24 December 1851
Now Austin, I cant come, I have no horse to fetch me, I can only advise you of what I think is good, and ask you if you will do it. Had I the art and skill of the greatest of all physicians, and had under my care whole hospitals of patients, I could'nt feel more anxious than in this single case; I do feel so desirous of a complete recovery!
But lest I harm my patient with too much conversation on sickness and pain, I pass to themes more cheerful and reminscence gay. I know it would make you laugh to see Vinnie sleeping as soundly as a poker, and shovel and pair of tongs, and Cousin Emily Norcross bringing up the rear in a sleep twice as sound and full twice as sonorous, and there come snatches of music from away in mother's room, which wake a funny response in my amused being. I can think of nothing funnier than for intelligent beings to bid the world good night, and go out with candles, and there's nothing that I enjoy more than rousing these self-same beings and witnessing their discomfiture at the bare idea of morning, when they're so sleepy yet.
Vinnie thinks me quite savage, and frequently suggests the propriety of having me transported to some barbarous country, where I may meet with those of a similar nature, and allow her to spend her days - that is, such small remainder as my inhumanity spares - in comparative ease and quietness!
She thinks ancient martyrs very trifling indeed and would welcome the stake in preference to sunrise, and that shrill morning call she may be sure to hear!
A'nt you sorry for her; she thinks of your sympathies often, and thinks they would all be hers, if they were nearer home.
Father will come tomorrow, and I will take care of Mat. Had a "merry Christmas" from Sue, besides some beautiful gifts for Vinnie and me, Monday evening. We are having a cozy, rosy, posy little visit with Cousin Emily - enjoy it very much, would love to have you here, if it might be possible. I was glad you remembered emily, it pleased her very much. Why did you apologize for any of your letters. Coming from you, Austin, they never can be otherwise than delightful to us; better than that you give us, we shall never desire.
Write to us very soon, and say how you are, and be very careful indeed, and dont write but a little, if you find it pains you. Much love.