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JQA Diary, volume 30 22 August 1818


Neal Millikan Health and Illness Recreation

22. IV: I passed the night without closing my eyes, under a perpetual irritation of the skin over my face and almost every part of the body, which I supposed to be the effect of what is called prickly heat— But on changing my linen this morning I discovered it was caused by a nest of Spiders just from the egg-shell, so small that most of them were perceptible only by their motion. It was like the continual titillation of a feather passing over the skin at a thousand places at once— It was a night of exquisite torture without pain— My linen and body were covered with them. I immediately stripped, changed all the clothes I had been wearing, and took a warm bath at Burnside’s. How this horrible creeping Nation got upon me, I could not exactly ascertain— They had already produced a cutaneous inflammation, and almost an eruption in various places— I rode to and from my Office, and called on the Attorney General Mr Wirt, to consult him upon the Construction of the Navigation Act of last Session, and some other points. He told me that he had received a Letter from my father, with a copy of Dr Mayhew’s Sermon, upon the martyrdom of Charles I. Wirt said my father was plucking every feather from the plumage of his Hero, Patrick HenryMrs W. S. Smith dined with us.