My dear Henry
It is a long time since I have written to you, or you to me; I hear however you are got to Brussels; I wonder how you & Mama <1> can think it enough to give us the list of places you mean to pass through; as if we did not want to know how long you intend to stay at each of them, to be able to send the letters in time; after all Papa <2> said & explained to you; quel [illegible deletion] peu de tête! <3> I should not
of have done worse. – We are at Pratolino, villa reale e imperiale del Granduca; <4> a most beautiful garden just like those in England, but the Palace is quite in ruins though only 300 years old; it the reason is because the ground foundations give s way, owing to a beautiful grotto underneath, built by Buontalenti <5> in the time of the Medicis; there was a great quantity of fountains, jets d’eau, <6> &c, but the conduits being broken the water ran on all sides & caused the ground to give way. – I have had my Campbells works, <7> which you gave me at Marseilles, bound in parchment, & I & Horatia <8> have read Gertrude of Wyoming <9> –. I have drawn Niobe d’après la bosse, <10> & I have studied trees here, as it is a good oportunity [sic] for there are not many about Florence, except in the Caserne. Beautiful Syclamons [sic] grow wild in the woods here, if I think of it, I will keep some for you. – Adieu, my dear Henry, if you don’t answer this directly, I will never write to you any more. –
Your affectionate sister
1. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
2. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
3. What lack of brains!
4. Royal and imperial villa of the grand duke.
5. Bernardo Buontalenti (Bernardo delle Girandole) ( ca.1531–1608), architect, engineer, painter and designer.
6. Water–jets (that is, from water level, not cascading down a structure).
7. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
8. Thomas Campbell (1777–1844), poet; Caroline probably referes to his The poetical works of Thomas Campbell.
9. Thomas Campbell, Gertrude of Wyoming and other poems (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1821).
10. Out of my head (that is, not copied).