My dear Henry
I write to you on a very little sheet as a set-off to the ponderous letters which it accompanies.
Ela <1> thanks you very much for the little bottles – either or both of which she may apply if occasion requires – At present she is free from pain – only the gums remain tender. The old Pellitory <2> although weakened by age, was certainly of use – and since yesterday about noon she has ceased to apply anything. I was glad you set off on Friday morning without communicating with us – else I must have told you that Matilda <3> had had a sad ear ache since 4 o’clock in the morning. We all gathered round her to see what could be done with poulticing &c – and the thing which succeeded in curing her was a fomentation of herbs – poppy, cammomile [sic] &c Mr Kenrick <4> has seen them both today & says
They those were neuralgic pains – and all we can do now is to keep them again in their room – and to hope that whenever the weather does become really warm they will get about again without these frequent relapses – This one has thrown them back sadly, particularly poor Ela – You will have seen Caroline <5> & heard that she intends spending a day with us on her return this week to Mt Edgcumbe <6>. Whether we are to expect her Tuesday or Wednesday appears doubtful.
1. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
2. A composite plant (Anacyclus Pyrethrum) or the root of it (radix pyrethri) used as a remedy for toothache.
3. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
4. Dr George Cranmer Kenrick, surgeon living at The Grove, Melksham.
5. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
6. Mt Edgecumbe, near Plymouth: seat of the Earl of Mt Edgcumbe.