May 24th 1808
My dear Mamma
my Earache grows better & my mind worse every day I have all the Comforts I can possibly have but nothing can reconcile me to your loss, when I was with you I was not Satisfied but too late alas I repent my error [illegible deletion] when I come home for the holidays instead of seeing me fat & rosy as you said you thought you should in your letter of the 19th instant<2> you will most likely see me thin & pale worn out with sorrow. I like Mrs Armstrong pretty well. my lessons are in the Latin Grammar I have got as far as Tristis, buy betty<3> an english Dictionary for her to find how to spell hard words, & if she is in any great difficulty about it do you assist her & tell her that it is a present from me, I repeat my request for you to come & visit me I’ll tell you how we employ our time we get up at 7 oclock (though I awoke today befor 6) & learn a lesson till 9 oclock then we breakfast till about ½ past 9 oclock & then we do 3 lessons till 10 then we play till 12 oclock when we eat a bit of Bread for Lunch & then we play till 3 oclock when we Dine till 4 oclock & then, sup at 6 then play till ½ past eight when we go to bed. however I do not play. this is on a monday, tuesday, Wednesday, thursday, Friday & Saturday. for on Sunday we dine at one Oclock & go to church at eleven in the morning & 3 in afternoon today my 3 lessons at 10 consisted of 25 lines altogether [sic] I wish you to buy a Latin Grammar for then you can watch my progress in it as I shall not fail to tell You my dearest friend as I know it would give you pleasure. you must have been falsely told that I had a garden for I have no Such a thing. I have Alltogether [sic] learnt 190 lines of the Latin Grammar & left out 49 that Mr Hooker<4> did not think worth learning. I am now just past Ambo<5> in the 11th page which you may see in the Latin Grammar come & visit me for I cannot Bear being separated from You.
Your Affectionate Son
W. H. F. Talbot
I wish you would answer my letter of the 21st Mr Hooker has received your letter which he will answer tomorrow tell me what it was about
Lady Elisabeth Feilding
81 Baker Street
1. Rottingdean, East Sussex, 4 mi SE of Brighton: WHFT attended school there from 1808–1811. Its premises remained as a school and finally survived as St. Aubyns School from 1895-2012.
2. Letter not located.
3. Elizabeth Vickery ‘Betty’, WHFT’s governess. When she died in autumn 1835, WHFT paid to have a gravestone placed at Cutcombe, Somerset, inscribed: 'Erected to the Memory of Elizbth Vickery his kind & faithful nurse by Henry Fox Talbot of Lacock Abbey in the country of Wilts Esqre'; the stone's inscription is still readable - See Doc. No: 03205.
4. Rev. Thomas Redman Hooker (1762-1838), WHFT's tutor at Rottingdean and a most interesting character. His career prospects were seemingly cut short when his father lost his fortune to an industrial accident. Hooker became the private secretary to the Duke of Dorset, learned French, took Holy Orders and through the Duke's influence established an influential school. His pupils included the nephews of the Duke of Wellington and of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was also active in the local smuggling ring. See Arthur R. Ankers, revised by Michael Smith, Sussex Cavalcade (Sevenoaks: Hawthorns Publications, Ltd., 1992), pp. 97-100.
5. Latin for both, or two of a pair.