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28th Janry 1855

My own dear Brother,

I received your letter last night and as may well imagine was much grieved at its contents though I cannot too much thank you for the candour with which it was written and your strictness in keeping your promise to me was very pleasing. The trials of this life dear John are often very hard to bear especially as it is not given us to see the blessings hidden under our afflictions, to me it seems as though your ill health was sent to lead you to think of other things than of this world. Does it not seem ordained to make you fix your affections on things above and to use this life only as a ladder by which you may ascend to Heaven. If so, are you not blessed before all of us who have health and strength but who I fear are too much taken up with the cares and pleasures of this world. Cast not away therefore your confidence which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done (or suffered) the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

John Scurr tells me that you are anxious and afraid about your coming examinations, there can be no disgrace dear John should you not pass them as ill health alone prevented your studies. Had idleness or disinclination been the cause then there would have been cause for shame, but not now. Father says this, and we all agree. I shall enquire of Mr Nesham all that you wish to know, and shall tell you strictly what he says. You must try however to keep your spirits up, for there is always room for hope and you have youth on your side. Be very particular this cold weather to keep yourself warmly and sufficiently clad, and to live comfortably. I am not with you to see you have all the little comforts which an invalid needs so I trust you in no way neglect yourself. Do not be too much alone either, but get your companions to spend an hour or two with you whenever they can.

When the winter is over I should like to pay you a visit as I think a change of air would do me good and Mrs Semple is too gay for me. Jessie Hewett left me on Saturday, she desired her kind remembrances to you. She and James were at the ball on Thursday night and appeared to have enjoyed it very much. Old Miss Pybus has not been very well lately. I went to see her yesterday afternoon and found her sitting over the fire with a bonnet and veil on. If it is such a lovely morning and Lizzie and I are going to Bensell to see Miss Nunton. We are going to indulge in the luxury of a cab one way. Write to me dear John and tell me what said the Doctor after sounding you, we are all very anxious to hear and you shall know this week what Mr Nesham says. With very much love ever your affectionate sister.

Margaret

    P.S. Miss Loulson of Sandyford was married on Saturday to a Mr Arnison a merchant from America. They had a carriage and 4 horses.