My dear Henry
It is a long time since you wrote to me, but I heard by a letter Mamma <1> received from Lord Auckland, <2> that you were amusing yourself at Melbury, <3> which place he said was unusually gay this year. - Since I wrote last, we have made several new acquaintances; amongst others, Signor Dinegro [sic], one of the very old Genoese noblesse, & an Improvvisatore; <4> he has a daughter about my age, whom he is teaching to be an improvvisatrice. - Il Dottore Moyon, <5> (espagnol,) our physician, is also very agreable, & a violent whig; he knew Lord Byron <6> very well who lived here a year & a half, & went to Greece but six weeks before we came. - Horatia <7> & I went to a soirée chez la Marchesa Spinola, <8> where were a great variety of Nations, there was Singing, Dancing, Chess & Whist. - Mamma desires me to tell you she would write to you in this letter but that she has had the Adontalgia <9> so very bad that she was confined to her bed all Christmas day, which was very dismal; but she is now better, though still weak from having suffered so much pain. -
We have got a new little dog, which we call Morphina; elle est bien gentille et nous faisons son éducation, car elle n'a que six semaines. <10> - the box you sent from Paris is at last arrrived, but it is still at the custom-house; it had been stopped at Pont-de-Beauvoisin <11>on account of the books. -
Adieu my dear Henry, believe me always your affectionate Sister
Caroline A. Feilding
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville Street
1. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773-1846), WHFT's mother.
2. George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland (1784-1849), Governor General of India.
3. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.
4. One who composes and sings or recites rhymes and short poems. This was Marchesa Gian Carlo di Negro, a literary figure whose 'cottage' was visited by the likes of Lord Byron. His daughter Francesca Laura married Marchesa Piovera Giacomo Balbi. The grounds are still a public garden, but the original house was destroyed by bombing in 1942 and replaced with the current Chiossone Museum.
6. George Gordon Byron (1788-1824), poet.
7. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810-1851), WHFT's half-sister.
8. Meaning, in the house of; possibly Marchesa Massimiliano Spinola (1780-1857), Senator of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
9. A mispelling of odontalgia, toothache.
10. She's very sweet and we are training her, because she's only six weeks old.
11. West of Chambery in what was then Savoy (now Southeastern France).