18921030 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/6ebd-b806


30th Oct. 92.                                           Buenos Aires


My dear Mother,

I feel unsettled to-night, & not because we have had strawberries & cream twice to-day, but because I have decided to leave Buenos Aires this week & I have ever so many things to square up first, & they are chasing one another through my head. So much so that I cannot settle down to write even a common-place letter to you.

This is Sunday evg. I want to go to Rosario on Wednesday, return on Saturday & say good-bye to Buenos Aires & clear off to Montevideo.

I have been here longer than I anticipated, but business has been good for Dundee & I have been able to do something for Belfast. So long as there were orders to be got I felt unwilling to hurry away to some other place where the result might not be so satisfactory.

I must give it up. I can’t write to-night. I shall turn in, rise early to-morrow, try to finish two ordinary days’ business in one, & then perhaps I shall be clearer in my “mind”. The worst of it is I have to think for Julian as well as for myself. With the best of dispositions he is not particularly smart at times, & he has no self-confidence whatever. His most fixed belief is that he good for nothing – not an encouraging point to start from, whereas he wd do very well if he had a little more perseverance & faith in himself. He wants backbone.


2nd Nov.        Best thanks for your letters of 25th Sept & 3rd Oct. Glad that Olga is alright again. Also very pleased to have a letter from the Pater, Berlin, with good news.

What put it into your head that I shd  have fever? I never had half an hour’s illness of any kind since I began travelling.

Many thanks for framing my water colour. This time I have not picked up any objets d’art.


Tigre Hotel with the Tigre river in the foreground, ca 1900
Tigre Hotel with the Tigre river in the foreground, ca 1900.

I had a fearfully busy day on Monday & a ditto morning to-day. The day between was an “off” – a public holiday – & we spent it most delightfully with Mr & Mrs Wallace, Miss Gilling-Lax,[1] & young Goldsmid – brother of Colonel G.[2] – on the river at the Tigre.[3] We left town at 9.20 & returned at 7 – rowed to “El Toro”, sandwiched & beered on the way, tongued & egged there, & picinic-tea’d half way back. In the evg. I went round to Wallaces’ & had a very good game of whist. Altogether a record day. We had one of the club pleasure-boats, & the weather was perfect. A day’s exercise like that in the open air does one a world of good.

I shall try to make my next letter more interesting. Meanwhile I must run out & look after abt. twenty different matters.

Best love all round



  1. For Mr & Mrs Wallace and Miss Gilling-Lax, see notes for letter of 8th October 1892, and Index to People.
  2. Colonel Albert Edward Williamson Goldsmid MVO (b 6th October 1846 Poona, d 27th March 1904 Paris) was a British officer. He was the founder of the Jewish Lads' Brigade (in 1895) and the Maccabaeans. Colonel Goldsmid was an ardent Zionist, and head of the Hovevei Zion of Great Britain and Ireland. From 1896-1904 he was associated with Theodor Herzl as the head of the British Zionist movement and the key contact in the failed Zionist effort to establish a British Zionist protectorate in the Northern Sinai area of El Arish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Goldsmid
  3. Tigre is an Argentinean town just north of the city of Buenos Aires. It’s a gateway to the rivers and wetlands of the vast Paraná Delta. Also see footnote 9, letter of 19th October 1892.


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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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