New York: Cassell Publishing, 1892.
First American Edition. Hardcover. Very good. xvii, 291 pp, with two facsimile letters, many illustrations from photographs, map of the route traversed. Original green cloth with decoration in gilt. Slight rubbing to corners, very faint dampstain to lower inner corner of front board. Inscribed on the front flyleaf:: "Miss C.M. Davies, In as much as ye did it to the least of one of these ye did it unto me (Christ) - July 10, 1893, Kate Marsden." Laid in are two interesting pieces of ephemera - a pamphlet promoting Marsden's lecture tour shortly after the book was published, titled "Outcast Siberian Lepers. Extracts from Press Notices of Miss Kate Marsden's Lectures and Drawing-Room Meetings in London and In Provincial Towns" (London, The Record Press, undated but appears to be 1893, 8 pp) and another pamphlet titled "The Most Miserable" (London, The Record Press, undated, 19 pp) by Marsden, intended "to arouse a wider amount of sympathy than at present exists on behalf of lepeers throughout the world." Neither of these pamphlets are recorded in OCLC. A trained nurse, Marsden (1859-1931) was sent to Bulgaria to care for casualties of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877. There she first observed the sufferings of lepers and also heard rumors of an herb reputed to offer a cure for the disease. This herb was said to be found only in northern Siberia, and Marsden was determined to go find it and make it available to the world. After some years of additional travel and research, in 1890 she finally set off for Moscow, where she gained an audience with the Tsarina and an official letter sanctioning her trip. The journey across Russia (by train, sledge, horseback, and boat) was rugged and difficult, "but after several months she reached Yakutsk, the capital of the Yakutia region in northern Siberia. From there she rode 2000 miles on horseback to Viluisk, then traveled around visiting the scattered groups of leprosy sufferers...whose living conditions appalled her" (McVicker, Women Adventurers). Although she failed to bring back the curative herb, Marsden did succeed in bringing new attention the plight of lepers through this book and the lectures she gave on her return to London. In 1892, she became one of the first women elected to the Royal Geographical Society.