Wednesday 21st of March
13 Great Stuart Street <1>
My dear Papa,
I should have written sooner to thank you for your letter and the book you sent me on my birthday, but we did not know how long you were going to remain in London, nor, until Mama <2>heard from you yesterday, what was your address in Paris. Ela also thanks you for the letter she got this morning. It is a pity you have not finer weather but I hope it will improve as you go Southwards. If you really started yesterday I suppose you will reach Cannes on Thursday.
Tilly <3> and all the party left us on Saturday, the children in a high state of excitement at the idea of going home again, and with the bustle of moving. I forget whether you were still here when they were all photographed by Dallas <4>– Jack <5> has turned out extremely successful, a very agreable [sic] likeness, but the others not nearly so well. You know that Tilly and John <6> are coming back, to stay two days, in a fortnight for the New Club ball – Charles <7> is rejoicing at the idea of 3 balls running that week, and perhaps a fourth. He will not have to complain of want of dissipation this year at any rate, and he has had several dinner parties lately and more in prospect, which he likes as well as anything. Dr Moir <8> has made us a present of a little white kitten with very thick hair, who is so playful and lively that it amuses the whole house, and Ela <9> has purchased a little mottled canary-bird as a companion for Linny, so that we have plenty of animals now in the house.
There are signs of a change of weather this evening which is much to be desired, as this prolonged cold and east wind is beginning to do harm – for, according to Mr Mc Nab’s <10> last report at the Botanical meeting, nothing has made the slightest progress since the beginning of February, at which time vegetation was much too forward – And owing to the numerous frosts many buds have been injured and some things, such as rhododendrons, he does not think will flower at all this year. Is not this sad? –
Your affectionate daughter
1. 13 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh, frequent home of the Talbots from 1863-1871.
2. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
3. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
5. John Henry Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Jack’ (1861–1902), WHFT’s grandson.
6. John Gilchrist-Clark (1830–1881), Scottish JP; WHFT’s son-in-law.
7. Charles Henry Talbot (1842–1916), antiquary & WHFT’s only son.
8. Dr John Moir (b 1809), French-born to British parents, MD, 52 Castle St, Edinburgh.
9. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
10. James McNab (1810–1878), curator of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 1849–1878.
11. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
12. Ernestine Emma Horatia Edgcumbe (1843-1925), WHFT's niece.