18921008 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/k210-1×47


No 8                                                        Buenos Aires

8th Oct. 1892


My dear Mother,

I wrote you 28th Sep. by “Clyde” – I think that was the last, but I have got somewhat mixed in my numbers.

Many thanks for your long letter of 29th Aug. & the shorter one of 6th Sept.

I am surprised that the Pater went to Russia after all. He should not have done so I think. Business must surely have been very bad all over, & it was too serious a risk to run. When this reaches you I trust he will be back safe & sound & I shall be very glad indeed if he has done a fairly satisfactory business in spite of my expectations.

Best thanks to Annie & Olga for letters by last mail.[1] Glad to hear Jim is all right.[2]

I want to start for Montevideo & Brazil, if I can, in a fortnight or so. Business has been very good for Dundee, but it has become calmer this last week on account of locusts in the wheat-provinces. So far they have not done much damage; rain has fortunately come too, when it was badly needed, & the corn that was eaten to the roots will spring up again. The reports are contradictory, but I think we shall have a good harvest. For Belfast orders come in slowly. Politics are unsettled & will remain so until the new President is fairly started with some show of stable authority on his promised path of reformation. He takes office four days hence. The 12th too is the Columbus fête. Great preparations are being made here & in Montevideo to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of America.  South America has not much reason to be proud of the state of civilization & prosperity arrived at in 400 years. A civil war lately finished in Chile & one going on in Venezuela. Financial crises & continuous unrest of political factions in the Argentine, Uruguay, & Brazil. Paraguay almost dead, with a paper currency depreciated to one-sixth of its normal value. Peru in a bad way owing to the fall in silver. Altogether a cheerful picture. I wonder what it will be like in another 400 years. Still Mr Christopher would open his eyes could he come back on a steamer of 6000 tons, going 20 knots, telegraph his arrival to Cadiz, walk along the Calle Florida, & take the train almost up to the Andes.  He would probably retire overcome to his room & amuse himself by balancing eggs on end for the rest of his days.


10th Oct.       We dined last week with people called Wallace. A sister of Mrs Wallace lives with them – a Miss Gilling-Lax – when not present usually called Miss Sealingwax.[3] She plays tennis & whist well & is a nice girl. I think I mentioned having been asked to a dance at Mr Drabble’s but being obliged to refuse on account of another engagement. Julian & I went a week later & found the “party” reassembled, & we danced till 1 o’clock.

The tennis-club gives us the opportunity of taking some exercise which one needs, to keep one in good condition. We had some excellent games y’day afternoon. Lots of ladies go to Church on Sunday mornings & play tennis in the afternoons; everybody does it here & the English parsons do not object, & one could not spend the afternoon more profitably.

I see the MacCallums often.[4] They asked me up again last Sat. evg. but it was raining so hard that I remained indoors.

I wrote to Olga for her birthday by this mail. On the 12th inst two special “Columbus” stamps will be issued & I shall try to procure some copies for the collectors.

Love to all


  1. Annie and Olga, JMcC's sisters. Olga’s 22nd birthday coming up on 6th November.
  2. "Jim" is JMcC's brother James Moore.
  3. Frederick L’Estrange Wallace (b 1853 Brooklyn, d 1925 Buenos Aires), wife Ellen Gwendoline Gilling-Lax (b 1860 Bedfordshire, d 1850 Buenos Aires). Miss Gilling-Lax (“Miss Sealingwax”) is one of Ellen's sisters. Could be (1) Katherine Emma (b 1859 Bedfordshire, d 1943 Dorset) unmarried; (2) Agnes Maud Gilling-Lax (b 1862 Somerset, d 1924 Buckinghamshire) – unmarried; (3) Olive Mary Gilling-Lax (b 1866 Somerset, d 1942 Kent) – unmarried; (4) Ethel Gilling-Lax (b 1872 Somerset, m April 1893, d 1957 Surrey); or (5) Edith Margaret Gilling-Lax (b1873 Somerset, d 1945 Sussex).
  4. See Index to People


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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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