Letter #95

Barbados 14th Jany 1838

You will be fatigued with deciphering two of my letters in a week dear Kit but the Packet sails tomorrow and write I must or be liable to a Wickham wigging. The victims have landed from Freight ship Halifax packet Capt Cromarty and blooming youths they look for this sun to feast upon. The three dined with me on friday. After reporting their arrival they looked so new that the black people exclaimed, ‘He! Look at fresh buckra boys’. Sword, Cap & toggery, as Charlie would say, all bright. Yesterday they breakfasted here and horses provided afterwards to transport the trio to the Genl who recd them most courteously. The day before I was with Capt Hope from Antigua for the same etiquette and on making the remark that I feared his Excellency would fear I was overwhelming him with Engrs, he replied he could not see too many or too much of them. Hem. Probably he will think differently today for I must be the bearer of rather a warlike remonstrance against the Great Gun Lt Col Story, who, poor soul, notwithstanding he is in his dotage, is somewhat, occasionally, like your Hants pigs – headstrong – and is unwilling to relinquish a quarter occupied by his Adjt St George, belonging to our officers & now required for their accommodation. Capt Tait will understand all this – it is always disagreeable to enter into disputes, particularly between the two Corps, but this was done by Sir Charles Smith to befriend the Artillery & now St George lays claim to the quarter. However, to horse to transport the reeds of discord to their Hot bed forced by the stupid old gunner. Col Maxwell 36th Regt has just called, and two of my youths – the third has made a trip on board the Hallifax Packet to enquire after some of the baggage & the little dog for Miss Critchlow, which you may inform Capt Tait shall receive every care whilst in my possession, & that I have intimated its arrival to the Lears family. Monday 15th Jany:  Capt Tait’s seeds for Mr Critchlow sent off, wee dog not on shore yet but all safe. My confidential horsifer is so full of business with his subs, whom I have already found employment for in writing or rather hunting up material for memoirs on the Islands they may probably be sent to, that I am fearful that his frequent visits will cause an exceedingly disjointed letter to my dear Kate. First let me thank you for the soap – a very acceptable article. I wish it were a less perishable present, however it shall be placed in the shaving department, thus it will last long. Another visitor in the shape of Lt Durban is walking up so your letter is in a bad way. Lt Durban commands the Griffon, now on this station, son of Sir Benjamin Durban, late Govr at the Cape, he often pays me a visit. The present one I have some reason to suppose is made to borrow a horse, and as he is going to send his carpenter to patch up a hole in the bottom of my boat, and moreover being delighted to get rid of him, I have mounted the Lt Comding on my black nag Snowball & he is off, first explaining to me that he would not go out of a walk, in reply to which I very nearly brought out ‘Gammon’, but it ended in ‘I shll see you again of course unless you and your horse part company’. However, Snowball knows his road home. All alone again dear Kate but have had another visit from L Smith. I have just sent off an order for Mr Ford to proceed hither forthwith. I wish I could have done so sooner for, between ourselves, I regret to add that it has been intimated to me his having been engaged in playing high. He is a very talented young man but much his own enemy & with exceedingly extravagant ideas. This of course you will keep to yourself, but truly it is fortunate for both parties that the match with Miss Wilday was broken off. The pencil case from good Jenny I appreciate much and thank her for it with all my heart. It already ornaments my writing table & will be in constant use – give my best wishes to the excellent good soul. If I get home the smack I’ll give her shall ring thro the whole house. Jenny likes babies & I am half disposed to send her a wee black one to educate. Another visitor in, Col Fall’s nephew called to offer some plants. What can possess the people to travel about & make calls on a Packet day? It has the effect of putting me into a perfect pet. Saw the General who has seconded me – took the same view of Col Story’s interference, sent his A D Camp to him and the old buck must back out. He has better leave the R Corps alone. I gave him such a dose of regulations that he will rest for a time. They begin to find out that I am not quite so easily humbug’d as expected after losing Sir Charles’s iron rod of power. They all thought to ride rough shod over the new C R Engr, but the RE here shall not lose one particle of their power or dignity whilst your old man has the Corps under convoy in the Indies. There is my pincushion dear Annie, the Kettle holder is lovely, many thanks, but it has promotion into the drawing room and now supports a cut glass scent bottle on a side table, but send me worsted stands for the flower Jars, in fact send me something to place on and under every table from the dressing table downwards, that I may at every turn have somewhat to remind me of home and your dear dear selves. I rode with Henry Naghten yesterday some time – he is very well and has just heard from Tom. Seeds, seeds, seeds, Onion &c. Those you sent appear to be excellent and are coming up already. Col Maxwell is a married man with a child or children. He has the same dislike to bring his family here that I have, altho I want you much. He appears to have recd a most flourishing account from the young Engrs of my family at Wickham, if I may judge from all he hinted at yesterday. We are in hourly expectation of the second December packet. I wish she may arrive before this must be closed, but fear it waits. Gusto – he will do better I think where he is than in the Artillery. No Capt O’Brien yet. I shd like to receive my goods and a new frock before I go with Sir Samford Whittingham – he still proposes a start about the 25th. Capt Rutherford still detained by the quarantine. Capt & Mrs Hope & one child gone to Demerara. Mrs Briscoe very troublesome there – won’t leave the quarters where that lady & little family of 6 have destroyed all my efforts to beautify &, I learn, made the house desolate – another lesson: to be ill humoured and never to do a kind act. The furniture you kindly sent me is exceedingly pretty & I shll now prepare the house for you. I like your attack that I did not decide on yr offer to come out – the offer was rather in a questionable version & in your heart my dear Kate you never meant it, that you well know Madam Kit. However it will be necessary to ensure another comd before I through this up. Whilst the 20s a day is forthcoming, it is the best they can bestow in the cash way. If I act in accordance with wish to get home & give it up, our torment at Pall Mall may say, ‘You must wait, you have had your turn’. Rem me to my good friend Capt Tait – you will like him more every time you see him. Fred will so overcome his love fit, God bless him. The tale you have about our Govr is wrong. I think he is too much of an invalid to think of looks. Tell Capt T he is a scandalous fellow. Regard to Col Reid & Capt Tait. How is my good Uncle? I wish I was with him in the wood. Love to my dear girls, MOB, Miss Parker, my nieces at Roche Court. Rugs for my Shade, candle sticks &c &c do do. Pretty yd of carpet for footstool do. Send Ld Gardiner 10 or 12 lb of arrow root with my good wishes do. Mrs Wainright not forgotten – shall have hers by Transport or L Smith. My stock cut a figure now & so will I trust pay the farmer. Regards to my Uncle, Henry & Aunt, hope Mary is better. Capt Scott 76 & Capt H Trollope 36 go home in this packet. I want some pretty drawing of my dear Girls, one or the other, to frame. How is the yellow Carriage? Take care of it.

Your Fred E