Queen Anne Street <1>
Saturday Nov 30 –
My dear Henry
I have delayed writing to you these two days in the hope of being able to say something more decisive respecting my Sisters <2> plans – From what Mr Travers said yesterday, I am inclined to think that they will remain in Town some time longer, & therefore they will most gladly accept your offer of sparing me till the end of next week. – This nice long visit will do us all a great deal of good, & we feel extremely grateful to you for it. – I am indeed very comfortable with them, & since I have become used to Ela <3> sleeping with me, I have nothing to make me otherwise – she is quite blooming; the only distress we have had was a little strain of the hand & arm as she had once or twice before at home – But the pain has passed off & the hand is now only a little swelled – I was very much pleased with Bennett’s <4> solicitude about the flannel, & I will not neglect her caution & pray tell her that Ela has caught no [illegible deletion] cold either on the journey or [illegible deletion] – she has been taking a nice long walk with us today & enjoyed it much – for the weather was beautiful. – My Brother <5> left us this morning & we are therefore going to forward your letters. Caroline <6> took me yesterday to see M Daguerre’s <7> pictures – some of them delighted me. – I also went to Hoopers to enquire about the Letter weights but they will not be ready for sale before Thursday. Which kind shall I buy for you? – The commonest [illegible] with steel clasp 3/6 – with Spring holder 4/6 – the same on a Clamp to screw to a table 7/– the same mounted on a stand 10/6 – Besides these there is a simple kind for [illegible] & [illegible deletion] & 2 more Letters, adapted for the pocket, – 1/9 with steel clasp & 2/6 with Spring holder. –
I gave Nicole <8> your message about paying Mr John Lamb, & he told me that after doing this he shd require an additional sum for the journey home – He thought that if you sent 10 pounds which would be rather too much he could bring the remainder back again – Some little time since, Bennett expressed to me a strong desire for a silver saucepan for the use of the nursery that is to say to boil the Baby’s biscuit food – which is a daily process – Now I have seen one which I think would be just the thing, but I don’t know whether you would approve of my buying it, though I know it wd be a very nice useful thing to have – It is a second-hand [illegible] very strong, (wd last 100 years they say) & holds a pint – complete with a plated cover wd cost £5. 10. 0 – I think very cheap, for I have heard of similar articles costing £10. 0 – 0. If you wd pay now, I think I could afford to buy it myself at the end of the year, only I have not money sufficient at this moment – and if you approve – I wish you wd ask Bennett whether a pint is not the right quantity for it to hold – & whether the thickness of the Silver wd be any objection on account of its taking a long time to boil – as long they say as a copper saucepan – but it has the advantage of retaining the heat for a length of time. – Thinner ones might be had, but I have taken a fancy to this one, because it is so like one I used to have in my nursery days – & it is so cheap too.
Lady Elisabeth <9> sent me a charming account of Rosamond & Matilda <10> yesterday – pray thank her for it – & assure Mlle Amélina <11> hat I have had the greatest pleasure in executing her commission & hope she will approve –
Ela sends her love.
Constance.Caroline talks of Monday for her journey as little Charles <12> seems to be going on well, but she is overwhelmed with business & I don’t think she w[ill be] ready. –
H. Fox Talbot Esqre
1. 44 Queen Ann Street: London home of the Mundy family and a frequent base for WHFT.
2. Laura Mundy (1805–1842); Marian Gilder, née Mundy (1806 – 14 October 1860); m. 6 August 1844 William Troward Gilder (d. 1871), Army Surgeon (ret).; WHFT’s sisters-in-law.
3. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
4. Bennett, nurse and governess to WHFT’s family.
5. William Mundy (1801-1877), politician, WHFT’s brother-in-law.
6. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
7. Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), French artist, showman & inventor.
8. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.
9. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
10. Rosamond Constance ‘Monie’ Talbot (1837–1906), artist & WHFT’s 2nd daughter and Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
12. Charles Earnest Edgcumbe (1838–1915), JP, WHFT’s nephew.