite charmed with her. She is so extremely lady like,

Page 8 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

so sensible and agreeable, has a beautiful style of speaking. I look forward to the pleasure of going there in summer to spend my holidays. Uncle invited me to go to Glenorchy last season but did not go as I had another excursion in view which was to Perthshire. I cannot almost express my ecstacy of feeling when I came to the Trosachs sailed up the Loch Katrime. Saw Ellen's Isle which is mentioned in Walter Scoot [Scott] poems of the Lady of Lake. The beauty, the grandeur and loftyness of the scenery in that Highland district is quite beyond my powers of description. I hope the time is not far off when you will be home to enjoy the delights of Scottish scenery yourself. I think nothing elevates or

Page 9 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

ennobles the mind so much as travelling & I am so sorry at having delayed this untill today. I fear you will not be able to read there are so many faults. I cannot write it over again but when you write I hope you will tell me of all my mistakes. It is the only way to correct.

Catherine joins me in fondest love to your [self & darling son ?]


I am your aff. sister
Annabella McLean

English (MD)

13 Howe Street
Edinburgh
March 11th 1858


My dear Brother

I have allowed every day to pass without writing a long letter as I intended so that I hope you will excuse but a short epistle as the mail leaves today. I wrote my uncle a few days ago to enquire if there have been letters from abroad but much to my disappointment there have been none. We heard a report that you had got married and are now almost led to believe that such is the case as uncle says you are much longer in writing this sometime back than hitherto. I will not presume to go the length of wishing you the usual compliments untill I have more authentic information upon this point.

In my last I promised to give you an account of how I was progressing with my studies and really I find it a most disagreeable task to say so much about self that as Catherine is in town I shall leave that part to her. But she is in such depressing spirits at present that I do not think I shall get her to do it. The thing she is very unhappy about is wondering how my education can be accomplished as she seems so pleased at the improvement I have already made and so thoroughly anxious that I should at least get a year of it. You cannot think my dear brother how extremely desirous she has been all along to have me advanced and does not see how it can be managed without the aid of some generous friend. The kind ladies with whom I board have in some measure eased our minds in offering their establishment as my home untill such time as we hear from our brothers. It is a kind and generous action but they have done so from their respect for Catherine in seeing the motherly and affectionate interest she displays in my behalf.

I wrote to Uncle Donald [and] told him of my movements but I might as well expect sympathy from a stone wall as from him. Were it not that I thought it imprudent to enclose you his answer so far I would do it. It really is the only way in which you could judge of the parental interest you have always been led to suppose he takes in us. My board and education does not exceed £40 a year. Catherine thought that he would have advanced that sum as we felt sure that you would have had no hesitation in remitting it with a year's interest. I am sure none will be so gratified to hear of our being accomplished ladylike girls more than yourself. But do not forget my dear brother that these attainments are to be had without means. All of us have learned much from observation and has fortunately had the advantage of being in good society which has been always such a stimulus to endeavour to acquire what I thought so beautifull and refined in those around me. I am so passionately fond of travelling that I am so anxious to be well versed in the French. My governess says that if I had studied languages sooner I would have been a good linguist. I find the music more difficult but I hope when I join my brothers to be able to amuse them with a Scotch air. My drawing is not yet worth mentioning but if I should succeed I shall keep my copies and perhaps send them as pictures for wee little darling Connald. But [crossed out] I have most romantic imaginative mind and build my castles in the air which I fear will never be realized. Catherine feels so annoyed at me sometimes. Says that I just live in a world of immagination.

Our dear brother Archy sailed for Melbourne in January. He left his wife behind so that we might go with her when he writes. She came on a visit to Catherine on her way and enjoyed her stay in Edinburgh so very much. I felt quite proud of her as a sister. Our circle of friends were quite charmed with her. She is so extremely lady like, so sensible and agreeable, has a beautiful style of speaking. I look forward to the pleasure of going there in summer to spend my holidays. Uncle invited me to go to Glenorchy last season but did not go as I had another excursion in view which was to Perthshire. I cannot almost express my ecstacy of feeling when I came to the Trosachs sailed up the Loch Katrime. Saw Ellen's Isle which is mentioned in Walter Scoot [Scott] poems of the Lady of Lake. The beauty, the grandeur and loftyness of the scenery in that Highland district is quite beyond my powers of description. I hope the time is not far off when you will be home to enjoy the delights of Scottish scenery yourself. I think nothing elevates or ennobles the mind so much as travelling & I am so sorry at having delayed this untill today. I fear you will not be able to read there are so many faults. I cannot write it over again but when you write I hope you will tell me of all my mistakes. It is the only way to correct.

Catherine joins me in fondest love to your [self & darling son ?]


I am your aff. sister
Annabella McLean

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Annabella McLean (sister), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0816 (50 digitised items)
Series 9 Inwards family letters, Reference Number Series 9 Inwards family letters (1204 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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