It was rare, leaving our home.
To do it for pleasure was even rarer. I remember it being a sunny day. The sunshine brought on an unusually positive attitude. With William by my side and little Ruth in the stroller cooing up at us, I found a smile spreading across my face. Maybe the worst was behind us. Maybe we could be happy and have another child. After all, Ruth fills my heart despite all the trouble I seem to have giving my attention to William. Perhaps another child would cause that glow to move outwards, and William would be happy. I can be happy. I felt positive.
That was the last thing I remember. When I woke up, the doctor told me that the incident was purely by chance. No one else had been hurt. Ruth and William were both unharmed. The cart had simply hit a bump in the street causing the crate of apples to fly out of the back. I had gotten hit in the head by the crate before it crashed into the street causing the wood to split and the apples to scatter.
“She should be fine in a few days,” the doctor told William, “But she should still rest. I have prescribed laudanum for her pain, and I advise you to give her a week in some fresh air to be safe.”
William decided to follow the doctor’s prescription and that I could go and visit my father in the country. Ruth would stay with him and our servant Abigail. That is when I traveled away from the only thing that kept the pieces together, Ruth, but I trusted that William was only looking out for my well-being. After all, the doctor said it would do me some good, and I believe in him.
Doctors. They are so different here. They always treated me kindly, like a lady, when I was on the outside. Here, I am a burden. There is no such thing as a lady here. No proper societal norms. There is no sanity. There is no chance of being cured. No chance for escape, except one, but that hadn’t gone right the first time. It only made things worse. Now I am here. I see life for what it is truly here.
My fits continued to worsen. I was struggling and a lot of that had to do with my inability to see Ruth. Every day I begged to see my Ruth, but they continued to keep her from me. They said once I was well, we would be reunited, but how was I supposed to get well without her beautiful smile? I was forced to stay inside my bedroom, a prisoner to the thoughts running through my mind. I begin to talk to myself due to the complete loneliness I felt.
A week later, I found myself completely unable to get out of bed. Despite all the doctors telling me that I should be well, my body grew weaker. William and the doctors could not explain why, and I could hear them beginning to whisper about my health behind closed doors.
It grew even worse after that. I began to collapse with even an attempt to get out of bed. I slept all day and night, refusing any food brought to me. Both William and my father grew very angry with me.
“A proper lady does not act this way,” they both kept telling me. Their constant chiding only seemed to exacerbate me more, and they continued to keep my Ruth away.
The day came when I no longer even tried to get out of bed. Both William and my father attempted to pull me up only to have me collapse back into bed. My frail body began to bruise from their continual efforts. Their anger grew stronger. They would come into my room screaming, grip my wrists and pull. When that did not work, they would slap me. They said they were trying to wake my sensibilities, but it was to no avail. I could not take much more.
I can still remember how it felt. The day when I finally had enough. The blood running down my arm was warm at first, and its presence comforted me. I desired the peace it was supposed to give me. But as with most things in my life, it quickly grew cold and my hope of freedom was once again taken from me. Abandoned completely by William and my father. Now I am trapped here without hope of seeing my Ruth. I am completely alone.
To Be Continued…