Leamington Dec 1st
My dear Papa
Last night, after we had seen Mrs Shakespear, it was too late to write, so I put off till this morning my account of our visit – We experienced no adventures on the road, and arrived here a little after dark, where, to our great surprise, we found Major Wake waiting for us on the platform with little Hope Shakespear. He had written to Mama, (but the letter did not reach her in time) to say that he had taken rooms for us at this hotel, where he is himself staying – It is a very large house, and I dare say we should have been very comfortable but for a tremendous storm of wind and rain which kept us awake half the night, by making the chimneys smoke, the windows rattle, and all the doors bang in succession – Yesterday evening was mild and pleasant, and after tea we walked to Mrs Shakespear’s her five children seem very flourishing, but I think rather oppress their mother who looks more nervous and delicate than when we saw her last. She is going back to India in January, and appears to dread the journey very much. Mr Shakespear <1> is in the Rohilcund, but she will not be able to join him; she must go into the hills, and he will try and get leave of absence to go and see her. There are most flourishing accounts of Mr S. who is very busy and very useful. you will like to hear that they have got back part of their property, some things which had remained at Calcutta, and have now been sent home again, and also a few things found buried at Bijinore –
The weather has now cleared so perhaps we may have a good day for travelling after all.
good bye dear Papa, in haste your affectionate daughter
[postscript, in Constance Talbot’s hand:]
Will you please send the Photographic news to Captn Gladstone that we promised for his perusal? George can do it up for the Post – Also tell George to take the two last Numbers of the Athenæum to Mr Blomfield – They are I suppose on the Library Table.
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre.
1. 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).