[DB placed this undated letter in mid-1864. However, it seems more likely to be the 'few lines to your dear wife' that Sarah told Alexander she was going to write in July 1859. They had just got a letter from both Alexander and Andrea, and had also just received photographs of Walter and his family. Also, to ask Andrea to remember Sarah to her father 'when she sees him' does suggest that he was not yet living with them. SH]

My dear Andrea

I feel it was very kind of you to write me those few lines. I am so very much rejoiced to find that your union with my dear Alexander is productive of so much happiness to you both. Poor fellow, he left his home very early in life; too early I think, for he was too young to know what would best promote his interest. We, I think, were shortsighted in permitting him to leave. We ought to have thought more of his spiritual interest and less of his temporal but I have still much to be thankful for, as I believe his brother has ever been most watchful over his temporal interest and has been his friend and adviser, which has to a degree satisfied me and now I trust with a good and loving wife he would be able to manage for himself should dear Walter in the Providence of God be removed from him; but I hope his life will be long spared for the sake of himself, his wife and his dear children.

I was very much pleased to have a sight of them all, though only in miniature. Walter looks much improved in appearance. I think his wife has been at work. Good wives, like their husbands should be seen to advantage. She herself looks a nice, affectionate, motherly woman. Indeed your and her likenesses serve but to heighten our love towards you both and I am quite happy in the marriage of both my sons. I hope your dear father is equally. I am sorry to hear he is confined to a sick bed. I hope it is only for a time. Remember me to him, when you see him although I be a stranger.

Alex tells me there is no prospect at present of a little family. Never mind, you will be better prepared when they do come. They are sure to bring with them trials as well as pleasure.

I should like to see a prospect of your settling in England, but I am afraid to say much about it lest you should come and be disappointed. There is great difficulty here in getting on as I should wish to see you; indeed to get a mere living (unless you have a fortune to begin with) is considered doing great things.

With my best love and best wishes, believe me ever,

My dear Andrea

Your affectionate mother,

S. Murray