9. Clarges Street.
My dear Papa,
Thank you for your long and very interesting letter about Cherbourg. Tilly <1> was delighted with your Chers Bourgeois, and Mamie <2> almost went into fits of laughter – St Swithin’s prophecy has not held good, for though it rained next day it has been very fine ever since, with the exception of a dense yellow fog, which suddenly enveloped us yesterday morning at nine o’clock without apparent cause, and after lasting about an hour cleared off again as suddenly and entirely. We did not know whatwas going to happen and thought November had come on prematurely, but what is curious is that not a trace of it existed in Belgravia, for Louisa Gallwey <3> who called in the afternoon said that the sun was shining brightly in that favoured region the whole time.
We got on much better than we expected at Lady Palmerton’s,[sic] <4> for Lord Shelburne <5> was so kind as to go there on purpose to introduce us to her and to Lord Palmerston, as Lady Shelburne had gone to Richmond for a few days. – He also introduced
to several other people, and we met two Scotch acquaintances, so that altogether we passed a very pleasant evening. It was not long, as it began at eleven, and lasted till about half past twelve.
Lord Shelburne himself told us about the accident, and it seems he really had a very narrow escape indeed, for a piece of the heavy carved wood cornice became detached by the dry weather, and fell like an arrow, with great force exactly between him and the Peer who was sitting next. Fortunately it missed them both and no one was hurt, but the consequences might have been very serious indeed. Poor Lord Lansdowne, <6> on hearing the noise, got up in a great fright, but after a few minutes interruption the debate was quietly resumed. – They say the same thing happened last year at the other end of the house, <7> which does not speak well for the solidity of the Construction.
Every body seems to be going and the town emptying as fast as possible – the streets have become wonderfully quieter even since you left: – The Gladstones returned home on Friday, and we shall not be sorry to be going also when our time is up in ten days, though we have still several things to see which we must do in a hurry. –
Goodbye, dear Papa, Your affectionate daughter
H. F. Talbot Esqre
1. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
3. Louisa Gallwey (1811-1872), dau of Lt Gen Sir William Payne Gallwey, 1st Bart (1759-1831) and Lady Harriet Payne Gallwey (1784-1845), née Quin.
4. Emily Mary, née Lamb (1787-1869) , wife of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), statesman.
5. Henry Fitzmaurice, Lord Shelburne, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne (1816–1866), MP.
6. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.
7. Houses of Parliament, Westminster.
8. Henry John Chetwynd Talbot, 18th Earl Shrewsbury, 5th Baron Talbot (1803–1868).
9. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
10. Harriot Georgiana Mundy, née Frampton (1806-1886), WHFT’s cousin & sister-in-law.
11. William Mundy (1801-1877), politician, WHFT’s brother-in-law.