Monday Nov 28th
My dear Papa,
I have two letters to thank you for, and the account of the great Durbar which we read with much interest. Mama <1> and Ela <2> duly arrived on Saturday evening, the former rather tired with her journey, but today she feels pretty well rested. She seems much pleased with the appearance of the house, which certainly is, as you say, one of the best in Edinburgh, and the most convenient we ever lived in; and she rejoices exceedingly to feel once more so warm and comfortable.
We are very sorry to see by your letter to Mama this morning that you were still feeling unwell. I hope you are better now, and thinking of moving, for Lacock is far too damp at this time of the year and too dreary to live there long by oneself. Johnnie <3>has just been here: arrived this morning from Glasgow, and back again to Dabton <4> tonight. He is so active, always on the road. Tilly <5> is much better, and intends to pay a visit next week at Terregles, the Constable Maxwells, not very far from them: and soon, I daresay she will find herself able to come here. – Our weather lately has been much like your’s [sic], alternately fine and stormy; there have been terrible wrecks along the coast.
Here are some conundrums for you to guess, the composition of Mrs Menteith <6> whom we met in Dumfriesshire, as you know, the other day.
If A tells you that he wants to get his next-door neighbour sent away, why are you certain that he doesn’t really wish it? . . .
Pourquoi les blanchisseuses n’ont-elles jamais d’ indigestion? . . . <7>
Quelle est la ressemblance entre Louis-Napoleon et Henry IV ? . . . <8>
I must conclude as I wish to post this before five –
With love from all, –
Your affectionate daughter
H. F. Talbot Esqre
1. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
2. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
3. John Gilchrist-Clark (1830–1881), Scottish JP; WHFT’s son-in-law.
4. Dabton, Dumfriesshire: home of WHFT’s daughter Matilda.
5. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
6. Misspelling of Charles Granville Stuart Menteath (1800–1880), barrister.
7. Why do laundry maids never get indigestion?
8. What is the resemblance between Louis Napoleon and Henri IV?