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79 Church Street

Inverness May 

My Dear Mother

When I arrived in this country I could not understand by seeing the boys with kilts, for when I saw them, I asked, what were these boys with the short pettycots.  I could not bear the sight of seeing any girls, for when I would see them I would run away.  The second day after I came I went to see some of my friends along with my cousin, and I saw some girls looking at me, off I set home but I mistook my way and I was trying for it a long time and one of the shepherds and he showed me the way.  Shortly after I went to the parish school, I was living with one Mr Lobban but he treated me very ill, for he was always thrashing & abusing his wife & me for he was always drunk & so I went & told my guardian and he brought me with himself.  I stopped with him for about three years in the country,  then he sent me to the principle boarding school in this town, where there are about 18 boarders & about a hundred day scholars.  On Saturdays we always take a walk and the Messrs Gair our masters go along with us.  If there is anything remarkable going on at any place they always hire a coach to let us see what is going on.  They have now got a farm about 2miles from town & they are going to live their & keep boarders altogether, they only charge 25 guineas a year.  I was very happy to find that you did not foreget me by sending the shoes to me along with Mr Finlason.  There are a great number of murders committed in this country, and there is one to be hanged in a few days.  I have begun to learn a trade as I think it is the best thing that I could do.  I expect to be done of my trade in about five years, then I shall go and see you.  I think I will leave this country in the year 1845 for I will be some time at London to get a little more insight

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My grandmother is in very good health & she sends her best love to you.  Give my best love to Mr Mackinzie. I must now bid you farewell.


     I am Yours most affectionate son 

      Duncan Mactavish