Calverly Park –
Aug – 5th / 57
My dear Papa –
I wonder how you find Lacock this very hot weather – I dare say the house is cool & pleasant, but can you venture out of it? – How very lucky it was, that they had such a cool day for the consecration of the new church – We have just been reading the flowery description of it in the Devizes paper and can fancy Capt Gladstone<1> & family in all their glory on the occasion –
We have had a most refreshing rain early this morning and it still appears uncertain whether it is going to clear, or to rain again – if the sun does come out, I think we shall have another warm day, for there is but little air. –
Mamma forgot when she was writing yesterday to remind you to bring your blue Spectacles back with you, please do not forget to look for them, for I am sure you would not have minded the glare of the sun here, half so much if you had had them with you to put on –
I send you a flower that was growing in a delightful bog on Culverton Common among Sundew – Lancashire Asphodel and [Watendlith?] heath – it is not very pretty but I do not think we have found it before – I hope your plants arrived in Safety. –
Yesterday we called on Miss Taylor, the flower painter and saw some of her drawings which were not pretty at all, but luckily she was out, so we did not see her, herself.
It is now raining again very hard & I am afraid that Mamma<,> Mamie, my sisters & Charles, who are all gone to the riding school, will be obliged to take a carriage back – they were very glad to have a cool morning for it, for yesterday, it was quite too hot to venture down there at all –
This mornings post has just brought Mamma a letter from Miss Russell in which she says that “When the last despatch left India the Shakespears <2> were perfectly well, and had left with their little boy for Roorkee, a station about 40 miles from Bignore, where there were other Europeans, but no native troops – a hill station with all the comforts that these disastrous times admit of” – Mrs Hope Grant is happily able to report well of herself, her husband and nephew, the two latter in the engagement before Delhi on the 12th”, But for the 3d sister Mrs Ricketts, she adds – “We are in great anxiety as we have reason to believe her husband was at that fearful assault at Shahjahanpur on the 8th June when it is reported that “every man, woman & child was massacred” – We are just leaning on the hope that he may have escaped but we greatly fear this refuge will be denied us, on the arrival of the next Mail”
Unfortunately she does not mention the date of their flight, but at any rate it is a comfort to know that they are gone to a more protected station. –
I do not know whether you have any intention of bringing any of your engravings with you to show Mr James Spedding, but I thought that perhaps
you it would be better to remind you, how much he wished to see some.
Good bye dear Papa Yr affecte daughter
1. Captain John Neilson Gladstone (1807–1863), MP, and his wife Elizabeth Honoria, née Bateson (d. 1862).
2. Relatives of Mary Ann Thackeray, née Shakespear (1793-1850); WHFT's cousin. Several of her brothers were employed by the East India Company - see Sir William Wilson Hunter, The Thackerays in India, and Some Calcutta Graves (London: Henry Frowde, 1897).