F & M 6/V/2/12                                  1860 05 18 WR to ER Honolulu

 

Honolulu May 18th 1860

 

My Dear Sisters one & all

 Both great & small

 In Adams fall

 We sinned all                                                  For which consult the N.E. primers the horror of my early days.  We received your letter of April 5th, in 40 days, and were glad to learn that the box arrived safely, and that its contents were in good order & proved satisfactory.  Our only regret is that the condition of our exchange did not permit us to send more costly articles & more of them.  When Petroleum springs shall be found on our Lucinda lands.  Then we shall be much more magnificent & send you an entire cargo fresh from Japan.

 

  But I must devote the rest of this letter to other matters.  Enclosed is a letter to President Buchanan which will explain itself.  I wish you to enclose it to Harriet Lane to hand to His Ex. and you may write her as much as you choose of what I am about to tell you so that should Mr. B see fit to ask any questions, she can answer them – if he donšt no harm will be done & Miss Harriet at least will know how the land lies.

 

  A few weeks since the Doctor gave me his views about my leg as follows.

 

  The tumor has shown sufficiently its reproductive tenancy to indicate that it cannot be eradicated, but must continue as long as I have a leg for it to grow in. 

 

  Nothing else can be done but to watch & treat it as heretofore.  Up to this time, the tumor has abstained, in a wonderfully accommodating manner from disturbing the arteries, althoš it has burrowed deeply into the interior of the leg, and has been in their immediate neighborhood.

 

  At present, there are no indications of its approach to the arteries:  but what it is actually doing inside, cannot be exactly ascertained. 

 

  If it should reach an artery: the leg must come off and further, that the disease has now become constitutional and if it had not this space, it would go somewhere else with worse consequences.  Therefore this space must be kept open and not allowed to heal up, if it would.

 

  If the growth of the tumor could be confined to near the surface, it would be well for me.  I should be more or less lame and have to be more or less cut up as occasion required; but it is to be expected that it will not content itself with a superficial existence – and that it must have its own way.  So you see that its future course is quite uncertain.

 

  Finally, should amputation have to be resorted to, and the leg cut off above any indications of tumors; and no more opportunity left for tissue of that nature, and yet an tissue of some kind be required to keep lungs, liver, stomach or other vital regions free from disease, the question then will be, can such new tissue be produced to answer such purpose or must I succumb & knock under to a state of things that cannot be gotten over?

 

  Now this is not a very cheerful prospect and when I was made aware of it, I felt rather down in the mouth for a day or two; I had believed previously, that in a year or so, the tumor would wear itself out – and trouble me no more and it was the toughest dose I have ever had to swallow to learn that in this hope I was so utterly mistaken.

 

  However, as what canšt be helped must be endured, and as one can become reconciled to almost any thing, I have got back my usual spirits again, and am, most of the time, inclined to think that the Doctor is mistaken.

 

  What Becky suspects, I donšt know; neither the Doctor nor I have told her as above.  I would tell her all, if she could bear ill news better than she does, but it is best that she continue to hope for a cure, and not have me always present to her imagination, hobbling about on a cork leg of the latest pattern, or in a still worse condition.

 

  Nor do I think it well to distress Mr. Krug with such tidings – as were he aware thereof, he would at once abandon all idea of my ever coming home, or Becky either.  I suppose he takes much comfort in expecting to see his only daughter once more, and I do not wish to disturb him in this expectation – althoš I see no prospect of its being realized –at least for the present.

 

  Therefore please keep this information among yourselves and in writing to Miss Lane you can mention my desire not to have it known out of the family. 

 

  I would not have alluded to the probability of losing my leg, in my letter to Mr. Buchanan, but for the fact that I thought it advisable to interest his feelings, if possible, & having such available capital on hand for that purpose would be wasting ammunition not to use it.

 

  I am much gratified to know of your proposal to send me a token of remembrance, to come from all of you; whatever it may be it will be very welcome and most sincerely valued and appreciated.  Jimšs feelings & offer on the occasion, touch me somewhat.  I wish I could say to him that much as I have suffered mentally on account of my leg, I have really been more intensely distressed by his unaccountable behavior in relation to the Estate.  Have you all given up the matter or is there any prospect of a settlement?

 

  Becky is writing you by this mail – I shall try and keep this letter and enclosure from her eyes – if possible, but may fail, in despite of all precautions.

 

  With much love to you all, and in the hope that time will prove the Doctor to have been in Error as to my l – e – g, and that I may survive on two sound pins, to convince him thereof.

 

                                                                        I am, ever affectionately

                                                                                    Your brother

                                                                                                William

 

Miss E Reynolds

And sisters

1829 Spruce St

Philadelphia

 

I am writing to will in a cover to Dr. Gilliam as Beckie is not to know this sad state of affairs.

                                                            E.R.