Another letter from Goring to his sis—the letter is dated May 18, 1775:
Goring's imagining that his sister is sitting in the cooperage (the family business is coopering—making wooden vessels, like barrels and casks), wood all around her, eating a big, fat mushroom.
Yes, that's his fantasy. We know—it's a little odd.
He tells her that they haven't heard much from Boston, except they can see Redcoats marching the streets and encamped in the Common; officers fishing off balconies; ladies rubbing ointment on their elbows—in other words, nothing newsy.
In camp, his life is all about drills and more drills, but at night they go to their mess hall and play or listen to music.
Octavian plays on his fiddle; he'll even play one of his classical pieces, but Goring thinks that's more for Octavian's ears than theirs.
Goring (once again) states that Shun would just melt if she knew Prince (or Octavian).
Goring imagines that Octavian must have suffered really badly because he's so gloomy all the time.
One day, he offers to take Octavian shopping for new clothes with the little money Octavian's made in the regiment.
Octavian really doesn't want to go, but Goring points out that Octavian's clothes—torn, dirty silk stockings, satin breeches, and fancy jacket—pretty much announce his runaway slave status.
Octavian can't compete with that logic, so they go buy some cheap, humble clothing, typical of a N****.
Octavian's still sad and silent.
In the evenings, Goring and Mr. Wheeler have to teach Octavian how to cook because he clearly doesn't know how.
The night before, they ate squab that Octavian cooked (badly—it was like eating a leather sandal).
Octavian stops chewing the squab at one point, so Goring tells him that if he chews, the food will go down better.
Octavian is silent, but finally he points out that they all eat the flesh of animals; therefore, their human bodies are burial grounds for those animals. (Budding vegan maybe?)
The other men around the mess are shocked and just gape at him.
Octavian takes the meat out of his mouth and leaves it on his plate; it looks like all life has left Octavian's body.
Then Goring quotes a Psalmist, who basically says that when you're silent, your bones grow old all throughout the livelong day.
As Goring points out to his sister, that's definitely not his style.