Letter #104

29th June 1838

To commence my dear Kate I will remark that the Express Packet has arrived about half past seven this morning, but no letters have reached me yet. If yours are even half as charming as the last I shall verily be in most enviable spirits. Capt Rutherfurd came in soon after reading your Wickham dispatch with budget of officials, and what is a rare occurrence with me, but I could not resist giving him an extract or two that he might make the comparison within himself – is my wife half so enchanting? He was much amused with what I favored him with, the cogitation part I never arrived at. In one of that most agreeable person’s letters to me, I think 31st Jany 38, the lady writes in perfect rapture respecting a young acquaintance of ours formerly in the Foot Artillery. I am perfectly disposed to agree with the good Miss Parker, however, as being a first rate critic herself, may I beg to know in the following quotation which ocean is alluded to? –‘the shoals & quicksands of this deceitful Ocean’ quote Parker, always supposing the wide wide ocean was free from such impediments. Query: is this an allegory or a discovery in the northern seas in which I well know my good friend has beat about? How impertinent, Miss Parker will exclaim. You will regret to learn, although not much acquainted, that Lt Mould who called at Wickham, died at Dominica on or about the 4th June. That Colony has been unusually unhealthy, seven or 8 of the Artillery dead and their officer, Lt Irwin, forced to leave the Island having suffered so severely. An officer, Lt O’Brien 74th Regiment, also dead, and some men. He was a fine young fellow. But my dear Kate, as usual when wishing to write quietly to you, I am overwhelmed with official papers, returns and visitors. The Milty Secretary has just left me with public papers refered by the Genl. Capt Rutherfurd, who is I think a treasure in his official capacity, independent of his being a worthy good fellow & merry companion, has walked off with Capt Graham 70th with all the new arrival of black & white foolscap which I detest the sight of as much as Sir Howard Elphinstone did. And now dear Kate I have just your short, still acceptable letter 1st of June – the packet has had a fine passage. Agreeable as your letter is, I must add that the intelligence respecting my esteemed Uncle has alarmed me exceedingly. I do hope it may be my lot yet to see him again. However, until your next letter arrives I almost give up the hope he may rally. It has so unsettled me that you must be contented with a sorry affair of an epistle. The reports from my dear girls & Miss Parker have been late – I conclude they will now reach me by the next packet. I can easily suppose they were put out, agreeably of course, by having company to entertain in the secluded village in a remote part of the Kingdom. I wish I were in it with all my heart. Tell Capt Tait, to whom give my sincere good wishes, that I thank him much for his letter & would reply by this packet but am surrounded with business. He said truly that the time would fly quickly with so much to attend to. In fact it does, however, tell him I agree perfectly in his remark respecting the hospital building, but it is proposed & in the Annual Estimate – King or Queen’s House 2500£ or 2600 granted, this making Rutherfurd very busy. Augustus’ letters are exceedingly amusing & I look forward with the greatest of pleasure to have a portion of his society. He is a sensible fellow & that must comprise all that I can write about dear Toby this dispatch. As to Fred, he will make friends, he cannot help it – he is honest, natural & straight forward – a rara avis. In the present run of army men he will be Adjt no doubt, & the most to be desired berth he could be nominated to for any young fellow who likes his profession. I’ve appointed Capt O’Brien Asst Engr at St Vincent’s. Not decided yet who is to be so at Dominica. By a letter from Major General Chapman, ex Governor of Bermuda, he begins by stating he does not know whether he knows me or not & then continues to recommend a distribution of my officers. I’m to Bundle all asst Engineers, wedder or no, into all what he terms the unhealthy Islands in order to remove Lt Chapman to one he, the M Gen, considers the best – or he will be satisfied if he has Barbados, being under my own eye. The young man is very well & working his way on in the tour of duty. When that is learnt, H Quarter may be his lot. It is an important document altogether. Mr Thistlewaithe is here – I have not seen him very lately but he is well. They have moved their Barracks & are distant from me. I am become as one of the Genl’s family, that is to say I dine with him & his two ADCs twice or more pr week. The Ottoman was recd and acknowledged – it is beautiful. I am going to ride to Judge Alleyne’s today & to sleep there. It accompanies me – the young ladies or Madam wish to see it to copy, I shd suppose. At Jamaica they have passed a bill liberating there Apprentices all on the first of Augst next. Next comes Demerara & St Lucia, which colonies hold back, the former rather supported by Bunbury – he is in the wrong box & has got himself into a scrape. The new Govr, Light, a most gentlemanly man I met at Dominica, has the appointment. Bunbury refused to give up the acting Government to Col Everard sent by the Genl. I thought Mrs P a prosey, slow sort of person, she had too many dears for my understanding. Lt Mundy got his packet. It was his affair to write & thank those who forwarded it. I was so amused at your confessing that your finances were improved. Remember me to Capt Tait, Read & Gradon & all friends. Regards to my poor sick Uncle – I trust I shall receive better accounts, and of Mary OB my betrothed wife, give my love to her. Love to my dear children. So Miss Parker is looking so well – regards there of course. In preparation of a move homewards I shall send the pet Cara, a Blue Macaw, home by Mr Green, Clerk of Works. A rare wigging for L Smith receiving money without the Master Genl’s consent. I am told I shd not allow it, who did no know that it was so until I got the Newspaper. Adieu my dear Kate. Am happy you have seen the Stewards. Remember me to them and believe me Yours aff Fred E.

I have opened my letter to add that the Seringapatam, I think it her, is coming into the bay from Jamaica. Tell Capt T his friend Mr Crichlow has been ill but is better.