Letter #75

 4th April 1837

My dear Kate: the note from Col Wells now lays before me. The information he gave you in so misterious a stile is just what I have anticipated. When Sir Charles was here he told me he should accept Gibraltar, in fact it is generally understood he is to go there. Capt Elton of the 67 who has joined here within this last week tells me that Sir C Smith did not land on the return from Trinidad, all vessels being put under Quarantine consequent on the small pocks having broken out in most of these Colonies, but as I stated in my last letter, Lady Smith joined him & proceeded to St Lucia, St Kitts &c. He tells me that their furniture and other disposable articles had all been disposed of – everything but his horses – thus I suspect there is little chance of my quitting the Tropics just yet. When he departs I cannot yet opine but a packet is due in a few days – the seventh – her arrival will in all probability set at rest this question. All my Castles will then fall to the ground – home and all its happiness – a return to it would afford must I fear be for the present only looked forward to as a dream. The Comd in the West Indies is an important one, but what is this or the good quarter, Shot Hall, without all my party around me to participate in the few comforts it may produce & to abuse the climate? But I still dread the very thought of my family coming out here. I have just read over your letter of the 14th Jany after the Brevet was made public and laughed exceedingly at your surmises of what the result might be & particularly at your remark as to the ‘remainder of our pilgrimage’, quotation doubtless from that poor demented young artilleryman. I wish he would confine his Tracts &c &c to his troop and those around him whose conversion now has been so successful in accomplishing. That he is a worthy young man & means well I do not question, but in truth I must give him a hint to desist and not exert his brain in concocting sheets of unconnected cant to worry the heads of my valuable family. I am the helmsman & mean to be &c. The sooner you are all from Wickham the better, but I fear you have been a little premature with your Landlord. It would be exceedingly inconvenient having the house let over you and the expense of moving. However, you must be the best judge of the state the house is in. To come out to Barbados & to return would cost a little fortune, not less I think than 35£ or 40£ each person each trip. You complain that I do not write. My letters are dispatched generally every fortnight unless disappointed in the receipt of yours when I sometimes wait for their arrival by packet, but there is no regular period for writing and frequently vessels are departing before I know a sylable of the matter. This I shall send either this evening by the Amelia sugar ship or the return mail tomorrow morning on board of the latter. Capt Clarke RA, a long time out in this country, with his wife, embark for Barbados, being order home with his company forthwith. It will be my turn next, and thank God I am renovating again. Yesterday I had a ride on Fritz who is a little riotous owing to the long rest he has had. Last night our private Theatricals commenced with the Merry Monarch & the Weather Cock. I did not attend but hear it went off exceedingly well. Tom Naghten performed the part of a Gardener in the farm, I believe. Today I may hear more of this display as I intend to make an effort & dine with the High Sheriff to meet Com. The invite has been out some time & it’s to be something out of the usual routine, his Honor having just furnished a large & new abode. Dinners, Balls Races &c I reported in my last, all of which I declined, being anxious to go to Barbados & take up my Government in a sound state. You will exclaim, ‘How stupid Fred is, he relates nothing for our amusement this time’. Your two dispatches came together, Charles’s & Mr Steward’s letter I cannot read but found out the former was at Dresden and the latter wished us to come to Harwich. Poor old Steward is getting quite fond; how he used to hate me. Did I never write you that a Capt Garland 69th is here? You must recollect Charles making acquaintance with that family near Harwich up the river & a member of it being attentive to Miss West. Your last packet of letter were more than commonly acceptable. We had such alarming reports of the enfluenza that I felt extremely anxious until your report reached me. In your letter 12 Feby you mention dear Augustus but not a word as to what is decided with Mr Dixon respecting his future destiny in the Merchantile world. Tell Isabella that I will never desert her for taking my part about the letter writing. I appear to be always writing home – how I wished for you when I was ill. This is such a large dismal house & so far from any other officer, I quite detest it. Dr Whyte was attentive in the extreme. & is my godson to be cut? He is a dear little fellow. The Epaulettes I fear may be dispatched & I shall be in Barbados to see them. & now dear Kate accept love & regards from yours Fred E, not leaving out my dear children, Miss P & forget Uncle H, Aunt OB, MOB & Mutt. Where are my sisters? How unhappy it makes me to think of their folly.