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To the Hon Miss Vickery, No 23 Pulteney Street, Bath

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To the Hon Miss Vickery, No 23 Pulteney Street, Bath

Post  John Vickery on Sun May 06, 2012 11:48 am

Letter dated 20th August 1809, from Castelo Branco, Portugal

My dearest Emma,

You will have heard by now of the battle fought last month at Talavera, and that I managed to escaped unscathed. You will hardly credit that it was a victory when you see where I am writing from, however; our Spanish allies have not produced the supplies that we were promised, despite dining like kings themselves and so we have fallen back to Portugal where supplies are more readily to be had.

The weather continues to be hot and dry. If dust were flour we should have our fill of bread. Unfortunately it is not and so your poor brother is growing whip-thin and brown as a berry – the sun here is far hotter than even on the warmest day in Hampshire. You would laugh to see the unfashionable complexion I sport now, and I should dare to say that Mama would have the horridest attack of nerves.

I am pleased to know that you are arrived safe in Bath, and must ask you, for my sake, not to drink too much of the water for I should hate you to get ill from the taste. I hope that you walk out very often, altho' I know Bath is so hilly. It cannot be any more hilly than Portugal, and is a deal easier for walking than the unmetalled roads we must needs use. I am very thankful that it is summer, for the artillery train makes the roads all but impassable in winter and must follow a different route.

My fellows are as cheerful as ever, despite the hardships which we are undergoing, indeed I do not think that anything can bring their spirits low, save perhaps another two or three weeks of retreating. We are currently billeted in Castelo Branco, a small town in Portugal, and I may confess that I have hopes that we shall not need to move from here before supplies may be brought up. I should like of all things to turn and march back into Spain, but I feel that the Commander may have other plans.

I hope that you continue to enjoy the Season, and should you return home engaged, let him be a good useful sort of fellow who will not be forever under your feet in the house.

The light is fading now and my duties call, so I must close. I remain your devoted brother,

John Vickery

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