Nizza di mare Domenica
My dear Henry
It is ages since we have had any direct communication & I cannot bear it any longer – pray let me have a letter from you as soon as you have a leisure moment to spare for me. I am afraid you will be disappointed at not having Mama <1> with you this winter, as she had determined to go home & written you word of it so positively – but at the same time I know you will be glad for my sake that she has changed her mind. Only think how dismal it would have been for Papa <2> & me to be left here for the whole winter without her or Caroline. <3> My only regret is that she is tired of this place & thinks it disagrees with her – but I do hope our stars will send us some agreeable society to amuse her, & that we shall be able to persuade her to ride & walk more than she did last year, & which is so essential to her health. Hitherto we have not heard of anybody we know coming except Ld & Ly W. Bentinck <4> I should like to know him very much from all I have heard of his character & from Jacquemont’s description of him. I am afraid the idea of cholera will frighten people away from Italy this year – it is curious that we should have had it here so very slightly (not more than 220 died) while at Genoa it has been so dreadful, & so far from being confined to the poor people in dirty houses, that one of the victims was the Marchese Serra, the proprietor of the Sale d’Oro. This shews what a delightful climate Nice is, even the malignant nature of the cholera was softened by its balmy breezes. I wish you could be wafted here to enjoy them, whenever you are oppressed with the heavy air of a foggy day in England. I hope your tour in the Welsh mountains did you good – tell me all about it. As for Constance <5> it is an immense while since she has taken any notice of us I hope that the Cowes air has quite restored her streng[th]<6> & that your dear little Ela <7> is flourishing as ever – How I long to see her, & you – do you know it is a whole year since you left us at Geneva – we have never been parted near so long before in our lives –
We came back to town ten days ago & are now settled in a new apartment, very nice & clean, just built but not so near the sea as our old one. It appears now that we are not to go to Turin after all (the changes & changes of this mortal life) but any letters you may have sent there will not be lost as we mean to send for them, Addio fratello carissimo <8>
Yr affte Sister
Did you observe a meteor on the 17th of July about 8 in the evg I saw it here, & read an account of it afterwards in the newspaper from Milan.
Pray write us all the news, political or not when I hear of your [illegible deletion] being settled at Laycock, I mean to give you sundry commissions to execute.
W Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
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. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
4. Lady Mary Cavendish-Bentinck, wife of William Cavendish-Bentinck, Governor-General of India.
5. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
6. Written off the edge of page.
7. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
8. Goodbye dear brother.