H. Stanhope to Kathleen, October 22, [1899]

BCARS
Add MSS 412, Box 6 File 4-10

H.M.S. “Beagle”
S.E. Coast of America
22 Oct.

Dear Miss O’Reilly

I received a letter from you the other day at Rio written 23rd Aug. Many thanks for it, and for your kindness in trying to cheer me up, but I really dont make myself ill on purpose. It comes in spite of my fighting all I can against it, and I am going through rather a bad time at present from want of sleep. How glad I shall be when the “Beagle” is finished with, but alas! the news from England is worse and worse, and there is no sign of the relief ship coming out. I think I wrote you last from Pernambuco. I had, or rather the ship had an accident there – a horrid steamer near me began heaving in her cable and lifted my anchor for me – the ship drifted on to the reef, and I left her there till high tide when she floated without damage. There was a Court of Enquiry at Rio, & I suppose they reported that no-one was to blame as I have’nt been court-martialled yet. Still these things are a nuisance. I went down to Rio without the other ships to get the mail, and also to meet the homeward bound one which had my millionaire brother on board coming home from Chili. He has given up South Africa, rather a good thing under the present sad circumstances. I met him alright, & we had half a day together. We all left Rio on the 16th of this month, after a fairly pleasant time but it is such a foggy & rainy coast it is difficult to get a day out of doors. We are now nowhere in particular, in a deserted bay call Sapetyba, which is a convenient place for the annual Regatta. We have had the pulling races, & now started on 3 days of sailing races. As soon as that is over, the “Beagle” leaves at once for Monte Video, & after pick up a mail goes straight on to that vile spot the Falkland Islands where all is gales of wind and misery. It is hard luck sending us of all ships those thousands of miles further away, but I believe it has been always been a penance to be performed by a ship going home, so that she should’nt have too good a time. The other ships wont come down till January, when the summer will have set in. So I see no chance of England till well in to next year. It would be nice to meet your people again, and I’m sure my mother would be glad to see “the O’Reilly girl”. Thanks for all the news about the Masters; she ought to have a change to England & see her people – they have taken a house in London for a year – the old father having got rather tired of the country when he cant get about now so much as he used. I saw the pictures of Holme Lacy[?] I take in “Country Life” but there were some even better ones, a week or two later the “Ladies Field” I thing the photos must have been by the same girls, the Miss Pilkingtons, daughters of our tenant. You must’nt abuse the “Warspite” for being dirty at this period. we were shocking when we arrived, & it took us a year to make her look the least bit decent. Best wishes and I’ll try not to worry. With kind regards to all

Yours very sincerely

Harry Stanhope

 

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This collection of letters has been digitized from an earlier transcription project and is for informational purposes only. This transcription has not been verified against the originals. Researchers interested in these letters should consult the original documents housed at the BC Archives.

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