Sackville Street <1>
May 19th 1809
My Dear Henry
I wonder very much why you have not written to me once since you returned to school. Pray let me know what the reason is, & how you like bathing in the Month of May, & how it likes you. Jane Talbot <2> is in town, she came to have some teeth drawn by Mr Spence. Betty Vicary <3> has been extremely ill, but Dr Blanc has recovered her at last. I am going to bathe Caroline <4> in a large tin bath, which will not be so pleasant as the Sea. I enclose you a letter from Penrice, <5> I suppose it is from your Cousin Mary. <6> London is so hot it is quite odious, I am glad you are in a cooler place
Believe me your affte
1. 31 Sackville Street, London residence of the Feildings, often used as a London base by WHFT.
2. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796-1874).
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. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808-1881); WHFT's half-sister.
5. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
6. Probably Mary Thereza Talbot (1795-1861), WHFT's cousin.
7. George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea (1752-1826).
8. 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.
9. Rottingdean, East Sussex, 4 mi SE of Brighton: WHFT attended school there from 1808-1811.
10. Written in another hand at the back of address panel.