Letter #91

This letter is dated at the end; it was written on 22 November 1837 from Barbados. 

‘Young Naghten’ is Midshipman Henry Naghten, Tom’s younger brother. Reefer is a colloquial term for a midshipman.

Well my dear Kate, don’t you begin to feel weary of such a frequent repetition of the same accounts from Barbados and conveyed in such numerous letters. My last was dated the 14th and here we have only the 2. However, I have somewhat new to put to paper. The Seringapatam came to anchor yesterday morning after a passage touching at St Thomas’s of about 14 days from Bermuda. I met Capt Leith at dinner yesterday. We were both somewhat fatigued but notwithstanding conversed much & I am already disposed to like him in that he is a hearty sailor like and very mild and gentlemanly. I soon decided in my own opinion on speaking of Martinique and that I intended to visit that Island particularly as I had the acquaintance of Baron Mackay or Mackau, originally no doubt of scotch extraction. He said in the most friendly manner, ‘We will make trip together, I will take you there’. I was tired from perpetual motion, up at 5 oclock thro the grounds chopping branches à la Uncle Hawker, feeding my stock, signing papers for this day’s packet, and at ½ past 10 with the General who resides about 2 miles ½ distant, a most sultry ride. Visited the Mole head, rode to the Governor’s, another two miles in an opposite direction. A long chat there on various subjects, very agreeable, called Quarter Master & Adjt Genl offices, more chat &c &c. Home hot as a lusty old gentleman well could be. Off garments, changed and was just about to repose the Lt Col’s legs and back in his large arm chair when in came loads of  visitors keeping him on the move, shewing off the place until time to dress for dinner. One or two of these men new characters in the list forwarded to Wickham, a Mr Trotman, a proprietor, and Mr Best, who I think has been introduced as having contributed to my farm yard in the way of 2 couple of rabbits. We now have arrived at the dinner hour after a round about tale. This took place at the bank, Mr McClery’s. A small select party – Capt Leith, Capt Wisk RN the Engineer, and a wild sort of a person who came in after both soup and fish, had retired, just landed from Tobago. His name I think was Nicholson. He said he could not eat, having lunched. I thought him far, very far from a state of temperance. We separated early and your old man rode steadily home notwithstanding he actually drank two glasses of iced champaign. Capt Leith tells me that young Naghten is a very nice boy and appears to like him much. Tell his amiable mother I have recd her exceedingly agreeable & flattering letter dated in may and will have much pleasure in contributing to the little Mid’s comforts on shore. He is in good hands, I am confident, on Board, as I have already remarked, for his capt spoke highly of him. I was so much engaged yesterday I could not attend or make a trip to the ship but will if possible see him before the packet leaves, but in truth my hours are fully occupied both on arrival and even more so when the mails are making up. I sent a letter on board to him from his brother, which I have had in charge some time, and have dispatched a note this moment by my old fishing boat to Mr Naghten, HMS Seringapatam requesting he will come on shore and shew himself and write to his mother. At all events, probably I shall see the Reefer ere the mails are closed – so much for the mid. I had a long letter from Tom who has escaped fever, is quite gay & well, and advancing rapidly toward being a great man in Demerara. You will rejoice no doubt to learn dear Kate that your old man, as CE I suppose, is admitted into respectable and moral society – he actually dines with the Bishop and Mrs Coldridge on friday and meets some Demerara friends – a Mr Percy Austin, high in the Church there and of Estate, Mrs P Austin – and a very pretty woman she was – a Bath lady I think, and a Miss Elizabeth Wilday, all here for change of air. The latter has been reported to you as Mr Ford’s flame. She is a lively, sweet tempered person, & was a fine girl but fever has changed her much – twice she has been attacked since landing, that is within less than a fortnight. Thus the chances are that they will meet, for Mr Ford is the first to be relieved, and of course in common justice to my officer, I am not to be guided by any private feelings or be supposed to know what not of his affairs, therefore must order him up when the relieving officers arrive. There is no planned arrangement I suspect, although it does appear so. They have not been in communication since he quitted Demerara. It will be passing strange, dear Kate, should Miss E Wilday pay you a visit as Mrs Ford. You will like her I think. The Pearl came to Anchor here last night & our Bay is filling with vessels. It amuses the eye for I was sick of seeing the Gannet, Capt Wick. On saturday I am going with Col Tyler to visit Mr Best who has a fine Estate on the highest ground of the Island, in Scotland. It is a superb climate up there. Indeed there is no reason to complain at Shot Hall – in the most oppressive weather I find it cool here in comparison. What would I not give to see seated with our dear girls – Ther 84, still the breeze is cool. The Pearl arrived and I quite forgot that Mr McKenzie was on board. However, here he is with a Lt Hawker, all alive and in high spirits, just landed & mounted on 2 hacks whose tails are shaking with exertion. My dear niece Fanny’s note is now in hand, but the two sailors are so happy to get on shore & Mr Mc is talking so fair about you all that I am beyond myself – I can only read it a word at a breathing. I like Donald’s manner much, they have both bolted for the grounds whilst I write, fearing to lose the Packet. They made the passage in 9 days, the Frigate in 8, but the latter stopped at St Thomas’s. Have been sickly, lost their Lt & some men, sail for Martinique in a day or two, touch at St Thomas’s, on to Bermuda, then join the Admiral at Hallifax & return with him here next month or early in Jany. This is all I can tell Fanny dear about the Pearl. The two blues are going to eat bread, Cheese, reddishes & drink beer. With Gusto’s letter I am delighted & the way he is getting on is a great comfort to me. Fred will soon get reconciled, as his old father is forced to be. Henry Naghten has just appeared full of heart & soul. He looks uncommonly well and is a fine little fellow & as fat as a Turtle. He looks quite happy & at home. You must tell Mrs Naghten he is worth being proud of. I have told him to consider this his home whenever he can leave the ship on conditions that does not teaze my cat or play Mid tricks with my pigs. He is a nice boy. Mr Marriott – I trust he will find he is wrong. I have just reperused letter from Mr Bytham, Boards, 11 April 1827, M/629 to Genl Man, which is clear enough. I only lose 10sh diff from Sir C Smith, not being Senior Ord officer. Sir C is, they say, to be a Govr out – I hope so, he is a better fellow than you may think and just the man to be under. I must now attend to my visitors. Have drawn 50£, one bill, 13th Oct 37 and one yesterday, 50£, 21 Nov, neither sent home yet. I can’t help it, but shall now get on with less, dear Kit. Write to Mr Marriott & request that they are duly honored. Henry has just seen a Humming bird & bolted like a young spaniel after it. He is now with the monkey. Adieu dear Kit, love to my lassies, Augto, regards at Catisfield & to Mary, Roche Court & Miss P.

Your aff Fred

Tomorrow grand Review – I look sharp for the Colonist. Adieu 22 Novr 37