6 JANUARY 1906, Page 37

Catharine Grace LOch : a Memoir. (H. Frowde. 4e. net.) —

" The Memoir," says Surgeon-General Bradshaw, who edits the book, "has become practically an Autobiography." Miss Loch speaks for herself, and speaks with all possible vigour and emphasis ; the "small paraphrasing suggested by sense of editorial responsibility" to which Dr. Bradshaw owns has not materially weakened the impression. Miss Loch worked for five years at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1888 she went out to India, charged, along with a colleague, with the task of inaugurating a system of skilled nursing in military hospitals. In India, with intervals of holiday and furlough, she worked for fourteen years. In 1902 she was invalided home, and after some fifteen months' service on the Ladies' Board at the India Office, died on July 1st, 1901. She was then not quite fifty. It would be easy to make out an appalling list of abuses and shortcomings from Miss Loch's letters to her friends and fellow-workers. She was an enthusiast about her work ; she naturally dwelt on what had gone wrong, for to speak of success was to praise herself, and she had learnt that if you are to move the official conservatism and routine you must use strong language. It is the way of those who have to "exhort the impenitent mule." Miss Loch complains chiefly of insufficient staffing, aggravated by frequent orders to detach one of the few workers to deal with some private case in which the authorities were interested, and of the orderlies. These latter were being continually changed, and the change was too often for the worse. (The Seaforths will read with a glow of pleasure the handsome testimonial which is to be found on P. 47.) Then there was the difficulty of official position. Should any nominal rank be assigned to the nursing sisters ? This was the question ; and it had ultimately to go to H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, who decided in the negative. "II.R.H. has difficulty in believing that any soldier could fail in respect to ladies who are devoting themselves," Sm. So ran the official reply ; probably the ducal vernacular was very different. Then unqualified nurses were sent out. Miss Loch's wrath was specially moved by the appointment of a girl of nineteen "who had had as only training two months in a zenana hospital, and had never in her life seen a male patient." And she was sent to nurse soldiers ! This was a kind of mistake that only military authorities could make.