Gayton, near Northampton,
21 Jan. 1830
My dear Talbot,
I am afraid you may think me troublesome in thus, within so short a period, reminding you of our conversation respecting the Beauvais Glass. <1> My first real, honest wish is, that, in the exercise of your fine taste, you may find place for the said glass in the decoration of Laycock Abbey; my next wish, that, (in the event of your having no other use for it and of your feeling yourself at liberty to part with your Uncle’s <2> present and of your retaining that love of the Church, which may prompt you to approve of its destination hitherward,) it may be found, on examination suitable to my Eastern window. But I beg you most unequivocally to understand, that, if, (upon examination of the glass and consideration of its applicability nearer home;) you should either be satisfied that it would not suit me or that it might eventually suit you, you are not to feel yourself under one moment’s embarrassment in telling me so. The reason, why I write at this moment, is, that within a few days I shall be going for a short week to London, and that I might there have an opportunity of purchasing something of the kind, which would enable me to finish my improvements in the Church. I shall probably start from Gayton on Monday next: after which, till Friday the 29th I might receive any letter addressed to me at the Revd J. E. Gray’s, <3> Wembley Park, Middx. on Saturday I return to Gayton.
I hope You returned in safety to Laycock Abbey, and found your family in perfect health. A few days after your departure from Gayton I had a letter from my friend Cockerall in which expresses [sic] his regret, that he had not the pleasure of seeing a Gentleman, so highly spoken of: “Such acquaintances,” he adds, “are the best ornaments of Society and the surest guides to all that is right & honorable; in my voyage of life I have prided myself much and often on being so conveyed and have ever sought them out as the pleasantest as well as safest pilots. Probably I may be so fortunate as to fall in with him at the Travellers’: but, if you recollect it, in your next favor, send me his address, that I may call upon him.” Alas! You paid to London such a woodcock sort of visit, that there was no time for me to meet this last wish of his.
You will be gratified, I am sure, to learn, that on Tuesday last Mrs Butler <4> was safely delivered of a daughter, & that both Mamma & Miss are doing as well as possible: ’tis a neat little animal, (the least, I think, of all our animal productions, though panegyrized of course, by the nurses, &c. as “a very fine child,”) but wondrously lively, and a decided beauty in her little way, – “the exact moral”, as the servants say, (qu. model, catachrestice pro Copy?) of one of her Sisters. I hope you will be much edified by this Nursery disquisition: if you are offended by it, let me advise you, as soon as possible, to revenge yourself in kind.
Pray, offer my best respects to Captain Feilding, Lady Elizabeth and your sisters, <5> and believe me Ever,
My dear Talbot, Most Sincerely & affectly yours
W. H. Fox Talbot Esq
1. WHFT had visited Beauvais in 1816 and had admired the glass there - see Doc. No: 00693. For the history of WHFT's acquisition of this glass, see Doc. No: 01761 and Doc. No: 01779. WHFT dispatched the glass quickly and Butler lost no time in installing it in his church of St Mary the Virgin at Gayton in Northamptonshire (see Doc. No: 01959). It is still visible, reinstalled near into a memorial to Butler and his family.
2. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.
3. Rev John Edward Gray, Dr Butler's brother-in-law.
4. Sarah Maria Butler, née Gray.
5. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father; misspelling for Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother; Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister; Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.