1st March 1876

Roorkee
1st March 1876

My dear Mother,

This leaves us all well and hoping it finds you the same. We are all busy packing ready for the start. I hope to leave Roorkee on the 11th and Bombay on the 23rd of this month by the troopship “Jumna” and the trip to England will take, I believe, about 33 days so that I may expect to be in Portsmouth about the 28th of April.

As I am uncertain until I get to Bombay as to whether I will be able to get Jamie home with me in the troopship, I don’t know when I may get to London as if I cannot take him with me. He will have to go by the next P&O Steamer, which leaves Bombay 4 days after me, however it will be a matter of 2 or 3 days. I may stay a couple of days in London and then I will go down to Cambridge and see Aunt Agnes, as it is a short distance from London, and then I will start for “Auld Reekie” (Editor’s Note: affectionate Scots name for Edinburgh), but you will hear from me before then.

You ought to hear the yarns the youngsters have about the trip, it would amuse you and I wish we were off. It is a blessed job this packing. Poor Letty is fagged out as I am only at home morning and evening so that the heavy share of it falls to her lot. I expect she will stare when she looks at the sea for the first time and sees the ships, and in fact it will be quite a sight to me after so many years. The last time I saw a ship was 30th September 1853, the day I landed at Calcutta. (Editor’s Note: see ‘About James Johnston’ for more information on his arrival in India).

You mentioned in your last letter about bringing home some “Tussa” (Editor’s Note: Also known as Tussar which is silk made by Tussar silk worms used for making a saree and other Indian garments) and handkerchiefs. I wish you had spoken earlier as the men only come round at certain times, but I will do what I can at Allahabad where most likely we will see some as we will stay there a couple of days. We are bringing some of that curry powder with us – I hope you will like it – it is a daily dish with us – but we cook it different to what they do at home – Letty can make very good curry she often makes some herself as a change from the books.

We all send our love and kisses hoping to meet you soon

Your affectionate Son

J . Johnston

 

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