18941130 See an image of this letter, https://doi.org/10.17613/sprc-p584



30th Nov. ‘94


My dear Mother,

Since I wrote to you by last Royal Mail, about a week ago, I have had two letters from you, – one via Rio, dated 22nd Oct. & one of 12th Nov. The two between will no doubt come back from Rio one of these days.

I am glad to hear that Mr W. has got back £10.000.[1] So Bertie is giving up engineering for business. I dare say it is a very good arrangement, but there will be moments when he will regret his former happy independence.[2]

Jack Keiller tells me his father has been appointed treasurer to the Dundee hospital, at 100 guineas a year, which is, I am sure, a very welcome addition to his some-what precarious income.[3]

On Tuesday last I dined at Howard Tuckniss’s, to meet Captain Adamson.[4] After dinner we had billiards and a little music. Before dinner little Nellie Adamson (aged 3), whom I have mentioned in a former letter, made me play hide and seek with her. She pronounces my name quite correctly, with a proper German accent, and she amuses me very much by saying “Now you must keep your eyes shut Mr Loewenthal dear!”. She is old-fashioned and uses very big words for such a little mite. “Mother, if I say a thing and you say it isn’t, isn’t that contradicting?” she asked. Another favourite expression of hers is “That’s bidiculous”.

I shall very soon be moving further north now. There is not very much business to be done for the moment, which I regret, for privately, I like the life here very much. It makes such a difference living in a decent English boarding-house, and this of Mrs Latham’s is an exceptionally nice one – it is more a family life than an ordinary boarding-house existence.[5] The people in the house are a very pleasant set, and all the surroundings – the little things that are so important – are civilized.

I hope the Pater’s sciatica is long since gone; it is a painful thing. I travelled with a man from Pará to Barbados who had a bad attack of it and he seemed to suffer a good deal of pain.

It will be very nearly Christmas when this letter reaches you. I think there will be another mail arriving home just about the 25th and by it I must try to send several letters, but it is not a very easy matter to get them written.

In other places where the social life is not so pleasant and where I have to spend my leisure hours in my bedroom in the hotel I am a much better correspondent. Here I have no leisure hours.

The other day Mr Williams made me a present of a box of 25 of his extra-specially good Havana cigars.[6] When we were in Dundee together I remarked one day that the best cigars I had ever smoked were “Hoyo de Monterey No 6”, where-upon he produced two from his pocket and said they were the brand he always smoked.[7] So in town two days ago he stopped me to say that he had just received a fresh consignment and would like me to try them, and he insisted on my taking a box, which at first I was very unwilling to do.


3rd Dec.       Yesterday I dined with our agent here, Mr Theo Just.[8] He is German, his wife is Brazilian, and of course the whole family is very Brazilian, – three grown-up daughters, one son, a daughter-in-law, and a grandchild. There were four other guests, young Germans, and we sat the men all on one side, the ladies on the other side of the table. It was rather funny. The conversation was carried on in Portuguese, German, and English. The dinner was very good, except that there was too much of it, and I was devoutly thankful when the last of the dishes was taken away.

I must go now.

Best love to all




  1. Isaac Julius Weinberg, founding partner of Moore & Weinberg. See Index to People.
  2. Bertie: Herbert Weinberg, the ship engineer and son of Isaac Julius Weinberg. He was sent to Buenos Aires by his father to replace his brother Julian with the firm Weinberg and Crank. Tragically he took his own life in June 1896, aged of 28, prior to arriving back in Dundee. For more see Index to People, and refer to I. J. Weinberg's memoir: Reminiscences of My Life: Written from Memory for My Wife and Children, pp. 128-129: http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/ch97-0r17
  3. John Gibson Keiller (b 9th July 1865 Dundee, d 24th February 1897 Pernambuco. See Index to People. His father mentioned in this letter was George Clark Keiller  (b 1833, d 1919) who was a Dundee merchant and commission agent (in New York) with many local connections.  He was the grandfather of Grace Weinberg. He had a long and successful career and acted as secretary of the Dundee Chamber of Commerce for 27 years, rendering valuable services to the commercial community of Dundee: https://mcmanus168.org.uk/mcmanus168entry/george-c-keiller/
  4. Captain Adamson was the husband of Howard Tuckniss’ sister (mentioned in the last letter dated 24th November 1894). Their daughter Nellie was born ~ 1891.
  5. For more about Mrs Latham, see Index to People.
  6. Probably Arthur Llewellyn Griffith-Williams, husband of Edith Williams née Boxwell. See Index to people.
  7. Hoyo de Monterrey is a cigar brand established in 1865. The range historically comprises light strength cigars, using tobacco from the premium Vuelta Abajo region. There is a non-Cuban brand with the same name.
  8. Theodor Just (b 23rd May 1839 Zittau, Saxony, Germany). 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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