Object #1004820 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

9 pages written 10 Jul 1859 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)

41 Charlotte Square
Edinburgh
July 10th 1859


My dear brother

As you may not have received the letters we wrote you by last mail acknowledging the receipt of your letter which Catherine got quite safe with the enclosed bills. She got all by one mail not at different dates as your letter inferred but we saw by the papers that an accident had occurred to prevent the forward run of the overland despatches at the time due. I cannot now write you a lenthened epistle being so very busy s....ing upon studies the examination commencing on the 18th of this month. I have written you several letters regarding my studies none of which you have as yet taken any note of that I am afraid they will not

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English (MD)

please you but I daresay you consider that writing to Catherine is equivalent for us both. When I entered this establishment I considered myself quite beyond taking lessons in English but I am now glad that I was otherwise influenced by our kind Eng. master Mr Young a more intelligent and interested man I never met with. He is really a modern Pythagoras so full of knowledge and has such a charming way of imparting it to others. I feel quite flattered at being called by the young ladies as old Mr Young's favourite. He is extremely kind to me, gives me books to read and informs me upon any subject that I ask him about. He always gives me great praises for my composition exercises and he says that I have a great deal of talent if I would only place more confidence in my own abilities. I am naturally very timid and I cannot shake it off and keenly sensitive if I do or say anything wrong or what appears stupid. How bitterly I regret that I was not at school all those years for which I may say I was almost buried in oblivion when no kind brother seemed to care or wonder what I was about. Had you known my craving desire for education since my youngest days I am sure you would not have been so long in influencing yourself in my behalf but you have already dear brother begun a good cause and that which, oh, which you will never regret. If you only felt as I do the change, a change in every possible way. Since I came

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English (MD)

here my mind seems as if it were removed out of a dark chaos for what seemed to me so impenetrable and dark is now quite clear and I feel an inward satisfaction of having conquered my many difficulties that in another year I shall make rapid progress. Cath says I have no need of anything but .... for drawing I must really confess that I have no natural likeness for and besides I consider it a great waste of time. It is an accomplishment merely for those who have rank and fortune to look forward to. My whole amibition consists in being a thorough English scholar, to know French well and if possible to be a tolerable player on the piano and

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English (MD)

my dear brother if you find me all that you may be very well satisfied and as wonders never cease in this nineteenth century perhaps I may yet help you to come out with a three volumed world's wonder in the way of an historical account of life amongst the cannibals or the experiences of a forty year settler in the Antipodes. How glorious to hear of my reflective brother turning an author. I somehow have a faint idea that you have something the kind in contemplation. How are things getting on at the McLean station? I suppose with Archy's energy it will be quite a "paradise" of beauty blooming with flowers and fragrant roses, teaming with delicious fruits, and his fond wife or loving sisters there to enjoy them and

Page 5 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

spread a joyful mellowing influence over so lovely a spot as Archy describes it to me. Really dearest, just come to the conclusion that you are very naughty selfish boys in not taking us out but it is evident you don't know us or you would have had us out long ago. If I am out at a promenade or any public place with someone I don't like how my thoughts carry me to [my?] land and an inward voice whispers to me, oh, How I wish I had some of my brothers to protect me. I think how perfectly happy I should be to have an arm to lean upon and a noble brother to love me as a loving father would. Many many a time I sigh and think will these sweet joys ever be mine but hope that inexhaustible storehouse of promises brightens up the longing heart with the too often cloudy sunshine of patience and resignation and still continues the only soothing balm. Hope, hope on.

I cannot understand how Archy and Alexander can be comfortable without someone to render their home pleasant and agreeable. It is impossible that they can manage household affairs that ...ity of economy who is so essential in every sphere far less with them who are so very extravagantly inclined. What with Archy's ... momentary impulsive ways of acting and Alexander's injudicious style of generosity that I fear they will not be able to cooperate wisely in their plans and Mrs McLean is such a sensible

Page 6 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

prudent and altogether no ordinary character in studying the interests of those with whom she is connected I am sure you would all value and prize her very much. If Alexander would duly practise a little self denial and enable to take her out. Poor dear Archy is of a noble disposition and I daresay feels keenly the dependent situation at present but for our sakes dearest brother love him and be kind to him. Like all warm hearted sailors he may have his little faults but think what he has done for us. In all his troubles never never forgot us. He was our stay when no one else cared for us. He was the [instrumentily?] in God hands of fulfilling that promise which has been so

Page 7 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

bountifully realised in our case. I will be the orphan "shield". During the time that Catherine was in town we went and had our likeness done but it is difficult to get them sent out to you. I think of sending them by a private vessel when I go to Liverpool on my way to see Flora where I must go to spend my holiday as this is a season in which she is unusually busy and she wrote me beseeching of me not to go to Glenorchy. To both I cannot go so I will defer my visit there to a future time. Catherine has gone home to Stobs Castle so that I feel the town

Page 8 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

of [crossed out] desolate without her. She is such a motherly kind sister. When she called here to see me the young ladies all thought she was my mama. They said she looked so like a mother. The thought of us all so soon departing quite pains me for I have so many loving companions amongst the girls. Many of them are similarly situated to myself whose brothers have been fortunate abroad and educating their sisters before they take them. One of them belongs to the [west ?] at least her brother is there. She is very pretty but a shocking vulgar girl. Those of them who are going abroad take lessons in riding which is very essential in your quarter of the globe. I would like very much to have lessons too but it is I fear fully expensive. I have also a great desire to get to the Continent after I learn more of the German language. I shall try and get a governess situation in some school and teach English. A great number do that but it requires influence and means to obtain an opening but

Page 9 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

suppose you will going there before you come home. Please do write me a long letter & tell me how dear little Douglas is? And if an opportunity occurs send a portrait of yourself and him and I should like so much to get a New Zealand newspaper occasionally. The safest adddress is 13 Howe Street, Edinburgh. Remember me lovingly to my brothers when you see them. Lots of kisses to dear little Douglas.


Ever your aff. sister
Annabella McLean

English (MD)

41 Charlotte Square
Edinburgh
July 10th 1859


My dear brother

As you may not have received the letters we wrote you by last mail acknowledging the receipt of your letter which Catherine got quite safe with the enclosed bills. She got all by one mail not at different dates as your letter inferred but we saw by the papers that an accident had occurred to prevent the forward run of the overland despatches at the time due. I cannot now write you a lenthened epistle being so very busy s....ing upon studies the examination commencing on the 18th of this month. I have written you several letters regarding my studies none of which you have as yet taken any note of that I am afraid they will not please you but I daresay you consider that writing to Catherine is equivalent for us both. When I entered this establishment I considered myself quite beyond taking lessons in English but I am now glad that I was otherwise influenced by our kind Eng. master Mr Young a more intelligent and interested man I never met with. He is really a modern Pythagoras so full of knowledge and has such a charming way of imparting it to others. I feel quite flattered at being called by the young ladies as old Mr Young's favourite. He is extremely kind to me, gives me books to read and informs me upon any subject that I ask him about. He always gives me great praises for my composition exercises and he says that I have a great deal of talent if I would only place more confidence in my own abilities. I am naturally very timid and I cannot shake it off and keenly sensitive if I do or say anything wrong or what appears stupid. How bitterly I regret that I was not at school all those years for which I may say I was almost buried in oblivion when no kind brother seemed to care or wonder what I was about. Had you known my craving desire for education since my youngest days I am sure you would not have been so long in influencing yourself in my behalf but you have already dear brother begun a good cause and that which, oh, which you will never regret. If you only felt as I do the change, a change in every possible way. Since I came here my mind seems as if it were removed out of a dark chaos for what seemed to me so impenetrable and dark is now quite clear and I feel an inward satisfaction of having conquered my many difficulties that in another year I shall make rapid progress. Cath says I have no need of anything but .... for drawing I must really confess that I have no natural likeness for and besides I consider it a great waste of time. It is an accomplishment merely for those who have rank and fortune to look forward to. My whole amibition consists in being a thorough English scholar, to know French well and if possible to be a tolerable player on the piano and my dear brother if you find me all that you may be very well satisfied and as wonders never cease in this nineteenth century perhaps I may yet help you to come out with a three volumed world's wonder in the way of an historical account of life amongst the cannibals or the experiences of a forty year settler in the Antipodes. How glorious to hear of my reflective brother turning an author. I somehow have a faint idea that you have something the kind in contemplation. How are things getting on at the McLean station? I suppose with Archy's energy it will be quite a "paradise" of beauty blooming with flowers and fragrant roses, teaming with delicious fruits, and his fond wife or loving sisters there to enjoy them and spread a joyful mellowing influence over so lovely a spot as Archy describes it to me. Really dearest, just come to the conclusion that you are very naughty selfish boys in not taking us out but it is evident you don't know us or you would have had us out long ago. If I am out at a promenade or any public place with someone I don't like how my thoughts carry me to [my?] land and an inward voice whispers to me, oh, How I wish I had some of my brothers to protect me. I think how perfectly happy I should be to have an arm to lean upon and a noble brother to love me as a loving father would. Many many a time I sigh and think will these sweet joys ever be mine but hope that inexhaustible storehouse of promises brightens up the longing heart with the too often cloudy sunshine of patience and resignation and still continues the only soothing balm. Hope, hope on.

I cannot understand how Archy and Alexander can be comfortable without someone to render their home pleasant and agreeable. It is impossible that they can manage household affairs that ...ity of economy who is so essential in every sphere far less with them who are so very extravagantly inclined. What with Archy's ... momentary impulsive ways of acting and Alexander's injudicious style of generosity that I fear they will not be able to cooperate wisely in their plans and Mrs McLean is such a sensible prudent and altogether no ordinary character in studying the interests of those with whom she is connected I am sure you would all value and prize her very much. If Alexander would duly practise a little self denial and enable to take her out. Poor dear Archy is of a noble disposition and I daresay feels keenly the dependent situation at present but for our sakes dearest brother love him and be kind to him. Like all warm hearted sailors he may have his little faults but think what he has done for us. In all his troubles never never forgot us. He was our stay when no one else cared for us. He was the [instrumentily?] in God hands of fulfilling that promise which has been so bountifully realised in our case. I will be the orphan "shield". During the time that Catherine was in town we went and had our likeness done but it is difficult to get them sent out to you. I think of sending them by a private vessel when I go to Liverpool on my way to see Flora where I must go to spend my holiday as this is a season in which she is unusually busy and she wrote me beseeching of me not to go to Glenorchy. To both I cannot go so I will defer my visit there to a future time. Catherine has gone home to Stobs Castle so that I feel the town of [crossed out] desolate without her. She is such a motherly kind sister. When she called here to see me the young ladies all thought she was my mama. They said she looked so like a mother. The thought of us all so soon departing quite pains me for I have so many loving companions amongst the girls. Many of them are similarly situated to myself whose brothers have been fortunate abroad and educating their sisters before they take them. One of them belongs to the [west ?] at least her brother is there. She is very pretty but a shocking vulgar girl. Those of them who are going abroad take lessons in riding which is very essential in your quarter of the globe. I would like very much to have lessons too but it is I fear fully expensive. I have also a great desire to get to the Continent after I learn more of the German language. I shall try and get a governess situation in some school and teach English. A great number do that but it requires influence and means to obtain an opening but suppose you will going there before you come home. Please do write me a long letter & tell me how dear little Douglas is? And if an opportunity occurs send a portrait of yourself and him and I should like so much to get a New Zealand newspaper occasionally. The safest adddress is 13 Howe Street, Edinburgh. Remember me lovingly to my brothers when you see them. Lots of kisses to dear little Douglas.


Ever 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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