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This letter was transcribed thanks to the considerable efforts of Wendy Jack. The footnotes were prepared by myself and then verified (and corrected or amplified) by Wendy. Many of the letters are the property of Betty Whiteside and/or Wendy Jack. Any researchers who wish to make further use of them should check with them first.
Sharon Oddie Brown, modified June 8, 2005

San Moritz Dorf [1] .     3rd August [2]

My Dear Sally [3] ,  I don't usually write letters on Sunday but today I am not well & have read till I am tired.  I have got a grand German bible Luther's translation & large print & with references.  at home we would pay 5/- for it here I got it for 1/8 but I am bothered with the beginning of the 18th Psalm [4] . It is quite different especially the first verse from our translation.  Luther must have translated from different original.  I must ask the clergyman about it.  He is a nice old gentleman Mr. Strettle [5] from Hampshire.  He could not make out Mr. Young's [6] name.  He says he knows Mr. Grey [7] the Presbyterian minister who preaches here but lives at Poutratchina, or Poutrachina.  Mr. Strettle is such another as my father in his love for walking tho 74 years old he is a great mountain climber.  Fairy [8] was out when he called but hearing she is fond of walking he says he will take her one of his next expeditions.  This is the first dry Sunday we have had.  I suppose I have a billious attack tho the Dr. says it is enemia (lack of blood in the system).  Still I think he must be wrong.  I went to see him today but he was out.  only when I want to throw off water comes & little if any bile as if nothing were in my stomach.  I took a beaten up egg & at once threw it off & there was a little yellow matter like bile but not bitter as it is.  So I am rather puzzled.   Not eating much I am very weak.  I had beef tea a little ago & it stayed down as did a little cold chicken last evening. There is a very nice restaurant & pension other side the road where we dine & they sent me half a chicken for which I paid 2/6.  We get 3 courses, at least, & pay 1/8 for that.  everything the best cooked & served.  I can not always dine there but F. [9] does.  They are said to have the best table here - better even than the swell Hotels but it matters little to me.  I have no appetite.  But Dr. Holland [10] says he wants me to take all the milk I can & all the nourishing food possible & not to tire myself.  I have been walking too much & so have upset myself & wasted the little stack of health I had.  Dr. Elliott [11] warned me against doing so, but Dr. Franks [12] said for me to walk down to the baths, have my drink & walk up  again (a mile & a half each way).  An Irish girl, a trained nurse we have come to know, said I was not equal to so much walking & for me to come up in the buss & for me to see the Dr. here.  I try to be patient & to trust him who does all well but it is very weary work being so terribly weak.  Fairy is a dear, good little soul, very loving & patient & careful of a stupid melancholy old body!  I am so glad Maggie [13] is safely over her trouble.  I think she could not have better than Mary Anne [14] .  She is so quick witted & most kindly & a good cook for a sick person.  There is the rain!  Sunday could not pass here without some!  F. is at afternoon service & I fear has neither rain cloak nor umbrella. Fortunately the church is near so I'll send her muffling.  F. suffers a great deal from tooth ache.  She blisters inside and outside her gums.

Monday - We have made the acquaintance of an  American widow lady & through them of a Miss Which [15] (pronounced Wish) & her companion & nurse a jolly Irish girl Miss Maloney [16] .  The latter gave me good advice about not fatiguing myself & to see Dr. Holland & she often comes in to see me as I am laid up with this billious attack.  She was matron of a hospital in Paris for two & a half years.  Miss Which is, like myself, an anemia patient but from the first had Dr. Holland's advice so has lost no time and is improving tho Miss Maloney says she has not half the pluck I have.  She is an only daughter.  Her father a General Which [17] brother in law or cousin of Lord Napier [18] of Magdelin.  This came out accidentally.  I was repeating something Lady Hart [19] told me that Lord Napier had said to her, shortly before his death, about her husband having known him in China & how he was a man of whom we all have just right to be very proud.  Miss Maloney said he was a relation of her patient.  I like the Beans [20] .  Mrs. B. is a sensible kindly woman no pretence & her son similar.  He is about two or three & twenty.  Other day he asked F. would she go a bit mountain climbing, he & another American boy were going.  F. was delighted to go & got some lovely flowers.  The gentians are very beautiful especially the small blue ones, so are the yellow & purple pansies & F. got some Eidilweisz of which she was very proud.  I have been throwing off again this morning & F. went to Dr. Holland who has prescribed pills.  No purgatives to take after meals.  He says it is bile. He lives quite near this.  He has a very nice wife & several children.  Mrs. Wright [21] has early parted with her daughter & probably to a stranger!  Are you not glad Lady Dunlo [22] has gained her case? for tho faulty the Clan Carty [23] family had acted very shabbily toward her & so had her husband done! I wish I could paint but my hand is still very weak.  I know nothing of mirror painting & don't at all admire it.  It requires an  experienced first rate hand to produce anything but a heavy daub  I have seen but one pretty painted mirror. It was in Judge Holmes & was bought in Whiteley's in London.  Last night there was rain & lightning & today it is thundering and raining.  I'll send this through Maggie.  There is no hurry & stamps cost & living here is costive!  When one has as much lying awake as I have one has time for lots of thought & feeling so much pain from interior weakness.  We have no comfort so great as communion with our Father & our dear Saviour.  I feel very Faithless often but God in his mercy strengthens my faith.  I am disappointed that I make such slow progress but He knows best & perhaps (as Dr. Franks wrote me today, he is off on his holidays) "a small improvement, in some particulars, after such a short time is in itself satisfactory" so I must just be patient.  I always get better suddenly & when over this billious attack will have a better chance. I often wish people could get married by arrangement French style I would be quite of Aunt Kate [24] & Marjory Reids [25] way of thinking!  F. has just come in with a supply of spa water.  She joins me in warm love to you.  Ever your loving WSW [26]

[1] San Moritz Dorf, Switzerland, a resort in the mountains. WHITESIDE would be 30 years old when he is here, clearly not in the best of health.

[2] The date of 1890 is a guess since it is the only day when August 3rd fell on a Sunday and when WHITESIDE was pastor at Derryvalley.

[3] Sarah McCULLAGH (1852-1939), future wife of the writer

[4] “I love thee O LORD, my strength, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” PSALM 18: 1-3


[6] Mr. YOUNG – a minister in Co. Monaghan, I believe.

[7] Mr. GREY?

[8] “Fairy”? Added December 17, 2005: This is most likely Fairy MORGAN, a close friend of Mary Elizabeth WADDELL, daughter of William Charles WADDELL Mary Elizabeth WADDELL was of Lisnavane House and died at age 46 at San Moritz on August 24, 1890. She suffered from TB and was likely recuperating at the same time that William Sherlock WHITESIDE was there. SOURCE: Full Circle p 326.

[9] “F” would be “Fairy”, I assume

[10] Dr. HOLLAND

[11] Dr. ELLIOT

[12] Dr. FRANKS

[13] Maggie who? WHITESIDEs mother is called Maggie, it wouldn’t be her but perhaps he has a sister called Maggie as well.

[14] It sounds as if everyone should have a “Mary Anne”, but who she is, I don’t know.

[15] Miss WHICH?

[16] Miss MALONEY?

[17] General WHICH?

[18] Lord NAPIER?

[19] Lady HART née Hester Jane BREADON of Belfast, wife of Sir Robert HART of Lisburn, Co. Down, the Founder of the Chinese Lighthouse Service, the Organiser of the Chinese Post Office, the Inspector General of the Customs and Maritime Services, the founder of the first Brass Band in China, the Pro-Chancellor of Queen's University who once lived in the small village of Ravarnette. In terms of family connections, it is worth noting that he was born at Milltown, Co. Armagh on February 20, 1835. Although he was close in terms of birthplace and also close in age (only six years older) to Sir Thomas JACKSON and arrived in China in 1854, still he started out with the advantages of a family that had considerably more resources. He had been educated at Wesley College in Dublin and then Queens College, Belfast. Such educational opportunities were well out of reach for the young Sir Thomas. Still and all, it is hard to imagine that the connections of birthplace did not hurt.

[20] The BEAN family?

[21] Mrs WRIGHT?

[22] Lady DUNLO?

[23] Clan CARTY?

[24] Kate?

[25] Marjorie REID

[26] William Sherlock WHITESIDE (1860-1916)


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