The mother was suffering with an acute attack of bronchitis and pleurisy. All were suffering from lack of food and clothing. The children were barefooted. One little fellow had no other covering than an old trouser leg drawn over his frail little body. The man’s fur hunt had failed the previous winter. Sickness prevented fishing. There was nothing in the house to eat and the family were helpless. Doctor Grenfell came to them none too soon.
In every harbor and bay and cove there was enough for Doctor Grenfell to do. His heart and hands were full that summer as they have ever been since. His skill was constantly in demand. Here was some one desperately ill, there a finger or an arm to be amputated, or a more serious operation to be performed.
The hospitals were soon filled to overflowing. Doctor Grenfell afloat, and his two assistants with the nurses in the hospitals were busy night and day. The best of it all was many lives were saved. Some who would have been helpless invalids as long as they lived were sent home from the hospitals strong and well and hearty. An instance of this was a girl of fourteen, who had suffered for three years with internal absesses that would eventually have killed her. She was taken to the Battle Harbor Hospital, operated upon, and was soon perfectly well. To this day she is living, a robust contented woman, the mother of a family, and, perchance, a grandmother.
Grenfell was happy. Here was something better than jogging over English highways behind a horse and visiting well-to-do grumbling patients. He was out on the sea he loved, meeting adventure in fog and storm and gale. That was better than a gig on a country road. He was helping people to be happy. He prized that far more than the wealth he might have accumulated, or the reputation he might have gained at home, as a famous physician or surgeon. There is no happiness in the world to compare with the happiness that comes with the knowledge that one is making others happy and helping them to better living and contentment.
Without knowing it, Grenfell was building a world-fame. If he had known it, he would not have cared a straw. He was working not for fame but for results—for the good he could do others. Nothing else has ever influenced him. Every day he was doing endless good turns without pay or the thought of pay. In this he was serving not only God but his country. And he never neglected his athletics, for it was necessary that he keep his body in the finest physical condition that his brain might always be keen and alert. Grenfell could not have remained a year in the field if he had neglected his body, and he was still an athlete in the pink of condition.
IN THE DEEP WILDERNESS
Imagine, if you will, a vast primeval wilderness spreading away before you for hundreds of miles, uninhabited, grim and solitary. None but wild beasts and the roving Indians that hunt them live there. None but they know the mysteries that lie hidden and guarded by those trackless miles of forests and barren reaches of unexplored country.