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Document number: 9735
Date: Wed 07 Dec 1870
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Rosamond Constance
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 1st September 2003

Edinburgh Wednesday

Dec. 7th/1870

My dear Papa,

It is rather difficult at a distance to give you a perfectly correct impression of poor Goodwin’s state, especially as there are various complications in his case which make Dr Moir fear that it will be a long and tedious illness. But he seems perfectly positive as to one main fact, and all we see and know, past and present, makes it each day more evident that he will never again, poor man, be able to resume his position as Butler, or undertake any responsible duties whatever. He is so weak and sensitive that no one dares to tell him what has been the chief cause of his disorder, for fear of the shock such a revelation might produce on his mind. That he has not the slightest suspicion of it himself is perfectly evident, and I should not be surprised if even if it were told to him he did not believe it; at any rate there can be no guarantee against the same thing occurring again should he ever attempt to resume his old way of life. He is too feeble at present to stir out of his own room and your’s adjoining, and for the present until you want to occupy it we cannot make a better arrangement, all the maids taking it in turns to wait upon and nurse him.

But soon, poor Papa, I am afraid you will be getting very cold at Lacock. I hope you keep good fires, and that Thomas looks after you well.

I am glad that Charles has been down for a few days that you may have had somebody to talk too. Are you still working at your Glossary? rather dry work I should think. The weather has quite changed since yesterday – a keen north east wind has blown away all the fog and the view has been quite clear and cheerful and sun has shone at intervals, but occasional sweeping showers of snow promise a regular winter scene before long.

The letter you sent me from Mrs Lancaster tells us that they are still at Capri and like it so will they intend to remain till February. Our “Scotsman” this morning contains details of the last disasters of the French at Orleans &c, they seem to have been very serious, sufficiently so to make one hope they have had enough beating at last, and will now consent to think of peace. Did you see the a paragraph from the Athenæum giving an account of the energy with which excavations are being undertaken at Rome in the Forum, under the direction of Cavalier Rosa, the enthusiastic director of the Emperor Napoleon’s Palatine discoveries? How delighted he, and all the antiquaries, must be to have been set free at last from popish hindrances and priestly intrigues, and be helped with men and money by a truly enlightened gouvernment <sic>.

Please thank Charles for his letter. I wonder he had not the curiosity to be present at Mr Roach’s reading in – Mama thinks it would be a good thing for you to talk to Wilkins about poor Goodwin, privately of course. He would no doubt be glad to know how he is getting on, and you would be able to find out what he thought of his previous condition before leaving Lacock. Mama thinks by something he said to her not long ago, that he suspected all was not right. From Markeaton Uncle Mundy is reported much better.

Goodbye, dear Papa; all send their love. Your affect daughter


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