September 25th 1808
My dear Mama
bathing agrees very well with me as yet & is very Pleasant. I write on Sundays because Mr Hooker <2> does not like me to write so often. there is a Guide, most of the boys swim with Bladders, you say I should have received a plum Cake & 3 Bottles of Beer but I received a plum Cake & 4 bottles of Beer for which I am much obliged to you. I divided it into 23 shares I read in the history of the Jews today. I shall read the 11th Chapter, there is 16. I received Mr F’s <3> Letter. he said he could have shot 9 hares. I will give you an account of the Game of I Spy [illegible]. 2 or 3 of the bigger boys say that they will stand 8 or 9 little boys & Give them 1st hide so then they hide their eyes by a wall & count 100 in which time the boys would have hid so the boys that hid their eyes go & look for them & if they can see one they say they spy him then the boy that is spied runs out of his hiding place & runs after them & if he can catch one before he has got to the wall he is on their side so they go on till they are all found & they hide their eyes & the ones who hid their eyes before now hide & they may run out before they are spied if they like & whoever’s side has lost all its people are lost. tell Richard the sum he puzzled me with I have found out how it makes 15 every way here it is
your Affectionate Son
W H F de Talbot
[annotated with an apparently unrelated mathematical calculation]
Lady E Feilding
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. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.