SERVANTS WHO HAVE DIED FOR THEIR EMPLOYERS.
J " .- Nothing more heroic has been recorded in history than the act of. the little Scotch nursemaid, Elsie Macdonald, who lost her life recently while protecting her master s two children against jthe onslaught of a rabid dog. The animal, a big collie, ran amuck in the hills near Strathconon, a village in Inverness-shire, and, after worrying several sheep, came, suddenly upon the little party, of three in a lonely and little-fre-qnented glen. Bidding the children, who were both of tender years, run for their lives, the nurse seized a billet of wood and stood on the defensive. She succeeded m keeping the brute at bay long enough to ailowr of her charges making good their escape ; but she herself was so badly mauled that she died a few days later. In Isleworth Cemetery there is a plain marble tablet, erected long ago by public subscription, in memory of Alice Ayres. Some fifteen years back Alice was employed as " general " at the house of Mr Henry Chandler, who kept an oil and colour shop jn Union Street, Borough. Early on the morning oL April 23, 1885, a fire broke out oii the premises ; and, owing to the inflammable nature of the stock, the whole place was soon a raging furnace. In the midst of it, at an upper window, clad only in her nightgown, appeared Alice — a child in her arms. " Jump J " shouted the crowd. " No ; catch the little one," replied the heroine;; and,. throwing it into the outstretched arms of a spectator she disappeared within. A moment later a roar of mingled surprise and admiration went up from the spectators. Alice had reappeared at the window, with Nellie Chandler, aged four, and had dropped her also into the arms of one of. the thousands who stood waiting below. Then, for the third time, she WENT BACK INTO THE BLAZING BUILDING, returning almost immediately with the third and youngest child. • By this, however, flames and emoke were pouring from the ■window at which the heroic girl stood, and she herself, as well as the child, was seen to be -badly burnt. Nevertheless, even at that terrible moment, her first thoughts were of her little charge, and only when she saw that it also had been caught did she jump herself. • Too late! ■ Twenty-four hours later she breathed her last in the accident ward at Guy's— just when all England" was ringing •with her name. Sixteen picked members of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade bore her remains to their last resting-place, and over 10,000 people— many of them of high rank and social standing — attended to pay a last tribute of respect to her memory. One of the most pitiful of the many pitiful stories connected-, with the wreck ot the White Star steamship Atlantic, on April 1, 1873, is that which relates how Mary Callaghan lost her life in a fruitless attempt to save that of a little lad entrusted to her care. The child in question was the only son of a wealthy New York merchant, and in the confusion the little fellow became separatee! from his nurse. Believing that he had secured a place in one of the boats, Mary allowed herself "to be assisted into the last one that was leaving the vessel, when, at the crucial moment, she chanced to catch sight of his agonised face amongst a group of terror-stricken passengers on the poop-deck. , THAT! ONE-GUMPSE SEALED HER FATE. Seizing her opportunity, as the "sinking liner— now submerged nearly to her. gunwales—rolled to . and fro in the trough of the sea, she leaped back on board. l A few minutes later, as the' after-part of tho vessel rose high in air preparatory to taking the last fatal plunge, there were seen silhouetted against the sky the figures of a young girl and a little child, each enwrapped in the other's arms. Thus they went to their deaths, together. Nor are these deeds of heroism, done in pursuit of what are usually classed, as "menial duties," solely monopolised by women of British birth and training. Indeed, the records of the great Indian Mutiny literally . teem with instances of " ayahs " who deliberately elected to die by the hands of their own people rather than prove themselves "false to their salt." Only quite recently, too, near Meeriit, a young Hindu nurse flaunted her crimson scarf in front of on elephant that had suddenly "" "'gone musth," in order to distract the brute's attention from her two-year-old charge. She' rjeceeded so well that, when found, scarcely a bone in .her body remained unbroken. : And close beside the .poor.; maimed remnant of humanity cooed and chuckled the child— unfrightened and uninjured. Some years back there occurred in the Arizona territory of the United States -of America a terrible uprising of the Apaches— those Bedouins of the New World. Among their earliest victims was Judge Williams, hJ3 wife, and two daughters, who were slaughtered in their own house on the outskirts of Tucson under circumstances of wll-nigh ; INCONCEIVABLE BRUTALITY. Tho youngest child, a babe of seven months, owed his life to the heroism of a half-caste eirl. his nurse, who hid him in a disused rclne-headmg. Nor could either threats or torturo induce, her to divulge the place of fe.*.s concealment. Eventually, wearied apparently of useless cruelty, or perhaps fearful of discovery, the horde of human-visaged •wolves took their departure, their leader, however, first putting the already^ half -deai
girl out of her misery 'by a' terrific 'blow .with his tomahawk.. ..... The above constitute, -of. course,, but a, few instances; out of many -^ bub they suffice to. show. that, the possession of i.the most sublime coupled with that lofty heroism which counts even death itself as" nothing when weighed in the balance against duty, is by no means the sole prerogative of the highrborn or the well-to-do.
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SERVANTS WHO HAVE DIED FOR THEIR EMPLOYERS., Star, Issue 6640, 11 November 1899
SERVANTS WHO HAVE DIED FOR THEIR EMPLOYERS. Star, Issue 6640, 11 November 1899
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