Object #1005384 from MS-Papers-0032-0828
From: Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0828 (82 digitised items). The letters from Donald are written from Porirua Barracks, Otaki, Rangitikei, Waikanae, Wanganui and Taranaki. Susan's letters are addressed from Dalmuir Hill (her parent's home) and Wellington Terrace. Many letters are undated and were written prior to their marriage in Aug 1851. Includes correspondence between Susan McLean and her mother Susan Strang (2 letters, undated); one letter from Helen Anne Wilson to Mrs McLean, 30 August 1852
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18 May 1852
My dear Puss
The mail leaves tomorrow at eight am. I have just had a comfortable tea and now I must give an account of myself. Of course there has not been an opportunity otherwise you should have heard from me if it were only two lines. We arrived here after a cold blowy ride on Saturday night and I frequently thought how lucky it was that I had not my little pet to look after. She would be starved with cold and fatigue. She would take a dislike to the romantic rambles of her old plague and might even insinuate I will not go again but I must not accuse poor Dugy of disobedience. She is decided at all times and at all hazards to obey.
We are as yet at the Rangitikei hotel Scott's where every thing is most clean and comfortable. Excellent cream, clean salt, plenty of nice towels, tea at 7 am and only old Mrs Scott and her husband to attend to about 15 of us. You may thank your stars that I do not take you to the bush and give you plenty of employment but even there I feel certain my own pet would be happy as the wife depicted by Washington Irving if Providence should place us in the same circumstances. I cannot look at a milch cow or a fine growing heifer or calf but I think how well
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Jessie and you would do as dairy maids in the bush and how delighted I should be to see you enjoying the weight of the milch pale from the milching yard to the dairy and afterwards telling me how quiet one cow was, how cross another, how stupid a third, how annoying a 4th and what a pest the young calf [crossed out] calves trying to steal the milch from the pails were and what an exciting life a settler's wife was. Then pet when she would receive no consolation from her husband for overcoming such wonderful difficulties would either fly out to Jessie or Papa or the herd boy to take pity on her or else her better sense might even induce her to resort to some consolatory book on the shelf until she found her husband more pliable and indulgent. Poor petty, I think of you during every quiet walk I take. I fancy that the various delightful objects of nature that my eye surveys in [crossed out] is only half enjoyed without you. Even plants, shrubs, flowers are ap[p]reciated with some recollections of you
You must fancy that the various blottings in this letter are occasioned by an excess of wine but fortunately Scott has none I drink. No spirits, my principle beverage is tea
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but the fault is in the horrid material I have to write with, bad steel pens, bad paper, bad table etc. We had Mr Taylor, Miss Taylor, your old rival Mr Taylor snr, Williams, Lt Gordon, Dr Fox and others here last night. The house was completely crowded so Gordon, Dr Fox and I went up to McDonell's where we had a tune on the bagpipes. Every Highlander is enchanted with the sound of the pipes but I confess although the music was good that I felt a combination of feelings that I cannot express, melancholy predominated and I almost wish I had not gone there although there was no noise or disorder in the place. The natives have not yet collected. I expect them in a day or two. The Taylors have gone on to Hadfield's wedding which takes place tomorrow. On my way up I dined with the bride. She expressed anxiety about the weather. The arrival of her fineries from Wellington on all which points I set her mind at rest. Park is sleeping near me as I am writing away. He sends his compliments but I imagine although he does not confess that he would like to send more than his compliments through you to Miss Hart. At any rate you may introduce the subject by giving her my kind regards, adding as much more as you like for Park. Did she shed a tear like my lassie when he turned up the Kaiwarra glens or
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was it only my own affectionate pet that felt a separation so intensely.
Your Maid of Islay is in foal. Your heifer has a fine calf. My new horse is doing well and so is old Doctor that I sold to McDonald. I hear Mrs Ross is very comfortable. She got a room ready for you. This district is making great advances. The stock look exceedingly well. I have agreed to get a ton of good potatoes from Scott. Tell Papa that he may not be paying for more from the Hutt. I trust I may have frequent chances to write if not my own dearest may feel assured it is not through negligence that she does not hear. In a very short time I shall be back with you. Be a good girl, do not cry for although I do not promise you a beating for being naughty I nevertheless dislike a piping tune from a great big lassie like you.
I must close dearest for tonight. May God protect you. Say your prayers to Him, read you Bible and you will always find it a refuge and protection under every passing anxiety and care and may the Almighty guardian angels surround you is the sincere prayer of your own ever affectionate husband
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Wednesday morning 19th after breakfast
A lovely day. It reminds me of the days I used to spend here before our marriage. I frequently like to think of them and of the anxiety about sending and receiving letters in case our courtship should be discovered. Mrs Taylor kindly invites you to come and see her. She reminded me of the many pleasant evenings I spent at their house and that she trusted now that I was married I should not desert them. Miss Taylor looks very ill and has scarcely grown any and certainly not improved since this time last year. Mr Ashton St Hill has passed to Otaki this morning. I do not write by him as I fancy the mail the most safe conveyance. Mr Harrison is here shooting and enjoying a country life. Now that the weather is fine you cannot conceive how I miss you. I do not like to enjoy anything in which you do not participate but how widely extended are God's gifts. The weather and its cheering influence is not confined to this spot and all who live under the canopy of Heaven derive a continued succession of the most delightful enjoyment from its various changes that may be well resembled in man's lot through life.
The mail is in sight. I fear I may not have time to write to Papa but I must try. Goodbye again my own dearest Douglas and believe me to remain your sincere and affect.
I wish you would criticize the spelling and orthography of these letters and correct the blunders as you read through.
Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0828 (82 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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