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The Sterley's of Oakland Park
Dear husband do sit down and stop pacing so for I cannot read this letter I have recived from dear Arabella,” remarked Lady Ann. “I fear I shall not sit down madam for I to have recived a letter of the greatest importance from Tom,” said Sir Thomas
Indeed I believe the nature of Tom’s communication will be in a similar vein to that I have of Arabella,” replied Lady Ann
3rd December 1814
To: Lady Ann Sterley
Having arrived here but a short while ago I felt it proper to write and advise you that the
We have found a little house in Long Market street one of the best streets in the colony and here we have set up a home in the most domestic bliss. With the help of one of our Dutch neighbors Mrs. Viljoen a matronly woman of many years. We managed to find the most delightful cook and a number of house servants.
Last evening we had the very great honor of dining with his lordship the governor Lord Charles is an indifferent and difficult man who delights in the rule of law for in his household every thing is done to an order and prescription that I have seldom seen.
I fear that Tom will soon run afoul of his lordships temper if he dose not trim his sails and obey to the letter any and every instruction that his lordship issues. I am right now in a highly agitated state of nerves as Tom has been summoned to attend his lordship the messenger came early with a note that Tom was to come on a matter of the greatest urgency.
Dear Mamma please allow me to put your fears to rest on our behalf for Tom has just returned and imparted to me the following news his lordship has signaled out Tom for a mission of the greatest importance. I had feared that he would fall under his lordships displeasure after a certain incident concerning a gravy boat last evening during dinner however Lord Charles has found Tom to be exactly the type of person he needs for an excursion into the interior of the country. The mission is to take several months and I fear that I will be all alone while Tom goes into the interior to map with a certain Captain Barrow a number of places which have previously been explored but not properly mapped or detailed.
The purpose of this excursion is to find suitable habitations for a number of new settler parties which Lord Charles is trying to get the government to agree to send to the
This is the best news for it means a rapid advancement for Tom, I have just this instant recived a note to call upon her ladyship thus I close this letter one of the hippest people at the
My love to all at
Your Loving daughter
3rd December 1814
To: Sir Thomas Sterley
While we were at
Upon our arrival we were reliably informed that the story of the French been out was a falsehood spread by those who would sooner see us once more at war to suit there own pockets then to see us at peace. A fast sloop had overtaken us while on the way to the Cape with the fortunate news that the emperor is still tucked up safely in
I had occasion this very morning to attended Lord Charles who has imparted to me a mission of the utmost importance concerning inspection of an area known as the Zuurvield (Sour field) for settlement by prospective people of farming quality from
Thus in a weeks time I shall begin my exploration of the African interior I am of the opinion that it will give me much time upon which to work upon a new book of verse which I have lately begun.
Your obedient son
“Pray dear husband who is this captain Aubrey of whom Tom speaks?” asked Lady Ann. “You will recall my dear that it was in the year12 when the
“Quite so well the dashing young office was none other then Captain James Aubrey I believe he has some connection to the earl of
“really husband his lordship if ever thing you have communicated to me is true is the most insufferable tyrant in the whole of Ireland I am surprised that you could have any thing good to say a bout a relative of his” remarked Lady Ann.
“It is remarkable that some one from his lordships family can be of such a daring nature I have heard that he styles his actions on those of Lord Nelson you will recall my dear that the men used to follow the gallant Nelson in to the very heat of battle with out a care as if they were going to church. Well captain Aubrey is very much the same if I am not mistaken he is currently seeking out enemies of
“Is he not the same captain Auberry of HMS Surprise?” Asked William Parker who had been sitting listening intently to the conversation. “I do not think so for Captain James Aubrey is a young man of but four and twenty, whilst Captain Aubrey of whom you speak is a man of some seniority,” remarked Sir Thomas.
“At this rate dear husband one can say that the service is full of Aubrey’s, said Lady Ann thinking herself quite a wit. “The gentlemen looked at each other for a moment before the idea of what Lady Ann had said struck them. Sir Thomas was unable to contain his mirth and begun to shake in response to the jest that his wife had just made. “Indeed madam you are quite in form this afternoon.
“It is indeed gratifying to know that Lord Charles thinks so highly of your son that he sends him on a mission of such importance,” remarked Emily Parker. Who did not understand the wit of Lady Ann but was trying to be good company and have some thing to say. “Yes it is most fortuitous that his lordship has the good sense to see the quality of young Tom, said Lady Ann.
“It is of some concern to me that he is been sent in to the country on such a mission has there not been a war of some sort in the region? Of late asked Mr Parker. “I fear that you have greatly underestimated our Tom, sir for he is well equipped to face any adventure which might chance upon his way,” replied Sir Thomas.
“Come now brother-in law Sterley surly you can see that my concern is well founded and is in the best interests of young Tom” remarked Mr Parker. “Quite so, I had not thought of it until you mentioned it I trust that the expedition to the interior will be well armed and ready for any occasion” said Sir Thomas.
Lady Ann Sterley
Mrs. Arabella Sterley
I am writing this instant having just returned from Morton to let you know that our Lydia has been delivered of her first born a handsome boy who lit the world know that he had arrived by screaming the moment he arrive din this world. He is the most delightful child with a head of red hair. Which is most surprising to us for neither the Parkers nor we have any relation who is of that color.
Papa is the happiest man in the world happy to know he is at last a grand papa, indeed the moment the message came that Lydia was confined we took the coach and rode to Morton we found George in a high state of nerves upon our arrival. Not knowing what to do with himself at one instant wishing to rush in and assist in the next fearing for dear
Of course Papa and George upon hearing the noise rushed up stairs and entered the room much too soon for the mid-wife’s liking but as you can imagine they were most anxious to make the acquaintance of the new heir to Morton.
Pray when Tom returns please give him my warmest affections and ask him to write for brother-in-law Parker is most anxious to hear the good news of his return.
Mrs. Arabella Sterley
Lady Ann Sterley
In reply to yours I will start by congratulating you and Papa and indeed the whole family on the birth of
Pray give my warmest regards to the whole family at
It was a fine evening the windows were open a slight breeze was blowing the assembled company were gathered in the drawing room. The
“His lordship has always been most attentive toward me and has always listened even going so far as to add his own comments, upon the matters of my resent travels into the eastern half of the colony” said Tom
“pray Tom tell us of some of the places you saw in your journey” said Ann Aitcheson “for I hear that some of the country is very reminiscent of England” she continued.
“It is a vast country indeed I was much taken by the vast forests and plains upon which great herds of antelope roam, we chanced upon a region where a great forest extended for many days ride here the most magnificent of beasts roamed content in there occupation of feeding for the elephant is a wonderful thing to behold,” said Tom the waters of the streams is the clearest in all the land sweet the fragrance of Africa fills ones nose with expectation” he continued.
“my dear madam you might have heard that the existent of the colony is reminiscent of England it is true that there are some places that have a certain reminiscence but far more of the country is new and unexplored we went much further then we were instructed and came at last into the kingdom of the Zulu’s a fearsome race bent on expansion of there territory. Had it not been for the murder of there king Sharka a few seasons back I believe they might even now be much closer then they now are. For there King chanced upon a new method of warfare unbeknown to those primitive tribes who fell before them.” There current King a lazy fellow of large proportions is content to count the cattle in his kraal. Thus danger has been averted for I was surprised to find a mission station in quite close to the
It is always pleasing to find that there are those who are about the Lords business” remarked Mrs. Aitcheson.
“I have never held with the
“Then madam I am afraid I will have to remove that disillusion from your mind” replied Alexander Aitcheson. “Arabella dear my husband has been in the colony for a number of years and knows best how these things work pray consider this matter at an end,” said Ann Aitcheson. For the good woman feared she knew to well her husbands contempt for those who believed they knew best how to treat the natives. She had a long time ago learned that what ever her personal beliefs that Alexander Aitcheson son of a ancient Scots house was not to be persuaded in his beliefs that you could take the native out of the bush but not the bush out of the native.
“I think sir you are mistaken in your assumption that all natives are bad,” said Tom for in my travels I had a number in my company and they seemed to be the happiest of people with joy upon there countenance and greeted each task with vigor,” he continued.
“Then young Tom you have been singularly fortunate for I have in my service a rouge who is like many of his fellows a vagabond who only works under the most serious supervision and is one of the laziest persons on the face of the earth” replied Alexander Aitcheson.
“Sir I wonder at your description it is like saying all Scots see but money and are concerned about nothing else” said Arabella crossly. “My dear lady let me tell you that when I first came to the colony I was like you ready to believe the best of all people but I was soon relieved of my good intentions when on the very day of my landing rouge by relived me of my purse. When caught he was dead drunk in a wine shop,” replied Mr Aitcheson. I was surprised to learn that he was a free man and not one of those poor wretches that they sell upon the block in the square,” he continued
When brought before the magistrate what pray was his excuse?” asked Mr Aitcheson “I will tell you he wanted money to show his friends that he was a gentleman of means. This been said on my account” he ended.
I believe you have been singular in your bad luck in connection with regard to the natives” said Tom now anxious to put an end to the heated debate “ furthermore let us put aside this matter till we have been in the colony a while longer so that we might properly form our opinions’, he ended.
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