My dear Henry,
You cannot think how very acceptable your letter was, as it told me something about yourself & every body else, which I wanted to know.
I do not think William <2> is tired of Florence yet, in the first place because I had a letter from him a week ago written in remarkably good spirits & 2ndly because he does not easily get discontented when he thinks that he is duly appreciated which he must know he is now, from Ld Burghersh <3> chusing to stay in England & leaving all the business to him – he always gives me the idea of being a person who wants to be encouraged & to know that he is liked – You are coming here again as you always do just at a time of year when there is literally not an individual thing for you to see but a solitary Aster altaica, notwithstanding which I hope you will come very soon & not be delayed shooting or any other way. Indeed Mama <4> desires me to say with her love that she has given Mr Feilding <5> leave to remain at Melbury or Redlynch <6> a few days after the rest come here if there is any party or shooting which he wishes to join, but that she has no pity for your shooting & will not give you up for even one day and expects you to be here on whatever day Aunt Lily <7> &c come.
You are much too scarce & valuable to be wasted on Partridges & Pheasants.
William quite forgot the time of year when he wrote & desires me when you come to ask you if a wild Pulmonaria found here with large spotted leaves is angustifolia – but he told me himself that it was impossible to judge without seeing the flowers, & the only specimen I ever had which I got one year when we did not go to London I sent to him at the Hague.
I cannot remember on which side of the Troy <8> question you were last year, but I rather think you were indolently waiting till the learned had decided it for you. Mr Wm Bankes <9> differs from me & I am afraid he must be right, tho’ he professes to know but little on the subject – Pray write to me again if you have nothing particular to do. I am sure you would if you knew how much pleasure yr letters give me and us.
Believe me your Affate Cousin
Henry Talbot Esqre
1. Moreton, Dorset: home of the Frampton family.
2. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat. He was Secretary of Legation at Florence.
3. John Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland (1784–1859), statesman.
4. Lady Harriet Frampton, née Fox Strangways (d. 1844) .
5. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
6. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there and Redlynch, Somerset, seat of the Earls of Ilchester (Barons of Redlynch).
7. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
8. Probably the site of Troy, which was a matter of dispute.
9. William John Bankes (1786–1855), politician.
10. Possibly Stephen Fox Strangways (1817–1848), son of Henry Stephen Fox Strangways, 3rd Earl of Ilchester (1787–1858).