Thomason College Press
7th June 1870
My dear Mother
I received your very welcome letter and was so glad to hear you were quite well. I am happy to say this leaves us all enjoying good health.
You all seemed much pleased at the prospect of seeing me again. Well, I am really thinking of applying for leave on Medical Certificate and was thinking of bringing Letty and the family home-but on second thoughts I find I could not do it without going to a dreadful expense which I could not afford without breaking up my house and selling off at a great sacrifice which would take me years to recover. And Letty herself does not care for the trip- of course she would like to go-but she has no idea of what the sea is like or even a ship-the nearest she has been to either has been about 900 miles. The government will pay my passage home and back-but not the family.
I spoke to Colonel Medley the other day about it and he was quite pleased and told me that I really ought to go. He is going home himself next year on furlough.
Now my dear Mother, if I get my leave- and see nothing to prevent it-I will come and see the old place again, but I want you to come back with me. You have had enough of care and toil and it is time that I should do something for you. The country would agree with you. None of your biting cold winds here, why what we call cold you would call pleasant weather and even the heat-those that are able to afford it can keep it out. You ought to feel my house when I come home at four-like an ice house.
Now my dear Mother, it really is my wish and also Lettie’s, that you come back with me so you must write me by return of post- the mail leaves every week. There is nothing to keep you at home and here you would have every enjoyment and comfort around you.
I was thinking of applying only for 9 months leave, of course I could get more, but I have to look at the expense as I have to keep the pot boiling in Roorkee while I am away. If I am lucky enough I will get for the first 6 months my military pay and half of my staff allowance which will be about Rs200 (£20) a month, but after that I will only get the rate of £60 a year. It would take me three months going and coming and would leave me 6 months at home.
I wrote to Jamie the other day and told him I was going to Scotland and that his Granny was coming back with me and he was so pleased to think you were coming and hoped you would be here before the Xmas holidays, when he will be home for 2 months. Ernest and Ann are prating all day about their Grandmamma coming from England (sic) Umeera dadee Wilayet se aya (they all talk all Hindustani).
I was very sorry to hear of Mr John’s death (Editor’s Note:-Person unknown but possibly of the Boyd family). He must have grown up a good looking young man for he was as fine boy when I saw him last, but you remember I used to mend his toys for him. Both Mr and Mrs Boyd must have felt the stroke very much, and his poor mother seems to have doted on him so much that she must have felt it very acutely.
I was astonished to hear of Dr Johnston‘s marriage. He must be getting an old man now and I would have thought past that sort of thing.
I see by your letter that Alexander’s children (Editor’s Note: – Alexander Paterson) are pleased that I am coming. I don’t suppose either Ann or George, although they may remember me, would know me now.
I have not heard from Aunt Agnes (Editor’s Note:-Agnes Johnston-she was described as Matron and her address was The Spinning House, Cambridge). I wrote to her at the same time I wrote to you last. I am glad to hear she is quite well. I know she will be pleased to see me.
I am sorry to hear of Uncle Christopher (Editor’s Note:- person unknown) being so poorly and badly off. It must come hard upon him in his old age.
And Uncle Adie too. I was glad to hear he was quite well and old Jamie MacNeil. – Is he still there? (Editor’s Note:- people unknown although James Johnston’s mother’s maiden name was Adie). I hope to have a chat with them both yet. I know what it will be, the numberless questions I’ll be asked-wi “lash man” every now and then.
I was dreaming the other night of calling on Mr Burness and that he was so glad to see me down in his old house in Drummond Place.
Do you ever see Bob Paton at all ? (Editor’s Note: Person unknown) If you do give him my best respects.
Remember me kindly to Alexander and all the children – and all enquiring friends.
Letty sends her love to you and hopes to have you a little closer to her, poor girl, she has nobody but me to look to and I know you will like each other when you meet.
Good-bye for the present and hope to hear from you by return of post- don’t wait to write a long letter, just a few words to say you are well and hearty and that you will come to India with your ‘boy’. I was quite amused at that word in your letter for I am getting rather an old fashioned one now.
your affectionate Son