Marion's writing at least part of this letter lying on her back, it's been weeks since she's left her bed, and she cannot speak either--she makes several comments of religious resignation to her "afflictions" here. Thomas Glencross "Tam" or "Tom" Scott, Aunt Agnes's son, has a bigger presence in this letter than we've seen in previous letters--he's "crased" about hens, an interest we'll be hearing more about in coming letters.
Another young man also makes an appearance: "Cousin John Glencross" is Uncle John Glencross's son--Marion Glencross's half-brother. When Uncle John left Scotland with his new wife Helen Brown in 1852, he left behind a son, John, whose mother was Christian (or Christina) Neilson (or Nelson), a woman Uncle John apparently never married. The boy was named for Uncle John, and stayed in contact with the family at the Bogg; at the time of this letter, young John was living with his mother and working as a herdsman, a "straping good looking young man" more than six feet tall, according to Marion Brown. There may be a photo of this young John Glencross in the albums, but there are a lot of unlabeled young men's portraits in there--so who knows?
Eight sides, paragraph breaks and links added.
My Dear uncle After a long silence I lift my pen to write you a few lines hopping this will find you and Marion both in good health and this leaves us all in a moderate state in the meantime for which precious blessing we ought to be very thankful if we have not health what can we enjoy but it is well for us to be afflicted at times or we would forget alltogether what we really are I am never very strong and has not been so well this some time past as I was I have been close confined to bed for the last three weeks many a time when I am lying all alone I have mind of you tieing a pink ribbon round my head and making me walk across the floor with my mouth prim. but what a change is come over me now when I can neither walk nor speak but no doubt all this affliction is sent for my good so I must just wait with patience and try to submit willingly under my cross----
Dear uncle I have had such a time dreaming about you I have had you twice at the Bogg this last week but I thought you would never sit down so I don't know what you are about at all we have been wearing very much to hear from you this some time for I have sent away three letters and this is the fourth and I have never got an answer although we hear how you are sometimes it is never like a letter from yourself perhaps you will not think it is so long as it is since we got a letter from you but it is a year past and no wonder although I dream about you. Now I must begin and tell you how things move on about the Bogg we had uncle Joseph last summer for my Brother left us last Whitsunday it was rather a hard summer with us for the weather was very dry and warm and the cows were not so good but I think Aunt had her quantity of cheeses but no more and the master was very well pleased with them so that was so far good it cheers one up to know of a thing being right after working so hard with it and we had a very bad crop of turnips but we had very good potatoes and what corn we had did wonderful but we had not much Aunt had to sell all her swine before they were fat for she had no meat to fatten them off. we had no man through winter Tom has been our man and we expect to do without one till May begins if we all keep well. Aunt has two breeding swine just now and the pigs is very high in price and if they do well she will get something of them to help her through summer. we have seven cows calved and they have all queys so we have got all our calves at the very first which is a good thing.
it would be worth your while to come over and have a crack with Tom about hens and sheep he is just crased about them he is talking about giving five shillings for some kind of hen just now but I don't know what kind it is Tom is a real Scott he has not an inch of his mother in him he is turning as like his father as can be he says he will be in America before he is much older if he keeps his health. uncle Joseph is here delving the garden this two days he has very little to do this winter every thing is very quite here the farmers is doing nothing and there is scarcly any work to be got he is going to Lochside to live this summer his wife and family is all well and he has been very well this some time better than I have seen him for a long time. uncle William has been working with masons all winter when it was weather he could work and be away to Crarapark this week and he expects to have the most of his summers work there if well his Master is Robert Wylie from Douglas a Cousin of your own and a very fine quite man he is, uncles wife and family is well and he has another son and his name is James so he has both James and John Glencross now. but uncle there will be many a James before we get one like the one we have lossed but it was Gods will to take him from us so why should we murmur but he was just like my father and always I feel the more miss of him
I am forgeting what I meant to say but here comes Aunt from the byre to tell me what she has got to say to you and she says I have to write every word she tells me. she has her kind love to you and Marion and she thinks you have forgot her altogether now you have been so long in writting and she thinks you might have had a letter here long before this and you are to tell Marion if you dont write she has to write herself and she thinks she will have a better summer this summer if spared and well Dear uncle Aunt has such a spirit she works on and she is getting very thin now and not very strong at times but still she goes on as long as she can some times she wishes she was beside you to see what you are doing.
We had a visit of Cousin John Glencross last Sanquhar fair he is a straping good looking young man I am sure he is above six feet he is herd at Carmacoup and his mother keeps house to him he has a married herding this four years passed he is very like you I have got his carte but it is not very like him he is going to get his likeness taken again and if it is any better than the one I have I will send it to you. now uncle I am getting tired writting lying on my back and I think I have given you a pretty fair account of things as they stand just now. give my kind regards to David Williamson and tell him it is time he was married now all friends and acquaintances is well at present as far as I know so with kind love to you and Marion I remain your affecitonate neice Marion Brown