Letter #56

Not dated at head, begun at Demerara 29 May 1836 

It always so happens my dear Kate that some interruption occurs whenever I wish to get my letter prepared for you. Fortunately the Mail Boat is becalmed outside or I should have lost the opportunity. I am just returning home after closing a Court Martial that has detained its members and myself as president for two days. The heat is immensely oppressive at present, still Sir Carmichael gives us little peace – this morning Ct Marl at 9, attend him at ½ past eleven to Review of troops, Militia &c. If a Brevet will not make me a field officer today, it is not unlikely my horse will notwithstanding – we know each other well, he knows not that I am an old fellow and that shewing off during the salute is past my taste. At 3 we attend the farce of a Levée and at ½ past 6 a scramble under the name of a dinner at Camp House. Sir Carm entertains about 70 people & I hear 3 bottles are told off for each. An account of these proceedings you shall have by Capt Thomas 69th Regt going on leave, or rather by the Reliance sugar ship by which he is to be transported from transportation. I intend forwarding these few hurried lines per Mail boat. The Duke of York arrived in the night – the first I heard of her having anchored was from my black overseer and factotum Mr Basque Case, ‘Capt, 2 parcels and a letter for you – Duke come’. Fancy my disappointment – one parcel contain printed form for paylists, the other from my Barbados washerwoman containing a sheet left or exchanged by accident when passing there. The letter was the most acceptable, from Capt Tait, stating that Mr Mould had not yet arrived, therefore my move rests as I have already reported to you. Factotum has just shewed his white teeth to say ‘dat de mail Boat no in yet’, and that the Reliance or the Indian Chief will not sail until monday. This will enable me to inform you of the effect produced on our head pieces by the 3 bottles of bad wine – I will answer for it. The dinner and a ball on the 18th June are I suppose given to heal all the heartburning with his Military and such of the civilians as will attend or are asked. For myself, I intended to be out of the way & to depart for Berbice, but on mature reflection have thought it better not to shew any hostile feeling and move with the current as I look forward to taking off my hat and bid adieu shortly to the King’s Representative. We learn today by a note from Sir M Creagh, who with the 86 Regt were two days only on their voyage, that official notice of the late proceeds at the Gen Court Martial are about to be forwarded. The case as [word missing] against Capt Harpur in the [word missing] Gazette was enormous. Undoubtedly the Govr made a great — of himself. I will now walk to the Stilling or Pier, Ther 78 in shade, not so hot after all but there is a land wind that is scarcely a breath of air at the stilling. I shall embark for a visit to Capt Goss, Duke of York and pick all the gossip I can, then dress for The Levée, and either tonight or early in the morning complete this to you my dear Kate. How I do wish I with you. Col Bunbury makes me laugh whenever I meet him, which is every day, either dinner, breakfast or riding together. A delightful letter from dear Fred has afforded me much pleasure, and your last packet of letters recd 21st Inst were all written in such good spirits. I could observe immediately on reading them at what season they are sent off. The last had quite a spring feeling throughout and set me all alive. 30th May 8 oclock in the morning of Monday: Think of Edward having attached a son to his establishment – send them my best regards and congratulations. What an odd fellow Wells, putting 4£ to my account. I intended the rubbish as a present. You draw it & I will expend that sum, either ginger or other preserve, this and a 4£ odd travelling bill to Mahixea paid at home will help break down 25£ I drew on the 11th Inst. Did you ever inquire about the wine allowance? If Fred is to be with you before embarkation – most likely he now stands by you – I regret exceedingly that I cannot see him for so many years. Probably promotion may bring him back to England or I might be sent out to Comdg Engineer to that station. It is just a matter of choice whether to remain with the Depot or go with the Regt. I should prefer the latter for joining afterwards is generally attended with trouble, going by yourself or with detachments of other Regts, & the sooner a young fellow gets out of the way of Irish girls the better. Col Hazard of our Corps used to be an exceedingly good fellow – Fred shd make up to him if he is still so. Yesterday the Racer or Race horse came to anchor with the remaining companies of 67th on Board. She is Comded by Sir Everade Holmes. I dined at the 69th yesterday and met him – I was not much struck. He dines with Govr today where I figured the 28 57 souls or fellows that were intended to wear them sat down and they did eat & they did drink bad wine & they did perspire all to their utmost means; it was dull, hot and detestable as all his parties are. Not a creature there but those in the King’s or Colony pay. We broke up early & I have been sunkey ever since. Fortunately rain came on & the grand parade did not take place, but at 3 oclock we had to dress again, hot, hot, all hot, to pass the King’s representative. I returned to jump into a bath to prepare my skin for another suit at 6 – so goes on the folly here – more bother & less peace than in the most troublesome Garrison in England or Ireland. Mj Wells writes that there is a strong report of a Brevet again, but it will end as before no doubt. I was much pleased to find you had been to the concert. A few trip of that sort would pass the time and cheer you all. Think that I have been now on the returns for foreign duty 2 years & 4 months – the time will fly quickly – I feel that the summit of the hill is passed [word missing] then my dear Kate won’t we enjoy chat [word(s) missing] unfavorable account of Mr Steward’s health [word(s) missing] & trust he may yet be spared but he has lived too well & I should fear is not a favorable subject for such an attack. Who made the little sketch of St Lucia – it was very neatly done? Has Charley & his bride yet made their visit, or has the old feather merchant changed his mind? I now laugh thinking of that evening – how angry he was. I would jump my best figure dance to see him with a wife thus early in the change from a single sinner to a married and reflecting Reclaimed. I am sincerely happy that he has met with so charming a person. When does he lay up in ordinary, for he has as yet used no other than a spring Cable? How is my Aunt OB? Kind regards to her and Uncle Hawker – did he make a long stay in town? Col Bunbury talks much of Ipswich – he would find it somewhat changed now. Tait still expects me at Barbados. Tomorrow I start with Capt Hooper for Berbice. Poor little Thompson I hear is much involved there & wishes to remain, but a positive order passed thro this office last week for his departure. I do not like the trip at all. I have much to write about but must now close as I expect this will go by mail boat & I still intend writing to Kate or Cary by Reliance or Indian Chief, not yet sailed. Love to all

Your aff Fred