Letter

Scope and Content

From C[atherine] Sleep in Kidderminster to Mary Tooth in Madeley. Tooth is probably expecting an update on Catherine’s state of health since she was kind enough to accompany her to Dr C. when Catherine was proscribed the medicine. After she had taken it for a little while, Catherine felt better and stronger in spirits and body than she had felt for some years. Unfortunately she was unable to get a fresh supply as she was unable to get to Stafford and has therefore felt a gradual return of her ailment, although not as bad as previously experienced.

A strange occurrence happened on the night that they returned to Kidderminster from visiting Madeley for the purpose of seeing Dr C. While undressing for bed, Catherine remarked to her husband that a large ball of fire had just passed by ‘in the atmosphere’ – she had seen it through the curtain and blinds. William thought that it must be the moon, but on looking out he realised that the moon could not be seen at all. All the time that Catherine took the medicine, perhaps six, seven or eight times a day, a ‘sudden flash of light or ball of fire shot across my left eye …’ It was the eye that Dr C. had examined so closely. This phenomenon ceased when she stopped taking the medicine. William does not think so highly of the medication.

Catherine hopes that Tooth is well and that [Rosamund] is feeling better than when Tooth last wrote.

How are things in the Madeley circuit? Has the membership increased much? They have been doing a little better here – about 60 new members have been added since Conference, but some of them are backsliders. How much more frequently do the poor receive the gospel than the rich. It is offered to the rich as well, but so few of them take any notice.

Their good superintendent [James Heaton] preaches constantly on the subject of believing. He is the author of a book on demonic possession involving the exorcism of a boy in Plymouth. [The demon : or a case of extraordinary affliction and gracious relief, the effects of spiritual agency. Carefully examined, and faithfully narrated : with observations on demoniac possession, and animadversions on superstition by James Heaton (Plymouth: 1822?)] This was printed a few years since – perhaps Tooth has seen a copy. The work has now appeared in a larger edition.

Catherine is obliged for Tooth’s procurement of their new maid servant. The girl appears contented with them and they have given her a few days off to visit home at Christmas.

Is the good work still prospering at Alscott?

[Annotated by Tooth – ‘… answered February 1st 1826’]