The War on All Fronts: England's Effort eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 187 pages of information about The War on All Fronts.
surfaces and appliances of the white room—­stamp themselves on memory.  I recollect, too, one John S——­, a very bad case, a private.  “Oh, you must come and see John S——­,” says one of the Sisters.  “We get all the little distractions we can for John.  Will he recover?  Well, we thought so—­but”—­her face changes gravely—­“John himself seems to have made up his mind lately.  He knows—­but he never complains.”  Knows what?  We go to see him, and he turns round philosophically from his tea.  “Oh, I’m all right—­a bit tired—­that’s all.”  And then a smile passes between him and his nurse.  He has lost a leg, he has a deep wound in his back which won’t heal, which is draining his life away—­poor, poor John S——!  Close by is a short, plain man, with a look of fevered and patient endurance that haunts one now to think of.  “It’s my eyes.  I’m afraid they’re getting worse.  I was hit in the head, you see.  Yes, the pain’s bad—­sometimes.”  The nurse looks at him anxiously as we pass, and explains what is being tried to give relief.

This devotion of the nurses—­how can one ever say enough of it!  I recall the wrath of a medical officer in charge of a large hospital at Rouen.  “Why don’t they give more Red Crosses to the working nurses?  They don’t get half enough recognition.  I have a nurse here who has been twelve months in the operating theatre.  She ought to have a V.C.!—­It’s worth it.”

And here is a dark-eyed young officer who had come from a distant colony to fight for England.  I find him in an officer’s hospital, established not long after the war broke out, in a former Casino, where the huge baccarat-room has been turned into two large and splendid wards.  He is courteously ready to talk about his wound, but much more ready to talk about his Sister.

“It’s simply wonderful what they do for us!” he says, all his face lighting up.  “When I was worst there wasn’t an hour in the day or night my Sister wasn’t ready to try anything in the world to help me.  But they’re all like that.”

Let me here gratefully recall, also, the hospitals organised by the Universities of Chicago and Harvard, entirely staffed by American Sisters and Doctors, each of them providing 34 doctors and 80 nurses, and dealing with 1,040 patients.  Harvard has maintained a general hospital with the British Force in France since July, 1915.  The first passages and uniforms were paid for by the British Government, but the University has itself paid all passages, and provided all uniforms since the start; and it is proposed, I am told, to carry on this generous help indefinitely.

Twenty thousand wounded!—­while every day the ambulance trains come and go from the front, or to other bases—­there to fill up one or other of the splendid hospital ships that take our brave fellows back to England, and home, and rest.  And this city of hospitals, under its hard-pressed medical chief, with all its wealth of scientific invention, and painsaving device, and unremitting care, with its wonderful health and recovery statistics, has been the growth of just twelve months.  The mind wavers between the two opposing images it suggests:  war and its havoc on the one hand—­the power of the human brain and the goodness of the human heart on the other.

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The War on All Fronts: England's Effort from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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