Letter #46

Not dated at head, but written from Demerara on 15 December 1835 

Sir Andrew Halliday was an eminent medical practitioner and had held the post of Inspector of Hospitals for the West Indies since 1833. The charges against him appear to relate to leakages of confidential information to the press. 

Do not be offended my dear Kate if this letter happens to be shorter than usual. I have heard of a Brig that is to sail tomorrow morning early, and avail myself of the chance to give you a few lines. Augustus and the prospect he has of being thrown upon our efforts again to fix him in life are constantly uppermost in my mind. That he has been idle I have for some time had my suspicions of. His letters were written in such an extremely loose and careless stile. It will be a bitter piece of intelligence when it reaches me, but I much fear from the last accounts you forward that he is not destined for our Corps. Certainly I did look forward to his success with pleasure, I may add with pride. It was most unfortunate that he ever went into the room with Oldfield – he must meet the disappointment with spirit. Poor boy – he will have time to regret all his life probably his want of steady exertion, but it will not, as you observe, do to distress him at the moment of his misfortune. Some star favorable to him will yet shine upon poor Gusto and his bright ideas aid him at the moment of examination, I trust, thus afford you a more pleasing subject to write to me on and spare me the painful thought of what is to be done with him, for in truth, after reflecting on the matter day after day, I cannot at this distance suggest what may be for the best. Enough of this, but I am almost decided not to give you an account of anything that has passed under the common appellation of gaity, for you have so frequently made the comparison of the gay life I lead and the dulness of yours at Wickham. Whereas one is a life of torment, stupidity, without one comfort to recommend it, and the other home. For the gay portion I recount to amuse you one day in a month or two, probably I pass tens & tens by myself, sometimes not a soul to speak to for days together, make my own tea and half the tough old hen or what is called beef stake, until I have been so weary that I would give up a part of my exertion to ensure enjoying the rest without the trouble of eating. When I came out I told you I would go through with the transportation with spirit, and still feel determined to do so. Nothing is to be gained by knocking under. T Naghten Esqr landed here from the Underwood on Sunday 13th Decr 1835. Yesterday, after the General’s Levée I rode down to Johnston & McCalmuck’s Store, and there I soon fixed my eyes on his good looking fresh English face, looking rather in dismay at finding himself amongst shop lads in what they are pleased to call a store, but in truth a retail store containing every sort of article excepting good ones that English Merchants palm on these Colonies. I soon had him by the hand and very glad the young fellow was to see me. He is grown a fine young man – he has just left me having been here to breakfast & I have begged he will make this his house of call whenever he has an idle hour. We talked you all over & over again, but laughed exceedingly at the shop, which he repeatedly said, ‘I don’t like the shopboy business’. Mind what you say before Mrs Naghten, she certainly cannot understand what a House in Demerara is. Of course I strongly recommended his sticking to business and going thro with whatever was the custom. Still, when he came out with ‘but Capt English, I do not like serving out a yard of linen, selling a Ham or ½ dozen lb of bacon’, I could not help joining his hearty laugh. Moreover the lads in these places are not the stile of young men he has been accustomed to associate with. He must get on for he appears well disposed and good humoured in the extreme – no doubt I shall see much of him. This letter will hardly be acceptable but I shall write again immediately & it is more than likely that the next will reach you first. Naghten’s letter is enclosed which I requested he would write here in addition to a long one he has ready giving an account of his voyage. So much for my young friend – remember me to Mrs Naghten when you meet and tell her fate led me to another of their Estates, Golden Fleece. I went to stay & Lima on the Saturday with Mr & Mrs Rose, just arrived at dinner time & found a large party of ladies assembled, staying also. On Monday we all went to the Caledonian Ball given by the Scotch of this country. It passed of well enough & we returned 12 miles home to breakfast. Several of the Garrison joined, making about 15 or 16 visitors reminding me of the Highlands. I returned on Saturday 5th after passing a very sultry but other respects an agreeable week. The Cap and shoulder straps have arrived, but the other package was not landed when I sent to Tom’s shop. Many thanks my dear Kate for your attention. The flannel I require very much. All is preparation here for a Genl Court Martial on Sir Andrew Halliday – no doubt Mrs Naghten can tell you somewhat of his offences in this Colony. I escape as a member. Several officers, Captains, are expected by the Duke of York hourly & Thompson of ours is ordered up from Berbice. Nothing worth relating has occurred since I last wrote. Your next dispatches I rather dread, but will endeavour to face the reverse of my long long hopes bravely. My health, thank God, is excellent & I have lost that constant thick feel I always had for years on my chest. All I want or wish now is to be with you again for I am thoroughly home sick. The rains have commenced here & we are all frogs & mud. Still, Demerara is not to be despised as a station. The 76 have quitted St Lucia, I shd have missed them dreadfully. My next Envelope shall contain letters to my other dear correspondents – more of the Pomeroon trip. Adieu my dear Kate, love & regards to all. I trust dear Fred is with you. Kiss the girls for me. Regards to Miss Parker & remember me to my Uncle whose charming letter shall be answered shortly. Don’t forget Aunts, MOB & all friends

believe me your ever aff Fred E

quite well 15th Decr 1835