This letter features one of the loveliest passages in the letters, in which Marion Brown urges John Glencross to take care of his teenaged daughter's education--"for it is the best fortune you can give her to make her a good scholar." Marion Brown reminds her uncle that anything can happen in life, but learning can't be taken away; and that her own circumstances would be very different if she had not learned to read and write.
John Glencross and other American friends sent gifts to Sanquhar for the holidays--a check for Aunt Agnes, apples for Marion (who confesses a love for roasted apples). In return, Agnes has a progress report on John's long-promised trousers, and Marion sends a photo of a kinsman.
"The Bogg" Dec. 23rd 1869
Dear Brother it is not often that i write you but as i am just hear at present i will let you know how i am geten on and i am very happy that i can inform you that we are all in good health at present and hops that you and marrion are still enjoyen good health it is a blessen we cannot be to thankful for his goodness to us for god is a bountiful giver and may each one be mad gratful receivers from his hand
i most asuredly owe my kindest love to you for the gift i received from you may gods hand be a round you in all your doings i have bean doen nothing since we came home but a month of winter weather will work in and then we will to the hills again in health permit there is nothing doin about sanquhar so we must just wate a little the days get out a little
as our friend marrion is just watin to give an account of the bog cows and swin i will bid you and all friends goodnght Wm. Glencross
Dear uncle you see I have got uncle William started to write a bit this time but his hand is shaking very bad and I will take the pen a little. I am very glad to be able to tell you that we are all standing the winter pretty well at "the Bogg" as far as it is gone yet which is a great blessing for when we have not got health we cannot enjoy much. I must surely send you my very best thanks for the present you sent me it was so kind of you to mind me among the rest of our friends bu as I say many a time our heavenly Father always provids for the helpless for it is now five years since I could do anything for myself and I have always been well taken care of and I hope God will guide you and give you plenty as long as you are in this world to need it. Aunt Nany was very proud of her present to she is getting very frail now just scarcly able to go about but very contented and happy Mary is wonderful well she is able to go about and do the turns up and down the house
now I will tell you about Helens Mother she is left Dabton and is living with an old lady near Dumfries. she is very healthy and comfortable it was my grandmother at Carronbridge I got the account from and I sent away one letter and I have not had the right address for it is come back to me again but I will do what I can to find her right address before I send away the money.
now here comes Aunt from the byre and she says I have just to write down as she speaks to me. I have to give you her compliments and say that she got the check chashed all right and uncle William came home just the day before I got your letter and he went to the bank with her and she is very proud over her Christmas gift and she will have a good cup of tea over it. And she has visitied none this two years and no saying but you may be the first she will set out to see. and the web she was expected you to get your trousers of is ready now and if well she is expecting to get you a pair with Turnbull in the spring for the tailor was telling us he was willing to take any thing we liked to send.
Now comes an account of the live stock the cows did very well in the forepart of the summer but they all took the Murrain in the end of the harvest and the milk went entirely of them and we had a bad time of it for they were kept in the house for six weeks and never got out not even for a drink and it was very hard work to carry water for so many of them but we had two very willing girls and it was astonishing how we got on now for the swine department I have sold three fat ones one was twelve stones and the other two were somewhere about thirteen stones each and I got seven and eight pence a stone. and they paid my three summer girls at the term and I have two to kill yet and I had two litters of pigs and I will have fourteen of them for sale and they will average about thirteen shillings each so you see I have been very lucky with my pigs now I think I have said my share of the letter so with kind love to you and Marion I will say good night from your sister Agnes---
When I told uncle Joseph I was going to write he said I was to tell you they were all well and he is going to write to you some time and he is very much obliged to you for your kindness for it came in very good stead this winter weather.
perhaps you will have heard before this reaches you about the loss of some of our old neighbours there has been a good many sudden deaths lately James Slimmon died very suddenly about a month since and James Hunters wife died about a fortnight since she was just a week ill and never neither spoke nor moved all the time she was ill. death is never a stranger just showing us that is left that this is not our resting place.
it is a good while since I had a letter from Cousin John I tell him he is very lazy at writting for very often I write him two for one. I have got two cards to send to you one of uncle John Wylies which I will send this time and one of his son Roberts which I will send next time if spared to write again.
give Marion my kind love and tell her to be anxious at the school for it is the best fortune you can give her to make her a good scholar for when once learned no one can take it from her and no saying what we are to need if uncle James had not made me a moderate good scholar what would have become of me now when I have to write every thing I want to say but when she is at school you will have more to do but when one has moderate health they are busy
I had nearly forgot to say that our turnip crop did very well this year but the potatoes were not so good and we had no corn Aunt thought she would be as well without it and she got her oat meal from Mr. Kerr Whitehill and very good meal it is.
you must give my kind love to David Williams and tell him I was very proud over the apples he sent me and if I was with you I could nearly live on apples for I am very fond of roasted ones. I think if I was over among you I would be useful at times to altho I can neither walk nor speak I could sew on a button or knitt a stocking as need might require. Maggie Williamson has not been very well she has had a bad turn with her head but it is a good thing she is getting better again so you may tell David I am just waiting for an account of his marriage some day. now uncle I hope you will excuse so many blunders in this letter for my head gets very stupid at times so with kind love to Marion and yourself and all enquireing friends I remain your affectionate neice Marion Brown
please write soon and a happy new year to you all