Object #1017092 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

9 pages written 15 Sep 1858 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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Page 1 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

1 Hill Street
Upper Bangor
North Wales

Sept 15th 1858


My dear brother

I am here spending my holidays with Flora. Her little pet is very poorly with hooping cough which is a distressing trouble to see a child so young suffering under. She is a pretty darling, large, bright, intelligent blue eyes, sweet fat shossy cheeks. When she goes out to walk with the girl every lady stops to speak to her and asks whose child she is. Rather too young or too soon you will think to attract general admiration. Flora makes a kind loveable affectionate mother but does not spoil her in the least.

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English (MD)

I enjoy coming down here. It is a cheerful gay and happy place. There is every facility for enjoyment one could possibly wish for.

I have been to several pleasant excursions with a party of tourists Mr Conway introduced me to. The English are quite different to the Scotch. So affable & familiar in their manner and so accommodating to strangers that I felt quite at home with at once. The scenery in Wales though fine is not to be compared with Scotland. The people from the low parts of England come here for their summer residence. They imagine the little tiny rivers here so beautiful. The mountains so grand. Sometimes I met with who express their surprise at my not being as elevated as they untill I tell them of our magnificent lakes, the lovely flowing rivers and our gigantic snow covered mountains. It very soon makes them envious and desirous to visit Scotia's shores.

I would much rather finish my letter with this subject but I must bring my lofty thoughts from the summits of our noble Highland hills and carry them down to a more humble task of speaking a little about self which to me is a most disagreeable duty but I have now the pleasurable feeling of thinking that I express my mind to one who is taking a lively interest in my future prosperity. The greatest source of gratitude I can render I can render you

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English (MD)

my dear brother for your brotherly and affectionate wishes for my improvement is to make a good and profitable use of the advantage your kind & liberal generosity will enable me to attain. With such a stimulus I hope to begin my studies this winter with renewed energy and vigor and do all in my power to acquire what will render me both useful and agreeable in whatever station or society providence sees fit to place my future home. The schools reopen on the 28th of this month when I expect to enter into a superior one to where I was last as the teachers are all the first class masters. I will also

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English (MD)

have the advantage of hearing French & German talked, the governess being a Parisienne. A friend is to use her influence to get me there upon more reasonable terms than is their usual which is 62 pounds a year that you think would be preposterous for me ever to think of giving. You desired me to send a specimen of my drawing which I would be proud to do if I thought you would not enjoy a hearty laugh at my expense or throw away with contempt any of the imperfect sketches I am now doing. I have been but a short time at drawing receiving only two lessons

Page 5 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

a week. It takes a very long period to come to any perfection in this art. I am sure you will allow that nothing looks so void of any good taste as to make a display of bad drawing. All my spare hours are occupied in practising my music and reading. The French also requires a deal of study. I can read & translate it now pretty correctly. For my own private reading I am going through Telemaque in French, an ancient book written by Fenelon, tutor to one of the late kings of France and Grecian history. I like it exceedingly. It is so interesting. Probably ere this you will have heard of Archy's arrangement that Catherine and I are to go out with his wife. When she sails is yet uncertain however should it be ordained that we are to go out with her and as you know so little about us further than that we are your sisters by the natural tie of sisters and affection so I warn you beforehand for fear you be disappointed to look for nothing in us beyond quite ordinary girls. Had we received the benefits of an accomplished education as you were anxious for

Page 6 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

years ago in your letters to Uncle perhaps we would now be very differently situated. Catherine is considered by everybody to be so clever. Had her talents been properly cultivated she would have made a splendid appearance in society. She is of a tall commanding ladylike figure. I am quite the reverse little and insignificant. If I have anything to recommend me it is merely my manner which is pleasing to some but I do not think how we shall get on if ever we become to be criticised by the grandees of New Zealand.

Page 7 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

I do not admire any who I have met with from the Australian colonies. They are generally very peculiar in their style. I hear the settlers in New Zealand are of a more refined class of people. I think our brothers will very soon be envious of your adopted country. They speak and write so flatteringly of the progress you are making, the rapid improvement in agriculture. I suppose your name will be handed down to posterity in the annals of its history. I frequently observe your name mentioned in the newspapers.

Page 8 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


I was surprised to see what you said of Alexander in last letter. We have always had an idea that he was rather wealthy, such is the falsity of reports. I should like to write him but I am quite puzzled what to say to him at all unless I act the vulgarian and ask him how his sheep and horses are thriving. I have heard from several parties who knew him that that was his favourite theme of conversation.

It seems so truly strange of him never to take the slightest notice of us but I daresay it is not that he is altogether forgetfull of us but the way in which a person is circumstanced generally has a great influence over their inclinations. A family so scattered as we have been, so thoroughly weaned as it were from each others protection we seldom see that unity exist amongst them that is to be met with in those who have been all brought up together. I hope you are still enjoying the companionship of your dear little boy. Douglas is such

Page 9 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

a pretty classical name. We were disappointed that you did not send your own likeness along with his. Flora sends her kind love. A letter from you would afford herself and husband much pleasure. I shall write by next mail when I am established in school.

I am my dear brother


Yours affectionately & gratefully
Annabella McLean

13 Howe Street
Edinburgh

English (MD)

1 Hill Street
Upper Bangor
North Wales

Sept 15th 1858


My dear brother

I am here spending my holidays with Flora. Her little pet is very poorly with hooping cough which is a distressing trouble to see a child so young suffering under. She is a pretty darling, large, bright, intelligent blue eyes, sweet fat shossy cheeks. When she goes out to walk with the girl every lady stops to speak to her and asks whose child she is. Rather too young or too soon you will think to attract general admiration. Flora makes a kind loveable affectionate mother but does not spoil her in the least. I enjoy coming down here. It is a cheerful gay and happy place. There is every facility for enjoyment one could possibly wish for.

I have been to several pleasant excursions with a party of tourists Mr Conway introduced me to. The English are quite different to the Scotch. So affable & familiar in their manner and so accommodating to strangers that I felt quite at home with at once. The scenery in Wales though fine is not to be compared with Scotland. The people from the low parts of England come here for their summer residence. They imagine the little tiny rivers here so beautiful. The mountains so grand. Sometimes I met with who express their surprise at my not being as elevated as they untill I tell them of our magnificent lakes, the lovely flowing rivers and our gigantic snow covered mountains. It very soon makes them envious and desirous to visit Scotia's shores.

I would much rather finish my letter with this subject but I must bring my lofty thoughts from the summits of our noble Highland hills and carry them down to a more humble task of speaking a little about self which to me is a most disagreeable duty but I have now the pleasurable feeling of thinking that I express my mind to one who is taking a lively interest in my future prosperity. The greatest source of gratitude I can render I can render you my dear brother for your brotherly and affectionate wishes for my improvement is to make a good and profitable use of the advantage your kind & liberal generosity will enable me to attain. With such a stimulus I hope to begin my studies this winter with renewed energy and vigor and do all in my power to acquire what will render me both useful and agreeable in whatever station or society providence sees fit to place my future home. The schools reopen on the 28th of this month when I expect to enter into a superior one to where I was last as the teachers are all the first class masters. I will also have the advantage of hearing French & German talked, the governess being a Parisienne. A friend is to use her influence to get me there upon more reasonable terms than is their usual which is 62 pounds a year that you think would be preposterous for me ever to think of giving. You desired me to send a specimen of my drawing which I would be proud to do if I thought you would not enjoy a hearty laugh at my expense or throw away with contempt any of the imperfect sketches I am now doing. I have been but a short time at drawing receiving only two lessons a week. It takes a very long period to come to any perfection in this art. I am sure you will allow that nothing looks so void of any good taste as to make a display of bad drawing. All my spare hours are occupied in practising my music and reading. The French also requires a deal of study. I can read & translate it now pretty correctly. For my own private reading I am going through Telemaque in French, an ancient book written by Fenelon, tutor to one of the late kings of France and Grecian history. I like it exceedingly. It is so interesting. Probably ere this you will have heard of Archy's arrangement that Catherine and I are to go out with his wife. When she sails is yet uncertain however should it be ordained that we are to go out with her and as you know so little about us further than that we are your sisters by the natural tie of sisters and affection so I warn you beforehand for fear you be disappointed to look for nothing in us beyond quite ordinary girls. Had we received the benefits of an accomplished education as you were anxious for years ago in your letters to Uncle perhaps we would now be very differently situated. Catherine is considered by everybody to be so clever. Had her talents been properly cultivated she would have made a splendid appearance in society. She is of a tall commanding ladylike figure. I am quite the reverse little and insignificant. If I have anything to recommend me it is merely my manner which is pleasing to some but I do not think how we shall get on if ever we become to be criticised by the grandees of New Zealand. I do not admire any who I have met with from the Australian colonies. They are generally very peculiar in their style. I hear the settlers in New Zealand are of a more refined class of people. I think our brothers will very soon be envious of your adopted country. They speak and write so flatteringly of the progress you are making, the rapid improvement in agriculture. I suppose your name will be handed down to posterity in the annals of its history. I frequently observe your name mentioned in the newspapers.

I was surprised to see what you said of Alexander in last letter. We have always had an idea that he was rather wealthy, such is the falsity of reports. I should like to write him but I am quite puzzled what to say to him at all unless I act the vulgarian and ask him how his sheep and horses are thriving. I have heard from several parties who knew him that that was his favourite theme of conversation.

It seems so truly strange of him never to take the slightest notice of us but I daresay it is not that he is altogether forgetfull of us but the way in which a person is circumstanced generally has a great influence over their inclinations. A family so scattered as we have been, so thoroughly weaned as it were from each others protection we seldom see that unity exist amongst them that is to be met with in those who have been all brought up together. I hope you are still enjoying the companionship of your dear little boy. Douglas is such a pretty classical name. We were disappointed that you did not send your own likeness along with his. Flora sends her kind love. A letter from you would afford herself and husband much pleasure. I shall write by next mail when I am established in school.

I am my dear brother


Yours affectionately & gratefully
Annabella McLean

13 Howe Street
Edinburgh

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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