My dear Henry
You have not yet vouchsafed me a single line, tho’ you are at the fountainhead of all news – & Caroline <1> complains that you have been equally silent to her. Cattivaccio! <2> It is very good of me to take any notice of you, particularly as I am so busy out riding, walking or gardening all day. The first 4 days were too beautiful quite like July & put me in mind of an Italian spring. We could not expect that to last & accordingly Friday we were regaled with as cold a N.E. wind as one could wish to swallow, & since that the weather has been very bright & fine but I suppose we are in for a spell of east wind, which is disagreeable as it keeps the things back that were just bursting into life. There are a good many hyacinths in flower, some narcissus & loads of primroses, violets & anemones. nothing in your botanic garden but Hyacinthus racemosus & Scilla campnulata. Mama <3> has at length consented to have another flowerbed in her garden & has confided the direction of it to me. I have begun by planting a standard noisette rose in the middle & some pinks & carnations round it. I have given your seeds to FitzSimmons <4> & he has already sown part of them. I have rode the Sphynx 6 times with great success – he neither started, stumbled nor committed the slightest error. Papa <5> rod Strawberry who behaved uncommonly well & seems suddenly rajeuni. <6> The Cattles went away Sunday night – she was very dismal at taking leave of me & said the chickens would miss her sadly – as I believe they will –
We shall be very uneasy till the newspaper of Wednesday arrives & even then perhaps we shall not know till Friday or Saturday. Write us word if you hear anything – facts or rumours, never mind which. Papa wishes you would send Franklin <7> to Yarrell & Jones to say that we receive 2 Spectators every week, which is more than we want either to read or pay for. Kit <8> is coming here in his way home – I think you cannot do better than come with him. You would not be so unfashionable as to stay in town at Easter Laycock is really delightful at this time of year. I almost wish we were to stay all the summer. Addio fratel caro, <9> do not be stingy of pen & paper, & write us all you can pick up.
Your very affte sister
If you do come down. I wish you could bring me 4 or 5 pair of ordinary sized gloves – you might send Franklin to buy them – I have not got a pair here – I do not want pretty ones – anything will do.
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville Street
1. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
2. Bad boy!
3. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
4. Cornelius Fitzsimmons, Scottish gardener at Lacock Abbey.
5. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
7. Franklin, servant.
8. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
9. Goodbye dear brother.