Sunday, August 16, 2015

Townfoot, 17 January 1883

 Marion Brown, "helpless as ever," and four years into a phase of not being able to walk, reports on the winter weather in Sanquhar.*  She's also very grateful for a gift from America, and concerned about Aunt's ever declining health. (Spoiler alert: Aunt Agnes will live almost another twenty years from when this letter was written.) Mention of the men in the family knitting socks around the fire, in the old days; and the mention of swine curds, of course.

*Given the date, I was kind of hoping this extreme weather might be an echo of Krakatoa, which created worldwide weather havoc when it exploded in 1883--but that wouldn't happen for another few months after Marion's letter was written.  Nope, just the usual rotten winter along the Nith.
17th January 1883

My Dear Friends

I write to let you know that I received your very welcome letter all right give Uncle John my kind regards and say to execpt my best thanks for the present he sent me I can not write in words the gratitude I feel in my heart for his kindness to me as the saying goes a friend in need is a friend indeed, and I hope you will always have plenty and may God give you a blessing and good health for what in this world can we enjoy if we have not health.

I was glad to see from your letter that you was all well when you wrote and I hope this will find you still enjoying the same precious blessing. Aunt sends her kind regards to you all and many thanks for your kindness you are to tell uncle John that she has got a pair of new clogs of the money he sent but she can not get them so neat now as when uncle Joseph and him used to be knitting stockings at the Bogg fire for she is bothered with corns. She was just telling me she thinks she sees them and hears them talking, poor body there is not so much difference of her to look at but her strength is failing and she is much stifer, I have to tell you she would not join the waggon with you but she could milk the cow and make you swine curds yet but she is a little slower in the step now as when you saw her. 

I hope you will get on well with your market but you must have patience and give it a fair trial a person cannot get on all at once, you have pretty long hours but there is always a something so we must just put up. We had a very severe snow storm here Aunt saw Mr. Kennedy of Brandley one day and he told her he had never seen so much snow it was three days before they could get a cart from Brandleys to William Halberts and there was four men working all the time it was not on that road alone but round the whole district there was a complete block up Tam could not get to Wanlockhead with the carts for more than a week and two days there was more than fifty men from Wanlockhead working on Mennock road to get it cleared but the thaw came very mildly which was a good thing if it had come quickly the melting of so much snow might have done great damage. 

I am glad to be able to tell you that Tam and his wife and two boys are all well in the meantime. Uncle William and his wife & family are all well my Sister Sarah is very poorly from what accounts I get there is no hope of her geting better her youngest child died on Christmas morning. I don't feel any better as yet I am lying in bed as helpless as ever but I am very thankful I have the use of my hands it is four years next month since I could walk any and I have suffered a good deal in that time and God alone knows how long I have to lie but I must just hope for the best and leave the result in God's hands he knows what is best for us. 

now I must stop with kind regards to you all in which Aunt and all the rest joins Aunt says you are to write sooner hoping this will find you all well I am your affectionate friend Marion Brown