Letter from P. Wilson,
to Donald McLean,
dated 5th. July 1852.
5th. July 1852.
My dear Mac.,
I allowed last post to pass without writing to you; for at the time I had nothing certain, as regards your farm, to communicate.
Flight, on his arrival, communicated that you were willing to let him have a loan of the property, with a purchasing clause; but accidentally forgot to give me your letter till within these last few days; when, however, all was concluded.
As his proposal (£200) involved the repair of the house, etc., I thought it well to take a carpenter's counsel as to what that would cost; so, in the absence of Robinson, I got Gilmour; who is every whit as honest, to go up with me, and to make his estimate. He soon discovered that it was not unlike your country-man's gun; which wanted a new stock, a new lock, and a new barrel; almost every part which he examined, being more or less in a state of rottenness. I confined him, therefore, in his estimate, to patching up, and to build a small lean-to apartment in the rear, 12 by 8 ft; which
might be made into a kitchen. He did so; but assured me that these requirements, mere patchings as they would be, would not cost less than forty-one pounds. Under this circumstance, I came to the conclusion that leasing was not the plan for me to adopt; so, as I still had Gudgeon as a competitor, I determined to sell off hand.
Gudgeon, on learning that Flight was in the market, opportunely enough, came to me, and claimed the first refusal. Flight, in the mean time, objected to purchase; but wanted a seven years' lease; and as I foresaw that long be-fore the expiration of such, the house would be all down about his years, I put him hors de combat, and talked to Gudgeon; who now made me the offer of £200, including the rent he owed; or, in other words, £170 cash, payable in six months from 23rd. ultimo.
Under the circumstances of the case, I do not think better could have been made of it. Indeed I was quite alarmed when Gilmour showed me the utter state of dilapidation of the chimney, and discordance of the build-ing generally. Indeed, I could not, in conscience, have asked more; and my wonder is that I got so much. Flight's offer, I must tell you, was the same as Gudgeon's; but to be paid or not, within the seven years.
The old Captain is now fairly on the shelf; hav
-ing made all over, on Thursday last. He feels quite happy at having done with it; and I am sure it must be a great relief to him. I was a couple of hours with him on Saturday; when he was in very high glee. He and I are perfectly good friends; and as a private gentle-man, I shall always respect him; and so I would as a public one, had he not been so under the rule of Stand-ish. Thank goodness we are also about to be done with him.
As regards the testimonial, I cannot somehow come in to your opinion. What is the motive? and what, in address, could you say? I confess it would puzzle me to word it; and I should be afraid he would do no less than think we were quizzing him. "Palman qui meruit ferat" ought to be rigidly observed; yet if I thought the old gentleman would take it well, I should have no objections to contribute. But I am pretty certain the matter is but in abeyance.
Never was there such a go-a-head place as this New Plymouth is. Gaiety from week's end to week's end; Balls, and private dances, etc.; till I, at least, am fairly sick of them. We have gotten a Mechanics' Insti-tute; which, however, is a stunted affair; and from which I hold aloof, because its leaders choose to go wrong end foremost. We have, too, an Agricultural Association; but of no great respectability; and as its meetings are
are held at a Tavern, I apprehend the landlord thereof, is likely to be the member most benefitted. We are now get-ting our Philharmonic Society; which, I think, will go on famously. Meetings weekly, and without ceremony. One week music only; and alternated with three hours dancing; and it is not unlikely that it will also blend light liter-ature. Some such as this we have long wanted.
Mrs. W., your "auld mither", is in better health than ever since here; and is at the bottom of all mirth-mischief. She is now stirring to get up a Fancy Dress Ball; and what next, I cannot tell you.
Report says the natives of the Hua are coming up to-day to conclude the Bell Block affair. What a farce from first to last that has been. Cooper goes on very well; and seems very assiduous at his duties. Turton's Institution is now almost full of boys from Patea and Wai-mate; and more, it seems, offer than he can accommodate. I visit it weekly; and have all the youngsters paraded be-fore me; when each is personally frowned (?) over by the Takuta in sodger fashion. This was Sir George's suggestion; and it makes a capital impression.
I enclose to you a sheet of queries; which Turton has drawn up; and which I beg you will get some one of your experienced folks to answer, and return as soon as you can, to me.
We don't believe you are coming here; and never do, when any such report happens to reach us; so I send this in perfect certainty that it will find you at Well-ington or Ahuriri.
My wife and Pat unite in kindest regards to Mrs. McL., and yourself; and I remain,
my dear Mac
ever very faithfully yours,
(Signed) P. Wilson.
To;- Donald McLean Esq.