Mary Seacole was born a free black woman in Jamaica of the early 19th century. In her long and varied life, she was to travel in Central America, Russia and Europe, find work as a inn-keeper and as a doctress during the Crimean War, and become a famed heroine, the author of her own biography, in Britain. As this autobiography shows, Mary Seacole had a sharp instinct for hypocrisy as well as a ripe taste for sarcasm. Frequently we see her joyfully rise to mock the limitations artificially imposed on her as a black woman. She emerges from her writings as an individual with a most un-Victorian zest for travel, adventure and independence.
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