My dear Henry
I am the last of the family to whom you should write if your object in so doing is to get an answer, but if you disinterestedly wish to give pleasure I can venture to say that I am as worthy of a letter as any of the rest. I suppose before this you will have heard of Kit’s <1> safe arrival and bilious complexion and also of all the curiosities he has brought with him –
which if you have not write to Penrice <2> for the particulars the ignorance which you say exists in Dorsetshire about us all is a deserved return for their never sending us word of Stavy’s & Ste’s <3> illness I have a great mind to parody a piece of Hamlet upon the occasion, which I saw acted the other night “there’s ne’er a friend in all Dorsetsh: but – &c I say no more – <4>
My german master amuses me extremely – I am reading a most admirable tragedy of Schillers Wallenstein <5> – do you know it Maryanne & Kate Nicholl <6> take their lesson at the same time with me which adds a great deal to my pleasure in it – I have just been writing my exercise, and find almost as much trouble in turning my english as I had in doing the german – I hope you do not mean to give Emma <7> a translation though I dare say she would like it as well
Mama <8> has had the rheumatism in her back very much, the others are well – they have just been to an electioneering sort of ball at Swansea we shall have plenty of that in the spring I imagine, Nobody can say we shall come to London till we are actually on the road – such is the happy uncertainty of our plans for the future – we never like to look forward and indeed I think we are all the happier for it – Mama thinks no reason but the children’s health can be sufficient for leaving Penrice though when once separated from the loadstone [sic] the attraction is not so apparent
Aunt H’s <9> message delights me never was a letter reopened to better purpose – Pray do not settle your plans for the spring without trying whether they will not coincide with Kits for he would be so happy in your company – Jane <10> is pretty well – they go to Penrice this Christmas – Bella <11> & Emma would I doubt not joyfully come to London (they think journeys no trouble) purely to get acquainted with Caroline & Horatia <12> whom they are so prepared to love and admire – Aunt Louisa <13> came to see us yesterday – they had a very rough passage but she was not ill Aunt C. <14> is better again – the Nicholls & the children are all well –
Yours very affectionately
London Decr six 1825 J. Nicholl
Henry Talbot Esqre
1. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
2. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
3. Henry Thomas Leopold Fox Strangways, Lord Stavordale (1816–1837), and his brother Stephen Fox Strangways (1817–1848).
4. No closing quotes.
5. Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, Wallenstein (1798–1799).
6. Possibly Mary Anne Thackeray, née Shakespear (1793–1850), and Kate Nicholl, daughter of Jane Harriet Nicholl.
7. Emma Thomasina Llewelyn, née Talbot (1806–1881), photographer; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
8. Lady Mary Lucy Cole, née Strangways, first m. Talbot (1776–1855), WHFT’s aunt.
9. Lady Harriet Frampton, née Fox Strangways (d. 1844) .
10. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874).
11. Isabella Catherine Franklen, née Talbot (1804–1874).
12. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister, and Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
13. Louisa Emma Petty Fitzmaurice, née Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851), wife of Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne; Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838; WHFT's aunt.
14. Lady Charlotte Anne Lemon, née Strangways (d. 1826), WHFT’s aunt.
15. She means ‘mother and child’.