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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to sister Octavia January 10, 1845

page 185

To sister Octavia.

Since I last wrote from Waikanae, I have been almost wholly confined to my bed, occasionally for a few days suffering rather acutely, at other times more easy. I was removed last week to this place, my friends here not thinking it proper that I should remain alone any longer. The Rev. R. Taylor from Wanganui came to entreat me to go to his house and remain there, and my friend Mr. St. Hill came at the same time, but the latter prevailed on me to move; and I was carried by my natives on a litter through the woods and arrived here safely. I am now in my old quarter with my very kind friends.

As I have been seen by three very able medical men and their opinion is that I can do no more work I am perfectly easy on that score and do not allow myself to be anxious about my late charge. While we have health and strength we are bound to devote them to the service of God, for they are His gifts; when deprived of them, we may be easy, knowing that nothing is required of us. I have prayed for guidance lately, but do not exactly know what to do; I do not much like being burdensome to my friends here (thought I know they do not think me so), and if I remain as I am I shall move by and by into some little cottage in the neighbourhood. I have sometimes thought of trying to see you again; but when I asked the Dr. concerning the probability of my reaching England alive, I thought he rather evaded a direct answer, and I concluded that it would not be advisable to try; there will however be a ship (having a surgeon on board) sailing in about one month, and I might attempt it, though I do not think it probable that I shall. Nothing can exceed the kindness of all here towards me. I could find plenty of homes here if I needed them. I had a few days ago a very kind letter from Mrs. Selwyn asking me to go to their house at Auckland, and promising to nurse me herself. I expect also to see the Bishop in a few days, but I shall not avail myself of their kind invitation.

I can scarcely tell you the nature of my complaint, and the doctors do not tell me themselves; but I have found out from others what their opinion is: but it is very difficult to be positive. It is however, a large artery, near the heart, that is out of order and diseased, and for this I know very well that there is no remedy. I know that I may die any day very suddenly. The disease will reach a certain point and then the artery will open and life consequently will be extinct in a few minutes. When this may occur, God only knows. Now that I am doing notbing, eating very little, and almost continuously in a quiet state and in a recumbent posture, I feel but little pain and may go so for some time, and may indeed even improve a little. I hope my honesty in telling you all this will not make any of you uncomfortable about me.