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Christina Forsyth of Fingoland - W.P. Livingstone - First Edition - 1919

Christina Forsyth of Fingoland - W.P. Livingstone - First Edition - 1919

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Christina Forsyth of Fingoland: The Story of the Loneliest Woman in Africa

Written by W.P. Livingstone

Published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd; First Edition (1919), 246pp


Great condition cloth hardback. Boards and pages are clean. Binding is good. Overall, great condition. Signed and inscribed by previous owner, 1922.


Mrs. Forsyth, the heroine of the following narrative, lived alone for 30 years in an isolated mission station in Fingoland, South-East Africa, amongst a wild and dissolute tribe of heathens. During that period, she never moved outside a radius of 20 miles from her humble mission-house. She seldom saw a white face; she was unknown to the majority of South African missionaries, even to those of the Church with which she was connected; only a few had come across her; fewer still had been at Xolobe. To all who knew of her she was a marvel. The missionary under whom she worked declared that there was not one woman in 500 who could have lived the life she lived. 

Her character was almost unique as her work. 'It is curious,' writes another missionary, 'that she should have a biography; one can scarcely imagine her reading it. She was simple and unassuming to a degree. Praise was very far from her - she who merited praise more than any of us. We often spoke in admiration of her - but never to her face. In her house, her dress, her speech, her bearing, her surroundings, her whole outlook on life and manner of life, her simplicity and humility and abnegation of self were evident.'

Before she retired, at the age of 72, the attention of the writer was drawn to her remarkable career, and he desired to essay some account of it, but waited until she returned to Scotland in the expectation of obtaining abundant material from herself. For the sake of the mission cause she was persuaded to consent to the project, but, when it was undertaken, only grew enthusiastic about her converts, and was smilingly reticent about personal details. What is written, therefore, has been compiled chiefly from an early diary, her reports and letters, and material supplied by friends. 

It is a simple human story. The range of interest and action is a narrow one; no large events or important policies emerge for treatment; the racial, political, and economic problems which bulk so largely in South African affairs find no place in it. But in the whole range of missionary biography one will find few figures who are at once so lovable and so strong, so lonely and yet so happy, so humble and yet so great. 

Mrs Forsyth was an intensive worker, thinking in terms of individuals. To use her own words she was 'a watcher for souls.' She was as brave and tenacious in seeking to conquer a man or a woman as to win a tribe. 
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