My dear Henry
Your letter arrived at the moment we were leaving Melbury <1> last Saturday, after having passed ten days there very agreably [sic]of an invalid, but since the very serious illness he had last September – just after the visit to Glamorganshe–<2> very great care is necessary, as it has left his throat & chest so weak that all risk of cold is to be most carefully avoided – He never leaves the house excepting in very fine days to take a drive in a Brougham, so that the garden is now quite lost to him which seems so strange! – There are some very nice Ferns in one of the Houses but I did not study them particularly – and what you wd greatly admire are the Limes which ripen so well that they are used like Lemons with those goodly Fowls yclept<3> Wild Ducks and Abbotsbury Teal – Apropos, only think of the number of Swans on the Fleet amounting this year to 860!<4> Uncle Wm is fortunate in his choice of a wife as Ly I. <5> takes admirable care of him & makes all the Family welcome & comfortable – They do not contemplate moving, excepting to Abb. <6> for a while, untill [sic] June, so if you come southwards before that perhaps you may see them. – We could not go to Moreton <7> because it is let for the winter & Henry & Ctte <8> are on the move – sometimes at Dawlish sometimes (as now) at Weymouth – so we came here. Mr Mundy <9> has long had a Fancy to see the place & it is so pretty & sunny that we cannot believe it to be January, & after the grievous loss in the North of England of all kinds of Evergreens last year ones eyes rest with envy on the Arbutus & Laurestinus [sic] Flourishing as if winter was a thing unknown. Our further movements are quite undecided, but we feel it a respite that Parlt does not meet before next month so we can enjoy ourselves comfortably & escape much of the Derbyshire winter. –
Will you tell Constance <10> with our affte love that her letter duly reached Mr Mundy yesterday & was very acceptable – especially as you had not deigned to mention any of your belongings. – I wish extremely that we could see something of Charles 11> – He left such an agreable impression upon us all that we do not like so many years to pass without renewing our intercourse. You & he must really come & visit us at Markeaton <12> next summer. I want to shew you the Collection of Vines at Elvaston<13> &c &c –
With love to all Yr affte Cousin
H Georga Mundy
1. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.
2. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795– 10 Jan 1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat. His illness is perhaps the one he refers to in a 13 December letter, tentatively dated 1861 - see Doc. No: 08482.
3. An archaic (sometimes poetic) past participle form of the verb clepe: to call.
4. The Fleet is a lagoon, inland of Chesil Beach and close to Abbotsbury, famed for its swannery.
5. Lady Sophia Penelope Jolliffe, née Sheffield (1822-1882); first m. WTHF Strangways, second m. 1st Baron Hylton.
6. Abbotsbury, Dorset: home of William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.
7. Moreton, Dorset: home of the Frampton family.
8. Henry Frampton (1804-1879) and his wife Charlotte, née Blencowe of Dawlish.
9. William Mundy (1801-1877), politician, WHFT’s brother-in-law.
10. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
11. Charles Henry Talbot (1842–1916), antiquary & WHFT’s only son.
12. Markeaton Hall, Derbyshire, NW of Derby: home of the Mundy family.
13. Elvaston Castle, near Derby.