Rosemont Cottage, Tunbridge Wells
26 Octr 1841
My Dear Horatia
My mother & I have come here for a week on account of the salubrity of the air. We return to Town tomorrow. This cottage was once tenanted by Ly Lansdowne <1> it stands on Mt Ephraim. It is very small but comfortable. The season is over & we have the place nearly to ourselves. Constance <2> and the children are at Weymouth, having been visiting at Melbury and Abbotsbury <3> – C. is enchanted with Melbury which she never saw before, she also likes Weymouth very much, and the children are taking dips in the sea.
We returned here on Wednesday which was one of the most wet & stormy days I ever travelled in – Poor Wright & Nicole <4> were like drowned rats, luckily the journey lasted only five hours. The wind blew from all points of the compass but chiefly Northeast. This summer and autumn have been unusually wet & dismal. Aunt Matilda <5> has seen Dr Domeier who gave her the most flourishing accounts of you and Caroline <6> and was loud in praise of Valletort <7> who learnt, he said, quicker than any boy he ever met with. What a pity you should all stop en si beau chemin <8> when you were all on the point of writing good Latin verses! Which of you had commenced Greek? it is a much finer language and flows like the Muses native tongue, while the Latin poets did little but translate & imitate the Greek. Could their own native Italy furnish them with no subjects of interest? No class of writers are so destitute of originality as the Latin poets, it is most rare to meet a sentiment not translated from the Greek –
I envy you seeing a real Bohemian castle with such a name. And that amiable Count Waldstein and Tony! <9> and his nurse! who both now figure on the scene for the first time. You should have staid longer but you really are to be compared as Caroline aptly says, to a Heuschrecken-verwustung or flight of locusts – It is a delicate attention on the part of the Count no doubt, that C’s letter was so strongly recommandrit, <10> bound with a thread, sealed with 3 seals, 2 of them official, and only delivered to my mother on her signing a receipt for it. But as to sending back [illegible deletion] to the Postamt at Leutomischl a Retour-Rezepisse mit eigenhändigen Unterschrifts, <11> we think it may be dispensed with.
chez Madme la Comtesse de Mount Edgecumbe
1. 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.
2. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
3. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there and Abbotsbury, Dorset: home of William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.
4. James Wright, footman to the Talbots & Constable for Lacock and Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.
5. Matilda Feilding (1775-1849), WHFT's 'aunt' - sister of Charles Feilding, his stepfather.
6. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
7. William Henry Edgcumbe, ‘Val’, 4th Earl Mt Edgcumbe (1832–1917), JP & Ld Steward of the Royal Household; WHFT’s nephew ‘Bimbo’.
8. After such a good start.
10. He probably means ‘recommandée’: registered.
11. [Sending back to the] Post Office a return-receipt with personal signatures.