Object #1023796 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

6 pages written 14 Feb 1860 by Catherine Isabella McLean and Annabella McLean in Edinburgh 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.

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

Page 1 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

17 Melville Street
Edinburgh
February 14th 1860


My dear brother

I have been so unsettled for the last three months that my duty in writing to you has been far too long neglected. I was hurriedly called away from Glenorchy to attend upon Flora who was then dangerously ill. I left her a few days ago in a fair way for recovery with the additional maternal care of a dear little baby girl to nurse. I felt very bad at leaving her in so delicate a state and so far away from us both. But the thought of my studies laid aside prayed heavily upon my mind so that affection sway had to be conquered and my own object in view attended.

Page 2 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Your kind letter addressed to Charlotte Sqr was forwarded to me during my stay with Uncle amongst my many pleasures there. It was what afforded the greatest happiness, in every line of it was expressed genuine affection and brotherly interest. But what gratified me the most was your enclosing the newspaper because it evidently showed that you thought I had a mind to appreciate your public sentiments. In reading your speech how my immagination pictured you sitting down in the midst of so much applause thinking triumphantly within yourself after that oppose me who can. It is most amusing to hear the fuss Uncle makes about anything he puts in the papers. Dear old man, the very happiness of his existence seems to depend upon Donald. Your letters, your public career and your coming home are to him inexhaustible items of conversation even at the very Marquis of Breadalbane's table. His nephew Donald must be introduced and from that then to the topic of the prettiest girl in the parish. Really Uncle is a most original character. I often wish I was clever, that I might write a volume in which Uncle's originality would be more ludicrous than fiction. Catherine has sent him yours of 1st Decr which we have just received that he may see for himself the happy amusement of the prospect of your being here so soon. We were all indeed beginning to think that your intention of coming was never to come to a reality. We now

Page 3 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

sincerely trust in a kind providence that everything will be conducive to a speedy accomplishment of that which has been so long and deeply cherished in the hearts of all your friends as a bright beacon of hope to be realised in this brief and transitory sphere of existence. You did not say if little Douglas was coming but it is natural to suppose he will. He is always designated at Glenorchy by the title of dear little darling Donally beg, but it is much more emphatic in Gaelic. They say he is just the facsimile of father when a dainty boy. Then Shuna cottage would be included and the proceedings of your boyhood days there. Aunt Helen goes over these bygone days so ...ly that I used to sit and listen to her until all the hours of the night. I expect an invitation to Cromdale Manse for the ensuing holidays

Page 4 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

but I should prefer remaining in town and continuing my studies to make up for lost time. That is to say if nothing comes in the way and that I shall have sufficient means to do so with. The sum we last got was exhausted the end of last session, two of the quarters being due before yours came so that I have entered school just now without paying in advance which is generally expected. Catherine is always ready and willing in assisting me and provides me with many comforts and necessaries which I could not procure even with 40£ a year as it takes entirely that sum for educational expenses. Independent of that Cath. has been giving me from 4 to 5 pound yearly for entire personal expenses out of which I pay only

Page 5 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

a guinea for seat rent in church and various other little demands which are indispensable in town. Of everything I have this year begun to keep an account which is an excellent plan and also keep a diary of the transactions of the day. Is that not an hour passes but what I task myself to give account of. I would send you one of my essays but as you are so soon to be home I shall have them all ready for your inspection then but fear they will scarce reward you for your trouble. I have so much writing to do in the way of exercises that at present it is spoiling my hand of writing but when finished I will practise a more stylish and ladylike hand. Indeed if you knew all I have to do you would pity me. I am getting on well with everything but my muscique but it is a study of one's lifetime and cannot be overcome within a limited period. Catherine resides not far from school so thus I am with her tonight. They are very gay at present with company consequently she is much occupied and will not have time to write you by this mail. We are much grieved to hear that you also suffer from that tantalising rheumatism. Poor Catherine suffers severely from it. Change of climate is considered wise in these cases. We hope that Archy's wife will be in New Zealand before you leave as she will be a great check upon that [numerous?] masculine vanity you have up at the McLean station.

Page 6 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

We are so delighted to hear such good accounts of our dear brother Archy and that he himself enjoys the place and happy amongst you all. I hope Alexander will keep to his promise. I am going to write John and him by Archy's wife and give them such good broad hints and tell them I want to be very smart before my brother comes home.

With our fondest love to them all when you see them and your dear little boy who C says she would go further to see than almost yourself.

My dear brother


Your affectionate sisters
Catherine & Annabella

February 14th

English (MD)

17 Melville Street
Edinburgh
February 14th 1860


My dear brother

I have been so unsettled for the last three months that my duty in writing to you has been far too long neglected. I was hurriedly called away from Glenorchy to attend upon Flora who was then dangerously ill. I left her a few days ago in a fair way for recovery with the additional maternal care of a dear little baby girl to nurse. I felt very bad at leaving her in so delicate a state and so far away from us both. But the thought of my studies laid aside prayed heavily upon my mind so that affection sway had to be conquered and my own object in view attended. Your kind letter addressed to Charlotte Sqr was forwarded to me during my stay with Uncle amongst my many pleasures there. It was what afforded the greatest happiness, in every line of it was expressed genuine affection and brotherly interest. But what gratified me the most was your enclosing the newspaper because it evidently showed that you thought I had a mind to appreciate your public sentiments. In reading your speech how my immagination pictured you sitting down in the midst of so much applause thinking triumphantly within yourself after that oppose me who can. It is most amusing to hear the fuss Uncle makes about anything he puts in the papers. Dear old man, the very happiness of his existence seems to depend upon Donald. Your letters, your public career and your coming home are to him inexhaustible items of conversation even at the very Marquis of Breadalbane's table. His nephew Donald must be introduced and from that then to the topic of the prettiest girl in the parish. Really Uncle is a most original character. I often wish I was clever, that I might write a volume in which Uncle's originality would be more ludicrous than fiction. Catherine has sent him yours of 1st Decr which we have just received that he may see for himself the happy amusement of the prospect of your being here so soon. We were all indeed beginning to think that your intention of coming was never to come to a reality. We now sincerely trust in a kind providence that everything will be conducive to a speedy accomplishment of that which has been so long and deeply cherished in the hearts of all your friends as a bright beacon of hope to be realised in this brief and transitory sphere of existence. You did not say if little Douglas was coming but it is natural to suppose he will. He is always designated at Glenorchy by the title of dear little darling Donally beg, but it is much more emphatic in Gaelic. They say he is just the facsimile of father when a dainty boy. Then Shuna cottage would be included and the proceedings of your boyhood days there. Aunt Helen goes over these bygone days so ...ly that I used to sit and listen to her until all the hours of the night. I expect an invitation to Cromdale Manse for the ensuing holidays but I should prefer remaining in town and continuing my studies to make up for lost time. That is to say if nothing comes in the way and that I shall have sufficient means to do so with. The sum we last got was exhausted the end of last session, two of the quarters being due before yours came so that I have entered school just now without paying in advance which is generally expected. Catherine is always ready and willing in assisting me and provides me with many comforts and necessaries which I could not procure even with 40£ a year as it takes entirely that sum for educational expenses. Independent of that Cath. has been giving me from 4 to 5 pound yearly for entire personal expenses out of which I pay only a guinea for seat rent in church and various other little demands which are indispensable in town. Of everything I have this year begun to keep an account which is an excellent plan and also keep a diary of the transactions of the day. Is that not an hour passes but what I task myself to give account of. I would send you one of my essays but as you are so soon to be home I shall have them all ready for your inspection then but fear they will scarce reward you for your trouble. I have so much writing to do in the way of exercises that at present it is spoiling my hand of writing but when finished I will practise a more stylish and ladylike hand. Indeed if you knew all I have to do you would pity me. I am getting on well with everything but my muscique but it is a study of one's lifetime and cannot be overcome within a limited period. Catherine resides not far from school so thus I am with her tonight. They are very gay at present with company consequently she is much occupied and will not have time to write you by this mail. We are much grieved to hear that you also suffer from that tantalising rheumatism. Poor Catherine suffers severely from it. Change of climate is considered wise in these cases. We hope that Archy's wife will be in New Zealand before you leave as she will be a great check upon that [numerous?] masculine vanity you have up at the McLean station. We are so delighted to hear such good accounts of our dear brother Archy and that he himself enjoys the place and happy amongst you all. I hope Alexander will keep to his promise. I am going to write John and him by Archy's wife and give them such good broad hints and tell them I want to be very smart before my brother comes home.

With our fondest love to them all when you see them and your dear little boy who C says she would go further to see than almost yourself.

My dear brother


Your affectionate sisters
Catherine & Annabella

February 14th

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)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1023796). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments