Chapter 3

Photograph Photograph

Thackeray to his aunt Charlotte Ritchie, 19 August 1841. MS Eng 881 (79).

Thackeray to Charlotte Ritchie, struggling to find a cure for his wife, 19 August 1841.

After a failed trip to Ireland (and Isabella’s multiple suicide attempts on the crossing), Thackeray took his wife to a sanatorium near Boppard, on the Rhine, to try the water cure. “People begin at four o’clock in the morning to be wrapped up in blankets, where they lie & melt for four hours,” he wrote his aunt. “Then come shower-baths, plunging baths, hip-baths, all sorts of water taken within & without, and at the end of a certain number of months: they rise up & walk. I have a strong hope that under this strange regimen my dear little patient will recover her reason.”

MS Eng 881 (79). Gift of Herbert L. Carlebach, 1950.