18940129 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/z4c4-bk69


Pernambuco,        29th Jany.     1894


My dear Mother,

This morning I am making and early start; –   6.30 a.m. & I have already had my tub & a cup of tea, but the “Magdalena” comes up today & I did not get all my writing done y’day.

In my last letter – I think abt. 14th Jan. – I acknowledged your Xmas-day letter. Since then no less than three have come, one so far back as 18th Dec., the others 1st & 8th Jan.

I was surprised & shocked to hear of young Clarke’s death. I did not think he was so ill. York St. will not easily find another man as good a traveller. They treated him very well & he must have saved money.[1]

A photograph of ca. 1900 showing the York Street Spinning Mill in Belfast, an imposing brick industrial building of four stories with chimneys and overpasses.
A photograph of ca. 1900 showing the York Street Spinning Mill in Belfast.

Very sorry my letters to Jim & Julie cost 7 ½ each. I wonder how that was. Were there not stamps on the envelopes? As a rule I post my letters myself & am very careful to see that they are rightly franked.

Much interested by your account of the dance, which seems to have been a complete success as was to be expected. I hope lots of nice girls asked for me & deplored my absence, but you don’t say anything about that. Belfast seems to have been very gay just about New Year.

Here we have had a lively time too. Last week I was at a pleasant little dance at Mr Mackintosh’s, one of the nicest houses here. To-night Mr Bilton, the jovial & popular manager of the Lon. & Braz. Bank, gives a dance.[2] He has also sent me a card for the carnival fancy-dress ball at the International Club on Saturday. Mr Gatis, an old whist friend & fellow traveller, gave me an excellent dinner & a good rubber.[3] Mrs Gatis is a clever pleasant woman, & Miss Browning, the governess, is very popular in P’buco society.[4] Williams gave me a little dinner-party to discuss a piece of corned beef just arrived from England. I sat on Mrs W’s right & enjoyed myself, though the corned beef was rather tough.[5]

On Sat’day I dine at a Mr Levy’s, also a former travelling acquaintance.[6] The roast guinea-fowl was good & we had a game of chess after it.

I think that is nearly all, but here may have been one or two dinners besides that I have forgotten to chronicle.

Josephy leaves by this steamer.[7] I am sending a barrel of pines by him. I hope they will reach you in good condition, though it is a little late in the season, & if they go bad you must be satisfied with the good-will. I send a barrel & a little jelly (you don’t appreciate jelly) to Taylor in Dundee.[8] As Josephy is probably bearing gifts to Fernbrae I am not sending any there.

I have done a fair business here. Shall very soon leave for the north. I don’t relish that part of it much, but must take it as it comes.

Best love to all.




  1. JMcC mentioned Clark(e), see Index to People,  in previous letters, for example, his letter from Barranquilla of the 21st February 1891. “York St. will not easily find another man as good a traveller.”  York St. may refer to the “York Street Flax Spinning Company”, which appears to have been quite a serious concern.
  2. Mr. W. H. Bilton. See Index to People.
  3. Mr. G. C. Gatis and Mrs. Mary Fredina Gatis (b 1854) with seven children.
  4. Clara Annette Browning (b 1st August 1864 New Brompton, Kent). She emigrated to the USA in 1904, married William Wright Wesley in New York in April 1927, and became a naturalized US citizen in 1940.
  5. Mrs Williams (Edith Ann née Boxwell, sister of “pretty” Miss Ada Boxwell) and family. See Index to People.
  6. Likely Enrico Salvator (Harry S) Levy (b ~1861), native of the US, and citizen of Malta, “merchant”.
  7. Albert Josephy, a "subscriber" to Moore and Weinberg and connected to the management of the firm. See Index to People.
  8. John Brown Taylor, of Affleck Castle, Monikie, Dundee. 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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