Rothay Bank <1>
My dear Papa
You heard from Mamma <2> how Mamie and Monie <3> started for their Speddoch <4> visit on Tuesday. The day was cold but beautifully fine without a cloud, calm as possible, in fact a perfect day for the time of year – They drove to Kendal choosing to sleep there in preference to Penrith the road being both shorter and more practicable – They started at two oclock. –
Well in about an hour after they were gone the sun disappeared and the sky became overcast with a thin film of clouds – In the evening the wind rose and at night it blew a hurricane accompanied with torrents of rain – next morning our rain changed to snow which melted as it fell in the valley but lay upon the hills – the wind all the time blowing in strong gusts from the north and north-east. – It was as you may imagine exceedingly cold, and Mamma became persuaded that it would be quite impossible for our travellers to proceed –
She had received a line from Monie written in the evening from Kendal, as agreed upon, giving an excellent account of Mamie who had borne her long drive remarkably well, but she said “we were quite surprised to find the ground still covered with snow between Windermere and Kendal.”
We thougth therefore that all our rain must have fallen in snow at Kendal and that there they would be forced to remain, so Mama wrote letters both to them and to Tilly <5> lamenting the state of the case, and we packed up almost expecting a summons by this morning’s post to rejoin them at Kendal en route for Lacock. – Imagine therefore our pleasure when the post arrived and Mamma received a letter saying that they passed a good night – and that they were going to start in half an hour –
That it was rather wet and windy, but that they rejoiced at the change – also a despatch from Dumfries, previously prepared to let us know of their safe arrival, with a note added in pencil saying that their journey had been a prosperous and a comfortable one, and that they saw a fine sunset over the Solway, – but they had had a good deal of snow on Shap fells –
Today here is fine but still rather windy – but we had a shower or two in the morning and a little hail – Seat Sandal and the higher mountains are still covered with snow – the barometer is risen and the Therr chief part of the day stood at about 40.
I have hardly room to conclude
yr affectionate daughter
1. Grasmere, Lakes District.
2. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
3. Amélina Petit De Billier, ‘Mamie’, ‘Amandier’ (1798–1876), governess and later close friend of the Talbot family [See Amélina's journal ], and Rosamond Constance ‘Monie’ Talbot (1837–1906), artist & WHFT’s 2nd daughter.
4. Speddoch, Dumfriesshire, 10 mi NW of Dumfries: home of WHFT’s daughter Matilda.
5. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.