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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
OriginKapunda, South Australia, Australia
DestinationGort, Co. Galway, Ireland
RecipientGlynn, Ellen
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1690
Genrecorrespondence, new job, account of Kapunda
TranscriptKapunda South Australia
Sept. 26 1882

My dear Mother
I received your letter of July 1st some short time ago and a pile
of newspapers last night. Amongst the rest was the Clare Independent
containing my article "The Antipodes". There are one or two
inaccuracies in it—such as Bollens St. for Collins St. and Sed vis aliter
visum for Sed dis aliter visum (which I need not tell you means "But
the Gods wished otherwise"), but compositors always make a mistake
or two. The second one should have reached a fortnight after. I
confess when I look back upon the time of its despatch and consider
the number of curious things that have happened in the interval it
makes me consider life a farce.
I have just been interrupted by the call of a female client of
mine. She is an old crazed withered up witchlike babbler who has
for some time been of opinion that she was wrongfully dispossessed
of some property, and out of kindness (at some expense and a
considerable amount of trouble) I investigated the matter for her. I
found out that the title had been legally sold by her husband and
told her so. The greatest insult you can offer a woman is to tell her
the truth when it is against her belief. The old wretch has got some
notion now that the Queen and myself have conspired to keep her
title secret, and haunts the office like a ghost. She lives with the nuns,
but they seem as stupid as herself to let her come here. She stands on
the door mat and talks at me for an hour. I have tried every other
remedy and the only chance left for me is to blow her up with
My last letter informed you that I had arrived in Adelaide, and
was about to open an office in the country for Hardy & Davis. My
place of settlement is Kapunda, a township of about 3,000 inhabitants
situate[d] at a distance of 47 miles north of Adelaide. Such places at
home would be considered rustic—here they are Liliputian cities.
They have their imposing post office—Institute—Town Hail etc. etc.
The Elite of the neighbourhood and Town meet once a fortnight at a public quadrille party held at the Institute—public only in the sense
of the assemblage not taking place at their private houses. Those
subscription parties are common in the colonies. Our County Bali
comes off on Oct. 13, in the promotion of which I have been asked
to cooperate which cost me £1/10/0. Each cooperator doubtless
has the privilege of inviting two friends from outside places, but as
bringing two of mine together would probably entail an additional
expenditure of fifty or sixty pounds, I have not made up my mind
whether I will invite any yet. A man could spend thirty shillings a
week easily here on subscriptions alone. One day it is a Cattle Show
—another a Ball—another, Cricket Club No. 1—another, Cricket
Club No. 2—another, Cricket Club No. 3—another, a Children's
picnic No. 1—another Children's pic[nic] No. 2—another, Children's
pic[nic] No. 3, until I began to wish an act of parliament was passed
for the destruction of children with partialities for picnics. Again
two fellows had their left legs cut [off] in the Hospital and started a
subscription list to procure cork ones. Finding it difficult to do me
the honor of a visit themselves, they dispatched a dozen canvassers
who reminded me of the Mummers as they arrived with their pencils
and enormous ledgers at the door. When I tell you that last Sunday
at Mass a subscription for the Catholic Refuge took place at the Last
Gospel and that the priest actually afterwards ensured all the male
congregation into staying in Church after Mass on plea of a matter of
importance, .then locked the doors, and would let no fellow out under
half a guinea, you will all smile, and perhaps even laugh, incredulously.
But it's a fact. He ran into debt over some graveyard and of
course stuck up all the heavily mulcted farmers. I came back to my
hotel a sadder, a wiser, and, by 13/-, a lighter man.
As at present our starting here is only on speculation, I have
arranged to draw £3 a week until we see how business goes. Hardy
suggested a partnership for a definite time, but I am content to pull
along until I see how matters turn out. I intend to make a special
application for admission in December, but it is doubtful whether
they will admit me without a year's further residence. I have gone as
far as 70 miles from here to defend a case—it being permissible to
practice pending admission in the Local or County Courts.
A good many of the farmers here abouts are from Clare, and
some even from Gortside. The Catholics as usual are the poorer
class—the protestants the wealthy and fashionable. Aunt Grace was
here at one time as Superioress, and the great Johnny Wallsh, about
whom I will now say a few words, on a certain dark night at the
Railway Station of this city actually kissed a young nun. He thought
it was sister Bernard in his hurry.
About a fortnight ago a letter from Johnny informed me that he
had arrived back in Adelaide at last. I went up to see him on the
succeeding Saturday and remained on to the Monday. He is looking
well and fresh, not much the worse for his very extensive travels up
to the Northern Territory. Johnny thinks as little about going up
country seven or eight hundred miles as Robert would of scheming
from school. He was at one time very fortunate, but has latterly been
the reverse. He does not, however, wish you to know much about the
vicissitudes of his career. Johnny is evidently a man of surprises and
would probably like to walk upstairs some morning when you were
all at breakfast, with a dozen or two aboriginals at his heels carrying
boxes of gold. He is the same goodnatured, gullable, obliging,
kindhearted fellow that I believe he always was. We spent the
Sunday together, and went out to see my grandmother's grave at the
cemetry. It is railed round and has a good stone surmounted by or
rather cut into a cross at the head with, as well as I can remember,
the inscription after her name of "wife of Thomas Wallsh Esq.
Solicitor, Loughrea, Ireland aged 65 years erected by her affectionate
children". Johnny probably was the children.
I have just had tea and a chat with a stock agent's head accountant
who is a great friend of mine. He said that if I was admitted and
started on my own account that I could easily make £700 a year
here; but that the firm is not popular. Davis is a very honorable and
kindhearted man but not one to take well—Hardy not the man to
take either. Somehow or another I have become very popular here
—(so I am told) so that on my own hook I would be right. But for
the present I am as I am. Of the future my peculiar experiences have
prevented me being prophetic. I am not a lover of money, but if I
ever make any a lot of good could be done with [it] outside myself.
I live in a hotel my expenses coming to somewhere about £1/10
a week: I am clearing off old scores gradually and then will endeavour
to save. If I were not a prominent individual here I could live 10s. a
week cheaper—but the lawyers can only put up at certain places in
cities. To tell you the truth, recently it has struck me that a fellow
never enjoys a meal with a Relish unless he gets it by a fluke. When
I many a time went to bed in Melbourne with the prospect of a
rather late problematical breakfast, I used to dream of sixpenny
banquets with as much delight as Jack Homer contemplated the Christmas pie into which he inserted his thumb. Such is the Irony of
My landlord is a very decent fellow, but by times one of the most
melancholy men I ever saw. I expect some day to see him cut his
throat with a carving knife. He looks like a fellow that had been
dyspeptic for some years before his birth. A foolish joke that I
cracked one day made him laugh a bit, and when the memory of it
recurs -to him he laughs again; but a calm brooding misery soon
settles on his countenance, and he looks as if he had been intended for
sorrow's monument. He is, however, a decent, straight forward
fellow. Life in a hotel under all the circumstances is public enough
to be lonely, and dull enough to be undesirable.
As the letters James kindly got for me arrived when I was about
to arrange about coming hither, I thought it useless to present them.
At the time the chance of them being productive of good was so
small to lose a certainty—though I preferred remaining in Melbourne.
I am glad my fears that business would have suffered severely from
the agitation are without foundation, and also that James and
Johnny had such a pleasant trip. In giving my love to all at home, I
include the Tyrrells and Brannons whom I hope are well. I have
overworked my pen so much today that it seems to have got St.
Vitas' dance; so it is time for me to stop.
Hoping you are all in good health

Your affect. Son.
P. McM. Glynn

P.S. I several times forgot to mention to you that it would be
advisable to have Eugene taught shorthand, if such can be done at his
school. In three years he ought to be able to master it, and it will
always bring in from £2 to £6 a week, according to proficiency.