The Letter to George is a letter written by Dr. Heironymous Q. Wilson to his friend George.
10 November 1874
My esteemed friend George,
Alice has finally gone from us, making her own way in the world for a few months now. You recall my tales of her in the last years, with her wild ravings of such intense imagery. While I find a vague affection and concern for the girl — she is still prone to fits of deep untouchable depression and near-catatonia — I am even more gripped with a strange conflict.
On the one hand, I am grateful to see her at least mostly capable of survival (and doubly that, to no longer be the recipient of her last outbursts), but I nearly ache with the loss of opportunity to learn more about what she went through in those chasms and shadows of the mind. For all my efforts, I was never able to form a complete idea of her experience, only bits and pieces of a much fuller story. Even now, I am sometimes lost in my own memories of our sessions. Together — such imagination! such imagery! — while ministering to other patients. Bloody unprofessional, I know, but the vulgar threats and gross cursing of most of our denizens pale to being drivel compared to her sickness.
I have heard rumors through colleagues in London of a few notable progressives who may be able to help our young girl through the final vestiges of her soul-deep wounds. I feel a pang of jealousy and perhaps a little remorse at not being able to affect a more permanent cure myself, but there are things which may remain beyond my capacity, no matter how far I reach.
Perhaps that is the crux of my true difficulty now: I am left feeling impotent and worthless in the face of such mental injury, taking credit it seems for that which I had little to contribute. I do take some small comfort in the guess that perhaps the potions and therapies could have prepared her mind to unlock the doors throughout the ten years she has resided with us — 10 years! Can you imagine, George, being in the place of any of our patients and held here two-fold in darkness, once in the cell and again in the mind, for so long!
But, the fight must go on, and without the likes of us to minister to these lost souls. There would be no one at all to protect them (or to protect others). To answer your question from your last correspondence, no, I have not seen the cat. You were quite right that the beast bore a remarkable similarity to the one depicted in the sketches, though again, I can assure you that she was quite unconscious of the cat's presence at any point. Perhaps there is another deeper force at work in her seeming connection with it.
Give my regards to that scoundrel Charcot and send my love to Marie and the boys. It may be time for me to take advantage of your offer for a holiday from Rutledge, though I'm not sure when I'll be able to get away. It seems there's been a steady increase in admissions of late, and my nurses are stretched exceedingly thin. I'm perhaps tempted to my own doses of laudanum for want of a little restful sleep.
Yours in medicine and alumnus,
Heironymous "Harry" Wilson.