My dear Henry
I am very much gratified by your opinion of my Dream.<1> You could never have seen it in its original edition, for I scarcely showed it to more than Sir Charles Lemon,<2> of whom I asked if I might alter the metre in which Fame speaks, without criticism, & he said, certainly, & that his speech might be in any metre I liked. I did not even show it to Harriot.<3> I think they were abroad that year, & after my Mother's<4> death intellectual interests seemed to fail at Moreton, so I thought no more about it until lately. I do not know whether I mentioned, that as your Caroline<5> liked the verses extremely, I wished her to send a copy to Miss Macdonald,<6> to reach the Queen if so it could be, but she seemed in a tremor about doing this, so I have given it up, as I would not wish to plague her. As they have been praised by good judges, I really think the Queen might have approved, which would have been an honour.
Did you see (it was in the Court Journal) a most interesting account of a Division in the Northern Army at the Autumn Man œuvres, saluting the Memorial to the Iron Duke as they passed through Strathfieldsay Park,<7> as they would have saluted in form a living Royalty? It was Sir C. Staveley & Ld M. Ker's Divisions,<8> & was a most touching sight?
Thank you over & over again for the Photographs. I have not one of Lacock, excepting a very dark small one of the East front, with the windows of the rooms your sisters inhabited. This you sent me 2 years ago, & said they were locked up, & you could find no others whilst Constance<9> was abroad. I am delighted with all you sent, & have now only to wish that I could have a view of the North Front, if you have one; or of the interior either of the Drawing rooms, (I forget whether they were called Drawing rooms, or Saloon, with a Curtain dividing them,) where I have passed so many happy hours, & which were so pretty in themselves: - or the Hall. It is a shame to ask for more after your generous present, but I have a passion for interiors - I am particularly pleased with the Nun's Boiler<10> because I am ashamed to say I had forgotten it, until reminded of it by a very nice account of it, & Lacock, & Ela Css of Salisbury, with also a description of the Hall & its effigies, & the pictures in the Gallery (with the man's legendary leap,) that I found in Timbs' "Ancestral Stories",<11> which I recommended to Harriot, & of which particulars I had forgotten a great deal. There is also a charming account of Oakham Castle in Rutlandshire, which I had never heard of be[fore] with its Horseshoe Hall, & traditions, & I am glad to see that poor dear Uncle Wm had hung up one Horseshoe.<12>
Perhaps you can help me by advice in the Photograph way. I have some pretty Algerian Rats, (I have a passion for Rats!) brought to England, at least their ancestors were, by Baron de Hugel, the great French Naturalist who died last year.<13> They are beautifully marked, & I tried to have them Photographed - very difficult as they are never long still, but the Man took the Rats well, but spoilt the background with parts of things shown, which spoilt all. I asked him to take them again with a perfect dark background - he said he could not, & smurched [sic] over the defects till he spoilt all, but the actual Rats. I sent the Photograph to a superior man at Torquay - he says the Rats are very well done; (I don't think all are well done,) but he could not take it off with another background. Now I should like to know if that really cannot be done - a good dark background nicely painted, & then all taken off as a photograph together. Please advise me. I cannot afford to have it all done again - they charge so much because it is so long & difficult to get the six creatures quiet at once, tho' perfectly tame. Again thanking you for your kind presents,
I am yrs affly
Louisa C Frampton
Torquay - Oct 2
Henry Fox Talbot Esre
1. Her original edition (in verse) was A Dream.: Dedicated to "England's Great Hero," Arthur Duke of Wellington, privately published in 1845. Apparently the revised version was never published.
2. Sir Charles Lemon (1784-13 Feb 1868), politician & scientist; WHFT's uncle.
4. Lady Harriet Frampton, née Fox Strangways (d. 1844).
5. Lady Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding (1808-1881); WHFT's half-sister.
6. Lord Valletort's niece through his sister, Lady Caroline Sophia Edgcumbe (d. 10 April 1824), who was the first wife of Reginald George Macdonald (d. 1873): The Honorable Flora Isabella Clementina (1822-1899) was Maid of Honor and later Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria.
7. The Duke of Wellington. His Hampshire estate of Strathfieldsay Park is now commonly known as Stratfield Saye.
8. General Sir Charles William Dunbar Staveley (1817-1896) and (probably) General Lord Mark Ralph George Kerr (1817-1900).
9. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (30 Jan 1811 - 9 Sep 1880), m. WHFT 20 Dec 1832.
10. A 67 gallon cauldron at Lacock Abbey, made at Mechelin around 1500.
11. John Timbs, Ancestal Stories and Traditions of Great Families Illustrative of English History (London: Griffith and Farran, 1869); 'Lacock Abbey, and Ela Countess of Salisbury' is the first chapter.
12. The traditional forfeit for nobles visiting Oakham was to present a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor. A shoe presented by the 4th Earl of Ilchester, dated 1862, still hangs on the inner wall of the Great Hall at Oakham.
13. Charles von Hügel,born Carl Alexander Anselm Baron von Hügel (1795- 2 June 1870), Austrian army officer, diplomat, explorer and botanist and explorer. He travelled through India in the 1830s and was noted for his celebrated botanical garden and for import of botanical specimens from Australia.