Object #1026993 from MS-Papers-0032-0827

7 pages written 6 Dec 1851 by Susan Douglas McLean in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0827 (34 digitised items). Letters between Donald McLean and Susan. Donald's letters written from Hawke's Bay, Rangitikei, Taita and Wairapapa. Susan's letters from Dalmuir Hill, Wellington (the home of her parents (Robert and Susannah Strang).

A transcription/translation of this document (by MD) appears below.

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English (MD)

Dalmuir Hill
December 6th 1851


My dearest Donald

Your letter which I received yesterday by the 'Rose' was a great comfort to me. I had been so anxious to hear from you. I was much disappointed however to hear that I should not see you for some time longer for I was in hopes that I would have my darling husband home in a few days but I must submit patiently to the disappointment. I would not wish you to neglect your duty on my account and I know love that you feel our separation as much as I do. Your wife loves you too much ever to annoy you by grumbling. I trust however that you will be enabled to get home soon as poor Mama seems anxious to see you. I am afraid love that I cannot give a very favorable account of

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English (MD)

our dear mother's health. She seems a little better than last week but the disease is not removed and she can get very little rest. She is so thin and her bones are so painful. Her breathing at times is very bad. She is now so weak that some one must always sit up at night with her. I fear much that there is little hope of her recovery. It is indeed a great affliction but I must try bear it with patience. God's will be done. He knows what is best and He will give me comfort and support if I look to Him for help. Still when there is life there is hope and it may yet please God to spare her . I try to feel quiet and composed but I cannot help sometimes giving way to grief. I must however for the sake of my dear husband and father struggle against it for can the [crossed out] and I must endeavour to keep up poor Papa's spirits. He seems so miserable I am sure I never can be sufficiently grateful to the Pauls for their kindness had they been near relations they could not do more than they have done for us. Mrs Hart spends some hours every day with Mama to read to her and give me a little rest. She also sometimes sits up at night.

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English (MD)

It is now 4 o'clock in the morning and she is here and has been sitting up all night. She came up yesterday afternoon and insisted in staying as she said I required rest. Mrs Rhatigan sat up a few nights ago with me. I thought it was so kind in her for she has gone nowhere since her husband's death and is in very low spirits. Mrs McDonald has also been very kind. She sat up one night this week and said she would come again whenever I wished. It is a great comfort to me to have so much assistance. I am getting quite strong again. How very thoughtless the person was who told you I was ill. It was what I feared. Had I thought you would not have been told I would not have mentioned it in my letter for fear of making you anxious but it is impossible to keep anything secret in this place. I am so glad now that I did tell you as you would have felt still more alarmed than you were had I not done so. I did not tell you in

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English (MD)

my letter the cause of my long illness but in case you should hear I had better tell as it has been found out but how I cannot imagine for Mrs Paul and Mrs Kirton were the only people besides the doctor who know and they never mentioned it. I suppose Mrs Featherston knew and she must have told. I have no doubt however that you suspected what was wrong from what I told you in one of my letters. I felt very much disappointed at first but I think now love that it is fortunate it happened for if it had not I would not now be able to give poor Mama so much attention as I do now. Do not be angry dearest for saying it was fortunate for I am sure if you knew the fatigue I have to undergo now you would agree with me. You need not feel in the least uneasy about me for I am now as well as ever. I should be thankful that I got over it so easily. I did not suffer half what some do, indeed I was so well that I could not imagine what the doctor kept me in bed for so long for,

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English (MD)

so this shows you darling that I am not so delicate as you imagine. I know it would never have happened if I had not given way to grief. It was brought on I think by a violent fit of crying. Mrs Kirton was very kind in my illness. She was here four days from morning till night time. You tell me dearest Donald to shut up our house for a time. I think it is best to do so. Whenever I read your letter I made up my mind to do so at once. I went down yesterday and has everything removed up to Papa's except the carpets, the parlour table and chairs and the carpets. Our bedroom furniture I have put in Mama's room as she now makes the study her bedroom. The china and other things I have put away in the presses in Mama's room. I hope dear you will approve of what I have done. I feel much more comfortable now for before I was in constant fear that the house would be broken into, besides dear when you come home

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English (MD)

it will be much more comfortable for you to live here as it would be impossible for me to go home and as we have been separated so long it would be miserable for us both for you to live at the cottage and me up here. Jessie is here also and she is a great assistance to me. Had I known love that you would be away so long I would have written a few lines to you every day but I thought you would be in so soon that I would not have another opportunity of sending a letter to you. I trust my darling husband that this is the last I shall send but before the next opportunity I shall have you with me. I hope the first Christmas and New Year of our married life we will spend together. You only spent one Christmas here and that was before we were engaged and I often think that day was the first commencement of our love. I felt that I would have given anything to

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English (MD)

be allowed to burn those nasty government despatches which went up to you by the Rose for Papa told me that one of them might keep you some time longer. How I wished that you might have left before the vessel got up. Why did you send me that cheque I cannot imagine. What you think I can possibly want with more money. You must surely fancy you have got a most extravagant wife. I mentioned dearest in one of my letters that I had received the letters from Mr Russel's station and also the one enclosing £3. It surely must have been lost. Look over my letters again dear. I often when in a hurry do not write distinctly and you may have passed it over. I have given up all hope of working your slippers at present as that work requires attention which I cannot give but I am making you a purse which is easily done and I shall do the slippers some other time. I must now my darling husband bid you goodbye for I think Mama will waken soon. Mama told me when she heard I was writing to give you her kind love and say that she hoped she would soon see you. God bless and preserve you my dearest Donald and believe me ever your affectionate and devoted wife



Susan D McLean

[Note on transcription: Susan Strang (nee Collins), died on 30 December 1851 aged 52. Captain C Rhatigan, 65th Regiment, died 17th September 1851 aged 46.]

English (MD)

Dalmuir Hill
December 6th 1851


My dearest Donald

Your letter which I received yesterday by the 'Rose' was a great comfort to me. I had been so anxious to hear from you. I was much disappointed however to hear that I should not see you for some time longer for I was in hopes that I would have my darling husband home in a few days but I must submit patiently to the disappointment. I would not wish you to neglect your duty on my account and I know love that you feel our separation as much as I do. Your wife loves you too much ever to annoy you by grumbling. I trust however that you will be enabled to get home soon as poor Mama seems anxious to see you. I am afraid love that I cannot give a very favorable account of our dear mother's health. She seems a little better than last week but the disease is not removed and she can get very little rest. She is so thin and her bones are so painful. Her breathing at times is very bad. She is now so weak that some one must always sit up at night with her. I fear much that there is little hope of her recovery. It is indeed a great affliction but I must try bear it with patience. God's will be done. He knows what is best and He will give me comfort and support if I look to Him for help. Still when there is life there is hope and it may yet please God to spare her . I try to feel quiet and composed but I cannot help sometimes giving way to grief. I must however for the sake of my dear husband and father struggle against it for can the [crossed out] and I must endeavour to keep up poor Papa's spirits. He seems so miserable I am sure I never can be sufficiently grateful to the Pauls for their kindness had they been near relations they could not do more than they have done for us. Mrs Hart spends some hours every day with Mama to read to her and give me a little rest. She also sometimes sits up at night. It is now 4 o'clock in the morning and she is here and has been sitting up all night. She came up yesterday afternoon and insisted in staying as she said I required rest. Mrs Rhatigan sat up a few nights ago with me. I thought it was so kind in her for she has gone nowhere since her husband's death and is in very low spirits. Mrs McDonald has also been very kind. She sat up one night this week and said she would come again whenever I wished. It is a great comfort to me to have so much assistance. I am getting quite strong again. How very thoughtless the person was who told you I was ill. It was what I feared. Had I thought you would not have been told I would not have mentioned it in my letter for fear of making you anxious but it is impossible to keep anything secret in this place. I am so glad now that I did tell you as you would have felt still more alarmed than you were had I not done so. I did not tell you in my letter the cause of my long illness but in case you should hear I had better tell as it has been found out but how I cannot imagine for Mrs Paul and Mrs Kirton were the only people besides the doctor who know and they never mentioned it. I suppose Mrs Featherston knew and she must have told. I have no doubt however that you suspected what was wrong from what I told you in one of my letters. I felt very much disappointed at first but I think now love that it is fortunate it happened for if it had not I would not now be able to give poor Mama so much attention as I do now. Do not be angry dearest for saying it was fortunate for I am sure if you knew the fatigue I have to undergo now you would agree with me. You need not feel in the least uneasy about me for I am now as well as ever. I should be thankful that I got over it so easily. I did not suffer half what some do, indeed I was so well that I could not imagine what the doctor kept me in bed for so long for, so this shows you darling that I am not so delicate as you imagine. I know it would never have happened if I had not given way to grief. It was brought on I think by a violent fit of crying. Mrs Kirton was very kind in my illness. She was here four days from morning till night time. You tell me dearest Donald to shut up our house for a time. I think it is best to do so. Whenever I read your letter I made up my mind to do so at once. I went down yesterday and has everything removed up to Papa's except the carpets, the parlour table and chairs and the carpets. Our bedroom furniture I have put in Mama's room as she now makes the study her bedroom. The china and other things I have put away in the presses in Mama's room. I hope dear you will approve of what I have done. I feel much more comfortable now for before I was in constant fear that the house would be broken into, besides dear when you come home it will be much more comfortable for you to live here as it would be impossible for me to go home and as we have been separated so long it would be miserable for us both for you to live at the cottage and me up here. Jessie is here also and she is a great assistance to me. Had I known love that you would be away so long I would have written a few lines to you every day but I thought you would be in so soon that I would not have another opportunity of sending a letter to you. I trust my darling husband that this is the last I shall send but before the next opportunity I shall have you with me. I hope the first Christmas and New Year of our married life we will spend together. You only spent one Christmas here and that was before we were engaged and I often think that day was the first commencement of our love. I felt that I would have given anything to be allowed to burn those nasty government despatches which went up to you by the Rose for Papa told me that one of them might keep you some time longer. How I wished that you might have left before the vessel got up. Why did you send me that cheque I cannot imagine. What you think I can possibly want with more money. You must surely fancy you have got a most extravagant wife. I mentioned dearest in one of my letters that I had received the letters from Mr Russel's station and also the one enclosing £3. It surely must have been lost. Look over my letters again dear. I often when in a hurry do not write distinctly and you may have passed it over. I have given up all hope of working your slippers at present as that work requires attention which I cannot give but I am making you a purse which is easily done and I shall do the slippers some other time. I must now my darling husband bid you goodbye for I think Mama will waken soon. Mama told me when she heard I was writing to give you her kind love and say that she hoped she would soon see you. God bless and preserve you my dearest Donald and believe me ever your affectionate and devoted wife



Susan D McLean

[Note on transcription: Susan Strang (nee Collins), died on 30 December 1851 aged 52. Captain C Rhatigan, 65th Regiment, died 17th September 1851 aged 46.]

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0827 (34 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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