Dearly beloved Barbarose,
Language cannot tell you what an exceedingly jolly brick Miss Blackwell, or the evening spent with her yesterday from 41/2 to 81/2
At first we sat down by the fire as we both like unlighted candles, & then she asked my history which I told her in no time, & then I did not like to ask her for hers as I did not know her, but presently the conversation turned that way & then she began
Such tale! Of energy, & hope; of repulses from men, & scorn of her own countrywomen. (During her 2 years residence in Geneva, the college town, not Geneva lady would call, or speak to her)
Of the glorious day when in a church crowded from ceiling to floor the chief professor after giving the Diplomas to the young men, called her up alone, & rising from his seat & lifting his cap gave her the title of Dr Blackwell. Of the cheers sounding all through the church, & the recanting of all the stupid ladies, who formed in a body at the door & let her & her brother walk thro in a sort of triumphal procession, & of the calls they all paid that afternoon. She left next day. Of the physical hardship of 4 months in the Maternity hospital at Paris, sleeping in a dortoire with 30 coarse girls & women learning to be midwifes, whose noise & vulgarity are beyond description - (Think of that my dainty darling)
Of the terrible opthalmia (sic) caught from a little boy she brought into the world & was attending & syringing, of the 3 weeks all she said she must be blind; of her Graffenberg stay, her relapse, & a blind journey from Graffenberg to Paris all alone, just able to open one eye for a blink of 5 seconds, of the terrible operation, & her now tolerable sight which will improve.
Ever your Bessie.