To David Brodie, December 31, 1788

Here you may perhaps stare up, and exclaim—“Why, what does the fellow mean? If he sat pining in that deplorable case, was it not his own fault? Was there no liquor in the house?” Aye; but my friend you don't consider that drinking is destructive to reason, and reason, in her purest state, is requisite when 1 write to you. And, moreover, drinking is the bane of frugality, and frugality is one of the essentials of a pedlar, and I am a pedlar; so you see no wonder I suffered patiently, when I suffered rightly. But to conclude—

Dear sir, adieu! may success, health, and peace,
Crown your each year, and every labour too;
And, sure, if virtuous worth claims human praise,
Fate yet in keeping holds a wreath for you.

Fraught with fresh blessings be this coming year;
And should some period of its fav'ring reign
Admit the pedlar's joy, he'll homeward steer,
And hail your mansion and his friend again.

     I am,
          RESPECTED SIR,
                   ALEXANDER WILSON.

ST. ANDREWS, Dec. 31, 1788.