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Document number: 729
Date: 20 Nov 1816
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: COLE Mary Lucy, née Fox Strangways
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA16-42
Last updated: 21st April 2014

Penrice Castle <1>
Novr 26th 1816

My dear Henry

As I find you are desirous of having a scribble from the pen of your Old Aunt, I am going to tell you how much anxiety I feel about Christopher <2> – we have had another letter from Christopher & I think the boys are more riotous than ever – Dr Butler <3> is perpetually missed & all manner of impertinencs [sic] written up in the School, in short after expelling several & sending away privately a good many, he has threatened to stop the Removes if he is insulted again, notwithstanding it appears he has every night fulminating balls in his keyholes Chairs &c &c Kit is in despair at the thoughts of losing the reward of his labour for the next half year & says that Dr Butler should not include the innocent with the guilty & that he has punished several by sending them off who were not those who committed the offences It must always be the case in a numerous community, except the Eye of Inspiration were present, that the good who associate with the bad must be classed together & I cannot help thinking that if Kit kept better society he would not feel a fear of being implicated in their offences. If the remove is stopped or if he is ellected to the fifth form I am equally anxious he should leave Harrow <4> for the boys he has chosen for companions do not appear to me to have any merit but sleeping in the same room: what then shall I do with him to Eaton, another thinks he would be better in a limitted [sic] number where they would take pains with those parts of his Education which are neglected in public schools – in short Sons are great anxieties [text missing] <5> they come to the use of their [text missing] & discretion. The only payment Children can ever make for the almost ceaseless uneasiness they give to those who are interested in their present as well as eternal welfare is to make use of the religious principles they have had suggested to them – this controuls [sic] their own evil dispositions & sets the example to others of doing the same – I shall like very much to hear what you think of all this – Kits letter is a thick one or I would send it you. – the last time I heard of your people they were at Redlynch <6> – all well –

Dr Hunt <7> is extremely Ill & has been so a great while – the only news in these parts is the detecting of thieves & felons! If you tell me you wish it I will write again –

Yr Ate Aunt

[address panel:]
Henry Talbot Esqr
Revd Mr Barnes <8>


1. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.

2. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.

3. Rev George Butler (1774–1853), Headmaster at Harrow.

4. Harrow School: WHFT attended from 1811–1815 and his son Charles from 1855-1859.

5. Text torn away under seal.

6. Redlynch, Somerset, seat of the Earls of Ilchester (Barons of Redlynch).

7. See Doc. No: 00659.

8. Rev Theophilus Barnes (1774 –1855), of Castleford.

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