Sunday, February 27, 2011

26Jul1880, Gladstone falls ill

LONDON, July 26th–August st, 1880.
—Last of a series of little Tuesday drums in Downing St. Uncle W. kicked at the notion of having regular Parliamentary squashes, and these have been far pleasanter, but I should fear many folks have had their feelings lacerated.

—July 30th. Rode with F. at 7.15. While waiting for him near the Downing St. garden door, saw Uncle W. talking to Althorp, looking perhaps a little tired (yesterday heard he was very). He walked over to dine with us (not dressed). The evening was chilly, and he seems to have been struck with a chill on his way. The J. G. T.'s, Nevy, Arthur, Edward, and Alfred dined with us, and M. told me his hand was clammy cold. He took me down to dinner, however, and said a cheery word or two, but he had no appetite; ate a little soup, and drank a glass of port; leant back in his chair with his eyes shut and looked horribly ill. By and bye he said, "Don't mind me, but I think I had better go upstairs and lie down." Somehow we were not frightened; I only thought he was dead-beat, knowing how he always takes notice of any ailment. Mazy was upstairs, and tucked him up warm on the sofa; he felt sick and wretched, but by and bye fell asleep, and woke up in an hour or so quite warm and revived. Meanwhile came the blessed news of the House being counted out. If it had not been, he meant certainly to go down, and I believe it would have killed him. As it was, he got quite into spirits, tho' keeping still on the sofa and speaking low: Auntie P., who came about 9 from a prize-giving, ordered the carriage round in an hour, he enjoyed some tea and toast, had another nap, and went home.

—Saturday, 31st. Arthur Godley saw him and he said, "0, I am quite right again — I have slept 10 hrs." But about noon shivering fits seized him while Ld. Rd. Grosvenor was with him. As soon as Auntie P. heard of this, she went off and brought back Dr. Clark, who came just in time to prevent him attending a Cabinet and put him to bed. His temp. was then 103. Up to then, he had fully meant to drive down with her to Littleburys, after the Cabinet. This was the beginning of a serious attack of fever, with slight congestion of one lung. I only heard of the bad turn just as we were going off for Sunday to Mr. Roundell's place in Sussex, Osborne. Very charming country: he took us a good walk thro' lovely woods. Primitive little church at Fernhurst. Jolly little boy of 4, Christopher, who thinks of nothing but machines.

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