Greta Bank. Monday <1>
I send you two little plants that I found in a stream near the house, and which I never saw before. One of them is three cornered and branchy, and was very pretty when fresh, the other has very transparent leaves. I find that they revive well in water. The pink hyacinth in the drawingroom has been very pretty, and a white one is coming out. The snowdrops are in full flower, and honeysuckles coming into leaf. On Charle’s birthday the weather was magnificent; not a cloud in the sky. We went to Mirehouse, and I think I never saw the view look so beautiful. We ate our lunchon at the top of a very steep field near the Bassentwaite road. The weather was so mild that we were able to have the window open almost all dinner time, and we have had several days warm enough to sketch from nature. Poor little Gipsy has not been well lately, and the gardener says that she has the distemper. So we took her to see Sir John Woodford,<2> and to ask his opinion, and he proposed keeping her for a few days till she gets well: to which we agreed, and she is there now. –
An accident has happened to Myrtle Grove, the house nearest us, close to the Manufactory, the frost having loosened the earth and stones above it, which came tumbling down on the coalhouse in the middle of the night, frightening the inmates very much. It is being repaired as fast as possible, but unfortunately they are obliged to cut down several fine trees. – The wind rose last night to a height it had not yet reached, although it has been often very high lately. – It made all sorts of strange and very loud noises. Mamma and Mamie could not go to sleep at all, and we all awoke at half past two. So we went into Mamma’s room, and after talking for some time, we thought we would have some tea, and therefore went down as quietly as possible and after a little search procured what we wanted and made tea very comfortably in Mamma’s room. Afterwards, as the wind continued very boisterous, we played at backgammon, and were very merry making conundrums, till six, when we went to bed, but not to sleep; for the wind has continued as violent ever since. On Saturday when we went to Sir John Woodford’s, he began talking about the Russian war, and told us he had received a letter from London which announced that Count Orloff’s propositions had been rejected at Vienna, a piece of news that we have not yet seen in the newspaper.
Good bye, dear Papa. Please write us word how things are going on at Laycock, whether the crocuses are in flower, and how the cats and Carlo are. –
Your affectionate daughter,
1. The date of this letter is assumed based on the death of 'Gipsy', the Talbot family's dog that they acquired in Greta Bank in 1854. One of Amélina Petit's diaries, inscribed in ink “Donné par Monsieur Feilding à Amélina Le 1st Janvier 1821. Lundi. à Londres”, has inscriptions in various hands over a spread of dates. In it, Matilda Talbot wrote a memorial poem for their dog: “On the tomb of my beloved and ever regretted little Gipsy. (in the garden at Lacock Abbey). 18th of January 1855.” Private Collection, FT10379.
2. Sir John George Woodford (1785–1879), Major General. His distinguished military career included serving as aide-de-camp to Wellington at Waterloo in 1815. Between 1821 and 1837, when he retired, he successfully campaigned for wide-ranging reforms within the army, from the systems of military discipline and purchase of commissions, to recreational provision.