Letter from H. Wilson,
to D. McLean Esq.,
dated July 21st. 1849.
21st. July 1849.
Dear Mr McLean,
As I suppose you expect me to give an account of my stewardship, I therefore shall try to my best to satisfy you, on that head.
As soon as we heard of Dr. McShane's arrival, William cleared your house of everything, - your clothes, books, and papers were at once put under my charge, and are all safely lodged under my bed. Many things are packed into the large boxes in our little porch; some are put up in our loft; and a few are placed in the Cow-house, under the special charge of old "Gib." Dr. McShane requested the loan of the sofa, three chairs, and a small table, and your wash-hand-stand, for the use of the Government, to furnish one room at the Hospital; these to be returned as soon as harvest will allow the carpenters to make such articles. He wished to take your carpet if we can agree as to the price. As they have been in rather a bustle this week, I have left them to themselves;
but next, shall see them, and get a final answer on all points; as also, a receipt for those articles lent for the use of the Government. I hope I did not do wrong in complying with his request, regarding the loan. I well knew you would have done it, had you been here. Therefore I thought I might venture. William sold the old sow to Peter Elliott, as he will inform you by this post. Mr. Riemenschneider has takem "Peter" with him to Wara, to keep him until you return; which I, and many others most sincerely hope will be very soon; for we all feel very dark when Makarini is away. The natives are anxiously enquiring when you will be back. They all say you have been "nui nui" long time away. New Plymouth report says you are not to return, but that you have been appointed Land Commissioner, with £500 a year, at Wellington. Your crops in the garden have been offered to Dr. MacShane, but he will not decide either about them or the ducks; but as I said before, - next week must give me an answer; because if he does not take them, somebody else will. They are very undecided people. Consequently, one must look with more care. I hope you will favour me with your full instructions by return of post, as to what you wish done in future; and as to whether I have done right as far as I have gone. I am delighted to find
that you will take up your quarters with us on your return. My plan would be this, - for you to build yourself a room at the end of our sitting-room, having the door to open into the garden, which would enable you to be quite free, as regards hours. This would certainly be a much cheapef mode than keeping up an establishment for yourself; and a most agreeable one to us. Of course, in the event of your getting married, you might then re-commence your house-keeping; and Mr. Wilson would take the room off your hands. Had we the needful, we would set about building the room at once; but, unfortunately, we have it not in our power to do so. I do not think I would allow you a chimney, fearing you might desert our kitchen fire-side. Do let me know what you think of this little plan of mine. My own thoughts are that it is a very "kapai" one; and I shall quite long for the return of post to know your opinion of it. I am perfectly sure that we might hit upon some plan, which would suit all parties. Mrs. MacShane is a very pleasant, unaffected person; does not at all mind being caught in her kitchen dress. They have a half dozen very fine bairns; rather more noisy than yours were. He, poor man, is nothing but a shadow, and complains of the many little hills between this and the Hospital.
Our Summer dust annoys him sadly; but upon the whole, he likes the climate of New Plymouth far better than that of Nelson, Have you heard of our grand races? Every one of the "Summery geese", made sure, every man of them, that it was to be the fortunate one. But how the wheel of Fortune turns! Late on Saturday night Mr. Cutfield came in, entered his horse, and on Monday morning, carried off every one of the things. This damped their racing spirits not a little. I am not sorry for it, as I think it an amusement more likely to do harm than good in such a place as this. Our friend, Mr. Blasque, got an upset, having been fairly run down by a native. The poor little man, I am told, was in an awful rage; but fortunately had sense enough left not to "double the native up", as was his original threat. Pat was to have gone, but when he heard Mr. Turton preach against racing, he very wisely remained at home, and worked in the garden. He deserved some credit for thus doing, don't you think so? He begs to be most kindly remembered to you. If you are at Wanganui, remember me most kindly to the Campbells. I hope William takes all proper care of you. I must ask this question, as he says I gave you into his kind care and careful charge ! ! ! He is a great rogue, to say the least of it. His wife is an excellent,
good girl; and only a pity that she should be tied to such a husband. Mrs. Wilson has told you about the Ball we are to have. Fortunately we have no more wine to sell ! ! ! Only think of Master Webster going about telling that Mr. Wilson's Bill of £10 was entirely for medical attendance on his family. This information has prevented more than one from applying to Mr. Wilson for advice. This is really too bad. I am determined to publish the truth to everybody I possibly can, by showing them a copy of Mr. Wilson's Bill. I must conclude, as my gudeman will not wait any longer. With every prayer for your health and happiness
ever believe me
Your sincerely attached friend
P.S. "Rimensni" left the enclosed letter for you.
Donald MacLean Esq.