Added by Marjie Bloy, Ph.D. Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore. Christopher Hibbert, who used parts of these letters in his Destruction of Lord Raglan acknowledges Richard Dyer-Bennet, Snr. Cynthia Dyer-Bennet, his granddaughter, has graciously granted permission to include the correspondence in the Victorian Web, and according to her, her grandfather typed the transcriptions in 1961.
Now for No. 2 letter
My dear Miss Selenah,
I have just polished off a very long and requisite thing, a letter to my respected Aunt, which you will (knowing your general observant character) no doubt see, hear, or smell, so I shall not have much to tell you at the same time I could not put off writing an answer to your numerous letters any longer, so here goes.
In the first place, let me compliment you upon your writing, which I am happy to see is much improved, and for a person who writes so much, better expressed than I expected. I am also glad to hear you are keeping up your music and singing. I always thought you would sing, as from the capacity you evinced in destroying bull's eyes convincing me you could open your mouth tolerably wide. I am going to write after I have finished this (if I am not tired) to Fanny, I got a long letter from her the other day, I am sorry she gives but a bad account of Henry. He wants someone to make him take exercise and exert himself. He used to stick in the house too much by half, and never went out except it happened to be wet.
Tell Mary that I have another husband in my eye for her, one of my men, a capital fellow only rather maimed, having lost a leg, an arm, one eye and a bit of his nose, is rather given to drink, and grilled bones, so I think would just suit her, and the above little things are not much when she gets used to them. Fanny told me in her letter that there was a paragraph about me in the Bristol papers, but I could not find it in the Felix Farley, unless you cut it out as I see you have something in the last I received. Pray tell Mama to remember me most kindly to the Dashwoods when next she or any of you see them, and also tell her that I will write to her by the next Mail which will get to you almost as soon as this.
How is my Laboratory getting on? I hope you keep my things in order, and my boots are blacked about once a month, or they will spoil. And now I will give you an account of my Tent and its contents as well as I can. In the first place, I suppose you know the shape of one (that is, a bell tent), well, we have one over another so as to make it warmer. We have also lately sunk the floor about three feet into the earth, this gives us greater room, and height, to support the pole. We have a barrel in the centre, filled with stones, and on top of it a little round table, in a socket in the centre of it the end of the pole rests. The floor of the tent is covered by Mats, like those you get in England round parcels, which I sent to Constantinople for, on each side of the table are our beds, which serve as seats during meals, and the daytime, round the sides are arranged our trunks, sack of biscuits, Ditto of taters, crockery, basins for washing (I don't wash too often I can tell you, as it is so cold, and I have not time very often), on a ledge which I left all round the tent when sinking it, we have our bottles, sauces, jam, cheese, etc., etc., etc., if fact our larder, and round the tent pole, and hung up to it are our Caps, Swords, pistols, muskets, etc. Outside are picketed our ponies, and a private tent of my own in which our servants sleep, and next to that our kitchen which is an oblong hole, sunk in the rock, and covered with branches, old horse blankets, etc., the only fuel we get are roots which we dig up. The brushwood has long since disappeared, but they give out a great deal of heat when once lighted, but it is difficult to start the fire at first, now and then we get a little charcoal issued out, but it does not go far.
You have no idea how cold it is out here, some nights I have seven blankets over me, on the top of that, two cloaks, three or four heavy coats, and in fact everything I can lay my hands on. I must now pull up short, as you will see by this my ink has run out, so I must perforce put off all my other letters till next mail, which will reach you nearly as soon being a faster one than this.
With best love to you all, and hoping to hear from someone soon, believe me dear Selenah,
Ever your most affectionate Brother, W.P.R.
Last modified 23 April 2002