Date: 25 June 1855
Recipient: Grace Fenton
Book: Annie Grace Fenton letter-book, Royal Photographic Society Collection, National Media Museum, Bradford

Istaria [sic] Bosphorus
Monday 20 something of June

Dear Grace

I told you in my last that I shd probably start by the Orinoco. Well! I received a message to say that the ship was to go next day that being the day appointed for the sale of my things[.] I had expected it wd go suddenly for the vessels are often ordered off at one hour’s notice so I had made Sparling & William pack hard the night before as they thought very uselessly. I sold most of the heavy things but 1 horse wd not go off & the best of mine too. There was only 10£ bid for him, & lots of others horses were sent up for sale some of wh were sold. There have been so many officers killed that there is a positive glut of all such things as are wanted in camp. I put up my van but only £26 was bid for it & I withdrew it very reluctantly as I really did not know how to get it on board[.] After the sale was over the agent of Mr Dix came & offered £30 for it but I refused as I shd have to make another when I returned. Finally I sold it him for £36[.] I then sent the horse to Hallewells to be sold when a chance occurred & then went to bid good bye to Edmund[.] I left him a tin containing several pounds of those beautiful biscuits, half a dozen Lb coffee & about a dozen of wine with several other things. He is quite hearty & in high spirits. Getting back to head quarters about 3 I received a message by telegraph that the vessel wd leave Balaclava by at four. Trusting that the 4 wd be 8 I packed my clothes, paid bills, & loaded the van & set off on my road to Primrose Hill in high glee cracking jokes with every one I met[.] I have as many acquaintances here as the parish pump. Just outside Balaclava I met Hapford [Stopford] who was going by the same ship. He pulled a long face & called out I was just 5 minutes too late. The Orinoco is off Well! we went on in more sober mood to my hut, unloaded the van, gave it our blessing as it went on its way to its new owner & began to think of what was to be done next. Having recommended the men to work hard & pack, so as to be ready for any chance, I went out to arrange about getting food for them & myself & as we were were [sic] at present in the wide world I had invitations from all sides, but I did not know what to do with them. I met Capt [sic] Harding the governor, & he asked me to dine, I declined. A little further I met Mr Fielder he has been very ill, so I stopped to ask him how he was getting on & in doing so mentioned my disappointment about a vessel. He said “I have a vessel going to Constantinople tomorrow[.] I will give you a passage & there you will most likely find the Orinoco[.] I eagerly accepted the offer, ran back to the hut, to set the men vigorously to work & then got them some soup made, & then went to tell Col Harding I was going to accept a dinner from him & a bed as well. It was now about 7 & I found him & his party lounging in his verandah waiting for dinner, we had to wait long till near nine & I got faint but we had a jolly meal & then went out to smoke & take coffee outside all of us in turn falling asleep. Next morning at 3½ I was up & cd get no water to wash, nor a bit of bread to eat as is my usual custom here before going out early & I felt unwell being attacked with diarrhea [sic]. I got the boxes all put into a boat & with great exertion of the men, for I felt too ill to do more than to look on, & get all on board. We had scarcely got outside before I began to vomit & I felt it was not from sea sickness. By nine o’clock I was bad in the cholera, & there was no Dr on board, every body advised me to take different medicine so I tried some Rhubarb & peppermint but cd not keep it on my stomach so I got them to make me some rice water & mixed lime juice with it, & while it was preparing drank as much lime juice & water as ever I cd vomiting it all the while up again every 10 minutes but drinking again so as to keep up the supply of fluid to the blood. At ½ past 10 cramp began in my legs & I had to be held upright & rubbed. In a short time they began in my arms & fingers wh began to turn blue. I cd hardly breathe & felt my eyes staring very much. I never felt much alarmed but thought that as it was possible I might be mistaken about my method of cure I had better give Sparling such directions as might be necessary especially as I cd see that every body present had a much worse opinion of my chances than I had myself. At noon I felt that the tide was turned for my fingers recovered their colour, & the cramp became less violent. I kept on drinking the rice water & lime juice water & uncooked arrowroot mixed with water & by night the diarrhea [sic] was stopped tho’ the cramp continued till the middle of the next day. William & Sparling took it in turns to watch me, & I must say they took great care of me, as well as an old Gentleman of the name of Kirke who first suggested the arrowroot. I got out of bed the 2d day to see the entrance to the Bosphorus & got laid on deck for I cd not bear to stand. We lay to that night & next morning I was up at 5 to see the Bosphorus. I was a deal stronger, but still very green. I enjoyed the sight much but when ½ way down we met the Orinoco coming back. We puzzled ourselves with this till the vessel cast anchor off Sentario when I sent Sparling ashore to enquire. It was Sunday & most of the offices were closed but he learnt that she had gone up the bosphorus to Istania to coal & wd be back next day to proceed on her route. I thought it better to lose no time so sent Sparling with the commissary’s interpreter to hire a barge to take us & our boxes up the the [sic] stream. He not returning I got uneasy & when a message came from shore to tell our capt to get ready to go to sea by 4 p.m. I set off in a caique with the interpreter to look for him. I found him sitting waiting for the advent of some Turkish boatmen who were so said their padrone at prayers. We then got several caiques & brought them to the vessel & feeling quite ill I left Sparling to see about the loading. As soon as the first boat had got 3 or 4 boxes in the boatman pushed off & wd not come back. William came running to tell me but it was too late. The next boat I made Sparling get [letter-book ends here incomplete]