Dear Mr Talbot <2>
The letter <3> I received from you yesterday was quite an unexpected pleasure & therefore was even more delightful, if possible, than it would otherwise have been. I had quite made up my mind that I could not possibly hear again till today. – The sun shines so brightly this morning that your Abbey must look quite beautiful. I have just been fancying it all to myself, & thinking how much I should like to see it this moment, to say nothing of its dear owner. You must not expect me to have read a great many things before you come back, as I hope the time will be very short, besides I am such a very slow reader of German, that I think the history of Undine <4> will take up a much larger portion of my time than you have the least idea of. – Poor Ferguson is doomed to remain quietly in its place in the Library for the present, so I am afraid you will think me very idle. – but I do not always find it easy to employ my time exactly in the way that I like best, & when there is anything going on, in which I can [
lend?] make my small abilities of any use I am but too happy to offer my assistance. The inhabitants of this house are at present in a state of surprising bustle & activity. – Harriot <5> is excessively busy about her domestic arrangements & seems almost overwhelmed with her new cares. The organ of Appropriation which she says has developed itself wonderfully of late, has prompted her to make frightful chasms amongst the books – The lamentations that have been made over some of them, have not inclined her to be merciful, & she has actually carried off by force the two beautiful Castleton specimens which you left in the drawing-room. I have been watching narrowly over the English Baron <6> & its companion for fear she should carry them off also. – But what chiefly engages the attention of all the family at the present moment is a certain penny Club, which has just been established one year amongst our people, – The procuring of clothes for our large parish is no very easy task, & as this is the first time we are particularly anxious to consult all tastes. – I really hope the people will be pleased as I do think they must enjoy the nice warm things which they will get in this way, much more than by the plan usually adopted of giving them away. –
Last Tuesday Harriot & I went to Willington – I was very much pleased with the house, but greatly as I admired it I thought we staid rather too long, especially as it was very cold indeed, we went there soon after breakfast & did not come home till it was dark. – Mamma <7> bids me say that she will be quite happy to pay for as many double letters as you please & quite approves of their being addressed to her, but wisely observes that as she knows
ha your handwriting at the first glance, the envelope is quite superfluous if you like to dispense with it. – Papa <8> waits to take this to the Office himself so Adieu from
Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
1. They were not yet married.
2. Markeaton Hall, Derbyshire, NW of Derby: home of the Mundy family.
3. Not located.
4. Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué, Undine (1811).
5. Harriot Georgiana Mundy, née Frampton (1806-1886), WHFT’s cousin & sister-in-law.
6. Clara Reeve, The Old English Baron, first published by the author as The Champion of Virtue (London: 1777).
7. Sarah Leaper Mundy, née Newton (d. 10 March 1836), WHFT's mother in law.
8. Francis Mundy (1771–1837), politician and father of Constance Talbot.