13 Great Stuart Street
Monday 26th of November
My dear Papa,
Mama <1> received your letter this morning, and bids me say that she does not think it necessary for you to forward her the tracts. The same man has bothered her before, and she thinks he shouldn’t be encouraged. As for the Bank receipt she says it does not signify, as
it they never makes [sic] mistakes. We are very glad to hear that you are comfortable, but surely it must be getting very cold, and you shouldn’t stay much longer. We are quite settled and ready for you now, and the house feels so warm and snug, that Mama declares it has done her good her good already, for you know she had been very well for some time before leaving Lacock. So abandon your wintry garden and come.
Several people have been enquiring after you, especially Mr Coventry. <2> Mrs Abbott <3>has lost her old Father, Admiral Parker, <4> and is still in England with her mother & sisters. – We called on the Napiers <5>the other day: great preparations are going on for Fanny’s wedding next week, and we saw a wonderful display of presents. – Mama means to write to Bertha, <6> as she cannot go all the way to Saltoun to call in this cold weather, and when you come we will ask them to dinner. They are going to remain there some time. Mr Fraser, the antiquary, you know – is enthusiastic in Bertha’s praises, and has made her out to be as near perfection as possible!
The Pitmans, our next door neighbours (they bought Lord Murray’s house last year you remember) are turning it topsy-turvy – they have put plate glass in every window, back & front, and built out a bow window to the back drawing room! – What they want with so much magnificence no one can tell, nor how they happen to have grown suddenly so rich.
We went to see Mr Sothern (Lord Dundreary) in a piece called David Garrick on Saturday – the theatre was crammed – but we didn’t think much of the play. Mamie, <7> you know, is still at Dabton <8> with Tilly, <9> but will return at the end of this week or beginning of next, as she is beginning to feel very cold. We have had fine weather since we came, but today is foggy with a sort of drizzle –
Have you seen our dear little cats Fatty and Tiny since we left?.. It would be kind if you would ask Anna how they all 4 are, so as to show you took an interest in them. I wonder whether the small brood of chickens felt the frost very much. How is Wilkins? – <10>
The lunch bell is ringing, so I will say goodbye, and send this by the earlier post.
Ever dear Papa your most affectionate daughter
We heard a report that Aunt Caroline <12> and E. <13> were really going to Cannes after all. Do you know anything about them?
1. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
2. Andrew Coventry, Edinburgh Advocate; member Photographic Society of Scotland & Royal Society of Edinburgh .
3. Frances Jane, née Parker, wife of Francis Abbott, Secretary of General Post Office, Edinburgh.
4. Admiral Sir William Parker (1781–1866).
5. Possibly the family of Edward Berkeley Napier (b. 1816).
6. Bertha Isabella Talbot (1841-1911), 2nd daughter of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, who married John Fletcher (1827-1903), of Saltoun, JP.
8. Dabton, Dumfriesshire: home of WHFT’s daughter Matilda.
9. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.
10. George Wilkins (b. 1814), gardener at Lacock.
11. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.
12. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
13. Ernestine Emma Horatia Edgcumbe (1843-1925), WHFT’s niece.