Letter #69

Yet another rumour of a brevet, but this time it proved to be true, though it was some weeks before English knew his fate. The date of the brevet was 10 January.

Demerara 23rd Jany 1837

It has just been reported to me my dear Kate that the Nautilus sugar Ship sails at ½ past 4 this evening, by which I will at all event acknowledge the receipt of your letters up to the 30th Novr or as we term it the 1st Decr Packet. This vessel put into Lisbon we hear from bad weather, thus she did not reach Demerara until 21st Inst. I had scarcely read the two dispatches when the 21st Decr Mail was signalled, and exclaimed to myself, ‘Well now, I shall have some late intelligence of my dear family’. Conceive my disappointment when the old Black orderly returned with ‘No, Massa, em no letter for de Capt, only dis’, & ‘dis’ was a little dirty piece of paper from my servant or orderly at St Lucia beging I would make interest to get him attached to my Staff. Indeed I was disappointed and must wait with patience until the 7th of Feby. We learn by all the accounts that a Brevet is certain – stop a while and I will believe it. However, the three years of my servitude are so nearly expired that I have serious thoughts of home. Moreover, Tait’s news adds to my hopes of being relieved. Dear Cara’s remark that they may as well let me remain to go direct from hence is well applied – it would be a better arrangement and save me the expense of establishing my quarters in Barbados only to repack or sell off again. At the time I recd the intimation of a move to H Quarters I was delighted, but may truly add that the delay has proved somewhat fortunate in so much had you recd the alarming accounts of the yellow fever that we have & which still exist in that Colony & thought me on the spot, you would have worked up your mind to a perfect state of excitement unless the letters came to hand regularly, even then you would be in constant expectation of some unfavorable report. We have had little sickness here, principally ague. I have not been attacked, notwithstanding most of the officers have suffered from it. Some say Sir Charles Smith is going home, if so I trust they will not detain me to take the comd – I have no ambition for such an honor in the Tropics. If my letter is not so agreeable as usual, put it to the account of our worthy Store keeper here, in whose office I am now seated, and obtained a sheet of letter paper from him to save time. He reads extracts from the Milty Gazette every five minutes, the last respecting Col Fox leaving the Guards &c &c. Your trip to Town, which I learnt from Tom Naghten who dined with me the day before yesterday, put me into a perfect state of anxiety. I sincerely hope dear Annie’s eye will be saved, poor girl. The loss of one I deplore but total blindness is more than I can support the thought of. I expected to have recd news of your return by the Mail that came in yesterday. As to Augustus, if he can be placed in Mr Dixon’s office, I decide at once – the South American trip is desirable in place of a draw back. To make a start is the thing. For my part I would prefer his being a merchant, and only wish he could get into some of the wealthy West India Houses. I am sure that he will get on when he feels that all depends on himself for his future maintenance. Your next letter on this subject I shall look most anxiously for. Let him attack Spanish without loss of time & stick to his French; his writing & drawing must be improved. Ah, it was a vile plot getting him out of the Academy. I shall always think so & almost suspected it would be so. I shd decide at once for I have a high opinion of his integrity & good intentions towards us so far as we have any claim on him. Mr Dixon’s letter is straight forward. I trust you have seen him again. What a pity Augustus was not in Town with you. T Naghten is very well – he gets extremely stout & shd have a horse to rattle about upon. He is a warm hearted good fellow. My companions increase & so much conversation is going on that I cannot collect my ideas. Poor Col Studd has had the fever very smartly I find, & L Smith RE with many others at Barbados. This news reached me by a long letter from Sir M Creagh 86th who is about to embark about March for England with his Regt. My esteemed friend Capt Hutchinson 76 fell a victim to this fever. Adieu my dear Kate, I will soon write again. These vessels are very uncertain in starting. Regards & love to all – Your affect Fred English