Object #1016738 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

9 pages written 11 Jun 1859 by Annabella McLean 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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English (MD)

41 Charlotte Square
June 11th 1859


Schoolroom Friday morning

My dear brother

We were delighted to receive your kind and affectionate letter two days ago and to hear such pleasing accounts of your dear little boy, our brothers and of his lordship Sir John with whose lady love you seem rather pleased. I have written you several letters and one by the same mail as Catherine of which you take any notice which makes me feel that you were not gratified with them and found numerous mistakes, if so my dear brother just inform me off them. I

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English (MD)

shall consider it as an act of brotherly interest and kindness towards a sister whom Cath. invariably gives the rather mortifying appellation of being a careless little monkey especially now as she has become so fully particular to finding out every misspelt word in my hasty written letters. Being so intensely engaged with school duties and hard study I find that really I have not the same opportunity for letter correspondence as I used to have. This is now my last quarter for this secession. The holiday will be in the order of eight weeks. I have had a very kind & pressing invitation to spend my leisure time with Uncle which perhaps I may have the pleasure of doing if my worthy sister Cath. does not come to the conclusion that it is by far a too expensive journey, a point upon which you may really guess we sometimes differ especially when a new bonnet or evening dress is in question. However without giving way to the extravagant jokes alleged to the ancient and honorable clan of McLeans we generally coincide upon very economical and reasonable terms. How we smiled at your simple and unostentatious description of self and thought of the poet's words "The mind is the standard of the man" an inheritance which has been graciously bestowed

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English (MD)

upon you for the benefit of your fellow creatures. What a contemptible creature as man dressed in the strictest style of fashion with a vain conceited empty mind whose whole ambition seems to consist in how he can best fascinate and call forth the admiration of the weaker minds. Many such I have seen whose society was more a pest than a pleasure. But I suppose there will not be many such amongst your enterprising plain matter fact New Zealanders? Can you ever indulge in joining parties for a pleasant picnic excursion? I was at a most charming one lately. There were about twenty of us

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English (MD)

altogether. It was extremely pleasant a beautiful day and everyone more lively than another rendered it amongst one of pleasantest days I have ever enjoyed. Since then I have been to a more brilliant assembly namely the reception at Holyrood Palace by the Lord High Commissioner, the Queen's representative during the sitting of the assembly of clergy. It was a magnificent sight such as I had never been seen before. Such a gay assemblage of aristrocracy in court dress was quite a novelty to me. I made my `debut' in fine white which looked rather sweet. None of the young ladies were there but myself so that I was generously [sic]

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English (MD)

with any little additional ornament I wished to make choice of. My chaperon was a young & interesting looking clergymen whom I met at tea a few evenings before, was introduced to several others there so that I was under very good protection and enjoyed the evening, the scenes and above all the society I was with to my utmost wish. Now dearest brother instead of all this you will be more anxious to hear of my progress which I am quite at a loss to describe for how to flatter myself would be perfectly ludicrous and to say I had made no improvement would be equally absurd. So that I think it will be more satisfactory to refer that subject to a more competent judge who will probably write you at the end of the secession and give all particulars of my progress at present. Miss Lean is very much engaged her sister Mrs Richson being laid aside for sometime back by a fearful illness brought on by overstudy. One of the greatest difficulties I have to contend with is my musique. It devours so much of my time to endeavour to get my hand into an easy and graceful touch. Having begun so late my fingers are very stiff and require such a deal of practise. The drawing I

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English (MD)

[am] extremely fond of but my favourite study is English literature, composition and the study of languages which above all things I should like to master. I think it looks so elegant to meet a lady who can talk sensibly and in other languages. I sometime look forward of perhaps having that unspeakable pleasure of accompanying you on a visit to the Continent where I hope you intend visiting when you come home. I hope by that time it will be in a more tranquil state than at present. Many are the conjectures of what the state of this war will be but this we know that we live in eventful times

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English (MD)

and whatever wars or turmoils disturb the world we trust that God in his mercy would avert his dreadful judgments and bring all mankind under the peaceful influence of the gospel of grace then all should be harmony and sweet accord of mutual love and friendship. How glorious it would be to hear of Italy's sunny soil being turned into a land of liberty resounding with the song of freedom conquering over that dark delusive soul destructive belief of popery. What an awful mastery it gains over the deluded minds of its adherents. Keeps down the noble minds of man

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English (MD)

from enjoying the free rich salvation of our crucified redeemer through whom alone we can find acceptance and pardon and a hope and assurance of entering to the eternal Kingdom of glory for which we must in this transitory existence make a full and decided preparation or otherwise we shall be eternally miserable. Eternity is a word sufficient to answer the most careless and inconsiderate. What a momentous thought does it convey to the reflective mind a period without beginning or end, an everlasting sphere where we must forever be in anguish and despair or be forever in the full enjoyment of celestial bliss and unspeakable happiness. I think Catherine is writing you by this mail and will give you more home news than I can and be more able express to you our united gratitude for your almost ... liberality [as we were ?] beginning to fear that something had come in the way

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English (MD)

of preventing you accomplishing your zealous desire of being the means of rendering us happy and promoting our prospects which in this age of advancements can only rarely be obtained but by the invaluable advantages of education. With love to my dear brother Archy who you may see and good remembrances to all the others. With every fond & loveable wish for dear little Douglas.


I remain dearest brother your fondly attached sister
Annabella McLean

English (MD)

41 Charlotte Square
June 11th 1859


Schoolroom Friday morning

My dear brother

We were delighted to receive your kind and affectionate letter two days ago and to hear such pleasing accounts of your dear little boy, our brothers and of his lordship Sir John with whose lady love you seem rather pleased. I have written you several letters and one by the same mail as Catherine of which you take any notice which makes me feel that you were not gratified with them and found numerous mistakes, if so my dear brother just inform me off them. I shall consider it as an act of brotherly interest and kindness towards a sister whom Cath. invariably gives the rather mortifying appellation of being a careless little monkey especially now as she has become so fully particular to finding out every misspelt word in my hasty written letters. Being so intensely engaged with school duties and hard study I find that really I have not the same opportunity for letter correspondence as I used to have. This is now my last quarter for this secession. The holiday will be in the order of eight weeks. I have had a very kind & pressing invitation to spend my leisure time with Uncle which perhaps I may have the pleasure of doing if my worthy sister Cath. does not come to the conclusion that it is by far a too expensive journey, a point upon which you may really guess we sometimes differ especially when a new bonnet or evening dress is in question. However without giving way to the extravagant jokes alleged to the ancient and honorable clan of McLeans we generally coincide upon very economical and reasonable terms. How we smiled at your simple and unostentatious description of self and thought of the poet's words "The mind is the standard of the man" an inheritance which has been graciously bestowed upon you for the benefit of your fellow creatures. What a contemptible creature as man dressed in the strictest style of fashion with a vain conceited empty mind whose whole ambition seems to consist in how he can best fascinate and call forth the admiration of the weaker minds. Many such I have seen whose society was more a pest than a pleasure. But I suppose there will not be many such amongst your enterprising plain matter fact New Zealanders? Can you ever indulge in joining parties for a pleasant picnic excursion? I was at a most charming one lately. There were about twenty of us altogether. It was extremely pleasant a beautiful day and everyone more lively than another rendered it amongst one of pleasantest days I have ever enjoyed. Since then I have been to a more brilliant assembly namely the reception at Holyrood Palace by the Lord High Commissioner, the Queen's representative during the sitting of the assembly of clergy. It was a magnificent sight such as I had never been seen before. Such a gay assemblage of aristrocracy in court dress was quite a novelty to me. I made my `debut' in fine white which looked rather sweet. None of the young ladies were there but myself so that I was generously [sic] with any little additional ornament I wished to make choice of. My chaperon was a young & interesting looking clergymen whom I met at tea a few evenings before, was introduced to several others there so that I was under very good protection and enjoyed the evening, the scenes and above all the society I was with to my utmost wish. Now dearest brother instead of all this you will be more anxious to hear of my progress which I am quite at a loss to describe for how to flatter myself would be perfectly ludicrous and to say I had made no improvement would be equally absurd. So that I think it will be more satisfactory to refer that subject to a more competent judge who will probably write you at the end of the secession and give all particulars of my progress at present. Miss Lean is very much engaged her sister Mrs Richson being laid aside for sometime back by a fearful illness brought on by overstudy. One of the greatest difficulties I have to contend with is my musique. It devours so much of my time to endeavour to get my hand into an easy and graceful touch. Having begun so late my fingers are very stiff and require such a deal of practise. The drawing I [am] extremely fond of but my favourite study is English literature, composition and the study of languages which above all things I should like to master. I think it looks so elegant to meet a lady who can talk sensibly and in other languages. I sometime look forward of perhaps having that unspeakable pleasure of accompanying you on a visit to the Continent where I hope you intend visiting when you come home. I hope by that time it will be in a more tranquil state than at present. Many are the conjectures of what the state of this war will be but this we know that we live in eventful times and whatever wars or turmoils disturb the world we trust that God in his mercy would avert his dreadful judgments and bring all mankind under the peaceful influence of the gospel of grace then all should be harmony and sweet accord of mutual love and friendship. How glorious it would be to hear of Italy's sunny soil being turned into a land of liberty resounding with the song of freedom conquering over that dark delusive soul destructive belief of popery. What an awful mastery it gains over the deluded minds of its adherents. Keeps down the noble minds of man from enjoying the free rich salvation of our crucified redeemer through whom alone we can find acceptance and pardon and a hope and assurance of entering to the eternal Kingdom of glory for which we must in this transitory existence make a full and decided preparation or otherwise we shall be eternally miserable. Eternity is a word sufficient to answer the most careless and inconsiderate. What a momentous thought does it convey to the reflective mind a period without beginning or end, an everlasting sphere where we must forever be in anguish and despair or be forever in the full enjoyment of celestial bliss and unspeakable happiness. I think Catherine is writing you by this mail and will give you more home news than I can and be more able express to you our united gratitude for your almost ... liberality [as we were ?] beginning to fear that something had come in the way of preventing you accomplishing your zealous desire of being the means of rendering us happy and promoting our prospects which in this age of advancements can only rarely be obtained but by the invaluable advantages of education. With love to my dear brother Archy who you may see and good remembrances to all the others. With every fond & loveable wish for dear little Douglas.


I remain dearest brother your fondly attached 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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