21st Jan 1866

My dear Mother

A Happy New Year to you – it is some time since I got a letter from you, not since you sent me your likeness, I hope you are quite well and jolly. And I have not heard from Aunt Agnes for some time. As for the Drummond people, they have got too proud nowadays, however they will answer the next letter I send.

I enclose the first of exchange on the Royal Bank of Scotland for £10, which I trust will reach you safely, and I know my dear mother, I should have done something of this kind long ago, but somehow I always managed to put it off to some other time, which of course never came. It will enable you to get a few comforts for yourself.

How is everybody and everything getting on at home? I seldom see a Scotch  paper, in fact I have so much work in my press that I am obliged to do a great deal of writing at home and have not got much time for reading.

We hear bad accounts about the cattle plague at home, it must be a bad thing indeed. (Editors note-From 1865-67 mass slaughter of cattle resulted in order to eradicate this highly contagious viral disease, often called Rinderpest).

How is the Rev Dr GEORGE JOHNSTON looking? Is he still in the old Kirk? It must have been a sad blow to him, her dying.

Tell me all the news when you write.

I have written by this Mail (which leaves today) to Messrs COWAN, the Paper Makers in Princes Street (Editor’s note-Edinburgh), for to send me samples and prices of paper. We use a great deal and have been getting it from SMITH ELDER in London, but their prices are very high and of course I want to buy at the cheapest market. Why, my last invoice from them was £1,500 and some of the things are an awful price. I spoke to the Major about it and he told me to write now. If you were to ask Mr BOYD, he might drop a note to Messrs COWAN or anybody else he would like, to send samples of all kinds of paper, printers, writing, coloured and drawing – I also would like Lithographic Binding Materials list of prices sent me.

We had great games in the Station two days ago among the troops. It broke the monotony of Indian life a little. It is seldom you see anything of the kind.

Now my dear Mother, write soon, and let me know how you are getting on. With love to self and regards to all enquirers from

your affectionate Son

J. Johnston

I am going to take Jamie off to school next month. He is grown a big chap and never has a day’s sickness. Letty and young squeaker are all right