Dr George Savage
October 12th, 1885.
Royal Bethlem Hospital
Preparing for my next entry, I scan through Lady Stanbury’s admission notes and find myself taken for a moment by her photograph. Such a normal looking woman. Demure. Soft. Kind.
Her eyes stare at mine and I close the book, pushing it away.
Alas, such insanity is scarcely recognized until it interferes with the law in some way. As a father myself the brutality of her crime scratches at my heart, yet I understand on a professional level that she is not to blame. Indeed, I hold forth great hope that she will, given time, recover completely; but sometimes I wonder if it would be a mercy for her if she did not. I remember all too well the screaming crowd outside the hospital on the day she arrived. Men, women, and even children armed with placards, all shouting for justice and many demanding the death penalty.
Society is scared of that which it does not understand and my job, nay, my role in life is to enlighten them. Lady Stanbury’s crime is widely viewed as the worst a woman could ever commit: the very nature of it inciting other women to question their own status. As if one woman’s’ broken virtue could taint them by mere association of a shared gender.
I pull the case book towards me, licking my finger and flicking through it until I reach the next blank page. Picking up my ink eyedropper in one hand and a pen in the other, I carefully fill it without any spillages and smile. Preparation is everything. I do not want to run out mid-sentence.
It has now been little over a week since Lady Stanbury’s admission to Royal Bethlem Hospital, and as yet, no discernible progress has been made. Despite rest and recuperation, everything of which she suffered on admission is still very much established. There is no longer any doubts nor questions regarding the initial diagnosis.
Patient is violent, and as a direct consequence of this I am unable to do a complete physical exam, though she is still lactating and remains ammenorehic. Friction of the breasts with salt and castor oil has as yet proven impossible.
There is no sign of mastitis.
She remains flushed in appearance.
I am in complete agreement with Dr Goldenheind and Dr Johnson; the two physicians who signed the first certificates of insanity. Their reports adequately reflect the behavior I myself have witnessed since.
She remains in isolation for her own safety.
Commissioners duly informed.
I read over what I have written, carefully correcting the bottom curl of a ‘y’.
At this time, Lady Stanbury is certainly a person whom requires that she should be deprived of her liberty as much for her own sake as for that of society.
She is not the first woman to be admitted to an asylum on this charge, and will not be the last.
Behind her beautiful smile lies the diseased mind of a lunatic.