18921019 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/0a1x-x056


No 10                                                                  Buenos Aires

19th Oct. 92


My dear Mother,

Two mails came y’day. & day before & brought me a number of letters, yours of 12th & 19th Sept., one from the Pater from St. Pertersbg., one each from Jim, Addie, & Emma, for all of which many thanks.[1]

I am sorry Olga has been unwell, & trust the visit to the country did her good. I send her a piece of music – a Spanish dance, rather pretty. What made you consult Dr Lindsay?[2] Is Dr Whitla not in town?[3]

The Pater expected to be home middle of October, so I hope by this time he is safe in the “bussom of his family”. The Hamburgers seem to be justly indignant at the want of sympathy shown by the rest of Germany during the terrible epidemic.[4] I saw a printed manifesto to that effect which was sent out from the Hamburger Exchange.[5]

I am sorry about your neuralgia. This climate would do you good. My face has been like a ripe strawberry for the last two days & the skin is peeling now, so that I look as if I had powdered my cheeks & that badly. I had a magnificent day’s yachting in the “Gladys”, a neat little yacht belonging to Mr Kinch, vice-commodore of the Argentine Yacht Club.[6]

We were five – Young Kinch,[7] a fellow called Verschoyle,[8] Julian, myself, & one sailor, & we had all to assist in the navigation just at the start, for we had to get out of the very narrow entrance to the Basin against a strong wind & heavy sea, so that Kinch’s orders had to be smartly executed. Once out on the river we had a glorious sail to the Tigre – some 21 miles – the “Gladys” flying along at a fine rate & dancing over the waves. We stopped at San Isidro, on the way, rowed as near the shore as the shallow water permitted, in the dingy, waded the rest of the way, & cooked our own lunch. We had tender juicy steaks, preceded by sardines & tinned beef, & we walked into these good things. Then we paddled up the creek in the dingy, & walked inland through the trees – I with bare feet & my trousers rolled up to my knees, – a white flannel jacket of Kinch’s coming down six inches below my own blue jacket. We then returned to the yacht & proceeded to the Tigre where the Kinches have a wooden house on one of the Islands.[9] At the Railway Station we had some tea, after which we returned to town by train in time for dinner, having spent a very jolly day.

Where did you read that extraordinary yarn abt. the steamer for B. Aires with Italian emigrants, 25 having died of cholera? So far there has not been a single case of cholera her or on any steamer hitherward bound.

Give my love to Aunt Martha when you write.[10]


20th Oct.

The skin is coming off my face in shreds & patches & I am a pretty object to look at. Am asked out to dinner to-night & to-morrow night & have no other complexion to put on. I have half a dozen troublesome small matters to look after – petty difficulties which are riling. Feel in a mood to light on somebody or to let off a little steam in a vinegar–pepper-& mustard letter to Dundee. Perhaps I shall feel better after breakfast.



  1. Jim, Addie, and Emma are JMcC's siblings.
  2. Dr Lindsay: James Alexander Lindsay FRCP (b 20th June 1856, Fintona, County Tyrone, d 14th December 1931, Belfast) was a British physician and professor of medicine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Alexander_Lindsay_(physician)
  3. Sir William Whitla (b 15th September 1851, d 11th December 1933). At the time he was Professor of "Materia Medica" at Queens', and practiced at 8 College Square North, described as "the Harley Street of Belfast" at this period. https://www.ums.ac.uk/whitla_w.html. See also Index to People
  4. The outbreak of cholera in Hamburg was reported in detail in the British Medical Journal of 1893, "The chief thing to be done in Hamburg now is a radical change in the water supply. But as long as there are sewers opening into the river, it will not be safe to take water for domestic use from the Elbe at any distance up the river." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2402644/pdf/brmedj08914-0037b.pdf
  5. Referred to in the Pall Mall Gazette of 16th September 1892: “A meeting called by the Chamber of Commerce in the Hamburg Exchange for the purpose of forming a help committee for alleviating the distress due to the cholera epidemic”: https://www.marxists.org/archive/aveling/1892/cholera.htm
  6. The Argentine was the first yacht club to be founded in South America, and was granted legal standing on the 13th April 1892. Its first board of directors was composed of the "nine visionaries of the legend" - Aguirre, Kinch, Castro, Penard, Peña Salas, Wilding Kehlstedt, and Gainza. Robert H. Kinch, the founding first Vice President of the Argentine Yacht Club, was a British merchant (b Ardwick 8th June 1836, m Buenos Aires 1866). https://www.histarmar.com.ar/Veleros/ReseniaYachtingArgentino.htm
  7. Most probably Robert Kinch's eldest son, Walter Halkett Hinch (b 1867). His other sons were Frank Somerville (b 1870), Harold Wright (b 1872), and Edgar Tudor Jordan (b 1874).
  8. Robert Henry Verschoyle (b 11th October 1865 Sligo, d 1st December 1910 Waterford, Hants), listed as a "gentleman" on the passenger list sailing from Wales to Buenos Aires in 1898. He was the Chief Engineer on the Cordoba North Western Railway, Argentina, in 1902.
  9. Tigre is a city to the north of Buenos Aires. It sits on an island created by several small streams and rivers and was founded in 1820, after floods had destroyed other settlements in the area, then known as the Partido de las Conchas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigre,_Buenos_Aires
  10. Martha McCaldin (b 1808, d 27 Dec 1897) was 86 when this letter was written. She was Jane’s aunt (her mother’s sister).


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John McCaldin Loewenthal: Letters Home from a Victorian Commercial Traveller, 1889 - 1895 Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Fink, Robert Boyd, Sarah Watkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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