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McKinney Letters

December 15th, 1856

Mr dear Mrs Macky
    Mr Bruce is to leave us tomorrow he says, and we will be lonely after him.
    I have tried the baking and succeeded much better than I thought I would but I can't manage the cooking at all. I would much rather live on potatoes and herrings than be troubled with anything else. I got a woman two days to wash, but she would not iron the clothes, so I had to do them myself. I have pleased Robert with the ties. I hope I shall be as successful with the shirts.
    Two of my hens are laying and I have the black turkey set with turkey and duck eggs. She laid eight eggs so I thought it better to set her.
    I have been very happy since I came down, and only a little sick once. Nearly all the house sewing is done and I shall have to begin the other piece of work.
    Dear Mrs Macky, you gave us far more butter than we bought. It is quite too much for you to part with all you have given us. We cannot forget such attentions and kindness. I shall be much obliged to you if you can get us the butter.
    With kindest love to Mr Macky, Mrs Alexander, Miss Dorcas, and the children, from Robert and myself.
I remain, dear Mrs Macky,

Your sincere friend,
Martha McKinney

I like Mr Bruce very much now

Thursday night

My dear Mrs Macky,
    I have only time tonight to say a word.
    I was sick all the way in the steamer. We arrived at Mahurangi at 11 o'clock on Tuesday night.
    Our things have come all right except the two pie dishes, one wine glass, one bottle of cider and one of sherry. These were broken but they don't signify. I am sure, dear Mrs Macky, I cannot thank you enough for your nice presents of jam, jelly and fowls. Indeed Robert and I both feel grateful for your kindness to us. It cannot be forgotten by us.
    Excuse haste. Mr Morgan, the carpenter, is leaving and he will take it to town. With fondest love from Robert to Mr Macky, Mrs Alexander, Miss Dorcas yourself and the children,
I remain, dear Mrs Macky,

Yours very sincerely,
Martha McKinney

December 9th, 1859

My dear Mr Macky
    In an Auckland paper, which we received yesterday, we read the sad news of your wife's death. It was to Mrs McKinney and me the most stunning news, I believe, we ever received. Indeed, so unexpected and so terrible it was that, had we not had it confirmed by a note from the Rev Mr Macky, we could not have believed it.
    I need not repeat, my dear Mr Macky, that the news was sad news to us. Mrs Macky was among the dearest of our earthly friends-- except yourself, the first of our New Zealand ones-- and we are never to see her face again! Alas! I can hardly realise the fact that such is the case. Only two months ago since I saw her full of life. And now-- Oh! what a fleeting thing is life! A dream, a shadow, an unreality!
    We mourn in the manse, I believe, as we never mourned before. But what is our grief to yours? The terrible agony of being ever, ever through life parted from the wife of one's bosom! It is hard to bear. It is hard to find comfort for it. Philosophers speak of time as the great consoler. But you my dear friend, as a christian man, will of course look for consolation rather to eternity. Dear Mrs Macky is now, I make no doubt, where the weary are at rest-- the longest life here, in comparison with eternity, and the language of the bible, is only a moment, and, that moment gone, you shall rejoin her in the place where there is no more parting. She has gone, as we short-sighted mortals think. Alas! Too soon the way of all flesh. But think-- and surely this thought cannot be without consolation-- that it is only a moment till you are called to follow her and to be for ever with her.
    The dear children! Theirs is the bitterest loss. But they are under the care of a kind Father and a loving Saviour; and He who is the orphan's help, will never leave them, nor forsake them.
    I hardly know, were I in your place, whether I would care much for the receipt of a note like this. I almost feel as though I would rather be left alone with my God and my own thoughts. With these I leave you. The sorrow and sympathy that Mrs McKinney and I feel for you, you are sufficiently aware of, even though this note had not been written.
    You often talk of visiting Mahurangi. Might I take the liberty of suggesting that the retirement of the manse might now, for a little while, be of some use to you? If it would, you know with what pleasure its inmates would welcome you.

Ever your very sincere friend,
Robert McKinney

Thomas Macky Esq