Irving, John to William Elphinstone Malcolm (1837/04/17)
106 Princes Street, Edinburgh,
April 17, 1837.
My dear Malcolm,—As I have not heard from you at all since I left Cambridge, I imagine you have forgotten my address, although if I recollect right, I mentioned it in my letter of the 6th March. I see that the “Tyne” has come home, and is paying off at Portsmouth. I have written to Kingston, but have not yet heard from him.
I have been staying in Perthshire for some time past with an uncle of mine (Laurence Craigie, Esq. of Glendoick), and in spite of the bad weather I enjoyed myself very much. My brother, the minister, was with me, and remained several days there, as he had to assist a minister in the neighbourhood in administering the Lord’s Supper. I have had a great many pleasant walks and conversations with him. I am just going now to stay a week with some relations in Lanarkshire, and I hope, on my return, to find a letter from you waiting for me. My stay on shore is quite uncertain; but I can hear of no prospects of promotion, or anything to be gained by going to sea. I find visiting very unfavourable to reading, and have had but little these last three weeks. Among other books, I have been reading Lockhart’s Life of Sir Walter Scott, in which my father is a good deal mentioned at the earlier part. The whole country for the last month has been a sheet of snow, and the grain, which ought to have been a foot high, is in many places unsown, and in many more they are still busy ploughing. If this lasts a few days longer, there will be a famine, they say, next year. The accounts of the distress in the Highlands are fearful, and it is thought that before long it will be general. The thermometer goes down to 25° every night, and the young lambs have perished in great numbers.
I hope you will write to me soon, and, if you have fixed your plans for the summer, you will let me know where I can address a letter to you. I hope you will find it possible to pay me a visit. I am sure you would find much in this neighbourhood very interesting.—I am, yours most faithfully,