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Document number: 3182
Date: 16 Dec 1835
Postmark: 23 Dec 1835
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: GAISFORD Henrietta Horatia Maria, née Feilding
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA35(MW)-79
Last updated: 18th December 2010

Decr 16th

My dear Henry

If the weather in England is in proportion to the difference of climate you must be in a state of petrifaction, for we are some degrees below the freezing point here – I cannot think what has happened unless it is the malefic influence of the Comet – but I thought that was rather to be the cause of extraordinary heat, like the one of 1811 that made such good wine. Mama <1> is quite pleased with the cold which gives her the pleasing illusion of being in England. I wonder whether Caroline <2> is still with you, how smug you must have been, with her & Bimbo <3> all to yourselves. I was not surprised to hear of Kit’s marriage <4> as I had a presentiment of it & felt sure it would come to pass sooner or later – I think he will be much happier now, & that she will make a most excellent wife – I never saw any girl so little vain or worldly, & considering whose daughter she is, she has the greater merit.

The society here does not promise to be very agreeable this winter, there are a great many English families, but mostly either saints, like Lord & Ly Mandeville, or invalids, or obscure people nobody ever heard of – & hardly any French or other foreigners. I suppose it is never so pleasant two years running, besides having lost the pleasure of novelty. We are very musical as usual – just now we are all wild about Lafont <5> the famous violon <6> who is tombé du oiel <7> here for a few days & enchanted all ears & hearts – I hope Constance <8> has executed my commissions & that it did not bore her much, I am now going to give you one which I beg you will not neglect. It is to cause 3 lb bacon to be distributed in my name to the under-mentioned old women on Christmas Day: – Mary Barns, Widow Heath, Betty Dummer, Sukey Hunt, Betty Orchard, Jonas Hunt, George Selman, Thomas Knee – (all these are in my district on Bowden Hill) Grace Hood & Ann Milsom in Wyck Lane, – & Sarah Tadd & Sarah Sad in Laycock. Fitzsimmons <9> will find them out by the bye how sorry I am he is going – & to think I shall find a strange face among the familiar flowers of the garden. Addio caro fratello <10>

Yr affte

W. Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
Laycock Abbey


1. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.

2. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.

3. William Henry Edgcumbe, ‘Val’, 4th Earl Mt Edgcumbe (1832–1917), JP & Ld Steward of the Royal Household; WHFT’s nephew ‘Bimbo’.

4. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin married Lady Charlotte Butler.

5. Probably Charles Lafont (1781–1839), violinist and composer.

6. Violinist.

7. Ask Mary.

8. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.

9. Cornelius Fitzsimmons, Scottish gardener at Lacock Abbey.

10. Goodbye dear brother.

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