May the 5th 1858
My dear Papa,
We are experiencing the most variable of weathers – It was summer when we left Edinburgh, and we came in here for a new edition of winter, snow on the mountains all round wind and cold rain. It was excessively cold in the house, the first day, but by dint of fires in almost every room, we have now made ourselves very comfortable. It is a nice clean lodging, with a beautiful view from the window, but its chief defect is being so near Keswick, that all the little boys of the town make a playground of the field adjoining, and try to intrude on our premises, by climbing the garden wall, and make a great noise. However we have had two
finevery fine days, Monday and Tuesday, of which we took advantage by being out nearly the whole day, walking and drawing, and enjoying ourselves extremely, the country is so very beautiful just now, with its new foliage and all the bright spring tints.
Sir John Woodford <1> came to see us yesterday and remained here more than an hour. He has been ill, and detained at Stafford for a whole month on his return home by a very severe attack of Bronchitis: and he looks very much altered, poor man, pale and thin, and a great deal older and more feeble than when we last saw him. However he seemed pleased to see us all again, and desired all sorts of messages and remembrances to you when we next wrote. He has taken a most unlucky new whim into his head – that of cutting down his wood wholesale, in the most barbarous manner. They say he has quarelled with the trustees since the death of his nephew and heir, and is now wantonly trying to spoil his beautiful estate. Is it not a pity? he who adored his wilderness, and would not have a tree touched, now talks of the advantages of pasture land and says his ground has too long remained idle. The new house of Mr Bell, on part of the land Sir John sold last year is very ugly, so far as one can judge from here, very tall and narrow, but it is said he will add to it later another wing, which may improve it. The young Mr Marshall, who has just married the daughter of Sir John Herschell <2>has built a very small house under Wallow crag on the Barrow road, intended for the gamekeeper, but which for the present is to serve
for as a residence for himself, whilst his new house is building near the lake, opposite Lords Island.
Tilly <3> has just had a letter from Aunt Caroline. <4>They are still at Winter Villa, <5>and do not talk of moving yet. She seems very much pleased with Valletort’s <6> appointment as equerry to the Prince of Wales. Charley <7> is extremely unhappy at being sent to Colchester to command some troops of the line when he was comfortably settled in his brother’s rooms in the Albany.
It is getting very fine now, and I think we shall go out and draw, so good bye, for the present, dear Papa,
Believe me, your affectionate daughter
Rosamond Talbot –
H. F. Talbot Esqre
1. 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.
2. Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1792–1871), astronomer & scientist.
3. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
4. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
5. Winter Villa, near Plymouth: estate of the Earls of Mt Edgcumbe.
6. Ernest Augustus Edgcumbe, Lord Valletort, 3rd Earl of Mt Edgcumbe (1797–1861), WHFT’s brother-in-law.
7. Charles Earnest Edgcumbe (1838–1915), JP, WHFT’s nephew.