Letter #126

Falmouth had a fast mail service to other parts of England because packet ships from all over the world landed the mail here. We cannot tell whether English or the letter reached Wickham first, but the postmark ‘Falmouth 20 July’ confirms that his ship anchored in time to catch the post.

Off the Lizard Pt 20th July 1839

On the chance my dear Kate that the good Brigantine Seagull will anchor in Falmouth roads this evening in time to post these few lines, I write – but am doubtful if such will be our good luck. At all events I shall land tomorrow morning and if possible proceed for Portsmouth by Steamer on monday morning the 22 Inst with Capt Rutherfurd & I may add the greater part of our passengers. Cold, dear Kate, cold! Dear Kit – have a good fire &c &c. If you get this by the post that quits Falmouth tonight, it will be in advance. However, the luck may be that I arrive before it. Wednesday ought to be the outside extent of my separation from all that I hold dear. There is such confusion and bustle that I cannot add more. Do not send to meet me at Gosport as much depends on the time the Steamers depart whether I advance upon Wickham by sea or land.

God bless you all

Yours affectionately

Fred English

Steady – ship rolls.

‘Whether I advance on Wickham by sea or land’: 20 July was a Saturday, and his plan was to catch a steamer to Portsmouth on the Monday. Failing that, he would have to  travel by land, which would take longer.