Rebecca J McElwain to Catherine Macky (Aunt)(NOTE: Year obliterated)
October 4th, 1854 [?]
My dear Aunt Kitty
I suppose you have now almost come to the conclusion that you are never to hear from Cootehill or anyone in it. I hope you don't think we have forgotten you as indeed you might almost imagine in consequence of such a long protracted silence. However you will see from this that this has not been the case, on the contrary, we often think of you all, and many a time Mama wishes she was with you. She says she will never rest till this is the case, and expects to see you before many years roll round. I am very doubtful about it as I think she will find it rather difficult to get Papa to consent to go but she seems to have every hope of it.
They both left us yesterday for England. Papa went to buy goods and Mama accompanied him. They are both quite well, we expect them home again in the week after next. When they return I am to go to Coleraine and Derry for a month of two. We had Grandfather and Aunt Jane here last week, we expected Mrs Cochrane too but she could not leave home. I never saw Grandfather look better, he feels very lonely since Aunts Rebecca and Ann left. I suppose they are all safe in Auckland by this time, we will be anxiously looking out for letters from them. Mama has been in wretched spirits since they left, but she is beginning to cheer up now as the time is drawing near when we may expect to hear of their safe arrival.
I know very little news to tell you of. Cootehill is just as you left it, I don't think it is at all changed. The Boyds are all well. I suppose you heard of Bessie's marriage which took place about a year and a half ago. Marianne McArthur is now in Portstewart with her sister-in-law, Mrs. Alexander McArthur. She and her husband arrived from Australia in July. She is a very nice person but very little, not near as tall as Marianne.
Grandfather and Mrs Cochrane spent some weeks lately with Uncle Sam in Chrysla. He is very lonely but Grandfather says he never saw him look better.
The children here are all well. Sarah and Joanna are at school every day, Sarah is growing very tall. She says she remembers you quite well and the rod you used to keep over the mantlepiece in the parlour-- I suppose this helped her to remember you. She is learning music and is getting on very well. Your namesake, Kate, we all think very like you. Marianne is the best of them all, although she and her Aunt Jane used to fight every day while the latter was here. Many a time we talk of John and Mary Alexander.
Mary Hamilton has opened a school in Derry lately and is succeeding very well. Her father got a paralytic stroke about three months ago and for some time his life was despaired of. I believe he is now better, but has lost the use of one side completely.
Uncle and Aunt McElwain are now in Harrogate-- Uncle has been very ill for some time and the doctor recommended a change of air, so they are trying what effect it will have.
They have got a very handsome new chapel built in Coleraine and had it opened by Mr Arthur in the beginning of this month. Uncle is making arrangements for beginning to build a house for himself next spring. Mrs McArthur thinks this very foolish as she prophesies that he won't enjoy it very long. However, I hope she is wrong in this.
Anne returned to Cootehill from Coleraine (where she had been at school) in June-- she is not returning this winter. I never saw her look better than she does at present. She and I often wish we could get nursing your son for a while, I am sure he is a lovely boy now, perhaps we may yet.
Give my love to all, Aunt Anne, Aunt Rebecca, Uncle John and Dorcas Macky and accept a very large share yourself from yours.
PS When Papa was sending the goods, Mamma sent you a bonnet and a pair of hand screens which I hope you will receive without their having sustained any injury.