July 1st 1824
My dear Henry
As I conclude you are now at Baden, I have some hopes this letter may reach you, but you never told me where to direct in yours – I am here for the purpose of laying down the new vessel to go to the Mediterranean, her lines are now being drawn under my superintendance & I flatter myself she will be practically if not theoretically, the “Solid of least resistance”. She is to be called the Calisto, which, I have just found out gives (when anagrammatized) O sail CT. & La I cost! I have received two letters directed to Strangeways Fox Talbot Esqr <1> I presume they must be for you, they contain a notice that the person to whom they are sent has been elected a member of the Athenæum <2> – Possibly you may know something of such a society. From the name I imagine they must be literati. I dined at the dinner of the horticultural society the other day, with the exception of the fruit, there was nothing remarkable in the proceeding –
I have frequently regretted the opportunity I lost of travelling with you from Genoa to Baden, it is one which will probably never recur, as I shall not be so much my own master in future as I have been – Nothing human however shall prevent me from going to the Mediterranean, & I shall be happy to offer you a birth [sic]. – I have heard nothing of John Strangways <3>, except that he is in Sicily – I owe him a grudge for traducing me. I find he accused me of caprice for giving up our intended journey, whereas he well knew I was obliged to do so by the powers that were I have engaged Masson as my servant (who you may remember lived with Jane & Nicholl <4>) he is to perform the office of steward to the yacht, for which he is well-qualified, being a good french cook, & free from sea-sickness
I have lost the fine chesnut hunter I had, which you rode to Swansea – he died in consequence of a severe run we had in Northamptonshire, there are many Christians whose loss I could have borne better – Sir Chrisr my mother & sisters <5> are now at Malvern <6> Charlotte<7> remains much the same as when you were at Penrice. I hope the trip to Malvern may be of service to her – Pray let me hear from you when you are likely to be in England. I long to see you again and to assure you with what truth I am
Your Affte cousin
2. Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London: WHFT’s club; a gentleman’s club composed primarily of artists and scientists.
3. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803–1859), MP.
4. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874), and Dr John Nicholl (1797–1853), MP.
5. Sir Christopher Cole (1770–1836), Captain, MP & naval officer; Lady Mary Lucy Cole, née Strangways, first m. Talbot (1776–1855), WHFT’s aunt; Mary Thereza Talbot (1795–1861), WHFT’s cousin; Charlotte Louisa 'Charry' Traherne, née Talbot (1800–1880), WHFT’s cousin; Isabella Catherine Franklen, née Talbot (1804–1874); Emma Thomasina Llewelyn, née Talbot (1806–1881), photographer; WHFT’s Welsh cousin; and Jane Harriet Nicholl.
6. Malvern, or Great Malvern, 9 mi SW of Worcestershire.
7. His wife, Lady Charlotte Butler (1809–1846), who was unwell much of her life.
8. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m. Talbot (1773 - 12 March 1846), WHFT's mother; 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.
9. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
10. Readdressed in another hand.