Letter #81

A Cure for the Heartache is a comedy in five acts by Thomas Morton. It had its premiere at Covent Garden in 1797.

Barbados June 24th 1837

No letters my dear Kate by the last Packet which came to anchor on the 15th Inst. I have been so much accustomed to the same disappointment that I begin now to be doubtful of receiving news from home when the vessel appears in sight, and do not rejoice as I used to. This time I looked forward with almost certainty of the huge package coming to hand. However the period between each is short, therefore I must be content to get the Wickham Herald in doublets. This arrangement is organised in the Pall Mall office. I am aware you write regularly. By my journal it was on the 12th my last letter was dispatched, and on further reference to it very, very little has offered your transported husband in the way of novelty or excitement and should I again commit to myself by confessing that a dinner party at a Mess and, horrid to relate, a Champaign supper afterwards for those pleased to partake thereof found me as one of the looking on sinners so far as the latter entertainment. I fear in place of any interest in such accounts of my past time, you may be overwhelmed with sorrow that your well behaved, well disposed, easy, good soul of a husband, so perfectly tractable formerly under the guidance and scrutinizing eye of a charming wife has been overtaken by a new light and caught at last in his old age in the trammels of dissipation &c &c &c. Woe, woe, woe, or lost! lost!! lost!!! – neither the one nor the tother my dear Kate, but with the exception of not getting your delightful letters, contented as circumstances will admit of, quite well & wanting no portion of his usual energy, in fact feeling a perfect Lion again. Having so far prepared you by writing such rubbish, I will proceed to recount all I can recollect having arrived within the last fortnight. On the 13th morning of June 1837, hopes were entertained that I might look forward to becoming an inmate of Shot-Hall, for at Breakfast the sugar ship Mercy or Mersey came into the bay. Her arrival does away with all excuses for extending her stay in Barbados, Mi Ladi must now depart in about 10 days. This is the vessel of her choice and the best she can sail in until after the hurricane months. On the first of August the insurance doubles. I must confess it has afforded me some pleasure, for so troublesome a person I never met with, and notwithstanding her civility occasionally to me I cannot return it beyond the most common attention. It is now blowing a gale of wind with rain, thus all the windows are shut, what with heat, wretched and wild looking day, and having been late at the Amateur Performance last night, I would willingly defer writing until tomorrow, but as the packet sails this afternoon, I shall undoubtedly get into a scrape unless you receive the periodical report. Leicester Smith has just called with officials for signature. He tells me one of the Water Mills has lost its top. All the water here is so raised, you may suppose the squall has been severe. L Smith personated young Rapid last night very well, Major Harpur, D Judge Advocate Genl Old Rapid, Capt Thorndike Frank Oatland in A Cure for the Heart Ache. The Review followed – Capt Beaugard Leicester Smith, Caleb Quotein Capt Thorndike, Looney Mactoutter Capt Tidy 14th Regt & B Major here, & John Lump a Mr Swain Commisariat Officer. The Govr and Staff with many families attended & it went off well, but I was heartily sick of the whole affair having heard of little else during its preparation. To save horses & give the Lt Col exercise, he walk two miles home, getting within his own door at the moment the rain came down merrily & continued all night. Am in sad disgrace with Lady Smith for refusing her polite invitation of a place both in her carriage & Box having seen me à cheval on my road there. Yesterday the Belvidera sailed for Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada with money. She returns in 10 days expecting to be relieved immediately. We have a great joke against Capt Strong & his officers that they could not get the anchor up. The Belvidera has been stationary here for 8 or 9 months, during which time some weddings have thinned the Wardroom Mess & many little courtships are in hand. I suppose they will be in quarantine on their return, so there is very little chance of our seeing much of them again. If I can get some good Ginger I shall forward you a supply by the Capt. The first Lt Wood has lent me the ship’s net, which I intend to smouche if I can by sending one of little use, from age, which I have in store. Considerable repairs are required to that I recd yesterday. The day after dispatching your last letter I called at the General’s, as usual on tuesday. He is very friendly, and has found out by my making interest to get Dr Whyte removed – he is going to St Kits – that I am a connection of Lady Knighton’s, of whom & her family he speaks in terms of great friendship. Major Harpur drove me & after returning some visits, we called at the Govr’s who had sent his Secretary to appologise for having left me out at a State dinner. Most fortunate I thought it. You have had accounts of this party. Well, on driving up, Harpur was telling a good story, pulled the wrong rein, run the horse and Gig against a fence, and out he went like a shot on his back, leaving me without reins or the power of stopping a regular run down a steep hill. However, after some backing, plunging and other agreeable movements, the horse behaving admirably, Harpur recovered himself & I luckily keeping my seat escaped. The Govr was engage & had not the opportunity of seeing my companion well powdered with Lime dust. This day the 36th Regt dined at our Mess, a return dinner, & the following I met Capt or Comdr Plantagenet Cary of the Comus at Enmore, just arrived, Lt Rogers, same vessel, & Lt Owen formerly of the Dee steamer, now comdg steamer packet between this and Jamaica. The latter poor tar had his head broke by a fall from the Paddle & so bandaged that he was an object of pity, but to my astonishment, when all off the following day he had but a queer crack over one eye. The sinner – he succeeded in exciting some pity. Major Huntlan RA started for Demerara on the 16th, same date Lt Munday for Trinidad with his new Horse. He is a loss to us. About 3 oclock of this day I  mounted my horse and went to Porters, Mr Alleyne’s. It is 9 miles from hence. I was staying there when I first came to the W Indies. My ride was a wet one but I arrived in time to dress for dinner. Some changes had taken place in Mr Alleyne’s ménage. I found a nice person as Mrs A with a nice baby all ready made. A large party dined & music in the evening. I remain saturday, went with them to Church sunday, and after dinner rode home in company with one of the party, a nephew of Mr McGarrel’s in the new Bank here. He knows T Naghten & has been at Crofton. Such a moonlight night – slept like a top & next day the better for my ride. A party on Tuesday at Mess, being guest day, & dinner at Mr McCleary, one of the House of Cavan, now in the Bank, to meet Lady Smith, whom the greater part of us deserted, Mr Torrance offering to drive Lt Hood Belvidera & myself to a Ball in the country at a Mrs Eversley’s, were we had been some time invited, ends all that I have to relate. Until I get into my quarters my pay is greatly increased, but I shall be at some expense at first. How I am to fill the large rooms of Shot Hall I know not. I want you, dear Kit, send me some pieces of handsome chince to cover sophas &c &c, not by private hand, it takes too long a time. Edward could get this cheap – anything in the nick knack hornimental line would be acceptable. Adieu dear Kate, regards to my dear children, Miss P & my Uncle & Aunt Hawker, MOB. How is Gusto’s affair arranged? & your finance department I trust is to your will – income more than doubled. FE afft.

When you feel extravagant & the dollar bag full, I want stuff for dressing gown and a piece or 2 Duck for trousers.  Have you heard from Fred?

I expect after the hurricane months expire to see you & yours. Take me by surprise & land some fine morning.