EDINBURGH, August 10, 1855
We got here safely yesterday an hour after time, which made about fourteen hours from Pembroke Lodge.... Dearest, it is a very melancholy journey; without you to comfort me I take a very gloomy view of everything; but I hope the Highland air will refresh me with its briskness.... I have a letter from Lord Minto, disturbed at my not coming sooner, and supposing I shall be abused for my Italian speech, in which he is quite right; but I may save some poor devil by my denunciation of his persecutors.
Lady John to Lord John Russell
PEMBROKE LODGE, August 12, 1855
It grieves me to have to write what will grieve you, but it would be wrong and useless to hide it from you—I was taken ill suddenly yesterday.... What I bear least well is the thought of you. I did so hope that after all your political troubles you might be spared anxieties of a worse kind; but it was not to be.... I hope, dearest, you will not hurry home immediately. I should be so sorry to think you only had the fatigue of two long journeys, instead of some weeks of Highland air. I know how sadly your enjoyment will be damaged, but do not—I beg you, dearest—do not let your spirits sink. Nothing would make your poor old wife so sad. Georgy is the best and dearest of children and nurses; I am so sorry for her. Yesterday she was quite upset, far more than I was, but to-day she has taken heart. God bless you. Think what happy people we still are—happy far beyond the common lot—in one another and all our darlings.
When Lord John heard of her illness, he wrote that he could not be a moment easy away from her, and came home at once.
PEMBROKE LODGE, September 8, 1855
Thank God! though in bed, I have generally been able to read and talk, and for the last two days have given Johnny and the little boys their lessons.... Cannot but hope I am a little less impatient of illness, a little less unreasonably sorry to be debarred from air and liberty and all I care for most in this world, than I used to be.... I pray with my whole heart for the true faith and patience that can never fail. I pray that, since I cannot teach my children how to do, I may teach them how to bear, so that even in illness I may not be wholly useless to them.
During the next four years Lord John remained out of office. He devoted much time to literary work. Besides writing his “Life of Fox” and editing the papers of his friend Thomas Moore, he delivered three important addresses. The first was a lecture on the causes which have checked moral and political progress. As will be seen from Lady John’s diary, he was still so unpopular that she felt some dread of its reception at the hands of a large public audience.