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CHAPTER III.

A busy scene--Now and then--Touching incidents

Affection of the Irish soldiers for their nuns—The strong national spirit of the Irish-Amusing scenes with Irish sailors-Butter-Kind donations of friends in England-Gratitude of the soldiers-Cost of butter in Turkey-Bread contracts-Bad washing, and deficiency in the linen department Formation of a washing establishment-Washing done by Greeks—Details of the linen departments-Arduons nature of the work in them.

THE routine of the hospital was often interrupted by the arrival of sick, who came in numbers varying from 50 to 100. Wo seldom had more than a few hours' notice, and often not that. Sometimes it was not till the steamer was alongside the quay that we knew they were coming; this arose from all the sick from the camp being sent to

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Scutari first and the steamer coming back from thence to Koulali. When they arrived there was a general commotion; the principal medical officer, the commandant, and most of the medical staff went down to the quay to receive them and see them carefully carried up. Orderlies ran hither and thither, wardmasters and nurses were in bustle getting beds prepared. The kitchen staff was hard at work to get coppers full of hot water, and fires lighted in readiness for the doctor's orders. Ladies and Sisters looking after the clean linen.

A different scene it was truly from that which used to be presented a few months back, when the poor sufferers came in and no beds were ready and no clean linen, and no nurses to attend and watch by them. A blessed change indeed it was.

There was a division made of the sick, part going to the Barrack and part going to the General hospitals. All who were able walked,

TOUCHING INCIDENTS.

41

the rest were borne on stretchers.

As soon as the sick were in their beds requisitions began to pour in. One ward ordered beef tea, another negus, a third good tea. The orderly officer for the day was in great request as he must sign the requisitions, or give the Sisters and ladies verbal orders from which they might write their own requisitions.

Very touching incidents often occurred among the sick just come in; they were so astonished to find so many comforts ready, and so many hands to minister to them. The quantity of clean linen was a great wonderment; they said they had more here in a week than in the camp for months together.

poor

Irish soldiers were much charmed at the sight of the nuns—“Our own Sisters," they would fondly say.

I remember one poor man brought in who was a Roman Catholic; he was so ill he could not speak, could neither ask for temporal comfort or spiritual consolation, but he

The

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NATIONAL SPIRIT OF THE IRISH.

nuns.

looked up into the face of the Sister who was attending on him, and perceiving the crucifix hanging from her girdle eagerly seized it with his dying grasp and pressed it fervently to his lips.

The national spirit of the Irish was very strong ; it was pleasing to see their reverence and affection for their priests and the

The Irish orderlies used to be delighted beyond measure to be allowed to wait on the Catholic chaplain; nothing was so great a treat as to be doing something for 66 his riverence.

There were amusing scenes sometimes with Irish sailors. There was a wharf just below Koulali, where steamers often came to coal; once or twice the crews were principally Irish. The sailors had leave to go on shore, and dispersed themselves about the country; they went through the hospital wards, evidently delighted at the comfortable appearance of the men. They looked at and

SCENES WITH IRISH SAILORS.

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admired everything; but when they met their countrywomen—the Sisters of Mercyin the barrack-yard they were quite overjoyed. When they found that they lived at the General Hospital they poured up the hill in troops to visit them and attend their chapel. Many who had not attended to their religious duties for years were persuaded to do so now. They did not forget the ladies either, but were overheard one night on the quay to be talking the matter over, and saying, however those ladies could have come out all this way with nobody to take care of them was past their conception.

Butter was a great treat to our men; before the arrival of the new Purveyor-inchief the bread was so dry and sour that it was difficult even for those in health to force it down unless very hungry. No butter was at that time given on the diet roll. We asked the leave of the medical officers to give it to our patients. This was granted, and

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