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Document number: 03697
Date: 20 Jun 1838
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Constance, née Mundy
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA38-19
Last updated: 16th November 2016

Lacock Abbey
June 20. –

My dear Henry.

I was so pleased with your entertaining letter yesterday <1> & so delighted with Horatia’s! <2> – Pray give her my particular love & thank her for having at last broken silence – and tell her that I shall write very soon & give her all the information that she wishes for about her Garden. – I suppose you intend prolonging your absence a little beyond what you first talked of, as you have not named a day for returning. – at any rate I hope this letter will reach you in time for you to act upon the information which I am now about to give – Yesterday, one of your labourers ( George Heath, <3> son of Horatia’s favorite, widow Heath) picked up on the grass (on the South terrace I believe) a gold ring with the name Lady Hunloke <4> engraved on it – being rather large (this is the circumference.) <5>

I feel rather afraid of venturing it in the letter without your advice. – I could fix it under a large seal perhaps & make rather a bulky letter enclosed to Mr Strangways <6> which I imagine would ensure its reaching you in safety – & I suppose that you could easily convey it to Lady Hunloke at Richmond. – but I will wait for your directions. – I hope you will tell her that it was found by a labourer, a very poor man, – that she may be prompted to reward him for his honesty

We have read Dr Lardner’s <7> article on Animal Magnetism <8> & feel disposed to withhold our Assent from some particulars especially that of clairvoyance, which seems so entirely repugnant to common reason & all experience – What do you think of this part of the subject? you did not mention having witnessed anything of this kind. –

Emily <9> is much alarmed at the possibly dangerous results of this new Science & she is very much afraid that it will sometime be her lot to live next door to a Magnetiser & that he will amuse himself by trying experiments upon her or some other inmate of the house. –

Nothing can go on better than Groves & the children <10> – how charming this is! – My sisters <11> desire their love.

Your affectionate

I hope Harriot <12> has not failed to send to you the parcel which you so kindly said you could bring down for my sisters – it will not mind being a little squeezed. –

As you were so kindly interested about our heads, you will be glad to hear they are much better. –

H.F. Talbot Esqre
31. Sackville Street


1. Not located.

2. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.

3. See Doc. No: 03065.

4. Lady Anne Hunloke, née Eccleston (1788–1872); after 1860, known as Lady Anne Scarisbrick.

5. Illustration.

6. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.

7. Dionysius Lardner (1793–1859).

8. A presumed intangible or mysterious force that is said to influence human beings. The term was applied by the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer to the hypnotism that he used in the treatment of patients. He believed that it was an occult force or invisible fluid emanating from his body and that, more generally, the force permeated the universe, deriving especially from the stars.

9. Emily Mundy (1807– 5 November 1839), WHFT’s sister-in-law.

10. Nurse to Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter and Rosamond Constance ‘Monie’ Talbot (1837–1906), artist & WHFT’s 2nd daughter.

11. Emily: Laura Mundy (1805–1842); Marian Gilder, née Mundy (1806 – 14 October 1860); m. 6 August 1844 William Troward Gilder (d. 1871), Army Surgeon (ret).; WHFT’s sisters-in-law.

12. Harriot Georgiana Mundy, née Frampton (1806-1886), WHFT’s cousin & sister-in-law.