Object #1017312 from MS-Papers-0032-0828

6 pages written 3 Aug 1852 by Susan Douglas McLean in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

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

A transcription/translation of this document (by MD) appears below.

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Page 1 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Dalmuir Hill
August 3rd 1852


My dearest Donald

David Hunter has just come up to tell me they are sending a native overland tomorrow to hear how Mr Govett is and that he would send up in the morning for a letter for you if I wished to write. I am so delighted to have an opportunity of sending a letter as it is uncertain whether a vessel will go this week or not. I intended tonight to have finished the scold I commenced in the other letter but as I have got rid of my toothache I have also lost my bad temper so I shall put it off for some future occasion. Our friend Mrs Stokes has at last gone to her rest. She died on Monday afternoon, seven months and two days after my dear mother. Like her she departed without a struggle

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English (MD)

and I trust she is now with him in Heaven. Although we expected every hour to have her death when I was told of it I felt very unwell for a short time. I heard someone ask at the door while we were sitting at dinner for an egg for Mrs Stokes. I thought poor Mrs Stokes had revived a little and I went out to ask for her. It was a child who had been sent up and she answered me abruptly, she is dead. Although we have been expecting it yet to hear it so suddenly gave me a dreadful shock. I felt as if I could have fainted. I could neither speak or move for a few moments. Papa then came and took me into the house and when I was able to cry I got better. I dread the funeral for poor Papa tomorrow. I do not know how he will be able to bear it. It would be much better for him not to go. It will be so painful to his feelings. Poor Mr Stokes is dreadfully distressed. I did not think he would have felt it so much as there was such a great difference in their ages and there would not have been the love between

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English (MD)

that there is with those who marry young. If he feels it so much what must it be for those who[se] hearts are bound up with each other. I feel love if you were to be taken from me I could not long survive you. Life without you would have no happiness for me. It is wrong thus to make an idol of any of the blessings God gives us. I trust he will forgive me for it. I often fear that we think too much of each other and forget God who has blessed us by making us one.

I told you in my letter last night that we had received letters from home. My uncle writes to Papa that he has lost his only son, a boy of fourteen. He died on the 11th of January. Little did he think at the time he wrote that this was also a house of mourning. It is a sad bereavement. They seem in great distress. I am surprised we have not heard from my uncle Edward's family but most likely the letters may have gone by some other vessel. Mrs Lupton had a letter from my cousin,

Page 4 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Maria Collins, who told her that a clergyman, a friend of theirs, had called with another minister at Kelvin Dale, who told them that he understood his nephew in New Zealand was to be married to Miss Strang. He had written to my uncle after that. Have you heard from your uncle. It seems strange how they could have got acquainted. Ellen Paul and I went up to see Mrs Hunter today. We had not been long there when it began [to] pour in torrents. We waited for a long time to see if it would clear off but as there was no signs of it doing so we had to put on old bonnets and cloaks and get through it. I am sure I never would have got home without a fall had it we not had David Hunter with us. Poor Papa was standing at the door in misery when we came home. I cannot help laughing at him sometimes. He is so frightened I [will] hurt my health. I am sure I look anything but delicate. This afternoon he said I looked very pale and could not

Page 5 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

be well. The idea of me being ill after eating the dinner I had was quite laughable. He sent Mrs Kirton up a few days ago to scold me for taking too long walks. I am very glad you have sold the farm as it will cause you no more trouble and the price of it will be much better laid out in sheep. If you send me butter do not send a large quantity. The winter is so far advanced and the fresh butter will soon get plentiful once more. My dearest husband I must entreat. that you will come home as soon as you possibly can. I am getting very much afraid that you will not be here at a time when it will be very unpleasant to be absent. If you could only be here by the beginning of September I do not think you will be too late. It will be dreadful if you are not here. I could go on writing all night but I am keeping Ellen Paul out of bed. It was very late when I commenced writing.

Page 6 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

David Hunter did not come till past ten.

By the bye you scold me for not telling you how Jessie is. She is quite well. I really must conclude. It is past 12 and I cannot sit up any longer. I do not believe you will be able to read this letter. It has been written in such a hurry. Goodbye my darling Donald. I trust it will not be long till I have you with me again. Papa was in bed when David Hunter came so he will not have time to write. I cannot bear to give up writing to my darling but I must. Goodnight my dearest husband


And believe me ever your own affectionate and devoted wife
Susan D McLean

PS. Give my kind regards to Mrs Wilson and tell her that since I have been married I have often found it necessary to give you a scold and I shall feel much obliged should you require one whilst at Taranaki if she will give it for me.

English (MD)

Dalmuir Hill
August 3rd 1852


My dearest Donald

David Hunter has just come up to tell me they are sending a native overland tomorrow to hear how Mr Govett is and that he would send up in the morning for a letter for you if I wished to write. I am so delighted to have an opportunity of sending a letter as it is uncertain whether a vessel will go this week or not. I intended tonight to have finished the scold I commenced in the other letter but as I have got rid of my toothache I have also lost my bad temper so I shall put it off for some future occasion. Our friend Mrs Stokes has at last gone to her rest. She died on Monday afternoon, seven months and two days after my dear mother. Like her she departed without a struggle and I trust she is now with him in Heaven. Although we expected every hour to have her death when I was told of it I felt very unwell for a short time. I heard someone ask at the door while we were sitting at dinner for an egg for Mrs Stokes. I thought poor Mrs Stokes had revived a little and I went out to ask for her. It was a child who had been sent up and she answered me abruptly, she is dead. Although we have been expecting it yet to hear it so suddenly gave me a dreadful shock. I felt as if I could have fainted. I could neither speak or move for a few moments. Papa then came and took me into the house and when I was able to cry I got better. I dread the funeral for poor Papa tomorrow. I do not know how he will be able to bear it. It would be much better for him not to go. It will be so painful to his feelings. Poor Mr Stokes is dreadfully distressed. I did not think he would have felt it so much as there was such a great difference in their ages and there would not have been the love between that there is with those who marry young. If he feels it so much what must it be for those who[se] hearts are bound up with each other. I feel love if you were to be taken from me I could not long survive you. Life without you would have no happiness for me. It is wrong thus to make an idol of any of the blessings God gives us. I trust he will forgive me for it. I often fear that we think too much of each other and forget God who has blessed us by making us one.

I told you in my letter last night that we had received letters from home. My uncle writes to Papa that he has lost his only son, a boy of fourteen. He died on the 11th of January. Little did he think at the time he wrote that this was also a house of mourning. It is a sad bereavement. They seem in great distress. I am surprised we have not heard from my uncle Edward's family but most likely the letters may have gone by some other vessel. Mrs Lupton had a letter from my cousin, Maria Collins, who told her that a clergyman, a friend of theirs, had called with another minister at Kelvin Dale, who told them that he understood his nephew in New Zealand was to be married to Miss Strang. He had written to my uncle after that. Have you heard from your uncle. It seems strange how they could have got acquainted. Ellen Paul and I went up to see Mrs Hunter today. We had not been long there when it began [to] pour in torrents. We waited for a long time to see if it would clear off but as there was no signs of it doing so we had to put on old bonnets and cloaks and get through it. I am sure I never would have got home without a fall had it we not had David Hunter with us. Poor Papa was standing at the door in misery when we came home. I cannot help laughing at him sometimes. He is so frightened I [will] hurt my health. I am sure I look anything but delicate. This afternoon he said I looked very pale and could not be well. The idea of me being ill after eating the dinner I had was quite laughable. He sent Mrs Kirton up a few days ago to scold me for taking too long walks. I am very glad you have sold the farm as it will cause you no more trouble and the price of it will be much better laid out in sheep. If you send me butter do not send a large quantity. The winter is so far advanced and the fresh butter will soon get plentiful once more. My dearest husband I must entreat. that you will come home as soon as you possibly can. I am getting very much afraid that you will not be here at a time when it will be very unpleasant to be absent. If you could only be here by the beginning of September I do not think you will be too late. It will be dreadful if you are not here. I could go on writing all night but I am keeping Ellen Paul out of bed. It was very late when I commenced writing. David Hunter did not come till past ten.

By the bye you scold me for not telling you how Jessie is. She is quite well. I really must conclude. It is past 12 and I cannot sit up any longer. I do not believe you will be able to read this letter. It has been written in such a hurry. Goodbye my darling Donald. I trust it will not be long till I have you with me again. Papa was in bed when David Hunter came so he will not have time to write. I cannot bear to give up writing to my darling but I must. Goodnight my dearest husband


And believe me ever your own affectionate and devoted wife
Susan D McLean

PS. Give my kind regards to Mrs Wilson and tell her that since I have been married I have often found it necessary to give you a scold and I shall feel much obliged should you require one whilst at Taranaki if she will give it for me.

Part of:
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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