September 30, 1849, Frances wrote: "Writing letters exhausts my energies, fully called out in the public service just now. Cholera broke out—, and I have stood between the charity of the rich and the dying poor, administering medicine and food."
The epidemic had begun the year before, killing between 50,000 and 70,000 in England and Wales.
It was terrifying because it could kill in one day. It began with vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dehydration, followed by blue-gray skin, muscle spasms, eyes sunken in the sockets, body turning cold, and death.
Physicians had little to offer: laudanum, brandy, and blood letting.
This was the second epidemic, the first beginning in 1831. The third in 1853 killed 30,000 in London alone. The final one was in 1865. Frances did not volunteer for that one because she was gone to her reward by then.