Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
MY DEAR SIR, I thank you for your kind and friendly letter, and wish I could feel justified in confirming those favorable hopes which your friendship leads you to form, in regard to my sick wife. Would to God I were able to encourage my own hopes, and yours also. But I fear, greatly fear, that Providence has not so ordered it. Although she is better one day than another, that is, more comfortable, more free from severe pain, yet I do not see any material change in that which has occasioned her illness. The tumor remains as hard and unmanageable as ever. It seems altogether beyond the reach of human art. Nothing removes, nothing softens it. In the mean time, so much pain and illness begin to affect the general health, and some indications appear of what I have all along feared, since I formed any notion of the disease, of an affection produced by it on the chest and lungs. For the last two days there has been less of acute pain in the limb, but more of stiffness and numbness ; I mean in the whole limb below the tumor. She has complained also of weakness of the breast, and manifested considerable difficulty in breathing. Large glandular swellings appear also in other parts of the body, especially about the abdomen. On the whole, though there is less of suffering, I think the danger is plainly increased. The tumor itself has not yet broken through the skin, and does not look quite so much threatening to-day as it did yesterday.
After all , my dear Sir, we have a ray of hope. I try to keep up my courage, and to strengthen hers ; but it is due to our friendship that I tell you the whole truth. I have endeavored to prepare myself for that event of all others the most calamitous to me and to my children.
I thank you for your advice as to myself, and shall certainly follow it. In all probability, I shall stay here for some time yet. I fear circumstances will not be such as that I can leave, even after Mr. Paige comes, nor am I very anxious to do so. There seems nothing important in Congress ; and I must try to make some arrangement of my business in court.
My health, though not entirely confirmed, is daily improving. I have the remnant of an epidemical cold, a little loose cough and catarrh ; no soreness of breast, nor inflammation of the lungs, nor any feverish tendency. Be assured, my dear Sir, I shall take all possible care of my own health.
Ten o'clock p. M. Mrs. Webster is now asleep, and is free from severe pain, but breathes not easily. She is a good deal inclined to sleep. I leave a space to tell you how she may be in the morning.
Wednesday morning, eight o'clock. Mrs. Webster passed rather a comfortable night. She had less cough than I apprehended, and seems calm and quiet this morning. She thinks she breathes a little easier than yesterday. Her voice is faint, but natural in its tones.
- Daniel Webster
- Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster, Edited by Fletcher Webster, Volume I, 1857