Thursday 27th Oct.
My dear Papa,
I meant to have written to you from Edinburgh, but as we are staying here so much longer than we expected, I think you will be wanting a letter from here. The weather has been warm and charming these two days, since the storm cleared away, and we have been enjoying this pretty country and taking walks in the neighbourhood. Today is quite muggy and
still calm, with a tiresome little still rain, and Mamie, <2> who has caught a little cold in her head, is staying in her room today to cure it. You have no idea what a pet baby <3> has grown. She is so pretty and graceful, and so expressive, that she makes one easily understand all she means, though she cannot manage to say more than two words, – tea and beer! . . . She is exceedingly merry, and Jackie <4> and she have famous games together, running after and catching each other. Please tell Mama <5> that she appeared today in all her glory, with the new pelisse made of the plaid she sent her, and it looks extremely pretty.
Friday morning. I have just received from Edinburgh Mama’s note with directions about the luggage. But the Times she sent has not turned up yet. – She will be sorry to hear of the death of poor Mrs Napier’s eldest son, on his return home from his regiment at Mauritius. He had been very ill for some time: – so now she has no children of her first husband remaining.
The Kennedys <6> are just gone, and now our only visitor is a Mr Menteath, (no relation of Mama’s friend) a clever man and an antiquarian, who is spending a day or two here to visit Tibber’s Castle, and other objects of interest in the neighbourhood. I am sure you would like this place: the country is so pretty and varied; and there are so many walks, without being obliged to go very far in search of them.
The hills look very grand today: – of a deep purple-blue colour, with heavy clouds resting on them, though it does not rain: and the woods, which still retain a good many leaves, are as bright as if the sun was shining upon them.
Mamie’s cold is much better, and she is about again. Tilly, <7> as usual, comes down a little every day. It is exceedingly mild, but the wind is rising again, as if Admiral Fitzroy’s <8>predicted fresh storms were already coming on. What sad disasters have been caused by the last! I am glad we were not just arrived in Edinburgh as it was much more severely felt there than here.
Goodbye, dear Papa, everybody here send [sic] their love. Your affectionate daughter
H. F. Talbot Esqre
1. Dabton, Dumfriesshire: home of WHFT’s 1stdaughter Matilda.
3. William ‘Willie’ Gilchrist-Clark-Maxwell (1865–1935), WHFT’s grandson.
4. John Henry Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Jack’ (1861–1902), WHFT’s grandson.
5. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
6. Relations of John Gilchrist-Clark (1830–1881), Scottish JP; WHFT’s son-in-law.
7. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
8. Robert Fitzroy (1805–1865). He devised and set up a system of storm warnings.