Feby 12th 1827
My dear Henry
You have behaved so very shabbily in never having answered the long letter <2> I wrote to you at Paris that you do not deserve to hear from me, but as I have a Commission which I want exceedingly to have executed it is for my interest not to quarrel with you just at present – Uncle William <3> tells me that you are delighted with Berlin, so I suppose he has begun to forgive you for chusing this time of year to visit it – when he was here he was quite in a rage with you for contriving so ill as not to be in England during his leave of absence which unless he gets it extended will be over by the end of March, as he was only allowed six months from the time he quitted Florence which was near the end of September. He has only paid us one short visit since he came to England and then we were not able to go out Oleandering“ <4> together as I have been ill ever since before Christmas. For the last three weeks I have been confined with the Jaundice and I am only just beginning to get about again – Luckily I was not obliged to take to my bed till after the Talbots <5> left us which they did 3 weeks ago & went straight back to Penrice <6> – Jane <7> and her children were here for ten days at the same time which was a great pleasure to us all, but it is a stupid time of year for any of them to come as there is nothing to be done out of doors, where their advice & assistance is invaluable –.
I have just sown (that is to say by proxy) a great lot of Seeds freshly brought over by Willm mostly Campanulas, Saxifraga’s, Dianthus and Astragalus, which I like much better than some of his former Seed packets. – I do not think it quite right of you to despise the more northern parts of Europe, in regard to Botany – you ought to have a botanizing soul capacious enough to take in Germany as well as Italy and Corfu! – and besides I thought the Hartz Forest, Carpathian Mountains &cc &cc contained all kinds of extraordinary plants!
The book I want you to get for me is the same as our Uncle Wm brought to England two or three years ago – The title is “Melodien zu dem Mildheimischen Liederbuche” fur das Clavier oder Pianoforte – printed at Gotha in 1817 –.<8> I am afraid you will not be able to get it tho’ I do not think it was at Gotha that Wm bought his – but as I do long to possess it very much indeed I hope you will not mind the trouble of trying for it. It is a book of songs with the Music to them –. Pray let me have a Letter from you soon – We intend being in town after Easter, but perhaps you will pay Dorset a visit before that, to look after your Seedlings –
Your Aff Cousin
The Mildheimischen Liederbuch is in the shape of a common small Quarto Reading book, & is a Collection of the Songs of the German peasantry and Miners – I believe in provincial German tho’ it is very easy to understand – I hope you will be able to meet with it –
I heard from Kit <9> from Naples the other day. The letter was dated Jany 4th – He was just returned from a shooting expedition & seemed to enjoy himself very much –
Henry Talbot Esqre
1. Moreton, Dorset: home of the Frampton family.
3. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.
4. No opening quotes.
5. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin; and his wife, Lady Charlotte Talbot, née Butler (1809–1846).
6. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
7. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874).
8. Mildheimisches Lieder-Buch comprised 500 odd songs collected by Rudolf Zacharias Becker (1752-1822) and first printed in 1799. The writer is asking for the musical accompaniment, printed at Gotha, Thuringia, Germany by the Becker family.
9. (see note 5)
10. Readdressed in another hand.