Letter #76

Begun at Demerara on 13 April 1837

It is vexatious to forward a few lines only my dear Kate or probably I might frequently start off a letter. In the present case I trust I am in time to send this by a fine vessel I observe just going out of the river to lay at the other side of the Bar until ready for sea, I suppose, as she has her boat in tow. Yesterday evening I read your letters of the 27th 28th Feby and was of course elevated much to find all well, but the public or official news, notwithstanding I was prepared for it, cast me down not a little. I have all along kept up my spirits under the impression that the Brevet would be given, that I shd obtain the desired rank and be ordered home. It is decided otherwise and we must meet the disappointment with spirit. This morning I recd the Inspector General letter with M Gen appointment as Comdg E in the West Indies. Some men just promoted would be flattered, I cannot feel it. All here think it a very great piece of good fortune, rising from an humble Capt Resident E Demerara to Lt Col Comdg in Sir C F Smith’s shoes. All mighty well if my family could join me here. I go writing on whatever comes uppermost until I lose the thread of my story. So soon as the Packet came in last evening, I exclaimed that Capt Clarke RA, his wife and a lady so named from this place were not allowed to land & were returned but still to remain in quarantine. They have sailed this morning for Berbice, return in 8 days & then back to Barbados, by which time the three & 20 days without communicating with the shore will have expired, when I immagine they will be received & whitewashed. Thus I am in rather a perplexity. Sir Charles’ long private letter recd by Lt Goodman, appointed Assistant Engr here, expresses a hope that I will not lose time in repairing to Barbados. The Lt Gen Comdg Sir S F Wittingham, by the bye a great friend of Lady Knighton’s, orders that I proceed forthwith. Sir C cannot go until I get there & I cannot unless I find vessel going to St Lucia which is at present not suffering with small pox, and any open port, rather a round about sail. However, I would undoubtedly fix on that plan should a vessel offer. To get away from Com would be a temptation independent of my dislike to the treacherous air of this place. The people I shall always respect. Mr & Mrs Whyte are all anxiety to get away. It is much to be regretted they do not obtain leave at once. The people in power at home think little of trifling away time & thus expend the health of a valuable medical man & his family – it is miserable policy. Madam has quite petted me during my indisposition – in truth without Dr Whyte & his good wife I know not what I should have done. Certainly my visitors were most numerous to make enquiries. The heat was so oppressive I could not see them. You are not prompt in acting since you have been at Wickham I guess, & I shall be at a loss at Head Quarters without my appointments. By a little of your usual foresight you could have directed the lace man to call at the agents who, the famed Marriot, could have directed the man whether to send them or not. It does not much matter, they will wear the longer. As you have begun in a pugnacious stream in your letter of the 27 Feby 37 Page one, I must retaliate a little notwithstanding this detestable heat nearly overpowers me. It is plain you write in a cold bleak month but you admit you have just recd a letter of recent date & then fire away about 18 letters in each of the 2 last years. The 3rd by the bye only expired 12 March 37 and 24 the first year & you admit that some have miscarried. To say the least of it you are exceeding unreasonable. By your own calculation you have during the last two years recd 18 each & some not forthcoming, thus it not 3 weeks between each dispatch ford by hazard by sugar ships and from a station I have at time been absent from 3 week together at times. However my dear Mrs Kit I can bear this better notwithstand your remarks about this ‘tye of affection being loosened’ & the tight cord you hold in terrorem over me. I do not send boxes home it’s true because the expense is great. I paid 4£ 10 for the contents and 2£ 8 expense from Barbados for the bon bons & here they are much more expensive. You will hear more regularly when I reach Hd Quarters as the Mail bag is made up to an hour which is well known to every person. You ask the diff of pay – for the 5 last Lt Cols 16s 1d per diem, this you are aware is doubled with 10 more as in comd. Other allowances I am not sure of – 3 black sert, 2 horses & some beef with pease for rations I think is the amount of all. Some field, a garden & some [word missing] at Barbados and moving or traveling money from Island to Island. I shall make you better acquainted with this hereafter. If I had more space I would give you Sir Charles letter to me.

Demerara 19th April 1837

This letter was commence on thursday the 13th to go by the Thames but her bag was made up when I saw her. Since I have had no opportunity. The Return mail leaves tomorrow with poor Capt Clarke & family. I would leave this for Barbados by this schooner but should be 23 days in quarantine & add that no of days to the imprisonment of all the passengers. Moreover the vessel is so well filled I shd have to sleep on deck which from my recent indisposition the Medical man would not allow. I am gradually getting strength, am in good spirits & with the change from this vile Rest Eng quarters to Hd Quarters shall be Fritz again. I shall want my appointments very much at Barbados as all my Capt’s are now shabby enough & shall look like Mi Lord at Ft George amongst Sir S F W’s staff all newly fitted out. Whatever is sent I beg may be of the handsomest – it always pays in the end. Think of the time I have had my Epaulettes.