Ah me! ahi! By 9.30 I was at the Doctor’s. Lawrence was to come at 12 ― (I wrote from Sarah last night, & engaged a nurse.) to perform the operation for the Hernia wh. alone can save her life.

The dear darling was in bed now. ― Ah! she will not rise again! ― She said, I am easier, dear! ― less pain! ― “Perhaps Sarah may come” &c. ― “You darling! she often said to me ―pressing my hand ― with that wonderful smile! ― But as she would talk & such talking renewed the sickness ― I dared not stay. I went to W. Nevills ― Willie & Ralph there. ― Willie is a vexation. At 5, he walked to S. Newington with me ― & I talked a good deal to him. ― Then to the Doctors. After I left, something had passed [thro] dear suffering Ann ― & Rose went off to Lawrence, & the[y] agreed to postpone the operation ― or rather ― that it was too late now to hope for good from it. (She, poor dear, had quite agreed to it ― & to take Chloroform.) ― on going to Stonefeld Street, I found her weaker ― weaker. ― Rose says she is sinking.

Oh ― Oh ― ――― So I cabbed back, & again returned, to stay till the end.

The sickness continued: the weakness increased. ― The nurse & Mrs. Woolleth are kind & good. The dearest Ann never [murmurs]: thanks us for all we do: ― always thinks of us! ― ”Go to bed Ellen dear! you are tired!” ― “Nurse have you had your supper?” ―”Edward my precious ―take care you do not hurt your head against the bed iron.” ― At 11 Ellen went to bed. The Doctor came again, & I walked outside ― he says ― her pulse is going: yet she may last all through tomorrow. It seems a dream to me. Again I went in ― & held the basin & smothered her hair each time hour after hour: each time she grew weaker ― but each time suffered less. “Edward! my dearest precious! why are you here so late?” ― “O I would not leave you dear ― said I ― so ill.[”] ― “Darling creature![”] she said ― & then that smile! ― 12 oclock came ― breathing shorter ―feebler.

11 March 1861

1 o’clock. Very little change. Sickness every 20 minutes or oftener ― but little now beyond expectoration. Gruel, & brandy & water constantly. “To be sure ― we do as we are told” she said, on being urged to be lift[ed] up. “A great attack on me with a glass of brandy & water ― & you, you darling! join in it!!” ―Take this & it may refresh you: “Perhaps” she said. “All is good: all is right.” She spoke now very seldom. Once on taking the orange [rips] from her mouth, she said ― Oranges ― a great blessing. ― About 2 or 3 ― I was doing so again ― she said ― “Edward! dear creature[”] ― this was perhaps at half past three ― & the last time she spoke to me. Oh!

Once she said ― “a roasted apple.” & when I said bye & bye perhaps dear ― she said ― “darling” ― but she then seemed to cease to suffer or think [much].


(Earlier she had said nurse ―! “I am looking at you ma’am! Said nurse. ― “A beautiful sight truly!” said dearest Ann. And once, putting her curls asaide she said ― “one vigorous push will do! ― Dress is important at this time!” & almost laughed. ― Once she said. It is growing dark, & I saw her sight was going. It was nearly more than I could bear, but I resolved to hold out. ―― At 4 came a change. The sickness ceased. The breathing more troublesome. She could take no more nourishment. She seemed about to go.. ― At 5, she became restless: more & more so. Then the nurse said ― “Sir: you had better go. Convulsions are, I think coming on ―& they may last some hours. I think she will live to the middle of the day. ― At first I thought she would go off quietly, but now I do not.. Call Mrs. Woolett if you please.” ― I did so. And at 6.30 I went to Stratford Place & lay down: took some breakfast, & by 10 was there again. Still she lived ― but now she took no notice, nor suffered: but lay with closed eyes. Sarah had written, & should come by 12! ― We were to be quite quiet, as she heard: & we now hope that the sickness may not return, & that no convulsions may ensue. So I walked to Highbury at 11 ― & came back by 12. Still she breatherd, but very feebly: ― I could not go in again: it seemed so strange & a tearing & grinding my own heart: yet I would have done so, could I have done good. But I said ― I will walk outside ― & you, Mrs. Woollett, put down the blinds when all is over. At 12.15 they were closed!

Had I believed she would have died so, I would have sate still by her dear side: but I found it would have been terrible. Whereas, God be thanked for such a mercy ― she died as a little infant falls asleep! Painless ― motionless!

As her life has been one of good & blessing ― so is her death.

But she is gone. And I have now no sister Ann to love me & think of me.

I gave orders ― & comforted Ellen: poor Sarah is not yet come. ― then I saw the dear dear dear form of her whose voice I can hear no more! O! that marble cold lovely face!! ――――

I came away at 2. Ordered the funeral on my way to Stratford Place. Packed, & by 4 was on the way to Lewes. The good kind Hunts made me welcome & comforted me. How thankful I ought to be that she died as she did!! ――――

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]