In this picture Campbell capitalised on public interest in the fate of troops engaged in putting down the Indian Mutiny. It shows an old locksmith who has just received a letter from his soldier son.
The model for the old man appears to be the same one used in the artist's painting, 'Waiting for legal advice', also in the Walker Art Gallery colection.
The letter in the man's hands reads:
'Lucknow March 1858. My dear old Daddy, I dare say you will read this in the old shop and here am I under the burning sun of India.'