From notes (based on interviews some ten years ago) and letters, this is, in handling, a loosely fictional reconstruction of a nursing sister, Mary Ball, who at the age of 7 had decided to follow in her clergyman father's footsteps as nearly as possible. So, in the 1920's, Mary reached her difficult destination, Tatung- the former capital of Ghengis Khan, the ""wickedest city"" in China, and many of the patients to whom she ministered were victims of opium, venereal disease, or a local deficiency disease- ostramalicia. Mary Ball's lifetime dedication to the small hospital there was interrupted by the civil war (starvation and temporary evacuation) in 1926; by the Japanese in 1941, and she was the last British national in Tatung and eventually interned; and finally by the Communists after Korea who gave her the impossible choice of remaining but renouncing her faith in God... Her story, and that of those who worked with her, a loose living Chinese doctor, a volatile young White Russian, etc. have their human interest, which a sentimentally effusive approach attempts to heighten. Still, this was a gentle life of service with a certain inspirational incandescence for those who would follow the gloam.