My Dear Henry
I read that when you wrote you were still at home but that was no proof or even presumption that when I received it you were still at home. Seeing that all of Strangways blood are cangiabile.<2>
The Xtning <3> was put off & on at least seven times but at last Leonora Caroline is duly regenerate.
I have been careful not to shew the Book scene which is in my Portfolio for fear they should be struck with its great superiority to the forthcoming “Scene in the Author’s Library“. The “Westminster Abbey” <4> meets with boundless praise & is said to be far more beautiful than those published. Indeed I wish you had inserted it in number 2d <5> – Likewise the recent view of the Cloisters which is so perfect I hope you will put it in No 3 – I would not give any these [sic] away for the reasons I told you I suppose you will go home before you decamp to London We still keep to Tuesday next for our return
H. Fox Talbot Er.
1. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.
2. Italian: variable, inconstant.
4. A view of the coal-stained face of Westminister Abbey, taken by Nicolaas Henneman, was later included as plate 22 in part 6 of The Pencil of Nature, issued in April 1846. See Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 218.
5. The Pencil of Nature – no. 2 would be publicly issued 29 Jan 1845.