Object #1018405 from MS-Papers-0032-0826

11 pages written 27 Aug 1850 by Sir Donald McLean in Rangitikei District to Susan Douglas McLean

From: Inward and outward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0826 (43 digitised items). Mainly letters between Susan Strang and her future husband Donald McLean. Includes a letter from her mother Susannah Strang to McLean, 1849; letter from E Shand to Susan Strang, written from Portobello, 1850 in which she gives her impressions of Dunedin

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

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Page 1 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)




My dear Susan

What a pleasing relaxation after the toils of the day to sit down by a nice clean log fire to write to those you esteem. There is to me something very happy in a bush life, surrounded by the simplicity of nature. The morning sun shines on your face without interruption of curtains

Page 2 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

or screens, the birds of the forest are early on their wings harmoniously rejoicing at the light of day, horses are neighing, cattle lowing, sheep bleating, dogs barking, cocks crowing, hens cackling, man getting up from his slumber and every object around you inspired with life and animation. How thankful then should we feel to the giver of all those numerous blessings and how delightful even to experience the sensation that such objects afford.

You seem anxious that I should go to Wellington if it were only for a week and I am most desirous to gratify your wish. My only objection is that a large party of the Wellington natives are preparing, whenever I go back, to accompany me to Taranaki and of course I cannot as yet undertake that journey. There is a good deal for me to do as yet in this

Page 3 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Province and I have some hopes when my work here is completed that I may be allowed to spend some time at Wellington when I shall ascertain the progress you are making with "Rollin" who was a great favorite of mine. The description of Cyrus is beautiful, and there is a certain princess' conduct when before his tribunal described that would be an excellent model for imitation. I forget

Page 4 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

forget her name, it is so long since I read the circumstances. She and her husband were however restored to their possessions which he was so nobly going to forfeit for her sake, or rather was it not his life that he was going to forfeit?

The conduct of Hannibal and other great men is also well depicted so is the ingratitude of the Athenians towards their most deserving public characters whose successful career

Page 5 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

through life was frequently arrested by malice and envy.

You should not confine yourself too much to reading history as it may not always be of sufficient interest to keep you amused. An occasional hour in looking over some nice article selected by Papa in one of the best periodicals would be an agreeable change. You will perhaps look over such articles as have reference to passing events in Europe, never of course thinking anything about the most modern fashions, or whether the ladies in Paris wear large combs or uncommon bonnets. These insignificant matters will be entirely beneath your ladyships notice and no doubt gives you as little concern as it does me what I shall wear before going out to the bush tomorrow but

Page 6 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

but I must tell you that one of my native servants is very nice about what I am to wear and feels quite indignant if my shoes are not as cleanly brushed every morning as if I was going to walk through the arcade of Glasgow.

This character is now sitting by the fire and is going with this letter at break of day having given strict

Page 7 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

strict orders to another of my boys that he must brush the shoes properly but to his great surprise I very much disgusted him by saying that they required nothing but a little grease.

Now you will be saying what trash to fill half a sheet of note paper with and I must say that you are the wisest of the two as you never write such nonsense, in fact you were a perfect

Page 8 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

lawyer about the curiosities in your last, I mean the Miss McFarlanes versus your uncle Edward, or your Uncle versus the McFarlanes.

My journal has not been written for some days so I must attend to it although I should like to write you a longer letter which you deserve after the nice one you last sent me. There is nothing so pleasing in letter writing as to unfold your feelings without formality or restraint which you need not hesitate in doing with me. It seems strange Douglas that you and I should always happen to write to each other at night. It is certainly the quietest time

Page 9 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

time but I fear from the hurried careless manner in which I write that you often have some difficulty in reading my letters.

Goodbye puss. May every blessing attend you and believe me to remain


Affectionately yours
Donald McLean
Inverhoe
Rangitikei
August 27 1850

Page 10 of 11. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


I am afraid we are giving Papa a great deal of unnecessary trouble with our correspondence. Does he grumble about it? If so we must not put him to the trouble of writing so frequently. He has plenty to look after without troubling his head about young folks like us. A blot again.

English (MD)




My dear Susan

What a pleasing relaxation after the toils of the day to sit down by a nice clean log fire to write to those you esteem. There is to me something very happy in a bush life, surrounded by the simplicity of nature. The morning sun shines on your face without interruption of curtains or screens, the birds of the forest are early on their wings harmoniously rejoicing at the light of day, horses are neighing, cattle lowing, sheep bleating, dogs barking, cocks crowing, hens cackling, man getting up from his slumber and every object around you inspired with life and animation. How thankful then should we feel to the giver of all those numerous blessings and how delightful even to experience the sensation that such objects afford.

You seem anxious that I should go to Wellington if it were only for a week and I am most desirous to gratify your wish. My only objection is that a large party of the Wellington natives are preparing, whenever I go back, to accompany me to Taranaki and of course I cannot as yet undertake that journey. There is a good deal for me to do as yet in this Province and I have some hopes when my work here is completed that I may be allowed to spend some time at Wellington when I shall ascertain the progress you are making with "Rollin" who was a great favorite of mine. The description of Cyrus is beautiful, and there is a certain princess' conduct when before his tribunal described that would be an excellent model for imitation. I forget forget her name, it is so long since I read the circumstances. She and her husband were however restored to their possessions which he was so nobly going to forfeit for her sake, or rather was it not his life that he was going to forfeit?

The conduct of Hannibal and other great men is also well depicted so is the ingratitude of the Athenians towards their most deserving public characters whose successful career through life was frequently arrested by malice and envy.

You should not confine yourself too much to reading history as it may not always be of sufficient interest to keep you amused. An occasional hour in looking over some nice article selected by Papa in one of the best periodicals would be an agreeable change. You will perhaps look over such articles as have reference to passing events in Europe, never of course thinking anything about the most modern fashions, or whether the ladies in Paris wear large combs or uncommon bonnets. These insignificant matters will be entirely beneath your ladyships notice and no doubt gives you as little concern as it does me what I shall wear before going out to the bush tomorrow but but I must tell you that one of my native servants is very nice about what I am to wear and feels quite indignant if my shoes are not as cleanly brushed every morning as if I was going to walk through the arcade of Glasgow.

This character is now sitting by the fire and is going with this letter at break of day having given strict strict orders to another of my boys that he must brush the shoes properly but to his great surprise I very much disgusted him by saying that they required nothing but a little grease.

Now you will be saying what trash to fill half a sheet of note paper with and I must say that you are the wisest of the two as you never write such nonsense, in fact you were a perfect lawyer about the curiosities in your last, I mean the Miss McFarlanes versus your uncle Edward, or your Uncle versus the McFarlanes.

My journal has not been written for some days so I must attend to it although I should like to write you a longer letter which you deserve after the nice one you last sent me. There is nothing so pleasing in letter writing as to unfold your feelings without formality or restraint which you need not hesitate in doing with me. It seems strange Douglas that you and I should always happen to write to each other at night. It is certainly the quietest time time but I fear from the hurried careless manner in which I write that you often have some difficulty in reading my letters.

Goodbye puss. May every blessing attend you and believe me to remain


Affectionately yours
Donald McLean
Inverhoe
Rangitikei
August 27 1850

I am afraid we are giving Papa a great deal of unnecessary trouble with our correspondence. Does he grumble about it? If so we must not put him to the trouble of writing so frequently. He has plenty to look after without troubling his head about young folks like us. A blot again. I wish that stupid boy Hapurona would not come into interrupt me.

You should endeavour to get Mamma to go out frequently as it does her so much good. When were you at the minister's?

I must now my dear Douglas conclude for tonight and ask your foregiveness for not writing by the next mail nor am I sure that I will return from a trip I am undertaking before the following but that need not hinder you from sending me a few lines as usual.
Donald McLean

Part of:
Inward and outward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0826 (43 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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