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Modern Persecution, or Insane Asylums Unveiled
In this crisis, her own brother, instead of being her com-forter, blamed her for not retaining the perfection of her energies, and turned against her in the most heartless manner. She now became unable longer to baffle adversity, and having no pecuniary resources left, was reduced to the necessity of accepting a home in a miserable county alms-house.
Some time after leaving the Asylum, I went into the vicinity where these events occurred, and after diligently inquiring, found all the statements of her history she had made to me, corroborated.
In my first interview with her, observing how she had lacer-ated her fingers by constantly gnawing them, in her agony of mind, I suggested:
"Now let me wrap up your fingers, and I want you to prom-ise me not again to put them in your mouth. "Will you solemnly promise this, and keep your word?"
She complied, and I soon procured some rags, and bound up her bleeding fingers.
"Now," said she, "I want you to make a promise to me."
"What is it? most happy should I be to do anything pos-sible to relieve your condition."
"Oh, promise me," she entreated with earnest emphasis, "that you will never speak to me, nor take the least notice of me in the presence of Lizzie Bonner."
"Why should I promise this? you possess an intelligent mind, an immortal soul, you have been a great sufferer, and still remain so. I dislike to treat you with disrespect or neg-lect in the presence of any one."
"If Lizzie sees you trying to make me happy, she will feel reproved because she has never done so herself. She will hate and ill treat you worse than she does now; and more than that, she will separate us, and thus deprive you of all oppor-tunity to carry out your kind intentions respecting me."
I saw in this response, so much sanity, and gratitude; so much in her mind worth cultivating, that it confirmed my de-termination to benefit this most deeply suffering woman if possible.
I cannot here recount the experiments I tried to aid her in bringing back to its full triumph, her wavering reason and self-control. My success astonished myself; I felt almost cer-tain she would recover.
Expecting the letter Mrs. George so earnestly wished to write to her mother; with much difficulty, I had procured a sheet of paper for my own use; this she begged of me, and wrote upon it a very sensible and affectionate letter to her mother. No fault was found with the Asylum, or with the fact of her long sufferings there, but she gave the idea that though she had been much disordered in mind, she hoped she was now improving; that she trusted she had acquired a good degree of self-control, and thought she could now return to her mother and make both happy.
Doctor McFarland soon after appeared in the hall. Leading Mrs. George to him, I ventured to say, in a very respectful tone:
"Doctor McFarland, I am happy to believe this person now fully clothed in her right mind. She has desired me to present a request to you, in behalf of herself and her mother, but I think her better capable of stating her own request, if you will please to listen to it.
I then withdrew a little.
Mrs. George modestly advanced, and said in a very defer-ential tone:
"Oh, Doctor dear, will you please be so very kind as to let me send this letter to my poor feeble mother, if after having read it, you think it proper. She is getting quite old, and I am afraid, may not live the coming winter through. I have caused her much grief, and if I could only be with her, I think I could do much to make her happy. Please Doctor, grant my request, and I will be grateful to you as long as I live."
The Doctor barely deigned to hear this humble supplica-tion, then turned his back, without a word, and left the hall.
I had so often witnessed such replies to similar appeals, that I felt not the least surprise, but I much feared the effect of such a repulse upon the sensitive mind of his patient.
She had for several weeks, been making the most energetic effort to govern her own mind. She had struggled nobly and successfully to repress the natural rising of indignation, when she had been abused by her keepers, tasked, beaten and re-proached for not being able to quite fulfill the severe exactions in the toiling drudgeries every day assigned to her.
With unrepining patience, this child of grief had borne all these indignities, supported by the hope that she should again taste the sweets of liberty and affection with her beloved mother. I had watched with the greatest pleasure, the pro-gress she was making in the few hours of leisure that were allowed her in reading and needle-work.
But now, a shock too great for her to sustain, was given by the Doctor's most heartless repulse. A few days subsequent, a marked change for the worse came visibly over her mind and manners. She saw how fruitless were all the efforts she had been able to make for her own recovery, and again sank into gloomy discouragement.
She now laid aside her needle and her book, neglected her personal appearance, began to pace the hall in morose silence, tearing little bits of paper, and again biting her fingers.