Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Castle Mains, 4 July 1879

Back to Marion now, but she's still quite unwell (see last letter).  Gravel (probably kidney stones), blood "almost water," and "other complaints" are the troubles now, and she's been confined to bed for months.  She says she's been ill for fifteen years--which carries her illness back to 1864, when she was 21--but there are other references to her being ill in childhood as well, so it's not clear what changed in 1864.  The rest of the household fares little better--Aunt has very bad "rheumatisms," and Tam Scott has been off work with smashed ribs.  Meanwhile in America, there's another Bryden boy born (and Aunt demands to know the child's name--he was called James, by the way). 

Castle Mains
July 4th 1879

Dear Uncle

We have been expecting a letter from either you or James Bryden this some time and none has come and Aunt is got out of patience and just made me start today to write and ask if you are all about your useal in health or what is come over you at all  the truth is she takes fits of wearing and thinks the time longer than it is but it is five months since we had a letter from you now.  I hope this will find you all well how is Marion and her two boys getting on Aunt says you have to send her word what the youngest ones name is.  Aunt is wonderful well but very bad with rheumatisms sometimes. 

Tom & his wife and his son is well Tom was of work for ten days he got his ribs smashed one of the planks of the gang sliped at the top and he happened just to be half way up so he was tiped right over and got sore ribs over it but he is better and able to work again the baby is a fine Healthy boy and his name is Samuel.  trade is very dull around here just now and wages is down and provision still keeps high but I hope things will soon take a turn.  we have had no summer weather yet it has been both cold and wet.*  I hear them say that the hay crop is looking well and that is so far good 

I have not seen any of the crops this year for I have been nearly close confined to bed for four months my complaint was gravel and brought on other complaints throughout all the time I have been ill I was never so bad as this time for two months the doctor was at me every day and very often twice a day, some times i cannot but think that I have been born to troubles but I may be thankful that I can sit up for an hour every day now and if the weather would turn more settled may be I would get stronger the doctor tells me my blood is almost water and that is how I am so long in gathering strength and there is no doubt but the blood is the strength of the whole body. 

dear uncle it is fifteen years since I turned ill and I have always lived in the hope that I may get strong sometimes I wonder if ever I will get that hope realised but us poor sinful creatures has no right to grumble and if God sees fit he will raise me up at his own good time, and if not I hope I may be content what ever my lot may be. 

Now I have to tell you again from Aunt that you are to be sure and write soon some of you she says as many of you might have a letter here every month you would not beleive how she wearies to hear from you and how often she talks about you. Uncle William and his family are all well and all other friends as far as I know now I must stop for I am tired with kind love to you and all other friends in which Aunt joins I am your affectionate Neice Marion Brown

be sure and write soon

*The mention of a cold wet summer is confirmed by this historical record of Scottish weather, which describes the summer of 1879 as "notably and persistently cold...also very wet, particularly in June, July & August; loss of bee colonies reported widely & great loss of harvest."