Catherine Cochrane to Thomas Macky(Endorsed Received January 1850)
4th August, 1849
My dear Thomas
It is with great pleasure I sit down to reply to your welcome epistle, which I received on the 27th of July, so you see it was long looked for but came at last (as you let me to suppose I might expect to hear from you in the month of May or June at the farthest). Until John wrote to London and heard from the agent that the vessel had arrived safe and all passengers well, I was beginning to fear that we had seen each other for the last time in this life; but I thank God there is still a hope that we may meet again in the land of your adoption and with His blessing spend many happy days together, for without it what would we be?
I am glad to find you liked the passage so much and that your fellow passengers were so agreeable. I suppose you wished you had taken the cards as well as the chess with you.
I did not expect you would have known your brother James as I heard he was a good deal changed in his appearance since you saw him, that he was taller and stouter. However, I am glad he is so comfortably settled and that Ann and he are getting on so well and the children engaging. You can scarcely say you are from home with so many friendly faces around you; all I fear is that they will be so much so that you will forget your old friends in Ireland, but I must leave that for time to tell.
I'll try now to give you an idea of how I got along since you left us. That day week I went to Belfast and spent the winter with Anne, except two weeks with Dorcas Running and one with the late Margaret Woodhouse of whose death I suppose you have heard before this. I was there at the time it occurred. I am afraid she was unhappy although you could not call him an unkind husband, yet I am sure he was not the person Margaret would respect or love. His weak point is public opinion and to that he would almost sacrifice his only child. Anne and I had some very amusing scenes with him at that time. He spent more time dressing, the morning of her funeral, than I am sure he did the day had he was married to her. Sam Shaw was nothing to him, and I think Aunt Mary's opinion of him was quite correct; but I'll say no more on that subject at present.
When with Dorcas (which was after she returned from Carnshanagh) she told me of her courtship with Donnel, and that she had agreed to take him for life if he would get her father's consent. This has been given and they are to be married in the second week of September, and I am to be her bridesmaid-- what do you think of that-- and brother John to perform the ceremony.
I left Anne's in the month of April and have been here since. I did not intent to make such a long visit in Cootehill but in the month of May Sarah had a very severe attack of gastric fever. When she was so far recovered as to be able to travel, she went to Portstewart for change of air and bathing, and has been there for the last month and her strength is quite restored to her again. I expect her home in a fortnight and part of that time she will spend with Rebecca and I think John will meet her there. There is nothing , I am sorry to say, to prevent him, as business is only in name here. It is expected it will improve this year as the potato crop is looking very well and no appearance of disease yet, that I have heard of. There is still hope for Old Ireland and may the Giver and Author of all good things grant it. The workhouse is not able to contain the paupers, they have had to take ten private houses in town for them.
I suppose you have heard of the failure of Mills & Co. I believe bad debts was the cause of it. Jas M is gone to America. I heard from Rebecca lately that father was to leave for the same place in ten days, and take Miss Cowan with him, Joe and Aunt Orr to have the concern to themselves. I am afraid he and she will not agree long together. Rebecca also told me that your father was preparing for New Zealand, that Coshquin was advertised and he and family would leave in 18 months or two years at the farthest, as you had encouraged them to go. I suppose after a while you will have us all there. I have a crow to pluck with William when I see him. He told Dorcas that when I would hear of Mr D being placed I would be sorry for myself.
I was nearly forgetting to tell you I had chicken-pox in winter and was greatly marked but they are nearly gone. I do be a good deal annoyed with tooth-ache but thank God my general health is very good although I am annoyed with headache this few days. My eyes are so affected that I can scarcely see the papers. Bell is in Christlaugh in cousin Joe's and getting on very well.
So I'll bid you good-bye, with kind regards to Mrs and Mr Macky and yourself and in the latter I am joined by John Campbell.
Believe me to be, my dear Thomas,
Your affectionate cousin,
Excuse this scribble and burn it when you read it.