CWM-4/14 Letter, Colin Campbell to Sarah, 1875


[1] Bell St Wanganui May 19th 20st 1875
My Dear Sarah
Both Mother & Mary
have been & are at present too busy
they have not the time to put pen to paper
so you must be content to receive
a few lines from me.
We are of course delighted
to hear that you are recovering altho’ slowly
from the effects of your late accident.
The thought of the pain you must have
suffered while lying under your horse
haunted me for some time after I heard
of it & you must with ourselves be
thankful it was no more. I trust
you will soon be alright again.
Judge Johnston has been holding his half
sessions here lately and as usual
I have been to court, but not Mary Ann.
I was present when Lyle received his
sentence of 6 years. Poor wretch he was
seen the following day at work shorn of
his fine crop of curls his beard shaved off
& a new red shirt on. Since then he has
been removed to Wellington. I must say
I am glad of this for the sake of his friends.
I took Mary & Annie Macdonald one
[2] evening after dark to the gallery
of the court, instead of trembling
as I expected in the august presence
of the Judge both girls had to suppress
their laughter at what they conceived
to be his ridiculous appearance in
gown & wig. Mary said he put her in
mind of an old Granny, fortunately
for them the place was very badly
lighted. Hutchison alias the Fiery Youth
said to the Judge that some of the Jury
had come from a distance & had
been at considerable expense. “Well
Mr Hutchison” said the Judge “I can’t help
that.” “But you Honour” says Hutchison “some
of them have come all the way from
Turakina.” “Mr Hutchison” roared the
Judge now fully roused “if they had
come from Timbuctoo I can not help
it, I sit here as Judge & not to see to
Jurymens coachfares. After this I
thought his Honour would not be the
worse of another little hint from you
on the subject of courtesy.
One afternoon about a fortnight ago Mrs
Macdonald gave a picnic to her boarders.
Knowing that such a picnic would be
[3] no pleasure to me, she asked me as
a favour to join them & assist in
pulling the boat which of course I
did. Of male creatures besides myself
there were two boys Harry Lethbridge and
Peter Hogg. The day was very threatening
& before we got opposite John Fleetwood’s
place it commenced to thunder
& shortly afterwards the rain came down
in torrents, so we landed, Mrs Mac went
up to the house to enquire how Mrs Fleetwood
was (she had been very ill) & staid away
about half an hour, in the meantime
the boarders & two boys & myself took
shelter under a large willow tree & made
ourselves as miserably happy as we
could be under existing circumstances
with a good supply of ginger beer, sweet
biscuits & grapes. Mrs Watt sent word to
us that we might shelter in the verandah
if we looked, but as there was no appearance
of the rain ceasing we declined this
gracious invitation, (I thought she
might have asked us into the house).
Now comes the best part of the story, to
say that our homeward voyage
was rough in the extreme
is but a mild way of expressing
it, it was simple awful, a gale from
[4] the southard blew right against us
the rain came down in blinding
sheets. I laboured at the oar like
a galley slave & the two boys worked till
their hands were blistered at the other oar
but notwithstanding our efforts we
could hardly make the boat move
against it. Long before we got home
night came on with the blackness of
darkness we could only now & again
make out our position by the vivid flashes
of lightning. I would have landed & left the
boat but Mrs Macdonald could not walk
any distance. At last we got home all
drenched & some of them so benumed they could hardly move.
As I think of it I need not have entered
the events of that night in my diary, they
are so impressed on my mind as not
soon to be forgotten. My hands still bear
the marks of the oar. Mother got a
telegram yesterday from Garrett to say
that he & Nellie, Bella & Aggy are coming
back to us by the next trip of the St Kilda
which will be about the beginning of the
week after next. Great joy under the
Maternal roof in consequence, I wish
you were here to see them all. Garrett
has been appointed to the Railway here.
[5] You will be sorry to hear that Mrs Hogg is
very ill with typhoid fever, there is some hope of her
recovery but she is far from out of danger.
I hope to hear soon that you are alright
again. Meanwhile believe my dear Sarah
I remain
Your Affecte. friend
PS Mary is hard at work at her dress for the Batchelors ball
to take place tomorrow Friday evening.
McGrath and his wife are in custody of the police they
are to be sent to the Asylum in Wellington as lunatics. [–?–]
[–?–] hearing they were starving went out to the place last week
with a leg of mutton for them, he met John Shield and told him
that the McGrath’s were as mad as hatters. Mrs McGrath fancies
she is the Virgin Mary.

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