Letter #110

22d Sept 38

Ah! my good dear Kate, you are little aware of the feelings an unfortunate fellow has to encounter in hot climate, and I trust you never will be brought to such punishment, but the commencement of your last letter caused the reflection and the closing did not tend to cool the temperament one has to endure from morning until night and night until morning. However, today it is more to be tolerated being only 85 or ‘6 in the shade, but it is a wicked practice on the part of our superiors to force the examination of Estimates and keep up the attendant correspondence during the hurricane months. Thus far we have escaped with some few heavy blasts and terrific thunder with lightning and all begin to be sanguine that we are to escape such a visitation this year – I trust so may be the case. All yesterday & today I have been employed in office business. I might add many more days for in truth the harder one works the more there appears to be done, and our Genl has but a sorry set about him to transact any thing with other departments, which consequently involves additional trouble to all, for he has not a soul about him that understands business. All young helpless men or old women. If this were to go to the Horse Guards, what then? I should have to take up the shooting Irons with all in my own defence. So Mr Green reported me superlatively happy – my countenance most certainly was not an index of my mind on the occasion for his embarkation, but I suppose, poor man, he repeated what I told him to say, and so would the poor Macaw had it lived, that I was as happy and contented as I could be without the comforts of my family. The birds could not have met with fair play, however they were a present to me. Some few may serve to ornament English Hall yet when I return. The Tamarinds were the produce of my garden, preserved by Charlotte the washerwoman of whom Capt Tait knows the black phiz. Tell him the poor thing is very very ill with liver complaint – I doubt if she will ever be good for much. You might have been more complimentary as to the handkerchiefs. Their value was trifling, still the intention of shewing you the costume & stile of head dress was at all event in me disposed. As to your wearing them, I never gave it a thought, but I can inform you that few today go from hence without taking the pattern of the tie so much admired on the french of these colonies. They have amused the children and I am repaid for any trouble I took in forwarding them, for truly, everything of the most trifling nature is trouble and required exertion, even to eating, drinking or changing the clothes. Thank dear Gusto for his short note – it was most acceptable. What took him home so unexpectedly? Whilst I think of it, tell my good friend Capt Tait that his pet hospital is to be reconstructed – orders came by the last Packet, his recommendation shall be attended to. The son of an old friend of his, a Lt Reilly 1st West India Regt, has got into my good graces and I have applied for him as an Assistant Engr. He will go to Tobago, the Genl has authorised it. Lt Mould & his wife with three children joined here after kicking about at sea for 13 days from Grenada the day before yesterday. You must recollect him at the Base and he dined with us in company with Capt Pringle at Stalleen when Johnny was appointed a tithe or poor law commissioner. They lost one horse & were nearly making their departure – are very much harassed but delighted to get from Grenada which was very sickly. Thus all the pet stations get their turn. Fred is giddy and misses opportunities of writing probably. I heard of him quite well the end of March last thro Capt O’Brien 70 Regt who has a brother quartered there. Your package due with your letter 15th Augt date has not been recd. Likely enough it will arrive by the next Mails with a seven dollar charge. Much therefore of the miserable tale respecting my sister is yet unknown to me, but I have sufficient to feel extremely unhappy and miserable on their account, nor can I forsee any hope for relief. Their minds, as you observe, must be totally regenerated. How they have been led on, who is their evil genius appear to me a mystery. Could it be possible that three persons with common sense and feelings of the most trifling attachment to either one or the other of their brothers could have been duped by indifferent persons? Ah me! my return to England will be attended with some most painful reflections. I at times wish you all here until I mount my horse & meet pale faces, sickly children & every thing that is detestable. But abroad we must go. I have half a mind to get home on leave in the spring if they do not relieve me for some months & then settle whether to thro up this Comd altogether & wait for employment or return with a part of my family, for in truth to be pestered on all sides with official matters and worried from home is not to be endured. Even my elastic temper or disposition as you term it is overwhelmed by constant irritation from one source or the other. I’ve written enough today, am cross, so adieu dear Kate. 23rd Sept: Warm, more officials from the Military Secty. I wrote such a polite letter to Genl Chapman, but of course every officer must take his tour of duty as the chance of the service offers. Lt Chapman is doing well. Poor little Mould – I was very sorry at his loss. Lt McCausland would have remained here had he shewn a spark of energy but I could not extract any out of him. He had lived with his mother all his life. Already I have an application from him at Berbice to be removed. This I would willingly do if they would send me officers. Now let the Cocoa Nut story rest. The trees were nearly all blown down at the hurricane. Others are planted and if you will come out for a few years they will repay, it is said, about 1£ each tree pr Ann. Otherwise some less extravagant person than myself will benefit by their predecessors’ planting. There ends the Cocoa Nut question & Mrs Reid’s information. Whatever my unfortunate misguided sister may say in her misery respecting me is of no avail as to the fact. I have never acted by word or deed towards them but as a warm hearted affectionate brother & I must add, so far as I know, you have at all times been eager to act most kindly in their interest, however you may have condemned them. Why have you hunted up a trifling remark I wrote about our dear lassies and the Gardiners drawn from me by the tenor of some of the letters then before and merely expressing a wish. As they appeared such friends & being aware that the same feeling did not exist at Catisfield, that my party shd be steady in their friendship, not regarding the opinion of others. Why, dear Kate, you must be billious indeed to have put the following extract to paper, whatever your thoughts might be: ‘It is a proof that you do not know or estimate the characters of your own children & certainly not the girls’. Here is a philippic to send across the Atlantic. I am reading your letter thro line by line, Mrs Kit, as you remark that I never do. The Gardiner tale took a page & a half of your letter, far more than I am willing to spare them, and as to my expenses which comes next, go to your desk again & make the calculation of ‘eight against one’ with care & generously without being biased by the goods of this world, dear Kit. On reference I find that since last Jany I have drawn somewhere about 220£ with some in hand – I cannot give detail, but the last year did not amount to my Comd pay, expenses being subject to purchase of Horses, furniture &c &c &c, & in moving, dress. Against this expenditure I have my 3 horses, furniture, stock of Cattle & sheep, pigs &c &c, but in truth I cannot enter into all this. To be looked upon here as a stingy fellow and reproached from home as a direct opposite character is too much. Thus on I must go so long as the spirit last. Thank God it is not easily broke down. I fought a battle for myself

Red ink begins here

[words illegible] officers with the Artillery which few would have ventured to as for rights and economy, which for a time brought upon me the unfavorable opinion of many fools, & gained my object which was to withdraw from Messing as a matter of course whenever the REs chose so to do. This I never would have done had the Mess been carried on with economy & the R Engrs a fair voice to curtail the expenses. I quitted intending it as a temporary measure, then I was ordered by the Comd R Artillery officer to attend. Oh! oh! is this what you are about, I will not, nor shall my officers unless willing. Try the question any way you like, but aware that your Mess is not preferred by the result, for very probably the Corps of REs will withdraw altogether. However, I have no such object. I would rather support the Mess with all exertion but it must be voluntarily. At present, when not engaged, I chop at home, read for an hour & turn in. There is a page of red rubbish [two lines illegible] I do hope to get home and out of this, not terminate altogether, and let those who can enjoy it have the important command. It will more than ½ kill a newcome if he is a fidget or fears responsibility. Capt Rutherfurd has just been here with his hands full of off papers – he says he has finished his love letter & I must conclude now dear Kate. The Genl talks of making his tour in our steamer next month – we shall see, he does not much like it. The officers, in no eleven, of the Seringapatam were nearly lost at Antigua. The boat capsized – it was a perfect miracle that they were all saved from sharks or being drowned. I have not heard whether Naughten was of the party or not. At least all were rescued after being in the sea some time. The night before last a sentry, Black, shot himself on his post & yesterday a Corpl 36 shot a Sergt – shocking are the effects of Rains. How is Mrs Hawker & MOB? Kind regards to them, particularly to the latter. Who is Loudon you write of? Is it the young lad that draws so well? Best love to the dear children & yourself. I will not bother you by sending any more thimbles from hence, they only vex you. You forgot to sign your last letter.

And now my dear amiable but fussy wife, adieu & believe me

Your afft Fred E

I hope to find you are all better by the next accounts – what more can I say? Ask John to make a stir at the Horse Guards with Lord FitzRoy about the CB for me. I have written to Sir F Mulcaster on the subject. Regards to Miss Parker – I missed her report much last packet, her letters are so cheery. Kiss the children.