My Dear Henry
I am not much disinclined to either of your proposals, and hope to find you in town & then we can talk it over. Of course you would not take over for I have those whose characters you had not inquired into, & who were not good looking. Il maggior domo will be in despair to quit Thickbroom, after thirty years-<1> but I shall not mind that, if it is as you say.
Constance <2> does not in the heart mind being left in the care of Edward & Pompey,<3> who she thinks quite competent as there is no Chartism in these parts, and I think indeed she will be perfectly safe, so you need not send down Nicole <4> unless you like it. Now remind her not to cross me on the road Tuesday, that would be too bad. It was after you went away that the old red cedar was blown down. Nothing has happened since that. Mary had a very bad journey & a squally & very disagreeable voyage from Bristol to Cardiff but she makes light of it, & always intends to come & go the same way, being nothing daunted.
What Livery <5> have you decided on? One of your foot men might be an intelligent person who could help in photogenics & the other the good looking son of Daniel.
1. An official who has the general management in a large household: a general steward. Thickbroom Cottage, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, the seat of Adm Isaac George Manley (d. 1837); nearby Manley Hall became the seat of his son and heir, John Shawe Manley (d. 1857).
2. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811-1880), WHFT's wife.
3. Edward must have been a servant. Pompey was a family dog, mentioned from 1832-1838.
4. Nicolaas Henneman (1813-1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT's valet, then assistant; photographer.
5. Probably the livery of WHFT's coach, which was upgraded to fit his appointment to the post of Sheriff of the County of Wiltshire in 1840. See 'The Footman', Schaaf 2507, reproduced in Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 99.