18941207 See an image of this letter, https://doi.org/10.17613/abcj-2216


Pernambuco,     7th Dec. 1894


My dear Mother,

I wrote to you only a couple of days ago by Pacific steamer, so this goes as a short supplement to carry my best wishes to all of you for Christmas and the New Year.

This is the Pater’s birthday: – Hoch soll er leben![1] I hope he has neither gout nor sciatica to prevent his dancing a jig today should he feel so inclined, and may he have every reason to be merry, even if he may not be disposed to give vent to his rejoicing in such playful gambols. I expect a playful gamble at threepence a point will be more to his taste.

I expect to leave next week for Pará. At the end of the year business is always dull. Stocktaking is approaching and people are not willing to give orders till their yearly balance is over and they see how they stand. I might almost as well stay here over Christmas and have a good time, but I have only a few more little orders to get from reluctant customers, and in another week I shall have no further pretext to remain. Pará is a very sorry place after Pernambuco and I go there the more regretfully at this time as business is reported very dull there.


The London and River Plate Bank building in Recife, Pernambuco, ca. 1909..
The London and River Plate Bank building in Recife, Pernambuco, ca. 1909.

Last night I dined with the Ellises. Mr Ellis is the Manager of the London & Riv. Plate Bank here. Mrs Ellis was a Miss Mawson of Bahia – I know her people very well. She has some pretty sisters and she herself is very pretty and bright – quite a young woman.[2] They have asked me to dine again there on Saturday, – Youle is going and two Miss Needhams – belles of Pernambuco.[3] On Wednesday I dined at the Biltons’, with a Mr Webster.[4] Mr B. is Manager of the rival English Bank, and Mr W. of a local Bank, so as I said in my letter to Addie I am moving just now in lofty financial circle. Mrs Ellis very kindly asked me to dine on Christmas-day with them, but I shook my head mournfully.

I hope you will all have a jolly Christmas. Is Julie home again, or is he still in Spain?[5] I presume he is to be home for Christmas, but I mean to write to him in Madrid (if I don’t change my mind & send it to Belfast). You don’t say anything about expecting him home.

It is fearfully hot. I don’t feel the heat so much as most of the other Englishmen but even I sit here “mopping”. I am the only one who comes home in the afternoon with an uncrumpled collar. Those of the rest are all in moist uncomfortable creases, and at a dance they envy me my immaculate shirt-front.

Bye-bye.       Best love and all good wishes.



This ought to arrive about Xmas-eve. I don’t know if there will be another mail arriving before 2nd Jary. If not, many happy returns to Emma & my letter will follow.[6]




  1. "Hoch soll er leben" is a German song often sung on birthdays, loosely translated as “long may he prosper”. Example here: https://youtu.be/hC8gBHdMoDc. It was Julius’ 60th birthday.
  2. The Mawson girls – daughters of Joseph Mawson – were all born in Bahia (Blanche Gabb b ~1867, Winifride Mary b 1876, Geraldine Teresa b 1880)
  3. This is Frank (Schwind) Youle. See Index to People.
  4. Mr W H Bilton. Manager of the London and Brazilian Bank in Pernambuco. See Index to People.
  5. His brother Julius Loewenthal Jr, on his first business trip in Spain.
  6. JMcC's sister Emma Loewenthal, her birthday 2nd January 1869, she will be 26.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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.

Share This Book