From Emma Darwin [23 April 1851]
Wed. | before post time
My own dearest
I have just sent off my return note by Parslow1 for the chance of it reaching you sooner. The oftener I read over your letter of Monday the more hopeful it made me. Your minute accounts are such a comfort & I enjoyed the spunging our dear one with vinegar as much as you did. I have been thinking about a few slops that might suit her when she can take a little food but it is more for the pleasure of fancying I have something to do for her or think of for her If the bowels shd be too loose I believe rice gruel is a very good innocent food & binding (viz rice boiled for many hours till it loses shape & the solid part drained away.) it perhaps might be flavoured with cinnamon or currant jelly. Whey from milk is another harmless drink & very digestible I believe & a good deal of the nourishment of the milk in it without the heavy part. Aunt F. says it is slightly opening so that I am doubtful about it. I should think a spoonful of raw yolk of egg beat up in hot water & a little salt might be a change when you can venture.
But your difficulty will not be in the variety but in venturing to give her any quantity of any thing. Eliz. came at 2 having slept at Southampton.2 She is quite hopeful from the last accounts. I try to prepare my mind for a great deal more anxiety & draw backs.
I am afraid Cath. will be mortified if she is not made use of & when Fanny goes & you are not quite so anxious I think she would be of the greatest use & comfort to you. How kind Fanny is. I have heard from Caroline. Etty very well & happy she says “I will take the greatest care of her & I think I shall be able to make her feel friendly & comfortable with me should she have any little trouble or hurt. I am deeply touched at your writing to me at such a time & I can indeed with truth say it is impossible to feel more for you than Jos & I do.!”3 She had recd Fanny’s account which gave her much more hope. Willy4 is very eager to hear how she is every day & tho’ I tell him all the changes I don’t think he realizes the real fear. I was sending down the little ones in Eliz. fly yesterday as far as At S.5 to be out of the way, when Franky6 asked what the drivers name was & fell into such a fright at been driven by a stranger, tho’ Parslow was going also, that I had him out & he was a long time getting to rights.
(After post. Alas my own how shall we bear it. It is very bitter but I shall not be ill. Thank dear F7
Tells of the hopes raised by CD’s letter of Monday regarding Anne’s health.