Edinburgh, 1st August 1802
My dear John — I am sorry to fall back into the old style; but it is necessary to tell you that your letter of the 11th May is still the latest we have received from you, &c.
We are all here in our usual way. How often shall I repeat that apology for all intelligence? and how infallibly does it come to be less true, upon every repetition! The little changes, which do not seem to impair its accuracy, accumulate so fast in a few years of absence, that our usual way comes to be something very different from our old one. Marriage itself implies a great number of little changes; and it is probable you may think me a good deal altered, while I am unconscious of any other alteration, &c.
It has been a cold wet summer with us, and we predict another scarcity. Speculate upon that, Mr. Merchant, and come over with your cargo. I am going to write a book upon law next year — though, upon my honour, I do not know upon what subject. Everybody exhorts me to do it, and I am too polite to resist the entreaties of my friends, and too modest to set my own conviction of my inability against their unanimous opinion. I must have more money, that is the truth of it, and this will be an experiment to catch some. — Believe me always, dear John, most affectionately yours.