2nd May 1861

My dearest Mother
I received your kind and welcome letter yesterday the 1st of May and glad was I to see it and hear you were well and in good health; I have missed a couple of mails but quite unintentional I assure you. I was not aware of the date of the departure of the mails till it was too late: this will leave here tomorrow for Bombay. I was glad you were pleased with the likeness I sent, they are not first rate but it was only a amateur that done them; the first chance I get of having a good one done I will send you a copy.
Becky I am happy to say is keeping well and little Jamie is quite jolly, they have both been much better since we came to Roorkee; it is a nice healthy station, and where I am living now is such a fine position in having a fine view, and of getting all the wind that is going which is great thing to look at this time of year, this being the time we get grilled and almost ready for eating:- it is pretty hot here just now but I dont feel the heat here as bad as I did at Meerut; the evenings are beautiful even now, and through the day we have what we call Tatties placed at the door, the side that the wind is blowing. They are made of Bamboo frame work covered with a kind of reed that grows on the bank of rivers, and I have a native always throwing water on them; you would be astonished the good they do; outside the wind is as hot as if you were standing at a furnace  with the doors open, still inside the is lovely and cool. I have also what we call punkahs, that is a framework of wood covered with cloth suspended from the roof and pulled backwards and forwards by a native, which causes a circulation of air through the room: but I can’t say I like them although you can’t do without them at this time.
There is a great deal here about the Amalgamation at present, I really don’t know what to do for the best. If I volunteer for general service I will get 2 Pounds bounty which I am sorry to let slip if possible, and if I don’t I will be placed in some local corps; the thing is I don’t know how it will affect me in my situation. I have only 1 year and 9 months to serve to complete my time and I would almost as soon leave the Service as lose  my present billet, but whatever I do I will do for the best;  as for the soldiering part of the business I will leave that to those that likes it better, everything smells too much of pipeclay and red tape since the Royals came in the country.
I was sorry to hear about Bob HUTCHISON, I saw him in Dinapore in 1854 when I was marching up country; he did not know me until I told him who I was. I have always thought it was poor Bob that told you where I was as I never could find out how you got my address or even knew that I had enlisted. You remember Zack, the Elder in the church? I wonder if he knew his son John was here, poor fellow he is dead too; he tried hard to get into the Artillery along with me, but it was not allowed; we were going to go as cousins, he belonged to the infantry. I was Corporal on the gate in Warby depot when he marched in (as) a recruit; wasn’t I astonished to see him and he me, but he told me not to mention it in case it might get to his fathers ears.
I am glad that Aunt Agnes was pleased with my likeness. I should like very much to hear from her. How is poor Uncle ADIE?, he must be getting very frail now; and Jamie and Kate?, but I suppose they are married by this time. I should like to hear from them and I wuld give them all the news that is going in this part of the world. What is Alexander doing now? I am glad to hear the children are well; and little Georgie, how old is he now? My little Jamie often puts me in mind of him before I left home; he often talks of his grandma.
My old wifie is trying to scribble a line to you and is grunting and groaning all the while. I suppose you know what with.  I have no news to send you this time but I have been thinking of getting you to ask Mr BOYD about a book on printing, like Savage’s but a late edition. I would also like to know what books are requisite to be in a printing office as the style here is very bad and I would like to better it if possible.
Now my dear Mother for the present good-bye. Give us all the news you can as it is quite cheering to hear from home so bye bye till next mail. Becky sends her best love to you and little Jamie ditto. He is singing away just now so pretty. Expecting to hear from you soon.
I remain your affectionate
Jamie Johnston