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Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, Ellen, 1880
CollectionPatrick McMahon Glynn: Letters to his family (1874-1927) [Gerald Glynn O'Collins]
SenderMcMahon Glynn, Patrick
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunemployed
Sender Religionunknown
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
DestinationGort, Co. Galway, Ireland
RecipientGlynn, Ellen
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1272
Genreaccount of Melbourne society, weather, family, finding work
Transcript136 Victoria Street,
Richmond, Melbourne.
11th November 1880.

My dear Mother
Since I wrote to you last I have seen a little more of Victoria.
Its greatness consists in being the working man's paradise. The latter
is here as well off and has better times than the Middle Class at home,
works only 8 hours, and gets well paid. Domestic servants get from
15s. to 30s. a week and have plenty of outing days. I was at a concert
followed by a dance last night in Fitzroy district town hall. The
Mayor was in the chair. He is a tailor, named McMahon, a typical
politician of the democratic order here, who goes in for the Rights of
Man etc. and talks until he nearly bursts. I had a very hot discussion
with him, showing the evils of premature democracy, such as one of
the results of universal suffrage—having the possibility of the intellect
of the country being swamped by a multitude of blackguards. But
they can't see it. A chimney sweep that shouts for popular liberty
here would get in before a sound man with some coiservat[iv]e
leanings. The Mayor, with some members of the Legislative Assembly treated me to their best wines etc. last night in private, and told
me that nearly all the well dressed, (and really splendid musicians)
girls I saw were respectable trades-people. This shows you what the
Colony is.
The Upper Class are the same as at home, with more show and
conventionalities. I saw them on the Melbourne Cup day. That is
the great day of the year, when all shops are shut and the ladies dress
for show. The course is, I believe, the finest for sightseeing in the
world, the lawn a magnificent sight with its thousands of ladies, some
wearing dresses for which thousands were sent to Paris. A lady would
ér$ss on Cup day, if she had to make her husband an insolvent to do
so. The course, paddock, ring, stand, general arrangements, railway
and otherwise, as well as the behavior of the people, would surprise
an Englishman; for their beauty and perfection of comfort and details,
the course has no second.
The City, as I said, is not built yet. A timber shanty is next door
neighbor to a princely bank. The buildings, that are up, are palaces
towards Dublin banks, Post Office etc.
The climate is, in my opinion, worse than at home. When fine,
the heat is disagreeable; but since I landed it has rained a lot You
might go out in the morning boiling and come home at 6 p.m. like a
Laplander—winding up by going to bed in a furnace. What is really
fine is the clearness of the atmosphere. But when I write up My Diary
I will give you a detailed account of the place.
Now as to our cousins. Fanny, (though when she asked me I
said not), is some what like a new and revised edition of Annie
Glynn; Cissey a fine looking, fair woman, Mary Anne a perfect copy
of Mary Pigott. Cissey looks fresh still and much the youngest,
Fanny older than I imagine she is, but Maryanne baffles description.
I believe she is a little gone in her intellect. She has a long tongue, a
long face, and a short shop in which no one lives but herself, can talk
down a mother-in-law, and emaciate a character. I don't know what
Religion she is. None probably. But you would enjoy her company
for its oddity, and I don't think that her eccentricity has destroyed her
good nature. Fanny is deeply goodnatured, would probably do anything
for a friend, would be a very hard parent—giving no liberty for
sprees, and is flighty enough to carry out her threat that she would
tear one of her wards—two fellows 15 and 20—to pieces if they
opposed her. But she is very goodnatured, no matter what her
temper may be. Cissey is of the laughing, enjoy the world styleletting
nothing trouble her—and would marry tomorrow probably if her husband—(an old sell to her)—died today. She seems best off of
the lot, and is also very kind to me. You are mistaken about their
position in society, especially the McDonalds. McDonald is a small
draper—not well off by any means—but who kept horses as a trotting
and general sporting card when business was good. He is about forty.
He looks younger than Fanny, and seems a decent, free-thinking, and
in his opinion woman-fascinating-sort-of-fellow. I don't believe there
is any love—there may be friendship between him and Fanny. Since
I came out they live well together, but Cissey told me they are always
opening each other's skulls, and that Fanny had him bound over to
keep the peace. But I would sooner believe the devil, than one sister's
story of the other, as they never see one another and are always
talking unfavourably of each other. I manage to be neutral. Cissey
and Maryanne are seeming friends, as they visit. In my opinion
Fanny had a well of affection; but never any one to bestow it upon,—
as I imagine her brother was not the gentleman she considered him,
and why she married McDonald was to spite Robert for his unkindness.
But McDonald considered he was swindled. However, I find
them all very kind, but don't know what to think of their tales and
don't care either. The McDonalds are by no means in good society.
They have sold all their traps and horses. Don't mind what Fanny
writes; her good natured, flashy letters paint everything very well.
McDonald is decent, well connected, musical, fellow with a taste for
sporting, but like many fellows thinks every woman is in love with him.
Whenever you get a letter from the Colonies, take this for
granted—Every Colonist thinks the Colony is the world. They are
great boasters. The bar here, I am afraid, is at all events not better
than at home. McDonald says it is fine. Sir R. Barry and a solicitor I
met told me that a man from home has very little chance. They
favor their own. I don't think the business is here. However, I must
wait for 5 months and I will enquire further. Sir R. Barry is a
swindle. He is a spruce old fellow, and no use to any man. He was
very polite to me, — but I think it was on account of the want of
politeness in his first address. He is not thought anything about in the
profession. He never once mentioned Frank's name.
Don't mind what I say at present, as really I hear most fearful
reports of a lawyer's prospects, as well as good ones. The Doctors
are the men for here, or laborers, artisans etc. If I think it worth my
while I will stay here,—if not—go somewhere else. If I had an open [mg] in one case in London, I would make as much in a few
years as in 20 here. But for the present don't mind what I say.
I have just dined with Cissey Glynn and am going to bring little
Kitty Tyrrell to the Exhibition. She is flattered by her photo—like all
persons—but is an affectionate little girl. She is the only child that I
remember ever to have taken to me. For the present I must stop, so
with love to all, I remain

Your affect, son
P. McM. Glynn.

In reading letters, such as mine, remember that writing never can
describe truly.