After a few years of my collecting funds spasmodically, a number of our local friends got "cold feet." Reports started, not circulated by well-wishers, that it was all a piece of personal vanity, that no such thing was needed, and if built would prove a white elephant, to support which I would be going round with my hat in my hand worrying the merchants. We had at that time some ninety thousand dollars in hand. I laid the whole story before the Governor, Sir Ralph Williams, a man by no means prejudiced in favour of prohibition. He was, however, one who knew what the city needed, and realized that it was a big lack and required a big remedy.
A letter which I published in all the St. John's papers, describing my passing fifteen drunken men on the streets before morning service on Christmas Day, brought forth angry denials of the actual facts, and my statement of the number of saloons in the city was also contradicted. But a saloon is not necessarily a place licensed by the Government or city to make men drunk—for the majority are unlicensed, and a couple of experiences which my men had in looking for sailors who had shipped, been given advances, and gone off and got drunk in shebeens, proved the number to be very much higher than even I had estimated it.
Sir Ralph thought the matter over and called a public meeting in the ballroom of Government House. He had a remarkable personality and no fear of conventions. After thoroughly endorsing the plan for the Institute, and the need for it, he asked each of the many citizens who had responded to his invitation, "Will you personally stand by the larger scheme of a two hundred thousand dollar building, or will you stand by the sixty thousand dollar building with the thirty thousand dollar endowment fund, or will you do nothing at all?" It was proven that when it came to the point of going on record, practically all who really took the slightest interest in the matter were in favour of the larger plan—if I would undertake to raise the money. My own view, since more than justified, was that only so large a building could ever hope to meet the requirements and only such a comprehensive institution could expect to carry its own expenses. I preferred refunding the ninety thousand dollars to the various donors and dropping the whole business to embarking on the smaller scheme.
That meeting did a world of good. It cleared the atmosphere; and it is only fresh air which most of these things really need—just as does a consumptive patient. The plan was now on the shoulders of the citizens; it was no longer one man's hobby. Enemies, like the Scribes and Pharisees of old, knew better than to tackle a crowd, and with the splendid gift of Messrs. Bowring Brothers of a site on the water-side on the main street, costing thirteen thousand dollars, and those of Job Brothers, Harvey and Company, and Macpherson Brothers of twenty-five hundred dollars each, the fund grew like Jonah's gourd; and in the year of 1911, with approximately one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars in hand, we actually came to the time for laying the foundation stone. The hostility of enemies was not over. Such an institute is a fighting force, and involves contest and therefore enemies. So we decided to make this occasion as much of an event as we could. Through friends in England we obtained the promise of King George V that if we connected the foundation stone with Buckingham Palace by wire, he would, after the ceremony in Westminster Abbey on his Coronation Day, press a button at three in the afternoon and lay the stone across the Atlantic. The good services of friends in the Anglo-American Telegraph Company did the rest.
On the fateful day His Excellency the Governor came down and made an appropriate and patriotic speech. Owing to the difference in time of about three hours and twenty minutes, it was shortly before twelve o'clock with us. The noonday gun signal from the Narrows was fired during His Excellency's address. Then followed a prayer of invocation by His Lordship the Bishop of Newfoundland and Bermuda—and then, a dead silence and pause. Every one was waiting for our newly crowned King to put that stone into place. Only a moment had passed, the Governor had just said, "We will wait for the King," when "Bing, bang, bang," went the gong signifying that His Majesty was at the other end of the wire. Up went the national flag, and slowly but surely the great stone began to move. A storm of cheering greeted the successful effort; and all that was left for our enemies to say was, "It was a fake." They claimed that we had laid the stone ourselves. Nor might they have been so far off the mark as they supposed, for we had a man with a knife under that platform to make that stone come down if anything happened that the wire device did not work. You cannot go back on your King whatever else you do, and to permit any grounds to exist for supposing that he had not been punctual was unthinkable. But fortunately for all concerned our subterfuge was unnecessary.
I have omitted so far to state one of the main reasons why the Institute to our mind was so desirable. That was because no undenominational work is carried on practically in the whole country. Religion is tied up in bundles and its energies used to divide rather than to unite men. No Y.M.C.A. or Y.W.C.A. could exist in the Colony for that reason. The Boys' Brigade which we had originally started could not continue, any more than the Boy Scouts can now. Catholic Cadets, Church Lads Brigade, Methodist Guards, Presbyterian Highland Brigade—are all names symbolic of the dividing influences of "religion." In no place of which I know would a Y.M.C.A. be more desirable; and a large meeting held in the Institute this present spring decided that in no town anywhere was a Y.W.C.A. more needed.
In another place in this book I have spoken of the problem of alcohol and fishermen. A man does not need alcohol and is far better without it. A man who sees two lights when there is only one is not wanted at the wheel. The people who sell alcohol know that just as well as we do, but for paltry gain they are unpatriotic enough to barter their earthly country as well as their heavenly one, and to be branded with the knowledge that they are cursing men and ruining families. The filibuster deserves the name no less because he does his destructive work secretly and slowly, and wears the emblems of respectability instead of operating in the open with "Long Toms" under the shadow of the "Jolly Roger."
As a magistrate on this coast I have been obliged more than once to act as a policeman, and though one hated the ill-feeling which it stored up, and did not enjoy the evil-speaking to which it gave rise, I considered that it was really only like lancing a concealed infection—the ill-feeling and evil-speaking were better tapped and let out.
On one occasion at one of our Labrador hospitals a beardless youth, one of the Methodist candidates for college who every year are sent down to look after the interests of that denomination on our North coast, came to inform me that the only other magistrate on the coast, the pillar of the Church of England, and shortly to be our stipendiary, who had many political friends of great influence in St. John's, was keeping a "blind tiger," while many even of his own people were being ruined body and soul by this temptation under their noses.
"Well," I replied, "if you will come and give the evidence which will lead to conviction, I will do the rest."
"I certainly will," he answered. And he did. So we got the little Strathcona under way, and after steaming some fifteen miles dropped into a small cove a mile or two from the place where our friend lived. In the King's name we constrained a couple of men to come along as special constables. Our visit was an unusual one. To divert suspicion we dressed our ship in bunting as if we were coming for a marriage license. When we anchored as near his stage as possible, we dropped our jolly-boat and made for the store. The door was, however, locked and our friend nowhere to be seen. "He is in the store" was the reply of his wife to our query. We knew then that there was no time to be lost, and even while we battered at the door, we could hear a suspicious gurgle and smell a curious odour. Rum was trickling down through the cracks of the store floor on to the astonished winkles below. But the door quickly gave way before our overtures, and we caught the magistrate flagrante delicto. We were threatened with all sorts of big folk in St. John's; but we held the trial on board straightaway just the same. When court was called, the defendant demanded the name of the prosecutor—and to his infinite surprise out popped the youthful aspirant to the Methodist ministry. When he learned that half of his fine of seventy dollars had to be paid to the prosecutor and would be applied toward the building of a Methodist school, his temper completely ran away with him; and we had to threaten auction on the spot of the goods in the store before we could collect the money. We left him breathing out threatenings and slaughter.
Only once was I really caught. Two mothers in a little village had appealed to me because liquor was being sold to their boys who had no money, while people were complaining simultaneously that fish was being stolen from their stages. No one would tell who was selling it, so we had a systematic search made of all the houses, and the guilty man was convicted on evidence discovered under the floor of his sitting-room. The fine of fifty dollars he paid without a murmur and it was promptly divided between the Government and the prosecutor. It so happened, however, that he had obtained from us for a close relative a new artificial leg, and there was fifty dollars owing to us on it. Unknown to us at the time, he had collected that fifty dollars from the said relative and with it paid his fine. To this day we never got a cent for our leg, and so really fined ourselves. Nor could we with any propriety distrain on one of a poor woman's legs!
PROBLEMS ON LAND AND SEA
The year 1912 was a busy season. The New Year found us in Florida with the donor of the ship George B. Cluett, consulting him concerning its progress and future. Lecturing then as we went west we reached Colorado, visited the Grand Canyon, and lectured all along the Pacific Coast from San Diego to Victoria—finding many old friends and making many new ones.
At Berkeley I was asked to deliver the Earle Lectures at the University of California; and I also spoke to an immense audience in the open Greek theatre—a most novel experience. At Santa Barbara a special meeting had been arranged by our good friend Dr. Joseph Andrews, who every year travels all the way from California to St. Anthony at his own expense to afford the fishermen of our Northern waters the inestimable benefits of his skill as a consulting eye specialist. Many blind he has restored to sight who would otherwise be encumbrances to themselves and others. Only last year I received the following communication from an eager would-be patient: "Dear Dr. Grandfield, when is the eye spider coming to St. Anthony? I needs to see him bad."
While we were at Tacoma a visitor, saying that he was an old acquaintance of mine, sent up his card to our room. He had driven over in a fine motor car, and was a great, broad-shouldered man. The grip which he gave me assured me that he had been brought up hard, but I utterly failed to place him. With a broad grin he relieved the situation by saying: "The last time that we met, Doctor, was on the deck of a fishing vessel in the North Sea. I was second hand aboard, sailing out from Grimsby." The tough surroundings of that life were such a contrast to his present apparently ample means that I could only say, "How on earth did you get out here?"
"A friend," said he, "gave me a little book entitled 'One Hundred Ways to Rise in the World.' The first ninety-nine were no good to me, but the hundredth said, 'Go to Western America,' so I just cleared out and came here." He was exceedingly kind to us, even accompanying us to Seattle, and his story of pluck and enterprise was a splendid stimulus.
Six weeks of lecturing nearly every single night in a new town in Canada gave me a real vision of Canadian Western life, and a sincere admiration for its people who are making a nation of which the world is proud.
In April a large meeting was held in New York to reorganize the management of the Mission. The English Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen was no longer able or willing to finance, much less to direct, affairs which had gone beyond their control, and was hoping to arrange an organization of an international character to which all the affairs of the enterprise could be turned over. This organization was formed at the house of Mr. Eugene Delano, the head of Brown Brothers, bankers, whose lifelong help has meant for Labrador more than he will ever know.
The International Grenfell Association was incorporated to comprise the Labrador branches of the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen as its English component, the Grenfell Association of America and the New England Grenfell Association to represent the American interests, the Labrador Medical Mission as the Canadian name for its Society, and the Newfoundland Grenfell Association for the Newfoundland branch. Each one of these component societies has two members in the Central Council, and together they make up the Board of Directors of the International Grenfell Association. These directors ever since have generously been giving their time and interest in the wise and efficient administration of this work. To these unselfish men Labrador and northern Newfoundland, as well as I, owe a greater debt than can ever be repaid.
On the 1st of May I was due to speak at the annual meeting of the English Mission in London, and the swift heels of the Mauretania once more stood us in good stead; for we reached England the evening before May 1, arrived in London at 2 A.M., and I spoke three times that day. After a day or so at my old home with my mother we ran about in a Ford car for a fortnight, lecturing every evening. The little motor saved endless energy otherwise lost in endeavouring to make connections, and gave us the opportunity to see numbers of old friends whom we must otherwise have missed. One day we would be at a meeting of miners at Redmuth in Cornwall, on another at Harrow or Rugby Schools. At the latter, an old college friend, who is now head master there, gave us a royal welcome. During the last fortnight at home a splendid chance was afforded me to visit daily the clinics of an old friend, Sir Robert Jones, England's famous orthopedic surgeon. He is one of the most wonderful and practical of men, and he opened our eyes to the possibility of medical mission work in the very heart of England—for if ever there was an apostle of hope for the deformed and paralyzed he certainly is the man. His Sunday morning free clinics crowded even the street opposite his office door with waiting patients of the poorest class. Equally beneficent also is the large and wonderful hospital built specially for derelict children on the heather-covered hills just above our home in Cheshire. But most unique of all was his Basschurch Hospital, constructed mostly of sheet iron, standing in the middle of a field in the country forty miles away from Liverpool. Every second Sunday, Sir Robert Jones used to motor over there and operate "in the field." No expedition have I ever enjoyed better in my life than when he was good enough to pick us up on his way, and we saw him tackle the motley collection of halt and lame, whom the lady of the hospital, herself a marvellous testimony to his skill, collected from the neighbouring town slums between his visits. The hospital was the nearest thing I know to our little "one-horse shows" scattered along the Labrador coast; and there was a homing feeling in one's heart all the time at these open-air clinics.
As commander-in-chief of the orthopedic work of the British Army in the war, I am certain that Colonel Sir Robert Jones has found the experiences of his improvised clinics among the most valuable assets he could have had. One day he has promised that he will bring his magic wand to Labrador; for he is a sportsman in the best sense of the word as well as a healer of limbs.
The quickest way back to St. John's being via Canada, we returned by the Allan Line, and lectured in the Maritime Provinces as we passed North.
It would appear that one must possess an insatiable love of lecturing. As a matter of fact, nothing is farther from the truth. But the brevity of life is an insistent fact in our existence, and the inability to do good work for lack of help that is so gladly given when the reasonableness of the expenditure is presented, makes one feel guilty if an evening is spent doing nothing. The lecturing is by far the most uncongenial task which I have been called upon to do in life, but in a mission like ours, which is not under any special church, the funds must be raised to a very great extent by voluntary donations, and in order to secure these friends must be kept informed of the progress of the work which their gifts are making possible.
For the first seven years of my work I never spent the winters in the country—nor was it my intention ever to do so. Besides the general direction of the whole, my work as superintendent has meant the raising of the necessary funds, and my special charge on the actual coast has been the hospital ship Strathcona. Naturally, owing to our frozen winter sea this is only possible during open water. Since 1902 it has been my custom when possible to spend every other winter as well as every summer in the North. The actual work and life there is a tremendous rest after the nervous and physical tax of a lecture tour. At first I used to wonder at the lack of imagination in those who would greet me, after some long, wearisome hours on the train or in a crowded lecture hall, with "What a lovely holiday you are having!" Now this oft-repeated comment only amuses me.
It was just after the first of June when again we found ourselves heading North for St. Anthony, only once more to be caught in the jaws of winter. For the heavy Arctic ice blockaded the whole of the eastern French shore, and we had to be content to be held up in small ice-bound harbours as we pushed along through the inner edge of the floe, till strong westerly winds cleared the way.
Having reached St. Anthony and looked into matters there, we once again ran south to St. John's to inspect the new venture of the Institute. To help out expenses we towed for the whole four hundred miles a schooner which had been wrecked on the Labrador coast, having run on the rocks, and knocked a hole in her bottom. She had a number of sacks of "hard bread" on board. These had been thrown into the breach and planking nailed on over them. The bread had swelled up between the two casings and become so hard again that the vessel leaked but little; and though the continual dirge of the pumps was somewhat dismal as we journeyed, we had no reason to fear that she would go to the bottom.
Flour resists water in a marvellous way. On one occasion our own vessel in the North Sea was run into by another. The latter's cutwater went through her side and deck almost to the combing of the hatch, and the water began to pour in. By immediately putting the vessel on the other tack, the rent was largely lifted out of water. A heavy topsail was hastily thrown over her side, and eventually hauled under the keel—the inrushing water keeping it there. Then sacks of flour were rammed into the breach. The ship in this condition, favoured by the wind which enabled her to continue on that tack, reached home, two hundred miles distant, with her hand-pumps keeping her comparatively free, though there was the greatest difficulty to keep her afloat directly she was towed into the harbour and lay at the wharf.
On another occasion when a Canadian steamer, loaded with provisions, ran into a cliff two hundred feet high in a fog on the northeast end of Belle Isle, and became a total wreck, her flour floated all up and down the Straits. I remember picking up a sack that had certainly been in the water some weeks; and yet only about a quarter of an inch of outside layer was even wet.
The opening of the Institute was a great day. Dr. Henry van Dyke had come all the way from New York to give an address. Sir William Archibald, chairman of the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen, had travelled from England to bring a blessing from the old home country; and the merchants and friends in St. John's did their best to make it a red-letter day. Sir Edward Morris, the Prime Minister, and other politicians, the Mayor and civic functionaries were all good enough to come and add their quota to the launching of the new ship. There were still pessimistic and croaking individuals, however, as well as joyful hearts, when a few days later we again ran North.
We started almost immediately for our Straits trip after reaching St. Anthony. On our way east from Harrington, our most westerly hospital, commenced in 1907, a telegram summoning me immediately to St. John's dropped upon me like a bolt from the blue. Without a moment's delay we headed yet again South, full of anxiety as to what could be the cause of this message.
On arrival there we found that trouble had arisen concerning the funds of the Institute and a prosecution was to follow. It was the worst time of my life. Things were readjusted; the money was refunded, punishment meted out—but such damage is not made right by reconstruction. It left permanent scars and made the end of an otherwise splendid year anxious and sorrowful.
The work on East Labrador was also extended this year. While walking down the street in New York with a young doctor friend who had once wintered with me, we met a colleague of his at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. In the conversation it was suggested that he should spend a summer in Labrador, and we would place him in a virgin field. As a result Dr. Wiltsie, now in China, came North, started in work with a little school, club, and dispensary, at a place called Spotted Islands, in a very barren group of islands about a hundred miles north of the Straits of Belle Isle. His work became permanent as the summer mission of the Y.M.C.A. of the College, which organization now carries all its expenses. It has a dwelling-house, school, dispensary, small operating room, and accommodation for a couple of patients, all under one roof, and owns a fast motor boat called the P. and S., which has made itself known as an angel of mercy, every summer since, over a hundred miles of coast and islands. It is only a summer work, and is mainly among a schooner population; but as a testimonial to the value of pluck and unselfishness I know of no better example.
Among other ways to help Labrador we had always tried to induce tourists and yachtsmen to come and visit us. Mr. Rainey's Surf, Mr. McCready's Enchantress, Dr. Stimson's Fleur de Lys, Mr. Arthur James's Aloha, and a few other yachts had come part of the way, but no one had yet explored north of Hopedale—the latitude at which the fine Northern scenery may be said only to begin. The large power vessels or even the best type of yacht are by no means necessary for a visit to Labrador. For the innumerable fjords and islands make it much more interesting to be in a smaller boat, which allows one to go freely in and out of new by-ways, even when the survey is only that of your own making. The most sporting visits of that kind have been the honeymoon of a Philadelphia friend, who, with his wife, one man, and a canoe, went by river to James's Bay, then via Hudson Bay to Richmond Gulf, then by portage and river to Ungava Bay, and thence home by way of the Hudson Bay Company's steamer; the canoe trips of Mr. Kennedy all along the outside eastern coast, and those of Mr. William Cabot on the section of the northeastern coast between Hopedale and Nain. In this year of 1912 a new little yacht appeared, the Sybil, brought down from Boston by her owner, Mr. George Williams. I had promised that if ever he would sail down to see us in his own boat, we would escort him up a salmon river for a fishing expedition—a luxury which we certainly never anticipated would materialize. But on arriving North, there was the beautiful little boat; and in it we sailed up into the fine salmon stream in the bay close to the hospital. Subsequently Mr. Williams came year after year, pushing farther North each time. The Sybil he eventually gave to the Mission, and built a large boat, the Jeanette, in which I had the pleasure later of exploring with him and roughly charting three hitherto unrecorded bays.
One unusual feature of our magisterial work in 1912 was the settlement of a fisherman's strike "down North." It would at first seem difficult to understand how fishermen could engineer a strike, they are so good-natured and so long-suffering. But this time it was over the price of fish, naturally a matter of immense importance to the catcher. The planters, or men who give advances to come and fish around the mouth of Hamilton Inlet, were to ship their fish on a steamer coming direct from England and returning direct—thus saving delay and very great expense. But the price did not please the men, and they knew if they once put the fish on board at $3.50 per quintal, the amount offered, they would never recover the $5, which was the price for which fish was selling in St. John's that year. The more masterful men decided that not only would they not put the fish on board till they had cash orders or Revillon agreements for their price, but they would not allow any of the weaker brethren to do so either. There were but few hard words and no violent deeds, but when one blackleg was seen to go alongside the waiting steamer, which was costing a hundred dollars a day to the fish-carrying merchant, a crowd of boats dashed out from creeks and corners and pounced like a vulture on the big boat, fat with a fine load of fish, and not only towed her away and tied her up, but hauled her out of the water with the cargo and all in her, and dragged her so far up the side of a steep hill that the owner was utterly unable without assistance to get her down again.
Each day we had a conference with one side or the other, the Government having asked us to remain and see things settled. While each side was fencing for an advantage, a good-sized schooner sailed into the harbour, brought up alongside the steamer, and was seen to begin unloading dry fish. A dash was made for her by the boats as before; only this time it was the attack of Lilliputians on Gulliver. We on the shore could not help laughing heartily when shortly we saw a string of over a dozen fishing boats harnessed tandem in one long line towing the interloper—as they had the blackleg—away up the inlet where they moored and guarded her. It appeared that the buyer had sent her to a far-off anchorage, and unknown to the strikers had had fish put into her there. The steamer might have followed and got away with the ruse. But the skipper underestimated the enemy, always a fatal mistake, and lost out.
The agreement made a day or so later was perfectly peaceful, and perfectly satisfactory to both sides, for the fish turned out a good price, and the buyer did not lose anything on the transaction but the demurrage on his steamer and a little kudos, which I must confess he took in very good spirit. Even if he did have a grasping side to his character, he was fortunate in possessing a sense of humour also.
The fall brought yet another call to go South to St. John's, and once more in the little Strathcona we ploughed our way through the long miles to the southward. This time it was for the reorganization of the Institute government, to form a council and to install the new manager from England. This was Mr. Walter Jones, a man whose wide experience among naval "Jackies" had been gained in a large institute of much the same kind. This gave him the credentials which we needed, for he had made it not only a social but an economic success. He has been much sought by the various churches in St. John's as a speaker to men, and his Sunday evening lantern services and lectures at the Institute are a real source of uplift and help to men of every religious denomination.
The fall of the year was very busy. Dr. Seymour Armstrong, formerly surgical registrar at the Charing Cross Hospital in London, an able surgeon, and a man of independent means, joined me for that winter at St. Anthony. He had already wintered twice at our Labrador hospitals, and was fully expecting to give us much further help, but two years later the great war found him at the front, where he gladly laid down his life for his country.
One sick call that winter lives in my memory. It was a case where a nurse was really more needed than a doctor. The way was long, the wind was cold, and the snow happened to be particularly deep. One of the nurses, however, volunteered for the journey, and I arranged to carry her on a second komatik, while my driver broke the path with our impedimenta. Things did not go altogether well. Since I have enjoyed the luxury of a driver, or a "carter" as we call them, my cunning in wriggling a komatik at full speed down steep mountain-sides through trees has somewhat waned. Comparatively early in the day we looped the loop—and we were both heavy weights. It was nearly dark when we reached the last lap—an enormous bay with a direct run of seven miles over sea ice. We should probably have made it all right, but suddenly fog drifted in from the Straits of Belle Isle, and steering with a small compass and no binnacle, while attending to hauling a heavy nurse over hummocky sea ice in the dark, satisfied all my ambition for problems. At length the nature of the ice indicated that we were approaching either land or the sea edge. We stopped the komatiks, and it fell to my lot to go ahead and explore. Finding nothing I called to the driver, and his voice returned out of the fog right ahead of me, and almost in my ear. I had told them not to move or we might miss our way, and I reminded him of that fact. "Haven't budged an inch" came the reply from the darkness. I had been describing a large circle. I can still hear that nurse laughing.
At last we struck the huge blocks of ice, raised on the boulder rocks by the rise and fall of tide in shallow water, and we knew that we should make the land. The perversity of nature made us turn the wrong way for the village toward which we were aiming, and we found ourselves "tangled up" in the Boiling Brooks, a place where some underground springs keep holes open through the ice all winter. Suddenly, while marching ahead with the compass, seeking to avoid these springs, the ground being level enough for the nurse to act as her own helmsman, a tremendous "whurr! whurr!" under my feet restored sufficient leaping power to my weary legs to leave me head down and only my racquets out of the snow—all for a covey of white partridges on which I had nearly trodden. At length we made a tiny winter cottage. The nurse slept on the bench, the doctor on the floor, the driver on a shelf. Our generous host had almost to hang himself on a hook. The dogs went hungry. But as we boiled our kettle, all agreed that we would not have exchanged the experience for ten rides in a Pullman Car.
Largely through the zeal of my colleague, Dr. Arthur Wakefield, of Kendal, England, and that of my cousin, Mr. Martyn Spencer, of New Zealand, a band of the Legion of Frontiersmen had been brought into being all along this section of coast, in spite of the scattered nature of the population. The idea was that having to depend so largely on the use of their guns, and being excellent shots with a bullet, the men would make good snipers and scouts if ever there were war. True, most of our people called it "playing soldiers," and no one took seriously that we were ever likely to be called upon to fight; but all Dr. Wakefield's hopes and fears were realized and our lads made both brave soldiers and excellent marksmen.
Dr. and Mrs. Wakefield have given several years of both medical and industrial work for the people of this coast, both in St. Anthony, Forteau, Mud Lake, and Battle Harbour.
Alas, the functions of superintendent involved executive duties, and I had once again to run to St. John's, during the following summer, for a meeting of the Board of Directors. With true Christian unselfishness these men come all the way from Ottawa, New York, and Boston, to help with their counsel so relatively unimportant a work as ours. Sir Walter Davidson again lent his heartiest cooperation. The people owe him, Sir Herbert Murray, Sir Henry MacCallum, Sir William MacGregor, Sir Ralph Williams, Sir Alexander Harris, and all the long line of their Governors, more than most of them realize. They bring all the inspiration of the best type of educated, widely experienced, and travelled Englishmen to this Colony. They are specially trained and specially selected men, and can give their counsel and leadership absolutely untrammelled by any local prejudices.
One excellent outcome of this particular meeting was the reorganization on a larger scale of the Girls' Committee for the Institute. The success of it has been phenomenal. Together with its protective work it has aimed at that most difficult task of creating in them sufficient ambition to make the girls receiving very small wages want to pay for a better environment. The committee has always been strictly interdenominational, with Mrs. W.C. Job and Mrs. W.E. Gosling as its presidents. It has made a "show place" of the Girls' Department of the Institute, and that department has become self-supporting—a most desirable goal for every philanthropy.
The lumber mill and schooner building work were in slings. Our men, made far better off by the winter work thus provided, had acquired gear so much better for fishing than their former equipment that they could not resist engaging in the more remunerative work of the fishery in the summer months. For two years previous they had left before the drive was complete and the logs out of the woods. Now the local manager had also decided to fish during the three summer months—which is really the only time available for mill operations also. I was fortunate enough on my way North to persuade an expert lumber operator from Canada, and an entirely kindred spirit, Mr. Harry Crowe, to come down and help me out with the problem. We spent a few delightful days together, in which he taught me as many things that every mill man should know as he would have had to learn had he been dabbling in pills. Like myself, Mr. Crowe is an ardent believer in Confederation with Canada for this little country. Before Mr. Crowe's efforts on our behalf had materialized, a new friend, Mr. Walter Booth, of New York, well known in American football circles as one of the best of all-American forwards, came North and carried the mill for a year. The one and only fault of his regime was that it was too short. The field of work was one for which he was admirably equipped, but home reasons made him return after his time expired. He has often told me since, however, that he has fits of wishing that he could have put in a life with us in the North, rather than spending it in the more civilized circles of the New York Bar.
Many invitations to speak, especially at universities in America, and through a lecture agency in England to numerous societies and clubs, led me to devote the winter of 1913-14 to a lecture tour. My wife induced me also to renew my youth by a holiday of a month on the Continent.
A lecture tour includes some of the most delightful experiences of life, bringing one into direct personal contact with so many people whom it is a privilege to know. But it also has its anxieties and worries, and eternal vigilance is the price of avoiding a breakdown at this the most difficult of all my work. One's memory is taxed far beyond its capacity. To forget some things, and some people and some kindnesses, are unforgivable sins. A new host every night, a new home, a new city, a new audience, alone lead one into lamentable lapses. In a car full of people a man asked me one day how I liked Toledo. I replied that I had never been there. "Strange," he murmured, "because you spent the night at my house!" On another occasion at a crowded reception I was talking to a lady on one side and a gentleman on the other. I had been introduced to them, but caught neither name. They did not address each other, but only spoke to me. I felt that I must remedy matters by making them acquainted with each other, and therefore mumbled, "Pray let me present to you Mrs. M-m-m." "Oh! no need, Doctor," he replied. "We've been married for thirty years." Shortly after I noticed at a reception that every one wore his name pinned onto his breast, and I wondered if there were any connection.
It is my invariable custom in the North to carry a water-tight box with matches and a compass chained to my belt. One night, being tired, I had turned into bed in a very large, strange room without noting the bearings of the doors or electric switches. My faithful belt had been abandoned for pyjama strings. It so happened that to catch a train I had to rise before daylight, and all my possessions were in a dressing-room. I soon gave up hunting for the electric light. It was somewhere in the air, I knew, but beating the air in the dark with the windows wide open in winter is no better fun in your nightclothes in New York than in Labrador. A tour of inspection discovered no less than five doors, none of which I felt entitled to enter in the dark in deshabille. The humour of the situation is, of course, apparent now, but even one's dog hates to be laughed at.
An independent life has somehow left me with an instinctive dislike for asking casual acquaintances the way to any place that I am seeking. The aversion is more or less justified by the fact that outside the police force very exceptional persons can direct you, especially if they know the way themselves. On my first visit to New York I could see how easy a city it was to navigate, and returned to my host's house near Eighth Street in good time to dress for dinner after a long side trip near Columbia University and thence to the Bellevue Hospital. "How did you find your way?" my friend asked. "Why, there was sufficient sky visible to let me see the North Star," I answered. I felt almost hurt when he laughed. It is natural for a polar bear not to have to inquire the way home.
The aphorism attributed to Dr. John Watson, of "Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush," suggests itself. "My fee is one hundred dollars if I go to a hotel, two hundred if I am entertained, because in the latter event one can only live half so long." I conclude that he made the choice of Achilles, for he died on a lecture tour. So far fate has been kinder to me.
The greatest danger is the reporter, especially the emotional reporter, who has not attended your meeting. I owe such debts to the press that this statement seems the blackest of ingratitude. On the contrary, I must plead that doctors are privileged. My controversy with this class of reporters is their generosity, which puts into one's mouth statements that on final analysis may be cold facts, but which, remembering that one is lecturing on work among people whom one loves and respects, it would never occur to me to slur at a public meeting. No one who tries to alter conditions which exist can expect to escape making enemies. I have seen reports of what I have said at advertised meetings, that were subsequently cancelled. I have followed up rumours, and editors have expressed sorrow that they accepted them from men who had been too busy to be present. But "qui s'excuse, s'accuse"; and my conclusion is that the lecturer is practically defenceless.
Since our marriage my wife has generously acted as my secretary, having specially learned shorthand and typewriting in order to free me from carrying such a burden, and has helped me enormously ever since on this line. But lecture tours used to make me despair of keeping abreast of correspondence. I sometimes was forced to treat letters as Henry Drummond did—who allowed them to answer themselves—if I wished free mornings in which to visit the hospitals, just at the time that all their professional work was in progress. These clinics are invaluable and almost unique experiences. They persuaded me more than ever how much depends in surgery as well as in medicine on "the man behind the gun"; and that mere mileage is not the real handicap on members of our profession whose fields of work lie away from the centres of learning. They also imbued me with the profoundest spirit of respect for the leaders of the healing art.
* * * * *
To no one but myself did it seem odd that a plain Englishman should be invited to perform the function of best man at the wedding of the daughter of the President of the United States of America at the White House. The matter was never even noticed either in the press or in conversation. The only citizen to whom I suggested the anomaly merely said, "Well, why not?"
My long-time fellow worker and one of my best of friends, Francis B. Sayre, was to be married on November 25, 1913, to Miss Jessie Wilson. Her father, who, when first I had had the honour of his acquaintance, happened to be the President of Princeton University, was now the President of the United States. So we had all the fun of a White House wedding. Not less than fifty of our fishermen friends from Labrador and North Newfoundland were invited, and some members of our staff were present.
We started the wedding procession upstairs, and came down to the fanfare of uniformed trumpeters. Our awkwardness in keeping step, though we had rehearsed the whole business several times, only relieved the tension that must exist at so important an event in life.
Trying to dodge the reporters added heaps of fun, which I am sure that they shared, for they generally got the better of us; though the thrill of escape from the White House and Washington, so that the honeymoon rendezvous should not be known, was practically a victory for the wedding party. As it would never be safe to use the tactics again, I am permitted after the lapse of many years to give them away. As soon as dark fell, and while the guests were still revelling, the bride and groom were hustled into a secret elevator in the thickness of the wall, whisked up to the robing chambers, and completely disguised. Meanwhile a suitable camouflage of automobiles had arrived ostentatiously at the main entrance, to carry and escort the illustrious couple in fitting pomp to the great station. From the landing the couple were dropped direct to the basement to a prearranged oubliette. The password was the sound of the wheels of an ordinary cab at the kitchen entrance. The moments of suspense were not long. At the sound of the crush on the gravel a silent door was opened, two completely muffled figures crept out, and the conspirators drove slowly along round a few corners where a swift automobile lay panting to add liberte to egalite and fraternite.
A MONTH'S HOLIDAY IN ASIA MINOR
After the fall spent in America in raising the necessary funds, it was the now famous Carmania which carried us to England. In spite of a few days' rest at my old home, and the stimulus of a Grenfell clan gathering in London, my wife and I were both in need of something which could direct our minds from our problems, and Boxing Day found us bound for Paris, Turin, Milan, and Rome.
Just before Christmas I had had a meeting at the famous office of the Hudson Bay Company in London, and attended another of their interesting luncheons where their directors meet. My old friend Lord Strathcona presided. I could not help noting that after all the lapse of years since we first met at Hudson Bay House in Montreal, he still retained his abstemious habits. He was ninety-three, and still at his post as High Commissioner for a great people, as well as leading councillor of a dozen companies. His memory of Labrador and his days there, and his love for it, had not abated one whit. Hearing that the hospital steamer Strathcona needed a new boiler and considerable repairs, he ordered me to have the work undertaken at once and the bill sent to him. He, moreover, insisted that we should spend some days with him at his beautiful country house near London, an invitation which we accepted for our return, but which we were never fated to realize, for before the appointed date that able man had crossed the last bar.
It is said to be better to be lucky than rich. We had expected in Rome to do only what the Romans of our pocket-book do. But we fell in with some old acquaintances whose pleasure it is to give pleasure, and New Year's night was made memorable by a concert given by the choir of the Sistine Chapel, to which we were taken by the editor of the "Churchman" and later of the "Constructive Quarterly," an old friend of ours, Dr. Silas McBee. A glimpse into the British Embassy gave us an insight into the problem of Roman modern politics and the factions of the Black and White.
Rome is always delightful. One is glad to forget the future and live for the time in the past. Sitting in the Coliseum in the moonlight I could see the gladiators fighting to amuse the civilized man of that period, and gentle women and innocent men dying horrible deaths for truths that have made us what we are, but which we now sometimes regard so lightly.
I confess that religious buildings, religious pictures, religious conventions of all kinds very soon pall on my particular temperament. It is possibly a defect in my development, like my inability to appreciate classical music. On the other hand, like Mark Twain, I enjoy an ancient mummy just because he is ancient; and were it not for the irritation of seeing so much religious display associated with such miserable social conditions in so beautiful a country, I should have more sympathy with those who would "see Rome and die." The sanitation of the one-time Mistress of the world suggests that it could not be difficult to accomplish that feat in the hot weather.
Brindisi is a household word in almost every English home, especially one like ours with literally dozens of Anglo-Indian relatives. I was therefore glad to pass via Brindisi on the road to Athens. Patras also had its interest to me as a distributing centre for our Labrador fish. We actually saw three forlorn-looking schooners, with cargoes from Newfoundland, lying in the harbour.
One poignant impression left on my mind by Greece, as well as Rome, was its diminutive size. I almost resented the fact that a place civilized thousands of years ago, and which had loomed up on my imagination as the land of Socrates, of Plato, of Homer, of Achilles, of Spartan warriors, and immortal poets, all seemed so small. The sense of imposition on my youth worried me.
In Athens one saw so many interesting relics within a few hundred yards that it left one with the feeling of having eaten a meal too fast. The scene of the battle of Salamis fascinated me. When we sat in Xerxes' seat and conjured up the whole picture again, and saw the meaning to the world of the great deed for which men so gladly gave their lives to defeat a tyrant seeking for world power, it made me love those old Greeks, not merely admire their art.
On Mars Hill we stood on the spot where, to me, perhaps the greatest man in history, save one, pleaded with men to accept love as the only durable source of greatness and power. But every monument, every bas-relief, every tombstone showed that the fighting man was their ideal.
The idea of sailing from the Piraeus reconciled us to the very mediocre vessel which carried us to Smyrna. Our visit to Asia Minor we had inadvertently timed to the opening of the International College at Paradise near Smyrna. This college is the gift of Mrs. John Kennedy of New York. Mr. Ralph Harlow, our host and a professor at the college, with Mr. Cass Reid and other friends, made it possible for us to enjoy intelligently our brief visit. It was just a dream of pleasure. Time forbids my describing the marvellous work of that and other colleges. Men of ambition, utterly irrespective of race, colour, creed, or sect, sit side by side as the alumni. The humanity, not the other-worldliness, of the leaders has made even the Turks, steeped in the blood of their innocent Christian subjects, recognize the untold value of these Christian universities, and kept them, their professors, and buildings, safe during the war.
Dr. Bliss, of Beyrout, once told us a humorous story about himself. He had just been addressing a large audience in New York, when immediately after his speech the chairman rose and announced, "We will now sing the one hundred and fiftieth hymn, 'From the best bliss that earth imparts, we turn unfilled to Thee again.'"
The preservation of Ephesus was a surprise to us, though of late the Turks have been carrying off its precious historic marble to burn for lime for their fields. One large marble font in an old Byzantine baptistry was broken up for that purpose while we were there. We stood on the very rostrum in the theatre where St. Paul and the coppersmith had trouble—while at the time of our visit, the only living inhabitant of that once great city was a hungry ass which we saw harboured in a dressing-room beneath the platform.
The anachronism of buzzing along a Roman road, which had not been repaired since the days of the Caesars, on our way to Pergamos, in the only Ford car in the country, was punctuated by having to get out and shove whenever we came to a cross-drain. These always went over instead of under the road—only on an exaggerated Baltimorian plan. One night at Soma, which is the end of the branch railroad in the direction of Pergamos, we were in the best hotel, which, however, was only half of it for humans. A detachment of Turkish soldiers were billeted below in the quarters for the other animals. Snow was on the ground, and it was bitterly cold. The poor soldiers slept literally on the stone floor. We were cold, and we felt so sorry for them, that after we had enjoyed a hot breakfast, in a fit of generosity we sent them a couple of baskets of Turkish specialties. Later in the day we noticed that wherever we went a Turkish soldier with a rifle followed us. So we turned off into a side street and walked out into the country. Sure enough the soldier came along behind. As guide to speak the many languages for us, we had a Greek graduate of International College, a very delightful young fellow, very proud of a newly acquired American citizenship. At last we stopped and bribed that soldier to tell us what the trouble was. "Our officer thought that you must be spies because you sent gifts to Turkish soldiers."
At Pergamos, a Greek Christian—very well off—invited us to be his guests on Greek Christmas Eve. It was the occasion of a large family gathering. There were fine young men and handsome, dark-eyed girls, and all the accessories of a delightful Christian home. When the outer gates had been locked, and the inner doors bolted and blinds drawn down, and all possible loopholes examined for spies, the usual festivities were observed. These families of the conquered race have lived in bondage some four hundred years, but their patriotism has no more dimmed than that of ancient Israel under her oppressors. Before we left they danced for us the famous Souliet Dance—memorial to the brave Greek girls who, driven to their last stand on a rocky hilltop, jumped one by one over the precipice as the dance came round to each one, rather than submit to shame and slavery. From our friends at Smyrna we learned subsequently that when, a few months later, and just before the war, the German general visited the country, making overtures to the Turks, the blow fell on this family like many others, and they suffered the agony of deportation.
At Constantinople the kindness of Mr. Morgenthau, the American Ambassador, and the optimism bred by Robert College and the Girls' School, left delightful memories of even the few days in winter that we spent there. The museum alone is worth the long journey to it, and when a teacher from the splendid Girls' School, herself a specialist on the Hittites, was good enough to show it to us, it was like a leap back into the long history of man. It seemed but a step to the Neanderthal skull and our Troglodyte forbears.
Owing to shortage of time we returned to England through Bulgaria, passing through Serbia, and stopping for a day at Budapest and two at Vienna. We would have been glad to linger longer, for every hour was delightful.
The month's holiday did me lots of good and sent me back to England a new man to begin lecturing again in the interests of the distant Labrador; and with the feeling that, after all, our coast was a very good place for one's life-work.
We helped to lessen the tedium of the lectures by doing most of the travelling in an automobile of my brother's, in which we lived, moved, and had our meals by the roadside. The lectures took us everywhere from the drawing-room of a border castle on the line of the old Roman Wall—which Puck of Pook's Hill had made as fascinating for us as he did for the children—to the Embassy in Paris.
Once more the Mauretania carried us to America. April was spent partly in lecturing and partly in attending surgical clinics—a very valuable experience being a week's work with Dr. W.R. MacAusland, of Boston, at his orthopedic clinics in and around that city. He and his brother "Andy" had passed a summer with us in Labrador. May found us in Canada visiting our helpers, and stimulating various branches by lectures. While loading the George B. Cluett in early June in St. John's, Newfoundland, we organized an education committee to work with the Institute Committee, to give regular educational lectures throughout the winter. Dr. Lloyd, our present Prime Minister, and Sir Patrick McGrath, always a stanch friend of the Mission, helped materially in this new activity.
The Institute at the time was housing some of the crew of the Greenland, who had come through the terrible experiences at the seal fishery in the spring of 1914. Caught on the ice in a fearful blizzard, almost all had perished miserably. Some few had survived to lose limbs and functions from frostburns. The occasion gave the Institute one of the many opportunities for a service rather more dramatic than the routine, which did much to win it popularity.
Midsummer's Day and the two following days we were stuck in a heavy ice-jam one hundred miles south of St. Anthony. My wife and boys had arrived in St. Anthony before me, and to find them in our own house, and the hospital full of opportunity for the line of help which I especially enjoy, afforded all that heart could wish.
Early in July the Duke of Connaught, the Governor-General of Canada, paid us a long-promised visit. It was highly appreciated by all our people, who would possibly have paid him more undivided attention had he not been kind enough to send his band ashore—the first St. Anthony had ever heard. The resplendent uniforms of the members totally eclipsed that of the Duke, who was in "mufti"; but he readily understood that the division of attention was really not attributable to us. He proved to be a thorough good sport and a most democratic prince.
The war having broken out in August, we had only one idea—economy on every side, that we might all be able to do what we could. We had not then begun to realize the seriousness of it sufficiently to dream that we should be welcome ourselves. We closed up all activities not entirely necessary, and even the hospital ship went into winter quarters so early that my fall trip was made from harbour to harbour in the people's own boats or by mail steamer or schooner, as opportunity offered.
In the fall of 1915, I was urged by the Harvard Surgical Unit to make one of their number for their proposed term of service that winter at a base hospital in France. Having discussed the matter with my directors, we decided that it was justifiable to postpone the lecture tour which had been arranged for me, in view of this new need.
We sailed for England on the Dutch liner New Amsterdam and landed at Falmouth, passing through a cordon of mine-sweepers and small patrols as we neared the English shores. My wife's offer to work in France not being accepted, since I held the rank of Major, we ran down to my old home, where she decided to spend most of her time. My uniform and kit were ready in a few days; and in spite of the multitudinous calls on the War Office officials, I can say in defence of red tape that my papers were made out very quickly. I was thus able to leave promptly for Boulogne, near which I joined the other members of my Unit, who had preceded me by a fortnight.
It was Christmas and the snow was on the ground when I arrived in France. There was much talk of trench feet and the cold. Our life in the North had afforded experiences more like those at the front than most people's. We are forced to try and obtain warmth and mobility combined with economy, especially in food and clothing. At the request of the editor, I therefore sent to the "British Medical Journal" a summary of deductions from our Northern experiences. Clothes only keep heat in and damp out. Thickness, not even fur, will warm a statue, and our ideal has been to obtain light, wind-and water-proof material, and a pattern that prevents leakage of the body's heat from the neck, wrists, waist, knees, and ankles. Our skin boots, by being soft, water-tight, and roomy, remove the causes of trench feet. Later when I returned to England I was invited to the War Office to talk over the matter. The defects, either in wet and cold or in hot weather, of woolen khaki cloth are obvious, and when subsequently I visited the naval authorities in Washington about the same subject, I was delighted to be assured that on all small naval craft our patterns were being exclusively used. Who introduced them did not matter.
I had also advocated a removable insert of sheet steel in a pocket on the breast of the tunic, this plate to be kept in the trenches and inserted on advancing; and a lobster-tail steel knee-piece in the knickers. Of this latter Sir Robert Jones, the British orthopedic chief, appreciated the value, knowing how many splendid men are put hors de combat by tiny pieces of shell splinters infecting that joint. But the "Journal" censored all these references to armour. A wounded Frenchman at Berck presented me with a helmet heavily dented by shrapnel, and told me that he owed his life to it. Later at General Headquarters, General Sir Arthur Sloggett showed me a collection of a dozen experimental helmets, each of which stood for a saved life.
One of the soldiers who came under my care had a bullet wound through the palm of his hand. I happened to ask him where his hand had been when hit. He said, "On my hip. We were mending a break in our barbed wire at night, and a fixed rifle got me, exactly where it got my chum just afterwards, but it went through him."
"Where did your bullet go?"
"I don't know," he answered.
An examination of his trousers showed the bullet in his pocket. It was embedded in three pennies and two francs which he happened to be carrying there, and which his wounded hand had prevented his feeling for afterwards.
Pathos and humour, like genius and madness, are close akin. One of the boys told me of a chum who was very "churchy," and always carried an Episcopal Prayer Book in his pocket—for which he was not a little chaffed. For a joke one day he was presented with a second that a messmate had received, but for which he had no use. His scruples about "wasting it" made him put it in his pocket with the other. Soon after this, in an advance, he was shot in the chest. The bullet passed right through the first Prayer Book and lodged in the second, where it was found on his arrival at hospital for another slight wound. He at least will long continue to swear by the Book of Common Prayer.
One day, walking with other officers in the country, we stumbled across a tiny isolated farm. As usual the voice of the inevitable Tommy could be heard from within. They were tending cavalry horses, which filled every available nook and corner behind the lines at a period when cavalry was considered useless in action. Having learned that one of these men had been body servant to a cousin of mine, who was a V.C. at the time that he was killed, I asked him for the details of his death. The Germans had broken through on the left of his command, and it was instantly imperative to hold the morale while help from the right was summoned. Jumping on the parapet, my cousin had stood there encouraging the line amid volleys of bullets. At the same time he ordered his servant to carry word to the right at once. Suddenly a bullet passed through his body and he fell into the trench. Protesting that he was all right, he declared that he could hold out till the man should come back. On his return he found that my cousin was dead. But help came, the line held, and the German attack was a costly failure. His servant had collected and turned in all the little personal possessions of any value which he had found on the body.
"I think that you should have got a Military Cross," I said.
"I did get an M.C.," he answered.
"I congratulate you," I replied.
"It was a confinement to barracks. A bullet had smashed to pieces a little wrist watch which the captain always carried. It was quite valueless, and I had kept the remnants as a memento of a man whom every one loved. But a comrade got back at me by reporting it to headquarters, and they had to punish me, they said."
It is true, "strafing" was at a low ebb at the time that I arrived in France; but even I was not a bit prepared for the amount of leisure time that our duties allowed us. There were in France hundreds of sick and wounded for every one in the lonely North; but in Labrador you are always on the go, being often the only available doctor. Our Unit had at the time only some five hundred beds and a very strong staff, both of doctors and nurses. In spite of lending one of our colonels and several of our staff to other hospitals, we still had not enough beds to keep us fully occupied. It gave me ample time to help out occasionally in Y.M.C.A. activities, and to do some visiting among the poor French families and refugees in Boulogne, close to which city our hospital was located. I could also visit other Units, and give lantern shows, which had, I thought, special value when psychic treatment was badly needed. Shell-shock was but very imperfectly understood at the beginning of the war. The football matches and athletic sports did not need the asset of being an antidote to shell-shock to attract my patronage. Never in my life had I realized quite so keenly what a saving trait the sporting instinct is in the Anglo-Saxon—a strain of it in the Teuton might have even averted this war.
My stay in France enabled me to enjoy that which life on the Labrador largely denies one—the contact with many educated minds. It was the custom, if an officer needed a lift along the road, to hail any passing motor. While walking one day, I took advantage of this privilege, and found myself driving with Sir Bertrand Dawson, the King's physician, with whom I thus renewed a most valued acquaintanceship. On another occasion our host or guest might be Sir Almroth Wright, the famous pathologist, or Sir Robert Jones would pay us a visit, or Sir Frederick Treves. In fact, we had chances to meet many of the great leaders of our profession. Sir Arthur Lawley, the head of our Red Cross in France, gave me some delightful evenings. Unquestionably there is an intense pleasure in hearing and seeing personally the men who are doing things.
Food grew perceptibly scarcer in Boulogne even during my stay. The petits gateaux got smaller, the hours during which officers might enter restaurants for afternoon tea became painfully shorter. But they were not a whit less enjoyable, reminding one as they did of the dear old days, long before the war was thought of, and before the war of life had taken me to Labrador. If one had hoped that a life in the wilds had succeeded in eradicating natural desires, those relapses in the midst of war-time completely destroyed any such delusion. Every day was full of excitement. Bombs fell on the city only twice while I was there, and, moreover, we were bitterly disappointed that we did not know it till we read the news in the morning paper. But every day flying machines of all sorts sailed overhead. My interest never failed to respond to the buzzing of some hurrying airship, or the sight of a seaplane dropping out of heaven into the water and swimming calmly ashore, waddling up the beach into its pen exactly like a great duck.
One day it was the excitement of watching trawlers from the cliffs firing-up mines; another, hunting along the beach among the silent evidences of some tragedy at sea, or riding convalescent horses that needed exercise, flying along the sands to see some special sight, such as the carcass of a leviathan wrecked by butting into mine-fields.
Close to us was a large Canadian Unit. They were changing their location, and for three months had been in the sorry company of those who have no work to do. The matron, however, told me that she found plenty to occupy her time—in such a beehive of officers, with seventy-five nurses to look after.
When at the close of the period for which I had volunteered I had to decide whether to sign on again, my whole inclination was to stay just another term; but as my commandant, Colonel David Cheever, informed me that he and a number of the busier men felt that duty called them home, and that there were plenty of volunteers to take our places, my judgment convinced me that I was more needed in Labrador.
I shall not say much of the Y.M.C.A. They need no encomium of mine, but I am prepared to stand by them to the last ditch. They were doing, not talking, and were wise enough to use even those agents whom they knew to be imperfect, as God Himself does when He uses us. The folly of judging for all cases by one standard is common and human, but it is not God's way. This conviction was brought home to me in a very odd manner. I had gone to lecture at an English Y.M.C.A. hut at the invitation of the efficient director, who knew me only for a "medical missionary." On my arrival he most hospitably took me to the cupboard which he called "his rooms." It was a raw, cold night, and among other efforts to show his gratitude for my help, to my amazement he offered me "a drop of Scotch." Astonishment so outran good-breeding that I unwittingly let him perceive it. "I am not a regular 'Y' man, Major," he explained. "I'm an Australian, and was living on my little pile when the war began. They turned me down each place I volunteered on account of my age. But I was crazy to do my bit, and I offered to work with the Y.M.C.A. as a stopgap. The War Office has commandeered so many of their men that they had to take me to 'carry on.' I'm afraid I'm a poor apology, but I'm doing my best."
The freedom from convention lent another peculiar charm to the life in France. The mess sergeant of a headquarters where I was dining one night, close behind the lines, presented the colonel with a beautifully illustrated monograph on a certain unmentionable and unwelcome member of war camps and trench life. The beautiful work and the evidences of scientific training led me to ask who the mess sergeant might have been in civil life. "Professor of Biology at the University of ——," was the reply.
The most inspiring fact about the Channel ports at that time was the regularity with which steamers arrived, crowded with soldiers, and returned with wounded. We could see England on clear days from our quarters, and could follow the boats almost across. The number of trawlers at work all the year round, even in heavy gales that almost blew us off the cliffs, was enough to tell how vigilant a watch was being kept all the while. One morning only we woke to find a large stray steamer, that had entered the roads overnight, sunk across the harbour mouth, her decks awash at low water—torpedoed, we supposed. Another day a small patrol, literally cut in half by a mine, was towed in. But though both in the air and under the sea all the ingenuity of the enemy from as near by as Ostend was unceasingly directed against that living stream, not one single disaster happened the whole winter that I was out. Our mine-fields were constantly being changed. The different courses the traffic took from day to day suggested that. But who did it, and when, no one ever knew. The noise of occasional bomb-firing, once a mine rolling up on the shore, exploding and throwing some incredibly big fragments onto the golf links, the incessant tramp of endless soldiers in the street, the ever-present but silent motors hurrying to and fro, and the nightly arrival of convoys of wounded, were all that reminded us that any war was in progress. Had it been permitted, the beach would have been crowded as usual with invalids, nursemaids, and perambulators.
The second marvel was that in spite of the enormous numbers of people coming and going, no secrets leaked out. We gave up looking for news almost as completely as in winter in Labrador. We seemed to be shut off entirely in an eddy of the stream, as we are in our Northern wastes.
The spirit of humour in the wounded Briton was as invaluable as the love of sport when he is well. On one occasion a small party were going to relieve a section of the line. The Boches had the range of a piece of the road over which they had to pass, and the men made dashes singly or in small numbers across it. A lad, a well-known athlete, was caught by a shell and blown over a hedge into a field. When they reached him, his leg was gone and one arm badly smashed. He was sitting up smoking a cigarette, and all he said was, "Well, I fancy that's the end of my football days." One very undeveloped man, who had somehow leaked into Kitchener's Army, told me, "Well, you see, Major, I was a bit too weak for a labouring man, so I joined the army. I thought it might do my 'ealth good!" One of the English papers reported that when a small Gospel was sent by post to a prisoner in Germany the Teuton official stamped every page, "Passed by the Censor."
The practice of listening to the yarns of the wounded was much discouraged, chiefly for one's own sake, for their knowledge was less accurate than our own, while shell-shock led them to imagine more. The censor had always good yarns to tell. The men showed generally much good-humour and a universal light-heartedness. Our wounded hardly ever "groused." They hid their troubles and cheered their families, seldom or never by pious sentiments. One man writing from a regimental camp close to Boulogne, after a painfully uneventful Channel crossing, announced, "Here we are in the enemies' country right under the muzzles of the guns. We got over quite safely, though three submarines chased us and shelled us all the way. Food here is very short. I haven't looked at a bun for weeks. A bit more of that cake of yours would do nicely, not to talk o' smokes. Your loving husband." Another letter was quoted in the "Daily Mail." It ran: "Dear Mother—This comes hoping that it may find you as it leaves me at present. I have a broken leg, and a bullet in my left lung. Your affectionate son."
Yet the men were far from fatalists, and the psychic stimulus of being able to tell your patient that he was ordered to "Blighty" was demonstrable on his history chart. One poor fellow whose right arm was infected with gas bacillus was so anxious to save it that we left it on too long and general blood poisoning set in. He was on the dying list. The Government under these circumstances would pay the expenses of a wife or mother to come over and say the last good-bye. After the message went, it seemed that our friend could not last till their arrival, and the colonel decided as a last chance to try intra-venous injections of Eusol, the powerful antiseptic in use at that time in all the hospitals. On entering the ward the next morning the nurse told me with a smiling face, "B. is ever so much better. I think that he will pull through all right." "Then the Eusol injection has done good, I suppose?" "His wife and mother came last night and sat up with him"—and I saw a twinkle in the corner of her eye. Eusol injections are now considered inert.
With so many patients who only remained so short a time, there was an inevitable tendency to relapse into treating men as "cases," not as brothers. To get through their exterior needed tact and experience. But if love is a force stronger than bayonets and guns, it certainly has its place in modern—and all time—surgery. I have a shrewd suspicion that it is better worth exhibiting than quite a number of the drugs still on the world's pharmacopoeias. Many of the nurses kept visitors' books, and in these their patients were asked to write their names or anything they liked. The little fact made them feel more at home, as if some person really cared for them. One could not help noticing how many of them broke out into verse, though most of them were labouring men at home. Although some was not original, it showed that they liked poetry. Some was extempore, as the following:
"Good-bye, dear mother, sister, brother, Drive away those bitter tears. For England's in no danger While there are bomb throwers in the Tenth Royal Fusiliers."
The following effusion I think was doubtless evolved gradually. It runs:
"There's a little dug-out in a trench, Which the rainstorms continually drench. With the sky overhead, and a stone for a bed, And another that acts for a bench.
"It's hard bread and cold bully we chew; It is months since we've tasted a stew; And the Jack Johnsons flare through the cold wintry air, O'er my little wet home in the trench.
"So hurrah for the mud and the clay, Which leads to 'der Tag,' that's the day When we enter Berlin, that city of sin, And make the fat Berliners pay."
I have never been in any sense what is generally understood by the term "faith healer," but I am certain that you can make a new man out of an old one, can save a man who is losing ground, and turn the balance and help him to win out through psychic agencies when all our chemical stimulants are only doing harm. That seemed especially true in those put hors de combat by the almost superhuman horrors of this war. It seemed to me to pay especially to get the confidence of one's patients. Thus one man would be drawn out by the gift of a few flowers, a little fruit, cigarettes, as so many of the kindly visitors discovered. One man with shrapnel splinters in his abdomen expressed a craving for Worcester sauce. It appeared to him so unobtainable in a hospital in France. From the point of view of his recovery I am convinced that the bottle which we procured in Boulogne was a good investment.
We eagerly awaited the illustrated papers each week for the same reason. But personal interest shown in themselves, by the time spared for chatting, was far the most appreciated. We had been very rightly warned against listening to the wounded men. It was with them in the base hospitals that the story of the angels of Mons originated. I never met any one personally who saw anything nearer the supernatural than that marvellous fight itself—the pluck and endurance of our "contemptible little army." But some claimed to have seen a spirit but visible army, such as Elijah at Dothan showed to his servant, or Castor and Pollux at Lake Regillus, fighting in front of our lines. A Canadian in command of the C.A.M.C. contingent, who treated thousands of the wounded as they came back from the front, told me that early in the day he heard the rumour, and ordered his men to ask as many as possible if they had seen any such phenomenon. Not one claimed to have done so. Yet a few days later from the base he heard a great many of these same men had declared that they had seen the "angels." He considered that the whole matter arose originally through some hysterical woman, and then was augmented by the suggestion of the question which he himself had put to them, made to men shell-shocked and in abnormal mental conditions.
Among other deductions from voluminous notes I judged that the Saxons really did not want to fight, the impression coming from so many different sources. Some said that they let us know, shouting across "No Man's Land," that they did not wish to fight, that they were Christians, had wives and children of their own, that they did not want to kill any one, and would fire in the air when forced to fire, were keen to renew the Christmas "pour-parlers." Our men claimed that it was comparative peace when the Saxons were in the trenches opposite, and they made friendly overtures as often as they dared. They were capable of attributing honour to others, and those who came over into our lines asserted that hundreds were anxious to do so, only they were so watched from behind. Moreover, the outrages committed by the Prussians under flags of truce had made it impossible for our men to allow any one to approach. To sit opposite a Saxon regiment for a month and not exchange shots appeared to be not uncommon. One man told me that they poked up a notice on their bayonets saying, "We are not going to fight"; and another said that once when "strafing" somehow commenced, they shouted from the opposite trenches: "Save your bullets. You'll need them to-night when the Prussian Guard relieves us"—which proved perfectly true. One day an elderly man crawled out of their trench, came to our barbed wire, and called out for bread. We threw him a loaf. He wrapped up something in his cap and threw it over. We tossed it back with more bread, but when he went back he left the watch behind.
After an especially brutal piece of treachery, our men were too maddened to give quarter, and one said, "A Saxon might have had a chance with us even then, but a Prussian would have had about as little as a beetle at a woodpecker's prayer meeting!" The Saxons, on the other hand, displayed the individual courage of the Anglo-Saxon that helped to lessen our losses by enabling us to attack in open formation. Every animal will fight when forced to do so. The cowardly wolf will attack only in packs; and one of the main reasons for the wholesale holocausts of mass attacks seems to have been that same lack of real courage in the boastful and militarist element. He dare not advance alone.
A colonel in command at the first battle of the Aisne described to me an incident that I at least did not hear elsewhere. He said that the Germans opposite him came on sixteen abreast, arm in arm, rifles at the trail or held anyhow. They were singing wildly, and literally jumping up and down, as if dancing. Fire was reserved till they came within a few hundred yards, when machine guns started to mow them down. Hay-pooks, or rather man-pooks, were immediately formed, and the advancing column, instead of coming straight on, went round and round the ever-increasing stacks. He believed that they had been filled with too much dope or too much doctored grog of some kind.
It was my great desire before returning from France to see the conditions at the front. I was told that members of American Units were discouraged from visiting the trenches. Dr. Carrel had twice most kindly invited me to Compiegne to see his new work on wounds, but permission to accept had been denied me. Being a British subject and wearing a British decoration on an American uniform only seemed to worry the authorities. I had almost abandoned hope, when one day an automobile stopped at our headquarters, just at the close of my term of service, and a colonel, a distinguished scientist, jumped out. He told me if I could get to Medical Headquarters, then at St. Omer, he could arrange for me to visit each of the four armies I wished to see. I had no permission to leave the base, though my term of service expired the next day. I had no passes, and our British commandant would not on his own responsibility either give me leave or lend me the necessary outfit. He would only agree to look the other way if I went.
Passing the sentries was not difficult, but once arrived in St. Omer, it was essential to have permission from Headquarters before one could enter any house or hotel. I was accordingly dumped in the dark streets of a strange town and told to be at that exact spot again in two hours, waiting my sponsor's return. Nor did he say where he was going, in case we failed to meet, for no one was allowed to mention the whereabouts of the G.H.Q. After two hours were over, I was at the appointed spot with that pleasurable sense of excitement that seldom comes after one has settled down in life. I could then understand better how a spy must feel. The town naturally was unlit for fear of aircraft, and yet there was a queer feeling that every one was looking at you as you walked up and down in the dark. My colonel friend was at the rendezvous with all the precision of a soldier, not only with the necessary papers and arrangements for the tour of inspection, but also a genial invitation to dine at Headquarters. General Sir Arthur Sloggett and his exceedingly able staff opened my eyes very considerably before the evening was out as to the methods of the R.A.M.C. in war-time. It was such a revelation to me that I felt it would be an infinite comfort to those with loved ones in the trenches to realize how marvellously efficient the provision for the care of the soldier's health had become. The main impression on my mind was the extraordinary developments since the days of the Lady of the Lamp. Formerly, so long as he was fit to fight, the soldier was always looked after. Now the soldier unfit to fight had exactly the same rights, just as after the war let us trust that the broken soldier will be "seen through" back into civil life. I was honestly surprised that he no longer depended on voluntary gifts to a charitable society for a bandage when he lay wounded or for a nurse if sickness overtook him. The marvellous system of the medical intelligence department, even the separate medical secret service, worked so efficiently that in spite of the awful conditions the health of the men in the line was twice as good as that when at home in civil life. Even disease approaching from the enemy's side was "spied," and as far as possible forestalled. All sanitary arrangements, all water supplies, and all public health matters from the North Sea to the Swiss border were handled by regular army officers. For the first time in history the medicals were considered so intimate a part of the fighting force that doctors held the same rank as executive officers. I was a major—no longer a surgeon major or just a sanitary official. Those in command were even trusted in advance with information as to what would likely be required of them on any part of the front by some manoeuvre or attack, though I do not think that even the general of the R.A.M.C. was admitted to the council of war.
The chart-room of the G.H.Q. was another revelation. The walls from ceiling to floor were occupied with the usual large-scale maps, with flags on pins; while long, weird, crooked lines of all colours made elaborate tracings over the charts, like those used in hospitals. These flags and lines indicated the surgical and medical front, where battles with typhoid, trench feet, and wounds were being waged by the immense army of workers under General Sloggett's direction. Laboratories in motor cars, special surgeons and ambulances were racing here and there, new hospitals for emergencies were being pushed in different directions, so that though within range of the enemies' guns, men wounded in the chest or abdomen could be treated in time to give them a chance for their lives. Typhoid recurring in any section of the line might mean the reprimand of the medical officer there; trench feet became a misdemeanour, so excellent were the precautions devised and carried out by the N.C.O.'s.
I ventured at table to say quite truthfully that I, a surgeon from a base hospital, where we saw endless Red Cross motor ambulances, and received so many kindnesses in supplies, and especially luxuries for our wounded from the Red Cross officials, had been under the impression that the R.A.M.C. was a sort of small tail to a very large Red Cross kite, owing to our little army and general unpreparedness when the war broke out. I could see that to my surprised hosts I appeared to be mentally deficient, but I was able to assure them that there were tens of thousands who knew even less than that, and thought that the chances still were that if their loved ones were hurt, they might be left to die because some one had not given their annual contribution to a society. It seemed a very serious omission that the public had not the information that would carry so much consolation with it. The British Red Cross has every one's love and support, but its function in war, as one officer said, must increasingly become, in relation to the R.A.M.C., that of a Sunday-school treat to the staff of the school.
The officialdom of Germany and even of France had always contrasted very unfavourably in my mind with our English methods. I was surprised in America that so many hospitals were Government institutions, and yet worked so well.
At Melville we turned aside to inspect what was apparently a second Valley of Hinnom. It was a series of furnaces, built out of clay and old cans, efficiently disposing of the garbage of a town and a large section of the line. At West Outre an officer found time to show us his ingenious improvised laundry. His share was to fight the enemy by keeping our boys decently clean; and for this purpose he collected their dirty linen into huge piles. He had diverted the only available brook so as to put a portable building over it. His battalion consisted of the whole female strength of the country-side, and had to be prepared to advance or retire pari passu with the other fighters. The chattering, shouting crowd, almost invisible in the fog of steam as we walked through, made me realize how difficult a command this regiment of washerwomen constituted. The triumph was that they all appeared to be contented and fraternal.
As every one knows one of the worst problems of the trenches was vermin. We entered a huge building used in peace-time for the purposes of dyeing. A Jack Johnson had only just exploded in the moat that brought the water to the tanks, but provision was made for trifles of this kind. When we peered over the edge of a steaming vat, it was to discover a platoon of Tommies enjoying the "time of their lives," before they joined the line of naked beings, each scrubbing the now happy man ahead. An endless stream of garments advanced through electric superheaters in parallel columns. There seemed as much excitement about the chance of every man getting his own clothing back as there is in the bran pie at a children's Christmas party.
While visiting the mud and squalor of a front trench in Flanders, only a few yards from the enemy's lines, the cheery occupants offered to brew some tea, exactly as we "boil our kettle" and have a good time in the safety of our Northern backwoods. One day I picked up some bright blue crystals. They proved to be "blue-stone," or sulphate of copper. When my pilot noticed that its presence puzzled me, he remarked casually, "There was a regimental dressing-station there a day or so ago. Probably that is the remains of it."
On a siding at Calais station a veritable pyramid of filth met my eyes. On inspection it proved to be odd old boots dug from the mud of the battle-fields, and, sorted out from the other endless piles of debris, brought back as salvage. To attack one pair of such boots is depressing. Melancholia alone befitted the pile. Yet I saw close at hand, through a series of sheds, this polluted current entering and coming out at the other end new boots, at the rate of a thousand pairs a day—the talisman not being a Henry Ford of boot-making, but just a smiling English colonel in the sporting trousers of a mounted officer.
The ground was still under snow, and we drove over much ice and through much slush as we returned to our base at Boulogne. My colleagues had gone back to America and it was a terribly lonely journey to London, though both steamer and train were crowded. The war was not yet won, and I could not help feeling an intense desire to remain and see it through with the brave, generous-hearted men who were giving their lives for our sakes. Loneliness scarcely describes my sensations; it felt more like desertion. One road to despair would be the awful realization that one is not wanted. The work looming ahead was the only comforting element, with the knowledge that the best of wives and partners was waiting in London to help me out.
My return to the work after serving in France was embittered by a violent attack made upon me in a St. John's paper. It was called forth by a report of a lecture in Montreal where I had addressed the Canadian Club. The meeting was organized by Newfoundlanders at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and the fact that a large number from the Colony were present and moved the vote of thanks at the end should have been sufficient guarantee of the bona fides of my statements. But the over-enthusiastic account of a reporter who unfortunately was not present gave my critics the chance for which they were looking. It was at a time when any criticism whatever of a country that was responding so generously to the homeland's call for help would have been impolitic, even if true. It subsequently proved one factor, however, in obtaining the commission of inquiry from the Government, and so far was really a blessing to our work. In retrospect it is easy to see that all things work together for good, but at the time, oddly enough, even if such reports are absolutely false, they hurt more than the point of a good steel knife. Anonymous letters, on the contrary, with which form of correspondence I have a bowing acquaintance, only disturb the waste-paper basket.
The Governor, the representatives of our Council, the Honourable Robert Watson and the Honourable W.C. Job, and my many other fast friends, however, soon made it possible for me to forget the matter. If protest breeds opposition, it in turn begets apposition, and a good line of demarcation—a "no man's land" between friend and foe—and gives a healthy atmosphere in so-called times of peace.
In the year 1915 a large cooperative store was established at Cape Charles near Battle Harbour, which bred such opposition amongst certain merchants that it proved instrumental also in obtaining for us the Government commission of inquiry sent down a few months later. After a thorough investigation of St. Anthony, Battle Harbour, Cape Charles, Forteau, Red Bay, and Flowers Cove, summoning every possible witness and tracing all rumours to their source, the commissioners' findings were so favourable to the Mission that on their return to St. John's our still undaunted detractors could only attribute it to supernatural agencies.
My colleague at Battle Harbour, Dr. John Grieve, who with his wife had already given us so many years' work there, and whose interest in the cooperative effort at Cape Charles was responsible for its initial success, had worked out a plan for a winter hospital station in Lewis Bay, and had surveyed the necessary land grant. Through the resignation of our business manager, Mr. Sheard, and the selection of Dr. Grieve by the directors as his successor, only that part of the Lewis Bay scheme which enables us to give work in winter providing wood supplies has so far materialized.
In 1915 also, at a place called Northwest River, one hundred and thirty miles up Hamilton Inlet from Indian Harbour, a little cottage hospital and doctor's house combined was built, called the "Emily Beaver Chamberlain Memorial Hospital." Thus the work of Dr. and Mrs. Paddon has been converted into a continuous service, for formerly when Indian Harbour Hospital was closed in the fall, they had no place in which they could efficiently carry on their work during the winter months. Before Dr. Paddon came to the coast, Dr. and Mrs. Norman Stewart gave us several years of valuable service, spending their summers at Indian Harbour and returning for the winter to St. Anthony, according to my original plan when I first built St. Anthony Hospital.
An old friend and worker at St. Anthony, Mr. John Evans of Philadelphia, who had helped us with our deer and other problems, having married our head nurse, the first whom we had ever had from Newfoundland, found it essential to return and take up remunerative work at home.
The increasing number of patients seeking help at St. Anthony made it necessary to provide proportionately increasing facilities. As I have stated elsewhere, the sister of my splendid colleague, Dr. Little, in 1909 had raised the money for the new wing of the hospital for the accommodation of the summer accession of patients. The clinic which had now grown so tremendously, due to Dr. Little's magnificent work, was maintaining a permanent house surgeon, Dr. Louis Fallen, who had faithfully served the Mission at different times at other stations. We had also regular dental and eye departments.
The summer of 1917 was saddened for us all by the loss to the work of my beloved and able colleague, Dr. John Mason Little, Jr., who had given ten years of most valuable labour to the people of this coast. He had married, some years before, our delightful and unselfish helper, Miss Ruth Keese, and they now had four little children growing up in St. Anthony. The education of his family and the call of other home ties made him feel that it had become essential for him to terminate his more intimate connection with the North, and he left us to take up medical work in Boston. The loss of them both was a very heavy one to the work and to us personally, and we are only thankful that we have been able to secure Dr. Little's invaluable assistance and advice on our Board of Directors in Boston. This coast and this hospital owe him a tremendous debt which can never be repaid, for it was he who put this clinic in a position to hold up its head among the best of medical work, and offer to this far-off people the grade of skilled assistance which we should wish for our loved ones if they were ill or in trouble. For Dr. Little offered not only his very exceptional skill as a surgeon, but also the gift of his inspiring and devoted personality.
The winter of 1917-18 was extremely severe, not only in our North country, but in the United States and Canada also. I was lecturing during this winter in both these latter countries, though during the months of December and January travelling became very difficult owing to the continuous blizzards. I was held up for three days in Racine, Wisconsin, as neither trains, electric cars, or automobiles could make their way through the heavy drifts. Had I had my trusty dog team, however, I should not have missed three important lecture engagements. Life in the North has its compensations.
At Toronto I was unfortunate enough to contract bronchitis and pleurisy, and I understand from competent observers that I was an "impossible patient." Be that as it may, so much pressure was brought to bear on me that at last I was forced to obey the doctors and leave for a month's rest in a warmer climate.
Owing to ice and war conditions we did not arrive in St. Anthony until the first of July. In arriving late we were all spared a terrible shock. The previous day some of the boys from the Orphanage had gone fishing in the Devil's Pond, about a mile away, and a favourite resort with them. Unfortunately that afternoon they were seized with the brilliant idea of kindling a fire with which to cook their trout. Greatly to the astonishment of the would-be cooks, the fire quickly got beyond the one desired for culinary purposes, and, panic-stricken, they rushed home to give the alarm. Every man ashore and afloat came and worked, and the obliteration of the place was saved by a providential change in the wind and wide fire-breaks cut through few and ill-to-be-spared trees. Everything had been taken from our house—even furniture and linen—and dragged to the wharf head, where terrified children, fleeing patients, and heaps of furnishings from the orphanage and elsewhere were all piled up. Schooners had been hauled in to carry off what was possible, and the patients in the hospital were got ready to be carried away at a moment's notice. Only the most strenuous efforts saved the entire station. Now all our beautiful sky-line is blackened and charred. All day long the gravity of the debt was in our hearts, for if the wooden buildings had once had the clouds of fiery sparks settle upon them, the whole of those dependent upon us would have been homeless. Surely in a country like this, the incident of this fire puts an added emphasis upon our need of brick buildings. Gratitude for our safe return, for all God's mercies to us, and joy over the outcome of the at one time apparently inevitable disaster, made our first day of the season a never-to-be-forgotten event.