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Document number: 228
Date: 02 Jan
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: STRANGWAYS William Thomas Horner Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 15th November 2011

Melbury <1>
2 Jan

My dear Henry

This season has been very favorable to Abby <2> – where I was for 3 days last week – it is very good thing to have sufficient warmth to keep things growing as I think they are more hurt by damp when dormant, tho to be sure they suffer less from cold. Do you think there is any minute quantity of heat evolved by the circulation of plants? Something of that seems necessary to account for their turning the cold as it were on their surface, in moderate frosts.

We hope to hear a better account of you all from Harriet <3> – Bella <4> is here she does not know much about the movements of her part of the family. The Nicholls <5> come the end of the week I believe.

I wish I had thought of it before, I would have asked a plant of Orobus variegatus to be sent by Harriet – however it will do any time. Your Euphorbia myrsinites seems just the same as mine – did it come from your old stump of wooden rock work?

Crocus Imperati is out at Abby & a great many Mesembs – some of which are in flower throughout the year – also Maurandia & Dolichos.

Also a german Hellebore very like viridis – a various spring flower. Have you Cheiranthus mutabilis it is now & almost constantly in flower with Coronilla glauca in profusion –

I have just recd a letter from Persia <6> telling me I am to have a piece of their manna,<7> different from that of Italy, Egypt, & Kurdistan, which are from the Ash, Tamarisk, & Oak, & produced on some tree not specified – it may be Hedysarum Alkagi – & besides seeds of three persian roses – they are however not yet come.

I hope Horatia <8> is well – & that Louisa <9> is at Bowood <10> at last – I stay here till 16th

Yr Affte


1. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.

2. Abbotsbury, Dorset: home of William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.

3. Harriot Georgiana Mundy, née Frampton (1806-1886), WHFT’s cousin & sister-in-law.

4. Isabella Catherine Franklen, née Talbot (1804–1874).

5. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874) and her family.

6. Possibly from Sir John McNeill (1795–1883), diplomat. He was in Persia from 1835 to 1836 and 1836 to 1842. Later, the Talbots knew him in Edinburgh in the 1860s.

7. Manna is the secretion of certain plants or trees. Persian manna may have been the secretion of the Camel Thorn, Maurorum Alhaji, native to Persia (Iran).

8. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.

9. Louisa Howard, née Fitzmaurice (d. 1906), daughter of Lady Louisa Emma Fitzmaurice.

10. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.

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