My Dear Henry
We leave this tomorrow, & intend to get to London in one day, which is a great undertaking for Caroline & Horatia. <2> It was some time before I made out that Pont nedd Vechan <3> must be Pont ny Vaughan I like extremely your description of the Caverns <4> & should like very much to see it myself. How very much you would have liked to accompany Humboldt <5> to South America & to have observed the new (to you) vegetable Nature as well as Mineral, every where sous vos pas,<6> - The [Cylanstria?] & lofty Opuntia <7> crowning the tops of the Mountains & giving a peculiar physiognomy to those tropical Landscapes. "Their sight is sufficient to remind the Navigator he is on the coast of America, for Cactuses belong exclusively to the New world, as Heaths do to the old." I should have liked better to have gone with him to the Top of Teneriffe, tho' I should not have examined the Hornblende & Phonolite.<8> But most of all to my taste would have been his observations on the Stars that become visible in the Southern hemisphere, "The Heaven & the Earth, every thing in the Equinoctial regions assumes an exotic character."
Caroline has received a Letter to day (from [text missing] <9> Elburgh) of which she is so proud she is going about shewing it to the whole house. Lord Fordwich <10> was a nice playfellow for her, she misses him very much, he is just nine yrs old but little of his age & they did very well together -
There is a Sign near here called the Dumb Post, can you imagine what the origin could be? or in what age Posts were used to Speak.
I am exceedingly puzzled by the abbreviations with which Greek books are printed, & wish you to write me out the words at full length such as ϒ & ς - <11> ΰ for μ & ν <12> & δ - for I don't know what. Ϯ - &c &c &c
I send you a φιλυ <13> with my love
Ever yours affly
We go to Burley the 7th October <16>
1. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.
2. 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.
5. Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German scientist.
6. Beneath your feet.
7. A large genus of cacti, including the prickly pear, mentioned by Humboldt.
8. Rocks or minerals.
9. Text torn away under seal.
11. For, because.
12. Particle with various functions.
14. Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock.
15. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780-1863), MP, WHFT's uncle.
16. Written at the back of address panel.