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Title: Noble Deeds of the World's Heroines

Author: Henry Charles Moore

Release date: July 1, 2009 [eBook #29286]
Most recently updated: January 5, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Al Haines


Cover art



Title page

Noble Deeds of the
World's Heroines




4 Bouverie Street & 65 St. Paul's Churchyard


In these pages I have tried to show how women, old and young, in many ranks of life, have proved themselves in times of trial to possess as much courage and daring as men. Some of these 'Brave Women' died for their Master's sake, whilst others, in His cause, passed through dire peril and grievous suffering. All of them counted not their lives dear unto them, so long only as they might do their duty. I have designedly omitted many familiar heroines in the hope of winning attention for some whose deeds have been less widely recognised.

H. C. M.





ANN JUDSON        )
EDITH NATHAN         )









It was two o'clock in the morning when this cry was heard in Union Street, Borough, London, and the people who ran to the spot saw an oil shop in flames, and at a window above it a servant girl, Alice Ayres, screaming for help. Some rushed off to summon the fire-brigade, but those who remained feared that before it could arrive the place would be gutted.

'Jump! jump!' they shouted, and stretched out their coats to break her fall. But instead of jumping Alice Ayres disappeared from the window. There were other people in the house, and she was determined not to seek safety for herself until she had made an attempt to save their lives.

Hurrying to the room where her master, mistress, and one child slept, she battered at the door, and awakening them warned them of their danger. Then through smoke and flames she sped back to her own room, where three children slept in her charge. She gave one look out of the window, but the firemen were not yet on the scene.

'Jump! jump!' the crowd shouted.

But Alice Ayres ignored the entreaties, for she had determined to save the children or die in the attempt. Her first idea was to tie two sheets together and lower the children one by one; but, finding that the sheets would not bear their weight, she dragged a feather bed to the window and dropped it into the street. Willing hands seized it and held it out, expecting her to jump; but she disappeared again, returning, however, a moment or two later, with a little white-robed child in her arms. Holding her at arms' length out of the window, she glanced down at the bed, and seeing that it was ready, dropped her. A tremendous cheer from the crowd told her that the little one was safe.

Then she snatched up the second little girl, but the poor mite was terrified, and throwing her arms around Alice's neck cried piteously, 'Don't throw me out of window!' So tightly did the child cling to her that Alice had great difficulty in getting her into a proper position to drop her on to the bed, but she succeeded at last, and another loud cheer from the crowd announced that she had saved two lives.

Scarcely five minutes had elapsed since the fire broke out, but the contents of the shop were such that the flames spread at a fearful rate, and the onlookers knew that if Alice Ayres did not jump quickly she would be burned to death.

'Jump! jump!' they shouted excitedly.

But there was a baby lying in the cot, and back Alice Ayres went, brought it safely through fire and smoke to the window, and dropped it out. She had saved three lives!

Weakened by the heat and the smoke, Alice Ayres now decided to leap from the window, and the anxious people in the street watched her in silence as she climbed to the window sill. She jumped, but her body struck one of the large dummy jars above the front of the shop and caused her to fall head foremost on the bed, and then topple over on to the pavement with a sickening thud. Quickly and tenderly she was lifted on to a shutter and carried into a neighbouring shop, where medical aid was soon at hand.

In the meanwhile the firemen had arrived. They had come as soon as they were called, but they arrived too late to save the other three inmates of the house from perishing in the flames.

But the interest of the crowd was centred in the condition of Alice Ayres, and as she was being removed to Guy's Hospital there was scarcely a man or a woman present whose eyes were not filled with tears. Many followed on to the hospital, in the hope of hearing the medical opinion of her condition, and before long it became known that she had fractured and dislocated her spine, and that there was no hope of her recovery.

Alice Ayres died at Guy's Hospital on Sunday, April 26, 1885, aged 25, and at the inquest, when her coffin was covered with beautiful flowers sent from all parts of the land, the coroner declared that he should not be doing justice to the jury or the public, did he not give expression to the general feeling of admiration which her noble conduct had aroused. In the hurry and excitement of a fire there were few who had the presence of mind to act as she had done, or who would run the risks she had for the sake of saving others. He deeply regretted that so valuable a life, offered so generously, had been sacrificed.

In the Postmen's Park, which adjoins the General Post Office, there is a cloister bearing the inscription, 'In Commemoration of Heroic Self-Sacrifice.' Within it are tablets to the memory of heroes of humble life, and one of the most interesting of these is that on which is inscribed:—'Alice Ayres, daughter of a bricklayer's labourer, who by intrepid conduct saved three children from a burning house in Union Street, Borough, at the cost of her own young life. April 24, 1885.'


The steamer Georgette had sprung a leak while on a voyage from Fremantle to Adelaide, and the captain knew that there was little hope of saving his ship. But there were forty-eight passengers, including women and children, and to save these and the crew was the great desire of the captain. The ship's lifeboat was lowered, but this too was in a leaky condition, and the eight persons who put off in it were drowned before the eyes of their friends on the Georgette.

Seeing, soon, that there was absolutely no hope of saving his vessel, the captain decided to run her ashore, hoping by that means to be able to save all aboard her. The vessel grounded some 180 miles south of Fremantle on December 2, 1876; but she was some distance from the shore, and it seemed to the captain that no boat could pass through the surf which would have to be crossed to reach land. He swept the coast through his glass, but not a house or human being could he see, and he gave up all hope of receiving help from the shore.

A boat was launched, but it had scarcely quitted the steamer's side when it capsized, and before the crew could right it and bring it back to the ship an hour had elapsed. Once again it was lowered, but it capsized again in two and a half fathoms of water, and the women and children who escaped drowning clung to the overturned boat, and called to those aboard the steamer to save them. But help did not come from that quarter.

Grace Bussell, the sixteen years old daughter of an English settler who lived some twelve miles from the point opposite to which the Georgette had gone ashore, was riding through the bush, accompanied by a native stockman, and coming out towards the edge of the cliff saw the steamer in distress, and witnessed the overturning of the small boat. Horrified at the position of the poor people on the upturned boat, she moved her horse forward and descended the steep cliff.

It was a terribly dangerous act, for had the horse slipped both beast and rider would have fallen to certain death. Behind her, on his own horse, rode the stockman, which of course made the danger greater.

But Grace Bussell made nothing of the danger she was undergoing, her sole thought being to reach the drowning people as quickly as possible. The passengers and crew of the Georgette, watching her with a strange fascination, expected every minute to see her fall and be killed. To their astonishment she reached the beach in safety, and rode straight into the boiling surf. The waves broke over her, and it seemed impossible that she would ever reach the upturned boat and rescue the exhausted people clinging to it. Once the horse stumbled, but Grace was a skilful rider and pulled him up quickly.

As she drew near to the boat, closely followed by the stockman, hope revived in the hearts of the shivering women and children clinging to it, and when at last she was alongside every mother besought her to take her child. Quickly she placed two little ones before her on the saddle, and grasping hold of a third she started for the shore. The stockman, with as many children as he could hold, rode close behind her.

The journey outward had been difficult and dangerous, but now that her horse was carrying an extra load it was infinitely more so. However, she proceeded slowly, and although on one or two occasions they were nearly swept away they reached the beach in safety.

Having carefully placed her living load on dry land, she rode again into the raging sea. Her progress was slower this time, but she returned to shore with children on her saddle and women clinging to her skirt on each side.

Drenched to the skin and exhausted by the buffeting of the surf, Grace Bussell might have pleaded that she had not the strength to make another journey, but again and again, accompanied by the stockman, she rode out into the dangerous sea, and not until four hours had passed, and the last passenger was brought ashore, did she take a rest.

Hungry, tired, and shivering with cold, she sank to the ground; but she soon noticed that many of those whom she had saved were more exhausted than she, and that unless food and warm clothing were given them quickly they would probably die.

So, rising from the ground, she mounted her dripping horse and galloped off towards home. The twelve miles were covered quickly, but on dismounting at her home Grace fainted, and it was some time before her anxious parents could discover what had caused her to be in such a drenched and exhausted condition.

When at last she told the story of the shipwreck her sister got together blankets and food and rode off to the sufferers, whom she carefully tended throughout the night. At daybreak Mr. Bussell arrived with his wagon, and conveyed the whole party to his home, where they remained tenderly nursed by mother and daughters for several days. Mrs. Bussell, it is sad to say, died from brain fever brought on by her anxiety concerning the shipwrecked people whom she had taken into her house.

Grace Bussell's bravery was not allowed to pass unnoticed. The Royal Humane Society presented her with its medal, and a medal was also bestowed upon the stockman who had accompanied his mistress down the steep cliff and on her many journeys to and from the upturned boat.


A terrible accident had occurred in one of the streets of Noyen. The men engaged in repairing a sewer had, on finishing their day's work, neglected to take proper precautions for the safety of the public. They had placed some thin planks across the opening, but omitted to erect a barrier or to fix warning lights near the hole, with the result that four workingmen, homeward bound, stepped on the planks and fell through into the loathsome sewer.

An excited crowd of French men and women gathered round the hole, but no one made any effort to rescue the poor fellows. Soon the wives of the imperilled men, hearing of the accident, ran to the spot, and with tears in their eyes begged the men who were standing round the opening to descend and rescue their husbands.

But not a man in the crowd was brave enough to risk his life for his fellow-men. They would be suffocated and eaten by rats, was their excuse, and the frantic entreaties of the poor wives failed to stir them to act like men. Women were crying and fainting, men were gesticulating and talking volubly, but nothing was being done to rescue the poor fellows from the poisonous sewer.

But help came from an unexpected quarter. Catherine Vasseur, a delicate-looking servant girl, seventeen years of age, pushed her way to the front, and said quietly, 'I'll go down and try to save them.'

It seemed impossible that this slightly built young girl could rescue the men, but her willingness to make the attempt did not shame any of the strong fellows standing by into taking her place. All they did was to lower her into the dark, loathsome hole. On arriving at the bottom she quickly found the four unconscious men, and tying the ropes round two of them gave the signal for them to be hauled up.

The few minutes' work on the poisonous atmosphere was already telling upon her, and finding herself gasping for breath she tied a rope around her waist, and was drawn to the surface. The women whose husbands she had saved showered blessings upon her, and the other two implored her to rescue theirs. She replied that she would do so if possible, and having regained her breath she again descended.

A third man was rescued, but before she could attend to the fourth she felt herself becoming dazed. She decided to go to the surface again, and return for the fourth man when the fresh air had revived her. It was necessary that she should be drawn up quickly, but the rope which had been tied around her waist had become unfastened, and it was some minutes before she found it. When she did find it she was too exhausted to draw it down to tie around her. For a few moments she tugged at the heavy rope, but could not draw it lower than her head.

There seemed to be no escape for her, when suddenly a bright idea occurred to her—she undid her long hair and tied it to the rope. Then she gave the signal to haul up.

Cries of horror and pity burst from the onlookers when they caught sight of the brave girl hanging by her hair, and apparently dead. Quickly untying her, they carried her into the fresh air, where she was promptly attended to by a doctor, who eventually succeeded in restoring her to consciousness. She received the praise bestowed upon her with the modesty of a genuine heroine, and was greatly distressed at having been unable to save the fourth man. The poor fellow was dead long before his body was recovered by the sewermen, for none of the men who had witnessed Catherine Vasseur's heroism had been brave enough to follow her example.


It was at 11.25 on the morning of Thursday, March 30, 1899, that the steamship Stella left Southampton for Guernsey with 140 passengers and 42 crew aboard. Most of the passengers were looking forward to spending a pleasant Easter holiday at Guernsey or Jersey, but a few were natives of the Channel Islands returning from a visit to England.

For the first two hours the voyage was uneventful, but at about 1.30 the Stella ran into a dense fog. The ship's speed was not reduced, but the fog-horn was kept going. There is nothing more depressing at sea than the dismal hooting of the fog-horn, and it is not surprising that some of the ladies aboard the Stella became nervous. These Mrs. Rogers, the stewardess, in a bright, cheery manner endeavoured to reassure.

Mary Rogers' life had been one of hard work and self-denial. Eighteen years previous to the Stella making her last trip Mary Rogers' husband had been drowned at sea, and the young widow was left with a little girl two years old to support; and a few weeks later a boy was born. To bring her children up carefully and have them properly educated became Mrs. Rogers' chief object in life, and to enable her to do this she obtained her position as stewardess.

Her experience of the sea had been slight, and for five years after becoming stewardess she scarcely ever made a trip without being sea-sick. Many women would have resigned the appointment in despair, but Mary Rogers stuck to her post for the sake of her children. Ill though she might herself be, she always managed to appear happy, and to attend promptly to the requirements of the lady passengers. When at last she was able to make a voyage without feeling sea-sick, her kindness to the ladies in her care became still more noticeable. In foggy or rough weather her bright, sympathetic manner cheered the drooping spirits of all who might be ill or nervous. At night she would go round, uncalled, and if she found any lady too nervous to sleep she would stay and talk to her for a time.

Only a few months before the Stella's fatal trip, a lady passenger assured Mrs. Rogers that her bright, cheery sympathy had done much to make her trip pleasant. 'Well, you see, ma'am,' Mrs. Rogers replied, 'I don't believe in going about with a sad face, and it is such a pleasure when one can help others.'

At this time Mrs. Rogers' prospects were very bright. Her children, whom she declared 'any mother might be proud of, they are so good,' had grown up, and her daughter was to be married in the summer. In three years her son would finish his apprenticeship to a ship-builder, and it was settled that then she was to retire from sea-life and live with her daughter, continuing, as she had done for several years, to support her aged father. But the days to which she was looking forward with pleasure she was never to see.

For two hours the Stella ran through the dense fog on this fatal March 30, and at about ten minutes to four the captain was under the impression that the Casquets lay eight miles to the east. But suddenly they loomed out of the darkness, and almost immediately the Stella struck one of the dreaded rocks. Instantly the captain saw that there was no hope of saving his ship.

'Serve out the life-belts!' 'Out with the boats!' 'Women and children first!' were the orders he shouted from the bridge.

Mrs. Rogers did not for a moment lose her presence of mind, and by her activity many women were saved who would in all probability never have reached the deck. The ladies' saloon was long, but the door was somewhat narrow, and being round an awkward corner there would have been a fearful struggle to get through it, had a panic arisen. But Mrs. Rogers, by her calmness and promptitude, prevented anything approaching a panic, and got her passengers quickly on deck.

To all who had not provided themselves with them she gave life-belts, and then assisted them into the boats. The last boat was nearly full—there was room for only one more—and the sailors in charge of it called to Mrs. Rogers to come into it.

Before attempting to do so she took a last look round, to see that all the ladies were gone, and saw that there was one still there, and without a life-belt. Instantly Mrs. Rogers took off her own, placed it upon her, led her to the boat, and gave up her last chance of escape. But the sailors who had witnessed her heroism did not wish to pull away without her.

'Jump, Mrs. Rogers, jump!' they shouted.

'No, no,' she replied, 'if I get in, the boat will sink. Good-bye, good-bye.'

Then raising her hands to heaven she cried, 'Lord, have me!' and almost immediately the ship sank beneath her.

Seventy lives were lost in the wreck of the Stella, and the news of the terrible calamity cast a gloom over the Easter holidays. An inquiry was held to determine the cause of the ship getting out of her course, but the result need not be mentioned here. One thing that soon came to light was the story of Mary Rogers' heroism, which sent a thrill of admiration through all who heard it.

Her well-spent life had been crowned with an act of heroism, and her memory is deserving of more than the tablet which has been placed in the Postmen's Park.



The Red Republicans had risen. The factories and private residences of the wealthy inhabitants of Buzançais were in flames, and owners of property, irrespective of age and sex, were being dragged from their hiding-places and murdered.

For some months it had been rumoured that the Red Republicans, aggrieved at the high price of bread, intended to rise and kill all who possessed wealth; but the people of Buzançais paid no attention to these rumours, and were consequently unprepared to defend themselves when, on January 14, 1853, the rising occurred. Had they banded themselves together, they could have quelled the riot, but, taken by the surprise, the majority sought safety in hiding.

Meeting with no resistance, the Red Republicans pushed through the town, leaving behind them a trail of fire and blood, and came at last to a big house where lived Madame Chambert and her son.

Madame Chambert was a kind old lady, and generous to the poor; but the Red Republicans, inflamed by wine which they had stolen from various houses, forgot her good deeds, and remembered only that she was wealthy. And because she was wealthy they were determined to kill both her and her son.

Madame Chambert and her son were in the drawing-room when the infuriated mob burst into the house. It was useless to attempt to drive them out, as all the servants, with the exception of Madeleine Blanchet and a man, had deserted them. At last the armed mob, their blouses stained with blood and wine, rushed into the drawing-room hurling insults at the poor old lady, and charging her with crimes which she had never committed.

Madeleine Blanchet fainted on hearing her mistress so grossly insulted, but the man-servant rushed at the ringleader and knocked him down. The half-drunk murderers were eager to kill the Chamberts at once, plunder the house, set light to it, and pass on; but as they stepped forward to kill the old lady her son fired his gun and killed one of them.

The whole mob now rushed at Monsieur Chambert, who escaped from the room, but was caught before he could find a hiding-place, and hacked to death.

In the meanwhile Madeleine Blanchet had recovered consciousness, and going to her mistress, whom she had served for nine years, she hurried her from the room to seek a place of safety. But in the hall they came face to face with the murderers returning from committing their latest crime. 'Death! death!' they shouted, and attempted to strike the old lady, but Madeleine Blanchet, with one arm around her waist, received the blows intended for her.

'Go, go, my poor girl!' Madame Chambert murmured. 'I must die here. Go away.'

But Madeleine Blanchet refused to leave her, and shouted to the cowardly ruffians, 'You shall not kill my mistress until you have killed me!'

Still parrying the blows aimed at her mistress, she implored the men not to be such cowards as to kill a helpless old lady. This appeal and her devotion to her mistress touched the hearts of two of the Red Republicans, who declared that the old lady should not be killed while they could strike a blow in her defence. Guarded by these two men, Madeleine Blanchet carried her mistress to a neighbour's house, where a hiding-place was found for her.

Assured that her mistress was safe from further molestation, Madeleine Blanchet hurried back to the house, which the rioters were looting, and saved many treasures from falling into their hands. This dangerous self-imposed task she performed several times.

The Red Republicans' reign at Buzançais was terrible, but it was short. Scores of them were arrested, and Madeleine Blanchet was one of the witnesses for the prosecution. She told of the attack upon her mistress's house and the murder of her young master, but not a word did she say concerning her own bravery. The President of the Court had, however, heard of it, and was determined that her heroism should not be unknown because of her modesty.

'We have been told,' he said to her, 'that you defended your mistress with your body from the blows of the murderers, and that you declared that they should kill you before they killed your mistress. Is that true?'

Madeleine replied that it was, and the President, after commending her for her bravery and devotion to her mistress, declared that if there had been twenty men in Buzançais with the courage she had shown, the rioters would have been quickly dispersed and the terrible crimes averted. The story of Madeleine Blanchet's heroism spread rapidly throughout France, and the Academy made a popular award, when it presented her with a gold medal and five thousand francs.


On October 14, 1881, a gale raged throughout England, and in all parts of the country there was a terrible destruction of lives and property. Round our coasts ships were wrecked, and the number of lives lost at sea on that day was appalling, while on shore many people were killed by the falling of trees, chimney-pots and tiles.

In Sutton, Lancashire, the gale raged with tremendous fury, and the children in the local National School, frightened by the roaring and shrieking of the wind, could pay little attention to their lessons. Hannah Rosbotham, the assistant mistress, was in charge of the school, the head mistress being absent through ill-health. She was very popular among her pupils, and knew them all intimately, having herself lived all her life in the village, and having been educated at the school in which she was now a teacher. She calmed the more timid of her pupils, and endeavoured to carry on the school as if nothing unusual were happening outside.

While she was teaching the bigger children, the infants (little tots of three and four) were sitting in the gallery at the further end of the room in the care of a pupil teacher. Over this gallery was the belfry, a large stone structure. It had weathered many a storm, but none had equalled this gale. Suddenly about 11 o'clock Hannah Rosbotham was startled by a loud rumbling, grinding noise, and almost at the same moment a portion of the belfry crashed through the roof and fell in pieces upon the poor little children in the gallery.

Immediately there was a stampede. The pupils and the pupil teachers rushed terror-stricken into the wind-swept playground, every one anxious for her own safety. But Hannah Rosbotham did not fly from the danger; she thought only of the little children in the gallery. The air was filled with dust, but she groped her way to the gallery staircase, which was littered with stone, wood and slates. Hurrying up she found, to her great joy, that many of the little ones had escaped injury. Some were crying, but others sat silent and terror-stricken, gazing at the spot where several of their little friends lay buried in the ruins.

Having hurried out the children who had so wonderfully escaped injury, she set to work to rescue those who lay injured. And the magnitude of the task which lay before her may be realised from the fact that sixteen-hundredweight of belfry-ruins had fallen through into the gallery. Quickly and unaided Hannah Rosbotham tore away the timber, stone and slate that were crushing the little sufferers, whose pale faces and pleading voices filled her heart with anguish, but gave strength to her arms. As she knelt tearing away with her bare hands the mass of ruins, fragments of stone and slate fell continuously around her, and she knew that at any moment she might be struck dead. The gale was still raging, and as she glanced up through the hole in the roof she saw the part of the belfry which had not yet given way. A continuous shower of fragments fell from it, but if the remaining portion were blown down simultaneously, she and her infant pupils would be crushed to death.

Working with tremendous energy she set free one by one the terrified young prisoners. Some were very little hurt, and were able to hurry away into the playground, but there were others who had been severely injured, and these she had to carry away.

At last her task was done, and happily without any serious results to herself. Although she had been throughout her brave work surrounded by danger she escaped with nothing more serious than a few scratches.

When she came into the playground with the last of the children she had rescued, she found that the villagers had arrived on the scene. They had heard of the accident, and had come to seek their children, and having found them alive they joined in showering praise and blessings upon Hannah Rosbotham. Now that all danger was over the brave young schoolmistress—she was only twenty years of age—broke down and cried hysterically, but before long she was calm again, and started out to visit at their homes the little ones whom she had saved.

Such bravery as Hannah Rosbotham had shown could not of course escape recognition. The Albert Medal was presented to her on January 11, 1882, and later the Managers of the Sutton National School gave her a gold watch, on which was inscribed their appreciation 'of her courageous behaviour in rescuing the school-children during the gale of October 14, 1881, that destroyed the roof of the school, and for which act of bravery she has been awarded the Albert Medal by Her Majesty.'





Alone among cannibals! One can scarcely imagine a more terrifying experience for a white woman. No matter how friendly people around might be, the knowledge that they were by long habit cannibals, whose huts were adorned with human skulls, would be sufficient to strike terror to the heart of the bravest. One woman is known to have experienced this trying ordeal, and she was a missionary's wife.

In the life of that noble missionary, James Chalmers,[1] we get glimpses of a woman who was indeed a heroine, and who had the unpleasant experience of being left for a time, without any white companions, in the midst of cannibals. This was Jane Chalmers the martyr-missionary's first wife.

Jane Hercus was married to Chalmers in October, 1865, and in the following January they sailed for Australia on their way to the South Sea Islands. At the very outset of their missionary career danger assailed them. A gale sprang up in the Channel, and for a time it was believed that the ship and everyone aboard her would be lost. Providentially, however, their vessel weathered the storm, although so much damaged that she had to put into Weymouth, and remain there a fortnight for repairs. On May 20 they arrived in Adelaide, and in August sailed from Sydney for the New Hebrides; but while approaching Aneiteum, to land some passengers, the ship struck an unseen reef, and could not be got off until some days had elapsed. Temporary repairs were made, and with men working at the pumps day and night the ship slowly made her way back to Sydney. After six weeks' enforced stay at Sydney, Jane Chalmers and her husband made another start for their destination, which, however, they were not to reach without further danger.

On January 8 the ship struck on a reef which surrounds Savage Island, and became a total wreck, but happily, without loss of life, as the passengers and crew managed to get off in the boats. They reached shore in safety, but although Jane Chalmers was ill for some time, neither she nor her husband were discouraged.

Six weeks after the wreck of the ship, Mr. and Mrs. Chalmers left on a schooner for Samoa, and during the voyage Mrs. Chalmers' health improved. After a six weeks' stay at Samoa Chalmers and his wife sailed for Rarotonga, and on May 20, 1867, arrived there. In that beautiful island Mr. and Mrs. Chalmers settled down at once to work. 'The natives,' Mrs. Chalmers wrote, 'have to be treated in all things more like children at home than men. They soon get weary and discouraged in any work, but a few words of praise or encouragement put fresh spirit within them.' Missionaries had laboured at Rarotonga before the arrival of the Chalmers, and the work was not exactly the type which James Chalmers desired. He longed to be a missionary to the heathen; but it was not until he had spent ten years at Rarotonga that his desire was gratified by his being appointed to New Guinea, then a comparatively unknown land, the people of which were savages of the most degraded type.

At Dunedin, where the Chalmers stayed for a time, Mrs. Chalmers was frequently urged to remain behind until her husband was settled in his new home. 'No,' she replied on every occasion 'my place is by my husband's side.' And so this brave woman, in spite of the protestations of her friends, went forth with her husband to live among cannibals. The first native who spoke to Mrs. Chalmers on their arrival at Suau was wearing a necklace of human bones, and wishing to be gracious to her, this same cannibal offered her later a portion of a man's breast ready cooked! Signs of cannibalism were to be found everywhere, and the chief's house in which the Chalmers took up their residence until their own was built, was hung with human skulls. Such sights as Jane Chalmers witnessed were bad enough to appal any woman, but she bore up bravely, and was soon busy learning the language from a young warrior, whom, in return, she taught knitting and tatting. Both she and her husband made friends quickly, and some of their new friends, intending to please them, invited the missionary and his wife to a cannibal feast.

Nevertheless, it was not long before the Chalmers were in great danger of losing their lives. The vessel which had brought them to New Guinea was still standing off the island, and the natives, in an attempt to capture it, had one of their number killed. For this they demanded compensation from Chalmers, who, of course, was in no way responsible for the man's death. Chalmers promised to give them compensation on the following day, but the natives demanded that it should be given immediately, and departed very sulkily when their request was refused. Later in the day a native warned Chalmers that he, his wife, and his teachers from Rarotonga had better get away to the ship during the night, as the natives had decided to murder them early in the following morning. Chalmers told his wife what the native had said, and added, 'It is for you to decide. Shall we men stay, and you women go, as there is not room enough for us all on the vessel? or shall we try all of us to go? or shall we all stay?'

'We have come here to preach the Gospel and do these people good,' Mrs. Chalmers replied. 'God, whom we serve, will take care of us. We will stay. If we die, we die; if we live, we live.'

Then the teachers' wives were asked if they would like to go aboard the ship, but their answer was that whatever Mrs. Chalmers did they would do. Therefore it was decided that they should all stay.

During the night the little band of Christians could hear the war-horn calling the natives together, and the shouts of the cannibals as they came in from all parts.

In the meanwhile Mr. and Mrs. Chalmers had made up in parcels the compensation which they intended to offer the people; but when, at four o'clock in the morning, the chief arrived to make a last demand he declared that they were not sufficient.

'If you will wait till the steamer comes I may be able to give you more,' Chalmers said, 'but at present I cannot.'

'I must have more now,' the chief declared, and departed.

The attack was now expected every minute, but hour after hour passed and the natives did not re-appear. At three o'clock in the morning Chalmers turned in, but he had not long been asleep when his wife discovered the cannibals approaching. Chalmers, aroused by his wife, ran to the door and faced the savages.

'What do you want?' he asked.

'Give us more compensation,' the leader replied, 'or we will kill you and burn the house.'

'Kill you may, but no more compensation do I give,' Chalmers answered. 'Remember that if we die, we shall die fighting.'

Then Chalmers took down his musket and loaded it in sight of the cannibals, who, having seen the missionary shoot birds, feared his skill. They withdrew and discussed what to do. For about an hour and a half the band of Christians waited for the attack to be made. Many of them were, naturally enough, much distressed at the thought of being killed and eaten, but throughout this trying time Jane Chalmers remained calm, assured that whatever might happen would be in accordance with God's will.

But the Chalmers' life-work was not yet ended. The chief of the village decided that they should not be killed. 'Before this white man came here with his friends I was nobody,' he said to the men who had assembled from other parts of New Guinea. 'They have brought me tomahawks, hoop-iron, red beads and cloth. You have no white man, and if you try to kill him, you kill him over my body.'

It would have been only natural if Jane Chalmers, after the experiences she had undergone, had decided that she could no longer live at Suau; but no such thought ever entered her head. Some months later she did as not one woman in a million would have done—remained for six weeks among cannibals with not another white person in the place.

Her husband sailed away to visit the native preachers at other villages, but she remained behind because she did not think it right that they should both leave their Rarotongan teachers so soon after the disturbances already described. The natives promised Chalmers, before he departed, that they would treat her kindly; and although the temptation to kill and eat her must often have been great, they kept their promise. But nevertheless she knew that her life might be ended at any moment, and it is easy to imagine her feelings when, one night as she was preparing for bed, she heard a commotion outside the house, men and women shouting and screaming loudly. One of the teachers went out to discover the meaning of the uproar, and returned with the comforting news that there was an eclipse of the moon, and that the natives were alarmed because they believed it would cause many of them to die.

The cannibals were very proud of having taken care of Mrs. Chalmers, and received with a conviction that they had well earned them, the presents and thanks which her husband, on his return, bestowed upon them. At the same time Mrs. Chalmers' pluck in remaining among them made a great impression on the cannibals, and caused them to have more confidence than ever in the missionaries.

But although Jane Chalmers was as full of courage and faith as when she arrived at Suau the trials and excitement of the life she had led there began to impair her health. Nevertheless, she did not complain, and when the mission at Suau was established on a sound footing she accompanied her husband on a voyage along the coast to visit places where a white man had never yet been seen; but eventually it became plain to herself and her husband that she needed rest and nursing. Accordingly she sailed for Sydney, to wait there until her husband could follow and take her to England. But they never met again. The doctors at Sydney pronounced her to be suffering from consumption, and held out little hope of her recovery. She, however, was very hopeful, and believed that before long she might be able to return to her husband at New Guinea. But this was not to be, and this heroic woman passed away before her husband's arrival.

[1] James Chalmers, his Autobiography and Letters, by Richard Lovett, M.A. (Religious Tract Society.)


'The White Man's Grave' and 'No White Man's Land' are the ominous names that have been bestowed on several unhealthy countries where Europeans have been compelled to reside; but there were none, fifty years ago, more deserving of being so described than Ashantee, Dahomey, and the Yoruba country. Nothing but the prospect of growing rich rapidly would persuade a white man, unless he were a missionary, to live in any of those countries, and a European woman was almost unknown there.

One of the first white women to risk the dangers of the Yoruba climate was Anna Hinderer, to whom belongs the honour of being the first of her colour to visit Ibadan. It was not, however, a mere visit that she paid to this unhealthy West African town; for seventeen years she lived there with her husband, devoting herself almost entirely to educating the native children.

Her mother died when she was five years old, and it was probably owing to her own childhood being sad and lonely that Anna Martin, afterwards Mrs. Hinderer, early in life began to take an interest in the welfare of poor and neglected children. In 1839, when only twelve years of age, she went to live with her grandfather at Lowestoft, and soon made two lifelong friends. They were the Rev. Francis Cunningham, Vicar of Lowestoft, and his wife, who was sister of that noble Quakeress, Elizabeth Fry. The friendship began by Anna Martin asking Mrs. Cunningham to be allowed to take a Sunday School class. She feared that being only twelve years old her request would not be entertained, but to her great joy it was granted at once. A little later she went to live with the Cunninghams, and was never so happy as when assisting in some good work. When only fourteen years of age she started a class for ragged and neglected children, and eventually she had as many as two hundred pupils. Many other schemes for the happiness of children were suggested by her, and, with the aid of Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, successfully carried out.

Anna Martin had long wished to be a missionary when she made the acquaintance of the Rev. David Hinderer, who had returned to England after labouring for four years in the Yoruba country, which stretches inland from the Bight of Benin almost to the Niger Territory, and is bordered on the west by Dahomey. Anna Martin was deeply interested in all that Mr. Hinderer told her of his little-known land, where lived some three million heathen, broken up into many tribes, but speaking one language. Before long the missionary asked Anna Martin to become his wife, and on October 14, 1852, they were married at the old parish church of Lowestoft.

Seven weeks after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hinderer started for Africa, and arrived at Lagos on Christmas Eve. Mrs. Hinderer had suffered greatly from sea-sickness throughout the voyage, and three weeks after her arrival at Lagos she had her first attack of African fever. It was a sharp one, and left her very weak, but as soon as she was sufficiently strong to travel they started in canoes for Abeokuta. This was indeed a trying journey for a young woman who had been accustomed to the comforts of a well-to-do English home; but she had, of course, made up her mind to bear hardships in her Master's service, and whether they were sleeping in a village or in a tent pitched by the river-side, with fires lighted to keep wild beasts at a distance, she made no complaint. Sometimes she was home-sick, but these natural fits of depression soon passed away.

On arriving at Abeokuta Anna Hinderer had another severe attack of fever, which, as she stated in her diary, edited many years later by Archdeacon Hone, and published with the title Seventeen Years in the Yoruba Country, left her so weak that she could hardly lift her hand to her head. Her husband was also down with fever; a missionary with whom they were staying died of it; and, a few weeks later, another missionary passed suddenly away. A more gloomy beginning to a young worker's missionary career there could scarcely have been, but Anna Hinderer was far from being disheartened, and was eager to reach their destination.

At last they arrived at Ibadan. Mr. Hinderer had made known that he was bringing her, and when the news, 'the white mother is come,' spread through the village, men, women and children rushed out to see her. Very few of them had ever seen a white woman, for, as already stated, Anna Hinderer was the first to visit Ibadan, and their curiosity was somewhat embarrassing. They followed her to her new home, and for days hung about in crowds, anxious to catch a glimpse of her.

The mission-house was not an attractive or comfortable place. It consisted of one room, 30 feet by 6. Anna Hinderer had to exercise her ingenuity in making it appear homelike. How she managed to do this we gather from the following extract from a letter written by Dr. Irving, R.N., who visited Ibadan shortly after they had settled down:—

'Mr. and Mrs. Hinderer at present live in such a funny little place; quite a primitive mud dwelling, where no two persons can walk abreast at one time. And yet there is an air of quiet domestic comfort and happiness about it that makes it a little palace in my eyes. It is unfortunate, however, for my temples, for in screwing in at one door and out at the other, forgetting to stoop at the proper time, my head gets many a knock. At one end, six feet square, is the bedroom, separated from the dining-room by a standing bookcase; my bedroom is at one end of this, formed by a sofa, and my privacy established by a white sheet, put across for a screen at bedtime.'

In a very short time Anna Hinderer became popular with the women and children, and set to work to learn the language. The boys being eager to learn English she would point to a tree, pig, horse, or anything near by, and the youngsters would tell her the Yoruba name for it. In return she told them the English name. But long before she had acquired anything like a useful knowledge of the language she managed to make the women and children understand that Sunday was a day of rest, and was delighted to see that many of them followed her example and gave up their Sunday occupations. The women were indeed deeply attached to her. If she looked hot they fanned her, and whenever they saw that she was tired they insisted upon her sitting down. When she had an attack of fever they were greatly distressed, and constantly inquiring how she was progressing.

Having at last acquired a fair knowledge of the Yoruba language, Anna Hinderer started a day school for children, and to nine little boys who were regular in their attendance she gave a blue shirt each, of which they were immensely proud. A little later she prevailed upon a chief to allow his two children to come and live with her. One was a girl six years of age, and the other her brother, two years younger. Throughout the day the little ones were very happy, but towards evening the girl wanted to go home. She was evidently frightened, and was overheard saying to her brother, "Don't stay. When it gets dark the white people kill and eat the black." Both, then, ran off home, but returned the following morning. A few days later the boy, in spite of his sister's warnings, stayed all night. The girl left him in great distress, and at daybreak was waiting outside the mission-house, anxious to see if he were still alive. Her astonishment on finding that he had been treated as kindly after dark as during daylight was great.

It was no easy task to manage a school of native children, but, nevertheless, the experience she had gained among the Lowestoft children made the task lighter than otherwise it would have been. 'Happy, happy years were those I spent with you,' she wrote to Mr. Cunningham, 'and entirely preparatory they have been for my work and calling.' She managed to impress upon her dusky little pupils that it was necessary to wash more than once or twice a week, and that they must keep quiet during school and service.

One day while her husband was preaching he referred to idols, and quoted the Psalm, 'They have mouths, and speak not.' No sooner had he said this than Mrs. Hinderer's boys burst into loud laughter, and shouted, in their own language, 'True, very true.'

Soon after their temporary church—a large shed covered with palm leaves—had been completed and opened there came a period of trial. Mrs. Hinderer's horse stumbled and fell upon her, and although no bones were broken she found later that she had received an injury which troubled her until her death. No sooner had she recovered from the shaking she had received, than her husband had a bad attack of fever. It was believed that he would die, but she nursed him day and night, and eventually had the great joy of seeing him recover. But soon she was seriously ill. Inflammation of the lungs set in, and for a time her life seemed to be drawing to a close, but she recovered, and was before long once more at work among the women and children.

It was about this time that Mrs. Hinderer wrote to her Lowestoft friends:—'You will not think me egotistical, but this I do think, if I am come to Africa for nothing else, I have found the way to a few children's hearts, and, if spared, I think I shall not, with God's blessing, find it very difficult to do something with them. My boys that I have now would never tell me an untruth, or touch a cowry or anything they should not. This is truly wonderful in heathen boys, brought up all their lives, hitherto, in the midst of every kind of deceit.'

After a stay at Abeokuta for the benefit of her health, Anna Hinderer returned to Ibadan, to find the new church and mission-house finished. The natives had taken great interest in the building of the mission-house, and, soon after the Hinderers' return, the head chief, accompanied by his wives and a host of attendants, came to see it. They received a cordial welcome, but so many people swarmed into the house that Mr. Hinderer began to fear it would collapse, and had to keep out scores who wished to enter. The chief found much to amuse him in this European-furnished house, and was immensely amused when for the first time he saw himself in a looking-glass. His wives were shown round by Mrs. Hinderer, and arriving at the bed-room they pointed to a washstand and asked its use. For reply Mrs. Hinderer poured out some water and washed her hands. Now the chief's wives had never before seen soap, and to dry their hands after washing was a proceeding of which they had never heard; therefore each became anxious to there and then wash their hands in European fashion. Water was splashed about the floor and wall, and when they wiped their hands the indigo dye from their clothes ruined the towel.

Anna Hinderer, although frequently in bad health, continued her work among the children with unabated enthusiasm, and in November, 1885, she had the joy of seeing eight of them baptized. Two months later the state of her health made it imperative that she should proceed to Lagos for a rest. Her husband accompanied her, but both were eager to get back to their work, and were absent for only a few weeks. But during that short time much had happened at Ibadan. The natives had begun to persecute the converts, and some had forbidden their children to attend the church or mission-school.

One girl who refused to give up attending church was shamefully treated. A rope was tied round her body, and she was dragged through the streets while the mob beat her with sticks and stoned her. As she lay bleeding and half dead the native idols were brought out and placed before her. 'Now she bows down,' the mob cried; but the girl answered. 'No, I do not; you have put me here. I can never bow down to gods of wood and stone who cannot hear me.' Eventually, after suffering ill-treatment daily, she ran away to Abeokuta.

For the next seven months Anna Hinderer continued without ceasing to teach the children, nurse those who were sick, and adopt any little girl-baby who had been deserted by her inhuman parents. Then Mr. Hinderer, after six months' illness, was stricken with yellow fever, and it became imperative that he should go to England for his health's sake. On August 1, 1856, Mr. and Mrs. Hinderer sailed from Lagos for home. And yet Anna Hinderer did not feel as if she were going home, but that she were leaving it, for Ibadan was beloved by her. Husband and wife were in bad health throughout the voyage, and the captain's parting words to the latter as she went ashore at England were:—'You must not come to sea again; it cannot be your duty. A few more voyages must kill you.' Nevertheless, two years later, Anna Hinderer and her husband, restored in health, were back at Ibadan.

Two years of hard work followed. The school was filled, the natives had ceased from persecuting the converts, and the prospects of missionary work were brighter than ever, when suddenly the news came that the fiendish King of Dahomey was marching on Abeokuta. Mr. and Mrs. Hinderer were at Abeokuta when the news arrived, and at once they hastened back to Ibadan, although there was a danger of being captured and tortured by the invading force. They reached Ibadan in safety, only, however, to find that the chief of that place was at war with the chief of Ijaye, a neighbouring town. The place was full of excitement and a human sacrifice was offered, the victim, prior to the ceremony, walking proudly through the town.

Anna Hinderer and her husband could at first have made their way to the coast, but they decided to remain with their converts and pupils. It was a bitter war, and soon the Hinderers were cut off from all communication with their fellow-missionaries in the Yoruba country. Supplies ran short, and they were compelled to sell their personal belongings to obtain food for themselves and the children. 'We sold a counterpane and a few yards of damask which had been overlooked by us;' runs an entry in Anna Hinderer's diary, 'so that we indulge every now and then in one hundred cowries' worth of meat (about one pennyworth), and such a morsel seems a little feast to us in these days.' Many of the native women were exceedingly kind to Anna Hinderer in the time of privation. The woman who had supplied them with milk insisted upon sending it regularly, although told that they had no money to pay for it.

For four years the Hinderers were almost entirely cut off from communication with the outer world, but they continued their labours unceasingly throughout this trying time. The girls' sewing class had, however, to be discontinued, for the very good reason that their stock of needles and cotton was exhausted. It was a time of great privation, but Anna Hinderer, although frequently compelled to endure the gnawing pangs of hunger, always managed to keep her native children supplied with food.

At last relief came. The Governor of Lagos had made one or two unsuccessful attempts to relieve the Hinderers, and in April, 1865, devised a means of escape. He despatched Captain Maxwell with a few trustworthy men, to cut a new track through the bush.

It was a difficult undertaking, but successfully accomplished, and one night, about ten o'clock, the Hinderers were surprised to see Captain Maxwell enter the mission-house. He brought with him supplies, and also a hammock for Mrs. Hinderer's use on the return journey.

It was somewhat of a surprise to the gallant officer to find that the missionaries for whom he had performed a difficult and dangerous journey were by no means anxious to return with him. It was the more surprising as it was plain that both were in very bad health. Mr. Hinderer declared that he could not possibly leave his mission at seven hours' notice, but he joined the captain in urging his wife to go, assuring her that it was her duty to do so. At last she was prevailed upon to avail herself of the means of escape. She was overcome with grief at leaving her husband shut up in Ibadan, and her distress was increased by her inability to say 'good-bye' to the little native children to whom she had acted a mother's part. They were asleep, and to have awakened them would have been unwise, for there would certainly have been loud crying, had the little ones been told that their "white mother" was leaving them. Their crying would have been heard beyond the mission-house compound, and the news of Mrs. Hinderer's approaching departure would have spread through the town, in which there were probably spies of the enemy.

Seven hours after Captain Maxwell arrived he began his dangerous return journey, his men carrying Mrs. Hinderer in the hammock. They proceeded by forced marches, keeping at the same time a sharp look-out for the enemy, who would, they knew, promptly kill any Christian who fell into their power. On several occasions they suddenly found themselves so close to the enemy that they could hear their voices, but, fortunately, they were not discovered. On the third day, however, they heard that their departure had become known to the enemy, who was in hot pursuit. It was a terribly anxious time for the invalid missionary, but Captain Maxwell and his men were determined that she should not be captured. Silently and without halting once, even for food, they hurried on hour after hour, and finally arrived at Lagos, having done a six days' journey in less than three and a half. So carefully had Captain Maxwell's men carried Anna Hinderer that she was little the worse for the journey, and after a few days' rest sailed for England. Two months later her husband followed.

In the autumn of the following year Anna Hinderer and her husband returned to Ibadan, where they were received joyfully. Anna Hinderer resumed her work with all her former enthusiasm and love, although she found before long that she had not sufficient strength to do all that she had done formerly.

Two years later the chiefs of the neighbouring tribes decided to expel all white men from their territory, and they urged the Ibadan chiefs to adopt a similar policy. The only white people in Ibadan were the missionaries, and these they refused to expel. Announcing their decision to the Hinderers, the chiefs said: 'We have let you do your work, and we have done ours, but you little know how closely we have watched you. Your ways please us. We have not only looked at your mouths but at your hands, and we have no complaint to lay against you. Just go on with your work with a quiet mind; you are our friends, and we are yours.'

Another two years of hard work followed. The schools were flourishing, and among the pupils were children of the little ones whom, many years previously, Anna Hinderer had taken into her home and cared for. The chiefs continued to be friendly, and only one thing was wanting to make Anna Hinderer perfectly happy. Frequent attacks of fever had so weakened her that she began to feel that the work was beyond her strength. Her husband, too, was never free from pain. They recognised that they could not live much longer in Africa. Gladly they would have remained and died at Ibadan, but for the knowledge that their work could now be better carried on by younger missionaries. So with a sad heart Anna Hinderer bade farewell to the people among whom she had bravely toiled for seventeen years. She had lost the sight of one eye, and the specialist whom she consulted in London assured her that had she remained much longer in Africa she would have become totally blind.

Although in a very weak state of health Anna Hinderer was not content to remain idle, and in her native county of Norfolk began to interest herself in factory girls and other children of the poor. She was always cheerful, and few people knew how much she was suffering from the effects of years of hard work and privation in a pestilential country. She died on June 6, 1870, aged forty-three; and when the sad news reached Ibadan there was great sorrow in the town, and the Christian Church which she had helped to plant there forwarded to her husband a letter of consolation and thankfulness for the work which she had done among them.


Ann Judson was not only the first American woman to enter the foreign mission field, but also the first lady missionary, or missionary's wife, to visit Rangoon. She was the daughter of Mr. John Hasseltine, of Bradford, Massachusetts, and was born on December 22, 1789. When nearly seventeen years of age she became deeply impressed by the preaching of a local minister, and decided to do all in her power towards spreading the Gospel. Sunday Schools had been started in America about 1791, but they were very few. Bradford did not possess one, and probably it was not known there that such schools existed anywhere. Ann Hasseltine, being desirous of instructing the children in religious knowledge, adopted the only course which occurred to her as likely to lead to success; she became a teacher in an ordinary day school.

When she had been engaged in this and other Christian work about four years, she made the acquaintance of Adoniram Judson, a young man who had recently been accepted for work in the East Indies, by the newly formed American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Before they had known each other many months, Judson asked Ann Hasseltine to become his wife and accompany him to India. He did not conceal from her that in all probability her life as a missionary's wife would be full of hardships and trials, but, after considering the matter for some days, she promised to marry him, providing that her father gave his consent. Judson wrote to Mr. Hasseltine, and after stating that he had asked his daughter to become his wife, and that she had consented, continued: 'I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in the hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamation of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?'

Mr. Hasseltine gave his consent, and on February 5, 1812, his daughter was married to Adoniram Judson. It had now become known throughout the United States that Mrs. Judson intended to accompany her husband to the mission field, and in all quarters her intention was denounced. She was accused of being both imprudent and lacking in modesty. These attacks caused Ann Judson considerable pain, but they did not weaken her determination to accompany her husband. They sailed for India on February 12, and landed at Calcutta on June 18. On the voyage they had for fellow passengers some Baptist missionaries, and the result of their intercourse with them was that ten days after their arrival at Calcutta they were baptised. By this step they lost the support of the Board of Commissioners who had sent them out, but aid was soon sent them by the American Baptists.

Missionary work in India was almost at a standstill when the Judsons arrived at Calcutta. The East India Company had issued an order, withdrawn, however, in the following year, forbidding missionaries to carry on their work in the Company's territory. The Judsons received notice to depart before they had been in the country many months, and were undecided where to go. They were anxious to settle in Rangoon, but everyone assured them that Lower Burma was not yet ripe for missionary work. The Burmese were described to them as little better than fiends, and stories were told of Europeans who had met with torture and death at their hands.

Nevertheless, the Judsons sailed for Rangoon, and in July, 1813, were ascending the Rangoon River, delighted with their first glimpse of the country. On either side of the mighty river was dense jungle, extending far inland. Here and there along the banks were small fishing villages, with quaint little wooden huts built on tall poles to prevent their being flooded or invaded by tigers, cheetahs or snakes. Near every village were several pagodas whose spires rose above the jungle; and there were many pagodas standing far from any habitation.

As the Judsons drew near to Rangoon they saw on the hill, near by, the great Shway Dagon Pagoda with its tall, gilded spire shining in the sun with a brilliancy that was dazzling. But soon they turned from gazing at the Mecca of the Burmese Buddhists to view the town, a big collection of bamboo and mat huts protected by forts with guns, which the people fondly believed would utterly destroy any foreign fleet which dared to ascend the river. Many trading vessels were riding at anchor off the city, and canoes of various sizes and design were passing to and from them. It was a busy scene, made bright by the gorgeous turbans of the rowers, and the brilliant attire of high officials.

Mr. and Mrs. Judson landed at Rangoon not only unmolested, but with a friendly greeting from the natives. These swarmed round them smiling pleasantly, and exhibiting none of the appearances of atrocity-perpetrators. The women were greatly interested in Mrs. Judson, and when she smiled at them they laughed merrily. This unexpectedly pleasant reception greatly cheered the Judsons, and made them eager to begin work. But before they could do this they had to learn the Burmese language, not a word of which they knew. They could not obtain an interpreter, for the reason that no one, with the exception of a few merchants, understood English. The European merchants who at that time lived in Burma were, with scarcely an exception, men of poor character. A missionary was the last person these men would welcome or help.

Having settled down in their home, Mr. and Mrs. Judson began to learn the Burmese language, a difficult task, considering that they had neither dictionary nor grammar to assist them. Mrs. Judson, having to buy food and superintend her servants, soon learnt a few Burmese sentences, but her husband was learning the language scientifically, with the intention of eventually translating the Bible into Burmese. When both knew sufficient Burmese to make themselves understood, they engaged teachers to help them with their studies.

Two years passed, and Mr. and Mrs. Judson were still learning the language. In September, 1815, a son was born to them, but to their great grief he died eight months later, through want of medical attention. When the child was buried, some forty Burmese and Portuguese followed the body to the grave.

In December, 1815, Mr. and Mrs. Judson began to make known to the people the Gospel they had come to Burma to preach. Until then they had wisely refrained from doing so, knowing that mistakes they might make in their speech would bring ridicule upon their religion. But now that they were confident of their knowledge of the language they started hopefully on the work of winning converts.

The time to which they had long looked forward had arrived, but the success which they had expected was not achieved. The natives listened attentively to everything Mr. or Mrs. Judson said to them, but their answer was usually, 'Our religion is good for us, yours for you.' Some laughed, good-humouredly, at the idea of the missionaries expecting them to give up the religion of their forefathers for that of the white kalas[1] from across the sea, and others declared that they were mad. No one, however, suggested that they should be forbidden to attempt to gain converts. It did not seem worth while interfering with them; for what Burman living in sight of the Shway Dagon Pagoda, and near to the monasteries where he had learnt the precepts of Guatama Buddha, would even think of forsaking his religion?

This indifference of the Burmese was very disheartening to the Judsons, and when a year had passed without their having made the slightest impression upon any native they might well have been discouraged. But this was far from being the case, and in October, 1816, they were able to look forward with still greater confidence to seeing their labour crowned with success. The printing press which they had long been expecting arrived, and two Burmese tracts which Mr. Judson had prepared were printed and circulated. One was a clear explanation of Christianity, the other a translation of the Gospel according to Matthew. The result of the wide distribution of these tracts was not such as the Judsons had expected. One or two Burmans made a few enquiries concerning the subject of the tracts, but when their curiosity was satisfied they showed no further interest in the matter. Three years of steady hard work followed. Mrs. Judson continued her efforts to win the women, and gathered around her every Sunday a large number to whom she read the Scriptures. Her husband had in the meanwhile finished his dictionary of the Burmese language, a work for which successive generations of British officials, merchants and missionaries have had cause to be thankful, and in 1819 began to preach on Sundays. Hitherto he had been speaking to individuals; now he addressed himself to crowds.

The place in which he preached was a zayat or rest-house, a big one-room building erected for the convenience of pilgrims who came to worship at the Shway Dagon Pagoda. There was no furniture in the place, and the pilgrims, or any one else who cared to enter, squatted on the floor, or, if tired, lay down and slept. Here, before a crowd of men, women, and children, all, from the old men of seventy to children of three or four, smoking big green cheroots, Mr. Judson preached Sunday after Sunday, and on April 30, 1819, made his first convert. Two months later, on June 27, the convert was baptized.

The Judsons, refreshed by the knowledge that their six years' toil in a sweltering, unhealthy country had not been wasted, continued their work joyfully, and soon had further cause for thankfulness. Several natives were baptized, and the Judsons had every reason for believing that their little band of Christians would increase rapidly.

Then their work received an unexpected check. The news reached Rangoon that the King of Burma was highly displeased at the conversion of his subjects, and intended to punish both missionaries and converts. No sooner was this known than the Judsons were deserted by all but their converts; the people who had flocked to hear Mr. Judson preach in the zayat no longer went there, and the women ceased to attend Mrs. Judson's gatherings.

Mr. Judson suspected that the threats emanated from the Governor of Rangoon, and not from the king, and, therefore, he started off, accompanied by a young missionary who had recently joined him, to the capital, to ask the king to prohibit any interference with them or their converts. His majesty not only received them graciously, but promised, if Mr. Judson would come with his wife and settle in the capital, to give them his protection and a piece of ground on which to build a church.

Mrs. Judson's ill-health prevented their accepting that invitation at once. Besides attending to her domestic duties and her native classes she had learnt the Siamese language, and with the aid of a native had translated into Siamese her husband's Burmese tracts. The Burmese territory in the Malay peninsula had formerly belonged to Siam, and after its annexation to Burma many of the Siamese came to live at Rangoon. Several thousands resided there at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it was that they might hear the Gospel that Mrs. Judson learnt their language. Suffering from over-work and the unhealthiness of the city—in those days Rangoon was a pestilential place—Mrs. Judson sailed for Calcutta, and proceeded to Serampore. She was back again in January, 1821, after six months' absence, but during the long rainy season she had such a severe attack of fever that it was evident that to save her life she would have to return to America for a complete rest.

After two years in America she returned to Rangoon in good health; and Mr. Judson now decided to avail themselves of the King of Burma's invitation to settle at Ava. Leaving the Rangoon mission in charge of his assistant missionaries, he started with Mrs. Judson on the long journey up the Irrawaddy to the capital. But before they had proceeded far war broke out between England and Burma. The Burmese were possessed of the belief that they were the greatest military power in the world, and, confident that they had nothing to fear from the English, encroached upon the possessions of the East India Company. Other acts of aggression followed, and the Company decided upon reprisals. Several battles were fought on the frontier, and the Burmese under Bandoola won two or three victories. Mr. and Mrs. Judson on their journey up the Irrawaddy met Bandoola proceeding in great state to take command of his army. They were questioned by the Burmese general's men, but on explaining that they were not British subjects but Americans, and that they were proceeding to Ava by command of the king, they were allowed to continue their journey.

On arriving at Ava the king and queen treated Mr. Judson very coldly, and did not enquire after Mrs. Judson, whom they had previously desired to see. This was a discouraging beginning for their new work, but the Judsons settled down to it, praying that the war might soon be ended. But the end was far off. On May 23, 1824, the news reached Ava that an English force had captured Rangoon. It had apparently not occurred to the Burmese that the English might attack them elsewhere than on the frontier, and the news of their success filled them with amazement and indignation. An army was despatched at once with orders to drive out the invaders.

The king now became suspicious of Mr. Judson. He knew that the missionary had declared that he was not a British subject, but America was a land of which he knew nothing. The only white nations of which he had any knowledge were England and France, and he was under the impression that after the downfall of Napoleon the French had become British subjects. His courtiers were equally suspicious of Mr. Judson, and one managed to discover that he had recently received some money from Bengal. This money was a remittance from America which had been forwarded through a Bengal merchant, but the king and his advisers at once came to the conclusion that Mr. Judson was a spy in the employ of the English.

An order for his arrest was issued immediately, and an officer, accompanied by a 'spotted face,' or public executioner, and a dozen men proceeded to the Judsons' house. The 'spotted face' rushing in flung Mr. Judson to the ground and began to bind him.

In terrible distress Mrs. Judson besought the officer to set her husband free, but all the notice he took of her was to have her secured. When the ropes had been tightly bound around Mr. Judson the 'spotted face' dragged him out of the house. 'Spotted faces' were almost invariably criminals who had been sentenced to the most degraded of duties—executing their fellow men. So that they should not escape from the work to which they were condemned, small rings were tattoed on their cheeks, forehead and chin. Loathed by all classes, the 'spotted faces' treated with great barbarity all who came professionally into their power. The man who had bound Mr. Judson made the missionary's journey to the prison as uncomfortable as possible. Every twenty or thirty yards he threw him to the ground, and dragged him along for a short distance with his face downwards. On arriving at the prison allotted to men sentenced to death, Mr. Judson was fettered with iron chains and tied to a long pole, so that he could not move.

Mrs. Judson was left at her home, with a number of soldiers outside to prevent her escaping. But these men were not satisfied with keeping her prisoner; they added to her misery by taunting her, and threatening her with a horrible death. For two days she endured this agony, but on the third she obtained permission to visit her husband. Heavily fettered, Mr. Judson crawled to the prison door, but after they had spoken a few words the jailors roughly drove her away. She had, however, seen enough of the prison to make it clear to her that her husband would die if he were not speedily removed from it. By paying the jailors a sum of money she managed to get him removed to an open shed in the prison enclosure. He was still fettered, but the shed was far healthier than the prison.

Having attained this slight relief for her husband, Mrs. Judson now did all in her power to obtain his release. She called in turn on the various members of the royal family and the high officials, assuring them that her husband had done nothing to deserve imprisonment, and asking for his release. Many of the people were sympathetic, but none dared ask the king to set the missionary free, for his majesty was infuriated by the news which reached him, now and again, of the success of the invaders.

At last, in the autumn, Bandoola arrived at Ava. He had been summoned from the frontier to proceed towards Rangoon to drive out the British, and on arriving at Ava he was received with wild enthusiasm. Even the king treated him with respect, and allowed him to have a free hand. Mrs. Judson, seeing Bandoola's power, determined to appeal to him for her husband's release. She was given an audience, and after hearing her petition, Bandoola promised that he would consider the matter, and dismissed her with the command to come again to hear his decision. The gracious manner in which she had been received filled Mrs. Judson with hope, but on calling for Bandoola's reply two days later she was received by his wife, who said that her husband was very busy preparing to start for Rangoon; as soon as he had driven out the English he would return and release all the prisoners. It was a terrible disappointment, but Mrs. Judson did not break down, although her health was far from good. She continued doing as she had done for many months, trudging two miles to the prison with her husband's food and walking back in the dark. Every morning she feared to find that her husband had been murdered, for the news of the British successes continued to reach Ava, and the people were in a state of excitement, and continually vowing vengeance on the white kalas. However, her worst fears were not realised. Her husband remained in chains, but, as he was not treated very harshly, she began to hope that the Burmese would release him when the war was ended.

But the end of the war was a long way off, and in the middle of February it became known that the English had quitted Rangoon and were marching to Ava. Mr. Judson was immediately taken from his shed and flung into the common prison—one room occupied by over a hundred prisoners—loaded with five pairs of fetters. It was the hot season, and Mr. and Mrs. Judson knew that he could not live long in that place. Indeed, he was quickly attacked with fever, and Mrs. Judson, growing desperate, so persistently implored the governor to allow her to remove him that at last he consented. Mr. Judson was removed speedily to a small bamboo hut in the courtyard, where, made comfortable and nursed by his wife, he recovered.

In the meanwhile Bandoola had been killed in action, and his successor appointed. The latter was a man of fiendish tastes, and he decided before proceeding down the Irrawaddy to take up his command, to remove the prisoners from Ava, and have them tortured in his presence. So Mr. Judson and two or three white traders were taken away to Amarapoora. Mrs. Judson was absent when her husband was removed, and when she returned and found him gone she feared that what she had been long dreading had happened—that her husband had been killed. The governor and the jailors protested, untruthfully, that they did not know what had become of him; but at last Mrs. Judson discovered where he had been taken, and started off with her few months' old baby and her native nurse-girl to find him.

Travelling first by river and then by bullock-cart, she arrived to find her husband in a pitiable state of health, caused by the ill-treatment he had received from his warders on the march from Ava. He was in a high fever, his feet were terribly swollen, and his body covered with bruises. Mrs. Judson obtained permission to nurse him, but on the same day her child and nurse-girl developed small-pox. She nursed all three patients, and to her great joy they all recovered. But the strain on her fever-weakened strength had been great, and she felt that her life was quickly drawing to a close. But she bore up bravely, and journeyed to Ava to fetch her medicine chest.

Neither she nor her husband knew of the intention of the Burmese general. It was never carried out, for he was suspected of high treason, and promptly executed.

Time passed, and the King of Burma becoming alarmed at the advance of the English towards his capital, sent his representatives to treat with them. Mr. Judson accompanied them to act as interpreter. He was not in fetters, but he was still a prisoner. On his return he found that his wife had been again ill with fever, and had been delirious for many days. But the prospect of peace being soon declared cheered the much-tried missionaries, and gave them fresh strength.

The terms offered by the English general had been refused by the King of Burma; but when he found that the enemy would soon be at his capital he quickly agreed to them, and sent the first instalment of the indemnity down river to the victors. Mr. Judson was sent with the Burmese officers to act as interpreter, and when the money had been handed over to the English he was set free, after having undergone twenty-one months' imprisonment, during seventeen of which he was in fetters. That he had managed to live through that long imprisonment was due to his wife's bravery and devoted attention. She had suffered more than he, and her constitution, ruined by fever, privation, and anxiety, was unable to withstand the illness which attacked her soon after she had settled down again to missionary work.

She died on October 24, 1826, aged 37, and the husband whom she loved so dearly was not at her bedside. He was acting as interpreter to the Governor-General of India's embassy to the court of Ava, and did not hear of her illness until she was dead. The baby girl who had been born in the midst of sad surroundings only lived for a few months after her mother's death.

[1] Foreigners


The boy or the girl who does not at an early age announce what he or she intends to be when 'grown up,' must be a somewhat extraordinary child. The peer's son horrifies his nurse by declaring that he intends to be an engine-driver when he is 'grown up,' and the postman's wife hears with not a little amusement that her boy has decided to be Lord Mayor of London.

These early aspirations are rarely achieved, but there are some notable instances of children remaining true to their ambition and becoming, in time, what they had declared they would be.

Sarah Hall, when quite a little child, announced her intention of becoming a missionary, and a missionary she eventually became. She was born at Alstead, New Hampshire, in 1803, her parents being Ralph and Abiah Hall. They were refined and well-educated, but by no means wealthy, and Sarah would have left school very young, had not the head-mistress, seeing that she was a clever child, retained her as pupil teacher. Quiet, gentle, and caring little for the amusements of girls of her own age, her chief pleasure was in composing verse, much of which is still in existence. The following lines are from her 'Versification of David's lament over Saul and Jonathan,' which was written when she was thirteen years of age:—

The beauty of Israel for ever is fled,
And low lie the noble and strong:
Ye daughters of music, encircle the dead
And chant the funereal song.
Oh, never let Gath know their sorrowful doom,
Nor Askelon hear of their fate;
Their daughters would scoff while we lay in the tomb,
The relics of Israel's great.

At an early age, as already stated, she expressed a wish to be a missionary to the heathen, and the wish grew stronger with increasing years. But suddenly it became evident to her that there was plenty of work waiting for her close at hand. 'Sinners perishing all around me,' she wrote in her journal, 'and I almost panting to tell the far heathen of Christ! Surely this is wrong. I will no longer indulge the vain, foolish wish, but endeavour to be useful in the position where Providence has placed me. I can pray for deluded idolaters and for those who labour among them, and this is a privilege indeed.' She began at once to take an active part in local mission work; but while thus employed her interest in foreign missions did not diminish, and the death of the two young missionaries, Wheelock and Colman, who went to Burma to assist Mr. Judson, made a deep impression on her. Wheelock, while delirious from fever, jumped into the sea and was drowned, and Colman, after a time, died at Arracan from the effects of the unhealthy climate. On hearing of Colman's death she wrote 'Lines on the death of Colman,' the first verse of which is:—

'Tis the voice of deep sorrow from India's shore,
The flower of our Churches is withered and dead,
The gem that shone brightly will sparkle no more,
And the tears of the Christian profusely are shed.
Two youths of Columbia, with hearts glowing warm,
Embarked on the billows far distant to rove,
To bear to the nations all wrapped in thick gloom,
The lamp of the Gospel—the message of love.
But Wheelock now slumbers beneath the cold wave
And Colman lies low in the dark, cheerless grave,
Mourn, daughters of India, mourn!
The rays of that star, clear and bright,
That so sweetly on Arracan shone,
Are shrouded in black clouds of night,
For Colman is gone!

These lines were read by George Dana Boardman, a young man, twenty-four years of age, who had just been appointed to succeed Colman at Arracan. He obtained an introduction to Sarah Hall, and in a short time they became engaged. They were married on July 3, 1825, and thirteen days later sailed for Calcutta, where they landed on December 2. The war in Burma prevented their proceeding to Rangoon, so they settled down at Calcutta, to study the Burmese language with the aid of Mr. Judson's books. At this they were engaged almost continuously until the spring of 1827, when they sailed for Amherst, in Tenasserim, a newly built town in the recently acquired British territory, to which Mr. Judson had removed with his converts soon after the conclusion of the war.

The Boardmans' stay at Amherst was, however, short. Towards the end of May they were transferred to another new city—Moulmein. A year before their arrival the place had been a wide expanse of almost impenetrable jungle; now it had 20,000 inhabitants. Wild beasts and deadly snakes abounded in the jungle around the city and, across the river, in the ruined city of Martaban, dwelt a horde of fiendish dacoits, who occasionally made a night raid on Moulmein, robbing and murdering, and then hurrying back to their stronghold. The Boardmans had been settled in their bamboo hut barely a month when they received a visit from the dacoits. One night Mr. Boardman awoke, to find that the little lamp which they always kept burning was not alight, and suspecting that something was wrong he jumped out of bed and lit it again. The dacoits had entered, and stolen everything they could possibly carry off. Looking-glasses, watches, knives, forks, spoons, and keys had all disappeared. Every box, trunk, and chest of drawers had been forced open, and nothing of any value remained in any of them. This was the first home of their own that the Boardmans had ever had, and to be robbed so soon of practically everything they possessed was indeed hard. They had, however, the satisfaction of knowing that the dacoits had not, as usual, accompanied robbery with murder. But that the dacoits would have murdered them had they awoke while they were plundering was plain. Two holes had been cut in the mosquito curtain near to where Mr. and Mrs. Boardman and their one-year-old child lay, and by these holes dacoits had evidently stood, knife in hand, ready to stab the sleepers if they awoke. It was a great shock to Mrs. Boardman, who was in bad health, but soon she was joining her husband in thanking God for having protected them.

After the robbery the officer commanding the British troops stationed two sepoys outside the mission house, and some idea of the dangers which surrounded the Boardmans may be formed from the fact that one day the sentry was attacked by a tiger.

But, exposed as the Boardmans were to perils of this kind, they continued their work among the rapidly increasing population, and met with considerable success. Many native Christians, converted under Mr. Judson at Rangoon, lived at Moulmein, and consequently the Boardmans' work was not entirely among the unconverted. Indeed, before long nearly all the native Christians in Burma were residing at Moulmein, Amherst having declined in public favour. When the majority of the inhabitants of Amherst migrated to Moulmein the missionaries accompanied them, and soon nearly all the missionaries to Burma were working in one city. Neither the missionary board in America nor Mr. Judson considered this to be wise, and some of the missionaries were removed to other places, Mr. and Mrs. Boardman being sent to Tavoy, some 150 miles south of Moulmein. The dialect of the people of Tavoy differed considerably from Burmese, and the Boardmans had practically to learn a new language. As the written characters of both languages were the same, the task was not very difficult, and before long the missionaries were preaching the Gospel to the Tavoyans.

Soon after they had settled down some Karens invited Mr. Boardman to visit them. Their country was not far away, but the missionary could not as yet leave Tavoy. The Karens, however, told him something that excited his curiosity. A foreigner passing through the land had given them a book, and told them to worship it. They had done so. A high-priest had been appointed, and he had arranged a regular form of worship, Mr. Boardman asked the Karens to let him see the book, and they promised to bring it to him. Soon a deputation, headed by the high-priest, attired in a fantastic dress of his own designing, arrived at Tavoy with the book, which was carefully wrapped up and carried in a basket. On having the book handed to him Mr. Boardman saw that it was a Church of England Prayer-book. He told the Karens that although it was a very good book it was not intended to be worshipped, and they consented to give it to him in exchange for some portions of Scripture in a language they could read. It was never discovered who gave the Prayer-book to the Karens, but it may be taken for granted that they misunderstood the donor's meaning. This book was afterwards sent home to the American Baptist Missionary Society.

On July 8, 1829, Mrs. Boardman was plunged into grief by the death of her little daughter, aged two years and eight months. Other troubles followed quickly. One night Mrs. Boardman was awakened by hearing some native Christians shouting, 'Teacher, teacher, Tavoy rebels!' The inhabitants of Tavoy had revolted against the British Government, and had attempted to seize the powder magazine and armoury. The Sepoys had driven off the rebels, who were, however, far from being disheartened. They burst open the prison, set free the prisoners, and began firing on the mission house. Bullets passed through the fragile little dwelling-place, and the Boardmans would soon have been killed had not some Sepoys fought their way to their assistance, with orders to remove them to Government House. As Mrs. Boardman with her baby boy in her arms hurried through the howling mob of rebels she had several narrow escapes from being shot, but fortunately the whole of the little party from the mission house reached Government House in safety. The Governor of Tavoy was away when the rebellion broke out, and as the steamer in which he had departed was the only means of rapid communication between Tavoy and Moulmein, the little British force settled down to act on the defensive until reinforcements arrived. Soon it was found that Government House would have to be evacuated, and eventually the British and Americans took shelter in a six-room house on the wharf. In this small house the whole of the white population, the soldiers, and the native Christians were sheltered. The rebels, strongly reinforced, attempted to burn them out, but a heavy downfall of rain extinguished the flames before much harm had been done.

At last, to the great relief of the defenders, the governor's steamer was seen approaching. The governor was considerably surprised to find the natives in revolt. Immediately after his arrival he sent his wife and Mrs. Boardman aboard the steamer, which was to hurry to Moulmein for reinforcements. Mrs. Boardman begged to be allowed to remain and share the danger which was threatening both the whites and the native converts, but the governor firmly refused to allow her to do so.

As soon as the rebellion was quelled Mrs. Boardman returned to Tavoy and resumed her work, but troubles now came upon her quickly. On December 2, 1830, her baby boy died, making the second child she had lost within twelve months. Her husband, too, was in very weak health, although still working hard. On March 7, 1831, he reported that he had baptized fifty-seven Karens within two months, and that other baptisms would soon follow. But the latter he did not live to see, for he died of consumption three weeks after writing his report.

The Europeans at Tavoy considered it natural and proper that, now Mrs. Boardman was a widow, she should, return to America, and they were somewhat surprised when she announced her intention of remaining at Tavoy. 'My beloved husband,' she wrote, 'wore out his life in this glorious cause; and that remembrance makes me more than even attached to the work and the people for whose salvation he laboured till death.' As far as possible she took up the duties of her late husband, and every day from sunrise until ten o'clock at night she was hard at work. Her duties included periodical visits to the Karen villages. This was a most unpleasant work for a refined woman, and from the fact that she scarcely ever alluded to these visits we may conclude that she found them extremely trying. But, as there was no man to undertake the work which her late husband had carried on with conspicuous success, she knew unless she did it herself a promising field of missionary enterprise would be uncared for.

Preaching, teaching and visiting was not, however, the only work in which the young widow engaged. She translated into Burmese the Pilgrim's Progress.

Adoniram Judson and Mrs. Boardman had known each other from the day the latter arrived in Burma, and the former, as the head of the missionaries in that country, was well aware of Mrs. Boardman's devotion to duty. On January 31, 1834, he completed his translation of the Scriptures, and on April 10 he and Mrs. Boardman were married.

Mrs. Sarah Judson's home was now once more in Moulmein, and into the work there she threw herself at once heart and soul. She superintended schools, held Bible classes and prayer meetings and started various societies for the spiritual and physical welfare of the women. Finding that there was a large number of Peguans in Moulmein, she learnt their language, and translated into it several of her husband's tracts.

Until 1841 her life was peacefully happy, but in that year a period of trouble began. Her four children were attacked with whooping-cough, which was followed by dysentery, the complaint which in Burma has sent many thousands of Europeans to early graves. No sooner had the children recovered from this distressing illness than Mrs. Sarah Judson fell ill with it, and for a time it was feared that she was dying. As soon as she was able to travel Mr. Judson took her to India, in the hope that a complete rest at Serampore would give her back her strength. She returned in fairly good health, but in December, 1844, she grew so weak that Mr. Judson decided to have his first furlough, and take her home to America. On the voyage she grew worse, and died peacefully while the ship was at anchor at St. Helena. She was buried on shore, and Adoniram Judson, a widower a second time, proceeded on his journey to America.


The Chinese dislike to foreigners settling in their country is so old that one cannot tell when it began. But in 1900 the Boxer rising proved that the anti-foreign feeling is strong as ever, and perhaps more unreasonable, and the whole civilized world was horror-stricken by the news of the massacre of men, women and children, who had been slaughtered, not only because they were Christians, but because they were foreigners.

The list of missionaries who were murdered by the Boxers in 1900 is long and saddening; but it is some consolation to know that to many of the martyrs death came swiftly, and was not preceded by bodily torture. In fact, some of the missionaries who escaped death must have been sorely tempted to envy their martyred colleagues, so terrible were the trials they underwent before reaching a place of safety.

Mrs. Ogren was one of the representatives of the China Inland Mission, who escaped death only to meet perils and privations such as few women have ever survived. She and her husband had worked in China for seven years, and had been stationed for about twelve months in the city of Yung-ning when the Boxer troubles began. Until then the natives had been well disposed towards them, but two emissaries of the Boxers, describing themselves as merchants, spread evil reports concerning them. They declared that the missionaries had poisoned the wells, and when the people went to examine them they found that the water had turned red. The men who accused the missionaries had, before bringing this charge against them, secretly coloured the water. Other false accusations, artfully supported by what appeared to be conclusive evidence, were made against them, and naturally aroused the anger of the people, whose demeanour became unmistakably threatening.

On July 5 the sad news of the murder of two lady missionaries at Hsiao-i reached Mrs. Ogren and her husband, and a mandarin, who had secretly remained friendly towards them, urged them to escape from the city as soon as possible, and for their travelling expenses the secretary of the yamên brought them, in the middle of the night, Tls. 10 (£15). Mr. Ogren gave a receipt for the money, and prepared for their flight, but it was not until July 13 that they were able to start.

Early in the morning, before day-break, a mule-litter was brought to the back door of the mission garden. Quickly and silently Mr. and Mrs. Ogren, with their little nine months' old boy, mounted, and started on their perilous journey to Han-kow.

They arrived uninjured at the Yellow River, where, however, they found a famine-stricken crowd, armed with clubs, eager to kill them. The starving natives had been told, and believed, that the scarcity of food was due to the foreigners' presence in China, and their hostile attitude can scarcely be wondered at. However, the guard which had been sent to protect the missionaries succeeded in keeping off the people, who had to content themselves with yelling and spitting at the fugitives. Hiring a boat, for which they had to pay Tls. 50, the Ogrens and their guard started down river for T'ung-kuan. The current of this river is exceedingly swift, and the missionaries expected every moment that their boat would be wrecked. No mishap occurred, however, and after travelling seventeen miles the party made a halt. It was necessary to do so, as at this place they were to be handed over to a new guard. Here, too, they found it would be impossible to proceed on their journey without more money, and a messenger was despatched to the mandarin at Yung-ning, asking for a further loan. Until the result of this appeal was known there was nothing for the Ogrens to do but wait where they were. It was an anxious time, but on the fourth day they were delighted to see the secretary of the yamên approaching. He had brought with him the money they required.

'Praising God for all His goodness,' Mrs. Ogren writes in her account of their trials,[1] 'we started once more, and though beset by many difficulties, the goodness of God, and the cordial letter of recommendation granted us by our friendly mandarin, enabled us to safely reach a place called Lung-wan-chan, 170 miles from our starting-place, and half way to our destination, T'ung-kuan.'

At Lung-wan-chan they heard of the rapid spread of the Boxer movement, and of the massacre, on July 16, of a party of men and women missionaries. They realised now that the prospect of their escaping the fury of the Boxers was small; but there came a ray of hope, when a Chinaman, eighty years of age and a friend of the Yung-ning mandarin, offered to hide them in his house. It was an offer which was gratefully accepted; but as they were about to start for their hiding-place, which was some twenty-five miles from the river, a party of soldiers arrived. Their orders were, they said, to drive the foreigners out of the province; but the aged Chinaman gave them a feast, and, having got them into a good humour, extracted a promise from them that they would not harm the missionaries. But although they kept their promise to the extent of not doing them any bodily injury, they took from them all the money they possessed.

When the soldiers had departed, the Ogrens started on their twenty-five miles' journey to the friendly old Chinaman's house, thankful at having escaped one danger, and hopeful that they would reach their destination in safety. But their hope was not realised. Before they had gone far, their way lay along a track where it was necessary to proceed in single file. Mrs. Ogren, riding a mule, led the way; a second mule carrying their personal belongings followed, and Mr. Ogren with their baby-boy in his arms came last. On one side of them was the rushing river; on the other, steep, rocky mountains.

Suddenly a number of armed men sprang out from behind the rocks and barred their way. Brandishing their weapons ominously, they demanded Tls. 300. Mrs. Ogren, dismounting from her mule, advanced to a man who appeared to be the leader, and told him that they had no money. She begged him to have pity on them, and to spare her at least her baby's things. Her appeal was not entirely wasted, for while they were helping themselves to their things the leader handed her, on the point of his sword, one of the baby's shirts.

Having taken everything that they fancied, the robbers now looked threateningly at the prisoners. Their leader began whetting his sword, shouting as he did so, 'Kill, kill!' Again Mrs. Ogren pleaded for mercy, and finally they relented, and departed without injuring them.

The fugitives now came to the conclusion that it would be certain death if they remained in the province, and as soon as possible they crossed the river in the ferry. It was a dark, wet night when they reached the other side, and it was only after much entreaty and promises of reward that the ferrymen allowed them to take shelter in the dirty smoky caves where they lived. Mr. Ogren at once despatched a message to their old Chinese friend asking for help, and four days later the man returned with some money, nearly the whole of which the ferrymen claimed, and obtained by means of threats. With little money in their pockets, the Ogrens started off on foot towards the promised place of refuge. It was a trying journey, for the heat was intense, and aroused a thirst which could not be quenched. Once Mrs. Ogren fell exhausted to the ground; but after a rest they continued their tramp, and on the second day reached their destination, there to experience a bitter disappointment. The people whom they expected would be friendly proved hostile. They refused to give them food, and only after much entreaty did they permit them to take shelter in a cave near by. This, however, proved to be a very insecure hiding-place, and twice they were robbed by gangs of men.

Leaving this place, the Ogrens tramped further into the hills, and found another cave, where they could have remained in safety until the rising was quelled, had they been able to obtain food. Mrs. Ogren and her husband would have endured the agony of long-continued hunger, but they could not see their little baby starve. For some time he was fed on cold water and raw rice, but when their small stock of the latter ran out, they tramped back to make another appeal to the people who had so recently refused to help them. Their reception was even worse than on the previous occasion. One of the men had heard of the Boxers' offer of Tls. 100 for the head of every foreigner brought to them, and was anxious to earn the money. Seizing his sword, he rushed at the fugitives and would have killed them, had not some of his relatives, perhaps moved by pity, intervened. They held him fast while the Ogrens hurried away as quickly as their weakness would permit.

Over the mountains they wended their way, sometimes having to crawl up the steep hillsides. It was their intention to make their way back to Yung-ning, and seek protection from the mandarin who had always been friendly towards them. It must not be forgotten that during the anti-foreign outbreak there were hundreds of Chinamen, besides the Christian converts, who, although well aware that a price was placed on the head of every foreigner, scorned to betray them, and did all in their power to facilitate their escape to a place of safety. On their journey over the mountains, Mrs. Ogren and her husband met with many of these people, who gave them food and sheltered them at night.

Having forded a wide, swiftly-flowing river, the Ogrens came to a village where the natives treated them so kindly that they remained there for two days. But on departing from this place their brief period of comparative happiness came to an end, for, towards night, as they drew near to a village, hoping to experience a repetition of the hospitality they had recently received, they found that they were likely to have a hostile reception.

It was too late to turn back or to attempt to avoid the place, for they had already been discovered, so they trudged on through the village, the people laughing and jeering at them. But just as they were quitting the village, hopeful that they would be permitted to continue their journey unmolested, they were seized and cast into prison. The following morning two men were told off to take them out of the province; but it soon became evident to the prisoners that their escort intended to hand them over to the Boxers. They were a particularly heartless pair, and one of them took from Mrs. Ogren her baby's pillow, which she had managed to retain through all their wanderings, and emptying out the feathers burned them.

The following day they arrived at the Yellow River, and as they crossed in the ferry the prisoners saw that the village to which they were being taken was decorated with red lanterns. This was a sign that the place was held by the Red Lantern Society, one of the divisions of the Boxer army. On landing, the missionaries were at once surrounded by a crowd of jeering natives, and one fellow, with brutal glee, told Mrs. Ogren of the massacre of the lady missionaries at Ta-ning.

After Mr. Ogren had been closely questioned, he was told they would be taken back to Yung-ning, but when they left the village they found that they were being led in quite a different direction. At night they were placed in a cave, and on the following morning were marched off to the Boxer general's headquarters, a temple. Mr. Ogren was at once taken before the general, Mrs. Ogren sitting in the courtyard with her baby on her knee. She was suffering excruciating pain from a swollen eye, caused by the heat and glare, but her mental agony was no doubt greater, for in a few minutes her husband's fate would be decided. She heard him answering the general's questions, heard him pleading for their lives. Soon his voice was drowned in the sound of swords being sharpened, and a few minutes later she heard moans. Her husband was being tortured.

'My feelings were indescribable,' Mrs. Ogren writes. 'I could only pray God to cut short my husband's sufferings, and fill his heart with peace, and give me courage to meet my lot without fear.' Soon the moaning ceased, and she concluded that her husband was dead.

That night Mrs. Ogren was imprisoned in a tomb, and her baby, although he had nothing but water for his supper, slept soundly on the cold ground wrapped up in her gown. On the following morning she was given some rice and porridge, but before she had finished her meal the guard set her free. At once she decided to endeavour to reach Ta-ning, where other missionaries were imprisoned, preferring imprisonment among friends to the wandering life she had led for so long. Hearing that there were some Christians in a village on the other side of the river, she forded the stream—narrowly escaping drowning, but only to find that she had been misinformed. The villagers jeered at her when she told her story, and asked for food for herself and baby. Departing from these inhospitable people, Mrs. Ogren lay down with her baby in the open. Both were hungry and shivering, and probably their trials would have ended that night in death, had not two native Christians found them, and led the way to a cave. Taking Mrs. Ogren to this place of shelter was, however, all that these men could do for her.

The following day, while trudging along towards Ta-ning Mrs. Ogren was again captured by Boxers, and would have been promptly killed, had not the headman of the village protected her, and, in spite of the anger of the mob, appointed an escort to accompany her to Ta-ning. It was a consolation to Mrs. Ogren to feel that she would soon be in the company of fellow missionaries; but to her sorrow she heard, on being placed in the Ta-ning prison, that they had been set free two days previously, and had started for the coast.

The prison in which Mrs. Ogren was now confined was a filthy place, swarming with vermin, but the warders were kind to her, and gave her food for herself and baby. Even the mandarin was moved when he heard of the sufferings she had undergone, but he did not release her. Sleep was impossible that night, but, at daybreak, as Mrs. Ogren lay dozing with her child beside her, she fancied she heard her name called. Jumping up she ran into the courtyard, and looked eagerly around.

'Olivia!' It was her husband's voice, and there at the prison gate stood he whom she had thought dead. 'Praise God! oh, praise God!' she cried, her heart full of thankfulness; but he was too overcome with emotion to speak. Truly Mr. Ogren was in a terrible plight. His clothes hung in rags, and his head was bound with a piece of dirty, blood-stained linen. One of his ears was crushed, and there were ghastly wounds in his neck and shoulders. Even now he was not out of danger for as he stood at the gate Mrs. Ogren saw to her dismay a mob of infuriated Boxers rushing towards him, and it seemed as if he would be killed before her eyes. But the yamên servants protected him, and, later in the day, he was brought to his wife and child. The people had evidently taken pity on the poor missionaries, for they supplied Mrs. Ogren with some water to wash her husband's wounds and a powder that would heal them. Moreover they supplied them with rice and mutton, and the secretary of the yamên's wife sent them a bowl of meat soup.

When Mr. Ogren's wounds had been dressed, and he had eaten the first good meal he had tasted for many days, he related to his wife all that had happened to him since they were separated by the Red Lantern Boxers.

Briefly his story was as follows:—On being taken before the Boxer general he was bound to a block of wood, with his hands tied behind his back, and while in this helpless state the Boxers kicked him and beat him with sticks, cursing the name of Jesus, and shouting, 'Now ask your Jesus to deliver you.' After thus torturing him they untied him from the block, and led him with his hands bound behind his back to the river-side, with the intention of killing him and casting his body into the water. Arriving there, they forced him down on his knees, and at a signal set upon him on all sides with swords and spears; but in their eagerness to slay him their weapons struck one against another, and instead of being killed instantly he received several wounds, which although severe did not disable him.

Suddenly he sprang to his feet, and rushing through the crowd jumped into the river. The Boxers, recovering from their surprise, rushed into the water after him, but remembering that his hands were tied behind his back they broke into jeering laughter, and waited to see him drown. But the brave, persecuted missionary managed to reach the other side in safety, and running inland was soon lost in the darkness. With his hands tied behind his back, and barefooted—his shoes were lost in the river—he tramped some fifteen miles before resting. Then he severed the cords which bound his hands by rubbing them against a rock until they were cut through. In the hills he found a native Christian, who not only supplied him with food, water and a little money, but took him to a hiding-place for the night. On the following morning Mr. Ogren started off again, with the intention of making his way back to Yung-ning, but before he had gone far he caught sight of Boxers scouring the country. Finding a cave he hid in it throughout the day, resuming his journey at night. After many hardships he met some natives, who informed him that his wife was in prison at Ta-ning, and at once he set off for that city, and entered it unnoticed by the Boxers. It was only when he had almost reached the yamên that they heard of his presence and rushed after him. How he escaped their fury has already been told.

Two days after Mr. Ogren had rejoined his wife the authorities sent them with an escort out of the city on two donkeys, the men who accompanied them being instructed to take them from city to city until they arrived at the coast. But on the second day the officials of a city through which they would have to pass warned them that they would not be allowed to enter it, and therefore the much-tried missionaries were taken back to Ta-ning, and placed once more in the loathsome prison. Here Mrs. Ogren endured fresh trials. Her baby, weakened by exposure and semi-starvation, became seriously ill, and for a time it seemed as if he would not recover. When, however, the danger was passed Mrs. Ogren's second eye became terribly inflamed and caused her intense agony, and her husband becoming delirious with fever, had to be tied down to his bed. Nevertheless, she did not lose her faith, and the prisoners, aware of all she had endured, and was enduring, marvelled to see her praying to God. When, in the course of a few days, her husband began to gain strength they sang hymns, prayed, and read the Bible together.

A month later the Ogrens were told that in two days they were to be escorted to the coast, and the comforts which were at once provided for them made it clear that the authorities had received instructions to protect them and treat them well. New clothes were given them, and when they started on their journey, Mr. Ogren, being far too weak to ride, was carried with the baby in a sedan chair. Mrs. Ogren rode a horse. The officer and ten soldiers who comprised their escort treated them kindly, and their example was copied by the inhabitants of the villages through which they passed.

It was a welcome change, but it came too late. Nine days after leaving Ta-ning Mr. Ogren became very weak, and in spite of every attention died on the following morning, October 15, from the effects of the cruelty to which the Boxers had subjected him.

Can anyone imagine a more crushing sorrow for a woman than this which Mrs. Ogren had to bear? To lose her husband just when their long months of persecution were ended, and they were looking forward to happy days of peace, was indeed the hardest blow she had suffered. Her escort, touched to the heart by this sad ending to her troubles, did all that they could to comfort her.

It was not until February 16, that Mrs. Ogren and her two children—a girl baby, healthy in every way, had been born at P'ing-yang-fu on December 6,—arrived at Han-kow, where everyone strove to show kindness to the much-tried widow. Peter Alfred Ogren's name is inscribed on the roll of Christian martyrs, and Olivia Ogren is a name that will ever stand high in the list of Christian heroines.

[1] Last Letters and Further Records of Martyred Missionaries of the China Inland Mission. (Morgan & Scott.)



When, in the year 1900, the anti-foreign feeling in China culminated in the massacre of defenceless men and women, the three missionaries whose names head this chapter were working in the city of Ta-ning. The inhabitants of this little city among the hills had always treated the missionaries with kindness, and it was not until Boxer emissaries arrived and stirred up the people by spreading untruths concerning the reason of the foreigners' presence in China, that a change occurred in the behaviour of some of them.

The news of the Boxer rising was soon carried to the three ladies at Ta-ning; but it was not until July 12 that, at the earnest entreaty of the native pastor, Chang Chi-pen, they left the city to take shelter in one of the villages high up in the mountains. They started at 7.30 in the morning, and, travelling through the heat of the day, arrived at Muh-ien, where they were welcomed by the inhabitants, both native Christians and unconverted, with kindness. The knowledge that two lady missionaries had recently been murdered at Hsiao-i made the inhabitants of this hill-village anxious to show kindness to the three ladies who had come to seek shelter among them. They gave them food, which although not very palatable to Europeans was the best to be had, and provided them with lodging.

The following day was passed peacefully. Native friends came out from Ta-ning, bringing the comforting assurance that there were no signs of the Boxers coming in pursuit of the fugitives. They told the missionaries that eighteen warships belonging to various nations had arrived, but had gone aground near Fuh-Kien. The news of the arrival of these vessels naturally caused satisfaction to the three missionaries, and made them believe that the Boxer rising would soon be quelled.

Sunday, July 15, was a very happy day. Native Christians came in from the neighbouring villages, and the old pastor, Chang Chi-pen, had stolen out from Ta-ning. A service was held, and afterwards the missionaries were overwhelmed with invitations to take up their residence in various villages where they would be, they were assured, perfectly safe from the Boxers. 'It was really worth while being in such a position, to see how loyal the Christians were to us,' May Nathan wrote in her diary.[1] 'We are certainly in a better position than most other foreigners, being amongst such simple, loyal, God-fearing men.'

The following morning, soon after breakfast and prayers, a boy arrived from Ta-ning with the unpleasant news that 500 soldiers, who were in sympathy with the Boxers, had entered the city. The inhabitants at once urged the ladies to flee to a more distant village, and, taking up their Bibles, the missionaries started off quickly, with a native Christian for their guide. Rain fell heavily, and they arrived at their destination, Tong-men, wet to the skin. Food was given them, and in the afternoon they lay down and slept in a shed full of straw. The natives were determined, however, that they should have a better place in which to pass the night, and prepared a cave for them, spreading clean mats on the brick beds. But, late in the afternoon, a Christian, whom the missionaries had sent to Ta-ning to obtain information concerning the movements of the soldiers, returned with the pleasing news that there were none in the city, nor had any been there. Thankful that the alarm had been a false one, the three missionaries, one feeling somewhat unwell, trudged back to the Muh-ien, and refreshed themselves with tea. Throughout the day, or rather from breakfast until their return after dark, they had drunk nothing, tea, strange to say, being an unknown luxury in the place where they had sought temporary shelter.

On the following day soldiers did enter Ta-ning, but as an official despatch arrived almost at the same time instructing the yamên to protect foreigners, the three ladies decided not to remove from Muh-ien. This proclamation, a copy of which was brought to the missionaries, stated that all foreigners who remained quietly at their stations would be unmolested, and was a great improvement on the previous one, which ordered that foreigners were to be exterminated. The arrival of the allied forces had of course made the Chinese deem it advisable to withdraw the former proclamation.

Nothing occurred during the next two days to make the missionaries think that they were in immediate danger of being massacred. They spent the time in reading, sewing and talking to the sympathetic people who called on them. But on the third day they received the sad information that seven of their missionary friends had been murdered on July 16.

'Oh, it is sad, sad,' May Nathan wrote in her diary, 'such valuable lives; and who will be the next? Perhaps we shall, for why should we be spared when, for my own part, I know that the lives of those who have gone were so much more valuable than mine? I don't want to die, and such a death; but if it comes, well, it will be for a little, and after, no more sorrow—no pain. Day by day we are without knowledge of what news may come! Darling mother, don't be anxious whatever news you may hear of me. It will be useless in the eyes of the world to come out here for a year, to be just getting on with the language and then to be cut off. Many will say, 'Why did she go? Wasted life!' Darling, No. Trust; God does His very best, and never makes mistakes. There are promises in the Word that the Lord will save His servants, and deliver them from the hands of evil men. Dear, it may be the deliverances will come through death, and His hands will receive, not the corruptible, but the incorruptible, glorified spirit.'

Early the following morning, just as they were about to begin breakfast, a friendly Chinaman arrived, with the warning, that a party of Boxers was coming up the mountains and searching everywhere on the way for them. Instant departure was imperative, so, snatching up their Bibles and a few biscuits, they hurried off higher up the mountains, halting only for a few minutes among some native Christians, to deliver three short prayers. Their Christian guide hurried them onward when the last prayer was finished, and soon they were climbing up steep, unfrequented sheep-paths. A ruined temple on the top of a mountain was to be their hiding-place, and when they reached it, tired out, they lay down on the ground with stones for their pillows.

How long they remained hiding in this mountain-top temple is unknown. Nor, as the last entry in May Nathan's letter is dated July 23, do we know the sufferings which they underwent during the next three weeks. All that is certain is that, after wandering about the mountains, they were captured by the Boxers on August 12, and dragged to a temple near Lu-kia-yao, where, hungry and thirsty, they were compelled to spend the night surrounded by a mob of fiends. At day-break they were brought out and killed.

[1] Last Letters and Further Records of Martyred Missionaries of the China Inland Mission. Edited by Marshall Broomhall. (Morgan and Scott.)


Of all the stories that have been written for young people none have been more popular than those describing adventures among the Red Indians of North America. Fenimore Cooper's books have delighted many generations of readers; but on much of the ground where that author's famous characters lived, hunted, fought and died, big towns have sprung up, and the Indians, driven to live in reservations and to become, practically, pensioners of the Government, have been shorn of nearly all their greatness.

When the white man gained the ascendency in North America there came a better opportunity for missionary work, and notable among those who went to labour among the Indians was Mary Riggs, who, with her husband, worked for thirty-two years among the Sioux—the Red Indians of Dakota. She was born on November 10, 1813, at Hawley, Massachusetts, her father being General Thomas Longley, who had fought in the war of 1812. Evidently he was not a wealthy man, for Mary began her education at the common town school, where she had for her schoolfellows the children of some of the poorest inhabitants. Later, she attended better schools, and at the age of sixteen became a teacher in one at Williamstown, Massachusetts. Her salary was only one dollar a week, but she gave her father the whole of her first quarter's earnings, as a slight return for the money he had spent on her education. After a time she obtained a better appointment at a school at Bethlehem, and while there she met Stephen R. Riggs, a young man who was studying for the Presbyterian ministry. They became engaged, and a few months later Stephen Riggs told his future wife that he should like to become a missionary to the Red Indians, among whom work had recently been started. She expressed her willingness to accompany him, and, therefore, he at once offered himself to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, by whom he was accepted.

The young people were married on February 16, 1837, and about a fortnight later began their long journey to the Far West. Travelling was in those days, of course, very different from what it is now, and the young missionaries had to go by stage viâ New York, Philadelphia, and across the mountains to Pittsburg until they came to the Ohio. Snow, rain and mud made their journey by stage particularly unpleasant, but rest and comfort came on the steamer which bore them down the river.

On June 1, 1837, they arrived at Fort Snelling, near where the Minnesota joins the Mississippi. Here they remained until the beginning of September, living in a log-house, and learning the Dakota language with the help of a missionary who had been in the field for three years. From Fort Snelling they departed on September 5, 1837, for their destination Lac-qui-parle, travelling with two one-ox carts and a double wagon. On September 18 they arrived at the station to which they had been appointed, and received a hearty welcome from the two missionaries who had settled there some time before at the earnest request of a Lac-qui-parle trader. Lac-qui-parle was a small place, a mere collection of buffalo-skin tents, in which lived some 400 Red Indians. Mr. and Mrs. Riggs found a home in a log-house belonging to one of the other missionaries. Only one room could be spared them, and although it was but 10 feet wide and 18 feet long they made themselves comfortable. Mr. Riggs wrote as follows in his account of their work among the Sioux[1]: 'This room we made our home for five winters. There were some hardships about such close quarters, but, all in all, Mary and I never enjoyed five winters better than those spent in that upper room. There our first three children were born. There we worked in acquiring the language. There we received our Dakota visitors. There I wrote, and re-wrote, my ever-growing dictionary. And there, with what help I could obtain, I prepared for the printer the greater portion of the New Testament in the Dakota language. It was a consecrated room.'

When Mrs. Riggs and her husband took possession of their one-room home they had much difficulty in making it comfortable, as they had been unable to bring on their furniture and domestic utensils. One person, however, lent them a kettle, another provided them with a pan, and bit by bit they collected the most necessary articles.

In the East missionaries have never experienced a difficulty in obtaining servants, but in Dakota neither male nor female Sioux would enter the Riggs' service. Consequently Mrs. Riggs had to perform all the household duties. They bought a cow, but neither of them knew how to milk her. Both Mr. and Mrs. Rigg tried to perform the task, but not until the cow had experienced considerable discomfort did Mrs. Riggs become acquainted with the art. Washing clothes was a performance which filled the Sioux women with wonder, for they were in the habit of wearing their garments unwashed until they became too old to be worn any longer. Very soon they adopted the white woman's custom, and, becoming fond of standing over the washing-tub, they took to washing Mrs. Riggs' clothes as well as their own. For doing so they were, of course, paid.

The missionaries who had preceded the Riggs at Lac-qui-parle had not been very successful, if success be judged by the number of converts made. The native Church consisted of seven people, but before the Riggs had been there many months nine were added. Most of these were women, and it was they, and not the men, who assisted in the building of the first church at Lac-qui-parle.

When Mr. and Mrs. Riggs had worked for some time with success at Lac-qui-parle they removed to a new station—Traverse des Sioux. But four years later the news reached them that since their departure from Lac-qui-parle there had been a sad falling back into heathenism among the converts, and they hurried back to their old station. Backsliders were reclaimed, and the missionary work carried on with increased energy.

But the missionaries had much to contend with. The Indians were hard pressed for food, and occasionally shot the mission cattle. Grog shops had been opened in the neighbourhood, and many of the Sioux bought drink when they should have purchased provisions. Excited by the fire-water, the Indians were frequently riotous, and, although they never assaulted the missionaries, it was clear that they might massacre them. On one occasion Mrs. Riggs had a very unpleasant experience. While her husband was away, twenty-six Sioux warriors paraded in front of mission house and fired their guns in the air. Mrs. Riggs was naturally somewhat frightened, until she found that they were not bent on murder and scalping. They had been searching for some Chippewas, but, having failed to find them, they fired their guns for practice.

Mr. and Mrs. Riggs continued their work with but few interruptions until 1862, when the Sioux rising occurred. It began in this way. The Sioux had assembled at Yellow Medicine to receive their annual allowance from the Government official. While distributing the allowance the official announced that the Great Father (President Lincoln) was anxious to make them all very happy, and would therefore give them, very shortly, a bonus. The Indians, having recently suffered greatly from want of provisions, were delighted at the prospect of an additional grant, and waited in the vicinity of the agency for its arrival. When it arrived the Sioux found to their dismay that it was a paltry gift of $2.50 a man. Their disgust and anger were increased by the knowledge that during the time they had been waiting for this insignificant present they could have earned from $50 to $100 by hunting. Unintentionally, a Government servant added fuel to the fire, and the Sioux, maddened, began their terrible massacre of the scattered settlers.

The news of the rising was carried quickly to the Riggs by friendly Indians, who urged them to hurry away as quickly as possible to a place of safety. But the missionaries were not disposed to consider the rising serious. The seizure of their horses and cows, and various other unfriendly actions performed by the people among whom they had lived for many years, soon, however, convinced them that it would be wise to depart. So gathering together a few belongings the little band of missionaries, some carrying children, crept away by night to an island in the Minnesota River. But on the following day the friendly Indians sent word to them that they were not safe on the island, and urged further flight.

Acting on this advice, the Christians waded the river and started on a tramp to the Hawk River, and on the way met other settlers, hurrying like themselves, to escape from the infuriated Sioux. Joining forces they proceeded on their journey, the women and children riding in two open carts, and soon met a wounded man, whom they tenderly lifted into one of the wagons. He was the sole survivor of a band of settlers which had been attacked by the Sioux.

Keeping a sharp look-out for the Indians, the fugitives continued their journey across the prairie. On the second night the rain fell heavily, and as the women and children could obtain no shelter in the open carts they crept under them. Wet and shivering, the fugitives found, when daylight came, that they had scarcely any food. Wood was collected, a fire built, and one of the animals killed and roasted.

A day later they were espied by an Indian, who fortunately proved to be friendly. He advised the fugitives to hurry to Fort Ridgely, and assured them that all the whites, with the exception of themselves, who had not taken shelter in the fort had been killed. Acting on his advice, they proceeded in the direction of the fort, but travelled very cautiously, for there were signs that Indians were in the neighbourhood.

One of the fugitives crept into the fort, but the news he brought back to his comrades in distress was not cheering; the fort was already overcrowded with women and children, and there was a very small force of soldiers to defend it. For five days they had been continually attacked by the enemy, and unless reinforcements arrived quickly the fort would probably be captured.

The Riggs and their fellow fugitives decided, therefore, to hurry on to some other place, fully aware of the danger they were running in travelling through a neighbourhood which abounded with the scalp-seeking Indians. One of Mary Riggs' daughters wrote of this period in their flight: 'Every voice was hushed, except to give necessary orders; every eye swept the hills and valleys around; every ear was intensely strained for the faintest sound, expecting momentarily to hear the unearthly war-whoop, and see dusky forms with gleaming tomahawks uplifted.'



Hour after hour the tired and footsore fugitives trudged on without being discovered. Then four of their number, believing the danger was passed, bade adieu to the remainder of the party and proceeded in a different direction; but before they had gone far they were killed by the Indians. The Riggs and their party heard the fatal shots, but the tragedy was hidden from their sight by the bush. Fortunately, the proximity of the larger party of fugitives was not discovered by the Sioux; and at last, after a long, weary journey, the Riggs and their friends arrived at the town of Henderson, where their appearance occasioned considerable surprise, as their names had been included in the list of massacred.

Over a thousand settlers were killed during the rising, and there were many people who escaped death, but never recovered completely from the horrors of that terrible time. Mary Riggs returned with her husband to the work among the Sioux; but her health grew slowly worse, and when, in March, 1869, an ordinary cold developed into pneumonia she had not the strength to battle against it. She died on March 22, 1869, in Beloit, Wisconsin, worn out with her thirty-two years' work in the mission-field.

[1] Mary and I; Forty Years with the Sioux. By Stephen R. Riggs. Philadelphia, 1887.




Florence Nightingales's noble work among the sick and wounded in the Crimean War is known to everyone; but very few people are aware that there was another woman, working apart from Miss Nightingale, who performed deeds of bravery and humanity in the same campaign which entitle her to a high place in any list of brave and good women. Sir William Russell, the famous war correspondent of the Times, wrote, in 1858, of Mary Seacole: 'I have witnessed her devotion and her courage; I have already borne testimony to her services to all who needed them. She is the first who has redeemed the name of 'sutler' from the suspicion of worthlessness, mercenary business and plunder; and I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some other illustrious dead.' England seems to have forgotten her, but it is hoped that this account of her life may help to remove the reproach.

Mary Seacole was born at Kingston, Jamaica, her father being a Scotchman and her mother a native. The latter kept a boarding-house which was patronised chiefly by naval and military officers stationed at Kingston, but she was also widely known in the West Indies as a "doctoress." Officers, their wives and children were her chief patients, and she is reputed to have healed many troublesome complaints with medicines made from the plants which she herself gathered. Mary inherited her mother's tastes, and when quite a child decided to become a "doctoress." She bandaged her dolls in the way she had seen her mother bandage patients, and on growing older she doctored any stray dogs and cats who could be prevailed upon to swallow the medicine she had made. After a time she became anxious to try her skill upon human beings, but as no one would consent to take her medicine, she drank it herself, happily without any serious effects.

When Mary Seacole (as she afterwards became) was about twelve years of age her mother began to allow her to assist in waiting upon the invalid officers staying at the boarding-house, and whilst thus engaged she was able to obtain a knowledge of nursing which was of the greatest value in after years. While still a girl she paid a visit to England, and remained there, with some relatives, for some months. She visited England again a few years later, and saw that there was a good opening in London for West Indian commodities. Therefore, on her return, she exported guava jelly, pickles and various preserves, and being anxious to add to the variety of her wares, she visited the Bahamas, Hayti and Cuba, to inspect the productions of those places.

On returning from her travels among the islands she settled down again to nurse her mother's invalid boarders, and before long married one of them, a Mr. Seacole. Her married life was, however, short for Mr. Seacole died a few months after the wedding. A little later her mother passed away, and Mary Seacole was left without relatives in Jamaica. She continued to manage the boarding-house; but her generosity to the poor was so unlimited that when she had a bad season she was without money to support herself. However, she struggled on until her boarding-house was once more filled with well-paying invalids. But in 1843 she had a very serious loss; her house was burnt in a fire which destroyed a large portion of Kingston. The boarding-house was, however, rebuilt, and prosperity returned. Many a white man asked her to become his wife, but she refused every offer, and devoted all her spare time to the task of adding to her store of medical knowledge. Several naval and military surgeons, surprised to find that her knowledge of medical matters was, for a woman, great, assisted her with her studies.

In 1850 cholera broke out in Jamaica, and raged for a greater portion of the year, and a doctor who was living at Mary Seacole's house gave her many valuable hints concerning the treatment of cholera cases. Before long the knowledge thus obtained proved to be the means of saving many lives.

Shortly after the cholera had ceased to rage in Jamaica Mary Seacole proceeded on a visit to her brother, who owned a large, prosperous store at Cruces in California. On arriving there, she found the place crowded with a mixed mob of gold-diggers and speculators, some proceeding to the gold-fields, others returning. The men returning were drinking, gambling and "treating" those who were bound for the gold-fields. It was a degrading sight, and Mary Seacole wished that she had not left Jamaica. There was nowhere for her to sleep, wash or change her travel-stained clothes, for every room in her brother's house was engaged by the homeward-bound gold-diggers. Until they departed she had to manage to exist without a bed.

These parties of miners arrived at Cruces weekly, and the scenes of dissipation were the same on each occasion.

Quarrels which ended in the death of one of the combatants were frequent and little noticed, but the very sudden death of a Spaniard who resided at Cruces caused great excitement. He had dined with Mary Seacole's brother, and on returning home was taken ill and suddenly died. Suspicion fell upon Mary Seacole's brother, and it was said openly that he had poisoned the man. Mary Seacole, indignant at the accusation brought against her brother, went to see the body, and knew at once that the man had died from cholera. No one believed her, but the following morning a friend of the dead man was taken ill with the same disorder, and the people who had scoffed at her became terror-stricken.

There was no doctor at Cruces, and Mary Seacole set herself to battle single-handed with the plague. Fortunately, she never travelled without her medicine-chest, and taking from it the remedies which had been used in Jamaica with great success she hurried to the sick man's bedside, and by her promptitude was able, under God, to save his life. Two more men were stricken down and successfully treated, and Mary Seacole was beginning to hope that the plague would not spread, when a score of cases broke out in one day. The people were now helpless from terror, and Mary Seacole was the only person who did not lose her presence of mind. Day and night she was attending patients, and for days she never had more than a hour's rest at a time. Whenever a person was stricken, the demand was for 'the yellow woman from Jamaica,' and it was never made in vain.

When the cholera had been raging for some days, Mary Seacole despatched a messenger to bring a medical man to the place; but the Spaniard who arrived in response to the summons was horror-stricken at the terrible scenes, and incapable of rendering any assistance. Mary Seacole was compelled, therefore, to continue her noble work unaided.

One evening she had just settled down to a brief rest when a mule-owner came and implored her to come at once to his kraal, as several of his men had been attacked with cholera. Now Mary Seacole had been visiting patients throughout the day and the previous night, but without the slightest hesitation she went out into the rain and made her way to the sick muleteers, whom she found in a veritable plague-spot. Men and mules were all in one room, and the stench was so great that a feeling of sickness came over her as she stood at the door. But with an effort she overcame the feeling, and entering flung open the windows, doors and shutters. Then, as the much-needed fresh air poured in, she looked around.

Two men she saw at once were dying, but there were others whom she thought there was a possibility of saving, and these she attended to at once. For many hours she remained in this strangely crowded room, and when she did quit it she only went away for an hour's sleep. On her return to the plague-spot she found fresh patients awaiting her, one, a little baby, who in spite of her efforts died. Everything was against Mary Seacole in this pestilential stable, but nevertheless she was the means of saving some lives.

At length, when the plague was dying out, the brave woman who had so nobly fought the disease was herself stricken with it, but happily for the British army she recovered.

Throughout the plague Mary Seacole had treated rich and poor alike. The centless man and the down-trodden muleteer received as much attention from her as the wealthy diggers returning home with their bags of gold dust. The latter paid her liberally for having tended them, but the majority of her patients had nothing but thanks to give her. Possibly she appreciated the latter most, for some of her rich patients seemed to think that having rewarded her they had wiped out the debt of gratitude.

On June 4 some of her wealthy patients gave a dinner party, and invited Mary Seacole to be present. One speaker proposed her health, and after referring to her having saved their lives continued in the following strain: 'Well, gentlemen, I expect there are only two things we are vexed for. The first is that she ain't one of us—a citizen of the great United States; and the other thing is, gentlemen, that Providence made her a yellow woman. I calculate, gentlemen, that you're all as vexed as I am that she's not wholly white, but I do reckon on your rejoicing with me that she's so many shades removed from being entirely black; and I guess if we could bleach her by any means we would, and thus make her as acceptable in any company as she deserves to be. Gentlemen, I give you Aunty Seacole.'

Mary Seacole's reply to this ill-mannered speech was as follows: 'Gentlemen, I return you my best thanks for your kindness in drinking my health. As for what I have done in Cruces, Providence evidently made me to be useful, and I can't help it. But I must say that I don't appreciate your friend's kind wishes with respect to my complexion. If it had been as dark as any nigger's, I should have been just as happy and as useful, and as much respected by those whose respect I value; and as to the offer of bleaching me, I should, even if it were practicable, decline it without any thanks. As to the society which the process might gain me admission into, all I can say is, that, judging from the specimens I have met here and elsewhere, I don't think that I shall lose much by being excluded from it. So, gentlemen, I drink to you, and the general reformation of American manners.'

In 1853 Mary Seacole returned to Jamaica, and before she had been there many weeks yellow fever broke out. It was the worst outbreak that had occurred for many years, and soon Mary Seacole's boarding-house was full of patients, chiefly officers, their wives and children. In nursing her boarders, and procuring proper food for them, Mary Seacole had more work than most women would care to undertake; but when the military authorities asked her to organise a start of nurses to attend to the men in Up-Park Camp, Kingston, she set to work on this additional task, and, carrying it out with her customary thoroughness, rendered a great service to the army.

After the yellow fever had subsided Mary Seacole sold her boarding-house, and opened a store in New Granada, where she speedily obtained popularity because of her medical skill. On war being declared against Russia, she determined to go to the Crimea to nurse the sick and wounded, and started for London as quickly as possible, arriving there soon after the news of the battle of Alma had been received. She had anticipated no difficulty in getting sent to the front, as there were many officers who could testify to her nursing abilities; but she found on arriving in London that every regiment to whom she was known had been sent to the Crimea. However, as the news of the sufferings of our men at the front had reached London, and the necessity of nurses being sent out was recognised, she imagined that her services would be promptly accepted.

Soon she found, greatly to her sorrow, that the colour of her skin was considered, in official circles, a barrier to her employment. She applied in turn at the War Office, the Quartermaster General's Department, the Medical Department, and the Crimea Fund, but at each place some polite excuse was made for declining her services. It was indeed a foolish act on the part of the officials. Nurses were sorely needed, and here was Mary Seacole, who had far greater experience of nursing British soldiers than any woman living, refused employment. She declared in her little book of adventures,[1] published soon after the war ended, that at her last rebuff she cried as she walked along the street.

But Mary Seacole's determination to proceed to the Crimea was not shaken by her inability to prevail upon the authorities to accept her services, and after consideration she decided to go to the front at her own expense. She had sufficient money to pay her passage to Balaclava, and to support her for some months after her arrival, but not enough to enable her also to supply herself with the medical outfit necessary for work at the seat of war. The only way in which she could hope to be in a position to help the sick and wounded was by earning money in the Crimea, and therefore she decided to start an hotel at Balaclava for invalid officers. By the next mail she sent out to the officers who had known her at Jamaica a notice that she would shortly arrive at Balaclava, and establish an hotel with comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers.

While Mary Seacole was making preparations for her departure she met a shipper named Day, who, hearing of her plans, offered to enter into partnership with her in the proposed hotel. This offer she accepted, as with a partner she would be able to devote more time to the wounded.

At Malta Mary Seacole found herself once more among people who knew and appreciated her. Some medical officers who had been stationed at Kingston were among those who welcomed her, and believing that Florence Nightingale would be glad of her help, gave her a letter of introduction to that noble Englishwoman. Having made arrangements for her work in the Crimea, Mary Seacole had now no desire to become attached to any nursing staff, but she accepted the letter of introduction, as she was anxious to make the acquaintance of Florence Nightingale, who was then at the barracks at Scutari, a suburb of Constantinople, which were being used as a hospital for British troops.

When Mary Seacole arrived at Scutari, Florence Nightingale was too busy to grant her an interview immediately, so she spent the period of waiting in inspecting the wards. As she passed along, many of the invalid soldiers recognised her and called to her. Some of them she had nursed in Jamaica, and the sight of her kindly brown face filled them with recollections of happy days in the West Indies. To every man who recognised her she said a few cheering words, and in several cases rearranged bandages which had slipped. While thus engaged, an officer entered the ward, and was about to reprimand her, when he saw, much to his surprise, that she was as skilful as any doctor or nurse in the hospital. When she had finished her self-imposed task, he thanked her for her thoughtful kindness.

At last Mary Seacole saw Florence Nightingale, whom she describes in these words: 'A slight figure, in the nurse's dress, with a pale, gentle, and withal firm face, resting lightly on the palm of one white hand, while the other supports the elbow—a position which gives to her countenance a keen, enquiring expression which is very marked. Standing thus in repose, and yet keenly observant, was Florence Nightingale—that Englishwoman whose name shall never die, but sound like music on the lips of British men until the hour of doom.'

Naturally Florence Nightingale was interested in the woman who came to her warmly recommended by British medical officers, and made many enquiries concerning her intentions. On the following morning Mary Seacole resumed her journey, but these two good women met several times before the war was ended.

On arriving at Balaclava Mary Seacole received hearty welcome from the troops. Men who had been stationed in Jamaica told their comrades of her bravery and kindness, and everyone hailed her as a great friend. Many officers, including a general and that gallant Christian, Captain Hedley Vicars, met her as she landed, and expressed their thanks to her for coming to the Crimea.

Mary Seacole was soon at work among the wounded, assisting the doctors to transfer them from the ambulances to the transports. While engaged in this work, on the day after her arrival, she noticed a wounded man who was evidently in great pain, and saw at once that his bandages were stiff, and hurting him. Having rearranged them she gave the poor fellow some tea, and as she placed it to his lips his hand touched hers. 'Ha!' he exclaimed, too weak even to open his eyes, 'this is surely a woman's hand. God bless you, woman, whoever you are! God bless you!'

A few days later, as she was busy at her usual work of attending to the sick and wounded, the Admiral of the Port placed his hand on her shoulder, and said earnestly, 'I am glad to see you here among these poor fellows.' A day or two before—when she had made some enquiries concerning the landing of her stores—this admiral had declared brusquely that they did not want a parcel of women in the place. When at last Mary Seacole's stores were put ashore, she started business in a rough little hut, made of tarpaulin, on which was displayed the name of the firm—Seacole and Day. The soldiers, however, considered that as Mary Seacole's skin was dark, a better name for the firm was Day and Martin, and as such it was generally known.

Towards the end of the summer, Seacole and Day's British Hotel was opened at Spring Hill. It had cost £800 to build, and was an excellent place for sick officers to rest. Adjoining the hotel, and belonging to the same proprietors, was a store at which could be purchased creature comforts and useful articles. At first the store was opened every day of the week. Mary Seacole had a strong dislike to opening it on Sunday, but the requirements of the soldiers made it almost a necessity. After a time, when the most pressing needs of the men had been met, she gave notice that the store would be closed on Sundays, and this rule she refused to alter, in spite of being constantly urged to do so.

Many officers, instead of going into hospital when ill, became boarders at Mary Seacole's, and among these was a naval lieutenant who was a cousin of Queen Victoria. These officers she doctored and nursed with her customary skill, and for every vacancy in her hotel there were half-a-dozen applicants.

One day it became known in camp, that among the things which Mary Seacole had received from a recently arrived ship was a young pig, which she intended to fatten and kill. Immediately she was overwhelmed with orders for a leg of pork, and if the pig had possessed a hundred legs she could have sold every one of them. An officer to whom she did eventually promise a leg of pork was so anxious that there should be no mistake about the matter, that he made the following memorandum of the transaction:—'That Mrs. Seacole did this day, in the presence of Major A— and Lieutenant W—, promise Captain H—, a leg of the pig.'

Every portion of the pig was sold long before the animal was fit to be killed, and then the purchasers began to fear that it would be stolen. Everybody took an interest in tins pig, and it was considered the correct thing for every soldier who passed the sty to assure himself that the animal was still there. One day two officers, coming off duty, galloped up to the hotel and shouted excitedly, 'Mrs. Seacole! Quick, quick, the pig's gone!' It was not a false alarm; the pig had been stolen. As, however, the nest in the sty was warm, it was evident that the pig had only recently been taken, and a party of officers started in pursuit of the thieves, shouting laughingly as they rode off, 'Stole away! Hark away!' The thieves, two Greeks, were quickly overtaken, and the precious pig was brought back in triumph to Mary Seacole.

It must not be thought that Mary Seacole devoted herself entirely to the officers, for her best work was done among the privates on the battlefield. Sir William Russell bore testimony to her courage and humanity. 'I have seen her,' he wrote, 'go down under fire, with her little store of creature comforts for our wounded men; and a more tender or skilful hand about a wound or broken limb could not be found among our best surgeons. I saw her at the assault on the Redan, at the Tchernaya, at the fall of Sebastopol, laden, not with plunder, good old soul! but with wine, bandages, and food for the wounded or the prisoners.'

The Inspector-General of Hospitals praised her work, and the Adjutant-General of the British Army wrote on July 1, 1856:—'Mrs. Seacole was with the British Army in the Crimea from February, 1855, to this time. This excellent woman has frequently exerted herself in the most praiseworthy manner in attending wounded men, even in positions of great danger, and in assisting sick soldiers by all means in her power.'

From officers who could afford to pay for her medicine or wine she accepted payment, but a man's need, and not his ability to pay, was her first thought. On the battle-field she gave strengthening food to wounded privates which she could easily have sold, at a large profit, to the officers.

Regardless of the danger she was running—she had many narrow escapes from shot and shell—she bandaged the wounded, administered restoratives to the unconscious, and prayed with the dying. Scores of dying men gave her messages for their loved ones at home, and these she despatched as speedily as possible. She saw many an old friend laid to his last rest, and among these was Hedley Vicars, with whom she had been associated in much good work in Jamaica.

Mary Seacole was known to have a very poor opinion of our French ally, but a wounded Frenchman received as much attention from her as an Englishman. The enemy, too, had good cause to bless her, for many a wounded Russian would have died on the battle-field but for her skilful and prompt aid. One Russian officer, whose wounds she bandaged and whom she helped to lift into the ambulance, was greatly distressed at being unable to express his thanks in a language which she understood. Taking a valuable ring from his finger, he placed it in her hand, kissing her hand as he did so, and smiled his thanks.

Mary Seacole continued her noble work until the war ended. But her generosity to the sick and wounded had been a great strain upon her finances, as the whole of her share of the profits in the firm of Seacole and Day, and much of her capital, had been spent on her charitable work. And, to make matters worse, when the British troops had departed from the Crimea, the firm had to dispose of its stock at one-tenth of the cost price. Proceeding to England, Seacole and Day started business at Aldershot, but after a few months the partnership was dissolved, and Mary Seacole found herself almost penniless. But as soon as her unfortunate position became known, friends hastened to assist her. Punch recorded some of her good deeds in verse, and made a humorous appeal on her behalf.

The red-coats did, at Punch's invitation, 'lend a willing hand;' for, although all ranks were sorry to hear of Mary Seacole's misfortune, they were glad to have an opportunity to prove to her that they had not forgotten her noble work in the Crimea. Subscriptions to the fund that was started for her benefit poured in, and a sufficient sum was received to enable her to spend the regaining years of her life in comfort.

[1] The Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole. Edited by W. J. S.


Many years ago, when His Majesty King Edward VII. was in Canada, he paid a visit to Mrs. Laura Secord, a very old and revered Canadian lady. The news of the visit of the Prince of Wales (for such, of course, His Majesty then was), and the present which he afterwards bestowed upon her, was heard with pleasure throughout Canada, for Laura Secord is a heroine of whom the Canadians are justly very proud.

The brave deed for which she is famed is here told:

On June 18, 1812, the United States of America declared war against Great Britain. The conquest of Canada was the object President Madison had in view, and he was confident that he would achieve it with little difficulty. Truly he had good reasons for his confidence. In the whole of Canada there were less than 4500 regular troops, and it was known that Napoleon's activity in Europe would prevent the British Government from sending out reinforcements.

Naturally, the news that America had declared war filled the Canadians with dismay; but this feeling was quickly succeeded by a determination to repel the invaders, or die in the attempt. The call to arms was sounded throughout the country, and an army composed of farmers, fur-traders, clerks, artisans, French Canadians, Red Indians, and negro slaves was soon formed.

Among the white men who volunteered was James Secord, who had married Laura Ingersoll, the daughter of a sturdy loyalist who quitted the United States, after the War of Independence, to live under the British flag in Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Secord were living at Queenston, on the banks of the Niagara River, when the war broke out, and it was at Queenston that a fierce battle was fought, four months later.

About two o'clock in the morning of October 13 the British discovered that the Americans had crossed the river under cover of darkness, and that some were already scaling the cliffs at various points. A fierce fire was opened upon the invaders on the beach, who concealed themselves behind the rocks and fired whenever they saw an opportunity. The American losses were great, and it appeared as if they would either have to surrender or be annihilated, when suddenly a volley was poured into the rear of the British.

Unseen by the defenders, a body of Americans had scaled the cliffs, and taken up a strong position above the British, who were now between two fires. The British general—Brock—was mortally wounded, and for a few moments his men stood aghast. Then the cry, 'Avenge Brock!' was raised, and with a cheer the British force advanced to drive out the invaders.

A terrible hand-to-hand fight ensued, and slowly but surely the Americans were driven to the edge of the cliff. Several hundred surrendered, and many more might have been taken prisoners but for the fact that the Indians had got beyond control, and refused to give quarters to their hated foe. Seizing men who were willing to surrender, they hurled them from the cliff into the water below. Scores of Americans, fearing the vengeance of the Indians, jumped from the cliff and were drowned, and many others fought stubbornly until they reached the brink and fell backwards. A terribly sanguinary fight had resulted in a victory for the British; but it had been dearly bought. The British general was dead, and the battle-field was strewn with the bodies of brave volunteers who had died in defence of their homes and liberty.

Before the last of the invaders had surrendered or been killed, Laura Secord was on the battlefield searching for her husband. She found Captain Secord's men, but he was not with them, and not one of them knew where he was. In the hand-to-hand fight they had lost sight of their captain, but they pointed out to the distressed lady the spot where they had fought.

Hither Laura Secord hurried, and where the dead and dying lay thick she found her husband terribly wounded. Falling on her knees beside him, she called him by name, but he gave no sign that he heard her. Believing him to be dead, she cried bitterly, and taking him up in her arms carried him to their house. Then as she laid him down she found to her great joy that he still breathed.

By her tender nursing she saved his life, although his recovery was very slow. Winter and spring passed, and summer came, and Captain Secord was still an invalid and unable to walk. It was a great trial to him to be kept to the house, fur another American force had landed at Queenston, and occupied the town and neighbourhood. It had been impossible to remove Captain Secord when the other Canadians retired, and thus he and his wife were left in the midst of the Americans. But, as it turned out, it was a happy thing for the British that he was too ill to be removed.

One day, towards the end of June, some American officers entered the Secords' house, and commanded Laura to give them food. She did so, and while waiting on them listened to all they said. Of course she did not let them see that she was taking an interest in their conversation, and succeeded in making them believe that she was a very simple and unintelligent person. Imagining that she would not understand what they were saying, they began to discuss their general's plans, and unwittingly revealed to her the fact that a surprise attack was to be made on the British force. When the officers, having eaten a hearty meal, departed, Laura Secord repeated to her husband all that they had said.

Captain Secord was at a loss what to do. The British would have to be warned of the attack, but who could he get to pass the American pickets and carry a message through twenty miles of bush? Never before had he felt so keenly his helpless condition.

But his despair was short-lived, for his wife declared that she would carry the news to the British general. Quickly she told him her plans, and although it seemed to him that there was little prospect of her being able to carry them out, he did not attempt to dissuade her from the undertaking.

At daybreak the following morning Laura Secord, disguised as a farm-maid, quitted the house bare-footed and bare-legged, and walked straight to the cow to milk her. But she had scarcely begun her task when the cow kicked over the milking pail and ran forward towards the bush. The American soldiers laughed heartily at the mishap, but ignoring them Laura Secord picked up her stool and pail and ran after the cow. Her second attempt to milk her ended in the same way—the cow kicked over the pail and frisked a few yards nearer to the bush. To the delight of the soldiers this performance was repeated several times, and chasing the cow Laura Secord passed the pickets and entered the bush. The Americans saw her make another and equally unsuccessful attempt at milking. Soon cow and milk-maid were lost to sight. Again Laura Secord approached the cow and began to milk her, and this time the animal stood quietly.

The pinch which Laura Secord had given the cow on the previous occasions was not repeated, and the milking could soon have been finished, had the brave woman time to spare. Sitting on her stool, she peered in the direction whence she came and listened. Convinced that the soldiers had not had their suspicions aroused, she sprang up and leaving cow, pail and stool, started on her long journey.

Hour after hour she pressed forward, fearful that at any moment she might come face to face with the enemy's scouts. Nor was this the only danger she had to fear. The bush was infested with venomous snakes, and on several occasions she found one lying in her path. Sometimes she succeeded in frightening away the reptile, but frequently she was compelled to make a detour to avoid it. Her feet and legs were torn and bleeding, but still she plodded on, across hill and dale, through swamp and stream.

When night came she was still wearily trudging along, but uncertain whether she was proceeding in the right direction. Again and again she fell to the ground, and would have lain there, but for the knowledge that the lives of hundreds of her countrymen would be lost if she did not reach the British lines quickly. This thought spurred her on.

Exhausted, bleeding and hungry, she continued her journey, praying to God to give her strength to reach her destination.

Hours passed, and at length she became so exhausted that her hope of reaching the British grew faint. She felt that if she fell again she would not have the strength to rise. Then suddenly the air was filled with the war-whoop of the Red Indians, and a score of the dreaded savages sprang from their hiding-places and surrounded her.

Indians were fighting for the Americans as well as for the British, and the atrocities which they perpetrated made the war of 1812 one of the most bitter, most unchivalrous, that had been waged between civilized nations for many years. Believing her captors to be allies of the Americans, Laura Secord felt that her last hour had come, but imagine her joy when, a few moments later she discovered that they were scouts of the British force.

Quickly she was carried to the British lines, and at her own request was taken at once to the officer in command, whom she told of the impending attack. After praising Laura Secord for her bravery, and ordering that her wants should be attended to immediately, the officer proceeded to make use of the information she had brought him; and so well did he lay his plans, and so quickly were they carried out, that the Americans, instead of surprising the British, were themselves surprised, and every man in the force captured.


During the Great Rebellion many brave deeds were performed by women. Royalists and Parliamentarians each had their heroines, and we can honour them all, irrespective of party, for their devotion to the cause which they had espoused, and rejoice in the fact that they were British women.

Lady Bankes was a woman whom Roundheads as well as Cavaliers admitted to be a noble specimen of an English lady. She was the wife of the Right Honourable Sir John Bankes, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and a member of His Majesty's Privy Council.

When it began to appear that the differences between King Charles and his Parliament would be settled by arms, Lady Bankes retired with her children to Corfe Castle, in Dorsetshire. Sir John was on circuit at the time, but it was soon discovered that he had supplied the king with money to carry on war against his Parliament, and for this reason he became a marked man. He was not, however, a Royalist who hoped to keep his appointment by concealing his opinions from the Roundheads. At the Salisbury assizes he made his charge to the grand jury an opportunity for denouncing as guilty of high treason several peers who had taken up arms against the king. For this Parliament denounced him as a traitor, and declared his property forfeited.

No attempt was, however, made to seize Corfe Castle until May 1643, when all the other castles in the neighbourhood having been captured, it was the only one held by a Royalist. The Parliamentary army was well aware that Sir John Bankes was not at the castle, and that Lady Bankes had a very small force of servants to protect her, and consequently it was, for some time, not considered necessary to capture it. It was believed that Lady Bankes, shut up in her own castle, was powerless to harm Cromwell's army. But, eventually, it was decided that it was unwise not to interfere with a place that was notoriously a Royalist possession, and it was decided to capture it.

The day fixed for the event was the first of May. On that day it was the custom of the gentlemen of Corfe Castle to hunt a stag on the island, and any one who liked to do so might participate in the sport. The Roundheads decided to attend the hunt, seize the men from the castle, and then capture the castle itself. But the arrival of an exceptionally large number of people to attend the hunt aroused the suspicions of the few Royalists, who quickly withdrew to the castle and gave instructions that the gates were to be kept shut against anyone seeking admission.

Having failed to capture the Royalists in the hunting-field, the rebels came to the castle, and pretending that they were peaceable country folk, craved permission to be allowed to see the interior. The permission was refused, and some of the soldiers, angry at the failure of the plot, forgot the part they were playing, and threatened to return and gain admission by force. The officers, anxious not to arouse Lady Bankes's suspicions, loudly reprimanded their men for making foolish threats, and assured her ladyship that they had no intention of doing as their men had vowed.

Lady Bankes did not, however, believe the rebel officers, and, convinced that an attack would shortly be made on the castle, she prepared to defend it. She had no Royalist troops whatever in the castle, and her first step, therefore, was to call in a number of men whom she could rely upon. But no sooner were the men instructed in their duties than the rebels demanded that the four small guns which were mounted on the wall should be given up.

Lady Bankes refused to surrender them, and some days later forty seamen came and demanded them. Now at that hour Lady Bankes had only five men in the castle, but pretending that she had a large garrison, she refused the seamen's demand, and caused one of the guns to be fired over their heads. The report of this gun, which only carried a three-pound ball, so alarmed the seamen that they fled in dismay. They must have been very different from the men who sailed under Blake, and made the Commonwealth's navy world-famed.

No sooner had the timorous seamen fled than Lady Bankes summoned to the castle all her tenants and friendly neighbours, to assist her to hold the place until her husband should return. They came in quickly, many bringing arms, and vowed to fight for her and King Charles; but the Roundheads, discovering who had entered the castle, went to the homes of these men, and told their wives that unless their husbands returned home their houses would be burned to the ground. The frightened wives thereupon made their way to the castle and implored their husbands to return. Some of the men did as their wives desired, but others would not break the promise they had made to the mistress of Corfe Castle.

The enemy now decided to starve out Lady Bankes, and threatened to kill anyone caught conveying food to the castle. This measure was effective, for Lady Bankes, being without sufficient food and ammunition to withstand a siege, agreed to deliver up the guns, on the condition that she should remain in possession of the castle unmolested.

Lady Bankes had, however, little confidence in the honour of the attacking party, and felt assured that they would before long, in spite of their promise, endeavour to take possession of the castle. This was made evident by the behaviour of the soldiers, who, although they did not enter the castle, did not hesitate to boast that it belonged to them, and that they would take possession of it whenever it was required. But Lady Bankes was determined that it should not, if she could possibly prevent it, fall into the hands of the enemy. Therefore she gave instructions that the men appointed to watch the castle should be supplied liberally with food and drink, with the result that they neglected to do their duty, and allowed Lady Bankes to smuggle in sufficient provisions and ammunition to withstand a long siege. Moreover, Lady Bankes despatched a messenger to Prince Maurice, asking him to send a force to help her hold the castle against the enemy, and in reply to her appeal Captain Lawrence and some eighty men arrived upon the scene.

The Parliamentarians had now become aware of the fact that Lady Bankes was taking steps to render the castle capable of withstanding a siege, and they decided to occupy it at once.

On June 23, 1643, Sir Walter Earle arrived before the castle with a force of about 600 men, and called upon Lady Bankes to surrender, which she firmly but courteously declined to do. Her refusal greatly incensed the besiegers, who thereupon took an oath that 'if they found the defendants obstinate not to yield, they would maintain the siege to victory, and then deny quarter unto all, killing without mercy men, women and children.'

The Parliamentarians, possessing several pieces of ordnance, opened fire on the castle from all quarters, but did comparatively little damage, and their attempts to carry it by assault were equally unsuccessful.

When some days had passed, and the attacking forces were no nearer capturing the castle than when they first arrived, the Earl of Warwick sent to their assistance 150 sailors, a large supply of ammunition and numerous scaling-ladders. Possessing these ladders, the Roundheads anticipated that the castle would soon be in their hands. They divided their force into two parties, one assaulting the middle ward, which was defended by Captain Lawrence, and the other, the upper ward, where Lady Bankes, her daughters, women-servants and five soldiers were the sole defenders.

As the Parliamentarians fixed their ladders against the castle wall Lady Bankes and her brave assistants showered down upon them red-hot stones and flaming wood. The soldiers too, delighted at the bravery of the mistress of the castle, fought desperately, and not one of the enemy succeeded in gaining entrance to the castle.

Sir Walter Earle, seeing that he could not carry the castle by assault, withdrew with a loss of one hundred killed and wounded. He would in all probability have made another attack, but during the evening the news reached him that the king's forces were approaching, and overcome by fear he ordered a retreat, leaving behind muskets, ammunition and guns, all of which fell into the hands of Lady Bankes and her gallant garrison.

After this siege, which had lasted for six weeks, Lady Bankes was allowed to remain for two years in undisturbed possession of the castle; but she lived in the knowledge that at any time another attempt to capture it might be made, as it was the only place of any importance between Exeter and London that remained loyal to the royal cause. Threats were constantly reaching her from certain members of the Parliamentary party, and to add to her trials her husband, whom she had not seen for two years, died at Oxford on December 28, 1644.

In October, 1645, the Parliamentary army decided to make another and more determined effort to capture Corfe Castle, and a large force was sent to besiege it. Lady Bankes and her handful of men had now pitted against them some of the best regiments in the victorious Parliamentarian army, but they scorned to surrender to them.

It was in January of the following year that a young officer—Colonel Cromwell—determined to make an effort to rescue Lady Bankes, and riding with a specially picked troop from Oxford he passed through the enemy without its being discovered that he was a Royalist until he arrived at Wareham, the governor of which fired upon the troop. A fight ensued, but the daring troopers speedily captured the governor and other leading men, and rode off to Corfe Castle, only, however, to find that between them and the besieged lay a strong force of the enemy. They did not hesitate, but prepared instantly for the fight, and the besieged, cheering them loudly, made ready to sally forth and assist them.

Afraid of being caught between the two Royalist parties, the besiegers retired, and Colonel Cromwell rode up in triumph to the castle walls, and handed over to Lady Bankes, for safe custody, the Governor of Wareham and other prisoners whom he had taken.

Greatly to Colonel Cromwell's surprise, Lady Bankes declined to avail herself of the opportunity for escape which he had contrived, declaring that she would defend the castle as long as she possessed ammunition. Thinking that he could render the king greater service in the open than in a besieged castle, Colonel Cromwell rode off with his troop, but losing his way he and many of his men were captured by the enemy. Those who evaded capture made their way back to Corfe Castle, and assisted in its defence.

Days passed without the enemy improving his position in the slightest degree, and Lady Bankes would have kept the royal flag flying for many months more, had there not been traitors in the castle. Colonel Lawrence, who had gallantly assisted in the first defence of Corfe Castle, was persuaded by the Governor of Wareham to help him to escape, and to accompany him on his flight. The treachery of Lawrence was a heavy blow for Lady Bankes, but she did not despair, believing it impossible that any other of her friends would turn traitor. Unfortunately she was mistaken. An officer, who had hitherto been loyal and energetic as Colonel Lawrence, secretly sent word to the officer commanding the besieging force that if protection were given him he would deliver up the castle. The proposal was welcomed, and after much secret correspondence it was settled that fifty men of the Parliamentarian army should disguise themselves as Royalists, and be admitted into the castle by the traitor.

This plan succeeded. The men were admitted without arousing any suspicion, and not until the following morning did the garrison discover that they had been betrayed. A brief fight ensued, but resistance was useless, and with a sad heart Lady Bankes surrendered the castle which she had so nobly defended for nearly three years.

The Parliamentarian officer who accepted the surrender was a humane man, and took care that his troops should not fulfil their vow to put to death every man, woman and child found in the castle. After the place had been plundered, an attempt was made to destroy it, but the walls were so massive that its destruction was impossible, and to-day much of it is still standing.

Lady Bankes was not kept prisoner for long, and Oliver Cromwell ordained that she should not be made to suffer for her loyalty and bravery. Throughout the Commonwealth the heroine of Corfe Castle lived peacefully, and did not die until Charles II. had been upon the throne nearly a year. She died on April 11, 1661, and in Ruislip Church, Middlesex, there is a monument, erected to her memory by her son, Sir Ralph Bankes, on which is inscribed a record of her brave defence.



It was at the beginning of the year 1776 that Major Acland was ordered to proceed with his regiment to America, to take part in the attempt to quell the rising of the colonists. His wife, to whom he had been married six years, at once asked to be allowed to accompany him, but he hesitated to give his consent, being doubtful whether she would be able to bear the hardships of a campaign.

Hitherto her life had been one of comfort. She was the third daughter of the first Earl of Ilchester, and her training had not been such as would qualify her for roughing it. Major Acland did not, however, offer any objections when his wife, fearing that he thought the life would be too hard for her, declared that she had made up her mind to accompany him.

Arriving in Canada, she soon found that campaigning was more arduous than she had imagined. Her husband's regiment was continually on the march, and she suffered greatly from cold, fatigue and want of proper food.

When they had been in Canada about a year, Major Acland became dangerously ill, and his wife, herself in ill-health, was his only nurse. Although the twenty-seven years of her life had been without any experience of nursing, she soon became efficient, and before long had the pleasure of knowing that by her care and attention she had saved her husband's life. But before Major Acland had fully regained his strength he was ordered to rejoin his regiment, to take part in the attack upon Ticonderoga.

So far Lady Harriet had followed her husband from place to place, and she prepared to accompany him to Ticonderoga; but, knowing that the fight would be a severe one, he insisted upon her remaining behind. She obeyed him, but was miserable during his absence, and would have preferred the greatest hardships to sitting idle, waiting to hear the result of the battle. It was a hard-fought one, but Ticonderoga was captured by the British, and the news filled Lady Harriet with joy, for her husband, who sent her the message, told her that he was unhurt. The joy was short-lived, however. Two days later Lady Harriet was informed that on the day following the capture of Ticonderoga her husband had been dangerously wounded. Reproaching herself for having been away from him in time of danger, she started off at once to where he lay, and by careful nursing she again saved his life.

Lady Harriet had decided, during her husband's last illness, to follow him everywhere, no matter how great the danger; and when she was once more on the march some of the artillerymen, anxious to make her self-imposed task lighter, constructed for her a small two-wheeled carriage.

Major Acland commanded the grenadiers, whose duty it was to be at the most advanced post of the army, and consequently Lady Harriet was always in danger of being killed or captured. She, like the officers, lay down in her clothes, so that she might be ready at any moment to advance. One night the tent in which she and her husband were sleeping caught fire, and had it not been for the prompt and gallant conduct of an orderly-sergeant, who at great personal risk dragged them out, they would have been suffocated or burnt to death. As it was, Major Acland was severely burnt, and all their personal belongings were lost.

Instead of being disheartened by the hardships and mishaps which fell to her lot, Lady Harriet became more cheerful as time went on; but another severe trial was in store for her. Major Acland informed her that as they would in all probability engage the enemy in a day or two, she would have to remain in the care of the baggage guard, which was unlikely to be exposed to danger. Lady Harriet protested, being anxious to accompany her husband into battle, but she was compelled to do as the major desired. Here among the baggage she had for companions two other ladies, wives of officers.

When the action began Lady Harriet was seated in a small hut which she had found unoccupied, and here she remained listening to the artillery and musketry fire, and praying that her husband might come out of the fight uninjured. Soon, however, she had to vacate the hut, for the surgeons told her that they required it, as the fight was fierce, and the men were falling fast. Unwittingly the surgeons had alarmed her. If men were falling fast there was little chance of her husband, whose place was in the front line of attack, escaping injury.

For four hours the battle raged fiercely, but Lady Harriet could obtain no news other husband. He was not among the wounded or dead who had been brought to the rear, but she feared that at any moment she might see him lying white and still on a stretcher. The two ladies who waited with her were equally anxious for news from the front, and for them it came soon, and cruelly. The husband of one was brought back mortally wounded, and a little later the other was told that her husband had been shot dead.

The battle ceased, and the last of the wounded was brought to the surgeons, but still Lady Harriet was without news of Major Acland, and it was not until many hours later that she heard he was still alive. Her joy was tempered by the knowledge that the fighting would be renewed before many days had elapsed.

At last, on October 7, 1777, the second battle of Saratoga was fought. Lady Harriet was once again doomed to listen to the sound of cannon and musketry, and to see a sad procession of wounded moving to the rear. As time passed without any news of her husband reaching her, she began to hope that he would pass through the battle uninjured; but this was not to be. Soon the news came that the British, under General Burgoyne, had been defeated, and that Major Acland, seriously wounded, had been taken prisoner.

For a time Lady Harriet was overcome with grief, but growing calmer she determined to make an attempt to join her husband in the American camp and nurse him there. 'When the army was upon the point of moving after the halt described,' General Burgoyne wrote in his account of the campaign, 'I received a message from Lady Harriet, submitting to my decision a proposal (and expressing an earnest solicitude to execute it, if not interfering with my designs) of passing to the camp of the enemy, and requesting General Gates's permission to attend her husband. Though I was ready to believe (for I had experienced) that patience and fortitude in a supreme degree were to be found, as well as every other virtue, under the most tender forms, I was astonished at this proposal. After so long an agitation of the spirits, exhausted not only for want of rest, but absolutely want of food, drenched in rains for twelve hours together, that a woman should be capable such an undertaking as delivering herself to the enemy, probably in the night, and uncertain of what hands she might first fall into, appeared an effort above human nature. The assistance I was enabled to give was small indeed; I had not even a cup of wine to offer her; but I was told she had found, from some kind and fortunate hand, a little rum and dirty water. All I could furnish to her was an open boat and a few lines, written upon dirty and wet paper, to General Gates, recommending her to his protection.'

Accompanied by an army chaplain and two servants, Lady Harriet proceeded up the Hudson River in an open boat to the enemy's outposts; but the American sentry, fearing treachery, refused to allow her to land, and ignoring the white handkerchief which she held aloft, threatened to shoot anyone in the boat who ventured to move. For eight hours, unprotected from the night air, Lady Harriet sat shivering in the boat, but at daybreak she prevailed upon the sentry to have her letter delivered to General Gates. The American general readily gave permission for her to join her husband, who, she found, had been shot through both legs, in addition to having received several minor wounds. His condition was serious, but Lady Harriet succeeded in nursing him into comparatively good health.

When Major Acland was sufficiently recovered to be able to travel he returned with his wife to England, where the story of Lady Harriet's bravery and devotion was already well-known. A portrait of her, in which she is depicted standing in the boat holding aloft a white handkerchief, was exhibited in the Royal Academy and engraved. Sir Joshua Reynolds also painted a portrait of her.

Lady Harriet, 'the heroine of the American War,' lived, admired and respected, for thirty-seven years after her husband's death, dying deeply mourned at Tatton, Somersetshire, on July 21, 1815.

'Let such as are affected by these circumstances of alarm, hardship and danger, recollect,' General Burgoyne wrote, 'that the subject of them was a woman, of the most tender and delicate frame, of the gentlest manners, habituated to all the soft elegances and refined enjoyments that attend high birth and fortune. Her mind alone was formed for such trials.' But in very many cases heroines have been women from whom few would have expected heroism. The blustering braggart does not often prove to be a hero in time of danger, and the gentle, unassuming woman is the type of which heroines are frequently made. The aristocracy the middle and the lower classes, have each given us many heroines of this type.


Napoleon was entering Moscow in triumph. It was night, and the streets of the Russian capital were deserted, but at a window of one house past which the victorious troops were marching sat a French lady, eagerly scanning the faces of the officers. Her husband, Captain Ladoinski, of the Polish Lancers, was somewhere among the troops, but she failed to recognise him as he rode by. Soon, however, he was at her house, and great was the joy of meeting after long separation.

After the first greeting, Aimée Ladoinski noticed that her husband was wounded, and although he spoke lightly of his wound, it was not a slight one. Moreover, it had been aggravated by want of attention, for Napoleon's surgeons did not at this time possess the proper appliances for dressing wounds. Captain Ladoinski's wound had been dressed with moss and bandaged with parchment! In a few minutes after making this discovery Madame Ladoinski had bandaged her husband's wound with lint and linen. It was a great relief to the warrior, and settling down in a comfortable chair he proceeded to question his wife as to how she had fared during his absence, and then to relate his own adventures.

Suddenly, as they sat talking, a fierce red light shone into the room, which had until then been in darkness, except for the feeble glimmer from a shaded lamp in the corner. Rising quickly, Madame Ladoinski went to the window, closely followed by her husband, who uttered an exclamation of surprise when he saw that a fire was raging in the newly captured city.

Taking up his lance Captain Ladoinski hurried out, to order his men to assist in subduing the fire, but at the doorway he was met by a messenger who made known to him Napoleon's command, that the troops billeted in that portion of the town were not to leave their quarters. Surprised at this order, Captain Ladoinski returned to his wife, and together they watched from their window the rapidly extending fire. The burning part of the city was at a considerable distance from where they stood, but it seemed to them that unless prompt measures were taken it would be impossible to save the city from utter destruction. Hundreds of soldiers were resting near them who might have been busily employed in checking the progress of the flames. The truth dawned on both of them. Napoleon did not see his way to save Moscow from this new calamity.

Now Aimée Ladoinski had resided for some time in Moscow, and its streets and palaces were familiar to her, and the thought of their ruthless destruction to thwart the designs of one man filled her with shame—shame that he who had caused this act of vandalism was a Frenchman.

Madame Ladoinski did not admire Napoleon, for she was at heart a Bourbon, and regarded him as an usurper. The reckless sacrifice of thousands of his fellow countrymen for his own aggrandisement filled her with loathing for the man, and she did not conceal her feelings from her husband, who made no attempt to defend the emperor. It was not for love of him that Captain Ladoinski had fought under 'the Little Corporal.' He was a Pole, and it was because Napoleon was fighting the oppressor of the Polish race—Russia—that he fought for the French. The Russians had been humbled, and he, a Pole, had marched as one of a victorious army into their capital. But secretly he wondered if the condition of much-persecuted Poland would be better under Napoleon than it was under Russia. His wife candidly declared that it would not be. Napoleon had promised he would free Poland from the Russian yoke, but she felt convinced that it would simply be to place the country under French rule.

'And, wherefore,' she said to her husband, as we read in Watson's Heroic Women of History, 'should Poland find such solitary grace in the eyes of Europe's conquerors? Shall all the nations lie prostrate at his feet, and Poland alone be permitted to stand by his side as an equal? Be wise, my dear Ladoinski. You confess that the conqueror lent but a lifeless ear to the war-cry of your country. Be timely wise; open your eyes, and see that this cold-hearted victor—wrapped in his own dark and selfish aims—uses the sword of the patriot Pole only, like that of the prostrate Prussian, to hew the way to his own throne of universal dominion.... Believe it, this proud man did not enslave all Europe to become the liberator of Poland. Ah! trust me, that is but poor freedom which consists only In a change of masters. O Ladoinski! Ladoinski! give up this mad emprise; return to the bosom of your family; and when your compatriots arise to assert their rights at the call of their country, and not at the heartless beck of a stranger despot, I will buckle the helmet on your brow.'

Captain Ladoinski was inclined to believe that his wife had spoken the truth when she said that Napoleon would forget the Poles, now that Russia was crushed. Posing as a disinterested man eager to deliver the Poles from the hands of their oppressor, Napoleon had gathered round him a band of brave men, who fought with the determination of men fighting for their homes and liberty. They had served his purpose, and he would reward them, not with the freedom he had promised, but with the intimation that they were now his subjects. It was a terrible disappointment, but Captain Ladoinski consoled himself with the belief that French rule would not be so hard to bear as the Russian had been.

The fire spread apace. It was a grand yet terrible scene, the like of which, it is to be hoped, will never again be witnessed. Soon the heat became unbearable in the quarter of the city where the Ladoinskis stood and watched, and sparks and big flaring brands fell in showers. Unless they departed quickly they would be burned to death.

Captain Ladoinski could not seek safety in flight, for he had been commanded to remain in his quarters, and the order had not been cancelled. Assuring his wife that he would soon be at liberty to leave his post, he urged her to depart with their child and wait for him outside the city. This she refused to do, declaring that as long as he remained where he was she would stay with him. And this determination he could not alter, although he used every persuasion possible to that end.

On came the flames, crackling, hissing and roaring, and soon the houses facing the Ladoinskis would be engulfed in them. The captain would not quit his post without orders, and his wife would not leave him. Death seemed certain, and they were preparing to meet it, when suddenly an order came from head-quarters ordering the troops to evacuate the city with all despatch. Instantly the retreat began, but many men fell in the scorching, suffocating streets never to rise again. Captain Ladoinski and his wife and child had many narrow escapes from the fiery brands which fell hissing into the roads as they hurried on towards the suburbs, but fortunately they received no injury.

Arriving on high ground, and safe from the fire's onslaught, the Ladoinskis stood, with thousands of Napoleon's army, gazing at the destruction of Moscow. The captain, remembering the havoc which the Russians had wrought by fire and sword in Warsaw, rejoiced to see their capital in flames; but his wife checked his rejoicing by warning him that the destruction of Moscow would not bring freedom to Poland.

And now began Napoleon's retreat. Terrible were the sufferings of the men, but it is only with Madame Ladoinski's trials that we are concerned. Knowing that after the burning of Moscow it would be dangerous for any French person to remain in Russia, she, with many other people of her nationality, accompanied the French army on its disastrous retreat. She travelled in a baggage-wagon, which at any rate afforded her and her child some protection from the frost and snow. To her the journey was not so terrible an undertaking as to some of her compatriots, for she had the pleasure of being daily with her husband, after some years of separation. But her pleasure soon received a rude shock. The Cossacks hung on with tenacity to the remains of the great French army, swooping down at unexpected times upon some dispirited, disorganised section, cutting it to pieces, and recapturing some of the spoil with which the troops were loaded.

Captain Ladoinski was present when one of these attacks was made, and, while assisting to repel the attackers, received a dangerous wound. A place was found for him in the baggage-wagon, and there he lay for days, tenderly nursed by his wife. The road was blocked in many places with abandoned guns, dead horses, and broken-down wagons, and travelling was difficult. Some of the wagons had not broken down accidentally or through hard wear, but had been tampered with by the drivers. Many a terrible act was perpetrated in baggage-wagons during the retreat from Moscow. In these wagons, among the spoil taken from the capital, were placed the wounded, frequently unattended and without protection. Many of the drivers, anxious to possess some of the spoil with which their wagons were loaded, weakened the axle, so that it should collapse. The bedraggled soldiers would march on, and when the drivers were well in rear of the force they murdered their wounded passengers and looted the wagons.

One night Madame Ladoinski was awakened by the stoppage of their wagon. She had heard stories of the murdering of the wounded by wagon-drivers, but she had not believed them, and after peeping out at the snow-covered country, and seeing that soldiers and other wagons were near, she lay down again, and in a few minutes was sleeping soundly—a sleep from which in all probability she would not have awakened, so intense was the cold, had not the wagon arrived at Smolensk, a depôt of the French army, an hour later. Her life was saved by the prompt attention of a young officer, who glanced into the wagon, and was surprised to find her lying insensible with her child beside her. Calling to some brother officers, he jumped into the wagon and poured a little brandy into Madame Ladoinski's mouth. Then, when she began to show signs of returning consciousness, he and his companions lifted her from the wagon to carry her and her boy to a house where they would be properly warmed, fed and nursed.

On the way some of the officers recognised her as Captain Ladoinski's wife, and they were naturally surprised to find her in such a sad condition. 'Where is Ladoinski?' they asked each other; and one replied that on the previous day he had seen him, wounded, in the wagon with his wife and child. Some expressed the belief that he had died of his wounds, but others declared that he must have been murdered by the wagon-drivers, who, scoundrels though they were, had possessed sufficient humanity to spare the woman and child.

As in a dream, Madame Ladoinski had heard the conversation of the officers, and suddenly she grasped the meaning of what they had said.

'My husband! my husband!' she cried, wildly. 'Where is he?'

The officers, distressed at her grief, told her that when the wagon arrived at Smolensk, she and her boy were the only people in it. Of her husband they had seen or heard nothing, and the wagon-drivers had disappeared soon after reaching the city. They endeavoured to cheer her, however, by assuring her that he was, no doubt, not far away, and would soon return to her. But she, remembering what they had said when they believed her to be unconscious, was not calmed by their well-intentioned words.

Two days passed, and nothing was seen or heard of Captain Ladoinski, although the officers who had taken an interest in his wife made every effort to obtain news of him. They were in their own minds convinced that he was dead, but in order that a searching enquiry might be made, they obtained for her an interview with two of the most powerful of Napoleon's officers—the King of Naples and Prince Eugène Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy. These officers listened quietly to the story of her husband's disappearance, and having expressed their sympathy with her, an aide-de-camp was summoned and ordered to make immediate enquiries among the wagon-drivers as to the fate of Captain Ladoinski. The aide-de-camp answered respectfully that he and several of his brother officers had already closely questioned every wagon-driver they could find, and that the men had sworn that Captain Ladoinski had died during the night of cold and of his wounds, and that his body had been thrown out into the snow. Madame Ladoinski, they declared, was insensible from cold when her husband died.

Clasping her boy, Madame Ladoinski burst into tears. For a few minutes she sat sobbing bitterly, but then, in the midst of her grief, she remembered that she was encroaching on the time of the officers before her. Controlling her tears as well as she was able, she asked for a safe-conduct for herself and child. As a Frenchwoman and the widow of a Polish rebel she would receive, she reminded her hearers, no mercy if she fell into the hands of the Russians. Her husband had fought for the French, and she claimed French protection. Instantly the two marshals declared that she should have the protection she asked, and Prince Eugène offered her a seat in a wagon that would accompany his division when it started in the course of a few days.

Madame Ladoinski accepted the offer with gratitude, whereupon the aide-de-camp was informed that she was to be placed in a baggage-wagon, and that the drivers were to be told that if their passengers did not reach the end of the journey in safety they would answer for it with their lives. On the other hand, if she arrived safely in Poland, and declared that she and her boy had been well-treated on the way, each driver would receive five hundred francs.

In a few days Madame Ladoinski was once again in a baggage-wagon; but Napoleon's 'Grand Army' was now in a terrible condition. Ragged, starving, dispirited by the constant harassing from the enemy, and the continuous marching through snow, it made but slow progress. The gloomy forests through which the miserable army tramped on its way to attempt the passage of the Beresina were blocked with snow, and so difficult was it to move the guns that Napoleon ordered that one half of the baggage-wagons were to be destroyed, so that the horses and oxen might be utilised for dragging forward the artillery. The wagon in which Madame Ladoinski rode was one of the number condemned to destruction, but the men who had been ordered to protect her speedily found room for her in another vehicle.

A day or two later, when the bedraggled army was nearing the Polish frontier, Madame Ladoinski was startled from her dejection by hearing loud joyful shouts, and on enquiring of the driver the reason of the noise she was told that a reinforcement under Marshal Victor had unexpectedly arrived.

Soon the reinforcements were passing the wagon, but Madame Ladoinski possessed neither the energy nor the curiosity to glance out at them. She could think of nothing but her dead husband and her little orphaned boy. But suddenly as she sat brooding over her great loss she heard, 'Forward, lancers!' uttered in Polish. Believing that it was her husband's voice she had heard, she sprang up and looked out at the troop trotting ahead. But she could not recognise her husband among the lancers, and she turned to sit down, believing that she was the victim of a delusion. To her surprise she saw her little son standing, with a finger uplifted to urge silence, listening eagerly.

'What is it, darling?' she asked.

'Father!' he replied.

Again Madame Ladoinski's spirits rose, but they fell quickly when she remembered that the Polish Lancers had quitted Smolensk before she and her boy arrived there. It was madness, therefore, to imagine that her wounded husband could be with Marshal Victor's army, and she dismissed the hope from her mind.

Days of terrible suffering for Napoleon's army followed, but eventually Studzianka, on the left bank of the Beresina, was reached, and the soldiers hoped that once in Poland their trials would diminish. Madame Ladoinski, her spirits reviving at the prospect of soon being in her husband's native land, lay listening to the noise of the men busily engaged in building the bridges over which the French army was to pass. Suddenly there was a tremendous uproar; shouts of joy, cries of triumph. Looking out Madame Ladoinski saw at once the cause of the excitement—the enemy who had been encamped on the opposite bank of the river was in full retreat. The fierce battle which she had dreaded, in case her boy might be injured, would not be fought. Falling on her knees in the wagon, she thanked God for averting the danger she feared.

Now that the Russians were gone, the cavalry swam their horses across the river, and took up a position that would protect the crossing of the foot soldiers. The bridges were completed at last, and quickly the ragged regiments hurried over them. The baggage-wagons were to be left until the last, and for hours Madame Ladoinski sat watching regiment after regiment hurry across. Napoleon, stern and silent, passed close to her, and a mighty shout of 'Vive L'Empereur' burst from his trusting, long-suffering troops, when he gained the opposite bank.

Soon after Napoleon had crossed, Prince Eugène came along, and seeing Madame Ladoinski he rode over to her, and told her cheerfully that she would soon be among her husband's friends, and that her trials would then be at an end. Then, turning to the drivers, he commanded them not to forget the order he had given concerning their behaviour and care of the lady entrusted to them.

When at last more than half the troops had crossed, the news arrived that the Russians had suddenly turned about and were marching back to the position they had vacated, while another strong body of the enemy was advancing to attack in the rear the troops which had not yet crossed. Instantly there was a panic, and the wagon-drivers, anxious for their own safety, turned Madame Ladoinski and her companions out of the wagon, so that their weight might not impede their progress. Madame Ladoinski reminded them of Prince Eugène's instructions, but they took no notice. Neither fear of punishment nor hope of reward had any influence over them now; they were anxious only for their own safety.

For a minute or two Madame Ladoinski knew not what to do. To attempt to cross either of the bridges on foot would, she soon saw, result in her and her child being crushed to death. Others, men and women, had come to the same conclusion, and were wandering, shivering with cold, along the bank of the river. These Madame Ladoinski hastened to, believing, as did they, that before long the bridges would be less crowded, and they would be able to cross in safety.

But soon the sound of the Russian guns was heard in the rear of Madame Ladoinski and her fellow-sufferers, and a little later the cheers of the advancing enemy could be heard distinctly. Marshal Victor's force, which lay between these unfortunate people and the Russians, fought gallantly at first, but at last they began to give way, and Madame Ladoinski feared that all was lost. Nearer and nearer came the enemy, and many of their musket balls reached the despairing creatures by the riverside. Approaching nearer to one of the bridges, Madame Ladoinski decided to join the crowd of terrified fugitives that was struggling across it. But before she reached it there was a terrible rush for it, and she stood aghast looking at the awful scene. Every one in the living mass was terrified, and each was fighting for his own life. Those who fell were quickly trampled to death by the hurrying mob, or crushed beneath the wheels of baggage-wagons and artillery. Now and again some terrified man, possessed of more than average strength, would be seen making his way along the crowded bridge by seizing and pitching into the river any who barred his way. And to add to the horror of the scene a terrible storm burst.

Madame Ladoinski, horrified by what she saw, decided to make no attempt to cross, but to remain where she was. Musket balls were now falling rapidly around her, and, to save her boy from the chance of being wounded, she laid him down on the ground, and placed herself in such a position that no ball could touch him unless it passed through her. Thick and fast the balls were flying, and Madame Ladoinski expected to receive at any minute a fatal wound, but, although men and women fell close around her, she remained unhurt.

Slowly but surely Victor's men were driven back on the crowd that was still struggling to cross the bridge, and whose condition was made still more awful by the Russian infantry firing on it.

At last some of the regiments fled in disorder before the advancing enemy, and a troop of horse dashed back within a few yards of Madame Ladoinski.

'Stand, lancers, stand!' the officer was shouting to his men, and his voice sent a thrill of joy through Madame Ladoinski, for it was her husband's.

She was confident of it this time, and almost immediately a strong gust of wind blew aside the smoke, which hung heavily over the battlefield, and there, not many yards away, was he whom she had believed to be dead. In stirring tones he called upon his men to charge once again into the ranks of the enemy.

'My love, my husband!' Madame Ladoinski called, still sheltering her boy with her body. 'It is I, it is Aimée.' But the din of warfare and the roaring of the wind drowned her voice. Again she called, but still he did not hear.

'Lancers! forward,' he shouted. 'For God and Poland! 'For God and Poland!' his men answered, and spurring their horses they dashed forward once more to meet the enemy. Ladoinski had not seen his wife, and perhaps he would never see her again! Madame Ladoinski wept quietly; but as night began to draw nigh she determined to cross the bridge, thinking that she and her boy might as well risk being crushed on the bridge as being shot by the enemy. But when she saw the crowd of human beings turned by terror into demons, she decided to remain where she was.

A few minutes later, as she lay protecting her boy and gazing at the struggling mob, she saw the largest bridge sway, and almost instantly it collapsed and fell, with its struggling mass of human beings, into the icy river. For a few minutes the terrified shrieks of the drowning men and women were heard even amidst the noise of battle and the roaring of the wind; then they ceased.

It seemed to Madame Ladoinski that there was to be no end to the terrors of that day. She felt that she was going out of her mind, and prayed that she and her boy might die quickly.

Throughout the night Madame Ladoinski lay beside her boy in the snow. But she did not sleep a minute. The thunder of the enemy's artillery, the sound of the musketry, and the noise of the disordered mob of soldiers who fought like demons to get safely across the one remaining bridge, would have prevented almost anyone from sleeping.

When daylight came the Russians were so near that it was clear to Madame Ladoinski that unless she crossed the bridge immediately she would soon be a prisoner. Lifting her boy, and sheltering him as much as possible, she hurried towards the bridge, but two or three times, when the enemy's fire increased in severity, she took cover for a few minutes. At last she reached the bridge. The crowd was not now great, and it would have been possible for her to cross without any fear of her boy being crushed, but no sooner had they put their feet on the bridge when shouts of 'Go back, go back! Give yourselves up to the Russians,' burst from their comrades who had already crossed the river. Stupefied, the people fell back, and almost at the same moment the last bridge burst into flames. To prevent the Russians from pursuing them, the French had burnt the bridge and left hundreds of their fellow countrymen to fall into the hands of the enemy.

The Cossacks, who were first of the Russian army to reach the river, were more eager for plunder than slaughter, and Madame Ladoinski fled along the river bank with her child pressed to her bosom. She had no idea of what to do, and for a time she escaped molestation. Then she decided to make an attempt to struggle through the river. She knew that there was very little probability of her being able to reach the other side, but it would be better for her and her little son to die than to fall into the hands of the semi-savage Cossacks. Tying her boy to her, so that the fate of one might be the other's, she approached the water; but on the brink she was seized by a Russian. Terrified, she screamed for help, and it was fortunate that she did so, for the remnants of the Polish Lancers—last to cease fighting the Russians—were entering the river not many yards away, and Captain Ladoinski heard her cries. Calling to his men to come back, he urged his horse up the bank, and galloped along the riverside until he came to his wife and child. The Russian fled at the approach of the Polish Lancers, and Captain Ladoinski lifted his wife and child on to his horse without recognising them. Then quickly he put his horse to the river, and soon they were plunging through it with the water sometimes more than half over them, and musket balls lashing the river around them.

Madame Ladoinski had recognised her husband the instant he placed her before him on his horse, and, overcome with joy, she had swooned before she could utter a word. He remained quite unconscious of whom he had rescued until, in mid-stream, the shawl which had been over his wife's head and shoulders slipped and disclosed her face. Joy did not cause the Polish captain to lose his wits, but made him more careful of his precious burden. He had been in a reckless mood, courting death in fact, during the last quarter of an hour of the fight, but now he was anxious to live. It would indeed be sad, he thought, if now, when safety was almost reached, a shot should lay him, or still worse, his wife, low. But on through danger the brave horse struggled with his heavy load, and soon Captain Ladoinski was able to place his wife and son on dry land, and to give them the warmth and food which they sadly needed.

Then when Madame Ladoinski had recovered from the excitement of again meeting her husband, he told her that he had long since been assured that both she and their boy were dead. He, as the wagon-drivers had sworn, had been thrown out of the wagon for dead, but some of his men came along soon after, and seeing him lying in the snow dismounted to see if he were alive. Finding that his heart was beating, they set to work and restored him to consciousness, and then took him on to Smolensk, whence he sent back to enquire after his wife and child. The message that was brought to him was that his wife and child had been murdered on the road. Believing this to be true, he went on with his regiment—before they arrived at Smolensk—with henceforth only one aim in life—to avenge Poland's wrongs.

The story of Captain Ladoinski's extraordinary rescue of his own wife and child created some excitement among Napoleon's soldiers, dispirited though they were by the terrible march they had undergone, and numerous and hearty were the congratulations which husband and wife received. Prince Eugène was one of the first to congratulate them, and Captain Ladoinski seized the opportunity to express his deep gratitude to the prince for the kindness he had shown to his wife in her sorrow, a kindness that was all the more creditable because Prince Eugène knew that Madame Ladoinski was a member of a Royalist family and an enemy of the Napoleonic dynasty. For some considerable time after the terrible retreat from Moscow, Captain Ladoinski fought in Prince Eugène's army, but when, at last, the Prince's military career came to an end he retired into private life. He had long since come to the conclusion that his wife was right when she said that Napoleon never had any intention of setting Poland free, but had obtained the services of the brave Poles under false pretences.

Madame Ladoinski deserved years of happy domestic life after her fearful experiences with the French army, and it is pleasant to be able to say that she had them. Until death parted them, many years later, she and her husband enjoyed the happiness of a quiet life unclouded by domestic or political troubles.


'Fighting Bob' was the nickname affectionately bestowed upon Sir Robert Sale by his comrades-in-arms. Truly the name was well deserved, for wherever the fight was thickest there Sale was to be found, and the histories of his life abound with stories of his bravery and disregard of danger.

When twenty-seven years of age he married Florentia Wynch, a girl of nineteen, who proved before long to be almost as brave as he. Throughout his life she was his companion in danger, and many times nursed him back to health when seriously wounded. Adventures such as are rarely encountered by women were continually falling to her lot, but the greatest hardships which she was compelled to undergo were those attending the British retreat from Kabul in January, 1842.

Discontent with British rule had led to rebellion in Afghanistan, and Sir Robert Sale was sent with a brigade to clear the passes to Jelalabad. Lady Sale remained at Kabul, where the signs of discontent became daily more evident. The British native troops were disheartened, and eventually it was decided to retreat from the city.

At half-past nine in the morning of January 6, 1842, the British force, consisting of about 4500 soldiers, mostly native, and 12,000 followers, quitted Kabul. The snow lay a foot deep on the ground, and the thermometer registered several degrees below freezing-point. The bullocks had great difficulty in dragging the guns, and it took two hours and a half to cover the first mile. This slow rate of progress was not, however, entirely due to the state of the weather, as some of the delay was caused by a bridge of boats having to be made across the Kabul river, which lay about half a mile from the city. The camp followers refused to cross by any means but a bridge, but Lady Sale and her daughter, Mrs. Sturt, rode through with the horsemen. Immediately they reached the opposite bank their clothes froze stiff, and they could not change them for others, for as the rear-guard quitted the city the Afghans fired upon them and captured, without meeting any resistance, nearly the whole of the baggage, commissariat and ammunition. That night the British force, cold, hungry and dispirited, slept in the snow. There were no tents, but an officer erected a small pall over the hole in the snow where Lady Sale and her daughter lay.

At half-past seven on the following morning the march was resumed, but the force had not proceeded far when a party of Afghans sallied out from a small fort and carried off three guns. The British fought bravely, but the sepoys made scarcely any resistance, and hundreds of them fled for their lives.

As the British force advanced they saw the Afghans gathering in strength on either side, and before they had gone five miles they were compelled to spike and abandon two six-pounders, the horses not having sufficient strength to drag them. They were now in possession of only two guns and very little ammunition.

Men, hungry and numbed with cold, dropped out of the ranks, to be left to die from starvation, or to be massacred by the enemy. Another night was spent in the open, and when daylight came there were many frozen corpses lying on the ground. The troops were now utterly disorganised, and the Afghans continued to harass them, both while bivouacing and on the march. It was a terrible time, but Lady Sale was calm, and endeavoured to instil with courage other women of the party. Soon the British arrived at a spot where, some time previously, Sir Robert Sale had been wounded, and there a fierce attack was made upon them. A ball entered Lady Sales' arm, her clothes were riddled with bullets, and her escape seemed impossible, so fierce was the fire of the enemy, who were in a strong position about fifty yards distant. Nevertheless she did escape, but only to find that her daughter's husband, Lieutenant Sturt, had been mortally wounded. Five hundred soldiers and two thousand five hundred camp followers were killed, and many women and children were carried off by the Afghans. Others lay dying in the fast-falling snow.

Lady Sale and her daughter were in great distress at the death of Lieutenant Sturt, and took little interest in the proposal that all the women should be placed under the protection of Mahommed Akbar Khan, who had suggested this step. However, with the other women, they accepted the proffered protection, and were taken to a fort in the Khurd Kabul, and eventually they heard that the force with which they had quitted Kabul had been annihilated.

On January 17, Lady Sale and her companions, among whom were now several British officers whom Mahommed Akbar Khan had captured, arrived at Badiabad, where, in a small mud fort the party, consisting of 9 women, 20 men and 14 children, were kept prisoners. However, they were not molested, and as food of a kind was supplied to them, they did not complain. Their uncomfortable surroundings were, however, made more unpleasant by a series of earthquakes.

On February 19, Lady Sale was spreading some clothes out to dry on the flat roof of the fort, when a terrible shock occurred, causing the place to collapse. Lady Sale fell with the building, but rose from the ruins unhurt. Even the wounds received by her on the day Lieutenant Sturt was killed were not aggravated by the accident. Before dark that day there were twenty-five distinct shocks, and about fifteen more during the night. For some weeks after this they were constantly occurring. At one spot, not far away, 120 Afghans and 20 Hindus were buried in the ruins of buildings shaken to the ground.

During her captivity Lady Sale had been able to write letters to her husband, who was shut up with his garrison in Jelalabad, and her great desire was that he should be able to hold the place until relief arrived. On March 15 a rumour reached her that it had been captured by the Afghans, but to her great delight she heard later that the rumour was false. She was exceedingly proud of her husband, and gloried in his successes. A successful defence of the city would, she knew, add considerably to his reputation. During the following five months Lady Sale and her daughter were continually being moved from one place to another, and before long it became clear to them that the Afghan rebellion was being rapidly quelled. Rumours of British victories reached them, and the man who was in charge of them, while moving from place to place, made it understood that for Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 1000 a month for life he would effect their escape.

But soon, on September 15, the good news was received that the British were coming to their rescue, and, guided by the bribed Afghan, Lady Sale and her companions moved off secretly to meet them. Two days later they arrived at the foot of the Kalu Pass, where they met Sir Richmond Shakespeare, with 600 native horsemen, coming to their rescue.

Lady Sale was naturally anxious to hear of her husband's doings, and Sir Richmond Shakespeare was able to make her happy by telling her of how gallantly he had defended Jelalabad. Soon, however, she heard from his own lips the story of his defence. On September 19, a horseman arrived with a message from Sir Robert Sale, saying that he was advancing with a brigade. Lady Sale had been feeling weak for several days, but the news of her husband's approach gave her fresh strength.

'It is impossible to express our feelings on Sale's approach,' she wrote in her diary. 'To my daughter and myself happiness so long delayed as to be almost unexpected was actually painful, and accompanied by a choking sensation which could not obtain the relief of tears.'

The men loudly cheered Lady Sale and her daughter, and pressed forward to express their hearty congratulations at their escape. 'And then,' Lady Sale continued in her diary, 'my highly-wrought feelings found the desired relief; and I could scarcely speak to thank the soldiers for their sympathy, whilst the long withheld tears now found their course. On arriving at the camp, Captain Backhouse fired a royal salute from his mountain train guns; and not only our old friends, but all the officers in the party, came to offer congratulations and welcome our return from captivity.'

After a visit to England, Sir Robert and Lady Sale returned to India in March, 1844. Towards the end of the following year the Sikh War broke out, and at the battle of Mudki, fought on December 18, Sir Robert's left thigh was shattered by a grape shot, and he died three days later.

Lady Sale continued to reside in India after her husband's death, her comfort secured by a pension of £500 a year, granted to her by Queen Victoria, as a mark of approbation of her own and Sir Robert's conduct. She died at Cape Town, which she was visiting for the benefit of her health, on July 6, 1853, aged sixty-three.


Until late in the last century it was a common thing for the ruler of a native Eastern state to celebrate his accession to the throne by slaughtering his brothers and uncles. This drastic measure reduced the possibilities of the new ruler being deposed, and was considered by the majority of the natives a wise precaution. The Maharajah of Manipur was more humane than many rulers, and although he had seven brothers, he refrained from killing any of them.

For several years the brothers lived on friendly terms with each other, but eventually quarrels arose through two of them wanting to marry the same woman. The eight brothers divided into two parties, and quarrelled so incessantly, that the maharajah deemed it wise to abdicate and leave the country. Mr. Grimwood the British Political Agent, did his utmost to dissuade the maharajah from abdicating, but without success. He departed, and one of his brothers became ruler.

Mr. Grimwood and his wife had lived for three years in Manipur when the maharajah abdicated, and during that time the natives had always been friendly towards them. Even the royal brothers, while quarrelling among themselves, maintained their usual friendly relations with them.

Manipur is an out-of-the-way place, lying in the heart of the mountainous region, which is bordered on the north by the Assam Valley, on the east and south by Burma, and on the west by the Cachar district. During the greater portion of their stay in Manipur Mr. and Mrs. Grimwood were the only white people in the place, and consequently the news that the Chief Commissioner was on his way to hold a durbar at the Residency afforded them much pleasure. But the information that his excellency was accompanied by 400 men of the 42nd and 44th Ghurkhas, made it clear that some political event of considerable importance was about to take place. The Chief Commissioner had, in fact, decided to arrest the jubraj, the maharajah's brother, at the durbar which was fixed for eight o'clock in the morning of March 23, 1891.

But the jubraj had his suspicions aroused by the military force which accompanied the Chief Commissioner. He did not attend the durbar, but sent a message to say that he was too unwell to be present. Four hours later, Mr. Grimwood was sent to the palace to inform the jubraj that he was to be arrested and banished, and to persuade him to surrender peacefully. This the jubraj refused to do, and consequently it was decided to storm the palace and capture him.

Fighting began on the following day, shortly before daybreak. The palace walls, some sixty yards from the Residency, and separated from it by an unfordable moat, were loop-holed, and soon a fierce fire was opened on the attackers. Mrs. Grimwood sought shelter in the little telegraph office, but bullets were soon crashing through it, and her position was one of extreme danger, but after the first fright she settled down to help the doctor attend to the wounded.

The British attack on the palace was not, however, successful, and the Manipuris crept round to the back of the Residency, and made an attack upon it. They were beaten off, but the British force was soon in a critical position; for, shortly after 4 o'clock, some big guns opened fire on the Residency, where the whole of the force was now concentrated. Mrs. Grimwood states in her book, My Three Years in Manipur, that the first shell fired at the Residency made her speechless with fear; but others who were present state that a few minutes later she was hard at work attending to the wounded under fire. The cellars under the Residency were used as a hospital, and terrible were the sights which the brave woman witnessed. Every hour the position of the British became more desperate. Men were falling quickly, and the ammunition was running out.

At last a message was sent to the jubraj asking on what conditions he would cease firing on the Residency. His reply was to the effect that the British must surrender unconditionally. Finding that the British would not agree to this, he sent word that if the Chief Commissioner would come to the palace gates he would discuss terms with him. His excellency and Mr. Grimwood went forward, but as they reached the gates they were pushed inside the palace enclosure, and the gates closed behind them. Then the Manipuris shouted that the white men were prisoners, and again opened fire on the Residency. The British troops replied, but their position was now critical. Very little ammunition remained, and shells were bursting over the Residency. One burst near to Mrs. Grimwood's feet, but fortunately she only received a slight wound in the arm.

At midnight the British officers decided to evacuate the Residency and retreat to Cachar.

Mrs. Grimwood being the only person who knew the way to the Cachar road, acted as guide, and led the retreating force through hedges, over mud walls, and across a river. Looking back when they had gone four miles, Mrs. Grimwood saw that the Residency, her home for three happy years, was in flames. Her husband a prisoner, and her home destroyed, it would not have been surprising if Mrs. Grimwood had been too grief-stricken to continue the journey on foot. But she plodded on bravely in her thin house-shoes, and with her clothes heavy with water. Sometimes the hills were so steep that she had to climb them on hands and knees, but she never complained, and did not hamper the progress of the force. Not until twenty miles had been covered did she have a rest, and then, thoroughly exhausted, she wrapped herself in the overcoats which the officers lent her, and lay down and slept.

A few hours later the retreating force, hungry, tired and somewhat dispirited, resumed its march. Mrs. Grimwood's feet were cut and sore, but she tramped on bravely in the military boots which had been given her to replace her thin worn-out shoes. They had now travelled beyond the country with which Mrs. Grimwood was familiar, and no one knew the way. They pushed on in the direction which they believed to be the right one, but without being able to obtain anything to eat. When, however, they had been two days without food, they came suddenly upon some Manipuri soldiers cooking rice. The Manipuris, taken by surprise, fled quickly, leaving their rice to fall into the hands of the starving British force.

Refreshed by the meal which they had so unexpectedly obtained, the British resumed their journey, but they had not gone far when they found a stockade barring their way. The defenders opened fire on them at once, and as the British had no ammunition they rushed the stockade, causing the Manipuris to run for their lives.

The British officers now decided to remain for a time in the captured stockade, but soon a large body of men was seen advancing towards it. Were they Ghurkhas or Manipuris? No one could tell, and reliance could not be placed on a bugle call, as both Ghurkhas and Manipuris had the same one. It was believed by the majority that the advancing men were Manipuris, and one of the officers told Mrs. Grimwood that he had two cartridges left, one for her and one for himself, if the men proved to be the enemy.

But they were not the enemy. A sharp-eyed man discovered a white officer among the advancing soldiers, and this was ample proof that they were Ghurkhas. A cheer from the stockade was answered by one from the approaching men, who were proceeding to Manipur, but had only heard a few hours before of the retreat of their comrades-in-arms. They had plenty of provisions with them, and quickly gave the tired, hungry men a good meal.

The remainder of the journey to the frontier was made in comparative comfort, but Mrs. Grimwood's trials were not yet ended. Soon the sad news of her husband's death was broken to her. He and his fellow prisoner had been executed with horrible brutality by order of the jubraj.

The story of Mrs. Grimwood's heroism in attending to the wounded under fire, and her bravery during the long and trying retreat, aroused admiration throughout the civilized world. In consideration of her exceptional services, the Secretary of State for India in Council awarded her a pension of £140 a year, and a special grant of £1000. The Princess of Wales—our present Queen—was exceedingly kind to her, and Queen Victoria invited her to Windsor Castle, and decorated her with the well-deserved Red Cross.


In December, 1880, a detachment of the 2nd Connaught Rangers was escorting a wagon-train, nearly a mile in length, from Leydenberg to Pretoria. Until more than half the journey had been travelled the Boers, whom the British met on the way, had shown no disposition to be unfriendly, but, one morning, as the convoy slowly wended its way up a hill, studded with clumps of trees, a strong force of Boers jumped out from their places of concealment and called upon the British to surrender. They sent forward, under a flag of truce, a written demand to that effect, but, seeing that the British officer in command had no intention to order his men to lay down their arms, they treacherously disregarded the white flag that was flying, and opened fire upon the convoy.

The British were caught in an ambush, and the Boers, who greatly outnumbered them, wrought terrible havoc. The Boers were concealed behind trees and stones, but the British could obtain scarcely any cover. Their colonel was mortally wounded early in the fight, and soon there was only one officer unhurt.

When the attack on the convoy began there were three women in one of the wagons. Mrs. Marion Smith, widow of the late bandmaster, was travelling down country, with her two children, to sail on a troopship for England. The other two women were Mrs. Fox, wife of the sergeant-major, and Mrs. Maistre, wife of the orderly-room clerk. Scarcely had the massacre begun when Mrs. Fox received a bullet wound as she sat in the wagon, and fell backwards, badly hurt.

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Maistre were naturally alarmed at finding themselves suddenly in a position of such great danger. But they were soldiers' wives, and soon all fear vanished, and having made Mrs. Smith's children comparatively safe in a corner of the wagon they stepped out to render aid to the wounded. It was a terrible sight for them. The ground was strewn with dead and dying, and nearly every face was familiar to them. Regardless of the bullets that whizzed past them—one grazed Mrs. Smith's ear they tore up sheets to make bandages, and passing from one wounded man to another, stanched the flow of blood and bound the wounds.

At last, when it became clear to the mortally wounded colonel that the annihilation of his force would be the result of a continuation of the fight, the 'Cease fire' was sounded, and the outnumbered British delivered up their arms.

The soldiers' work was finished; Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Maistre had still much to do. On the battle-field the wounded lay thick, and for hours the two brave women worked at their self-appointed task. Many a dying lad had his last minutes made happy by their kindly words and actions.

From December 20 until March 31, 1881, the three women remained prisoners in the hands of the Boers. They might, had they cared to do so, have led lives of idleness during their imprisonment, but, instead, they were busy from morning until night nursing the wounded. Mrs. Fox's courage was indeed wonderful, for the wound she had received in the attack was very serious, and the doctors had told her that she could not expect to live long. Her husband, too, had been severely wounded early in the fight, but nevertheless she was as indefatigable as Mrs. Maistre and Mrs. Smith in doing good. The three women were adored by the wounded soldiers, for whom they wrote letters home, prepared dainty food, and read.

When peace was declared the three brave women returned to England, and Mrs. Smith was decorated with the medal of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. She was reported, in the application that was made on her behalf, to have been 'unremitting in her attention to the wounded and dying soldiers during the action, and that her conduct while living under canvas was beyond all praise. She did the utmost to relieve the sufferings of the men in hospital, and soothed the last moments of many a poor soldier, while sharing their privations to the full.'

After a time Mrs. Smith's whereabouts became unknown to the authorities; they did not in fact know whether she were alive, and consequently she was not recommended for the Red Cross. Mrs. Fox and Mrs. Maistre received the coveted decoration, but the former did not long survive the honour. She died in January, 1888, at Cambridge Barracks, Portsmouth, and in making her death known to the regiment the colonel said:—'Mrs. Fox died a soldier's death, as her fatal illness was the result of a wound received in action, and aggravated in consequence of her noble self-devotion afterwards.'

The Commander-in-Chief—H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge—ordered that military honours should be paid to the dead woman. It was a very unusual thing, but the honour was well-merited, and crowds lined the streets to see the coffin borne past on a gun carriage. Over the coffin was laid a Union Jack, and on this was placed the brave woman's Red Cross. The men who bore her from the gun carriage to her grave in Southsea Cemetery were six non-commissioned officers who had been wounded in the fight of December 20, 1880, and whom she had nursed.

* It is interesting to note that the publication of this volume quickly led to Mrs. Smith (now Mrs. Jeffreys) being traced; and, in response to an appeal to the War office, the authorities awarded the heroine the coveted decoration of the Royal Red Cross.




'The Indians are coming!'

It was on September 1, 1782, that a scout employed to watch the movements of the Red Indians rushed into the West Virginian village of Wheeling, shouting the dreaded warning of the savages' approach. Instantly the inhabitants took refuge in the fort, and prepared to offer a determined resistance. The fort had no regular garrison, it being the duty of the settlers to defend it. Colonel Silas Zane took command, and felt confident that, although he had only twenty men under him, he would be able to beat off the savages.

The Governor of Wheeling was Colonel Ebenezer Zane, and with two white men he decided to remain in his private residence, which was about forty yards from the fort, to prevent the ammunition which was stored there from falling into the hands of the Indians. The scout who had brought the news of the Indians' approach was soon followed by the savages themselves, who, brandishing their tomahawks and waving their scalping-knives, instantly demanded the surrender of the white men. The reply they received was a volley fired at the standard which they bore aloft. With a terrible war-whoop the Indians rushed to the assault, but the men in the fort and in the house were good shots, and it was rarely that one of them missed his mark. Happily, there was a good stock of arms in both strongholds, and taking advantage of this, the women loaded the muskets and handed them to the men, who were thus enabled to fire quickly and were spared the fatigue of loading.

Again and again the Indians attacked the house and the fort, but on every occasion they were driven back. When darkness came on the attacks ceased, but the white men did not grow less vigilant, for they were confident that before daybreak the savages would make an attempt to surprise them. And this proved to be the case. In the dead of night one of the defenders espied an Indian crawling towards the house. He watched him until he rose to his feet and kindling a torch that he carried, attempted to set fire to the building. Then the watcher fired, and the Indian dropping his torch fled, wounded.

At daybreak it was seen that the Indians were still surrounding the fort and the house, and that they were evidently unusually excited. Could they have captured any of the defenders? Enquiries shouted from the fort to the house elicited the assurance that no one was missing.

Suddenly there was a tremendous explosion at the spot when the Indians were thickest, and the surprised white men could see that several of the enemy had been killed and many injured. The explosion was caused in this way: On the preceding evening, after the firing had ceased, some of the Indians surprised a boat ascending the river with cannon balls for the fort. The boatman escaped, but the cannon balls fell into the hands of the Indians, who believed that all they now wanted to demolish the house and fort was a cannon. Therefore they decided to make one. They procured a log of wood, bound it tightly with chains, and then made a hole in it large enough to admit the ball. Then they charged it heavily, and when it was pointed towards the fort the match was applied. Instantly the cannon burst, killing many of the men who stood near and injuring others.

This accident did not, as one might suppose, dishearten the Indians. On the contrary, it excited them to further efforts to capture the whites. Maddened with excitement they rushed boldly forward to the attack, but the steady, deadly fire which the defenders maintained drove them back time after time.

But now the defenders in the fort began to get anxious, for their stock of gunpowder was nearly exhausted. There was a plentiful supply at the house, and someone would have to undertake the perilous task of running to it and returning under fire with a keg of powder. There were plenty of volunteers for this dangerous undertaking, but among them was a woman—Elizabeth Zane, the youngest sister of the two Colonels Zane. She had been educated in Philadelphia, and until her arrival at Wheeling, a few weeks previously, had experienced none of the hardships of frontier life. But now, in the hour of danger, she was brave as if she had been brought up in the midst of stirring scenes.

It was pointed out to her that a man would run less risk than she, from the fact of his being able to run faster; but she answered that if he were shot in the act, his loss would be severely felt. 'You have not one man to spare, she declared. 'A woman will not be missed in the defence of the fort.'

The men did not like the idea of allowing her to run so great a risk, but she overcame their objections, and started on her perilous journey.

The moment the gate was opened she bounded through, and ran at full speed towards the house. Surprised at her sudden appearance in the open, the Indians seized their muskets, but quickly recognizing that she was a woman they exclaimed, 'Only a squaw,' and did not fire.

Arriving at the house she announced to Colonel Ebenezer Zane the object of her journey, whereupon he fastened a table-cloth around her waist, and emptied a keg of powder into it.

The moment that she appeared again in the open, the Indians noticed the table-cloth around her waist, and, guessing at once that she was carrying to the fort something that was necessary for its defence; promptly opened fire on her. Undeterred by the bullets which whizzed past her Elizabeth Zane ran quickly towards the fort; and reached it in safety. It is needless to say that the brave young woman received an enthusiastic greeting from the garrison who had witnessed with admiration her daring act.

The defenders of the fort, their stock of ammunition replenished, fought with renewed confidence when the Indians again attacked, and repulsed them with a deadly fire. As time went on the assaults became less frequent, and on the third night they finally ceased. The task of massacring the settlers of Wheeling had, contrary to the Indians' expectation, been too formidable for them, and therefore they raised the siege and crept quietly away by night. Their losses had been great, but during the three days' fighting the casualties of the defenders were only two men wounded.


In the tiny cabin of a canal-boat which had but recently started on its long journey from the Midlands to London, lay a woman seriously ill. And by her side lay her two days' old baby. Her husband was on deck steering the boat, but every few minutes he hurried down to see if there were anything he could do to make his wife comfortable. He could do but little, however.

Never before had he felt so helpless; never had he experienced so acutely the isolation of barge-life. The district through which he was travelling was thinly populated, and to obtain a doctor the bargeman would have to trudge some miles across country, leaving his wife alone on the canal. He could not leave her unattended, and consoled himself with the hope that before long he would meet someone whom he could send for a doctor. But he was disappointed; he met no one.

At last he arrived at Stoke Bruerne, in Northamptonshire, and, having tied up his barge, hurried to the post-office—a little general shop kept by Mrs. Nellie Amos, who was well-known to the canal boatmen. He told her of his wife's illness, and asked her if she would be good enough to come to his barge and see if she could discover the nature of her illness. Without the slightest hesitation Mrs. Amos accompanied the man to his barge, and found his wife very feverish.

Mrs. Amos could not discover what was the matter with the invalid, but one thing was very plain to her—the poor woman could not be expected to get well in her present quarters. The cabin was low-roofed, about eight feet by six in size, and near the door stood the stove in which the meals were cooked. In such close quarters the sick woman had little chance of recovery, and Mrs. Amos did not conceal this fact from the husband. She told him also that if a doctor would certify that she could be removed with safety, she would take her to her house and nurse her and the baby. As soon as the bargeman hurried away to fetch a doctor, Mrs. Amos made the sick woman some beef-tea, tidied the bed, and took charge of the baby.

The doctor was soon with the patient, and, having examined her, gave his permission for her removal to Mrs. Amos's house, to which she was quickly taken. Mrs. Amos had a husband and six children, and her house was a small one; but nevertheless she was able to give the mother and baby a comfortable room. Day after day she nursed them tenderly, but to her surprise the mother did not show any signs of improvement. The doctor came regularly to see her, and one day, when he had been attending her for about a week, he announced that she was suffering from small-pox.

For a few minutes Mrs. Amos was overcome with horror at the danger to which she had unintentionally subjected her six children. Nearly all of them had nursed the baby and waited on the sick woman, and it seemed to her certain that they would be stricken down with the disease. It would probably spread through the village, and she would be the cause of the sorrow that would ensue.

These fears she soon overcame, and bravely faced the danger. She declared that she would not have the poor creature removed from the house unless the doctor insisted upon it, and that she would continue to nurse her. The patient was allowed to remain, but steps were, of course, taken to guard against the disease spreading. The shop was closed, and Mrs. Amos's only means of earning a living was gone, at any rate for a time. Her children were sent away, and watched carefully for any signs of the disease appearing in them. Anxiety concerning her own family and the loss occasioned by the suspension of her business might well have made her willing to hand over to the local medical authorities the innocent cause of her trouble. But Mrs. Amos would not relinquish her self-imposed duty. She nursed mother and child as tenderly as if they had been her relatives, and if it had been possible to save their lives they would have been saved. The child died, and a week later the woman herself passed away. Happily, neither Mrs. Amos nor any of her children contracted the disease.

'I prayed earnestly that God would spare the village,' Mrs. Amos told the writer of this book, 'and He did. Not one case resulted from it.'

It was some time before the little shop was re-opened, but many people, hearing of Mrs. Amos's bravery, came forward to help her tide over her difficulties. The landlord set a good example by sending her a receipt for rent which she had been unable to pay, and several Brentford ladies, having been told of her conduct by Mr. R. Bamber, the London City missionary to bargemen, presented her with a tea and coffee service.


Anna Gurney was a cripple from her birth. Unable to walk, and consequently debarred nearly all the pleasures of childhood, it would not have been surprising had she become a sad, peevish woman. The fact that her parents were rich, and able to supply her with comforts such as poor cripples could not receive, may have prevented her from becoming depressed, but it must be remembered also that the knowledge that they were in a position to give her every reasonable pleasure a girl could desire might well have caused her to be continually deploring her crippled condition.

She did not, however, brood over her infirmity, and although she was never entirely free from pain, she was always bright and happy. Intellectually clever, she was ever anxious for self-improvement, and her knowledge of languages was remarkable. No sooner had she become thoroughly conversant with one than she began to learn another.

Early in life she became deeply interested in foreign missions, and in after years was a generous supporter of them. Her desire to do good was not, however, satisfied by the money she gave to various societies, and being unable to offer herself as a missionary to the heathen, she found a sphere of usefulness in working to improve the moral and spiritual condition of the poor of Cromer. She invited the mothers to her home, North Repps Cottage, and held classes for young men, young women and children. Humble visitors were continually calling to tell her of their joys or sorrows, and were never refused admittance. She might be busy in her library or suffering acute pain, but with a bright smile she would wheel herself forward in her mechanical chair to greet her visitor.

The fishermen along the coast regarded her with reverence, for she was their friend, adviser and patron. For many years she could be seen almost daily on the foreshore with a little group of weather-beaten men around her. She knew the dangers and disappointments of their calling, and was genuinely delighted whenever she heard that the fleet had returned with a good catch. And when the boats were out and a storm sprang up, she was anxious as any fish-wife for their safety. At her own expense she provided a lifeboat and complete apparatus for saving life, and, with the thoroughness characteristic of her, she made herself at once acquainted with the proper working of it.

Whenever there was a shipwreck, she would be down on the shore giving directions for the rescue of the people aboard the vessel. No matter the weather or the hour, she was always on the spot. Many a time the news came to her in the middle of the night that there was a ship in distress, and in a few minutes her man was wheeling her quickly down to the shore. The wind might be howling, the rain falling in torrents, but this did not deter her from being at her self-appointed post. When she first came out in rough weather, the fishermen begged her to return home, but they soon discovered that she was determined to remain.

When the boat had been launched she would remain in the cold, waiting anxiously for its return. Often she was in great pain, but only her attendant was aware of this. To the fisher-folk she would be cheerful, and express confidence that her lifeboat would rescue all aboard the ship. And when the lifeboat did return with the rescued people, who were sometimes half dead from exposure, there was more self-imposed work for her. She superintended the treatment of the shipwrecked folk, and arranged where they were to be taken. Many were removed to her own house, and kept there until they were able to proceed to their homes or to London. So kindly were the rescued people treated, that it became a saying along the East Coast, that to be taken care of by Miss Gurney, it was worth while being shipwrecked.

Anna Gurney died at Cromer in June, 1857, aged sixty-one. She was buried in Overstrand Churchyard, being carried to her last resting-place by fishermen who had known and loved her for many years. The news of her death had spread rapidly along the coast, and over a thousand fishermen were present at her funeral. Their sorrow was great, and they were not ashamed to show it.

The following lines, written by Anna Gurney on the death of a friend whom she dearly loved, might truly have been her own epitaph;—

Within this frame, by Jesu's grace,
High gifts and holy held their place;
A noble heart, a mighty mind,
Were here in bonds of clay confined.


There was rejoicing at Redbraes Castle, Berwickshire, in February, 1676, for Sir Patrick Hume had returned home after seventeen months' imprisonment in Stirling Castle.

No one was more delighted at his return than his little ten years' old daughter, Grizel, who loved him dearly, and was proud that he had suffered imprisonment for conscience sake. He had been imprisoned as 'a factious person,' because he refused to contribute to the support of the soldiers stationed in the country for the suppression of the meetings of the Covenanters.

Grizel was a very intelligent child, and surprised her father by her knowledge of the political events of the day, and her detestation of the Government. Some men would have been simply amused at her interest in politics, but Sir Patrick saw that she was an exceptionally clever child, and told her many things which he would have confided to few of her seniors. One thing that he told her was of his desire to get a letter conveyed to his friend Robert Baillie of Jerviswoode, who was confined in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh for rescuing a minister—his brother-in-law—from the hands of the Government's servants.

Grizel at once volunteered to take the letter, and having overcome her father's objections to sending her on such a dangerous mission, she started on her long journey to Edinburgh, which she reached without mishap.

Being at Edinburgh she had now to devise some means of getting into Robert Baillie's prison. For a child of her age to outwit the prison officials one would think an impossibility; but she did. Joanna Baillie states that she slipped in, noiselessly and unobserved, behind the jailer, and hid in a dark corner until he withdrew, when she stepped forward and presented the letter to the astonished prisoner. Whether or not this be true, it is a fact that she gained admission to the prison, delivered her letter, and escaped with the reply.

Two years later, Sir Patrick Hume was again arrested, and although he was neither tried nor told of what he was accused, he was kept in prison for fifteen months. At first he was confined at Edinburgh, but afterwards he was removed to Dumbarton Castle.

At both of these places Grizel was allowed to visit him, but the authorities never suspected that such a child would be used as a political messenger. In the presence of the jailer she would give Sir Patrick news of home. She showered kisses upon him, and delivered loving messages from her mother, sisters, and brothers. But when the jailer had withdrawn she gave her father an account of the movements of his political friends, and delivered many important verbal messages, which they had entrusted to her. By her means Sir Patrick was kept informed of his friends' actions, and was able to assist them by his advice.

On being released from Dumbarton Castle he returned to his home in Berwickshire, and for a time led a peaceful life, conscious that the Government would have him arrested again if they could find a pretext for doing so.

In October, 1683, information was brought to him that his friend, Robert Baillie, had been arrested in London, and imprisoned for alleged connection with the Rye House Plot. Sir Patrick's friendship for Robert Baillie was well known, and Grizel feared that her father would soon be arrested on a similar charge. Sir Patrick was of the same opinion, but the Government did not act with the promptitude he had expected.

It was not until nearly a year had elapsed that a lady sent word to him that soldiers had arrived at her house, and that she had discovered that they were on their way to arrest him. Instant flight was imperative, for there was no place in Redbraes Castle in which he could conceal himself from soldiers skilled in searching for enemies of the Government. His wife and Grizel—the only people in the castle who knew of his danger—discussed with him the most likely means of escaping detection, and finally it was decided that he should hide in the family vault in Polwarth Church, which stood about a mile and a half from Redbraes Castle.

In the middle of the night Grizel and a carpenter named Winter carried bed and bedding to the vault. It was a weird hiding-place for Sir Patrick, as the vault was littered with the skulls and bones of his ancestors. Grizel shuddered at the sight, but she knew that the vault was the only place which the soldiers would be unlikely to search.

They arrived at Redbraes Castle confident that they would find Sir Patrick there, and great was their surprise when they searched it from cellar to turret without finding him. Even then they would not believe that he had escaped them, so they made a second and still more thorough search. Every cottage, stable, and shed in the neighbourhood of the castle was searched, but no one examined the vaults in Polwarth Church.

Sir Patrick Hume was safe from discovery in his gruesome hiding-place, but he could not live without food, and the difficulty was to convey it to him without being detected.

This dangerous task Grizel, now nineteen years of age, undertook, and every night, when all in the castle but herself were asleep, she crept out with a stock of provisions for her father, and trudged the mile and a half of country which lay between the castle and Polwarth Church.

It was a trying journey for Grizel, for not only had she to fear being seen by the soldiers, or some villager out late on poaching bent, but she believed implicitly in ghosts—as did the majority of people in those days. Frequently she was startled by the cry of a bird aroused by her footsteps, and on several occasions a dog detected her, and barked furiously.

It can easily be understood that Grizel's visits were a great comfort to Sir Patrick, for she was the only person who ventured to go to him. She would spread out on the little table in the vault the provisions which she had brought him, and while he ate his supper she amused him by humorously relating the difficulties she met in obtaining them. Lady Hume, Winter and herself were the only people who knew that Sir Patrick was in the neighbourhood. Grizel's brothers and sisters and the servants believed that he had fled from the country, and Grizel was very anxious that they should not be undeceived, for the children might unintentionally divulge the secret, and among the servants there were, possibly, some who would be ready to earn a reward by betraying their master.

But her fear of admitting the children and servants into her secret made the task of obtaining provisions exceedingly difficult. Had they seen her taking food into her room, they would at once have suspected that it was for her father, and that he was somewhere close at hand. The only way in which she could get the food she required for him was by slipping some of her dinner from her plate into her lap. This was not an easy thing to do without being detected by some of her brothers and sisters, of whom there were many at table, she being the eldest but two of eighteen children. Once she feared that she had been discovered. Her mother had given her a large helping of chicken, knowing well that the greater portion of it would be taken that night to Sir Patrick. One of Grizel's younger brothers had noticed the large helping she had received, and was somewhat jealous that he had not been served as liberally. A few moments later he glanced again at her plate, and saw to his surprise that it was nearly empty.

With a brother's acknowledged right to make personal remarks, he loudly called attention to the fact that Grizel had eaten nearly all her big helping before anyone else had scarcely started. Lady Hume promptly reprimanded the boy, and ordered him to confine his attention to his own plate. The youngster made no further remarks concerning his sister's appetite, but Grizel often found him glancing at her during meals, and was in constant fear that he would detect her slipping the food into her lap.

After giving her father the day's news of home and political events she would start on her return journey, leaving Sir Patrick alone for another twenty-four hours in his gruesome hiding-place. Many men would have been driven out of their mind by a month's sojourn in a skull-and-bone-littered tomb, but Sir Patrick was a man of high spirits, and his daughter never once found him depressed. During a previous imprisonment he had committed to memory Buchanan's translation of the Psalms, and he obtained much comfort from repeating them while in the Polwarth vault.

One day as he sat at his little table deep in thought he fancied that he saw a skull lying on the floor move slightly. He watched it, and saw to his surprise that it was undoubtedly moving. He was not alarmed, but stretching out his cane turned over the skull and startled a mouse from underneath it.

Grizel was determined that her father should not remain in the vault longer than was absolutely necessary, and with the assistance of the trusty Winter was preparing a hiding-place for him at the castle. There was a room on the ground floor, the key of which was kept by Grizel, and under this they dug a big hole with their bare hands, fearing that the sound of a spade, if used, would be heard. Night after night, when all but they two were asleep, they scratched out the earth, and placed it on a sheet spread on the floor. Then, when their night's work was done, they silently opened the window and emptied the earth into the garden The hole in the floor they covered by placing a bed over it.

At last, when Grizel's finger nails were worn almost completely away, the subterranean hiding-place was finished, Winter placing in it a large box which he had made for the purpose. Inside the box was a bed and bedding, and fresh air was admitted through holes pierced in the lid and sides. In this box Sir Patrick was to hide whenever the soldiers searched the house.

But before telling her father that he could with safety return home Grizel examined the underground room daily, to see that it was not flooded. Feeling confident at last that the water would not percolate, she told Sir Patrick of the hiding-place prepared for him, and during the night he crept back to the castle.

When he had been there a week without anyone but Grizel, her mother, and Winter knowing of his presence, the water burst through into the subterranean room and flooded the box. Grizel was for a few minutes terror-stricken, for if the soldiers paid another visit to the castle, there would be nowhere for her father to hide, and he would be captured. She hurried to him to advise him to return that night to the vault; but being an active man he disliked the prospect of prolonged idleness, and decided to make an attempt to escape to Holland, where many of his political friends had already found safety.

Grizel now set to work to alter her father's clothes, so that he might appear to be a man of humble station. Throughout the day and all through the night she plied her needle, but her task was not finished when the news reached the castle that Robert Baillie of Jerviswoode had been executed at Edinburgh. Knowing that her father would meet a similar fate if captured, she finished his disguise quickly, and urged his instant flight. He acted on her advice, and had not been gone many hours before the soldiers arrived and searched the castle thoroughly.

After some narrow escapes from being recognised and arrested Sir Patrick arrived at London, and crossed to France, making his way thence to Holland. But before he had been there long he was declared a rebel, and his estates confiscated. Lady Hume and her children were turned out of the castle, and found themselves almost penniless. Grizel and her mother, financially assisted by some friends, journeyed to London, to petition the Government for an allowance out of the confiscated estates, and after much difficulty succeeded in obtaining a paltry pittance of £150 a year.

Sir Patrick's hatred of the Stuarts was naturally increased by the treatment his wife and children had received at their hands, and he threw himself heart and soul into the conspiracy for invading England and Scotland. He took part, under the Duke of Argyle, in the invasion of Scotland, and on the failure of the enterprise remained in hiding until he found an opportunity to escape to Ireland, and thence to Holland viâ France. Here Lady Hume, Grizel, and all the children but one soon joined him.

Sir Patrick had very little money at this time, and Grizel was soon sent back to Scotland to attend to some business on his behalf, and collect money owing to him. She was also to bring back with her a sister who had been left with friends in Scotland.

Grizel having performed the business entrusted to her, sailed for Holland with her sister, but before they had been at sea many hours a terrible storm arose, which, of course, considerably prolonged the voyage. This would not have been a great hardship, had the captain been an ordinary man. He happened to be a cowardly bully, and being short of food for himself, he forcibly took from Grizel and her sister the biscuits which they had brought aboard for their own use. These he ate in their presence. But this was not the worst. Grizel had paid for a cabin bed for herself and sister, but the captain appropriated it, and they were compelled to sleep on the floor. However, they arrived in safety at their destination, and Sir Patrick was exceedingly pleased with the way in which Grizel had transacted his business.

The three years and a half which followed were comparatively uneventful for the British exiles in Holland. Grizel devoted herself almost entirely to domestic duties, for her father was too poor to keep servants, and the only assistance she had was from a little girl who was paid to come in daily to wash the plates and dishes. Every morning she rose at six o'clock, and was busy until she retired to bed at night. She washed and dressed the children, assisted her father in teaching them, mended their clothes, and performed other duties which it would be tedious to enumerate. The few hours during which she managed to be free from domestic duties she devoted to practising music and studying French and German.

Grizel was now a beautiful young woman, and her gentle manner and sweetness made her a favourite of all with whom she came into contact. Two Scotch exiles fell in love with her, but she declined their offers of marriage, greatly to the surprise of her father, who did not know that she was the promised wife of another man—George Baillie, son of his old friend Robert Baillie. George and Grizel had known each other for many years. George was visiting his father in prison at Edinburgh when Grizel, to the surprise of both of them, slipped out from a dark corner and delivered her father's letter.

The bravery of the little girl made a lasting impression on the boy, and during the troublous years that followed he managed to see her on several occasions. Each liked the other, and their liking changed to love long before they were out of their teens. George's estates had been confiscated, and he was serving as a private in the Prince of Orange's Guards, where he had for his chum one of Grizel's brothers. When off duty he was frequently at the Humes' house, and there, one day, Grizel promised to become his wife. They kept their engagement a secret, for Grizel did not wish it to be known until the good days, which she was convinced were in store for Great Britain, arrived.

The good days came at last. The Prince of Orange's troops landed at Torbay, and the last of the Stuart kings fled from the land he had misruled. Honours were now conferred upon the men who had suffered at the hands of Charles II. and James II. Sir Patrick Hume had his estates restored to him, and was created Lord Polwarth. Six years later he was made Earl of Marchmont and Lord Chancellor of Scotland. The queen greatly admired Grizel, and asked her to become one of her maids of honour, but she declined the offer, as George Baillie, whose estate had been restored to him, wanted her to fulfil her promise. She was quite willing to do so, and they were married on September 17, 1692.

In 1703 Lady Hume died. On her death-bed she looked at those standing around her and asked anxiously 'Where is Grizel?' Grizel, who had been standing back so that her beloved mother should not see her tears, came forward at once. 'My dear Grizel,' Lady Hume said, holding her by the hand, 'blessed be you above all, for a helpful child you have been to me.'

Grizel's married life was exceedingly happy, and lasted for forty-six years. She often declared that during those years she and her husband never had the slightest quarrel or misunderstanding. Throughout her married life she was indefatigable in good works for the poor, and she continued her kindly deeds after her husband's death. The rebellion of 1745 caused much distress in her native land, and her money was given freely to the ruined of both parties. Her own income had been greatly reduced, as her impoverished tenants were unable to pay her, and soon she found herself pressed for money. All that she had possessed had been given to those in distress, and now, in her eighty-first year, she was unable to pay for the common necessaries of life. She called together the tradesmen, whom she had hitherto paid promptly, and told them that she was now poor, and would have to remain so until her tenants were prosperous enough to pay their rents. Perhaps they would not be in a position to do so during her lifetime, and she left it to them, the tradesmen, to decide whether or not they would continue to serve her, and run the risk of not being paid. Unanimously and promptly the tradesmen declared that, as heretofore, she should have the best of their stock. Joanna Baillie gives their reply in the following lines:—

No, noble dame! this must not be.
With heart as warm and hand as free
Still thee and thine we'll serve with pride,
As when fair fortune graced your side.
The best of all our stores afford
Shall daily smoke upon thy board;
And should'st thou never clear the score,
Heaven, for thy sake, will bless our store.

The tradesmen were paid eventually, but not by Lady Grizel Baillie, for she died on December 6, 1746, before prosperity came to her tenants. A long life had been given her, and she had spent it nobly exhibiting all the good qualities which a woman should possess.


One morning in the spring of 1638 a large number of people had assembled at a Richmond Church to witness the marriage of John Hutchinson, eldest son of Sir Thomas Hutchinson, with Lucy Apsley, the daughter of Sir Allen Apsley. The bride, who was only eighteen years of age, was, according to her contemporaries, exceedingly beautiful and very accomplished; her future husband was learned, well-bred and handsome. Both had a host of friends, and thus it was that a large crowd had gathered at the church to witness their marriage.

The time for the bride to arrive at the church had come; but she was not there. Minutes passed, and soon a messenger arrived with the news that the marriage would not take place that day. 'But why was it postponed?' This was the question which the disappointed friends asked, and the answer was soon forthcoming.

Lucy Apsley had been seized with small-pox on her wedding morning. In those days small-pox was far more feared than it is at the present time, and the crowd quickly dispersed, some of the people fearing that the messenger who brought the bad news might also have brought the dreaded disease.

For some time it was thought that Lucy Apsley would die from the complaint, but she recovered. There were many people, however, who declared that it would have been better if she had died, for the once beautiful girl was now much disfigured, and the Society gossips expressed their confidence that John Hutchinson would never marry her.

It was unjustifiable for these people to talk of John Hutchinson as if he were a scoundrel, for he was a manly, honourable, young fellow, and quite unlikely to refuse to marry Lucy Apsley because she had lost her beauty. He told her that he was thankful to God for having spared her, and urged her to marry him as soon as it was possible.

They were married at St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, on July 3, 1638, the bride presenting such a shocking appearance that the clergyman who performed the ceremony could not look at her a second time. It is highly satisfactory to be able to say that in the course of time Lucy Hutchinson regained some of her beauty; but the contemporary writer's statement that she became as beautiful as ever she had been must be received with a certain amount of doubt.

However, it is not for her beauty but for her bravery that Lucy Hutchinson deserves to be remembered. When she had spent a few happy years of married life, the troubles which ended in the execution of Charles I. began. It was impossible for any man or woman to refrain from siding with one or the other party in this momentous struggle, for any person who claimed to be neutral would have been suspected by both parties. Lucy Hutchinson's husband was of a studious disposition, and had little taste for the frivolities and dissipation in which the majority of men of his position indulged, and it is therefore not surprising that, when it became necessary to take part in the struggle, he determined to espouse the cause of the Parliamentary party.

This step caused Lucy Hutchinson some sorrow, for her brother and many other members of her family were fighting for King Charles. However, she felt that it was her duty to hold the same political opinions as her husband, and she became a staunch Parliamentarian.

The Cavaliers, hearing that John Hutchinson had proclaimed sympathy with the Roundheads, decided to take him prisoner immediately, but warning of their intention reached him, and he fled to Leicestershire. Lucy joined him at the earliest opportunity, but they had little peace, for the Cavaliers were constantly in search of John Hutchinson.

After fleeing from place to place he arrived at Nottingham, soon after the battle of Edgehill. The Cavaliers were on their way to take possession of Nottingham, and John Hutchinson and others urged the citizens to defend the town. The militia was organised, and John Hutchinson was appointed a lieutenant-colonel.

Lucy Hutchinson was at this time living at their home at Owthorpe, but her husband, thinking that she would be safer in Nottingham than alone in a neighbourhood which abounded with Royalists, sent a troop of horse to remove her by night. It was an adventurous journey, but was accomplished safely. Finding that the citizens of Nottingham were prepared to offer a determined resistance, the Cavaliers did not attack the town, but passed on with the intention of returning later to capture it.

The citizens of Nottingham, pleased with the energy shown by Colonel Hutchinson, elected him Governor of Nottingham Castle. It was a high post for a man only twenty-seven years of age, but Colonel Hutchinson soon proved that he was well fitted for it The castle, although standing in an excellent position, was in a dilapidated condition and required much strengthening before it could be considered strong enough to withstand a determined attack. The required alterations were carried out under Colonel Hutchinson's supervision, and at length all that was needed to withstand a siege was a stock of provisions and a larger garrison. These, however, the governor could not obtain.

A period of waiting followed. Again and again the rumour spread that the Cavaliers were approaching to capture the castle, but they did not attack it. Their guns were heard in the distance, but for some reason known only to themselves they did not deliver the long-expected assault. Lucy Hutchinson had an unenviable time. Loving a peaceful, domestic life, she was compelled to live in the midst of turmoil. She saw to the feeding of the soldiers, a trying task considering that so far the Parliamentary party had allowed her husband nothing whatever towards defraying the cost of maintaining the garrison, and that the stock of provisions was running low. Moreover she was often troubled concerning the safety of her relatives. Her eldest brother, Sir Allen Apsley, of whom she was exceedingly fond, was fighting gallantly for the king, and believing that the Parliamentarians would triumph, she feared that if he escaped death on the battle-field, it would only be to suffer imprisonment and the confiscation of his estate.

At last, in 1644, the Earl of Newcastle sent a messenger to Colonel Hutchinson calling upon him to surrender Nottingham Castle to the Royalists, a demand that was promptly refused. 'If his lordship would have that poor castle,' the colonel said to the messenger, 'he must wade to it in blood.'

The messenger departed, and Colonel Hutchinson made preparations to withstand a siege. Greatly to his surprise, however, the attempt on the castle was not made, the Earl of Newcastle having been compelled to march his forces to the assistance of Royalists in another part of the country.

Before long, however, the citizens of Nottingham veered round to the Royalist party, and decided to betray the town. One night they secretly admitted 600 Cavaliers, commanded by Colonel Hutchinson's cousin, Sir Richard Byron, and before daybreak the town was in their hands. But not the castle. With only eighty men, Colonel Hutchinson determined to hold it against the enemy until not a man remained alive. His force should have been much larger, but many of his men had on the previous evening quitted the castle without permission and entered the town. While enjoying themselves the Cavaliers arrived and made them prisoners.

Among the Parliamentarians who were taken prisoners in Nottingham were the surgeons, and the defenders of the castle entered into the fight with the unpleasant belief that if they were wounded there would be no one to attend to their wounds.

They were mistaken. When the battle had been raging for some minutes, and the wounded defenders were being removed from further danger, Lucy Hutchinson came forward, and skilfully and tenderly dressed their wounds. For five days, attending to the wounded was her chief duty, and many a poor fellow's life was saved by her promptitude and skill.

One day, while resting from her labours, she saw three Royalists being led away to the dungeon. They were wounded, and had been captured in the latest assault on the castle. Seeing that they were wounded, Lucy Hutchinson at once dressed their injuries, and while thus employed one of her husband's officers angrily upbraided her for having pity on them, concluding with the assertion that 'his soul abhorred to see this favour to the enemies of God.'

'I've done nothing but my duty,' she replied. 'These are our enemies, but they are also our fellow-creatures.'

For five days the little band of Roundheads held out against the strong force of Cavaliers, and they were fully prepared for a long siege, when, to their surprise, they saw the enemy beat a hurried retreat. In a short time they knew the cause. A strong Parliamentary force was advancing to the relief of Nottingham Castle.

For his good defence of the castle, Parliament ratified the appointment made by the citizens, and promoted Colonel Hutchinson to be governor of the town as well as of the castle.

Unable to obtain the castle by force of arms, the Royalists now tempted Colonel Hutchinson, by offering him any terms he might name, if he would surrender it and join their party. These attempts to suborn him he ignored, and held the castle for the Parliamentary party until peace was declared, and he was able to return with his wife and children to his ruined home at Owthorpe. In the meanwhile, Lucy Hutchinson was anxious concerning her brother, Sir Allen Apsley, who had held Barnstaple for the king as gallantly as her husband had held Nottingham Castle for the Parliament. He was a marked man, but Colonel Hutchinson used his now great influence to obtain immunity from molestation for the gallant Cavalier.

Until the death of Cromwell, Lucy Hutchinson and her husband lived very happily with their children at their rebuilt Owthorpe home. But immediately after that event troubles began. The Royalists, hoping to bring about a restoration of monarchy, were eager to obtain arms, and planned a raid on Owthorpe; but their designs were repeated to Lucy Hutchinson by a boy who overheard the conspiracy, and when the robbers arrived they were speedily put to flight.

As the prospects of a Restoration became greater, Lucy Hutchinson grew alarmed for the safety of her husband, who was one of the men who had signed the death-warrant of Charles I. The friends of the exiled king had promised him pardon and preferment if he would become a Royalist, but this he had firmly declined to do.

On May 29, 1660, Charles II. was restored to the throne, and little mercy could be expected from him by those who had signed his father's death-warrant. Some of Colonel Hutchinson's friends urged him to follow Ingoldsby's example, and declare that Cromwell had held his hand and compelled him to sign it, but he rejected this advice with the greatest indignation.

In a terrible state of anxiety Lucy Hutchinson applied to her brother for assistance and advice. Sir Allen Apsley was naturally in high favour at court, where his gallant fight for Charles I. was well known, and he was glad of an opportunity to help the brother-in-law who had protected him in time of danger. Moreover, there was another reason why he was anxious to help Colonel Hutchinson—he, Sir Allen, had recently married his sister.

Sir Allen Apsley worked exceedingly hard to obtain his brother-in-law's pardon, and at last he had the joy of telling his sister that her husband's name was inserted in the Act of Oblivion, and his estates unconditionally freed to him.

Great was Lucy Hutchinson's joy at the pardon of her husband, and she looked forward to spending the remainder of their days in peace at their beloved Owthorpe. Alas! this was not to be. There were many Royalists who were highly displeased at Colonel Hutchinson's receiving a pardon, and they determined to ruin him. Very conveniently they discovered, or said that they had discovered, a Puritan plot for a rising, and that Colonel Hutchinson was one of the conspirators. As far as Colonel Hutchinson was concerned the story was utterly untrue, but, nevertheless, on the strength of it, he was arrested for treason, carried to London and placed in the Tower. After ten months in the Tower, during which his wife visited him regularly, he was removed to Sandown Castle, where, in a damp cell against the walls of which the sea washed, he contracted ague. Lucy Hutchinson implored the governor to be permitted to share her husband's prison, but he refused, and treated both her and him with brutality.

Sir Allen Apsley, hearing of the treatment accorded to his brother-in-law, used his influence to bring about a change in his condition, but the alteration came too late, and he died on September 11, 1664. Lucy Hutchinson was not present when he died, but the message he sent to her was:—'Let her, as she is above other women, show herself on this occasion a good Christian, and above the pitch of ordinary minds.'

Little is known of Lucy Hutchinson after her husband's death, beyond that she soon sold Owthorpe, and that some years later she referred to herself as being in adversity. By adversity she probably referred to her widowed state, for it is very unlikely that with many rich relatives a woman of simple tastes would be in want of money. But of this we may be sure: that, whether old age found her rich or poor, it found her a noble-minded, Christian Englishwoman.


When Samuel White Baker decided to make an attempt to discover the sources of the Nile, his young wife determined to accompany him and share his dangers and hardships. On April 15, 1861, they started from Cairo, and after a twenty-six days' journey by boat they disembarked at Korosko, and plunged into the dreary desert. Their camels travelled at a rapid pace, but the heat was terrible, and Mrs. Baker was taken seriously ill before arriving at Berber. She was, however, sufficiently recovered to accompany her husband when he started off along the dry bed of the Atbara, and soon had a novel experience, which Baker in The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia, describes as follows:—

'At half-past eight I was lying half asleep upon my bed by the margin of the river, when I fancied that I heard a rumbling like distant thunder. Hardly had I raised my head to listen more attentively, when a confusion of voices arose from the Arabs' camp, with the sound of many feet; and in a few minutes they rushed into my camp, shouting to my men in the darkness, "El Bahr! El Bahr!"'[1] The rolling flood was sweeping down the dry bed of the river. 'We were up in an instant. Many of the people were asleep on the clean sand in the river's bed; these were quickly awakened by the Arabs.... Hardly had they (the Arabs) descended, when the sound of the river in the darkness beneath told us that the water had arrived; and the men, dripping with wet, had just sufficient time to drag their heavy burdens up the bank. All was darkness and confusion. The river had arrived like "a thief in the night."'

When daylight came a mighty river was flowing where yesterday there was only dry land.

Proceeding to Kassala, Baker engaged additional camels and attendants, and then crossing the Atbara at Korasi proceeded to Sofi, where he decided to halt for five months. Big game abounded, and Baker enjoyed excellent sport. Shooting and studying Arabic occupied nearly all his attention, until Mrs. Baker was taken ill with gastric fever. For a time it was not expected that she would recover; but, fortunately, she was spared to assist her husband in the arduous labours which followed.

Mr. and Mrs. Baker arrived at Khartoum on June 11, 1862, and remained there for six months, waiting for the rains to cease, and for the northerly winds to set in. Quitting Khartoum on December 18, 1862, they arrived at Gondokoro on February 2, 1863. Baker was the first Englishman to visit the place, and the reception which the slave-traders accorded him was far from cordial. Believing him to be a spy of the British Government, they concealed their slaves, and waited anxiously for him to depart. In the meanwhile they made friends with his men, sowed discontent amongst them, and succeeded in inciting them to make a raid for food on the natives in the next village.

Baker, hearing of the proposed raid, promptly forbade it, whereupon his men mutinied. Seizing the ringleader, Baker proceeded to give him a sound thrashing, but was at once attacked by the rest of the men, and would certainly have been killed had not Mrs. Baker rushed to the rescue. Her sudden appearance on the scene—for it was known she was ill with fever—and her appeals to some of the men to help her save her husband caused the mutineers to hesitate. Instantly Baker saw his opportunity. 'Fall in!' he commanded, and so accustomed were the men to obeying his orders that the majority fell in instantly. The ringleader and a few others refused to obey, and Baker was about to administer another thrashing to the former when his wife besought him not to do so. He acted on her advice, and promised to overlook the mutineers' conduct if they apologised, which they promptly and profusely did.

The slave-traders now declared that they would not permit the Bakers to penetrate into the interior, but, ignoring the threats, husband and wife resumed their journey. Soon they came into contact with a well-armed party of these traders, and a fight would have resulted had not Mrs. Baker suggested that they should make friends with the leader. 'Had I been alone,' Baker writes, 'I should have been too proud to have sought the friendship of the sullen trader; and the moment on which success depended would have been lost.... The fate of the expedition was retrieved by Mrs. Baker.'

It was, of course, a trying task for Mr. and Mrs. Baker to be on friendly terms with a slave-trader, and they both felt it to be so, but it was productive of good. The slave-trader informed Baker that his (Baker's) men intended to mutiny and kill him and his wife. Baker was on his guard, and nipped the mutiny in the bud.

After many hardships and perils borne uncomplainingly by Mrs. Baker, they reached the territory of the King of Unyoro, where his majesty's brother, M'gambi, was continually asking for presents. Having received a great number from Baker, M'gambi went on to demand that Mrs. Baker might be given to him. 'Drawing my revolver quietly, I held it within two feet of his chest,' Baker writes, 'and looking at him with undisguised contempt, I told him that if I touched the trigger, not all the men could save him: and that it he dared to repeat the insult I would shoot him on the spot. At the same time, I explained to him that in my country such insolence would entail bloodshed; and I looked upon him as an ignorant ox who knew no better; and that this excuse alone could save him. My wife, naturally indignant, had risen from her seat, and maddened with the excitement of the moment, she made a little speech in Arabic (not a word of which he understood) with a countenance almost as amiable as the head of Medusa. Altogether the mise-en-scène utterly astonished him. The woman, Bacheta, although savage, had appropriated the insult to her mistress, and she also fearlessly let fly at him, translating as nearly as she could the complimentary address that "Medusa" had just delivered.

Whether this little coup de théâtre had so impressed M'gambi with British female independence, that he wished to be "off his bargain," I cannot say; but, with an air of complete astonishment, he said; "Don't be angry! I had no intention of offending you by asking for your wife; I will give you a wife if you want one; and I thought you had no objection to give me yours: it is my custom to give my visitors pretty wives, and I thought you might exchange. Don't make a fuss about it; if you don't like it, there's an end of it: I will never mention it again." This very practical apology I received very sternly.'

After this interview with M'gambi, the Bakers resumed their journey, escorted by 300 local men, whose services Baker soon discovered it would be advisable to dispense with. He was now left with only twelve men, and it was doubtful whether he would be able to reach his destination and get back to Gondokoro in time to catch the last boat to Khartoum that season. If he failed to do so, it meant another year in Central Africa, and he did not wish his wife to endure that. But Mrs. Baker was interested deeply in her husband's work, and urged him not to consider her health before accomplishing his task.

A few days later she received a sun-stroke, and for several days lay in a litter in an unconscious state. Brain fever followed, and no one believed that she could possibly recover. A halt was made, and the men put a new handle to the pick-axe ready to dig a grave, the site of which had been selected. But the preparations were premature. Mrs. Baker recovered consciousness, and two days later the weary march was resumed, to be crowned on March 14, 1864, with success, for on that day they saw before them the tremendous sheet of water now well known by the name the discoverer gave it, there and then,—the Albert Nyanza.

We can imagine Mrs. Baker's joy on finding that their expedition had been crowned with success, and that the perils and hardships which she had shared uncomplainingly with her husband had not been endured in vain. It would perhaps have only been natural if she had now urged her husband to return to civilisation as quickly as possible, but she did not do so.

For thirteen days they explored in canoes the eastern shore of the newly-discovered lake, coming at last to the mouth of Somerset or Victoria Nile. Ascending the river they discovered a series of cataracts, ending in a magnificent fall. These Baker named Murchison Falls, as a compliment to the President of the Royal Geographical Society. Continuing the journey on foot, they came to a deserted village, where they were compelled to remain for two months through the treachery of the King of Unyoro. This dusky potentate had promised Baker every assistance that he could give, but having decided to make an attack on two neighbouring tribes he asked the Englishman to accompany his force and fight for him. This Baker refused to do, and, in revenge, the king sent secret orders to Baker's followers to desert him, and leave him and his wife to starve. In a desolate spot, unable to obtain provisions, Mr. and Mrs. Baker existed for two months, growing weaker daily from fever and want of proper food. However, after many attempts, Baker managed to obtain an interview with the king, and persuaded him to treat them humanely. The king would not, however, allow them to quit his territory, and it was not until November, 1864, that they succeeded in escaping.

After many adventures they arrived at Khartoum on May 3, 1865, where their arrival created great surprise among the Europeans, who had long since been convinced that they were dead.

On reaching England in October, 1865, the Bakers were given an enthusiastic reception. Various learned societies at home and abroad bestowed their highest honours upon Baker, and Queen Victoria conferred a knighthood upon him.

Mrs. Baker's bravery in accompanying her husband through so many dangers was naturally praised by all classes, and it was felt by many people that some honour should be conferred upon her. In Messrs. Murray and White's Sir Samuel Baker: a Memoir (Macmillan), it is stated that Mr. W. E. Gladstone proposed that a subscription should be started for presenting a suitable testimonial to her. This was, however, prior to her becoming Lady Baker, and perhaps it was considered that having received an honour the testimonial was unnecessary. At any rate Mr. Gladstone's suggestion was not carried out.

In the spring of 1869, Sir Samuel and Lady Baker returned to Africa. The Khedive had appointed Sir Samuel Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile Basin, to suppress the slave-trade, to develop the natural resources of the country, and open the great lakes to navigation. This was a formidable task, and made more difficult by the jealousy of the Egyptian authorities, who neglected to give him the support which they should have done.

For two years Sir Samuel Baker was busy fighting slave-traders and native tribes, and throughout this exciting period he was accompanied by his wife, who was subjected to the same dangers as he or any man in his force. At one time she was in great danger of being laid low at any moment by bullet or spear. This was during the retreat from Masendi, a position which Sir Samuel Baker was compelled to abandon on June 14, 1872. For eighty miles the little band, composed of about 100 men, marched in double file through tangled forest and gigantic grass, fighting the whole distance. Bullets whizzed past Lady Baker, and many a spear went within an inch of her, but unalarmed she marched on carrying ammunition. The enemy hoped to annihilate the party before it got clear of the long grass, but the determined men who were fighting for their lives discovered the ambuscades and drove out the enemy. Night and day the hidden foe harassed the party, and Lady Baker knew that any moment might be her last. Nevertheless, she trudged on with her burden of ammunition, and on some occasions marched sixteen miles at a stretch. It was a weary march through that grass-jungle—which harboured hundreds of the enemy—and it seemed that it would never end. To accelerate their retreat, the cattle were abandoned and loads of valuable goods were burnt or thrown away. At times it seemed as if they could not possibly escape, and, in fact, news reached England that they had been slaughtered during the retreat from Masendi.

However, they got through safely, and shortly afterwards inflicted a crushing defeat on the enemy. Lady Baker was present at this battle, but although the bullets whizzed to the right, to the left, and above her, she escaped injury. Sir Samuel not only praised her bravery, but he wrote of her: 'She has always been my prime minister, to give good counsel in moments of difficulty and danger.'

On completion of the four years' service for which the Khedive had engaged him, Sir Samuel Baker returned with his wife to England, where once more they received an enthusiastic reception. When they again travelled abroad it was in more civilised parts of the world, and unattended by the perils which had assailed them in Africa. Sir Samuel Baker died on December 30, 1893, at Sandford Orleigh, near Newton Abbot, aged 72. He was a brave and clever man, but not a little of his success was due to the fact that he had a wife who shared his ambition, and did all that lay in her power to bring his undertakings to a successful issue.

[1] The river.


The Young Girl's Library.

TWO GIRLS IN A SIEGE. A Tale of the Great Civil War. By EDITH C. KENYON, Author of "Queen of Nine Days," etc. With Three Illustrations by J. MACFARLANE.

THE SHEPHERD'S FAIRY. By the Author of "Mr. Mygale's Hobby." With Three Illustrations.

MISS NETTIE'S GIRLS. A Story of London East End Life. By CONSTANCE EVELYN. With Three Illustrations.

GWEN'S INFLUENCE. By FRANCES TOFT, Author of "Uncle Ronald," etc. With Three Illustrations by CHARLES HORRELL.

CHRISTIE REDFERN'S TROUBLES. By MRS. ROBERTSON. With Three Illustrations by E. BARNARD LINTOTT, Author of "The Orphans of Glen Elder."

ANGEL'S BROTHER. By ELEANOR A. STOOKE, Author of "The Bottom of the Bread Pan." With Three Illustrations by W. H. C. GROOME.


Popular Stories


Issued by
The Religious Tract Society
4 Bouverie Street and
65 St. Paul's Churchyard
London, E.C.


HALF BROTHERS. By Hesba Stretton. With Four Illustrations by Lancelot Speed.

CAROLA. By Hesba Stretton. Illustrated.

COBWEBS AND CABLES. By Hesba Stretton. Illustrated.

THROUGH A NEEDLE'S EYE. By Hesba Stretton. Illustrated.

DAVID LLOYD'S LAST WILL. By Hesba Stretton. Illustrated.

THE SOUL OF HONOUR. By Hesba Stretton. With Frontispiece.


Miss Everett-Green has long been known and appreciated as a practised and skilled writer, and while many of her tales are specially suited for girls, they will also be read with profit and interest by adults. The Society is issuing the whole series of her longer stories in a uniform style.

THE CONSCIENCE OF ROGER TREHERN. By Evelyn Everett-Green. Illustrated.

JOINT GUARDIANS. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With a Frontispiece.

MARCUS STRATFORD'S CHARGE; or, Roy's Temptation. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With a Frontispiece.

ALWYN RAVENDALE. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With Frontispiece by Harold Copping.

LENORE ANNANDALE'S STORY. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With a Frontispiece.

THE HEAD OF THE HOUSE. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With a Frontispiece.

THE MISTRESS OF LYDGATE PRIORY; or, The Story of a Long Life. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With a Frontispiece.

THE PERCIVALS. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With a Frontispiece.




THE LOST CLUE. By Mrs. Walton. With Illustrations by Adolf Thiede.

A PEEP BEHIND THE SCENES. By Mrs. Walton. Illustrated.

WAS I RIGHT? By Mrs. Walton. Illustrated.

DOCTOR FORESTER. By Mrs. Walton. With Four Illustrations by Ernest Prater.

SCENES IN THE LIFE OF AN OLD ARM-CHAIR. By Mrs. Walton. Illustrated.

OLIVE'S STORY; or, Life at Ravenscliffe. By Mrs. Walton. Illustrated.



THE MENDER; A Story of Modern Domestic Life. By Amy Le Feuvre. Illustrated.

ODD MADE EVEN. By Amy Le Feuvre. Seven Illustrations by Harold Copping.

HEATHER'S MISTRESS. By Amy Le Feuvre. With Fifteen Illustrations by J. S. Crompton.



DWELL DEEP; or Hilda Thorn's Life Story. By Amy Le Feuvre.

ODD. By Amy Le Feuvre. Illustrated.

A LITTLE MAID. By Amy Le Feuvre.

A PUZZLING PAIR. By Amy Le Feuvre. With Illustrations by Eveline Lance.


The Bouverie Florin Library.

A New Series of Interesting Stories. Each with Title-page and Illustrations in Colour. Attractively bound. Large crown 8vo, Cloth Gilt, 2s. each.

THE AWAKENING OF ANTHONY WEIR. By SILAS K. HOCKING. With coloured and other illustrations.

IN THE DAYS OF THE GIRONDE. A Story for Girls. By THEKLA. With coloured illustrations by W. E. WIGFULL.

MONEY AND THE MAN. By H. M. WARD. With coloured illustrations by A. TWIDLE.

THE CHARIOTS OF THE LORD: A Romance of the Time of James II. and the coming of William of Orange. With four coloured illustrations by ADOLF THIEDE.

A ROSE OF YORK. By FLORENCE BONE. With coloured illustrations by DUDLEY TENNANT.

THE WONDER CHILD: An Australian Story. By ETHEL TURNER. With coloured and other illustrations.

FROM PRISON TO PARADISE: A Story of English Peasant Life in 1557. By ALICE LANG. With coloured and other illustrations.

A HERO IN THE STRIFE. By LOUISA C. SILKE. With coloured frontispiece by J. FINNEMORE.

ADNAH: A Tale of the Time of Christ. By J. BRECKENRIDGE ELLIS. With coloured title-page and frontispiece.

LIVING IT OUT. By H. M. WARD, Author of 'Money and the Man,' etc. With three coloured illustrations by W. E. WIGFULL.

THE TROUBLE MAN: or, The Wards of St. James. By EMILY P. WEAVER. With three coloured illustrations by DUDLEY TENNANT.

THE MEN OF THE MOUNTAIN. A Stirring Tale of the Franco-German War of 1870-1871. By S. R. CROCKETT, Author of 'The White Plumes of Navarre,' 'The Lilac Sunbonnet,' &c. Illustrated.

THE LOST CLUE. By Mrs. O. F. WALTON, Author of 'A Peep Behind the Scenes,' &c. Illustrated.

LOVE, THE INTRUDER. A Modern Romance. By HELEN H. WATSON, Author of 'Andrew Goodfellow,' &c. Illustrated.

THE FIGHTING LINE. By DAVID LYALL. Author of 'The Gold that Perisheth,' &c. Illustrated.

THE HIGHWAY OF SORROW: A Story of Modern Russia. By Hesba Stretton. With 4 Illustrations by J. Finnemore, R.I.

VEILED HEARTS: A Romance of Modern Egypt. By Rachel Willard. With 3 Illustrations.

SUNDAY SCHOOL ROMANCES. By Alfred B. Cooper, with 8 Illustrations.

THE COSSART COUSINS. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With 4 Illustrations by Gordon Browne, R.I.

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR. By Evelyn Everett-Green. With Frontispiece by Lancelot Speed.

GREYFRIARS. By E. Everett-Green. With Frontispiece by Ernest Prater.

PEGGY SPRY. By H. M. Ward. With 3 illustrations by Ernest Prater.

The 'Queen' Library.

A New Series of Delightful Stories for younger Girls, Each with three Coloured Illustrations: Large crown 8vo. Attractively bound in Cloth Gilt, 2s. 6d.

MARGARET, or, The Hidden Treasure. By N.F.P.K. With three coloured illustrations by VICTOR PROUT.

AGAINST THE WORLD. By EVELYN R. GARRATT, Author of 'Free to Serve.' With three coloured illustrations by J. A. SYMINGTON.

LITTLE MISS. By M. B. MANWELL, Author of 'The Captain's Bunk,' 'Daisy's Knight,' etc. With three coloured illustrations by F. E. HILEY.

BELLE AND DOLLY. By ANNE BEALE. With three coloured illustrations by A. TWIDLE.



Well Illustrated.

True Incidents in the Lives of the Great and Good.
WIND AND WAVE. A Tale of the Siege of Leyden.
CEDAR CREEK; Or, from Shanty to Settlement.
Or, Great Victories in the Fight for Freedom.
Or, The Boy's Book of Adventures.
THE BLACK TROOPERS. And Other Stories.
A RACE FOR LIFE. And Other Tales.
Adventures and Perils of Protestant Heroes.
And Other Stories of the Cree and Salteaux Indians.
FRANK LAYTON. An Australian Story.
A Tale of the Irish Rebellion.
Daring Deeds on Land and Sea.
Or, Work and Adventure around the Goodwin Sands.
SAXBY. A Tale of the Commonwealth Time.