XLII. TREATMENT OF
The persistence of the pleurisy caused some anxiety,
but I knew that the cure lay not in taking medicine
internally but in dietetic changes assisted by external
I called in Dr. Allinson of vegetarian fame, who
treated diseases by dietetic modifications and whom I had
met in 1890. He thoroughly overhauled me. I explained to
him how I had pledged myself not to take milk. He cheered
me up and said: 'You need not take milk. In fact I want
you to do without any fat for some days.' He then advised
me to live on plain brown bread, raw vegetables such as
beet, radish, onion and other tubers and greens, and also
fresh fruit, mainly oranges. The vegetables were not to
be cooked but merely grated fine, if I could not
I adopted this for about three days, but raw
vegetables did not quite suit me. My body was not in a
condition to enable me to do full justice to the
experiment. I was nervous about taking raw vegetables.
Dr. Allinson also advised me to keep all the windows
of my room open for the whole twenty-four hours, bathe in
tepid water, have an oil massage on the affected parts
and a walk in the open for fifteen to thirty minutes. I
liked all these suggestions.
My room had French windows which, if kept wide open,
would let in the rain. The fanlight could not be opened.
I therefore got the glass broken, so as to let in fresh
air, and I partially opened the windows in a manner not
to let in rain.
All these measures somewhat improved my health, but
did not completely cure me.
Lady Cecilia Roberts occasionally called on me. We
became friends. She wanted very much to persuade me to
take milk. But as I was unyielding, she hunted about for
a substitute for milk. Some friend suggested to her
malted milk, assuring her quite unknowingly that it was
absolutely free from milk, and that it was a chemical
preparation with all the properties of milk. Lady
Cecilia, I knew, had a great regard for my religious
scruples, and so I implicitly trusted her. I dissolved
the powder in water and took it only to find that it
tasted just like milk. I read the label on the bottle, to
find, only too late, that it was a preparation of milk.
So I gave it up.
I informed Lady Cecilia about the discovery, asking
her not to worry over it. She came post haste to me to
say how sorry she was. Her friend had not read the label
at all. I begged her not to be anxious and expressed my
regret that I could not avail myself of the thing she had
procured with so much trouble. I also assured her that I
did not at all feel upset or guilty over having taken
milk under a misapprehension.
I must skip over many other sweet reminiscences of my
contact with Lady Cecilia. I could think of many friends
who have been a source of great comfort to me in the
midst of trials and disappointments. One who has faith
reads in them the merciful providence of God, who thus
sweetens sorrow itself.
Dr. Allinson, when he next called, relaxed his
restrictions and permitted me to have groundnut butter or
olive oil for the sake of fat, and to take the vegetables
cooked, if I chose, with rice. These changes were quite
welcome, but they were far from giving me a complete
cure. Very careful nursing was still necessary, and I was
obliged to keep mostly in bed.
Dr. Mehta occasionally looked in to examine me and
held out a standing offer to cure me if only I would
listen to his advice.
Whilst things were going on in this way, Mr, Roberts
one day came to see me and urged me very strongly to go
home. 'You cannot possibly go to Netley in this
condition. There is still severer cold ahead of us. I
would strongly advise you to get back to India, for it is
only there that you can be completely cured. If, after
your recovery, you should find the war still going on,
you will have many opportunities there of rendering help.
As it is, I do not regard what you have already done as
by any means a mean contribution.'
I accepted his advice and began to make preparations
for returning to India.