Letter #47

English has now come to terms with the reality that promotion is most likely to result in his being given the command in Barbados in place of Sir Charles Smith, while being overlooked for promotion would augur ill for his prospects in the Corps. Hopes for an early return home are fading.

                                                            19th Decr 1835

When you receive this my dear Kate two years of my transportation will nearly have expired. In the course of the third I trust some change will take place for bettering our lot, and that I shall my own dear party again, but the prospect is not flattering. I despair of promotion, and Sir C Smyth being removed would only prolong my sojourn in the W Indies as there is very little doubt they would order me to Barbados. All this has been so frequently written and the same conjectures made over and over again that you must be weary of reading them. Still, they are uppermost in my thoughts and I must have my say. Capt Thompson walked in about 7 this morning having arrived in the Colony Schooner at 4AM from Berbice. My letter of a few days back date intimates his being called up for a Court Martial on Sir Andrew Halliday, thus the Garrison is gradually filling. Four or five Captains are hourly expected in the Duke of York. I now write my dear Kate only for the great pleasure I always have in scribbling to you, for in truth nothing could well have transpired since I sent off the last dispatch worth putting to paper. My health continues excellent, owing probably to a strong constitution, excellent spirits & a steady course – never exceeding & drinking wine or porter without varying, no strong waters of any kind & eating poultry in preference to solid food. It is a long time since I have treated you to a few lines on my regime. T Naghten has sent the parcel – the contents please me exceedingly. My eyes feasted on the flannel, and I lost no time in filling my mouth with filberts – they are excellent. It so happened that I was engaged to a large dinner party at Mr Wilday’s & as the young people had sent me a present of oranges the day before, I took a moderate allowance of Wickham nuts in return, which were produced and divided after dinner, much to the amusement of all the party. The pattern of China is very pretty, the silk makes me three handkerchiefs, an article greatly required in the Capt’s wardrobe. Oh! When my dear Kate is it to be or will it ever be Lt Col? The rank I shd not think so much of, but it would, it might, be the means of not separating me from my family. A comd would follow, & having served here it would be in some more [word missing] climate for your sex. Much as I wish to be with you again, I never have repented leaving you all in Europe. A few days since I called with Major Brookes at a Capt Delafond’s or Delafonce R Navy, lately landed with his family. He is one of the Sty Magistrates. We did not see him, but some of the young ladies observing red coats – you can fancy the curiosity of a family of young girls on their first arrival – sent the sert after us to say that Mamma would receive us, the Capt being out. Accordingly we dismounted, but the Mamma had retreated & we found two young lasses about 18 & 19. Their Mother was laid up with the heat & Mosquitos, & one sister and they were only just enduring life. How I pitied their woes – they were in a state of misery & appeared to enjoy a momentary happiness in relating it to us a countrymen. All the time I chatted with them I was thinking of you & the girls, & contented that you were safe from so many torments. I met them again at dinner on thursday last, wishing themselves home again and disgusted with the climate. Still, this place is not worse than the other quarters. Give my sincere regards to the Miss Gardeners & thank them for the Music and the lavender which has reached me in perfect perfume. Their little notes amuse me exceedingly. I like your all pretending you did not know the gentleman on whom all my praise was bestowed – it was Capt Tait RE. This sposo has nearly worked his time out here and will soon become eligible at Portsmouth. Best love to my daughters and Nieces. So soon as I return won’t I get some of them off – that all – tell them in the sanctum to depend upon my exertions. Such charming women shd not be left adrift, but although I am writing all this to joke & make you laugh, my mind is ill at ease with respect to Augustus. I am exceedingly unhappy and almost look forward to the packet’s arrival with dread. It is useless my dwelling on the subject of his passing until your next letter finally reports his fate. You have done all in your power – I hope for the best. The Clock is of no consequence – I can do well without it. I have not drawn any money since I came to Demerara but must in a few days to the amount of 25£. Thompson will remain here during the Court Martial, probable a fortnight, and my menage requires a few articles to make it passable even. T Naghten whom I saw well yesterday appears but little put out by the climate, certainly it is cool now by comparison – Ther summer heat. The old story of the Mosquitos pay him off. He was one of the evening guests with many of the officers on thursday to partake in the quadrilles which were kept up until one in the morning. The Sandback sails, I am told, tomorrow. Lt Cobb, nephew to the Horse Artillery Cobb that was in that Corps & who lives at Swords, with a Mr Pearson 86, go home in her. Their departure and the thoughts of home connected with it makes all those left behind unhappy enough. How very much the younger parts of my family have improved in their drawing. I was quite struck with astonishment at the freedom of their touch. Kiss the brats for me. Is Fred with you? I hope he is not making a fool of himself with the pretty faces. Tell to protest he loves them all to distraction but declare to none. If he plays spoony he is done for life. Dr & Mrs Whyte are poked into one room as are all the married people – how they exist is to me surprising. A young soldier to marry – oh horrid – it is the poor girl that suffers most for the ensign or Lt may leave the Army & work in the fields, but the unfortunate lone forgotten woman – what’s to become of her? Regards to dear Fritz – I would give much to see him. I shall not close my letter in order this [word missing] may be ready but will start for fresh intelligence. Buy some tea, a bit of cheese and oil from my Hall lamp which John Wiltshire declares absolutely wanting ‘immediately Massa’ & afterwards seal up. How is my Uncle Hawker? His leg better, I trust. Regards to them all at Catisfield. Is Jane getting all right again? Miss Parker has only recd half the story of our excursion among the Indians. Send my godson something – he is a fine boy with such an impudent pair of black eyes. Mrs Whyte undergoes all her trials with good humour. She is not pretty but pleasing in her looks rather.

God bless you my dear Kate

Believe me

Your attached Fred E

If I write so often you will think me to uxorious. Tell Mrs N that the Govr in conversation today stated that the Crop from Colony reports exceeds most former for some time. Nice little woman but her boy is rather forward. We shall peg him down if mix much in the Military circles.

All well my dear Kate up to the 20th Decr. Just returned from the Govr – all in bed but your loving lord. The Bag is made up tomorrow at 7AM.

Your afft FE

I opened this as I found the Sandback did not sail as intended.