January 25th 1824
I left Penrice <2> on Caroline's <3> birthday, about 10 o'clock at night and arrived here next day in good time for dinner, which is the best way of travelling - There is nobody here, on the 28th the Lansdownes <4> go to Middleton & I go to Melbury <5> for a week - You say you did not hear from me at Melbury, although I wrote - From Melbury after a week's stay I mean to go thro' Town to Burley <6> for another week, then to Town for a fortnight & then to Genoa where I calculate on arriving about the middle of March. - Three weeks or a month after me you will probably have a visit from John & Christopher, <7> who are going, John to make a tour to Naples with a Mr Baillie whom he meets at Genoa, & Kit as I hope to accompany us in our homeward movements to Venice, &c. so far at least as will bring him back to Penrice a month or six weeks after his birthday, which for various reasons he wishes to avoid spending in Wales - He is averse to having any grand rejoicings on his coming of age. - I am in great hopes that this scheme will take place; for I am anxious you should be better acquainted with him which you have had no opportunity of being, since he was a child - the more you know him the more you will like him; it is impossible that fine property could come into better hands, as he is very liberal, tho quite averse to any sort of extravagance & dissipation - He and Sir Christopher <8> are on the most comfortable & friendly terms - It is arranged that Sir C. is to reside at Penrice, and to come in for the County once more at least. You seem surprized I should say Kit has great talents; - that is my opinion at least. - I think him for instance equal to William, <9> tho' as unlike him as possible - Charry's <10> health is improving but very slowly, she is tormented with toothaches, whenever she is well she is most lively & agreeable - Mary's <11> chief delight is in the care of the schools at Penrice Oxwich, Reynoldston & Port Eynon; and in Geology. She is not fond of Music, drawing, or languages - Isabella's <12> turn is for music, she cut her hand unfortunately a year ago which has prevented her from playing the harp ever since - She I think would be glad of more society than the neighbourhood of Penrice affords - Kit
has is of opinion that his neighours in general are dull fellows (& he is not far wrong) and therefore he seldom goes near them, except on hunting & shooting parties. Chary draws beautifully and has taught Emma to draw almost as well - Emma <13> is fond of German which she understands very well, & Italian - She has the gentlest manners I ever saw, except Horatia <14> - I think it pity & misfortune she should lead at Penrice so secluded a life, without any models to form herself - A winter at Rome would do her a world of good; but they all exclaim against leaving Penrice, Sir C. excepted who is [text missing] <15> to go (County business permitting) It is however my Aunt <16> & Mary who really oppose them[selves] to moving. Emma <17> sends by me two drawings of Penrice, one to Car. & the other to Horatia. - Tell Caroline I hope she is learning to sing (& Horatia too) I am going to bring out with me the Irish Melodies my favourite music, which I hope will on your piano with Rossini <18> "divided empire hold." <19> - Montgomerie's <20> drawing of the natural pillars at Botzen <21> has been thought very curious by many people whom I shewed it to, & several copies have been made of it - Tell him his name has not been balloted for at the Travellers yet. - I am glad you like Baron de Zach, <22> which I did not altogether expect.
Your affte Son
1. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.
2. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
3. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808-1881); WHFT's half-sister.
4. Sir Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780-1863), MP, WHFT's uncle; and his wife, Lady Louisa Emma, née Fox Strangways (1785-1851).
5. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.
6. Burley, Stamford.
7. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803-1859), MP, and Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803-1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT's Welsh cousin. [See Doc. No: 01149, and Doc. No: 01202].
8. Sir Christopher Cole (1770-1836), Captain, MP & naval officer.
9. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795-1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.
10. Charlotte Louisa 'Charry' Traherne, née Talbot (1800-1880), WHFT's cousin.
11. Mary Thereza Talbot (1795-1861), WHFT's cousin.
12. Isabella Catherine Franklen, née Talbot (1804-1874).
13. Emma Thomasina Llewelyn, née Talbot (1806-1881), photographer; WHFT's Welsh cousin.
14. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810-1851), WHFT's half-sister.
15. Text torn away under seal.
16. Susannah Sarah Louisa O'Brien, née Strangways (1743-1827), WHFT's great aunt.
17. Emma Thomasina Llewelyn, née Talbot (1806-1881), photographer; WHFT's Welsh cousin.
18. Gioacchino (Antonio) Rossini (1792-1868), composer.
19. From Torquato Tasso's La Gerusaleme Liberata (1575).
20. Rev. George Stephen Molyneux Montgomerie (1790-1850), close friend of Talbot family, artist, Rector of Garboldisham, near Thetford, Norfolk.
21. Botzen is now called Bolsano, Italy; until after WWI, it was part of the Austrian Tyrol. Montgomerie's drawing was preserved by the Talbot family and is now in the Talbot Collection at the British Library. These extraordinary natural formations were largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1855. For Herschel's 1824 drawing of them, later published as a woodcut in Charles Lyell's 1877 Principles of Geology, see Larry J. Schaaf, Tracings of Light: Camera Lucida Drawings by Sir John Herschel (San Francisco: The Friends of Photography, 1990), p. 21. See also Doc. No: 01210.
22. Franz Xaver, Baron von Zach (1754-1832), Hungarian astronomer.