[‘Cambridge is particularly wet & dirty’. A future Viceroy of India as undergraduate.] Autograph Letter Signed (‘Napier’), from Francis Napier (the future 10th Lord Napier) to his mother Lady Napier, giving Cambridge news on a visit from his sister.

[Lord Napier, Viceroy of India.] Francis Napier (1819-1898), 10th Lord Napier of Merchistoun and 1st Baron Ettrick [his mother Lady Napier (1784-1883), née Elizabeth Cochrane-Johnstone; Cambridge]
Publication details: 
‘Trin. Coll. Sunday 12 o’clock’. [24 November 1839; Trinity College, Cambridge.]
SKU: 23810

See Napier’s entry, and that of his sister Maria’s husband John Gellibrand Hubbard (1805-1889), 1st Baron Addington, in the Oxford DNB. 3pp, 4to. In good condition, lightly aged and discoloured, with small closed tear to a crease. Part of letter torn away on opening, and now under small black wax seal (good impression of crest with letter N). Folded four times. Addressed, with three postmarks, on reverse of second leaf, to ‘The Rt Honble | The Lady Napier | Kew Green’. Minuted by Lady Napier: 'Cambridge Novr. 1838’. 64 lines of neatly-written text. He greets his mother as ‘My dear Mamma’, and begins by expressing delight at the arrival of his sister Maria on the previous day, ‘though it happened at rather an unfortunate time for my occupations. I am glad to see her looking so very well and wearing her curls, but I miss you very much and I wish you had been able to come along with them.’ Despite the fact that ‘Cambridge is particularly wet & dirty’, Maria and ‘Hubbard’ (Maria had married John Hubbard, the future Lord Addington, in 1837) breakfasted with him that morning. ‘Sedgwick and we sat talking till Church time when we got squeezed into St Mary’s and heard Melville preach much worse than usual.’ The letter proceeds with references to ‘Whewell’, Trinity Chapel, ‘Thorp’, ‘the Philosophical society’, ‘Ld & Lady Fitzalan’, ‘Lucy’, Lady Kinlock. He reports that ‘Cambridge was very much shocked by the Duke of Wellington's reported stroke and delighted to hear it was only a cold.’ Turning to personal matters he writes: ‘Maria is very much cut up about her cook who after appearing to be a pattern of culinary morality for some months has turned out a peculating thief besides having had several children in the house, which she clandestinely conveyed out of the way in the dirty clothes basket’. One of Sedgwick’s dog’s five puppies is mousing for him. ‘Maria says that Sir Alexander has at last gone north and high time it was for I see Mr Ewart has gone down to stand for the boroughs he has been petting so long through Patrick.’ He ends by mentioning ‘Sir Thomas misfortunes whiuch are so very hard upon his old age but Maria declares that he seems to bear it very cheerfully.’ He concludes: ‘I write this [dull] letter late at night dear Mother, it is only to announce Maria’s happy arrival and I intend to despatch a longer one to 9. this week. Lady Fitz. is pale and plain & Maria cust her out.’ The letter is signed ‘Napier / Trin. Coll. Sunday 12 o’clock’.