7th November 1832
My Dear Mr F.
It happens very unluckily that Lady I. <1> has not room to receive me at present, because I wished to confer with you concerning matters of the greatest importance to myself, and indeed to all of us since we live together en famille. <2>
There is an old Proverb which says, It is a long lane that has no turning. The truth of the adage is past dispute: the application of it in the present instance is, that I am going to be married.
The object of my choice is Constance youngest daughter of Mr Mundy of Markeaton, <3> You none of you know her, which I rather regret, chiefly because if you did you could have no doubt of the prospect of happiness which this union holds out to me, which until you know her must rest upon your opinion of my good judgment. I suppose if I were to tell you what a charming person she is you would not believe half of what I should say, therefore I prefer to be silent on the subject, for I could not tell you my own opinion of her without using language which might appear to partake of exaggeration. We settled it at Markeaton a fortnight ago, but as my mother <4> had informed me that she expected Caroline’s accouchement <5> from day to day, I would not inform her of it just at that moment, because I knew it would be sure to agitate her and she had cause enough for agitation already about my sister. For the same reason I shall delay informing her a few days longer, while she is nursing Caroline therefore do not you mention it to her or any body else except Horatia, <6> who knows it already if she has received my last letter.
I did not expect Mr M. would have given his daughter any fortune, however he says she shall have six thousand pounds. Now as I cannot go to Abbotsbury <7> I wish you would come up to London for I wish to confer with you about what we are to do as to living at Lacock. It appears to me that 4 months in the year is as much as ever I shall want to reside at Lacock, since Parliament will require 5 or 6 months residence in Town, and of the remainder of the year 1 or 2 months would naturally be spent [illegible deletion] in visiting some or other of our numerous relations. Next year especially we mean, God willing, to make a tour in Switzerland or Italy, so that we should be absent from Lacock (unless perhaps at Easter) all the while from beginning of Febry to November, or it may be till the meeting of Parliament again in the Febry ensuing. Under these circumstances it would be a great pity to think of breaking up the establishment at Lacock where you are all so comfortable. I therefore propose that matters should continue exactly upon their present footing for a twelvemonth, & then it will be time enough to deliberate further. You will receive this letter Saturday, could not you come up to Town on Monday when<8> my mother & you & I could talk it over together. I shall make as little stay as possible in Town, being naturally anxious to return to Markeaton, but if Monday would not suit you would Tuesday? I don’t think you will be sorry to have the opportunity of embracing Caroline & her little boy. <9>
Believe me now & ever dear Mr F. Affectionately yours
Direct to me here, I shall receive your letter Monday morning before I go.
Captain Feilding R.N.
1. Juliana Maria Strangways, née Digby (d. 1842).
2. As a family.
3. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife, Francis Mundy (1771–1837), politician and father of Constance Talbot. Markeaton Hall, Derbyshire, NW of Derby: home of the Mundy family.
4. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
5. The confinement, childbirth of Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
6. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
7. Abbotsbury, Dorset: home of William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.
8. Text torn away under seal.
9. William Henry Edgcumbe, ‘Val’, 4th Earl Mt Edgcumbe (1832–1917), JP & Ld Steward of the Royal Household; WHFT’s nephew ‘Bimbo’.