Object #1026090 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

8 pages written 13 Sep 1861 by Annabella McLean in Glenorchy 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.

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English (MD)

Manse of Glenorchy
Sep 13th 1861


My dear Brother

When yours of the 6th May came to hand I must by way of vanity tell you I was busy in the kitchen shelling peas to make hotch potch for dinner. The servants were all out hay making and we had a lady visitor with us. Uncle went to the post knowing that the N.Z. mail had arrived. I was expectant of a letter. I saw him coming, ran to the door. Any letters I said. No says he, none for you. I returned to my work with the distressing thought that no doubt I had offended my brother. No letter from him yet. In a few moments a voice calls "Annabella, a letter from Donald". I must not say I ran but I flew to grasp it in my hold not forgetting to exclaim to Uncle you

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English (MD)

horrible man how could you deceive me. He cooly replied I wished to see that there was no bad news before I gave it you.

You know not my dear brother the joy which your letters are received, both by Uncle and myself. Uncle teases me for a week saying I shall be happy now since I have heard from Donald than when I cross him in anything that does not please him I am threatened with I must write your brother Donald that I can't manage you etc etc. They say that hope is brightest which dawns from fear. Such are my hopes in all your letters; but my heart says why fear a brother who writes to me with so much tenderness, who seems to understand my very nature & expresses the very sentiments which he himself feels will effect me the greatest pleasure but withal I feel a gulph betwixt us. In mind in aspirations yea in disposition I know we are in unison. But we have not them each other. I know that upon this hangs more than I shall express. In you I shall find the penetrating man of the world endowed with intellect which is the

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English (MD)

the admiration of the many and no doubt the envy of the jealous. In me you will find but the timid and reserved girl fit only for the seclusion of a county village, such is not what your elevated refined taste should wish to adorn the mansion where the high, the learned, the man of cultivated talents will love to seek you out even in your retirement. In manner, in tact, in conversation perhaps I may be their equal but I am void of elegant accomplishments which is always pleasing to the refined. It is what I admire in others & sorely regret I'll not possess myself. My mind is too sensitive, too acute in detecting deficiences either too ambitious to soar beyond my capacities, for want of these I trust to you to see good sense to excuse me thinking that I have not had advantages for what is the labour of a lifetime, besides it does not detract from the dignity of a lady that she is not musical. She may possess other qualifications quite as recommendable.

We did not think that Govr G Browne & yourself were so personally friendly

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English (MD)

until you mentioned the flattering testimony of his esteem; even; it touched my feelings that in midst of your own applause you should remember me in buying silk that which I shall be so proud to wear because it is you that gave it to me. You will rejoice at the return of your old friend Sir George Grey. I trust his administration will be more effectual in substantiating British authority and that he will also give due regard to the interests of the poor natives who I fear are not so much to blame in the present disturbance as the dogmatical European who seeks but in the wrong channel to be the great man of New Zealand himself. I do pity the poor natives. Their wishes are but in accordance with human nature for wh. it seems if there are no ears to listen to nor feelings to understand. However it is a source of much uneasiness to us at home. Public property is at stake and which is more painful we know and feel you are over-burdened, harassed and perplexed with political matters so g....ing to combat with when there is so much stupid opposition.

Page 5 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


We have been rather gay this summer with visitors at Glenorchy Manse. First of all we had Aunt Jessie, her husband and little girl. Aunt is looking remarkably well. Very often she still addresses her little girl as Donally I believe your pet name as a child. She is a charming woman. None of my aunts the least likes her. Since then we have had all the McInnes whose brother Archy is [no more?]. Helen Mary I enjoyed much, pleasant lively girl. Duncan a warm hearted interesting promising young man. John is but yet a student. Capt. McDougall of Ardincaple was here lately, quite a jolly tar, full of seafaring anecdotes. Uncle gave a dinner to the officers of the Volunteers Corps, a very gay smart turnout. The principal of the gentlemen was a Capt Place a near relation of the Earl of Aberdeen. He told me he had a brother in Canterbury who went out with introduction to Bishop Parker, probably you may know him. He also intends going but in a few years. He is a splendid brilliant aristocrat. The others were our

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English (MD)

neighbouring farmers. The day following I was at a grand picnic or rather boating excursion on Loch Awe. It was a gay sight. A party of 20 of us headed by the noble pipes playing all the old national airs as we explored the ruins of many an ancient castle whole mouldering walls seemed to reek back the tales of bygone days. The day's amusement closed with a pretty Highland reel on one of the lovely green islands. The coming home seemed to me more enchanting than all. The lake was so calm and so serene, nature on every side glowing with the tints of the setting sun. Each was left to the ...ing of their own fanciful mood. Sweet Helen Mary left us the day after. How much I miss her society.

Harvest work is going on briskly here but the crops are much destroyed by late heavy rain. We think yours a wise speculation of commencing a station in Otago. I had a letter from Cath by last mail. She was on a visit to Canterbury but did not seem to enjoy it. I fear she is disappointed with colonial life. Of course it is a great change to her and a greater

Page 7 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

and a sudden change to me to be without her. Were it not that I feel a protection under my Uncle's care I should be lonely indeed.

Last week Uncle was at Taymouth Castle attending the mournful duty of Lady Breadalbane's funeral. The procession was an impressing sight, upwards of a thousand attended her remains to her last resting place her own carriage in which she used to drive followed in deep mourning and empty now, sad. Uncle is keeping strong & well. I do wish he would get a wife. He so much requires one but really he is so selfish every one refuses him. Aunt Helen is no better so I assure you between the two my position is not to be wasted and you cooly tell me it is my duty forsooth. U. did not at all relish your being displeased regarding the insert in the Herald. His great regard for you is extraordinary. How often he says if I could but see him once I would die a happy man worthy man. Donald is to him as the apple of his eye. May God grant that his wish may indeed be realised to the unspeakable joy and happiness of us all.

Page 8 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

I fear my letters must weary you but when I begin I know not how to stop, but I must close this with the query `Did you ever know a sister that would say to a brother she did not want money'. Well you know considering there are little gaieties here in the way of bucholic dinners etc etc and as ladies must be ladies and have their vanity quite fine by a bow of ribbon and perhaps the extravagance of a flower. [He boasts ?] that brothers are so cautious in expending the contents of their purses. However I need not fear but what I require you will grant me. I shall leave it to your own generosity to allow me so much a year at stated periods. Uncle does not give me a farthing unless I playfully get a few stamps from him and with that he tells me I will ruin him with my stamps. He is a most amusing original man but indolent in his ministerial duties. He adds a paragraph to this. My love to little Douglas. Sweet child how you must enjoy having him with you.

I will write again my next mail.


Your aff. sister
Annabella McLean

English (MD)

Manse of Glenorchy
Sep 13th 1861


My dear Brother

When yours of the 6th May came to hand I must by way of vanity tell you I was busy in the kitchen shelling peas to make hotch potch for dinner. The servants were all out hay making and we had a lady visitor with us. Uncle went to the post knowing that the N.Z. mail had arrived. I was expectant of a letter. I saw him coming, ran to the door. Any letters I said. No says he, none for you. I returned to my work with the distressing thought that no doubt I had offended my brother. No letter from him yet. In a few moments a voice calls "Annabella, a letter from Donald". I must not say I ran but I flew to grasp it in my hold not forgetting to exclaim to Uncle you horrible man how could you deceive me. He cooly replied I wished to see that there was no bad news before I gave it you.

You know not my dear brother the joy which your letters are received, both by Uncle and myself. Uncle teases me for a week saying I shall be happy now since I have heard from Donald than when I cross him in anything that does not please him I am threatened with I must write your brother Donald that I can't manage you etc etc. They say that hope is brightest which dawns from fear. Such are my hopes in all your letters; but my heart says why fear a brother who writes to me with so much tenderness, who seems to understand my very nature & expresses the very sentiments which he himself feels will effect me the greatest pleasure but withal I feel a gulph betwixt us. In mind in aspirations yea in disposition I know we are in unison. But we have not them each other. I know that upon this hangs more than I shall express. In you I shall find the penetrating man of the world endowed with intellect which is the the admiration of the many and no doubt the envy of the jealous. In me you will find but the timid and reserved girl fit only for the seclusion of a county village, such is not what your elevated refined taste should wish to adorn the mansion where the high, the learned, the man of cultivated talents will love to seek you out even in your retirement. In manner, in tact, in conversation perhaps I may be their equal but I am void of elegant accomplishments which is always pleasing to the refined. It is what I admire in others & sorely regret I'll not possess myself. My mind is too sensitive, too acute in detecting deficiences either too ambitious to soar beyond my capacities, for want of these I trust to you to see good sense to excuse me thinking that I have not had advantages for what is the labour of a lifetime, besides it does not detract from the dignity of a lady that she is not musical. She may possess other qualifications quite as recommendable.

We did not think that Govr G Browne & yourself were so personally friendly until you mentioned the flattering testimony of his esteem; even; it touched my feelings that in midst of your own applause you should remember me in buying silk that which I shall be so proud to wear because it is you that gave it to me. You will rejoice at the return of your old friend Sir George Grey. I trust his administration will be more effectual in substantiating British authority and that he will also give due regard to the interests of the poor natives who I fear are not so much to blame in the present disturbance as the dogmatical European who seeks but in the wrong channel to be the great man of New Zealand himself. I do pity the poor natives. Their wishes are but in accordance with human nature for wh. it seems if there are no ears to listen to nor feelings to understand. However it is a source of much uneasiness to us at home. Public property is at stake and which is more painful we know and feel you are over-burdened, harassed and perplexed with political matters so g....ing to combat with when there is so much stupid opposition.

We have been rather gay this summer with visitors at Glenorchy Manse. First of all we had Aunt Jessie, her husband and little girl. Aunt is looking remarkably well. Very often she still addresses her little girl as Donally I believe your pet name as a child. She is a charming woman. None of my aunts the least likes her. Since then we have had all the McInnes whose brother Archy is [no more?]. Helen Mary I enjoyed much, pleasant lively girl. Duncan a warm hearted interesting promising young man. John is but yet a student. Capt. McDougall of Ardincaple was here lately, quite a jolly tar, full of seafaring anecdotes. Uncle gave a dinner to the officers of the Volunteers Corps, a very gay smart turnout. The principal of the gentlemen was a Capt Place a near relation of the Earl of Aberdeen. He told me he had a brother in Canterbury who went out with introduction to Bishop Parker, probably you may know him. He also intends going but in a few years. He is a splendid brilliant aristocrat. The others were our neighbouring farmers. The day following I was at a grand picnic or rather boating excursion on Loch Awe. It was a gay sight. A party of 20 of us headed by the noble pipes playing all the old national airs as we explored the ruins of many an ancient castle whole mouldering walls seemed to reek back the tales of bygone days. The day's amusement closed with a pretty Highland reel on one of the lovely green islands. The coming home seemed to me more enchanting than all. The lake was so calm and so serene, nature on every side glowing with the tints of the setting sun. Each was left to the ...ing of their own fanciful mood. Sweet Helen Mary left us the day after. How much I miss her society.

Harvest work is going on briskly here but the crops are much destroyed by late heavy rain. We think yours a wise speculation of commencing a station in Otago. I had a letter from Cath by last mail. She was on a visit to Canterbury but did not seem to enjoy it. I fear she is disappointed with colonial life. Of course it is a great change to her and a greater and a sudden change to me to be without her. Were it not that I feel a protection under my Uncle's care I should be lonely indeed.

Last week Uncle was at Taymouth Castle attending the mournful duty of Lady Breadalbane's funeral. The procession was an impressing sight, upwards of a thousand attended her remains to her last resting place her own carriage in which she used to drive followed in deep mourning and empty now, sad. Uncle is keeping strong & well. I do wish he would get a wife. He so much requires one but really he is so selfish every one refuses him. Aunt Helen is no better so I assure you between the two my position is not to be wasted and you cooly tell me it is my duty forsooth. U. did not at all relish your being displeased regarding the insert in the Herald. His great regard for you is extraordinary. How often he says if I could but see him once I would die a happy man worthy man. Donald is to him as the apple of his eye. May God grant that his wish may indeed be realised to the unspeakable joy and happiness of us all. I fear my letters must weary you but when I begin I know not how to stop, but I must close this with the query `Did you ever know a sister that would say to a brother she did not want money'. Well you know considering there are little gaieties here in the way of bucholic dinners etc etc and as ladies must be ladies and have their vanity quite fine by a bow of ribbon and perhaps the extravagance of a flower. [He boasts ?] that brothers are so cautious in expending the contents of their purses. However I need not fear but what I require you will grant me. I shall leave it to your own generosity to allow me so much a year at stated periods. Uncle does not give me a farthing unless I playfully get a few stamps from him and with that he tells me I will ruin him with my stamps. He is a most amusing original man but indolent in his ministerial duties. He adds a paragraph to this. My love to little Douglas. Sweet child how you must enjoy having him with you.

I will write again my next mail.


Your aff. sister
Annabella McLean

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)

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