Tuesday, August 2

From the Surgeon's Personal Log 8

A packet of mail arrived today. Post has become a blessed reminder of the world outside the wooden confines of our Ship and our Duty here in these frigid waters.

Later that afternoon, I was visiting with Mr. D-------, one of the topmen in my care for Venereal Complaints, when he was deliver'd a letter from the mail packet. He requested I read it to him as he can not write, and reads only little.

It was from Portsmouth and bore the stamp on its face.

His letter read thusly:

A VERY unexpected demand that has been made on me for money, which I was in hopes of keeping longer in my trade, obliges me to apply for your assistance of the balance of the account between us. When I have an opportunity to inform you of the nature of this demand, and the necessity of my discharging it, you will readily excuse the freedom I now take with you; and, as it is an affair of such consequence to my family, I know the friendship you bear me will induce you to serve me effectually.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, &c...

I asked of Mr. D------- if he knew of the amount requested in the letter.

"Aye, I know that sly-tongued Devil with his charms and graces." says he, embellishing his additional words on the letter-writer with as many oaths as he could think of, "I knew he'd be calling in this debt, so I've been saving up. Ten Pounds I owe 'em."

He looked full-proud of himself, and rightly so, for a man of his standing, to have ten pounds all-together is no small feat.

"But Doctor," he continues, "I wonder if you might help me in writing him back?"

I consented, and had one of my assistants to fetch Mr. D-----'s trunk so that he could get the money he was to send. The chest was brought in and from it, Mr. D----- removed a little grease-stained pouch with a simple drawstring.

From the dirty pouch he produced the most motley assortment of coins I've ever laid eyes upon. Grubby, well worn coinage of nearly every denomination and Country. He displayed them in both hands and held them out to me with pride.

"Mr. D------," says I, "you can not send that much coinage through the Post."

Mr. D------'s countenance fell.

"Never fear," I continued, "I have a thought on the subject. I have a Ten Pound note that I would gladly exchange you for your coins."

Mr. D------ agreed, blessing and thanking me as I fetched my ink and paper.

The letter I wrote for him follows:


IT gives me singular satisfaction that I have it in my power to answer your demand, and am able to serve a man I so much esteem. The balance of the account is ten pounds; of which I have procured a bank note, and for security divided it, and sent one half in a separate letter, and have here inclosed the other. I wish you may surmount this and every other difficulty that lyes in the road to happiness; and am, SIR,

Yours sincerely &c, &c...

No comments:

Post a Comment