I spoke to our paymaster about my bill, and he has shewn it to the paymaster-general, who says he will cash it whenever I like, but that I must take it in a lump; he will not give it me by instalments. This is a great nuisance, as it is very hazardous taking so much money about with one; the money, too, takes up a great deal of room and is very heavy; it was, however, quite a god-send, as I had no idea how very expensive this march would turn out; grain for cattle being exceedingly dear, the natives raising the price to about 500 per cent. everywhere, thanks to bad management somewhere. At Tatta each officer received a month’s pay in advance, that he might purchase cattle for his baggage. This is to be deducted by three instalments, one from each of the next three issues of pay. An ensign’s pay for one month will hardly purchase sufficient conveyances. The only mode in this country is by camels, and a camel is of all animals the most treacherous, or rather precarious lived; they get ill suddenly and go off in three hours: a great number have died with us. Now an officer losing his camels loses one month’s pay, and must leave his kit on the ground, as he has nothing wherewith to replace his loss. You can, therefore, imagine what a great relief your bill proved to me, as I shall always have it to fall back upon. I bought a very nice little Cabool horse at Kotree, from one of the Ameers’ disbanded Beloochees. He is very hardy, and accustomed to this country, and not particular as to his food, which is a capital thing, as most of the Arab horses that have been brought from India have fallen off terribly. He is a very pretty figure, goes well, and leaps capitally, which few of the Arabs can. I gave 170 rupees for him, or 17l. In India, I am confident he would fetch 500 or 600 rupees (50l. or 60l.)
I am very doubtful as to the time when this letter may reach you; I hope it may catch the overland mail on the 25th; but Jephson says it is very doubtful, and will depend entirely on the chance of there being a ship at Curachee, or off the Hujamree. The heat now, while I am writing, is dreadful, and there is a beastly hot wind blowing which I never felt before. Heaven send us soon out of Sinde! We are expecting the overland mail from England every day; it generally manages to come two days after I write home. You will by this time have received the letter I wrote from the Syden, and the one I wrote to Kate about the 13th of December from Bominacote. Reports vary much as to whether we shall have any fighting if we advance into Candahar. I should think Dost Mahomed would like to try a brush with us, at least with Shah Shooja.
With love to all at home,
Believe me your affectionate son,
Camp, Candahar, June 8th, 1839.