Letter from Mrs. Wilson
to Donald McLean,
dated 31st. August [no year date.]
31st. August 
My dear Son,
You must not think that your old mother has forgotten you because she has not written lately as often as she used to do. For some months past I have been much harrased, both in mind and body, which left me little inclination to write, even to those I hold most dear. Consequently I am in everybody's black books on this score. The conduct of Mrs. Simpson has vexed me more than perhaps it ought; then poor Peter Hood's illness and death, added to my having no manner of help in the house; and last, though not least, finding old age making very rapid strides, --- all worked together to make me feel anything but well. Lately I have had a pretty smart bilious attack, and feel very far from well. But with the blessing of a kind Providence, I hope soon to get all right again; as I have at last succeeded in getting a very nice English girl as a servant, --- one of rather a superior class; and if I am fortunate enough to keep her, if
it is only for a few months, the rest will tend greatly to set me up again; at least, as much as I can possibly expect at my age. I cannot recall to my mind whether I ever told you how strangely Mrs. Simpson has gone on since she left this. Mr. Wilson's intentions towards her and her children were most generous. But the silly woman has turned her back upon us; and seemed determined to follow her own foolish notions. Peter has set aside 100 acres of land for them, which he intended to stock, and build a house. For the first year Mrs. S. was to live with Pat, and was to be employed at £1 a week; and all this she turned her back upon; merely because I asked her to allow Emily to go and live with Mrs. Prewick for a few months, to learn dairy work; and Willie to go with her to learn farming under Prewick. Her only answer to this proposal was that she intended renting a piece of land for herself and children. We understand she has done so. She has never written to me since, nor will she allow the young folks to do so. She also behaved very strangely to Pat, who was doing all in his power to make them comfortable. By this strange conduct she most certainly can have no claim upon me or my purse. I care little for what she has done to me, but I cannot easily forgive
her ungrateful conduct to Mr. Wilson. Another thing has given me not a little anxiety of late. Pat and his father don't agree at all on farm management, and there is a misunderstanding on both sides; which will take some time to bring right again. I wish I could persuade Pat to come round for a few days. A few hours' talk sometimes does more than a hundred letters. I wish I could see things straight in this matter. Pat is still bent on going to Australia. How it will end, time alone will show. Your last letter to me shows that you wrote not in your usual spirits. I wish I could see you retire from all the trouble and vexation of business, and settle down upon a bit of your own land. We old folks ought not to be at the mercy of the upstarts of the present day. Just look at the nest we have to guide us, --- Brown, Tom King, Watt, Chilman, Parris, and all the rest of them. We seem to be in a pretty kettle of fish in New Plymouth. How it will all end, Goodness only knows. Don Pedro has written you pretty long on this subject. All your old friends here cry shame on Chilman & Co, for their attack upon you. I sincerely hope Wiritiana will hold on, and not give up what he has had possession of for so many years. Their spite to poor Flight is equally shameful. They
have been working for this from the very first. You may remember that I told you long ago that they had disclosed they would get him out as soon as possible. The Hospital would have shared the same fate if they had it in their power. We must only pray that Her Majesty will not allow them to get the Native affairs into their hands! If they do, --- good-bye to New Zealand; for we shall have a blow-up from one end of the Islands to the other. How well our good Sir George Grey fortold that we at least were not old enough to guide ourselves. He too well knew that we had too many of the "riff-raff" class. I hope the better class will succeed in getting up their petition to be tacked on to Mother Auckland for the next five years at least, or until we cut our wisdom teeth.
You will be glad to hear that we have got the Whiteleys for our neighbours, in Ibbotson's house. What a change from the Gorings, and even the Ibbotsons. They are a very delightful family, --- particularly the eldest daughter. She is really a dear kind soul, such as one seldom meets. We are on the best of terms. They are quite a consolation to me.
We have had so much rain this Winter, and the roads have been so bad that I have only been in
town twice the 28th, of May, and hardly to the Govetts'. Mrs. Govett continues quite well, and the same kind soul as ever. I now and then hear from the Campbells. They always enquire about you. Mrs. C. is very justly quite proud of her brother commanding the 42nd., and rejoices at the Peace. He writes her in the highest terms, of Mr. Wilson's old friend, Sir Colin Campbell; and so does Govett's brother, who is the Judge advocate to the Army.
I often hear from the Hunters, and from them all about my grandson, who they tell me is a true Highlander in constitution and appearance; and is of course delighted with his donkey. Of course you will have heard that Mrs, Ritchie has a daughter, born on the 21st. of July, and is to be christened next Sunday, by the names of "Mary Helen", --- the first after her two grand-mothers, and the last after her "old Henui granny". James is as proud of his daughter as Napoleon is of his son. It is a fortunate thing that Ritchie now will be able to carry on his own profession; for with the present state of things his income is anything but sure to him; and we feel sure that as soon as his abilities and knowledge of Law is known, that he will carry everything before him. He continues as steady as we could
wish him to be. He is a good husband, and I am sure will be an equally good father. Often hear from Miss Wicksteed. Her heart is in New Zealand, and I do really believe she will ultimately return to New Plymouth. Her brother John still continues to play false with her and their brother in England. He is really a downright rogue. We were glad to find you hear occasionally from Sir George Grey; and equally so to hear that he mentioned us. Do, pray, offer him and Lady Grey our kind regards when you write to them. Neither Peter nor myself will easily forget them. William Hood (poor Peter's brother) is at present staying with us. He is a true lively Scotch lad, full of mirth and fun; gets on famously with the Doctor. He has taken two acres of land from Chilman, just opposite to us, and intends building a house and work-shop, as he has entered into partnership with one of his fellow passengers in the cabinet-making line. No doubt they will do well, as they have now more orders than they can well get through. There seems to be some talk of the Parson Kingdons going to Auckland. Many of us hope he will, as he is not generally liked here, owing to his Puseyite leaning. We wish they would send Mr. Ronaldson in his place. I know that you are acquainted with the Shepperd family
at Auckland. Now If it is not taking too great a liberty, will you find out if they are from Aberdeen; and if they are acquainted with the Duguids of that town. Mr. Grey, our postmaster, tells me they are. Now, as the Duguids are near relations of mine, it would be pleasant to know any of their friends in this out-of-the-way corner of the world.
I do not think I can rake up any more news for you, except that Turton had his eighth child christened to-day. What a family to take round Cape Horn. He surely will never be so mad as to go to England. They have behaved shamefully to him. Mr. Ironside is, we fear, playing double with both him and Mr. Whitely. The Don bids me tell you, that as you did not pay the postage of your letters to him, he supposes it is the last fashion; so he intends to follow it with his to you. This is what I call "tit for tat."
Good night. God bless you my dear Son; and whether I write or do not write, ever remember that I am your sincerely attached and affectionate old mother,
H. A. Wilson.
Donald McLean Esq.