Main content

Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, James P., 1881
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, James P.
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1086
Genreadversity, finding work, socialising, family
Transcript2 Mint Place—La Trobe St
24th Sept. 1881

My dear James
I take advantage of the departure of an Orient vessel tonight to
write you a few lines. News I have none, as nothing that occurs here
could interest you very much, and as for my friends silence is the
greatest charity I can extend to them. If I was to tell you what I
have had to pass through for the last ten months, you would simply
not believe it. McDonald, while in his house, I was induced to regard
as a demon; the more I see of his wife now, the more I am puzzled
how the devil he stood her for 16 days let alone 16 years. As long as
I am within a mile of her, I can never feel comfortable. When I had
money some 6 months ago and she left her husband, it was very
reluctantly and only on extreme pressure I went to stay with her;
since then her conduct and manner have become more and more
intolerable. About five months ago owing to the dirty scum with
which I had to associate sometimes, I begged of her, for the sake of
my professional respectability, not to parade me as an advertisement
before every cad that called—the result was an attempt at oral abuse
which failed owing to words being inadequate for the passion—
followed by eight pages of scurrilous abuse left on my pillow, which
made me leave in the middle of the night, with about 35s and with a
determination never to return. I took lodgings with four workmen in
a garret, and after some time only went back to prevent my mother
being annoyed by her damn epistles. This is an act in the drama.
Ex uno disce omnes. As my life is not worth a toss of a halfpenny,
owing to hypertrophy of the heart, justice compels me to warn you
now and the others against becoming intimate with Glynn relations
here, in case you come out. But you might never notice it. Sometimes
she is all sunshine. She is now abusing my aunt Grace for writing to her kindly asking her to recommend me to stay somewhere
more respectable. She never forgives, and God help those who injure her.
I have had a rather curious life latterly. Four in a room is not
jolly under any circumstances, but it is damnable when some are
never sober and often spew all night. Carve for 14 or 16 buffoons,
and occasionally kick the devil out of two or three to keep up
respectability. Pshaw! It's no use growling—but I have often been
tempted to let you know something like the truth. However, it will do
the others no good to know anything about the business—especially
my mother. Besides I sometimes think Mrs MacDonald is slightly
mad. Her mother died so, I believe. So tell no one about me. Circumstances
have put me in such a damned humor today that, if I
were a woman, I would be talking about drowning myself.
Funny to say, I sometimes move in both extremes of Society.
Through aunt Grace I got introduced to the Fitzgeralds here where I
dined with Sir J. O'Shanassy, his family, and the other leaders of
Society. I am going to ask Sir B. O'Loughlin, who is now in power,
for some work in drafting bills for parliament. If I don't succeed I
intend to go on tramp with a tin whistle, as Goldsmith did. If I had
money, I would go to the Sandwich islands, the King having offered a
wife and land to any intelligent whites who wished to settle there. He
wants to improve the breed.
I am glad you knocked off your matrimonial business, as I don't
think it was good enough. If you loved the girl, you would not have
done so, so you must have only imagined you did. It must be very
deep love that will compensate for the loss of freedom, or very heavy
cash. You surprised me when you said that Elizabeth was to be
married so soon. I hope hers is a judicious match, and am sure it
must be from what you say about O’Donnell. From what I have seen
of Marriages, I don't think I will ever enter into the holy bonds.
Just when I write this a lodger informs me that Mrs. McDonald
has been abusing my mother. Such is her style. My mother has not
yet written to say that Mrs. McD. has been a martyr at the Shrine of
her husband's debauchery—consequently my mother is the devil
knows what. I could scarcely believe what I heard latterly. It seems,
the lodgers tell me, she has always behind my back told them that I
never pay for my board, that my mother is rich and never had the
politeness to write to her on the subject of payment, while when I had
money on coming to her house she scorned the idea of me paying
and considered I insulted her by mentioning the subject. I always, however, intended to pay everything even from the moment I landed
in Australia, but had no idea of this meanness. If you think Johnny
could afford to do it, you might ask him to send her a bill for something
on account until I can pay. Up to the present I owe her £30
for board and lodging. Nothing except the humiliating sense of my
position could induce me to ask him to pay a few pounds for me—
but no one can imagine the circumstances. I want no money myself,
and soon intend to clear out. I walked ten miles yesterday, sooner
than borrow a few pence to deliver a letter by train. The sale of a
few pamphlets alone enables me to write this letter at all today. If I
live long enough to begin to make a little money, I will repay past
kindnesses. Tell Johnny about the matter at once, if you think it
I have spoken too much about myself but I can't help it. I am
now off on my usual round among the prostitutes and thieves in the
purlieus of the police Courts, trying to get even the meanest class of
business. If not pleasant, it is certainly instructive.

Your affect, brother
P. McM. Glynn

Tell them at home you heard from me and that I am in health and
hopes. Nothing more.