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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

"Colombo, Ceylon, "14th June, 1878

"Colombo, Ceylon,

"Dear Sir,—Your letter reached me not many days ago. I was very glad indeed to receive it, and to hear of your welldoing, as the success in life of anyone who has served with me in the gallant old 'Die Hards' is, and always will be a matter of interest. General Warre told me some time ago he had sent you his photo. I am sorry to say I have not such a thing in my possession, as I have not been taken for years, but as I appear in a photographic group which was taken some two years ago of the officers of the regiment at head quarters, and come out pretty well in it, I send you a copy of the group, and have little doubt it will be far more interesting to you than a single one of myself. Poor Colonel Stewart died at Guernsey on the 6th May. He was unconscious for a week before his death. Only a few days before his last seizure he wrote to me talking hopefully of coming out again, but that was not to be. I much regret his death, as he was an old friend and a good honest man, with the interest of the regiment always at his heart. I hear that I am certain to get the regiment, and am expecting to hear daily that I am gazetted. I am thankful that it should come while I am still young and have plenty of energy to devote to the responsibilities of the post, and the only drawback connected with it page 101 is that it will remove me from the regiment in five years, for, as I daresay you have heard, the command of a regiment is now only a five years appointment.

"There is only one person now in the regiment who was in it when I joined in 1856—Mr Wood, the quarter-master. You may have heard that our old colours were placed in St. Paul's Cathedral some years ago. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get up a subscription to erect a memorial in St. Paul's to those who fell or died in the Crimea and New Zealand, and I am pleased to say I received in little more than a year, from past and present officers of the regiment, a sum of over £600, with which a very handsome has-relief has been erected in St. Paul's under the old Crimea, India, and New Zealand colours, and on a brass below is the detail of all those lost in the two campaigns.

"After I left England to join the regiment here, General Inglis, who is a die hard of the 'Die Hards' (his father commanded the regiment at Albuhera), took np the superintendence of the work for me, and it has been brought to a very successful issue. I am sorry to say I have been laid up more or less for the past five weeks, but my doctor gives me good hopes of recovery without the necessity of going to England for change. I am able to attend to all documentary work, but cannot leave the house. It is very provoking being laid up just at this time, but I have generally been blessed with such good health that I have no business to complain. I often think of New Zealand and wonder whether I shall ever see it again, for I have a great affection for the country, and if I live hope to visit it at some future time. I spent a very pleasant five years there.

"I fancy the regiment is sure to leave Ceylon this year. We were to have gone to the Cape, but there are so many regiments there now that we should hardly be required as a relief. All moves, however, are in abeyance so long as the present uncertainty exists as to war or peace. You ask after my family. We have three children, the two eldest are girls and are in England; the youngest, a boy between five and six years old, is with us here. Kindly remember me to any of the old regiment you come across. Wishing you every success, in which Mrs Clarke joins, and hoping you will like the photo,

"Believe me yours faithfully,

"Chas. M. Clarke."

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