Letter from Mrs. Wilson,
to Donald McLean Esq.
dated 3rd. April 1854
3rd. April 1854
Many thanks, my dear Son, for so kindly keeping your promise to your old
Mother; and don't fear that she will scold for the shortness of your letter, because she well knows that you have much to occupy your time. But she will scold most awfully, if you allow a long time to pass without writing. We were all glad to hear that you had got safely to Mokau, You must have suffered not a little with the terrible high wind which sprang up just after you left. The folks still continue to sing your praises, and so they will continue to do so, while you continue to buy land. But not one moment after that would I trust them. I need say no more, for you well know my good opinion of the New Plymouth gentry. But to show them up a little more in their true colours, what do you think of our not being allowed to put an account of our little Bazaar into the paper? I say not allowed; because we are told by the Editor that if we put any account of the bazaar in his paper, he must also put in
several letters written against it, which are in his possession, ready to do so, if we persist. We ladies have given in, because although we fear none of their scandal, yet we are afraid to trust good Mr. Turton's temper, if such letters appeared. He would be sure to answer them, in which case, adieu to all future harmony. Is this not a pretty state of things, that a few ladies cannot meet for a little amusement and pastime, without bringing such outcasts of socirty as Groub and his party upon our backs. It is better to appear cowards than to bring ourselves under the lash of such tongues; knowing, as we all do, that truth seldom has crossed their lips. Then on the other hand, I will prove to you what fools they are. I got £10 out of the proceeds of the Bazaar, as a donation to the Church of England, in return for the many handsome donations made by its members to our little Society; and would you believe this, --- there actually was a Meeting on Friday evening last, to consult whether it would be right, as a matter of con-science, a gift from a body of Wesleyans!!!! The Leeches were at the head of this display of Christian charity, It is perfectly useless trying to unite people, who are so determined to pull themselves asunder. When I gave the --- £ 10 to Mr. Govett, I asked
him, not to appropriate it until I consulted the wishes of the ladies who had worked for it; to see if they would join me in getting it all for our poor little delapidated Henui Church. This he kindly consented to do, for he has no nonsense about him. But really I am ctulte afraid to have anything more to do with the matter. They are such an odd compound. There is no knowing when or where they will explode; so I'll just leave them to themselves, and take no further trouble about them.
Your Brothers, the Free Masons, are to have a Meeting to-night, about getting up a Concert in aid of a sum to build a "Free Masons' Hall." I'll take a good bet they will all experience many a good toss, before they get a song out of any of them. It will all start fair at first; but wait, --- before a week is over, and you will see the result. "To agree" is not a very allowed in the New Plymouth grammar. But enough of them.
Pat and Hawkin cannot agree either. Poor E. suffered much on the journey down. His health is giving way. So that Pat sees that the poor man will be of no use in the Winter. So that I suspect, before long, they will bring their partnership to an end. I shall not be sorry for it, as I always thought
Mr. Wilson had bound himself over to perform that which would hardly ever be in his power to meet; and I thinlc Pat has at last convinced him of this, I do not fear but that Pat will get on very well with the man and his family, who are coming from Scotland, Ritchie continues to go on all right, and his good father continues to exert himself in his behalf; but I am sure if anything can be done, he is the man to do it. He has made up matters with Miss Stormeyer (?); so they are as loving as ever. I wish they would marry at once, but I will not advise. "Blowing up" is so much the order of the day, that I fear to meddle. All agree that the Races came off well; very little betting; and very little fighting. The natives' Race was the best. I fear poor Cooper and Wm. Halse must be a little out of pocket, as their horses did not win, Mrs. Richardson told me yesterday that they are expecting Mr. Des Vana this week. He is coming to look after land in this quarter. Wm. King's house is to be ready by June, so I suppose there will be a grand marriage there. Some seem to think that he will never open his heart to spend an extra penny on the occasion; at least so thinks his future father-in-law.
When you get to Auckland, if you have an op-
-portunity, I wish you could do something to get Andrew and Mr. Wilson to jog on the road quietly together. It is natural that my good man should feel vexed, when he has so many crosses put in his way. You might explain to Mr. S. how long Mr. Wilson had the charge of a Hospital in Schultac, - upwards of fourteen years. So he must consequently know the proper management of one, particularly one on so trifling a scale as this one is. You may, perhaps, find out if there is any underhand work going on, from this. I have a great notion there is. I am not quite so certain of C. Brown's sincerity as you and Don Pedro are, - particularly when he has such advisers as Chilman, Watt, and Tom Thumb; and more so, when Watt so openly declared he would have him out as soon as possible. The truth is they are such a queer set, that I have no faith in them. If good Sir George were in the Colony, I should not fear. "When the Cat is away, the mice are sure to play." No sooner is Sir George's back turned, than Sam King gets no less than two appointments. Not that we need regret Mr. Leeche's being out of the Post Office. If Sam manages as well here as he did at Wanganui, we shall be well off in that Department. But I should fear the other, on account of their carelessness about fire, - that is, if the
Deeds are left in his own house.
Mr. Wilson has just returned from his Meeting about the concert. They all agree at present, but how long will it last? Time will show. I think I hear you exclaim, - "Oh Mother, Mother, how unbelieving you are."
The grand Council is at last about to shut up shop in a few days. The Speaker gives his farewell dinner some day next week. I hope they will study their speeches better than they did at your dinner; or else our Editors will have little to record, as there will be no son of mine, or natives present to speak for them. Peter Elliot's wife got too fat with so many good feeds. Ritchie has just brought home our account of the Bazaar, and intends sending it to Auckland, to be put into some of the papers there; and next mail to Wellington, we shall send it to their papers; and it shall appear in all the English and Scotch papers that old Mr. Ritchie can get at. So that we shall not be thankful to the "Taranaki Herald" for its publicity. If you can sing its praises, I know you will do it.
I am going to give you a commission to get me some seed of the passion flower which bears the eatable fruit. I am told that there is plenty of it in the Government Garden, and that you need only ask the gardener
and he will be sure to give it. Now, like a dear good son, don't forget this. Perhaps your friend, Mr. Sinclair, will obtain it for you; but may not, if he knows it is for the troublesome Doctor's wife. Pat writes us that they are getting on famously with subscriptions at Wanganui, for a Scotch Church. He has put his name down for £20; and has sold his filly to pay for it. I positively shall get very proud of my sons. They are such dear good boys. Turton was highly pleased when I told him of it. In telling you about the Bazaar, I forgot to mention that after all expenses were paid, we cleared £60, - a pretty good sum to get by the sale of pin-cushions, needle-books, and note-books without pencils !!!
Now mind you write me often, and let me know all about my own dear little grandson. Everything regarding both him and his father will always be deeply interesting to me. The Kingdons have heard from Hatfield. He says, from what he knows of the Kingdons, he is sure they will just suit Ahuriri; and he has only to hear from Auckland to settle it. They are getting all ready for a start. All your friends I know, unite in kind wishes to you. Mr. Wilson is going to write a few lines, so I shall only add the assurance of the affections of your sincerely attached old mother
(Signed) H.A. Wilson.
To:- Donald McLean Esq.