Letter from Mrs. Wilson
to Donald McLean Esq.
dated 9th. November 1856.
November 9th. 1856
My dear Son,
Many thanks for your truly welcome letter by the steamer. I always said you give one longer letters from Auckland than you ever did from the South; and most happy are we to find that there is some hope of seeing you amongst us at Christmas. If you only ask leave to absent yourself from Headquarters for a few weeks, on very pressing family affairs, Colonel Gore-Browne is not the man to refuse. Of course you need not add that the pressing business is to demolish your old mother's prickly pears, garlic, and such-like complicated knotty affairs; to say nothing of the "Don's" Amontillado.
I wrote yesterday to Mrs. Campbell, to announce to the Duke that you were coming, so you will not, I am sure, make your old mother to be worse than her word; and that you may be fully prepared for the Meeting, I would recommend you to look in the "Southern Cross" of the 30th. September 1856, - No. 966, Vol. XIII, page 3, column 6, under the head of "Varieties",
you will find how the old woman found her long-lost spectacles. But it is the next article to which I wish most particularly to call your attention, serious attention, - being a subject on which you ought to be well versed, before you meet His Grace on the Battle-field of our Christmas fare.
This will only be a short letter, as the gude man has had so many nice things to send for your amusement that little room remains for me. I hope you will relish the "Sauce Piquante" to the "Chilly Hash; Soyer could not have made a better.
I am glad to hear such good accounts of my dear grandson. I frequently hear of the dear little fellow through the Hunters. Mrs. Govett often tells me about him. There is some thoughts of the Govetts going to England; as his old father, now 84 years old, having written them a very pressing letter to urge him to come Home and bring the children, as he wishes to see them all before he dies. Govett intends sending the letter to the Bishop, in the hope that it will induce him to grant him leave for a couple of years. Selfishly, I shall be sorry if they go; but otherwise shall be glad as the change will do them all good.
Kingdon, we understand, is positively going to Auckland, having accepted the situation of E. Master
in the Grammar School, or some such thing. Few regret their going, - they not having made themselves as popular as they ought to have done. They hold themselves far too high for a clergyman's family. But no doubt in so large a city as Auckland, they will do very well. They will have a larger aristocratic field to move in; so that Mrs. Kingdon will be more in her element that she can ever be in a little place like New Plymouth.
I suppose Don Pedro has told you that he is going to have charge of the Troops, now that Dr. White is going to the Bay of Islands. This will add a wee bit salt to our porridge, and not a little to the gudeman's work. So that he is not called up too often at night, it will not matter. This extra work will, I fear, prevent his going to Wanganui this season; which I regret, as I wanted some little additions and alterations made to the house; and I always like to have the fuss and bustle of such matters done while he is away. When you come down, you will see great alterations to the Henui. The beautiful field opposite the house, is now divided into two-acre bits, and houses springing up up-on all of them. One of these is, to me, a noble mansion, already named "Linkum Doddy", to the Laird of which, Willie by name, you shall be formally introduced
on your arrival at the Henui.
Did I ever mention that the Sam Kings and we are again on speaking terms? We so often met at little parties that it could not be avoided. It is better so; but I do not wish it to go further. Mrs. K. is a queer body; and so is Sammy, so that I do not think we should ever pull well together.
Little Nelly Ritchie is now getting on nicely. For a long time we had little hopes of the poor little thing, as Mrs. R. is a very bad nurse. James is at last allowed to practice as a lawyer. I am sure there has been some underhand business going on to prevent his being passed, as I may call it. It is certainly a most unfair thing to keep back a man of his abilities, while such as we have just now at the head of affairs, are allowed full sway.
What a glorious thing it will be when the steam postal communication with England is fairly set going. Why! we shall have half London out sight-seeing in New Zealand. The Taupo lakes will become as celebrated as those of England, Ireland, and Scotland. I should not be surprised to hear of you and Don Pedro taking a trip to the Highlands some of these odd days. You might go and return, and see all that is to be seen, and yet not be away more than six months.
The Flights are all well, so are the Whiteleys; the Turtons looking out for their little vessel to take them to Kawhia. My paper is coming to an end. I must say good-night. God bless you, my dear Son, is the sincere prayer of -
your affactionate auld mother
Donald McLean Esq.