April 5th 1875
My Dear Cousin
I received your very welcome letter last week and we was really beginning to think that you was not going to write any more, many a time Aunt said she could not understand what neither you nor your father was writting for, since we came here she thinks the time far longer and she takes it very hard to heart when you are long in writting Aunt had a very bad cold about the new year and she has never got the better of it she had rheumatism in her back and down her leg and some times she could scarce walk across the house she has been a little better since the severe storm went away but we have very cold weather yet the hills is white with snow today
I hope this will find you & your Father both well and all the rest of our friends in moderate health when it reaches you.
Cousin Tom is working to Mr. Hyslop just now at whatever he can get to do but he is never very strong when ever he gets the least cold it fixes in his chest and he just coughes on. I have very little new to write as I am not able to go out much and we have a very quite place here. You will likely have heard from James Bryden before you get this that I would like to get Sarah Johnstones address to her Grandmother I was at Sanquhar one day and saw her and she was quite greived that Sarah never wrote to her and she asked me to send to you or some of my friends for her address for she is going to write to her altho she never gets an answer
uncle William and his family are all well and uncle is still working in the woods. It has been a very hard winter here & a great dal of trouble & death around us
Aunt sends her kind regards to you & your Father and hopes you will not be so long in writting again. now I can think of nothing else worth writting at present so with kind love to you and all friends I remain your affectionate cousin
PS please send Sarah Johnstones address soon and word how she is getting on M B
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Tower Cottages, 5 April 1875
In this letter, Marion Brown scolds Marion Glencross for not writing a letter--by writing a brief letter that's mostly about letterwriting. But she also talks about the hard winter--snow still on the hills in April--and Tam's health and work, and Aunt's health (which has been bad), and the Johnstones, and William Glencross and family. This is another instance of Marion Brown taking on the role of news conduit between Scottish and American kin--she also kept John Glencross and his son connected, and kept Marion Glencross's maternal grandmother apprised of her well-being (and vice versa). In a time and place where epistolary literacy could not be taken for granted, her ability and willingness to write letters gave her a chance to be helpful to a range of acquaintances.