[this is written on the same sheet as a note from Horatia: Doc. No: 02223]
My Dearest Henry
The Flood is as great as ever you saw it last winter. I never saw such rain as the 9th 10th & 11th. Pray remark whether you had such on those days, where you were. Ever since we came it has rained more or less, every day – this is the most direful St Swithin I ever remember. The weather & your absence both contribute to make this place dull, but I am consoled in some measure for not having the happiness of daily seeing you, by knowing how bored you would have been, confined to the house day after day, & fancying the place & the damp disagreed with you. If it rains ever so much en Suisse <1> as I suppose it does, the exercise & the excitement will counteract its effects on you. We have fires in every room for the good of the house & our own, & all together we are very winterish.
The improvement in the Library Fire place is a complete one, it throws out an immense heat & never smokes, tho’ it has been pretty well tried this last week with hail storms, violent Southwesters & Thunder & Lightning. To add to the displeasures of the weather, I have been extremely lame with that rhumatic [sic] affliction or whatever it is, in my foot, which has prevented my bestirring myself as I usually do.
Mr F. <2> has been much vexed at the torrents of rain which prevent the operatives going on so quick with the coachhouses as they might otherwise have done. I wish you had left the key of the Museum <3> with me, I could have put all Kit’s <4> Egyptian curiosities there & have judged whether it required to have the Stove lit. Besides I believe the old plans are there & Mr F. wanted to have the plan of the drains made out before Redding <5> went away, for future use & repairs. Horatia’s <6> cough still continues & the weather is much against her. For her sake I hope we shall change the air in the course of another fortnight. The Lansdownes <7> go away on the 20th & return before xmas. They go over the Splugen to Florence. He admires the two new windows you have opened in the South Gallery, the effect is certainly very good. Your Letter from Calais <8> came to day. I am glad you had so much good company in the Steam boat.
Monsieur Henri Fox Talbot
1. In Switzerland.
2. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
4. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
5. David Reading, builder, working on Lacock Abbey.
6. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
7. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle, and his wife Louisa Emma Petty Fitzmaurice, née Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851), Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838; WHFT's aunt.