Saturday, April 12, 2014

Townfoot, 5 September 1881

It's been almost a year since the last surviving letter.  This letter is perhaps one of the most straightforward portraits of Marion's life as a disabled single woman:  she expresses religious resignation, she is dependent on her cousin and must face his wife's spite in silence, she sees a city doctor who offers her a medication, but she's worried it won't be easy to continue, because cousin Tam's employment is (as usual) minimal.  "My heart was sore when I felt my own helplessness" she confides, to her only possible audience for such private thoughts:  James Bryden and his family, far away in Pennsylvania. 

5th Septr 1881

My Dear Friends

We are always very glad to see a letter from you, and I hope this will find you all still in the enjoyment of good health which is the best earthly blessing we can have.  It is all the same what we have if we have not health to enjoy it. I have had experience both ways now and sometimes I feel it very hard to be as I am but then again if it is Gods will that I should be as I am I hope I may have grace given me to make me content with my lot, its not the same with us now as when we were at the Bogg and Aunt poor body feels it as much as any one, and more so. 

now James if you was in my place how would you like if anyone was to say to you that you ought to be in the poorhouse one day when Tam's wife said that to me it made me I could never give her an answer but remember neither Tam nor Aunt heard her say it to me nor I sould not tell them for it would do nothing but vex them both and Tam would give the last halfpenny he had for either of us and they have both enough to think of without me telling them any thing she says to me when she gets their backs turned I don't want you to say a word about what I have told you but my heart was sore when I felt my own helplessness and what a burden some of my friends think I am if Aunt had it in her power it would have been different she would not have listened to so many tants[taunts?]. 

There was a doctor here from Edinburgh and our own Dr. brought him to see me several times and he did not give me much encouragement he told me I should have got my back burned with a red hot iron when I turned first ill and it might have been better for me now and he said in all his experience he never saw any one like me before and my case was a very interesting one he gave me some thing to take and I have to give it a fair trial and it may do me some good and my own Dr. will let him know how I am getting on he also told me that I have two distinct complaints and the one is just going against the other so here I have to lie and wait till I see what God in his goodness has in store for me but sometimes it is not so easy to get all a Doctor prescribes. 

Tam is still working with Slimmons horses but he is not very strong at times, things are very dull here the duke seems to have nothing to do for no body the one half of his men are paid off uncle William is still kept on yet and we are very glad for his is so much failed he would not be very able to go about seeking work.

Aunt has her kind regards to you and bids me say you are not to be long in writing she wearies more now as ever she did to hear from you and bids me say she is glad you are all well and the two boys thriving well some times she thinks she would like to see them but it is not likely she ever will now

I must stop for I am tired with kind love to you all every one and all friends in which Aunt joins I am your affectionate cousin Marion Brown

be sure and write soon