30 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
abscesses, and much else. The touch of a person far less sensitive than that of the wandering Princess of the well-known fairy tale might prove of vital importance. I t will be recollected that her Princess-ship was acknowledged by all, through her discovering a pea surreptitiously inserted as a test, below the bottom of the pile of feather-beds on which she slept.
To return to my duties. Accidents occurred, of course, at all hours of the day and night. It was unpleasant to be summoned out of a warm bed to attend upon these once on a cold night, but it was not a hardship ; to be summoned twice was trying ; but thrice, as sometimes happened, was more than I could have endured had it frequently occurred. Burns were the commonest of the accidents at nighttime. The sufferers were piteous to see. As a rule they did not complain much of pain, but they shivered from a sense of cold and were enfeebled almost to prostration by the shock. There was nothing to be done to them beyond cutting away all adherent clothing and the like, packing them in cotton wool and sending them to a ward. One particular ward was allotted to that purpose. The contrast was great between the neatly dressed patient of the first night and the wretched creature two days after, when suppuration had begun and the foul dressings had to be carefully picked off and replaced by clean ones.
Broken heads from brawls were common accidents at night ; then it was my part to shave the head, using the blood as lather, which makes a far better preparation for shaving than soap. The wounds were stitched together with a three-cornered "glove needle," which cuts its way through the skin. Some riots connected