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Document number: 05752
Date: Sun 18 Oct 1846
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Constance, née Mundy
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 9th March 2012

Lacock Abbey
Sunday October 18th

My dear Henry,

I am very sorry you were so long without hearing from me, as I wrote both times <1> that you gave me your direction both to Ghent & Coblentz, the same days that I received your letters – the 9th & 11th But the latter on the 11th addressed to Coblentz, was delayed 2 days on acct of the postage not having been paid – but I sent if off again on Tuesday the 13th I think it was lucky that I did not forward any of the letters that are lying for you here, because you would have received none of them & perhaps they might only have followed you back again to England, if they escaped being lost on the road. I suppose you will now soon return. – Your letter from Heidelberg of the 11th & that from Coblentz of the 13th both reached me today the 18th Is not that rather a tedious post! I am so sorry you did not see Uncle William, <2> but it is his fate or his custom to be absent when his friends call – I remember he avoided Lady Lansdowne <3> when he knew she was coming. – I conclude however they must have met this year – I have reason to believe the Lansdownes are at Bowood, <4> but I have had no communication with them yet & the weather has been in general too bad to do anything. Still I must admit that we had several fine days last week s particularly yesterday & friday – Mlle Amélina <5> had a bad cold about a week ago which kept her in bed, for a few days – and today she is complaining again of rhumatic pains in the head – I fear it is owing to the damp weather – & I know not how to guard her against it – All the children <6> are pretty well: not quite so bright as usual I think – & I am obliged to have Mr Kenrick’s <7> advice for some of them – particularly Matilda. He said hers was a slight attack of gastric fever – & she is up again today & quite merry – Observe my dear Henry that whenever there is anything amiss with our children it is slight in degree – In this, there is great subject for thankfulness, & I flatter myself it is partly attributable to the care which their Mother takes of them. – We have had rather a stormy week with Ela’s caractère & I was obliged to make her a long sermon on Thursday afternoon being her halfholiday – but you will be glad to hear that it had a happy effect & she is now more serene.

Mlle Amélina wants M de Lamartine’s speech on the present political state of France & the Montpensier marriage; & in my last letter I asked you to try & get it for her as you pass through France – It must be nearly a fortnight since it appeared in l’Ami du peuple. – She thinks all the newspapers must have published it.

We have excellent accounts of Horatia <8> – Wright <9> reports in a letter that she is looking very well & that there is much company 16 & 18 at dinner every day – I heard from herself today – she says Caroline <10> is sitting for her picture with Ernestine & Charlie <11> to a young artist of great promise – Mr Sant <12>) – It seems that sailing parties still florish, as often as the weather permits – and yesterday they went out to see the Queen[’s] 110 guns sail into the Harbour. –

Few letters have arrived for you since the early part of your absence – Henneman <13> has resumed his duties at Reading – but his wife <14> still remains at Oswestry for the recovery of her strength. – She meant to go to him however before the end of this month – No events of interest have occurred here, except a visit to Tom Thumb <15> with Mr & Mrs Moore <16> as I told you in one of my letters. They made a regular day of it, lunching with us & going home afterwards. – The wind & rain have rather spoilt our flowers – but there is still no frost – I never remember their lasting so long. –

Your children desire me to give you their love & some of them want you back again very much; particularly Matilda. –

Your affectionate

I will pay the postage of this to ensure it.


1. Doc. No: 05746 and Doc. No: 05747.

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

3. 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.

4. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.

5. Amélina Petit De Billier, ‘Mamie’, ‘Amandier’ (1798–1876), governess and later close friend of the Talbot family [See Amélina's journal].

6. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter, Rosamond Constance ‘Monie’ Talbot (1837–1906), artist & WHFT’s 2nd daughter, Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter and Charles Henry Talbot (1842–1916), antiquary & WHFT’s only son.

7. Dr George Cranmer Kenrick, surgeon living at The Grove, Melksham.

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

9. James Wright, footman to the Talbots & Constable for Lacock.

10. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.

11. Ernestine Emma Horatia Edgcumbe (1843-1925), WHFT’s niece and Charles Earnest Edgcumbe (1838–1915), JP, WHFT’s nephew.

12. James Sant, R.A. (1820–1916), artist.

13. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.

14. Mrs Sarah Henneman, first m Price ( ca.1811–1848), housemaid at Lacock Abbey.

15. Thomas Moore (1780–1852), Irish poet and Elizabeth (Bessie) Moore, née Dyke (1783–1865), wife of the poet Thomas Moore.

16. Doc. No: 05746.