9. Clarges Street
My dear Papa,
I thought we should have had a line from you this morning on the subject of the news Mr Gaisford <1> wrote you on tuesday. – I dare say you were as much surprised as we were on hearing of Valletort’s <2>marriage, for no one seems to have had the least idea of it before hand, as he took great care that it should not be talked of too soon. We had a visit from Valletort himself yesterday, who came to receive our congratulations. He appeared very happy and excited, but said he was afraid the wedding could not take place before October, as the whole of August he would be in waiting on the Prince of Wales. One would naturally suppose he must give up this appointment on being married, but he did not tell us any thing positive about it: he had been to Osborne <3> directly to tell the Queen, <4> but had not been able to see her.
The day after it was all settled, the sister of Lady Katherine Hamilton <5> met with an accident which might have proved very serious indeed.
They were all riding together in the park in rather an excited state of mind, not paying much attention to what they were about, when her horse took flight at something, rushed past Valletort and his fiancée who were in front, and who did not dare to galop [sic] after it for fear of increasing the mischief, and tried to leap over the posts at the end of Rotten row, but jumping too short he Knocked his Knees and fell over on the other side, throwing his rider insensible to the ground. They immediately put her in a carriage and carried her home, where she was put to bed, and next day she was reported to be going on well – being merely shaken but having sustained no real injury.
Valletort begged you would excuse his not writing to you personally, as he was so busy he did not Know which way to turn. Lady Katharine is only eighteen, and is said to be extremely pretty and agreable [sic], and we are most anxious to make her acquaintance. – Both Mama <6> and Mamie <7> have written to Aunt Caroline <8> to congratulate her.
Charles <9> returned to Harrow yesterday morning. He had been to the play the evening before – and had also a short glimpse of St Paul’s, for which he was extremely anxious, the same day, so he was rather tired and not quite well when he started – but in the evening he wrote that he was quite recovered and arrived safe.
Mama begs you to send her back the sheet of today’s paper containing the description of the Atlantic telegraph expedition, when you have done with it, as she has not had time to read it.
Tonight is the Almacks ball: and we will send you an account of how we prospered there.
Mama and my sisters <10> went to the Crystal palace yesterday and were delighted with it.
It is just post time, so good bye, dear Papa, your affectionate daughter
1. Capt Thomas Gaisford (1816–1898), JP, WHFT’s brother-in-law.
2. William Henry Edgcumbe, ‘Val’, 4th Earl Mt Edgcumbe (1832–1917), JP & Ld Steward of the Royal Household; WHFT’s nephew ‘Bimbo’.
3. Osborne House, Isle of Wight. Purchased in 1845 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a retreat from court life.
4. Victoria (1819–1901), Queen of the United Kingdom (1837–1901), Empress of India (1876–1901).
5. The sister of Val's new wife, Lady Katherine Elizabeth Edgcumbe, née Hamilton (1840-1874).
6. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
8. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
9. Charles Henry Talbot (1842–1916), antiquary & WHFT’s only son.
10. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter and Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.