Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tower Cottages, 8 January 1877

An eventful letter--or rather, a reply to an eventful letter. Marion Glencross and James Bryden have a new baby son, John Glencross Bryden, who would be called "Jake" in later life. Marion Brown is excited for her cousin, and offers half-jokingly to come help with him, saying that she's good with children, and that, if she can't walk around with him, at least she can sit in a corner and sing, as "bairns all like noise." (She will feel somewhat differently when she's sharing quarters with Tam's children, later in the correspondence.) Marion Brown mentions that her brother James has five children, the youngest named for her.

This letter also gives evidence that John Glencross has sent money ("kindness") for his sister's household; especially handy in the stormy depth of winter, when Aunt's rheumatism is worse, and Tam has been out of work for weeks. Marion acts as conduit for messages from Aunt and Tam in this letter ("Aunt bids me say that..."), and scolds more than once that the American cousins should write more often (though surely there might be some excuse for less-frequent writing, in a household with a newborn baby).

Tower Cottages
8 January 1877

Dear Cousin

I received your very welcome letter in due time and was very glad to see it for Aunt was wearing so much to hear from you. We are all very pleased to see from your letter that you are all well and that you have got such a fine little boy to nurse. Aunt says that she dreamed about uncle John holding a baby on his knee about the very time he would come among you and James if I was near you I would nurse some times for you for I am very fond of children and I am Aunt to all the children that know me.

The new year is begun very stormy with us while I am writting the window is just as if it was going to be blown in. I am very glad to be able to tell you that we are all wonderful in the meantime Aunt is bad with rheumatisms but if there is a weak part in the body the stormy weather is sure to make one feel it and Aunt is not so young now and she must fail but has always the brave spirit to go through her if strength would stand

You are to tell uncle from her that she is very much obliged to him for his kindness and she hopes both you and him will always have plenty and never want for anything. but there is one thing I have to tell you that you are never to be so long in writting for she does weary to hear from you.

Uncle William and his family is all well in the meantime. my Brother and his family is all well he has five children and the youngest is named for me. Now James I am going to tell you that if you are all spared and well you are not to be very long till you send me the likeness of your son to let us see what he is like I have to tell you from Aunt that she is very pleased that his name is John Glencross. tell Marion from me that I think she would be nothing the worse of a useless body like me to sit in a corner and nurse her son some times if I could not walk about much with him I would sing to him and bairns all like noise.

Tam bids me tell you that he is wearing his very life out for he has had nothing to do for three weeks he is going to set out a second time to see if he can get any thing to do work is very scarce here just now. please to give Uncle Joseph & Aunt Marion your kind regards and I hope Aunt is keeping better and all the rest well. I can think of very little more to say at this time I have no news all is very quite. hopping you will not be so long in writting next time with kind love to you all every one in which Aunt and Tam joins and may God be your guide is the desire of your affectionate cousin, Marion Brown

PS Many thanks to uncle John for his kindness MB