A New Zealander Abroad.
Miss Kate Marsden, who is just about starting on a leper crusade in Russia, was for some time superintendent of the Wellington Hospital. Interviewed by a " Pall Mall Gazette " tnan the other day Miss Marsden explained—" That whilst at Wellington some friends interested her in the ease of the miners of the South Island, many of whom live several days* journey away from any place where they can get medical assistance in cases of accident. You can imagine what a man's sufferings muEit be if he breaks or injures a limb, and has to remain unattended to for days and days till a doctor is brought to him, or till he is taken a long journey to where the nearest medical man lives. In order to enable them to help themselves and each other ■ till medical. assistance can be obtained, I went among the miners all over the island and gave ambulance lectures. It was a strange experience. Sometimes I had to travel four or five days to get to them ; then* 1 gave my lecture, sat with them by their camp fire, slept in a tent which they had specially put up for me, and rode off again next day to another place. On similar tours I saw a great deal of leprosy among the Maoris,: and a few months,' ago I came home fcoysogland, thinking to go to Mblottai and tliere make further studies of the disease. I should tell you that my final object has always been, and still is, to study leprosy and its various treatments as thoroughly: as possible, and then to go to India' to organise the care of lepers, who, in many cases are terribly neglected. Soon after reaching London I went to the Hawaiian Consul, Bond street, to see what assisttfocs
he could give me, but he informed me at once that only Roman Catholics could be received at Molokai. That of course put an end to it, as I belong to the Church of England, and once more my hopes seemed to be baffled. I was presented to the Queen, and three days after the Princess of Wales, whom some of my friends had told of my intentions, telegraphed asking me to come and see her at Marlborough House. I cannot tell you how kind the Princess was ; her sympathy and her great interest in the question gave me new courage, and she promised towriteatoncetoher sister, the Empress of Russia, from whom I was anxious to obtain the Red Cross Order, which had, nominally, been awarded to me after the Russo-Turkish war, but which I had not received. A few days later I was on my way to Russia, obtained the Order without trouble, and was specially invited to erne and see the Empress at Gatschino. And there again I was received with such simple kindness and sympathy that I could hardly believe I was really in the presence of the highest lady in the land. The Empress would not let me stand for a moment in her presence. So I sat down even while the Empress remained standing, and she listened to all I had to say, and when I expressed the wish to study the leper question in Russia she promised her help and the Emperor's. The rest is soon told. In this folio, continued Miss Marsden, opening out one after the other the large white sheets stamped with mighty official seals, and signed by some of the most important and powerful men in Russia, " I have papers entitling me to go into all the hospitals, all the prisons, and to all places where I think I can find anything connected with the study of leprosy all over Russia, Siberia, the Caucasus, and Asiatic Russia, and to see everything, get all in formation I can, and take what notes and photographs I like about leprosy. Every official is bound to give me all possible assistance, and, as in some parts of Russia leprosy is very prevalent indeed, I am convinced that I could obtain information of priceless val'ie. It almost makes one's head reel to think of what the judicious use of the pen and of the photographic camera in Russian hospitals, Siberian prisons, and Caucasian fortresses might do for Russia, for the leper, and, indirectly, for 'all the people born beneath the throne' of the great Empire of the north. 'But the Empress has done more than that. I don't speak Russian, and that would have been an obstacle. Therefore Dr Duncan, the chief medical officer at St Petersburg, is to accompany me on the whole tour, the Russian Government paying all his expenses. At Riga, Dr Duncan is to meet me ; then we go on to Moscow and Central Russia, to~ Siberia, and finally acrossthe Caucasus to Tifiis, Baku, whence, after crossing the Caspian, wetake thetrain to Samarkand, and enter Transcaspia, Central Asia. What I shall find remains to be seen, but it is beyond all doubt that the terrible disease is prevalent in all parts of the Empire, and to an extent which has never yet been officially ascertained. Can you wonder that with the opportunities given me by the Russian Government I am intensely anxious to "And have you no fear of infection, Miss Marsden '?"—" Oh yes, I have. I am well aware of the risk I run, but is it not worth running the risk 1 And, remember, I am a trained nurse with many years' experience, and shall not neglect to take whatever precautions are possible."
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A New Zealander Abroad., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2471, 22 July 1890
A New Zealander Abroad. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2471, 22 July 1890
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