My Dear Henry
It is very good of you to intend coming to pay us a visit and I beg you will not forget it or shirk off when the times [sic] comes.
An If you will let me know bye and bye what day it will be, we will bespeak you a bed, which are not very easy things to get here at any time & especially during the Regatta – You will be sure to find Kit <1> here, who was delighted to hear of your place, & Uncle Harry <2> & “all the world & his wife” I dare say into the bargain. I have heard before of people covering garden sticks with glass but I think it must be a great plague & trouble particularly when you want to do a great many at once as sometimes is my case when Uncle William <3> sends me a pacquet of seeds all to be sown immediately –.
Will you tell me what can be the name of a Thistle which one of our servants found floating in the Sea a few days ago & which they tell me always grows near the sea in sandy places tho’ I do not recollect having seen it before. This has a blue flower & whitish leaves edged with pale lilac & a pale lilac stalk – It is quite lovely – The only English ones I can find in Donn<4> are Carduus Mutans, – Acanthoides, – tenniflorus & Marianus – all which are marked as Annuals excepting the last which I know it is not – Perhaps it has changed its name to curcus & if so, is it curcus palustris– It is a long time since I have heard from Uncle Wm, but as I been very good in writing to him lately I suppose I shall have a botanical letter very shortly. Captain Mangles <5> has been staying here but is now gone I am sorry to say, which has been a great treat to us. He is very fond of flowers & has got a garden of English Plants at home & knows a good deal about them.
You may imagine my pleasure when I discovered that he had my passion for the Thistle and Onion families as he is the only person I ever met with who enters into my feelings on the subject – There is a Melianthus major in the garden I wrote to you about which has been out many winters – this last one which was so severe did not kill its root, altho’ it did kill it down to the ground & soon it has grown up again about 2 feet – Pray bring your newly arrived New Holland Plants as I like dried plants of all things & I wish you wd bring Flora Scotica <6> too because I want to consult you about a monstrous Scotch Thistle such as is borne in the English Arms – You were very faithless in not getting the Natural History of the Hartz Forest <7> wch you promised to get & lend me so pray redeem your character before you visit us, as I am sure everything curious & out of the way is to be found in that Forest. Louise <8> means to feed you with Cracknels when you come, wch is an Isle of Wight species of Biscuit as she concludes, (I think rather rashly) that as your tastes are the same about sailing, they must be so about eating –. The Regatta begins on Thursday Augt the 10th & lasts two days – If the weather is tolerable it is a very pretty thing as there are fireworks in the Evening wch the only time I ever saw them were magnificent & lasted 2 hours & a half – the different yachts sent off Blue Lights &c &c & answered one another wch made the prettiest sight possible, as the sea was perfectly calm & there was no moon – I think Henry <9> will be just arrived from Ireland by that time as he talks of leaving Dublin the 4th or 5th – With kind love to all your party
Believe me My dear Henry
Your Affectionate Cousin
Henry Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville St
1. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
2. Henry Stephen Fox Strangways, 3rd Earl of Ilchester (1787–1858).
3. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.
4. James Donn (1758-1813), botanist and horticulturalist, originator of Hortus Cantabridgiensis, which became a book of reference for British plants.
5. Possibly Captain Charles Edward Mangles (1798–1873), captain H.E.I.C. naval service, MP for Newport and chairman of the London and South Western Railway.
6. Although a commonly employed title over the years, this almost certainly was William Jackson Hooker’s Flora Scotica, or a Description of Scottish plants, arranged both according to the artificial and natural methods (London: Hurst & Robinson, 1821).
7. Georg Henning Behrens, The Natural History of Hartz-Forest, in His Majesty King George’s German dominions, &c., translated by John Andree (T. Osborne: London, 1730).
8. Probably Louisa Charlotte Frampton.
9. Henry Frampton (1804-1879).