June 4th 1809
My Dear Mamma
I am very happy here. Mr Hooker <2> praises me very much he says I have done exercises for a whole month without his correcting a single word which he never did to any other boy before; my lessons are very easy. I am glad to come back to you so soon as the 20th of this month it is only 2 weeks and 2 days more. next halfyear I expect to begin Ovids Metamorphoses & Cornelius Nepos. <3> I have a kind of a Latin interpretation in Ovid by putting it in easier Latin my lessons are therefore easier to me than to the rest of the boys in my class who have got none. I shall have done Hall’s Contemplations <4> over for the first time in October 1810, according to my reckoning. I do Selectæ è Veteri <5> for Sunday Translations now, & Selectæ è Profanis <6> for Tuesday. Ovid we do in the afternoon on working days. one day I was 4th head boy in the School. I am now 8th. I hurt my arm the day before yesterday very much but it is quite well now. send my love to Betty, Mr F, Caroline & Aunt Louisa, & Lord Henry <7> – tell me who the nursemaid is your affectionate son
W. H. F. Talbot.
Lady E. Feilding
31 Sackville Street
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.
4. Probably Joseph Hall, Contemplations upon the Principall Passages of the Holy Story (London: 1612).
5. Jean Heuzet, Selectæ e Veteri Testamento historiæ ad usum eorum qui Latinæ linguæ rudimentis imbuuntur (Paris: 1736).
6. Jean Heuzet, Selectæ e profanis scriptoribus historiæ.
7. 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. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father; Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister; Louisa Emma Petty Fitzmaurice, née Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851), Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838, WHFT's aunt; Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.