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2-272 (Original)

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addressee,male author,female,Thompson, Mary Helen,22
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Irvine, 1992
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Sydney Pencilville [?] January 11th 1843
My dear Cousin
You will say that I have quite forgotten my promise of writing to you immediately we arrived at our destination / when I tell you that we have been there nearly three weeks / but really I have been so busy and so unsettled since our arrival that I have been unable to spare time to write but as I know you dislike apologies so I will make none but leave you to imagine that I have not been able to write before and now to proceed to particulars. We sailed as you know from Leith on Monday the 31st. of July we went on very well for two days and saw the Orkney Islands though at a great distance but after we passed them the wind became foul and [?] so all day we were very close to the land - Cape Wrath - where we saw a great number of vessels at one time there were fifteen in sight we spoke one /[121] She was from India bound to Sunderland. Our foul wind lasted till the 19th. of August when it changed but the fair wind only lasted one day when it again veered round and continued alternately a foul wind or a dead calm till the 1st of September when we got into the trades but those only lasted us for a few days at a time it was so often calm. Mamma wrote you by a vessel we spoke called the "Ca [?] " but I do not know if she said anything of the first part of the voyage. We saw several vessels before we spoke the Ca [?] but did not speak any we signalized one for some hours one day / it was very amusing to see the vessel putting up and taking down signals as quick as possible - she was a Dutch East Indiaman from Rotterdam bound for Batavia she was a vessel of a thousand tons. We crossed the Line on the 27th. of September - it was very hot and we were becalmed near the line but after we had crossed it we proceeded very well and had a splendid passage to the Cape of Good Hope. Captain Morrison said that he never had such a fine passage from the line to the Cape as he had this time. Part of the time we had what we called rather rough weather - we were under three reefed topsails several times and a slight gale of wind but we ought really to esteem ourselves fortunate never to have been round the world and to have had one heavy gale of wind. We arrived at Port Phillip on the 2nd. of December where we remained a week and a very pleasent week it was for we stayed at Mr Wills's the whole time / he insisted upon the whole of us going out to his place to remain there all the time the ship stayed / both him and Mrs. Wills were very very kind to us they seemed as if they could not do enough for us and are very anxious that some of us should go and spend some time with them at Port Phillip, they have got a very nice place with a beautiful house upon it. We sailed from Wills and Town Port Phillip on the 12th. of December but from contrary winds could not get outside the heads for a whole week but lay at anchor inside the Head from Tuesday Morning to the following Monday / we were a week on our passage - having had only three days fair wind the whole way. We arrived on the 25th Christmas day it was late in the afternoon before we [?] and in consequence of having powder on board we could not go up to the Wharf but had to anchor some distance down the harbour / my Uncle Innes was in waiting with a boat long before we anchored but owing to Papa's state of health and the lateness of the evening neither Thomasina or him went on shore but myself accompanied by my sisters at least some of them went on shore to my [?] [?] [?] /[122] we found my dear Grandmamma who I am happy to say is in better health than she has been for years. I suppose long ere this you will have heard of the death of poor Uncle James who died on the 11th. of September / he had been suffering more than usual the attacks of gout had been more severe and more frequent and he had called in more advice the first day the new doctor saw him he had asked what should be his diet the two Doctors turned round to consult and when they looked at him again he was dead; though long ill [?] the manner of his death was very sudden / but death is always sudden come when at [?] it never enters a family singly but cuts off two or three ere it ceases / poor Grandmamma has now lost all her sons and two of them within the twelve months. We heard of Uncle James's death when we arrived at Port Phillip from a perfect stranger who told Thomasina not knowing that she was any relation to Mr James Reibey. We are all staying with my Grandmamma it is about three miles from Sydney and a beautiful place it is / every one says that it has been the saving of Grandmamma's health for before she came out here she was in very bad health and now she is very well and so stout [?] and is never troubled with her health at all / I can assure you it was a very agreeable surprise to find her in so much better health for when we left ill in bed and subject to constant attacks of asthsma. You will be surprised to hear that we are going to Launceston to be at Rosetta as we found our affairs in a much worse state than we had any idea of / they have not got one penny of rent from Rosetta but have brought us into debt for ejecting the last tenant; the bank of Australia has failed and we have lost the thousand pounds that the Youngs placed there for us to get the interest / so we have literally nothing of our own to depend upon for if we let Rosetta it is not likely that we should get any rent no one [?] now a day we have nothing to go a farthing with and if we had it would be no use for nothing can be sold meat is a penny a pound sheep can be bought a shilling a head / cows five shillings and all the settlers are not attempting to sell anything but are actually boiling down all their sheep and cattle for fat for export so you may fancy what a dreadful state the country is in / we are therefore going to live in the house at Rosetta and are going to try and let the farm out in small pieces to try if we can get some little rent there, my brother is very anxious we should go down there he thinks it will be the best thing we can do /I suppose we shall leave Sydney in about three weeks or a month I wonder when our travelling days will be over I am sure we are all weary of this wandering. [123] Thomasina desires me to say that she is really so harassed and so completely out of spirit that she really has not the heart to sit down and write but she will write you a long letter shortly / she is not very well though a great deal better than when we left Scotland for she has entirely lost the dreadful cough she had when you last saw her but she is so out of spirits with the deplorable situation of our affairs that she looks quite ill / but bad as our state is we are very thankful that we are not as bad as many are who once drove their carriage and are now so reduced that they can hardly get their daily bread / oh it is dreadful the state of misery the country is in there is hardly one who have not been obliged to go into the Insolvent court / there is a talk that the times have begun to improve but every one says they should see it. I am sure I hope it would soon take a favourable turn for our own sakes and that of all belonging to us for all of our relations are suffering like ourselves.
Papa is much the same as when we left that is in health but he is more helpless and cannot assist himself in the slightest degree he has to be carried by two people and cannot even lift a spoon to his mouth but has to be fed like a child / another deprivation is that he cannot read and it is so difficult to amuse him for he will have some one to read to him.
Young Thomas Reibey was here some little time before we arrived / all here are just delighted with both him and his wife they remained about three weeks in Sydney / when he arrived here he had not heard of his father's death - poor fellow he was much shocked; have you heard anything of young James Reibey no one here has heard anything of or from him for this long time and they cannot imagine what has become of him. Will you make some enquiries about him. What do you think of the young men (gentlemen I cannot call them) on board the Midlothian never adressing a word to one of the ladies during the whole voyage and not only that but took every opportunity during the whole voyage of insulting us most openly and grossly even at the cuddy table. They used to call us fools use to carricature me and of and at us in the most disgusting manner / one of them a Mr Young from Edinburgh wrote two letters to Mamma copies of which she means to send to you as a specimin you never in your life heard or saw anything like the disgraceful conduct of people who called themselves gentlemen but to which name none of them had or ever will have pretensions to behave in so shameful a manner to a [?] of young and unprotected girls for none of us having a brother and knowing Papa was in that state of health that he could take no notice of their conduct /[124] two of them in a more disgraceful manner than I can tell you Mamma will write you all about it as [?] it often made our blood boil to hear the disgusting remarks that were made at us at the dinner table / the Doctor to whom you introduced us on board the steamer never took wine with us the whole of the voyage / he used to talk to Papa of us of course knowing well that so young a child would tell us anything and everything that was said and used to sit at the dinner table (when I had the honour of sitting next to him) and turn his back to me and take out a book and read he used to join and approve of all the others conduct / far more could I tell you if I had only the time and patience of their cowardly conduct such as bowing to us and kissing their hand to us at the time when they never spoke to us; one thing was that we did not care for their acquaintance but were so happy and independent amongst us and I know this very independence [?] them for they saw us so very happy and caring so little whether they spoke to us or not; the only one who behaved well and he did behave well was the first mate he is a man and really he did behave well and politely what none of the rest did / of course the Captain behaved well to us The first mate's name is Mr. Robertson and if you meet him in Glasgow pray thank him in our name for his kindness and attention to us during the voyage / we should have fared very badly if it had not been for him and the captain - And now I will say a few words about our Glasgow friends. 
I hope Mrs. Dickson and all her family are well / We heard that Mrs [?] ra [?] son was getting on pretty well but we did not see her. How is Mr. Fergusson getting on I have no doubt [?] that he will get on well for he is a very good and a very gentlemanly young man / I am sure he would not have behaved the way the [?] did if he had been on board the Midlothian / give our kind respects to him and say we often talk and think of him. How are Mr. & Mrs. (P) give our kind regards to them and all enquiring Glasgow friends we shall always retain a grateful [?] of our visit to Glasgow and the kindness we received there. All my sisters are quite well and desire their best and kindest love to you / they will write you in a short time but you know they are not good pen correspondents [?] Grandmamma is writing to you I believe but when she means to finish the letter I do not know / she desires her kind love to you. My Aunt Innes whom you used to quiz me for talking so much about is quite well and desires her kind regards to you. I do not think I have any news to tell you but hope you will excuse this uninteresting letter but I really do not know of anything that will amuse you so far from Scotland for you like nothing out of Glasgow though you did make much of your foreign cousins. [125]
When you write to Penelope tell her that I will write to her very soon give my kindest love to her in which all my sisters most cordially join. It is very hot weather here but I do not like it half so well as the fine snowy weather of Scotland.
I do not think you like a crossed letter but you will like it better at any rate than a double letter for postage is very high.
And now I think I will conclude as you think I daresay it is high time and with kind love from Mamma and all my sisters in which believe me I most sincerely join
I remain my dear Cousin Your very sincerely attached friend and cousin
Mary Helen Thomson