August 24th 1808
My dear Mama
Mr Hooker <2> wants to know when I am to begin to bathe he says the 1st of September would be best as September and October are the months for bathing. tell me soon as I wish to begin very much. Mr Scott the Drawing Master comes today. we are in the Irregular Verbs now. the beer is very good that you sent me. the boys are bathing now. have you finished the Cherry you was [sic] painting yet? is Caroline <3> dull? has B <4> set off yet to see her mother?
Your Affectionate Son
Lady E Feilding
Mrs Dickson Sloane Street 90 <5>
1. Rottingdean, East Sussex, 4 mi SE of Brighton: WHFT attended school there from 1808–1811.
2. 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.
3. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
4. 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.
5. Written in another hand.