Main content

Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, Ellen, 1882
CollectionPatrick McMahon Glynn_Letters to his family (1874-1927) [Gerald Glynn O'Collins]
SenderMcMahon Glynn, Patrick
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationlawyer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginAdelaide, South Australia, Australia
DestinationGort, Co. Galway, Ireland
RecipientGlynn, Ellen
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1260
Genrechange of residence, new job, family, acquaintances
TranscriptMarlborough Chambers,
Waymouth Street, Adelaide
5th July 1882

My dear Mother
You see I have changed my address again and this time to
another colony. It was much against my desire that I left Melbourne,
but there was nothing for me there for some time past but pulling
the devil by that interesting posterior excresence which in common
with other hoofed animals he is supposed to possess. I arrived there
from the country on Easter Sunday morning after having driven all
the way from Ballarat a distance of 76 miles in one day. My finances
then stood very low in consequence of usual bad luck—most of my
Insurance clients having been burned out before completing their
policies which lost me my commission. As my partner had to give up
travelling in order to push on some swindle of his own I remained in
Melbourne. A few days later or rather on my drive from Ballarat I
got a letter from Aunt Grace which was lying for over a week at a
country post office. It informed me that the lawyer to their convent
who was then in Sydney would meet me in Melbourne to speak to me
about going over to Adelaide where they were in want of a man of my
stamp to open a country branch of their business. I saw him in due
course and after his return to South Australia awaited his reply to my
application to his firm. Two months passed away and any hope of
ever hearing from him was altogether lost. During that time I had a
rather Micawber style of existence just living on Insurance and
waiting for something to turn up. My former partner in discussing the
merits of his office with another agent was kind enough to get excited
and insinuate[d] his right hand into the other fellow's eye for which
he was summoned for assault. I defended—got him off for 10s. fine
(the other refused an offer of £5) and 10s. to myself.
The history of my surroundings in my old place 97 Stephen St.
would afford material for a novel. My landlady had a proposal of marriage from a German who after a seafaring life wished for
domestic comforts. She had been twice jilted in three months and had
fair hopes of success this time but after a six weeks engagement it
came to a desparate end, she having refused him also. I believe he
has taken the pledge against marriage for the future. The whole
circumstances of the affair were most amusing but too long for
correspondence. She luckily had a slight softness in her left eye when
she looked at me, which was perhaps the cause of her being exceedingly
forbearing when I was in arrear with her rent,
During my stay in Melbourne I also used to go up to McDonalds.
She met me with Mrs. Denny (otherwise Cissey) on the beach at one
of the seaside suburbs, and we spoke. It was her peculiar temper that
led me to leave her before as well as a sense of the meanness of
dependence, but I never bore her the slightest ill feeling and I have
reason to think that my belief in her good nature, when not influenced
by a great excitability of temperment, was not unfounded. I never
met a woman more changed for the better, but I am afraid that she is
of too nervous a disposition to preserve the balance of her reason for
ever. She is always complaining about not hearing from you—she
seems always to forget what she does in one of her tantarums. But
it is best to let the past sleep as she is in the end a good woman at
A week ago I had a telegram from the other partner of the firm
to say that he would see me in Melbourne on the 26th June. He
came and I arranged to come over here. For that purpose I had to
borrow ten pounds, but as I had hopes of repaying it soon I did not
scrouple to do so. I left on Friday and after a very rough passage
arrived here on Sunday night. Mr. Davis—who first saw me in
Melbourne—kindly met me at the Railway Station and enabled me
to get a bed at the swellest hotel here where I at present reside. It is
much beyond my means to pay, but when I mentioned the fact to him
yesterday he said that it was all right, so I suppose he means to
advance me the wherewithal to keep respectability up until I am
settled. He is taking a house himself and wants me to take his place at
his present boarding house on his departure in a few days. I know
nothing about salary yet but begin to work on Monday morning. The
other partner will be here tomorrow when matters may be settled.
For a month I am to remain in Adelaide, and having got an insight into their practice here, then go up country and open a business in
their name. The regular rule is that one cannot be admitted here
until after 12 months residence, but it may be possible to dispense
with it. The fees are about £11. In the meantime I can work most
matters by virtue of being an Irish barrister. My next letter, however,
will tell you more than conjecture.
I am by no means inclined to settle here. In fact I fe[l]t more
down hearted at this change than ever in my life. I suppose it was the
result of having been exposed [to] the pelting of many a pitiless storm
in Victoria that made me lonely when I left it. But I must pay my
debts, put some clothes on my back and some money in my pocket.
When I have a couple of hundred pounds saved I can change again.
It is time for me now to say something about others. Cissey is
nearly broken down, but I put her on a way to arrange with her
creditors that may make her better for the future. Lizzy Wallsh is
also not too troubled by the smiles of fortune. Poor Johnny wrote to
me last month to say that he had returned to Adelaide after a profitless
expedition with scarcely any money. I wrote him a long letter in
reply and found when arrived here that he had gone into the bush
again. He may be back in a month again, and I have laid traps to
catch him wherever I heard he might call. It would be pleasant to see
him now, but the devil of course thought so too and induced him to
go away the day before my arrival.
This Mr. Davis is a Roman Catholic Englishman and a man
upon whom I am disposed to place the most undoubting reliance.
At present I am in his hands. The room in which I write to you
contains some peculiar men—among others the celebrated Vagabond,
one of the most brilliant newspaper discriptive writers of the day. I
sent two articles headed "the Antipodes" to The Independent. If
published send me a few copies. The "Echoes from the Antipodes"
was not mine. What I wrote was not a burlesque, but sound
information about the institutions of Victoria. I am afraid it was lost.
I must now say goodbye with love to all,

Your affectionate son
P. McM. Glynn

(Address care of Hardy and Davis for the present)