link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Result number 13 of 159:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >  

Document number: 7549
Date: Mon 15 Feb 1858
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: GILCHRIST-CLARK Matilda Caroline, née Talbot
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number: envelope 21217
Collection number historic: LA58-17
Last updated: 21st June 2010

4 Athole Crescent
February the 15th


My dear Papa

I am afraid you have been expecting a letter from me sooner, and you wanted to have a detailed account of the Dalkeith Ball, but I did not know till yesterday that Mama had not said anything about it in her letter. We were fortunate in having a calm fair night, not very cold, so that it was not so bad for the poor servants who spent so many hours in the open air waiting with the carriages – our drive was prosperous, and without adventure, except that soon after starting, one of our lamps went out, and the other winked very much, threatening to follow its example. We were in no want of light, however, owning to the quantity of carriages on the road – It was amusing to watch the little twinkling lights glancing in all directions in the darkness, and all hurying [sic] towards a common centre. The park or rather the entrance drive was full of bright flaring lamps that lit up the evergreens and trunks of trees very prettily. There was no crowd or confusion at all, but the little town of Dalkeith was crowded with empty carriages – The entrance door was protected by a temporary shed in case of rain, carpeted with scarlet cloth, and full of the most splendid crimson rhododendrons. The staircase was crowded with people so we could only get up slowly step by step. The Duchess stood at the top to receive her guests, otherwise they would not have been able to approach her. When we did get into the ball-room, it was such a dense crowd that it was almost impossible to move – we were more than three quarters of an hour getting across; though we let no opportunity of escape of advancing – At about one o’clock the crowd began to diminish, and it became pleasant till three, when we went down stairs, having ordered our carriage for that hour. I have not told you that there was a most beautiful supper a splendid centre-piece of silver &C &c... The refreshment and entrance rooms were supported on full of temporary columns, supporting the ball room, a good precaution when the reels are being danced. Well, when we had put on our cloaks, Mr Gilchrist Clerk, (whom we knew when we were here before,) went out to call the carriage, but it could not be heard of; so we poor people after waiting an hour and a half, gave up in despair, and ended by accepting Mr Clerk’s offer of returning in his carriage, in which we arrived safely at home about two hours after we had meant to be there. Our carriage turned up a quarter of an hour later, having been there all the time, but unable on account of the confusion, to hear the name called. It was rather amusing afterwards, but at the moment we were afraid of being obliged to solicit the Duchess’ hospitality for the rest of the night. – Only think of Mama & I going to the Queen’s assembly two days afterwards, as well as dining at Granton? Mamie did not feel well enough to go, which we were very sorry for, and Rosamond had caught a slight cold at Dalkeith. Miss McNeill is going to be married in a month to a Mr Stewart, son of the proprietor of the island of Coll. He is there (at Granton) at present with two brothers & two sisters, and they were all going to the ball, which proved a very good one.

The picture exhibition is now open; we went there yesterday and today (Tuesday) – for we have season tickets – There are some very pretty things to be seen. I must finish in a hurry as it is dinner time, and I have only had half an hour to finish this since we came in –

We were sorry to hear what a cold journey you have had, I am sure you must have thought of Mamie’s railway wrapper with regret –

Good bye dear Papa your affectionate daughter

H. F. Talbot Esqr
Lacock Abbey

Result number 13 of 159:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >