Oct. 26. 1814.
My dear Mamma,
Christopher <2> says that he has had the Scarlet fever. Your letter, though only half a sheet, cost 7d which is very dear for 10 miles. It only cost a shilling from the North. – I have done 80 lines of my declamation, which is nearly all I intend to do – I wish you would collect my prizebooks together, that when I come & see you, I may take them back with me, to adorn my bookcase. There are seven – viz. Horace. Pindar. Æschylus – Sophocles – Cicero de Officiis – Conciones Latinæ – <3> & another, I forget what. – I have also another here: – Tibullus – <4> a very nice book … Kit drinks tea in my study, morning & evening – a privilege, which few fourth form boys have, at least comfortably. He goes on very well in learning. His tutor is an odious man, with a horrid name. He is so tiresome: – he never does anything like any other tutor. We are filling Dr B.’s <5> Greenhouse with plants, which otherwise would be entirely empty & watching with great interest, the opening of our buds, & the germination of our seeds. The greenhouse is a miserable one, without any flue; & therefore only useful in keeping off the wind & rain. The wet weather has set in for good: & I expect no more Sun till May. – I have found out, that I am very ignorant of history, & so have begun to read Goldsmiths Greece. <6> – As a monitor, I have access to the School library; which consists of two rooms, each about twice as big as my study. – the books in them are parting presents of Harrow boys, & some of them are very nice ones: – classics, & English poets. –
Yr Affte Son
W. H. F. Talbot. –
Lady Elisabeth Feilding
31 Sackville St
1. Harrow School: WHFT attended from 1811–1815 and his son Charles from 1855-1859.
2. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
3. Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BC), Roman poet; Pindar (c. 518–438 BC), Greek poet; Æschylus (525–456 BC), Greek poet; Sophocles (496–406 BC), Greek poet; ‘Cicero de Officiis’, ‘Cicero on duty’, by Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BC), Roman orator and rhetorical scholar.
4. Albius Tibullus (55–19 BC), Roman poet.
5. Rev George Butler (1774–1853), Headmaster at Harrow.
6. Probably Oliver Goldsmith, The history of Greece: from the earliest state, to the death of Alexander the Great (Belfast: George Berwick, 1814).