James' absence pains me greatly. I am afflicted by terrible fears day and night. It is as though I am lost in the jungle, and its terrors descend upon me in James' stead. He has no fear of the jungle, or any uncivil clime, that is clear. I am beset by visions of venomous bats, chewing at my toes in the night, transmitting to me the sleeping sickness. I now sleep with the quilts tucked at the foot of my bed.
To be frank with you, my only true and faithful friend, I live in constant fear. James is away among savage people; will they taint him in some way? It's horrible to think that he will return to me with tanned skin; I am ashamed to admit that I refused to touch him for a month after his return from the Lebanon. I could not fulfill my womanly duties to him, nor even accept a kiss from his sun-plagued lips. And when he returns this time, I shall make a point of only feeding him on the fat of England. No horrid curries, nor any blood oranges from the Continent. Only roast beef and suet and rich pies; things which will benefit him inside and out. I should like to drop him in a pit of quicklime, and have him roll in it, so as to come out white and gleaming like the Serbian Albino.
My bowels are disturbed; my sleep is disturbed; I do nothing but walk when the sun is high. The garden is beautiful, but I feel as though I am followed. I have had these feelings before. Usually they are dispelled by a woman's tonic, but now they persist. The gardener is half Scot, and his high and wild blood even now taints the place. I see the hand of the barbarous creator in every rose and poppy. He taints this place and I will dismiss him, although to find a gardener near the end of summer will be impossible: they are all employed. Such was the case when I dismissed the cook at the peak of the Winter season. How disastrous that was. Still, she gave a heavy hand to the
paprika, which I cannot stand.
I worry, too, about Albert. I have not told James of the terrible infirmity his bowels often suffer. Instead, I report "rosy health". True enough, but when he is examined closely, the tell-tale signs of encroaching disease can be discerned. So often does he give loose stool or pungent urine that I can barely contain my anxiety. He is destined for diabetes, I am sure. I wish my son did not have to die!
Dr. Haas protests; he feels sure that the new diet, combined with enemas and a speedy colon removal will prevent the development of the wasting disease, but I am not certain at all. And who better to judge the health of the child but it's mother? Even James admits my superiority in the matters of child-rearing, and he is a scientist. I try not to feel despair, though. I apply the enemas, administer the tonics, and keep him inside, away from harmful contaminants. But my hope flags with his every trip to the toilet.
Best not to dwell on grim matters, though. James is not yet harmed, and little Albert might survive a few years to give a bittersweet happiness. We may yet have more children.