Letters Home to Scotland - Bain
Two letters from a great aunt & great uncle, sent in 1878 from NZ to Legars Farm, Eccles, Scotland
Thanks to Shirley-Mae Bain Schindler
LETTER FROM BLOOMHILL: MAY 1878
FROM ALICE BAIN MELROSE TO ROBERT BAIN:
My dearest brother,
You will think me so long in writing. There's nothing passes like time, and
oh how sorry I am when the mail goes and no letters with it. I am so vext I
do not know what to do. I know none of the rest has been writing. What's
worse, I know dear Father will think us careless, but we do not forget. I
think of you every day, and every time we meet we talk about you all.
George, Mart and all the children were up last Sunday and we had a good talk
about you all and wonders this and that.
Dear Robert, I received both your letters. I think you took 18 months to
answer them so you can't blame me and I think we are all guilty of
procrastination. It's a bad fault. Jane, she would never turn like that. I
think she is worst. I was glad to hear that dear Father was so well able to
move about. It will keep him from mourning after dear beloved mother, and
yet I know how lonely he'll feel. They were so bound up in each other. I
feel it too dear Robert. There's a sadness come over my life since Mother's
Death. It came so sudden. I have their likeness in a frame on the drawers.
Sometimes I press them to my lips and cry. At other times I put them out of
sight to keep from being so sad.
Dear Robert. You were talking of leaving the auld house. Are you taking a
wife and getting into the cares of the world? But we cannot blame you, it's
quite natural. So we have given up hopes of seeing you in New Zealand, but
if you have no inclination, we would like to see you, but not to advise you,
for it looks a strange place to a stranger. But dear Robert, may we all meet
in that better land where there's no parting. We were all pleased to hear
of your great success with the teams. We are all very proud for there's lots
of Kelso papers come into our district. I hope you will move forward this
year and pleased to hear everything went on well with you. For all the
backward weather you had we ought to thank God for his goodness to us.
My dear Robert now about ourselves. We have had all wonderful good health
this last year. James has not been so well since we came here - and what a
difference it has made to us in many ways. I have been a little stronger
this summer, but for storm and we never had the like of it before. Early in
the spring we had a Shock of Earthquake which we all felt distinctly and
after that wind and rain. The summer was well on before anything like crops
appeared. Then fine weather came and you in Scotland has no idea of the
rapid growth of the harvest. Then storm again, as you said it tried our
patience sore but we must take the storm with the sunshine. But with all
that we have not had bad year we have not thrashed out our crops yet. We
had 15 acres of wheat last year it was £6 a bushel, we considered that a
rise. We have nothing to boast of but we feel a little easier in our
circumstances than we were.
George is getting on very well he has a contract on the railway and appears
to be in good spirits over it. They are all well. Alex, Jane and their
family are all well. She was up and stayed a day or two. She always likes to
come up. We got our house done up a bit. David is getting on fine at his
business, a great tall fellow. Alex has been away for some weeks harvesting.
A great big fellow too. Jamie is a big boy and helps his Father, but they
all go to school again. May, Jane and George - the little boy, John Alison,
stays with me and keeps me company.
The train runs into our township, but, dear Robert, I must tell yu a great
event. I was in Dunedin for the first time since I came to the country. I
went off at 6 in the morning and returned the same night, 130 miles. I
thought it so strange me to be out after being so long a prisoner (Alice
arrived in New Zealand in 1861 so it was 17 years since she had been out!
sm). I called on Maggie Fairbairn. Mrs. Williamson, her luck has not been
good - she looks so old.
Father knows Mr. Robert Clammond (Drummond? sm) leaves here on the 25th of
the month for home he has had bad health and the Doctor recommends a voyage
Home, so you may depend he will call. He can tell you many things you would
like to know. You must keep him all night. Father will be so pleased I am
going down to see him. I must write to sister Margaret (Alice's brother
William Bain's wife was named Margaret. sm).
This mail you will get some papers tell Thomas he will get the News Herald
tell John to write remember us to all friends Aunt Jeanie and Kate. I had a
letter from Euphemia they are all well but hersellf. I am glad you got so
nice a girl, thank her from me for her kindness to Father.
Write soon dear Brother.
James joins in kind love to all.
From your loving sister Alice Melrose.
LETTER FROM ALEX BAIN (BALETUTHE - BALCLUTHA)
TO ROBERT JULY 17, 1878.
It's a long time since I had a letter from you and I dare say you can say
the same about me. I have struck upon a novel idea how to do it. Mrs.
Landels has left here today in route through America for the home country.
Mr. Landels is Laird of Banff End near Dunse and one of the richest men in
New Zealand. Mrs. Landets was delighted to take a letter to my Father. She
will write you and you must meet her at Greenlaw Station. She will give you
lots of news and you may depend on it as being pretty near the mark. You
must be kind to her for our sakes and give her a tine budget of news to
bring back. I think she will make it her first place of call.
We are all proud of the young bulls and sheep. I will never have the
pleasure of standing beneath Hume Castle, her guns are long ago silent.
Honest industry has taken the place of her feudal Lords.
My Father thinks we have forgot him. I wish I had the money. A few weeks
would land me at Legars. Mr. and Mrs. Landels will be in Dunse if all goes
well in six weeks from this. Perhaps you are not aware of the fact that if
anything that happens in London, we know of it in 48 hours after. All the
news of the war - we know about it as soon as you do. And if you wait a
week, perhaps we know sooner!
I am very bad with rheumatisms. I am afraid I have inherited some of my
father's trouble, but I was delighted to hear that he was so much better. I
often fancy it will be a strange home now, my mother away, and Janet also
from home. My father must be lonely. I should like to have a long talk. What
I could tell you all. I think Willie has a warm side to the New Zealanders.
Do you know we can muster more Bains here than you can? My boy George is
in the office with me just now. A great big boy for his age. You must excuse
this short note, the mails leave tonight. We are all well. Jane and all the
Bairns. Jane's with me in kindest love to father, Willie, Margaret and John,
Thomas and yourself. am still your dear Brother, but a great deal older and
not very much richer.