Object #1019968 from MS-Papers-0032-0828

4 pages written 14 Jan 1852 by Sir Donald McLean in Porirua City to Susan Douglas 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 4. View high-resolution image

English (MD)




My dearest Douglas

Although I have written to you in the morning I feel so anxious about you that while dinner is preparing I must send a few more lines to my little slave to request (as she is always more obedient to my request when I am absent than when at home) that this fine weather should be taken advantage of to commence bathing. Just plunge in the water and out again. Afterwards a good rubbing with one of my coarse towels. When pussy gets home she must take care not to lace her stays too tightly otherwise I shall be very much displeased with her. Remember your promise yesterday pussy and do not foolishly persist in injuring yourself from a most foolish desire to appear small waisted & genteel. Nothing is more ridiculous and ill-judged, therefore, give it up. Remember me to Papa but do not show him our letters otherwise he will consider us foolishly fond of each other and I do not wish anyone to know the extent of affection I have for my own little pussy and the constant anxiety that her weak state of health gives me. Surely pussy you will try to get well by the time I return and give me the comfort of seeing a little red in your cheeks, a good appetite, a lively countenance, less peevishness and a greater inclination to rise early in the mornings and get me a cup of tea instead of obliging me to get up, indeed to wait upon my own slave as I have been in the habit of doing

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English (MD)

lately at the risk of encouraging a good deal of insubordination instead of exacting implicit obedience. But never mind I will get pussy in better training in due time - stop till I get her to the bush then I am certain she will be quite a model wife for affection and obedience. I only trust that a kind Providence will not punish me before these hopes are realized for over-estimating my only earthly idol.

It has just occurred to me that it would be a good plan for you to take Jessie with you to the bathing as I do not wish her to be separated from you for any time during my absence, that is she should always go with you wherever you go. No one can be more kind and affectionate to you than she is, therefore let her be always with you. You must also pussy endeavour to overcome melancholy thoughts as much as you can or if overcome by them do like a pet conceal your feelings from poor Papa and on his account, even if you never cared for your wandering Highlander, you should try to keep up your spirits and make him cheerful by avoiding as much as you can any recurrence to the cause of our present grief and affliction. I am very sorry I have no crape on my cap but I do not appreciate external show so much as I do the inward meditations of the heart. This morning I thought of the Dalhousie March and of poor Mama whose memory is always associated in my mind with that beautiful air which she played so admirably

Page 3 of 4. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

and it is very likely that I cannot get that air out of my mind until I get back again. I am angry with myself for having left her ring behind. It also recalls old associations that can never again be recalled leaving me to contemplate in gloomy solitude on the happy hours I have spent at Dalmuir from which place I fear all happiness for us has departed with her who so often and so cheerfully welcomed me there when pussy knew little and cared nothing about me. The bush affords ample scope for such reflections and you may feel assured that I am not going on with a very cheerful heart this very day. I must go now to borrow some crape from Mrs Robinson as if the heart is sad the emblems of it may as well be displayed as not even although I am averse to your excess of foolish formality in these matters.

Goodbye again my own dearest pet. May the Almighty bless, keep and protect you from all danger and spare your own and your husband's life to help each other in our earthly career is the desire and wish of your own ever affectionate and truly devoted husband


Donald McLean
Porirua Barracks
Monday noon
Jany 14th 1852

Make one shirt for me pussy that I may judge of your needle qualifications instead of hearing so much about them. One will be enough. Finish the purse and do a little if you

Page 4 of 4. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

you have nothing else to do to Penelope's Web, the name which most of pussy's presents to her husband should get. It is too bad poor thing to tell her so when she is so anxious to do all in her power. Do not fancy pet that I wish to exact any work from such a fully privileged and freely emancipated little slave as you are. This letter has exceeded the length I intended but I never consider any letter too long for my own Douglas, or any trouble or anxiety on her account too great. I felt parting with you yesterday much more than I expected. Do not be angry if my next letter should be shorter. I may not have time to write. Farewell! Each hour will seem a day to me until I am with pussy again.

Ever your own
Donald McLean

English (MD)




My dearest Douglas

Although I have written to you in the morning I feel so anxious about you that while dinner is preparing I must send a few more lines to my little slave to request (as she is always more obedient to my request when I am absent than when at home) that this fine weather should be taken advantage of to commence bathing. Just plunge in the water and out again. Afterwards a good rubbing with one of my coarse towels. When pussy gets home she must take care not to lace her stays too tightly otherwise I shall be very much displeased with her. Remember your promise yesterday pussy and do not foolishly persist in injuring yourself from a most foolish desire to appear small waisted & genteel. Nothing is more ridiculous and ill-judged, therefore, give it up. Remember me to Papa but do not show him our letters otherwise he will consider us foolishly fond of each other and I do not wish anyone to know the extent of affection I have for my own little pussy and the constant anxiety that her weak state of health gives me. Surely pussy you will try to get well by the time I return and give me the comfort of seeing a little red in your cheeks, a good appetite, a lively countenance, less peevishness and a greater inclination to rise early in the mornings and get me a cup of tea instead of obliging me to get up, indeed to wait upon my own slave as I have been in the habit of doing lately at the risk of encouraging a good deal of insubordination instead of exacting implicit obedience. But never mind I will get pussy in better training in due time - stop till I get her to the bush then I am certain she will be quite a model wife for affection and obedience. I only trust that a kind Providence will not punish me before these hopes are realized for over-estimating my only earthly idol.

It has just occurred to me that it would be a good plan for you to take Jessie with you to the bathing as I do not wish her to be separated from you for any time during my absence, that is she should always go with you wherever you go. No one can be more kind and affectionate to you than she is, therefore let her be always with you. You must also pussy endeavour to overcome melancholy thoughts as much as you can or if overcome by them do like a pet conceal your feelings from poor Papa and on his account, even if you never cared for your wandering Highlander, you should try to keep up your spirits and make him cheerful by avoiding as much as you can any recurrence to the cause of our present grief and affliction. I am very sorry I have no crape on my cap but I do not appreciate external show so much as I do the inward meditations of the heart. This morning I thought of the Dalhousie March and of poor Mama whose memory is always associated in my mind with that beautiful air which she played so admirably and it is very likely that I cannot get that air out of my mind until I get back again. I am angry with myself for having left her ring behind. It also recalls old associations that can never again be recalled leaving me to contemplate in gloomy solitude on the happy hours I have spent at Dalmuir from which place I fear all happiness for us has departed with her who so often and so cheerfully welcomed me there when pussy knew little and cared nothing about me. The bush affords ample scope for such reflections and you may feel assured that I am not going on with a very cheerful heart this very day. I must go now to borrow some crape from Mrs Robinson as if the heart is sad the emblems of it may as well be displayed as not even although I am averse to your excess of foolish formality in these matters.

Goodbye again my own dearest pet. May the Almighty bless, keep and protect you from all danger and spare your own and your husband's life to help each other in our earthly career is the desire and wish of your own ever affectionate and truly devoted husband


Donald McLean
Porirua Barracks
Monday noon
Jany 14th 1852

Make one shirt for me pussy that I may judge of your needle qualifications instead of hearing so much about them. One will be enough. Finish the purse and do a little if you you have nothing else to do to Penelope's Web, the name which most of pussy's presents to her husband should get. It is too bad poor thing to tell her so when she is so anxious to do all in her power. Do not fancy pet that I wish to exact any work from such a fully privileged and freely emancipated little slave as you are. This letter has exceeded the length I intended but I never consider any letter too long for my own Douglas, or any trouble or anxiety on her account too great. I felt parting with you yesterday much more than I expected. Do not be angry if my next letter should be shorter. I may not have time to write. Farewell! Each hour will seem a day to me until I am with pussy again.

Ever your own
Donald McLean

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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