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Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, James P., 1883
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, James P.
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1804
Genreclimate, socialising, work, acquaintances
TranscriptS.A. Kapunda
January 16th 1883
My dear James
I don't know what other effect coming out here has upon a
fellow's habits but it certainly makes him swear. With the heat
averaging 105° in the shade, the flies dancing in and out under a
fellow's eyelashes, and that rest at night which consists in sleeping in
a slow oven where the mosquitos whistle and bite in fine style a man
will occasionally soliloquize à la Blaquiere. Poor Lees over in the
National Bank swears it is the devil's country as he steams away at
the rate of a thousand cubic feet an hour, and sighs for one five
minutes at Mooneys or the Scotch-house. Yesterday the theremometer
registered a temperature of 108° in the shade, which is not
agreeable for working, but there is every appearance of a change
today. When Lees, Dr. Hamilton, and myself get together on a hot
wind night we talk about the bracing winds and the wild booming of
the Atlantic on the Western shores of Ireland, long to be transported
there for a few hours, and wonder whether we ever again will see
the slimy ooze of its salt deep or listen to the music of its waves as
they are blown with restless violence against its rocky shores. But
these reflections do not spring up every day, for every day is not a
hot wind day. The heat gradually reaches its maximum and then goes
off suddenly, perhaps, leaving a wintry temperature behind. Sometimes,
also, such as yesterday morning, the Dr., who keeps some
splendid horses and traps, drives us down early in the morning to a
really good waterhole, quite as deep as the big turn, where we have
a swim; but the heat is intense even at 5 a.m. When I talk of a
waterhole don't think I mean a river, but simply the dip of a creek in
some portions of which a microscope would in summer fail to detect
a stream. However, as yet I don't seem to mind the heat very much;
a man's capacity for endurance of it diminishes in proportion to the
length of time he has been subjected to its influence. I play Lawn
Tennis and use heavy dumb bells all the time, which seems to prevent
enervation. You very seldom hear of sunstroke.
Christmass, of course, here means simply dust and heat. Notwithstanding
that the ladies believe in enjoying themselves, as they
gave us a Fancy dress Ball at the Institute on the 23rd. I went up to
town to see the New Year in and a couple of days racing. Johnny
Wallsh seems settled in Adelaide now, and has got an appointment
worth about three pounds a week. He is a curious card, shrewd and
low voiced, with a funny way of talking to the girls, and an opinion
that you underrate the Colonies at home. A foolish present which he recently got seems to have convinced him of that fact, a mistake which
originated in his having overlooked the circumstance that presents are
simply tokens of good will, not charitable contributions. I spent an
evening at the house of a young fellow named Mayor, who belongs
to one of the Kapunda Banks, and met his sister Miss Annie Mayor,
the most rising young Shakespearean actress in the Colonies. She
performed as Adriana in the Comedy of Errors when I was in Ballarat.
I intended to, but forgot to send you a paper containing the
result of an application of mine to get admitted last December without
having to put in the full term of residence. The Judges adjourned the
application to enable me to make a supplementary affidavit affirming
ignorance on my part of the Rules before coming here, which being
unable to truthfully swear, I did not renew my motion. It was unfortunate
as if my name was substituted for that of Hardy & Davis
the business would increase, neither of the names being popular here,
and, though I am exceedingly so, the Public think that an increase of
business would only benefit them. There was a cousin of Davis'—a
Mr. C. M. Davis—here before, who left a Dan Laluff reputation
after him, and the Kapunda people think he has some interest in the
firm. Hardy is not popular here either, as he is too sharp a customer
and goes in too much for big Bills of Costs. In time, however, seven
or eight hundred a year could be made here, but it is not likely I will
remain if a good opening affords itself in the big cities. If I was
admitted and had £.200 to start with, I would probably get a good
business in Adelaide. It was too bad that I could not get a decent
back up in Melbourne, as from deaths and promotions recently there
is a fine chance there now for a man of my peculiarities. Adelaide,
indeed, is a pretty city, like the others full of life, energy, racing etc.; but Sydney, unsurpassed in the world for the beauty of its harbour, is a paradise from its situation. I would have gone there, had I
Solicitors to back me up.
As for your business, banking, it is worked more cheaply than
at home even. The increases are £10 to £20 a year, but influence
makes a man jump sometimes, and some begin on £25 p. annum.
As for this Colony, I don't believe it will ever be as progressive as
the others. The gold is too fine and in too small quantities to pay;
copper, mining for which in this town alone at one time kept 800
men employed, seems to have settled at a chronic low level price and
consequently does not turn in money as it used to; farming (nearly
all wheat, as the climate is too dry for Roots.) either breaks or makes
a man according to the year's Rainfall, and squatting in most Northern parts is for the same cause equally risky. At a neighbouring
station the muster of sheep this year at the shearing was only 30,000,
instead of 100,000 on the run:—the rest were missing, probably all
dead from thirst. The last three years' exceptional drought has left
the farmers on the verge of insolvency. One of them might start here
on £300 tomorrow, and the rainfall before next harvest would either
treble it or completely lose it for him.
I occasionally contribute to the Press, and sometimes send home
the Papers. I suppose they arrive, as do all those forwarded to me
from home. The Local Paper reports my cases at length. Being to a
certain extent a man of prominence now, many of the South Australian
celebrities are personally known to me; the fact contains a good
deal of grim irony, when I remember my associates of a year or six
months hence. An introduction to a casual meal was then one of the
few I looked for. About this time the turn came. I started up country,
met McLoughlin in the Meridian of his glory, four months afterwards
he was down and out of sight, and now is either dead or living in
wretchedness on what miserable pittance his weakness will allow him
to earn at felling timber or other manual pursuit in the Warnambool
bush of Victoria, with the ground for his bed and the swagsman his
companion. "So runs the world away." As he had the germs of some
good in him, I went up and down more with him than anyone I ever
knew, and would help him still, were not my power to do so limited
and its exercise in his case so hopeless. When I look back upon the
whole time, as I often do, I feel melancholy—so many kindnesses
rendered to us by strangers when there was no hope of Return, and
so many hopes which we never gave up upset by a most unusual run
of adverse chances. The light hearted fool is the only man for this
world; the older one grows, the sadder becomes the Retrospect.
I have changed my Hotel to where six Bank Clerks reside, there
is a more agreeable Landlord, living is just as good and cheaper, and
the Bath water from the tanks less likely to run out. Portion of the
Hotel is alloted to the Bachelors, where between Music and Cards
some queer work goes on; but I sleep in another part of the house
and so am not always in the Melee.
Martin O'Laughlin from Kinvara called in at my office one day.
He is the lame fellow. "Good morrow, Mr. James", said he. Upon
which of course I knew at once he was a Gort Man, and fluked a
name like his. I did not remember him for a minute or two. He
seems a good natured fellow, and was enquiring sincerely about all
at home. I had a letter from my mother last week saying that Elizabeth
had a daughter, by which I am glad to say that there is a possibility
of the Race not becom[ing] legitimately extinct. You might offer
them my congratulations and tell Elizabeth that I am sufficiently
stationary now to receive the photograph of herself and O'Donnell
she promised me. Have you any news about Blaquiere?
Did you ever get any information about the Oratory Certificate
which was to have been delivered to me at the opening meeting of
the College Hist. Society in Nov. 1880. If you wrote to the Secretary
and said I desired you to do so he would give you some information.
I am sorry to hear that poor O'Leary is breaking down. If you
still can see him, remember me to him. How has your episode in
which Daly figured as Mephistocles concluded?
I sent today's Register to my mother, in which there is an extract
from the Vagabond's article on the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Supplement
happens to contain a letter of mine over the signature of Lex.
Perhaps, as it would save me the trouble of another long letter now
(and I have a lot to write) you would send this letter, or some of it,
home for perusal, which would let them know any news I have to
Tommy's old friend Johnny Flanagan is, I hear, located in
Adelaide. I enclose you also a cutting from today's paper on the
temperature. A change has, however, come since I began this letter,
which is as delightful as the sensation of entering from the Hot Room
the cooling chamber of a Turkish bath. As by this time I must have
reached the limits of your patience I will, with love to all at home
Your affect, brother
P. McM. Glynn
J. P. Glynn Esq.