Letters from Peter

  • My beloved wife!


    I haven’t seen you in such a long time. My heart aches and longs for you my wonderful Katherine. You don’t have to worry about me anymore because I’m coming home soon. Tell our children that I love them very much and that I can’t wait to see and hug them again. You can’t even imagine the things that I have seen here. I see those horrific pictures every time I close my eyes. It has gotten to the point where I have to tell someone about all that has happened. Do you remember when you were crying because of Napoleon’s order I had to live? We didn’t even know where or why we were going to. No one had expected such an incredible view of the island. The sun warmed my face, and seagulls were circling above us. After four months of hard journey, we reached land. We were overjoyed with the sight of marvelous beaches, and mounds of fresh coconuts, and of course, the tremendous vodka of Ratafia. I wanted you to see this. Unfortunately, in the first days of march, three legions of battalion 113 half-brigade were split up and we were thrown into the war. We dealt with stopping riots between colonists and slaves. We didn’t know that the swamps of the island contained a terrible disease. My friends started being pestered with nausea, chills and even yellowness of the skin in some cases. After a while, those infected began to throw up blood and the sight of this was simply disgusting. It turned out that the local disease was known as yellow fever. I was frightened with the fact that this disease might happened to me as well. The plague came from the numerous species of reptiles, amphibians, and ticks that inhabited the island. But the ants caused the most problems. The ants found ways to slip into our clothing and destroyed every single meal. But not only the terrible conditions in which we lived in caused me to hate the island. I barely escaped with my life when natives attacked the building I was staying in. I thought I would die and I would never see you again. Somehow, me and my friends managed to escape. When the natives finally noticed that our people related to them more closely than the French, they stopped using cruel and unjust torture measures with their prisoners. They began to repay us with better and more humane treatment. My love, I have to go because I am very tired. I’d like to have a bit of sleep and rest after all of the horrors I’ve experienced on this island. Don’t worry my sweet, I’ll be at home in no time.


    Your Peter


    Wiktoria Rydza