28th Jy: 1824.
My dear Talbot.
As I suspect your friends here don’t write quite so often as they ought, certainly not so often as you would wish to hear from them, you will perhaps not be sorry to know how we are all going on just now – Every body has been more or less troubled with Torticolis, swelled faces Lumbagos sore-throats &c owing not to a severe winter for it has been on the contrary a remarkably fine one, but to the cold dry cutting tramontano which prevails here & makes this place feel extremely cold though the Thermometer has never been but once as low as the freezing point, I often remarked that when this wind blows fresh you would fancy a sharp frost out of doors though the Ther: at the time was no lower than 43º Fart: – Ly Elisabeth <1> has suffered the most from violent pain in her face & is still rather unwell but nothing to be uneasy about The rest of the party is quite free from complaint – Yesterday & the day before were delicious days & enabled us to take a drive in an open carriage by the sea shore dalla parte del Levante. I beleive [sic] you have been along that Coast as far as La Spezia. I was delighted with an excursion we made there in November. The views from Lerici & Porto Venere are beyond description fine, what struck me most after that was the road between Rapallo & Chiavari rich in the finest subjects for sketching – Caroline <2> who was of the party made several sketches & is altogether much improved in her drawing what she wants is practice and encouragement but unfortunately her music dancing, Italian master & a variety of other occupations leave her but little time for drawing – We think of an excursion next month to Savona [illegible] if the weather is fine – I shall perhaps leave the party there go on to Nice & return to Genoa by the Col. di Tende which I have not yet seen – Ld D.
w Ward <3> was here for a few days in nov: He is now living in great style at Rome in the Palazzo Negroni – His account of the society there, independantly [sic] of the innumerable local resources of the Place, makes one look back to last winter with some feelings of regret, for Genoa is Devoid of every thing of the kind & is rendered still duller the Death of Victor Emmanuel <4>, There is to be no Carnival, toute la Noblesse obliged to go into mourning for six months, theatres shut for the same space of time, Every thing in the shape of amusement, réunions private as well as public forbidden par les Authorités & carried to such a degree that five or six postantini i.e. sedan chairs seen at the door of a Genoese in questo tempo di lutto generale would create strong suspicions against that person & perhaps subject him to a visit from the Police!!! If you have an opportunity when in Town, Pray find out the dimensions of the Egyptian Sarcophagus commonly called Alexanders tomb <5> which is I beleive [sic] in the British Museum, We have made acquaintance with a Savant, Profr Sanquintino <6> sent here from Turin to emballer inspect the emballement of certain egyptian antiquities destined for the Museum there – He is anxious also to know whether it has its’ [sic] lid & whether it is of Granit [sic] or Basalte [sic], Give a look at the same time at the Colossal head of Memnon & let us know a [sic] peu près at a guess what is its diameter When do you return to us, the sooner you come the sooner probably we shall leave this place, the plans in contemplation for the spring are Venice & Trieste in April, thence to Baden, mais par quelle route is not yet decided – Care & Horatia <7> desire me to tell you you must come back immediately, They both continue to improve every day in every respect –
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. John William Ward, 1st Earl Dudley (d. 1833).
4. Victor Emmanuel (1759–1824), King of Sardinia (1802–1821).
5. The Sarcophagus of Nectanebo II (360–343BC), housed in the British Museum, was believed to be the Tomb of Alexander the Great before the heiroglyphics were translated.
6. Giulio dei Conti Cordero Di San Quintino (1778–1857), Italian Egyptologist.
7. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
8. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father. Text written in another hand.
9. Written in another hand.