Letter #11

Written from St Lucia

Mrs Steward was Mrs English’s sister Sarah, of whose death English has just heard; Mrs Meyer was her sister Edith, who had died some years previously.

Sunday morning ½ past 9 o’clock
21st June 34

And now my dear Kate a word with you – it will not answer to give all my efforts to that little brat Cara. At this moment I cannot surmise whether you are at Stoke Park or have returned to Wickham but doubtlessly this will find you at the latter. The sudden intelligence of your sister’s decease, which never once entered my thoughts on seeing the black edged paper, caused me at the moment to be more upset than I could have supposed possible at the distance of time since the unhappy event took place. I could not recover myself for a day or two, nor can I now look back to the happy days we have passed at Ipswich in early life, and associating the presence of both Mrs Steward & Mrs Meyer with the greater portion of those past agreeable hours, without sighing. What changes we have witnessed during the time. It appears to me when I sit here by myself a dream, in fact a chaos. My ideas become confused – change upon change come so rapidly one upon the other that I would willingly not reflect. When will our separation terminate? These few months already appear as years, and how I am to get on month after month is beyond my conception. I exist in St Lucia but it is banishment and the uncertainty of one’s lot keeps a poor fellow in a constant fever and agitation. As to a Brevet, I give up all hopes of such good fortune & I doubt whether they would not keep me here for my period of service in command for I cannot help thinking that Sir C S has any thoughts of moving. All his conversation tends to the subject of going to England. After thinking as I have just written for an hour or two, the spirit overcomes all melancholy thoughts and rises above it. I recover myself and defy the blues. We expect Sir Lionel Smith here shortly in the Belvedere to remain a few day, inspect the 76th and settle some other military matters. It will be quite a break to see the Offrs of that ship. Did I relate to you the fracas which took place respecting Lady Lenox? It ended in Lord L calling out the First Lt at Barbados but no blood was spilt. If I mention my dog in all my letters you will exclaim that Fred & his father are a pr – dog Toby & dog Fritz. However you may laugh but it is trifling matters that at times cause the greatest interest. I never play with Mr Fritz but I think of you all, & of the morning when Anne and Isabella were raving after the great awkward pup now grown into a noble dog and my constant companion. I left him, I wrote you word in my last, at Pigeon Island in charge of Lady S who with Sir C took a fancy to him. The lady asked me for him but that would not do. They allowed him to sleep under their bed but one night he got between them and on their wishing to dismiss him he showed fight. Sir C Smith had to get up to turn his lordship out. This story has caused a laugh as you may suppose and Fritz has become quite a character here, petted and admired by everybody excepting the Blacks to whom he is very uncivil unless acquainted. I intimated to you that I had drawn 30£ dated 11th inst 3 days after date. It will be some time before it reaches England. Your accounts will become flourishing, I trust, as that sum will last me for some time. I am allowed 3 shilling pr diem for Sert, but that hires them and pays my washing also with some trifle over. Then 30£ odd pounds are deducted by Cox & Co for quarters in this Country but I receive 20£ & something more for an office which is paid here. I am in great hopes that you will not be troubled about money matters, and will get on as gayly as your nice sweet girls will keep you if you are but willing.

The following is written on a cover, which may have covered a letter to his daughter Caroline (Cara).

My kit is excellent but shirts so large that I am at a loss what to do to pack away all the extra stuff. I have torn off about a ¼ of a yd from the bottom but the sleeves bother me so – I cannot get my Jacket over them. Black hand and very narrow stocks the width of this fold of my paper will be useful. The heat is such that I rarely button up my Jacket, never wear a waistcoat and no stock except on great occasions when I suffer a great perspiration. In bed we use here only a sheet & that I slept without last night. The little lamp you put in is delightful. I am waiting for the next Bag of letter with great anxiety as you will have recd some of mine before the packet’s departure from England. Regards to Miss Parker– the letters from her are I assure you a great delight. God bless you my dear Kit. A black Corpl has just shown his white teeth to say that he is come for my letter. I have written until my fingers are nearly done but could fill sheet to you had I time. Am happy to find Jane is better – remember me to her. Would she like a Black Sergt Major for her companion thro life? I trust your new factotum gets on to your satisfaction. Adieu, remember me to all friends. How are the Catisfield party?

Believe me
Your attached
Fred E
Sunday 21st June