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Elsie Inglis The Woman with the Torch   By:

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ELSIE INGLIS

[Illustration: Photo by Bassano

ELSIE INGLIS

AFTER HER RETURN FROM SERBIA IN 1916

Frontispiece ]

PIONEERS OF PROGRESS

WOMEN

EDITED BY ETHEL M. BARTON

ELSIE INGLIS

THE WOMAN WITH THE TORCH

BY

EVA SHAW McLAREN

WITH A PREFACE BY

LENA ASHWELL

LONDON

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1920

Great souls who sailed uncharted seas, Battling with hostile winds and tide, Strong hands that forged forbidden keys, And left the door behind them, wide .

Diggers for gold where most had failed, Smiling at deeds that brought them Fame, Lighters of Lamps that have not failed, Lend us your oil and share your flame.

TO AMY SIMSON

PREFACE

"To light a path for men to come" is the privilege of the pioneer; and the life of a pioneer, the hewer of a new path, is always encouraging, whether he who goes before to open the way be a voyager to the Poles or the uttermost parts of the earth, in imminent danger of physical death, or whether he be an adventurer, cutting a path to a new race consciousness, revealing the power of service in new vocations, evoking new powers, and living in hourly danger of mental suffocation by prejudices and inhibitions of race tradition.

The women's irresistible movement, which has so suddenly flooded all departments of work previously considered the monopoly of men, required from the leaders indomitable courage, selflessness, and faith, qualities of imperishable splendour; and to read the life of Elsie Inglis is to recognize instantly that she was one of these ruthless adventurers, hewing her way through all perils and difficulties to bring to pass the dreams of thousands of women. The world's standard of success may appear to give the prize to those who collect things, but in reality the crown of victory, the laurel wreath, the tribute beyond all material value, is always reserved for those invisible, intangible qualities which are evinced in character.

It is wonderful to read how slowly and surely that character was formed through twenty years of monotonous routine. The establishing of a Hospice for women and children, run entirely by women, was not a popular movement, and through long years of dull, arduous work, patient, silent, honest, dedicated unconsciously to the service of others, she laid the foundations which led to her great achievement, and so, full of courage and growing in power, like Nelson she developed a blind eye, to which she put her telescope in times of bewilderment; she could never see the difficulties which loomed large in her way sex prejudices and mountains of race convictions to be moved and so she moved them!

In founding The Hospice she gave herself first to the women and children round her; later, in the urgent call of the Suffrage movement, she devoted herself whole heartedly to the service of the women of the country, and so she was ready when the war came. Her own country refused her services; but Providence has a strange way of turning what appears to be evil into great good. The refusal of the British Government to accept the services of medically trained women caused them to offer their services elsewhere; and so she went first to help the French, and then to encourage and serve Serbia in her dire need.

And so from the first she was a pioneer: in doing medical work among women and children; in achieving the rights of citizenship for women; and in the further great adventure of establishing the true League of Nations which lies in the will to serve mankind.

LENA ASHWELL (MRS. HENRY SIMSON)

INTRODUCTION

A most interesting Life of Elsie Inglis, written a short time ago by the Lady Frances Balfour, has had a wide circulation which has proved the appreciation of the public... Continue reading book >>




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