Marsden’s journey, she explains early in the text, was inspired by her experience as a nurse in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, where she was rst acquainted with the ‘ravages’ of leprosy. While in Constantinople and Ti is she heard ‘reports’ of a Siberian herb that was said to ‘alleviate the su erings caused by leprosy, and in some cases, to remove the disease’.2 ese rumours convinced her to travel to Siberia and track down the herb, and eventually to nurse the neglected Siberian lepers themselves. In a broad sense the memoir follows this scheme, though the unnamed herb proves to be rst elusive and later unveri able.3 By the memoir’s end, the goal of nursing and treating the lepers has turned almost
wholly into a campaign for funds on their behalf. When her journey is over, Marsden begins the process of building the lepers a hospital, which is erected in 1897 with money she has raised.4 us, what begins as a medico-investigative journey ends as a fundraising endeavour. e memoir is followed by a lengthy appendix of documents attesting to Marsden’s fundraising, outreach and benevolence, as well as to the hazards she faced on her journey.