3278. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 30 March 1819 *
Keswick. 30 March. 1819
My dear Harry
We are going on very badly, one complaint is no sooner removed than something worse appears in its place. Edith has an abscess forming in the softest part of the thigh, close to the anus. I dread the probability of a fistula in consequence, tho Edmondson assures me there is no danger. But I know that Edmondson tho an excellent practitioner in diseases which occur every day, is not, & cannot be a good surgeon. The tumour is scarcely painful, but it increases a dreadful plague of hæmorrhoids, which there is <no> means of subduing, or even of relieving, – five leeches were applied this morning, & these cursed tubes fill again almost as fast as they are emptied: & this allows her no ease in any position.
Of course I am not now writing to ask advice which can be of no use at such a distance, – & in a case which belongs mor to surgery. But xxx her inveterate costiveness must have had some share in producing the one malady & perhaps both, – & in order to relieve this in future by the surest & easiest way, I wish you would send me down one of those machines whereby she may xxxx operate upon herself, & thus never be deterred from obtaining a remedy in time.  Whatever it costs, Bedford will pay you.
God knows how long this illness may continue, or how it may end. The only real evil of living in the country is the impossibility of getting the best aid in such cases. – The swelling is now as large as a hens egg, & has no appearance of ripening for puncture. It came on rapidly, beginning on Saturday morning, – but now appears to undergo no change. I suppose the leeches, which have been applied to the hæmorrhoids may have retarded it.
I am a good deal disordered by the uneasiness which this occasions.
God bless you