My dear Henry
Last night I received your nice Souvenir, and I cannot lose any time in thanking you for it. You know that Legendary Tales <2> are a passion in the Strangways family so we cannot sufficiently admire you for being such a worthy member of it. Why did not you tell me that you had such a thing in contemplation when I saw you? – I was just about to write to Aunt Lily <3> but now I shall write to you instead – Pray tell her that I expected an account of her ball from herself as she partly promised me one, but as it did not arrive I could only partially satisfy my curiosity by closely questioning Henry, <4> who is not as you may imagine very bright at this moment – However I must say he gave me Aunt Lily’s message and pray tell her with my love that I can fully enter into her extasies [sic] at the sight of Lord Alvanly Ld Hertford &cca<5> and I hope she is still feeding on the glory of having had such a perfect Ball – Henry also said she was satisfied with the degree of embonpoint <6> wch her ball possessed, of which I am particularly glad, as to say the truth she was so frightened at the crowd of the first one, that we were much afraid this would have been too lean – but I hear it was perfection –.
Your parcel would have been even more acceptable (if possible) had you written a note with it as I should very much like to hear what you are all doing & whether London is likely to be gay & pleasanter than it has been. – Perhaps one of these days, before the Funeral when there is not much going on you will find time to give me some account of No 31 –
Nobody has any loss by not being in the Country, indeed from all accounts London is much warmer & the weather more like Summer than anything we can boast. Here we have nothing but perpetual rain every day, only varying from an incessant pour, to violent Thunder Storms, so that tho’ we are trying to make some very pretty alterations & which will really be a great improvement in our Flower Garden we can enjoy nothing as the ground is soaking whenever we are able to stir out at all. – Tell Caroline & Horatia <7> that our chief amusement is rowing in the boat as that is always dry internally, and we often long for them as we were so happy all together when they were here last – I hope indeed one of these days we may all row together again – Give my most affectionate love to all & excuse this very dull letter but the rain has washed away all my intellects –
Your very affectate cousin
My special love to Morphine. <8>
Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville Street
1. Moreton, Dorset: home of the Frampton family.
2. WHFT, Legendary Tales, in Verse and Prose (London: James Ridgway, 1830).
3. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
4. Henry Frampton (1804-1879).
5. William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley (1789-1849), one of the Prince Regent’s circle. Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram, 3rd Marquess of Hertford (1777–1842).
7. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister, and Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
8. The family's dog, found by them on 20 December 1823 as a stray in the Piazza di Fontana Amorosa in Genoa.