26th of September 1852.
My dear Papa,
It is such a long time since I have written to you, that I do not know how to begin, and besides the days are shortening so rapidly that it is already getting dark. The weather today is very dull and foggy though without rain. I suppose Ela <1> has told you how we visited Mr Beckford’s tower, and the monument on the field of battle beyond, to the memory of Sir Bevil Granville <2> and the royalists, but we could not well make out which party gained the victory. It was a delightful drive especially as there was no wind, for in cold windy weather, it must be almost impossible to stand on that exposed plain, for it is as flat as anything on the top of those hills.
This morning we have been to the Chapel in Queen’s square, and heard an excellent sermon by the Irish preacher whom Aunt Caroline <3> liked so much, but who has such a hard name that I cannot remember it. We got very good places without the least difficulty.
Please to tell Ela, that as our geraniums are grown so straggling, we think it would be better to cut them as Wilkins <4> proposed, especially if he can make cuttings from their heads. Would you be so good as to thank Mama <5> for the packet which arrived from Lacock yesterday; the red wool came in such good time that we were able to finish our work all but a little bit of white.
I am afraid the poor flowers are beginning to suffer from the cold nights, and I suppose you will soon be obliged to cover the conservatory.
I hope you are quite well, and that Mama was not too tired after her drive here to see us. Matilda send [sic] you her love.
Goodbye, dear Papa,
Your affectionate and dutiful daughter
Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
1. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
2. Sir Bevil Grenville (1596–1643), regimental commander. Initially opposed to Charles I, he died fighting for the Royalist cause at the battle of Lansdowne Hill, near Bath on 5 July 1643. Monuments to his memory were erected by his grandson, Lord Lansdowne, at Stratton, Lansdowne and Kilkhampton.
3. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
4. George Wilkins (b. 1814), gardener at Lacock.
5. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
6. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
7. Charles Henry Talbot (1842–1916), antiquary & WHFT’s only son.