Alessandra Journal Entry, London, 20 June 1816
No words have been written these past six weeks. The onslaught of dampness from the continuous rain and cold has my utterly revolting hand aching more than usual. I have been at the constant mercy of eucalyptus oil, and although the liniment does little to help ease the unbearable discomfort, I continue its use, along with wrapping my hand in a warm bandage.
I have welcomed the inclement weather with open arms each morning. It has made my efforts to shield myself from the world unrequired. The rain has done that for me. And the snow. Imagine that, dearest journal. There has been snow! The veil of white has kept the realm away from my doorstep. I hope it will remain so as the papers have dubbed this weather escapade as the year without a summer. My self-seclusion will not be questioned by those belonging to the ton, God willing. Unfortunately, it has not deterred the marquess. He sent a messenger with a letter through this horrid cold, but I sent it back. I did not read it.
My dear brother had acquired the services of our family physician, hoping upon hope that the esteemed professional would give knowledge that my hand could be fixed. The good doctor, however, said it was unlikely. Even I knew that.
Poor Sebastian. I let the good doctor explain to him that my hand was never reset after each breakage; that the second incident was worse than the first, and thusly, had caused the irreversible fusion of my bones in their hideous state. The news left my brother despondent.
So with much sorrow, the physician left, leaving behind laudanum for when the pain becomes unbearable. Be that as it may, the poison remains in its bottle on my nightstand, unopened. I have not taken a drop for I refuse to do so. I am uncertain as to which is the lesser of two evils; to be awake with all my violent memories and excruciating pain, or to habituate myself in the addictive use of this opium substance.
And who’s to say my night terrors would be no more? I have heard stories that laudanum, while meant to induce requiescence, may not suppress my thoughts and images; but instead make them more vivid, possibly resulting in hallucinations or even a state of euphoric madness.
Am I brave enough to risk an exaggerated state of mind? If so, dearest journal, would I live through one dose of this so called medicinal elixir?
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