Portland, May 3, 1861
You seem, by your letter, to be surprised by the course taken by the lady who answered your first letter; but I wish you to understand that I was apprised of the answer, and it was written just according to my views; and if you could not understand it, the fault is in you and not in her. She knows the difficulty I have to encounter from persons who know me; also that all I say to the well is Greek, and although they may have respect for me as a man, they have none whatever in my opinions as a physician. This places me in a very unpleasant position.
When I first called on the lady, she was very feeble and unable to walk; had been attended by the very best physicians and believed in all the opinions of disease. Now to have all her wisdom upset by me was more than she could stand, and had it not been that I was a stranger, and she dared not set up an opinion in opposition to me, I could not have cured her; but her strong desire to get well made her listen and keep still, till she began to take an interest in my theory. If it had been my daughter, Augusta, I could not have cured her, from the fact that she could not have had the confidence in me that she would have had in a stranger. All of this she knew, and when I told her that your mother and myself were brought up together and that she knew me as a jeweler, till I commenced this business, she could see that your mother's confidence in the medical opinions must be complete; and to have it all upset by one for whose medical knowledge she had no respect, although she might respect me as a man, would render it a hard case to cure. All the above is in answer to your misunderstanding her letter.
As regards your mother's case. I cannot tell anything about her, till I could see her. According to your description, it must take a long time to cure her, if I could, at all. You see how little you understand of my mode of treatment, since you have said that it was all foolishness or the same thing; and if you fail to see any sense in what the lady wrote, how do you think your mother can, when she never has even been consulted in the case at all? So as I have said before, my opinion is worth just as much as your question, that is, nothing at all. If I should sit by your mother and take her feelings, then when I undertake to tell her how she has been humbugged by the doctors, I should see how my ideas set on her stomach; for she could not embrace my ideas, just because I said so. But I must labor long and hard to convince her, so as to change her mind and effect the cure. Therefore, if I was a stranger whom she had just heard of, it would make a difference. She will know nothing of what I have to contend with, but I do, and so does the lady who wrote the letter to you. If you can find out anything by this, I shall be glad.
Should I be in Bangor at any time, I would be happy to call and see your mother; or if she would be in Belfast when I go home, I would see her with pleasure. But I could not go to Bangor, leaving my business here, without charging twenty dollars and all my expenses. But if I happen to visit your city, I will call with pleasure, if she wishes me to; not otherwise. I cannot cure a person on another's recommendation. If you wish me to see your mother, I must see her at her own request and not on your account. I will let her know when I shall be in Belfast, if she wishes. I go Friday and return Monday, and that would give me ample time to see what I can do. I will now close, wishing you a quiet state of mind, while you read this letter. It may be of service to you in the day of trouble.
So wishing you good-bye,