[This letter carries an additional note from his wife Charlotte - see Doc. No: 04652]
Charlotte <1> tells me you have not yet become acquainted with Cuvier, <2> & wish to be so. I enclose you a note of introduction which you may present or not as you please; but in all probability before you get it, you will have found other means of introduction. He used to have a little reunion every Saturday Evening at which were the most eminent scientific men in Paris, with a little mixture of female society that took off the business character of such meetings in general. – Cuvier himself is exceedingly pleasant, & you will find his step daughter Mlle de Vaucelle <3> very clever & amusing. She hates all the ologies but has plenty to say upon every other subject – If you have any fancy for a letter to Brogniart <4> who conducts the Sêvres manufactory I can send it to you – If you meet him will you ask him wheth [sic] M: legrand <5> has yet published anything relating to a fossile [sic] cephalopod – that I left with him (Brogniart)
This place must be strangely alterd from what it was when you were here – The English society is absolutely null, & there are no foreigners, except a Russian Prince Czatovsky who has announced his intention of visiting nobody – The natives are all that is kind & obliging, & have given us a hint that it would be very pleasant, if we would give them a few dances now & then, but they give nothing themselves except whist parties at which they all play – what they do with themselves the rest of the day I do not know, for they neither read or walk – I would give a good deal to uncork a Diable Boiteux in a bottle of Vin de Bellet<6> who would tell me all this. Yr friend Risso <7> is the best friend we have, & I have just seen Dr Leach who if he is well enough will be valuable resource in the way of science. With this in hand, & living in this beautiful country we pass our time very pleasantly, & we are very free from positive annoyance.
Pray mention me kindly to Lady Elisabeth <8> & tell her I would have
obliged taken her advice in writing instead of talking, if Charlotte had not already done so –
I am, dear Henry,
Yrs very sincerely
If you want un homme d’affaires let me recommend you an honest Dutchman who would have saved me some thousands of francs if I had known him sooner. He will give you much better exchange than you can get at a Bankers, particularly Lafitte. M. Lefebore Le Clerq. No 8. Rue du Dauphin – near the Tuilleries.
Mailhac. No 11. Rue Cloche St Benoit, près la rue des mathurins, is a book agent who used to attend sales for me. Cuvier recommended him
Monsieur Henry Talbot
Hotel de la Terrasse
Rue de Rivoli
1. His wife, Lady Charlotte Anne Lemon, née Strangways (d. 1826), WHFT's aunt.
2. George Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769–1832), zoologist and founder of modern science of palaeontology.
3. In 1804, Cuvier married Anne Marie Coquet DuVaucel, widow of a guillotined general. Her daughter, Sophie DuVaucel, became famous for holding Saturday receptions with her step-father, receiving foreign visitors and other distinguished guests.
4. Alexandre Brongniart (1770-1847), chemist, zoologist and Professor of Mineralogy; Director of the Sevres porcelain factory.
5. Probably H. LeGrand, the illustrator of Histoire naturelle générale et particulière de tous les genres de coquilles univalves marines: à l'état vivant et fossile, publiée par monographies... (Paris: printed by Firmin Didot frères, 1835).
6. Lemon cleverly combined a literary and a local reference. Le Diable Boiteux (The Devil upon Two Sticks) is a 1707 novel by Alain-Rene Lesage (1668-1747) in which the Devil carries the hero from houseroof to houseroof so he can see everything that goes on inside. Vin de Bellet is today an AOC wine grown in the environs of Nice and was very popular in the early 19th c.
7. Antonio Risso (1777–1845), who wrote Ichthyologie de Nice, ou Histoire naturelle des poissons du département des Alpes Maritimes (Paris: F. Schoell, 1810).
8. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
9. Text torn away under seal.