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Document number: 2468
Date: 15 Nov 1832
Recipient: GAISFORD Henrietta Horatia Maria, née Feilding
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA(H)32-12
Last updated: 5th August 2012

15th Novr 1832

My Dear Horatia

I received your affectionate and charming letter, and most willingly comply with your request, to tell you more. For you may imagine that no theme can be more agreeable to my pen than the praises of dear Constance. <1> She is about as tall as you are I think, and has dark hair almost black – You remember that you thought her very pretty & her cheeks bloom with the roses of health. I am sure you will be great friends, and that speedily, she is so goodnatured and affectionate, in that respect dear Horatia resembling yourself. She draws very nicely and plays very nicely too in my opinion, but you know I am no judge of music. It is a disadvantage to her in playing, being shortsighted, more so than you are, tho’ not so bad as me. She rides very well and is an excellent walker being full of health & activity. She is fond of reading, and we read German together as well as English, for the sake of variety – she takes great interest in my pursuits and is adopting some of them herself – We often pour passer la soirée <2> play a game of chess, at which she plays about even with me, et moi je me flatte de ne pas jouer mal. Je ne vous dirai pas combien elle est aimable, vous n’en croiriez pas la dixieme partie. <3>

It’s already arranged that no change is to be made with regard to Lacock but we are to go on living there altogether, which will be a phenomenon.

Next July we think of going abroad for four or six months. Perhaps we may arrange with Caroline <4> to meet her.

Our nephew <5> is a nice healthy pretty little wee thing. His hand is very pretty – and the nails perfect in shape tho’ so small as to require a microscope to see. Vrai enfant de Caroline avant d’avoir été un quart d’heure dans le monde il a démandé [sic] à manger. On lui a présenté une cuiller remplie de crême, qu’il a saisi dans sa petite main. Comment a-t-il si vite déviné que la main, c’était pour prendre une chose? <6>

Amandier <7> dit, qu’en entrant au monde s’il avail pu parler, il se serait écrié, Ou [sic] suis-je? … mais n’importe … donne-moi à manger. <8>

London is wrapped in November gloom, the only novelty is the immensely tall column <9> they are rearing on the steps at the end of Waterloo Place leading to the Park. Adieu dear Horatia, I give you leave to tell the news to whom you please on Monday.

Your affte

Miss Feilding
Abbotsbury Castle


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

2. To pass the evening.

3. And I flatter myself that I play not badly. I shall not tell you how charming she is – you would not believe a tenth of it.

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

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

6. True child of Caroline, before he’d been in this world a quarter of an hour he demanded something to eat. He was offered a spoonful of cream, which he seized in his little hand. How did he divine so quickly that the hand is for taking hold of something?

7. Amélina Petit De Billier, ‘Mamie’, ‘Amandier’ (1798–1876), governess and later close friend of the Talbot family [See Amélina's journal].

8. [Amandier] said that when he came in to the world, if he’d been able to speak, he would have cried to himseld ‘Where am I? … Oh, it doesn’t matter … give me something to eat.’

9. Memorial to Frederick Augustus, Duke of York (1763–1827), commander-in-chief, but more successful as a reformer of the army.

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