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Full text of "Florence Nightingale : a biography"

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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

GIFT OF 



DR. AND MRS. ELMER BELT 




Florence Nightingale. 

(From a »iodel of the statue by A. G. Walker. By kind tennissiorz 
of the Sctilptor.) 



FLORENCE 
NIGHTINGALE 

A BIOGRAPHY 



BY 

ANNIE MATHESON 

AUTHOR OF 
"THE STORY OF A BRAVK CHILD OOAN OF ARC)' 



THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, Ltd. 

LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK 



Ac 

S 
NS 

D 
PREFACE. RAt^e 



It is hardly necessary to say that this little bio- 
graphy is based mainly upon the work of others, 
though I hope and believe it is honest enough to 
have an individuality of its ow^n and it has cer- 
tainly cost endless individual labour and anxiety. 
Few tasks in literature are in practice more 
worrying than the responsibility of " piecing 
together " other people's fragments, and " the 
great unknown " who in reviewing my " Leaves 
of Prose " thought I had found an easy way 
of turning myself into respectable cement for 
a tessellated pavement made of other people's 
chipped marble, was evidently a stranger to my 
particular temperament. Where I have been 
free to express myself without regard to others, 
to use only my own language, and utter only my 
own views, I have had something of the feeling 
of a child out for a holiday, and of course the 
greater part of the book is in my own words. 
But I have often, for obvious reasons, chosen the 
humbler task, because, wherever it is possible, it 



iv PREFACE. 

is good that my readers should have their im- 
pressions at first hand, and in regard to Kinglake 
especially, from whose non-copyright volumes 
I have given many a page, his masculine tribute 
to Miss Nightingale is of infinitely more value 
than any w^ords which could come from me. 

My publisher has kindly allowed me to leave 
many questions of copyright to him, but I wish, 
not the less — rather the more — to thank all those 
authors and publishers who have permitted use 
of their material and whose names will, in many 
instances, be found incorporated in the text or in 
the accompanying footnotes. I have not thought 
it necessary in every instance to give a reference 
to volume and page, though occasionally, for 
some special reason of my own, I have done so. 

Of those in closest touch with Miss Nightin- 
gale during her lifetime, whose help with original 
material has been invaluable, not more than one 
can be thanked by name. But to Mrs. Tooley 
for her large-hearted generosity with regard to 
her own admirable biography — to which I owe 
far more than the mere quotations so kindly per- 
mitted, and in most cases so clearly acknowledged 



PREFACE. V 

in the text — it is a great pleasure to express my 
thanksgiving publicly. 

There are many others who have helped me, and 
not once with regard to the little sketch have I met 
with any unkindness or rebuff. Indeed, so various 
are the acknowledgments due, and so sincere the 
gratitude I feel, that I scarcely know where to begin . 

To Miss Rickards, for the pages from her 
beautiful life of Felicia Skene, I wish to record 
heartfelt thanks ; and also to Messrs. Burns and 
Oates with regard to lengthy quotations from 
the letters of Sister Aloysius — a deeply interest- 
ing little volume published by them in 1904, 
under the title of " A Sister of Mercy's Memories 
of the Crimea ; " to Dr. Hagberg Wright of the 
London Library for the prolonged loan of a 
whole library of books of reference and the help 
always accessible to his subscribers ; and to the 
librarian of the Derby Free Library for aid in 
verifying pedigree. Also to Lord Stanmore for 
his generous permission to use long extracts from 
his father's " Life of Lord Herbert," from which 
more than one valuable letter has been taken ; 
and to Mr. John Murray for sanctioning this 



vi PREFACE. 

and for like privileges in relation to the, lives of 
Sir John MacNeill and Sir Bartle Frere. To 
Messrs. William Blackw^ood, Messrs. Cassell, 
Messrs. G. P. Putnam and Sons, as well as to 
the editors and publishers of the Times, Daily 
Telegraph, Morning Post, and Evening News, I 
wish to add my thanks to those of my publisher. 

To any reader of this book it will be clear 
how great a debt I owe to General Evatt, and 
he knows, I think, how sincerely I recognize it. 
Mr. Stephen Paget, the writer of the article on 
Miss Nightingale in the Dictionary of National 
Biography, has not only permitted me to quote 
from that — a privilege for which I must also 
thank Messrs. Smith Elder, and Sir Sidney Lee — 
but has, in addition, put me in the way of other 
priceless material wherewith to do honour to the 
subject of this biography. I have long been 
grateful to him for the inspiration and charm of 
his own " Confessio Medici " — there is now this 
other obligation to add to that. 

Nor can I forgo cordial acknowledgments to 
the writer and also the publisher of the charming 
sketch of Miss Nightingale's Life published some 



PREFACE. vii 

years ago by the Pilgrim Press and entitled " The 
Story of Florence Nightingale." 

To my friend Dr. Lewis N. Chase I owe the 
rare privilege of an introduction to Mr. Walker, 
the sculptor, who has so graciously permitted for 
my frontispiece a reproduction of the statue he 
has just completed as a part of our national 
memorial to Miss Nightingale. 

I desire to thank Miss Rosalind Paget for 
directing me to sources of information and be- 
stowing on me treasures of time and of memory, 
as well as Miss Eleanor F. Rathbone and the 
writer of Sir John MacNeill's Life for help 
given by their books, and Miss Marion Holmes 
for permission to quote from her inspiring mono- 
graph ; and last, but by no means least, to express 
my sense of the self-sacrificing magnanimity with 
which Miss E. Brierly, the present editor of 
Nursing Notes, at once offered me and placed in 
my hands — what I should never have dreamed of 
asking, even had I been a friend of old standing, 
instead of a comparative stranger — everything she 
herself had gathered together and preserved as 
bearing on the life of Florence Nightingale. 



viii PREFACE. 

When, under the influence of certain articles 
in the Times, I undertook to write this volume 
for Messrs. Nelson, I knew nothing of the other 
biographies in the field. Nor had I any idea 
that an officially authorized life was about to be 
written by Sir Edward Cook, a biographer with 
an intellectual equipment far beyond my own, 
but who will not perhaps grudge me the name 
of friend, since his courteous considerateness for 
all leads many others to make a like claim, and 
the knowledge that he would put no obstacle in 
my path has spared me what might have been a 
serious difficulty. Had I known all this, a decent 
modesty might have prevented my undertaking. 
But in every direction unforeseen help has been 
showered upon me, and nothing but my own in- 
exorable limitations have stood in my way. 

If there be any who, by their books, or in any 
other way, have helped me, but whom by some 
unhappy oversight I have omitted to name in 
these brief documentary thanks, I must earnestly 
beg them to believe that such an error is contrary 
to my intention and goodwill. 




" The Lady with the Lamp." 

{from the statuette in the Nightingale Home.) 



CONTENTS 



Introductory Chapter . . . • .15 

I. Florence Nightingale : her home, her birth- 
place, and her family . . .25 

II. Life at Lea Hurst and Embley . . 41 

III. The weaving of many threads, both of 

evil and of good . . . - SS 

IV. The activities of girlhood — Elizabeth Fry 

— Felicia Skene again ... 62 

V, Home duties and pleasures — The brewing 

of war ...... 71 

VI. Pastor Fliedner , .... 90 

VII. Years of preparation . . , .101 

VIII. The beginning of the war — A sketch 

of Sidney Herbert . . . .117 

IX. The Crimean muddle — Explanations and 

excuses ...,., 134 



X CONTENTS. 

X. "Five were wise, and five foolish" . 142 

XI. The expedition . . . , .162 

XII. The tribute of Kinglake and Macdonald 

and the Chelsea Pensioners . .172 

XIII. The horrors of Scutari — The victory of 

the Lady -in -Chief — The Queen's 
letter — Her gift of butter and 
treacle ...... 200 

XIV. Letters from Scutari — Kinglake on Miss 

Nightingale and her dynasty — The 
refusal of a new contingent . .216 

XV. The busy nursing hive — M. Soyer and 
his memories — Miss Nightingale's 
complete triumph over prejudice — 
The memories of Sister Aloysius . 235 

XVI. Inexactitudes — Labels — Cholera — " The 
Lady with the Lamp" — Her hu- 
mour — Letters of Sister Aloysius . 247 

XVII. Miss Nightingale visits Balaclava — Her 
illness — Lord Raglan's visit — The 
Fall of Sebastopol . . . ,261 

XVIII. The Nightingale Fund — Miss Night- 
ingale remains at her post, organizing 
healthy occupations for the men off 
duty — Sisters of Mercy — The 
Queen's jewel — Its meaning . . 27 



CONTENTS. xi 

XIX. Her citizenship — Her initiative — Public 
recognition and gratitude — Her re- 
turn incognito — Village excitement — 
The country's welcome — Miss 
Nightingale's broken health — The 
Nightingale Fund — St. Thomas's 
Hospital — Reform of nursing as a 
profession . . . . .292 

XX. William Rathbone — Agnes Jones — In- 
firmaries — Nursing in the homes of 
the poor — Municipal work — Homely 
power of Miss Nightingale's writings 
— Lord Herbert's death . . .312 

XXI. Multifarious work and many honours — 
Jubilee Nurses — Nursing Association 
— Death of father and mother — 
Lady Verney and her husband — No 
respecter of persons — From within 
four walls — South Africa and America 331 

XXII. India — Correspondence with Sir Bartle 
Frere — Interest in village girls — 
The Lamp ..... 346 

XXIII. A brief summing up . , . . 360 

APPENDIX 367 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Statue of Florence Nightingale by A. G 
Walker .... 

"The Lady with the Lamp." Statuette 

Embley Park, Romsey, Hants 

Florence Nightingale's Father 

Florence Nightingale (after Augustus 
Egg, R.A.) .... 

Florence Nightingale in 1854 

At the Therapia Hospital . 

At Scutari ..... 

Miss Nightingale's Medals and Decora 
tions ..... 

The Nightingale Nursing Carriage 

At the Herbert Hospital, Woolwich 

A Letter from Miss Nightingale 

Miss Nightingale's London House 

Florence Nightingale in her Last Days 



Frontispiece 



Fac, 



ngp. 8 
16 
32 



112 
176 
192 

280 
296 

304 
320 

344 

352 



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER FOR 
THE ELDERS IN MY AUDIENCE. 

It is my hope that my younger readers may 
find this volume all the more to their liking 
if it is not without interest to people of my 
own generation. Girls and boys of fourteen to 
sixteen are already on the threshold of man- 
hood and womanhood, but even of children 
I am sure it is true that they hate to be 
" written down to," since they are eagerly 
drinking in hopes and ideas which they cannot 
always put into words, and to such hopes and 
ideas they give eager sympathy of heart and 
curiosity of mind. 

For one of her St. Thomases nurses, among 
the first nine women to be decorated with the 
Red Cross, the heroine of this story wrote 
what might well be the marching orders of 
many a good soldier in the divine army, and 



i6 INTRODUCTION. 

not least, perhaps, of those boy scouts and girl 
guides who would like better a life of adven- 
ture than the discipline of a big school or the 
" duties enough and little cares " of a luxurious 
home ; and as the words have not, so far as 
I am aware, appeared in print before, it may 
be worth while to give them here : — 

" Soldiers," she wrote, " must obey orders. 
And to you the ' roughing ' it has been the 
resigning yourself to ' comforts ' which you 
detested and to work which you did not want, 
while the work which wanted you was within 
reach. A severe kind of ' roughing ' indeed — 
perhaps the severest, as I know by sad ex- 
perience. 

" But it will not last. This short war is not 
life. But all will depend — your possible future 
in the work, we pray for you, O my Cape of 
Good Hope — upon the name you gain here. 
That name I know will be of one who obeys 
authority, however unreasonable, in the name 
of Him who is above all, and who is Reason 

itself — of one who submits to disagreeables, how- 

(i.r64) 




o 



w 



o 






fcJO 



flH 



INTRODUCTION. 17 

ever unjust, for the work's sake and for His 
who tells us to love those we don't like — a 
precept I follow oh so badly — of one who 
never criticizes so that it can even be guessed 
at that she has criticism in her heart — and 
who helps her companions to submit by her 
own noble example. . . . 

" I have sometimes found in my life thai 
the very hindrances I had been deploring were 
there expressly to fit me for the next step in 
my life. (This was the case — hindrances of 
years — before the Crimean War.) " And else- 
where she writes : " To have secured for you 
all the circumstances we wished for your work, 
I would gladly have given my life. But you 
are made to rise above circumstances ; perhaps 
this is God's way — His ways are not as our 
ways — of preparing you for the great work 
which I am persuaded He has in store for 
you some day." 

It is touching to find her adding in paren- 
thesis that before her own work was given to 

her by the Great Unseen Commander, she had 
(1.V64) 2 



i8 INTRODUCTION. 

ten years of contradictions and disappointments, 
and adding, as if with a sigh from the heart, 
"And oh, how badly I did it !" 

There we have the humility of true great- 
ness. All her work was amazing in its fruit- 
fulness, but those who knew her best feel 
sometimes that the part of her work which 
was greatest of all and will endure longest is 
just the part of which most people know least. 
I mean her great labour of love for India, 
which I cannot doubt has already saved the 
lives of millions, and will in the future save 
the health and working power of millions more. 

Florence Nightingale would have enriched 
our calendar of uncanonized saints even if her 
disciplined high-hearted goodness had exercised 
an unseen spell by simply beings and had, by 
some limitation of body or of circumstance, 
been cut off from much active doing: for so 
loving and obedient a human will, looking ever 
to the Highest, as a handmaiden watches the 
eyes of her mistress, is always and everywhere 
a humane influence and a divine offering. But 
in her life — a light set on a hill — being and 



INTRODUCTION. 19 

doing went hand in hand in twofold beauty 
and strength, for even through those years 
when she lay on her bed, a secluded prisoner, 
her activities were world-wide. 

In addition to the work for which she is 
most widely revered and loved. Miss Nightin- 
gale did three things — each leaving a golden 
imprint upon the history of our time : — 

She broke down a "Chinese wall" of preju- 
dice with regard to the occupations of women, 
and opened up a new and delightful sphere of 
hard, but congenial, work for girls. 

She helped to reconstruct, on the lines of 
feminine common sense, the hygiene and the 
transport service of our army — yes, of the entire 
imperial army, for what is a success in one 
branch of our dominions cannot permanently 
remain unaccepted by the rest. And in all 
her work for our army she had, up to the 
time of his death, unbounded help from her 
friend. Lord Herbert. 

Last, and perhaps greatest of all, she initiated, 
with the help of Sir Bartle Frere, Sir John 
Lawrence, and other enlightened men of her 



20 INTRODUCTION. 

time, the reform of insanitary and death-dealing 
neglect throughout the length and breadth of 
India, thus saving countless lives, not only 
from death, but from what is far worse — a 
maimed or invalid existence of lowered vitality 
and lessened mental powers. 

One of her friends, himself a great army 
doctor holding a high official position, has 
repeatedly spoken of her to me as the supreme 
embodiment of citizenship. She did indeed 
exemplify what Ruskin so nobly expressed in 
his essay on " Queens' Gardens " — the fact that, 
while men and women differ profoundly and 
essentially, and life would lose in beauty if they 
did not, the state has need of them both ; for 
what the woman should be at her own hearth, 
the guardian of order, of health, of beauty, and 
of love, that also should she be at that wider 
imperial hearth where there are children to be 
educated, soldiers to be equipped, wounded lives 
to be tended, and the health of this and future 
generations to be diligently guarded. 

" Think," she said once to one of her nurses, 
'* less of what you may gain than of what you 



INTRODUCTION. 21 

may give." Herself, she gave royally — gave her 
fortune, her life, her soul's treasure. I read in 
a recent contemporary of high standing a 
review which ended with what seemed to me 
a very heathen sentence, which stamped itself 
on my memory by its arrogant narrowness. 
" Woman," wrote the reviewer, " is always 
cither frustrate or absorbed ; " and there leaped 
to my heart the exclamation, " Here in Florence 
Nightingale is the answer ; for in her we have 
one, known and read of all men, who was 
neither the one nor the other." That there 
was supreme renunciation in her life, none 
who is born to womanhood can doubt ; for 
where could there be any who would have 
been more superbly fitted for what she her- 
self regarded as the natural lot of woman 
as wife and mother ? But she, brilliant, 
beautiful, and worshipped, was called to a 
more difficult and lonely path, and if there 
was hidden suffering, it did but make her 
service of mankind the more untiring, her 
practical and keen-edged intellect the more 
active in good work, her tenderness to pain 



22 INTRODUCTION. 

and humility of self-efFacement the more beauti- 
ful and just. 

It has been said, and said truly, that she 
did not suffer fools gladly, and she knew well 
how very human she was in this and in other 
ways, as far removed from a cold and statu- 
esque faultlessness as are all ardent, swift, loving 
natures here on earth. But her words were 
words of wisdom when she wrote to one dear 
to her whom she playfully named " her Cape 
of Good Hope " : " Let us be persecuted 
for righteousness' sake, but not for unrighteous- 
ness. 

The italics are mine, because in their warning 
they seem so singularly timely. And the entire 
sentence is completely in tune with that fine 
note with which she ends one of her delightful 
volumes on nursing — 

" I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep 
clear of both the jargons now current every- 
where (for they are equally jargons) : of the 
jargon, namely, about the * rights' of women 
which' urges women to do all that men do, 
including the medical and other professions, 



INTRODUCTION. 23 

merely because men do it, and without regard 
to whether this is the best that women can 
do ; and of the jargon which urges women to 
do nothing that men do, merely because they 
are women, and should be ' recalled to a sense 
of their duty as women,' and because 'this 
is women's work,' and 'that is men's,' and 
'these are things which women should not 
do,' which is all assertion and nothing more. 
Surely woman should bring the best she has, 
whatever that is, to the work of God's world, 
without attending to either of these cries. 
For what are they, both of them, the one 
just as much as the other, but listening to the 
^what people will say,' to opinion, to the 
' voices from without ' ? And as a wise man 
has said, no one has ever done anything great or 
useful by listening to the voices from without. 

"You do not want the effect of your good 
things to be, ' How wonderful for a woman ! ' 
nor would you be deterred from good things 
by hearing it said, 'Yes, but she ought not 
to have done this, because it is not suitable 
for a woman.' But you want to do the thing 



24 INTRODUCTION. 

that is good, whether it is ' suitable for a 
woman,' or not. 

" It does not make a thing good, that it is 
remarkable that a woman should have been 
able to do it. Neither does it make a thing 
bad, which would have been good had a man 
done it, that it has been done by a woman. 

" Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way 
straight to God's work, in simplicity and 
singleness of heart." 



CHAPTER I. 

Florence Nightingale : her home, her birthplace^ and her family. 

In the heart of Derbyshire there is a quaint old 
church, once a private chapel, and possessing, 
instead of a churchyard, a bit of quiet greenness, 
of which the chief ornament, besides the old 
yew tree at the church door, is a kind of lovers' 
bower made by two ancient elder trees which 
have so intertwined their branches as to form an 
arbour, where in summer-time sweethearts can 
gossip and the children play. It belonged to 
a world far away from the world of to-day, 
when, in the high-backed pews reserved for the 
"quality," little Florence Nightingale, in her 
Sunday attire that was completed by Leghorn hat 
and sandal shoes, made, Sunday after Sunday, a 
pretty vision for the villagers, in whose cottages 
she was early a welcome visitor. It was just 
such a church as we read of in George Eliot's 



26 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

stories, clerk and parson dividing the service 
betw^een them, and the rustic bareness of the 
stone walls matched by the visible bell-ropes and 
the benches for the labouring people. But the 
special story that has come dow^n from those 
days suggests that the parson w^as more satirical 
than Mr. Gilfil or Mr. Tryan, and it is to be 
feared that when he remarked that " a lie is a 
very useful thing in trade," the people who 
quoted him in Derby market-place merely used 
his " Devil's text '* as a convenience and saw no 
satire in it at all. Have we really travelled a 
little way towards honesty since those days, or 
have we grown more hypocritical? 

The little girl in the squire's pew grew up in 
a home where religious shams were not likely 
to be taken at their face value. 

Her father, who was one of the chief sup- 
porters of the cheap schools of the neighbour- 
hood, had his own ways of helping the poor 
folk on his estate, but used to reply to some of 
the beseeching people who wanted money from 
him for local charities that he was " not born 
generous." Generous or not, he had very de- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 27 

cided views about the education of his two 
children, Florence and Parthe. They enjoyed 
nearly a hundred years ago (Florence was born 
in 1820) as liberal a course of study as any High 
School girl of to-day, and no doubt it is true that 
the orderliness of mind and character, at which 
his methods aimed, proved of countless value to 
Florence in those later days, when her marvel- 
lous power in providing for minutest details 
without unnecessary fuss or friction banished 
the filth and chaos of the first Crimean hospitals, 
and transformed them into abodes of healing and 
of order. She grew up to be a beautiful and 
charming woman, for whom men would gladly 
have laid down their lives ; yet her beauty and 
her charm alone could not have secured for our 
wounded soldiers in the Crimea, tortured by dirt 
and neglect, the swift change to cleanness and 
comfort and good nursing which her masterly 
and unbending methods aided her commanding 
personal influence to win. 

But this is leaping too far ahead. As yet she 
is only Parthenope's little playfellow and school- 
fellow in the room devoted to " lessons " at Lea 



28 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Hall, the small maiden who climbs the hill on 
Sundays to the church where the yew tree guards 
the door, and on week-days is busy or at play in 
the house that has been the home of her father's 
family through many generations, and in the 
grounds of the manor that surround it. 

Lea Hall is in that part of the country which 
Father Benson has described in his novel, " Come 
Rack, come Rope," and the Nightingale children 
were within easy reach of Dethick Hall, where 
young Anthony Babington had lived. It must 
have added zest to their history lessons and their 
girlish romancings to hear of the secret passage, 
which was supposed to lead right into Wingfield 
Manor, from the underground cellar close to the 
old wall that showed still where Dethick had 
once reared its stately buildings. The fact that 
the farm bailiff now kept his potatoes there and 
could not find the opening, would only make 
it a constant new ground for adventure and 
imagination. For they would be told of course 
— these children — how Mary Stuart had once 
been a prisoner at Dethick, and Anthony had 
vowed to be her servant in life or death and 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 29 

never cease from the struggle to set her free 
so long as life was in him. Nor did he ; for 
he died before her, and it was not at Wing- 
field, but at Fotheringay, as these little 
students very well knew, no doubt, that her 
lovely head soon afterwards was laid upon the 
block. 

Enviable children to have such a playground 
of imagination at their doors ! But, indeed, all 
children have that, and a bare room in a slum, 
or a little patch of desert ground, may for them 
be danced over by Queen Mab and all her fairies, 
or guarded by the very angel who led St. Peter 
out of prison. Still, it is very exciting to have 
history written beside the doorstep where you 
live, and if you grow up in a home where lesson 
books are an important part of the day's duties, 
it is pleasant to find them making adventures for 
you on your father's own estate. It mattered 
nothing that the story would all be told by those 
contending against Anthony's particular form of 
religion, who would be ready to paint him with 
as black an ink as their regard for justice would 
allow. To a child, that would rather enhance 



30 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

the vividness of it all. And there was the actual 
kitchen still standing, with its little harmless- 
looking trapdoor in the roof that leads into the 
secret chamber, where the persecuted priests used 
to hide when they came to celebrate a secret 
Mass. No wonder the two children delighted 
in Dethick, and wove many a tale about it. For 
had they not seen with their very own eyes the 
great open fireplace in that kitchen, where veni- 
son used to be roasted, and the very roasting-jack 
hanging from its central beam where all the roof- 
beams were black with age and dark with many 
tragic memories ? 

Dethick is but one of the three villages in- 
cluded in the ancient manor, the other two are 
Lea and Holloway ; and in the days of King 
John, long before it came to the Nightingales, 
the De Alveleys had built a chapel there. Those 
who have read Mr. Skipton's life of Nicholas 
Ferrar and know their John Inglesant, will be 
interested to hear that half this manor had passed 
through the hands of the Ferrars among others, 
and another portion had belonged to families 
whose names suggest a French origin. But the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 31 

two inheritances had now met in the hands of 
the Nightingales. 

It is a very enchanting part of the Midlands. 
The silvery Derwent winds through the valleys, 
keeping fresh the fields of buttercups and meadow- 
sweet and clover, and in the tall hedges wild 
roses mingle their sweetness with the more power- 
ful fragrance of the honeysuckle, until both yield 
to the strange and overwhelming perfume of the 
elder tree. The limestone hills, with their bold 
and mountainlike outline, their tiny rills, and 
exquisite ferns, had been less spoiled in those 
days by the tramp of tourists ; and the purity of 
the air, the peacefulness of the upland solitudes, 
would have a wholesome share in the " grace 
that can mould the maiden's form by silent 
sympathy." 

It was a very youthful little maiden as yet 
who had been transplanted into these English 
wilds from the glory and the sunshine of the 
Italy where she was born. After the valley of 
the Arno and the splendours of Florence, it may 
have seemed somewhat cold and bracing at times. 
Rightly or wrongly, the father of the little girls 



32 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

— for our heroine's sister, named after another 
Italian city, shared all her life at this time — 
seems to a mere outsider a little cold and bracing 
too. He came of a very old family, and we 
hear of his " pride of birth." His wife, on the 
other hand, whom Florence Nightingale re- 
sembled, lives before us in more warm and glow- 
ing colours, as one who did much to break down 
the barriers of caste and, with a heart of over- 
flowing love, " went about doing good." Both 
were people of real cultivation — good breeding 
being theirs by a happy inheritance — and each 
seems to have had a strong and distinctive 
personality. It might not be easy to say to 
which of the two the little daughter, who grew 
to such world-wide fame, owed most ; but prob- 
ably the equipment for her life-work was fairly 
divided between the two. There is no magnet 
so powerful as force of character, and it is clear 
that her father possessed moral and intellectual 
force of a notable sort. Love, in the sense of 
enthusiasm for humanity, will always be the 
heaven-born gift of one in whom religion is such 
a reality as it was with Florence Nightingale, 




Florence Nightingale's Father. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 33 

but religious ardour may be sadly ineffective if 
defeated by the slack habits of a lifetime, or even 
by a moral and mental vagueness that befogs holy 
intentions. Mr. Edward Nightingale's daughters 
were disciplined in a schoolroom M^here slackness 
and disorder v^ere not permitted, and a somewhat 
severe training in the classics was supplemented 
by the example of Mrs. Nightingale's excellent 
housewifery, and by that fine self-control in 
manners and behaviour which in the old-fashioned 
days used to be named " deportment." Sports 
and outdoor exercises were a part — and a delight- 
ful part — of the day's routine. 

But let us go back a few years and give a few 
pages to the place of Florence Nightingale's birth 
and the history of her family. Her name, like 
that of another social reformer among English- 
women, was linked with Italy, and she took it 
from the famous old Italian town in whose 
neighbourhood she was born. I have tried in 
vain to trace the authorship * — was it Ruskin or 

* I wrote to the author of the charming sketch of Florence 
Nightingale in which I found it quoted, but he has quite forgotten 
who was the writer. 



34 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

some less known writer ? — who said of that town, 
" if you wish to see it to perfection, fix upon 
such a day as Florence owes the sun, and, climb- 
ing the hill of Bellosguardo, or past the stages of 
the Via Crucis to the church of San Miniato, 
look forth upon the scene before you. You 
trace the course of the Arno from the distant 
mountains on the right, through the heart of the 
city, winding along the fruitful valley toward 
Pisa. The city is beneath you, like a pearl set 
in emerald. All colours are in the landscape, 
and all sounds are in the air. The hills look 
almost heathery. The sombre olive and funereal 
cypress blend with the graceful acacia and the 
clasping vine. The hum of the insect and the 
carol of bird chime with the blithe voices of 
men ; while dome, tower, mountains, the yellow 
river, the quaint bridges, spires, palaces, gardens, 
and the cloudless heavens overhanging, make up 
a panorama on which to gaze in trance of rapture 
until the spirit wearies from the exceeding beauty 
of the vision." 

When on May 12, 1820, Florence Night- 
ingale was born, her parents were staying at the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 35 

Villa Colombaia, near to this beautiful City of 
Flowers ; and when the question of a name for 
her arose, they were of one mind about it — she 
must be called after the city itself. They had no 
sons, and this child's elder sister, their only other 
daughter, having been born at Naples, had taken 
its ancient and classical name of Parthenope.* 

Their own family name had changed. Mr. 
Nightingale, who was first known as William 
Edward Shore, was the only son of Mr. William 
Shore of Tapton, in Derbyshire, and the child 
who was to reform England's benighted views 
of nursing, and do so much for the health, not 
only of our British troops, but also of our Indian 
Army, was related through that family to John 
Shore, a famous physician in Derby in the reign 
of Charles the Second, as well as to the Governor- 
General of India who, twenty-three years before 
her birth, took the title of Baron Teignmouth. 
It was through her father's mother, the only 
daughter of Mr. Evans of Cromford, that she 
was linked with the family of the Nightingales, 
whose name her father afterwards took. Mary 
* Her full name was Frances Parthenope Nightingale. 



36 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Evans, her paternal grandmother, was the niece 
of " Old Peter," a rich and roystering squire, who 
was well liked in his own neighbourhood, in 
spite of his nickname of " Madman Peter " and 
the rages that now and then overtook him. 
Florence Nightingale was, however, no descendant 
of his, for he never married, and all his possessions, 
except those which he sold to Sir Richard Ark- 
wright, the famous cotton-spinner, came to his 
niece, who was the mother of Miss Nightingale's 
father. When all this landed property came into 
the hands of Mr. Edward Shore, three years 
before his marriage and five years before Florence 
was born, his name was changed under the 
Prince Regent's sign manual from Shore to 
Nightingale, in accordance with Peter Night- 
ingale's will. But he continued to live in Italy 
for a great part of every year until Florence was 
nearly five years old, though the change of 
ownership on the English estate was at once felt 
under the new squire, who was in most ways 
the very opposite of that " Old Peter," of 
whom we read that when he had been drinking, 
as was then the fashion, he would frighten away 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 37 

the servant-maids by rushing into the kitchen 
and throwing the puddings on the dust-heap. 

Mr. Edward Nightingale, our heroine's father, 
bore a character without fear or reproach. Edu- 
cated at Edinburgh and at Trinity, Cambridge, 
he had afterwards travelled a good deal, at a time 
when travel was by no means the commonplace 
that it is now. 

He is described as " tall and slim," and from 
the descriptions we have of him it is clear that 
no one, even at a glance, could have missed the 
note of distinction in his bearing, or mistaken 
him for other than that which he was proud to 
be, the cultivated and enlightened son of a fine 
old family. 

When we read that the lady he married was 
daughter of a strong Abolitionist, Mr. William 
Smith of Parndon, in Essex, we feel that the very 
name of Abolitionist belongs to a bygone past. 

In those days the American Civil War was 
still to come, but the horizon was already begin- 
ning to blacken for it, just as in Europe, while 
two happy little girls were playing hide-and-seek 
in the gardens of Lea Hall and racing with their 



38 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

dogs across the meadows to Dethick, the hush 
before the tempest did not blind wise statesmen 
to those dangers in the Near East which were to 
overwhelm us in so terrible a war. 

Mr. Smith, in desiring ardently the abolition 
of slavery, was ahead of many Englishmen of his 
day. He was an eager philanthropist, who for 
half a century represented Norwich in Parliament, 
and had therefore real power in urging any good 
cause he had at heart. His daughter Frances, 
when she became Mrs. Nightingale, did not cease 
to labour among the poor in the spirit of her 
father and of her own benevolent heart. She 
was a beautiful and impressive woman, and in 
her untiring service of others seems to have been 
just the wife for Mr. Nightingale, who was ready 
to further every good work in his own neigh- 
bourhood. He, in his artistic and scholarly 
tastes, was as humane and enlightened as was the 
woman of his choice in her own skill of hand 
and charm of household guidance. 

For Mrs. Nightingale was not only a notable 
housekeeper and her husband's companion in the 
world of books, she was also a woman whose 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 39 

individuality of thought and action had been 
deepened by her practical faith, so that even at 
a time when England was still tied and bound 
by conventions of rank, from which the last 
fifty years have released many devotees, she felt 
the call of the Master to a deeper and wider 
sense of brotherhood, and had a great wish to 
break through artificial barriers. 

As a matter of fact, she found many innocent 
ways of doing so. But she did not know in 
these early days that in giving to the world a 
little daughter who was akin to her in this, 
she had found the best way of all ; for that 
daughter was to serve others in the very spirit 
of those great ones of old — S. Teresa and S. 
Catharine and the Blessed Joan of Arc — to whom 
the real things were so real and so continually 
present that the world's voices were as nothing 
in comparison. This was true also of Mrs. Brown- 
ing, whose memory has already come to mind, 
as linked, like that of Florence Nightingale, 
though for quite other reasons, with the City 
of Flowers ; and although a life of action in 
the ordinary sense was impossible for the author 



40 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

of " Aurora Leigh," yet it is remarkable how 
much she also did to arouse and set free her sisters, 
for she too, like the others, was a woman of great 
practical discernment. 

The little peasant maid of France, who was 
born to be a warrior and the deliverer of her 
people, had this in common with the little Eng- 
lish girl born to a great inheritance and aiming 
at a higher and humbler estate wherein she was 
the queen of nurses, that both cared so much for 
the commands from above as to be very little 
influenced by the gossip round about. 



CHAPTER II. 

Life at Lea Hurst and Embley, 

Florence was between five and six years old 
when the Nightingales moved from Lea Hall 
into their new home at Lea Hurst, a house 
commanding a specially beautiful outlook, and 
built under Mr. Nightingale's own supervision 
with much care and taste, about a mile from the 
old home. It is only fourteen miles out of 
Derby, though there would seem to be many 
sleepy inhabitants of that aristocratic old town — 
like the old lady of Hendon who lived on into 
the twentieth century without having been into 
the roaring city of London hard by — who know 
nothing of the attractions within a few miles of 
them ; for Mrs. Tooley tells an amusing story 
of a photographer there who supposed Lea Hurst 
to be a distinguished man and a local celebrity. 
To some it seemed that there was a certain 



42 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

bleakness in the country surrounding Lea Hall, 
but, though the two dwellings are so short a 
distance apart, Lea Hurst is set in a far more 
perfect landscape. Hills and woodlands, stretch- 
ing far away to Dovedale, are commanded by 
the broad terrace of upland on which the house 
stands, and it looks across to the bold escarpment 
known as Crich Stand, while deep below, the 
Derwent makes music on its rocky course. 
Among the foxglove and the bracken, the 
gritstone rocks jutting forth are a hovering 
place for butterflies and a haunt of the wild 
bee. 

The house itself — shaped like a cross, gabled 
and mullioned, and heightened by substantial 
chimney-stacks — is solid, unpretending, satisfying 
to the eye. Above the fine oriel window in the 
drawing-room wing is the balcony pointed out 
to visitors where, they are told, after the Crimea 
"Miss Florence used to come out and speak to 
the people." 

The building of the house was completed in 
1825, and above the door that date is inscribed, 
together with the letter N. The drawing-room 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 43 

and library look south, and open on to the 
garden, and " from the library a flight of stone 
steps leads down to the lawn." In the centre 
of the garden front an old chapel has been built 
into the mansion, and it may be that the prayers 
of the unknown dead have been answered in the 
life of the child who grew up under its shadow, 
and to whom the busy toiling world has owed 
so much. 

The terraced garden at the back of the house, 
with its sweet old-fashioned flowers and blossom- 
ing apple trees, has doubtless grown more delight- 
ful with every year of its advancing age, but what 
an interest the two little girls must have had 
when it was first being planted out and each could 
find a home for her favourite flowers ! Fuchsias 
were among those loved by little Florence, who, 
as has already been noted, was only six years old 
when she and her sister and father and mother 
moved into Lea Hurst, and there was a large 
bed of these outside the chapel. The old school- 
room and nursery at the back of the house look 
out upon the hills, and in a quiet corner of the 
garden there is a summer-house where Florence 



44 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and her only sister, who had no brothers to share 
their games, must often have played and worked. 

Lea Hurst is a quiet, beautiful home, character- 
istically English and unpretending, with a modest 
park-gate, and beyond the park those Lea Woods 
where the hyacinths bloom and where it is still 
told how " Miss Florence " loved to walk 
through the long winding avenue with its grand 
views of the distant hills and woods. 

But the Nightingales did not spend the whole 
year at Lea Hurst. In the autumn it was their 
custom to move to Embley, in Hampshire, where 
they spent the winter and early spring. They 
usually sent the servants on ahead with the 
luggage, and drove by easy stages in their own 
carriage, taking the journey at leisure, and putting 
up at inns by the way. Sometimes, of course, 
they travelled by coach. Those of us who only 
know the Derby road in the neighbourhood of 
towns like Nottingham and Derby now that 
its coaching glories are past, find it difficult to 
picture its gaiety in those old coaching days, 
when the very horses enjoyed the liveliness of 
the running, and the many carriages with their 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 45 

gay postilions and varied occupants were on the 
alert for neighbour or friend who might be post- 
ing in the same direction. 

Whether in autumn or in spring, the drive 
must have been a joy. The varied beauty of 
the Midlands recalls the lines in " Aurora Leigh " 
which speak of 

" Such nooks of valleys lined with orchises, 
Fed full of noises by invisible streams ; 
And open pastures where you scarcely tell 
White daisies from white dew, . . . 
. . . the clouds, the fields. 
The happy violets hiding from the roads 
The primroses run down to, carrying gold ; 
The tangled hedgerows, where the cows push out 
Impatient horns and tolerant churning mouths 
'Twixt dripping ash-boughs, — hedgerows all alive 
With birds and gnats and large white butterflies 
Which look as if the May-flower had caught life 
And palpitated forth upon the wind ; 
Hills, vales, woods, netted in a silver mist. 
Farms, granges, doubled up among the hills; 
And cattle grazing in the watered vales. 
And cottage-chimneys smoking from the woods, 
And cottage-gardens smelling everywhere. 
Confused with smell of orchards." 

Derbyshire itself, with its wild lilies of the 
valley, its ferns and daffodils and laughing 
streams, is hardly more " taking " than the 



46 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

country through which winds the silver Trent, 
past Nottingham Castle, perched on its rock and 
promontory above the fields where the wild 
crocus in those days made sheets of vivid purple, 
and the steep banks of Clifton Grove, with its 
shoals of blue forget-me-not, making a dim, tree- 
crowned outline, with here and there a gleam of 
silver, as seen by the chariots " on the road." 
WoUaton Park, with its great beeches and limes 
and glimpses of shy deer, would give gold and 
crimson and a thousand shades of russet to the 
picture. 

And farther south, at the other end of the 
journey, what miles of orchards and pine woods 
and sweet-scented heather — what rolling Downs 
and Surrey homesteads along the turnpike roads ! 

Though Parthenope and Florence had no 
brothers to play with them, they seem to have 
had a great variety of active occupations, both 
at Lea Hurst and at Embley. Of course they 
had their dolls, like other little girls ; but those 
which belonged to Florence had a way of falling 
into the doctor's hands — an imaginary doctor, of 
course — and needing a good deal of tender care 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 47 

and attention. Florence seemed never tired of 
looking after their various ailments. In fact, 
she had at times a whole dolls' hospital to tend. 
She probably picked up a little amateur know- 
ledge of medicine quite early in life ; for the 
poor people in the neighbourhood used to come 
to her mother for help in any little emergency, 
and Mrs. Nightingale was, like many another 
Lady Bountiful of her generation, equipped with 
a certain amount of traditional wisdom and kindly 
common sense, aided in her case by wider reading 
and a better educated mind than the ordinary. 

Florence, having somehow escaped measles 
and whooping-cough, was not allowed to run 
into infection in the cottages, but that did not 
prevent the sending of beef-teas and jellies and 
other helpful and neighbourly gifts, which 
could be tied to her pony's saddle-bow and 
left by her at the door. She learned to know 
the cottagers with a frank and very human 
intimacy, and their homely wit touched her 
own, their shrewdness and sympathy met their 
like in her, and as she grew older, all this 
added to her power and her charm. She 



48 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

learned to know both the north and the south 
in "her ain countree," and when, later in life, 
she was the wise angel of hope to the brave 
" Tommies," recruited from such homes, meet- 
ing them as she did amid unrecorded agonies 
that were far worse than the horrors of the 
battlefield, she understood them all the better 
as men, because she had known just such boys 
as they had been and was familiar with just 
such homes as those in which they grew up. 
According to Mrs. Tooley's biography, the 
farmhouse where Adam Bede fell in love with 
Hetty was just the other side of the meadows 
at Lea Hurst, and the old mill-wheel, where 
Maggie TuUiver's father ground the corn of 
the neighbourhood, was only two or three 
miles away. Marian Evans, of whom the 
world still thinks and speaks by her pen-name 
of George Eliot, came sometimes to visit her 
kinsfolk in the thatched cottage by Wirks- 
worth Tape Mills, and has left us in her 
earlier novels a vivid picture of the cottage 
life that surrounded our heroine during that 
part of the year which she spent in the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 49 

Derbyshire home. The children, of course, had 
their own garden, which they dug and watered, 
and Florence was so fond of flowers and animals 
that that again was an added bond with her 
rustic neighbours. Flower-missions had not in 
those days been heard of, but she often tied up 
a nosegay of wild flowers for invalid villagers, 
or took some of her favourites out of her own 
garden to the sick people whom she visited. 

The story of her first patient has already been 
told several times in print, but no biography 
would be complete without it. 

She had nursed many dolls back to conva- 
lescence — to say nothing of " setting " their 
broken limbs — tempted their delicate appetites 
with dainties offered on toy plates, and dressed 
the burns when her sister let them tumble too 
near the nursery fire ; but as yet she had had 
no real human patient, when one day, out 
riding with her friend the vicar over the 
Hampshire Downs near Embley, they noticed 
that Roger, an old shepherd whom they knew 
very well, was having endless trouble in getting 
his sheep together. 

(1.764) 4 



50 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

" Where's Cap ? " asked the vicar, drawing 
up his horse, for Cap was a very capable and 
trusted sheep-dog. 

" T' boys have been throwing stones at 'n 
and they've broken t' poor chap's leg. Won't 
ever be any good no more, a'm thinkin'. Best 
put him out of 's misery." 

" O Roger ! " exclaimed a clear young voice, 
" poor Cap's leg broken ? Can't we do anything 
for him ? " 

" Where is he ? " added Florence eagerly, 
for the voice was that of the future " Queen 
of Nurses." " Oh, we can't leave him all alone 
in his pain. Just think how cruel ! " 

" Us can't do no good, miss, nor you nayther. 
I'se just take a cord to him to-night ; 'tis the 
only way to ease his pain." 

But Florence turned to plead with the vicar, 
and to beg that some further effort should be 
made. 

The vicar, urged by the compassion in the 
young face looking up to his, turned his horse's 
head in the right direction for a visit to Cap. 
In a moment Florence's pony was put to the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 51 

gallop, and she was the first to arrive at the 
shed where the poor dog was lying. 

Cap's faithful brown eyes were soon lifted 
to hers, as she tenderly tried to make him 
understand her loving sympathy, caressing him 
with her little hand and speaking soothingly 
with her own lips and eyes ; till, like the 
suffering men whose wounds would in the far- 
off years be eased through her skill, the dog 
looked up at her in dumb and worshipping 
gratitude. 

The vicar was equal to the occasion, and 
soon discovered that the leg was not broken at 
all, but badly bruised and swollen, and perhaps 
art even greater source of danger and pain than 
if there had merely been a broken bone. 

When he suggested a " compress," his child- 
companion was puzzled for a moment. She 
thought she knew all about poultices and band- 
ages, and I daresay she had often given her 
dolls a mustard plaster ; but a " compress " 
sounded like something new and mysterious. 
It was, of course, a great relief when she learned 
that she only needed to keep soaking cloths in 



52 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

hot water, wringing them out, and folding 
them over Cap's injured leg, renewing them 
as quickly as they cooled. She was a nimble 
little person, and, with the help of the shep- 
herd boy, soon got a fire of sticks kindled in 
a neighbouring cottage and the kettle singing 
on it with the necessary boiling water. But 
now what to do for cloths .? Time is of im- 
portance in sick-nursing when every moment 
of delay means added pain to the sufferer. 
To ride home would have meant the loss of 
an hour or two, and thrifty cottagers are not 
always ready to tear up scant and cherished 
house-linen for the nursing of dogs. But 
Florence was not to be baffled. To her great 
delight she espied the shepherd's smock hanging 
up behind the door. She was a fearless soul, 
and felt no doubt whatever that her mother 
would pay for a new smock. " This will just 
do," she said, and, since that delightful vicar 
gave a nod of entire approval, she promptlv 
tore it into strips. 

Then back to Cap's hut she hastened, with 
her small henchman beside her carrying the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 53 

kettle and the basin ; for by this time he, the 
boy shepherd, began to be interested too, and 
the vicar's superintendence was no longer needed. 
A message of explanation was sent to Embley 
that Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale might not be 
anxious, and for several hours Florence gave 
herself up to nursing her patient. Cap was 
passive in her hands, and the hot fomentations 
gradually lessened the pain and the swelling. 

Imagine the wonder and gratitude of old 
Roger when he turned up with the rope in 
his hand and a leaden weight on his poor old 
heart ! Cap, of course, knew his step and 
greeted him with a little whine of satisfac- 
tion, as if to be the first to tell him the good 
news. 

" Why, missy, you have been doing wonders," 
he said. " I never thought to see t' poor dog 
look up at me like that again." 

" Yes," exclaimed the happy young nurse ; 
" doesn't he look better ? Well, Roger, you 
can throw away the rope. I shall want you 
to help me make these hot compresses." 

" Miss Florence is quite right, Roger," inter- 



54 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

posed the vicar ; " you'll soon have Cap running 
about again." 

" I'm sure I cannot thank you and the young 
lady enough, yer riv'rence. And I'll mind all 
the instrooctions for he." 

As the faithful dog looked up at him, eased 
and content, it was a very happy man that w^as 
old Roger. But the doctor-nurse was not pre- 
pared to lose her occupation too quickly. 

" I shall come and see him again to-morrow, 
Roger," she said ; " I know mamma will let me, 
when I just explain to her about it all." 



CHAPTER III. 

The weaving of many threads, both of evil and of good. 

While Florence Nightingale and her sister were 
working hard at history and languages and all 
useful feminine arts, romping in the sunny 
Hampshire gardens, or riding amongst the 
Derbyshire hills, the big world outside their 
quiet paradise was heaping fuel for the fires 
of war, which at last, when after a quarter of 
a century it flared up out of its long-prepared 
combustibles, was " to bring to death a million 
workmen and soldiers, consume vast wealth, 
shatter the framework of the European system, 
and make it hard henceforth for any nation 
to be safe except by sheer strength." And 
above all its devastation, remembered as a part 
of its undying record, the name of one of these 
happy children was to be blazoned on the page 
of history. 



56 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Already at the beginning of the century the 
first Napoleon had said that the Czar of Russia 
was always threatening Constantinople and never 
taking it, and by the time Florence Nightingale 
was twelve years old, it might be said of that 
Czar that while " holding the boundless authority 
of an Oriental potentate," his power was supple- 
mented by the far-reaching transmission of his 
orders across the telegraph wires, and if King- 
lake does not exaggerate, " he would touch the 
bell and kindle a war, without hearing counsel 
from any living man." 

The project against Constantinople was a 
scheme of conquest continually to be delayed, 
but never discarded, and, happen what might, 
it was never to be endured that the prospect 
of Russia's attaining some day to the Bosphorus 
should be shut out by the ambition of any 
other Power. Nicholas was quite aware that 
multitudes of the pious throughout his vast 
dominions dwelt upon the thought of their 
co-religionists under the Turkish rule, and 
looked to the shining cross of St. Sophia, 
symbol of their faith above the church founded 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 57 

by Constantine, as the goal of political unity 
for a " suppliant nation." 

And Kinglake tells us with an almost acid 
irony of Louis Napoleon, that he who was by 
the Senatus-Consulte of 1804 the statutory 
heir of the great Bonaparte, and after his exile 
and imprisonment had returned to France, 
laboured to show all men " how beautifully Nature 
in her infinite wisdom had adapted that same 
France to the service of the Bonapartes ; and 
how, without the fostering care of these same 
Bonapartes, the creature was doomed to degenerate, 
and to perish out of the world, and was consider- 
ing how it was possible at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century to make the coarse Bona- 
parte yoke of 1804 sit kindly upon her neck." 

The day was drawing near when a great' war 
would seem to him to ofFer just the opportunity 
he wanted. 

Far away as yet was that awful massacre of 
peaceful citizens in Paris in 1851, with which 
the name of Louis Napoleon was associated as 
responsible for the coup d'etat — a massacre 
probably the result of brutal panic on the part 



58 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

of the soldiers, the civilians, and that craven 
president, Louis Napoleon himself, vs^hose con- 
science made a coward of him, and v^hose 
terror usually took the form of brutality — but 
long before that date, by his callous plotting 
and underhand self-seeking, he w^as preparing 
forces which then made for death and terror, 
and by that time had more or less broken 
the manhood of his beautiful Paris. 

Yet all over the world at all times, while 
the enemy is sowing tares in the field, the 
good seed is ripening also in the ground for 
the harvest ; and through these same years far- 
off threads were being woven, ready to make 
part of the warp and woof of a life, as yet 
busied with the duties and joys of childhood, 
but one day to thrill the hearts of Europe 
and be remembered while time shall last. 

Elizabeth Fry, who was to be one of its 
decisive influences, was bringing new light and 
hope into the noisome prisons of a bygone 
century, and we shall see how her life-work 
was not without its influence later on the life of 
the child growing up at Embley and Lea Hurst. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 59 
And a child nearly of Florence Nightingale's 
own age, who was one day to cross her path 
with friendly help at an important crisis, was 
playing with her sister Curlinda — Sir WaUer 
Scott's nickname for her real name of Carohne 

and being drilled in manners in French 

schools in Paris and Versailles, before her 
family moved to Edinburgh and her more 
serious lessons began. This was FeUcia Skene, 
who was afterwards able to give momentary, 
but highly important help, at a critical moment 
in Florence Nightingale's career. Like Florence 
herself, she was born amid romantic surround- 
ings, though not in Italy but in Provence, 
and was named after her French godmother, 
a certain Comtesse de Felicite. Her two 
earliest recollections were of the alarming and 
enraged gesticulations of Liszt when giving a 
music lesson to her frightened sisters, and the 
very different vision of a lumbering coach and 
six accompanied by mounted soldiers— the coach 
and six wherein sat Charles the Tenth, who was 
soon afterwards to take refuge in Holyrood. 
That was in Paris, where her family went to 



6o FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

live when she was six years old, but at the 
time of Cap's accident they had already moved 
to Edinburgh, where her chief friends and 
playmates were the little Lockharts and the 
children of the murdered Due de Berri. It was 
there that Sir Walter Scott, on the day when 
he heard of his bankruptcy, came and sat 
quietly by the little Felicia, and bade her tell 
him fairy stories, as he didn't want to talk 
much himself. He was an old and dear friend 
of her father, one link between them being 
the fact that Mr. Skene was related by marriage 
to the beautiful Williamina Stuart with whom 
Scott in his early days had fallen deeply and 
ardently in love. 

The little Felicia was at this time a very 
lively child and full of innocent mischief. Her 
later devotion to the sick and poor did not begin 
so early as was the case with Florence Nightin- 
gale, though there came a time when she and 
Florence met in after life as equals and fellow- 
soldiers in the great campaign against human 
suffering. Her travels and adventures in Greece 
and her popularity at the Athenian court were 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 6i 

still hidden in the future, and while Florence at 
Embley and Lea Hurst was gradually unfolding 
a sweetness of nature that was by no means blind 
to the humorous side of things, and a highly 
practical thoroughness in all she undertook, 
Felicia was enjoying a merry home-life under the 
governorship of Miss Palmer, whom she nick- 
named Pompey, and being prepared for confirma- 
tion by her father's friend. Dean Ramsay. We 
are told of her that she might have said with 
Coppee, " J'ai eu toujours besoin de Dieu." Full 
of fun and of interest in life's great adventure, 
for others quite as much as for herself, religion 
was the moving force that moulded the soul 
of her to much unforeseen self-sacrifice as yet 
undreamed. 



CHAPTER IV. 

The activities of girlhood — Elizabeth Fry — Felicia Skene again. 

But we are wandering away from Embley and 
from the two daughters of the squire, who were 
already the delight of the village. 

Cap was by no means the only animal who 
owed much to Florence, and Peggy, a favourite 
old pony, now holiday-making in the paddock, 
looked for frequent visits and much sport be- 
tween lesson hours. 

" Poor old Peggy, then ; would she like a 
carrot ? " 

" Well, where is it, then ? See if you can find 
it, Peggy." 

And then a little game followed, to which the 
beloved pony was quite accustomed — snuffing 
round her young mistress and being teased and 
tantalized for a minute or two, just to heighten 
the coming pleasure, until at last the pocket was 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 63 

found where the precious delicacy was hidden, 
and the daily feast began, a feast not of carrots 
only, for caresses were of course a part of the 
ritual. 

Florence had much good fellowship also with 
the wild squirrels of the neighbourhood, especially 
in one long avenue that was their favourite abode. 
They were not in the least afraid of her, and 
would come leaping down after the nuts that she 
dropped for them as she walked along. Some- 
times she would turn sharp round and startle 
them back into their homes, but it was easy 
to tempt them down again. She was quick at 
finding and guarding the nests of brooding birds, 
and suffered very keenly as a child when the 
young ones were taken away from their mothers. 

Lambs and calves soon learned that she was 
fond of them, and the affection was not on her 
side only. But among the pets that the two 
girls were allowed to have, the ailing ones were 
always the most interesting to the future nurse. 

It cannot, however, be too strongly stated that 
there was nothing sentimental or lackadaisical in 
the very vigorous and hard-working life that she 



64 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

led. It was not by any means all songs and roses, 
though it was full of the happiness of a well- 
ordered and loving existence. Her father was 
a rigid disciplinarian, and nothing casual or easy- 
going was allowed in the Embley schoolroom. 
For any work carelessly done there was punish- 
ment as well as reproof, and no shamming of any 
sort was allowed. Hours must be punctually 
kept, and, whether the lesson for the moment 
was Latin, Greek, or mathematics, or the sewing 
of a fine and exquisite seam, it must come up to 
the necessary standard and be satisfactorily done. 
The master-mind that so swiftly transformed the 
filthy horrors of Scutari into a well-ordered hos- 
pital, and could dare to walk through minor 
difficulties and objections as though they did not 
exist, was educated in a severe and early school ; 
and the striking modesty and gentleness of Flor- 
ence Nightingale's girlhood was the deeper for 
having grappled with enough real knowledge to 
know its own ignorances and limitations, and 
treat the personality of others with a deference 
which was a part of her charm. 

And if study was made a serious business, the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 65 

sisters enjoyed to the full the healthy advantages 
of country life. They scampered about the park 
with their dogs, rode their ponies over hill and 
dale, spent long days in the woods among the 
bluebells and primroses, and in summer tumbled 
about in the sweet-scented hay. " During the 
summer at Lea Hurst, lessons were a little re- 
laxed in favour of outdoor life ; but on the return 
to Embley for the winter, schoolroom routine 
was again enforced on very strict lines." * 

In Florence Nightingale's Derbyshire home 
the experiments in methods of healing which 
dispensed with drugs could not fail to arouse 
attention and discussion, for Mr. John Smedley's 
newly-built cure-house stood at the foot of the 
hill below Lea Hurst, and before Florence Night- 
ingale was twenty she had already begun to turn 
her attention definitely in the direction of nur- 
sing. Everything tended to deepen this idea. 
She was already able to do much for the villagers, 
and in any case of illness they were always eager 
to let her know. The consumptive girl whose 
room she gladdened with flowers was but one of 
* Mrs. Tooley, p. 37. 

(1.764) 5 



66 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

the many ailing folk who found comfort and joy 
in her presence. " Miss Florence had a way 
with her that made them feel better," they said. 

In those days nursing as a profession did not 
exist. When it was not done wholly for love 
by the unselfish maiden aunt or sister, who was 
supposed, as a matter of course, to be always at 
the disposal of the sick people among her kins- 
folk, it had come to be too often a mere callous 
trade, carried on by ignorant and grasping women, 
who were not even clean or of good character. 
The turning of a Scutari hell into a hospital 
that seemed heaven by comparison, was a smaller 
miracle than that which Miss Nightingale's in- 
fluence was destined later to achieve in changing 
a despised and brutalized occupation throughout a 
whole empire into a noble and distinguished art. 

Of course it must never be forgotten that 
through all the centuries since the Christian 
Church was founded, there had been Catholic 
sisterhoods with whom the real and the ideal 
were one — Sisters of Mercy, who were not only 
refined and cultivated gentlewomen, but the most 
devoted and self-sacrificing of human souls. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 67 

And now in England, in that Society of 
Friends, which among Christian communities 
might seem outwardly farthest away from a 
communion valuing as its very language the 
ancient symbols and ritual of the Catholic 
Church, yet was perhaps by its obedience to 
the inward voice more in sympathy with the 
sisterhoods of that Church than were many other 
religious groups, there had been lifted up by 
Elizabeth Fry a new standard of duty in this 
matter, which in her hands became a new stan- 
dard of nursing, to be passed on in old age by 
her saintly hands into the young and powerful 
grasp of the brilliant girl who is the heroine 
of our story. The name of Elizabeth Fry is 
associated with the reform of our prisons, but 
it is less commonly known that she was also a 
pioneer of decent nursing. She understood with 
entire simplicity the words, " I was sick and in 
prison, and ye visited me." Perhaps it was not 
mere coincidence that the words occur in the 
"lesson" appointed for the 15th of February — 
the day noted in Elizabeth Fry's journal as the 
date of that visit to Newgate, when the poor 



68 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

felons she was yearning to help fell on their 
knees and prayed to a divine unseen Presence. 
In a recent number of the Times which celebrates 
her centenary a quotation from her diary is given 
which tells in her own words : — 

" I heard weeping, and I thought they ap- 
peared much tendered ; a very solemn quiet 
was observed ; it was a striking scene, the 
poor people on their knees around us, in their 
deplorable condition." 

And the Times goes on to say, " nothing ap- 
pears but those qualities of helpfulness, sympathy, 
and love which could tame the most savage 
natures, silence the voice of profanity and blas- 
phemy, and subdue all around her by a sense 
of her common sisterhood even with the vilest 
of them in the love of God and the service of 
man. . . , But the deepest note of her nature 
was an intense enthusiasm of humanity. It was 
this which inspired and sustained all her efforts 
from first to last — even in her earlier and more 
frivolous days — for the welfare and uplifting of 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 69 

her fellow-creatures ; and it is only right to add 
that it was itself sustained by her deep and 
abiding conviction that it is only by the love 
of God that the service of man can be sanctified 
and made to prosper." A letter followed next 
day from Mr. Julian Hill, who actually remem- 
bers her, and tells how the Institution of Nursing 
Sisters which she organized grew out of her deep 
pity for the victims of Sairey Gamp and her 
kind. 

All this was preparing the way for the wider 
and more successful nursing crusade in which 
her memory and influence were to inspire the 
brave young soul of Florence Nightingale. 
Speaking of all the difficulties that a blindly 
conventional world is always ready to throw in 
the way of any such new path, her old friend 
writes : " Such difficulties Mrs. Fry and Miss 
Nightingale brushed contemptuously aside." 

But in our story Miss Nightingale is as yet 
only lately out of the schoolroom. And Eliza- 
beth Fry's life was by no means alone, as we 
have seen, in its preparation of her appointed 
path, for about the time that Florence Nightin- 



70 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

gale was taking her place in the brilliant society 
that met about her father's board, and Felicia 
Skene was " coming out," a new experiment was 
being made by a devout member of the Lutheran 
Church, an experiment which was to play an 
important part in the world's history, though 
so quietly and unobtrusively carried out. 

We must not anticipate — we shall read of 
that in a later chapter. 



CHAPTER V. 

Home duties and pleasures — The brewing of war. 

Florence was very happy as her mother's 
almoner, and in her modest and unobtrusive way 
was the life and soul of the village festivities 
that centred in the church and school and were 
planned in many instances by her father and 
mother. It is one of the happy characteristics 
of our time that much innocent grace and 
merriment have been revived in the teaching 
of beautiful old morris dances and other peasant 
festivities that had been banished by the rigour 
of a perverted Puritanism, and the squire of Lea 
Hurst and his wife were before their time in 
such matters. There was a yearly function of 
prize-giving and speech-making and dancing, 
known as the children's " Feast Day," to which 
the scholars came in procession to the Hall, 
with their wreaths and garlands, to the music 



72 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

of a good marching band provided by the squire, 
and afterwards they had tea in the fields below 
the Hall garden, served by Mrs. Nightingale 
and her daughters and the Hall servants, and then 
ended their day with merry outdoor dancing. 
For the little ones Florence planned all kinds 
of games ; the children, indeed, were her special 
care, and by the time the evening sun was 
making pomp of gold and purple in the sky 
above the valley of the Derwent, there came 
the crowning event of the day when on the 
garden terrace the two daughters of the house 
distributed their gifts to the happy scholars. 

Mrs. Tooley in her biography calls up for us 
in a line or two a vision of Florence as she 
was remembered by one old lady, who had often 
been present and recalled her slender charm, 
herself as sweet as the rose which she often 
wore in her neatly braided hair, brown hair 
with a glint of gold in it, glossy and smooth 
and characteristic of youth and health. We 
have from one and another a glimpse of the 
harmonious simplicity also of her dress — the 
soft muslin gown, the little silk fichu crossed 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 73 

upon her breast, the modest Leghorn bonnet 
with its rose. Or in winter, riding about in 
the neighbourhood of Embley and distributing 
her little personal gifts at Christmas among 
the old women — tea and warm petticoats — her 
" ermine tippet and muff and beaver hat." 

She helped in the training of young voices 
in the village, and was among the entertainers 
when the carol-singers enjoyed their mince-pies 
and annual coins in the hall. The workhouse 
knew her well, and any wise enterprise in the 
neighbourhood for help or healing among the 
poor and the sad was sure of her presence and of 
all the co-operation in the power of her neigh- 
bours, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Herbert, with whom 
for some years before the Crimea she shared 
much companionship in such work. This 
friendship was an important influence in our 
heroine's life, for Mr. Herbert was of those 
who reveal to the dullest a little of the divine 
beauty and love, and his wife was through all 
their married life his faithful and devoted friend, 
so that they made a strong trio of sympathetic 
workers ; for " Liz," as her husband usually 



74 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

called her in his letters to their common friend 
Florence Nightingale, seemed to have fully shared 
his unbounded faith in the noble powers and high 
aims of the said Florence, whom she too loved 
and admired. She was a daughter of General 
Charles Ashe a Court, and she and Sidney 
Herbert had known one another as children. 
Indeed, it was in those early days, when she 
was quite a little child, that Elizabeth, who 
grew up to be one of the most beautiful women 
of her day, said of Sidney, then, of course, a mere 
boy, that that was the boy she was going to 
marry, and that she would never marry any one 
else. Many a long year, however, had rolled 
between before he rode over to Amington from 
Drayton, where he often met her, though no 
longer such near neighbours as in the early 
Wiltshire days, and asked the beautiful Elizabeth 
to be his wife. The intimacy between the two 
families had never ceased, and General a Court, 
himself member for Wilton, had worked hard 
for Sidney's first election for the county. We 
shall hear more of these dear and early friends 
of Florence Nightingale as her story un- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 75 

folds, but let us turn now for a moment to 
herself. 

Her life was many-sided, and her devotion 
to good works did not arise from any lack of 
knowledge of the world. She was presented, of 
course, like other girls of her order, and had her 
" seasons " in London as well as her share in 
country society. A young and lovely girl, whose 
father had been wise enough to give her all the 
education and advantages of a promising boy, 
and who excelled also in every distinctive fem- 
inine accomplishment and " pure womanliness," 
had her earthly kingdom at her feet. But her 
soul was more and more deeply bent on a life 
spent in service and consecrated to the good of 
others. Her Sunday class, in the old building 
known as the " Chapel " at Lea Hurst, was but 
one of her many efforts in her father's special 
domain in Derbyshire, and girls of every faith 
came to her there without distinction of creed. 
They were mostly workers in the hosiery mills 
owned by John Smedley, and many of them, 
like their master, were Methodists. She sang 
to them, and they still remember the sweetness 



76 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

of her voice and " how beautifully Miss Florence 
used to talk," as they sat together through many 
a sunny afternoon in the tiny stone building 
overlooking Lea Hurst gardens. Cromford 
Church, built by Sir Richard Arkwright, was 
then comparatively new, and time had not 
made of it the pretty picture that it is now, 
in its bosoming trees above the river ; but it 
played a considerable part in Florence Nightin- 
gale's youth, when the vicar and the Arkwright 
of her day — old Sir Richard's tomb in the chan- 
cel bears the earlier date of 1792 — organized 
many a kind scheme for the good of the parish, 
in which the squire's two daughters gave their 
help. 

But Miss Nightingale was not of a type to 
consider these amateur pleasures a sufficient 
training for her life-work, and that life-work 
was already taking a more or less definite shape 
in her mind. 

She herself has written : — 

" I would say to all young ladies who are 
called to any particular vocation, qualify your- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 77 

selves for it as a man does for his work. Don't 
think you can undertake it otherwise. Submit 
yourselves to the rules of business as men do, 
by v^hich alone you can make God's business 
succeed, for He has never said that He will give 
His success and His blessing to sketchy and 
unfinished work." And on another occasion she 
wrote that " three-fourths of the whole mischief 
in women's lives arises from their excepting 
themselves from the rules of training considered 
needful for men." 

It has already been said that her thought was 
more and more directed towards nursing, and 
in various ways she was quietly preparing herself 
to that end. 

Her interview with the Quaker-saint, Elizabeth 
Fry, though deliberately sought and of abiding 
effect, was but a brief episode. It was about 
this time that they met in London. The serene 
old Quakeress, through whose countenance looked 
forth such a heavenly soul, was no doubt keenly 
interested in the ardent, witty, beautiful girl 
who came to her for inspiration and counsel. 



78 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

They had much in common, and who knows 
but the older woman, with all her weight of 
experience, her saintly character, and ripened 
harvest, may yet in some ways have felt herself 
the younger of the two ; for she had come to 
that quiet threshold of the life beyond, where 
a soul like hers has part in the simple joys of 
the Divine Child, and looks tenderly on those 
who are still in the fires of battle through which 
they have passed. 

Her own girlhood had defied in innocent 
ways the strictness of the Quaker rule. Imagine 
a young Quakeress of those days wearing, as she 
had done on occasion, a red riding habit ! 

She had been fond of dancing, and would have, 
I suspect, a very healthy human interest in the 
activities of a girl in Society, though she would 
enter into Florence Nightingale's resolve that 
her life should not be frittered away in a self- 
centred round, while men and women, for whom 
her Master died, were themselves suffering a 
slow death in workhouses and prisons and hos- 
pitals, with none to tend their wounds of soul 
and body. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 79 

Be this as it may — and without a record of 
their conversation it is easy to go astray in 
imagining — we do know that like all the greatest 
saints they were both very practical in their 
Christianity, and did not care too much what 
was thought of their actions, so long as they 
were right in the sight of God. In their 
common sense, their humility, their warm, 
quick -beating heart of humanity, they were 
kindred spirits. 

The interview bore fruit even outwardly 
afterwards in a very important way. For it 
was from Elizabeth Fry that Florence Night- 
ingale first heard of Pastor Fliedner and his 
institute for training nurses at Kaiserswerth, as 
well as of Elizabeth Fry's own institute for a 
like purpose in London, which first suggested 
the Kaiserswerth training home, thus returning 
in ever-widening blessing the harvest of its seed. 

Her desire was for definite preparatory know- 
ledge and discipline, and we of this generation 
can hardly realize how much searching must 
have been necessary before the adequate training 
could be found. Certificated nursing is now 



8o FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

a commonplace, and we forget that it dates 
from Miss Nightingale's efforts after her return 
from the Crimea. We have only to turn to 
the life of Felicia Skene and her lonely labour 
of love at the time when the cholera visited 
Oxford — some twelve years later than Florence 
Nightingale's seventeenth birthday, that is to 
say, in 1849-51, and again in 1854 — to gain 
some idea of the bareness of the field. Sir 
Henry Acland, whose intimate friendship with 
Felicia dates from their common labours among 
the cholera patients, has described one among 
the terrible cases for which there would, it 
seems, have been no human aid, but for their 
discovery of the patient's neglected helplessness. 

" She had no blanket," he says, " or any 
covering but the ragged cotton clothes she had 
on. She rolled screaming. One woman, scarcely 
sober, sat by ; she sat with a pipe in her mouth, 
looking on. To treat her in this state was 
hopeless. She was to be removed. There was 
a press of work at the hospital, and a delay. 
When the carriers came, her saturated garments 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 8i 

were stripped off, and in the finer linen and in 
the blankets of a wealthier woman she was 
borne away, and in the hospital she died." 

This is given, it would seem, as but one case 
among hundreds. 

Three old cattle-sheds were turned into a sort 
of impromptu hospital, to which some of the 
smallpox and cholera patients were carried, and 
the clergy, especially Mr. Charles Marriott and 
Mr. Venables, did all they could for old and 
young alike, seconding the doctors, with Sir 
Henry at their head, in cheering and helping 
every one in the stricken town ; and Miss 
Skene's friend, Miss Hughes, Sister Marion, 
directed the women called in to help, who there 
received a kind of rough-and-ready training. 
But more overwhelming still was Miss Skene's 
own work of home nursing in the cottages, at 
first single-handed, and afterwards at the head 
of a band of women engaged by the deputy 
chairman as her servants in the work, of whom 
many were ignorant and needed training. " By 
day and by night she visited," writes Sir Henry. 

(1,764^ 6 



82 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

" She plied this task, and when she rested — or 
where as long at least as she knew of a house 
where disease had entered — is known to herself 
alone." 

Meanwhile a critical moment had arisen in 
the affairs of Europe. Our own Premier, Lord 
Aberdeen, had long been regarded as the very 
head and front of the Peace Movement in Eng- 
land, and when he succeeded the wary Lord 
Palmerston, it is said that Nicholas, the Czar 
of Russia, made no secret of his pleasure in the 
event, for he saw tokens in England of what 
might at least leave him a chance of pulling 
Turkey to pieces. He seems also to have had 
a great personal liking for our ambassador. Sir 
Hamilton Seymour, who was fortunately a man 
of honour as well as a man of discretion and 
ready wit. The account given by Kinglake of 
the conversations in which the Emperor Nicholas 
disclosed his views, and was not permitted to 
hint them merely, makes very dramatic reading. 
The Czar persisted in speaking of Turkey as a 
very sick man, whose affairs had better be taken 
out of his hands by his friends before his final 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 83 

dissolution. Sir Hamilton courteously intimated 
that England did not treat her allies in that 
manner ; but Nicholas was not to be put off, 
and at a party given by the Grand Duchess 
Hereditary on February 20, 1853, he again 
took Sir Hamilton apart, and in a very gracious 
and confidential manner closed his conversation 
with the words, " I repeat to you that the sick 
man is dying, and we can never allow such an 
event to take us by surprise. We must come 
to some understanding." 

The next day he explained how the partition 
should in his opinion be made. Servia and 
Bulgaria should be independent states under his 
protection. England should have Egypt and 
Candia. He had already made it clear that he 
should expect us to pledge ourselves not to 
occupy Constantinople, though he could not 
himself give us a like undertaking. 

"As I did not wish," writes Sir Hamilton 
Seymour, " that the Emperor should imagine that 
an English public servant was caught by this 
sort of overture, I simply answered that I had 
always understood that the English views upon 



84 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Egypt did not go beyond the point of securing 
a safe and ready communication between British 
India and the mother country. ' Well,' said the 
Emperor, ' induce your Government to write 
again upon these subjects, to write more fully, 
and to do so without hesitation. I have confi- 
dence in the English Government. It is not an 
engagement, a convention, which I ask of them ; 
it is a free interchange of ideas, and in case 
of need the word of a " gentleman " — that is 
enough between us.' " 

In reply, our Government disclaimed all idea 
of aiming at any of the Sultan's possessions, or 
considering the Ottoman Empire ready to fall to 
bits ; and while accepting the Emperor's word 
that he would not himself grab any part of it, 
refused most decisively to enter on any secret 
understanding. 

All through 1853 these parleyings were kept 
secret, and in the meantime the Czar had failed 
in his role of tempter. In the interval the 
Sultan, who perhaps had gained some inkling 
of what was going on, suddenly yielded to 
Austria's demand that he should withdraw cer- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 85 

tain troops that had been harassing Montenegro, 
and thereby rousing the Czar's religious zeal on 
behalf of his co-religionists in that province. 
Everything for the moment lulled his previous 
intention of a war against Turkey. 

But the Emperor Louis Napoleon had in 
cold blood been driving a wedge into the peace 
of the world by reviving a treaty of 1740, which 
had given to Latin monks a key to the chief 
door of the Church of Bethlehem, as well as 
the keys to the two doors of the Sacred Manger, 
and also the right to place a silver star adorned 
with the arms of France in the Sanctuary of the 
Nativity. That the Churches should fight for 
the key to the supposed birthplace of the Prince 
of Peace is indeed grotesque. But the old 
temple had in His day become a den of thieves ; 
and even the new temple, built through His own 
loving sacrifice, is ever being put to uses that 
are childish and greedy. 

It is not difficult to understand that, by means 
of this treaty, awakening the vanity and greed 
that cloak themselves under more decent feel- 
ings in such rivalries, Louis Napoleon made 



86 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

his profit for the moment out of the powers 
of evil. 

The Czar's jealousy for his own empire's 
Greek version of the faith made the triumph 
of this treaty wormwood to him and to his 
people. "To the indignation," Count Nessel- 
rode writes, " of the whole people following the 
Greek ritual, the key of the Church of Bethlehem 
has been made over to the Latins, so as publicly 
to demonstrate their religious supremacy in the 
East." . . . 

" A crowd of monks with bare foreheads," 
says Kinglake, " stood quarrelling for a key at 
the sunny gates of a church in Palestine, but 
beyond and above, towering high in the misty 
North, men saw the ambition of the Czars." 

The Czars did not stand alone : " some fifty 
millions of men in Russia held one creed, and 
they held it too with the earnestness of which 
Western Europe used to have experience in 
earlier times. . . . They knew that in the 
Turkish dominions there were ten or fourteen 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 87 

millions of men holding exactly the same faith 
as themselves . . . they had heard tales of the 
sufferings of these their brethren which seemed," 
they blindly thought, " to call for vengeance." 

Nicholas himself was a fanatic on such ques- 
tions, and the end of it was that his rage hood- 
winked his conscience, and he stole a march 
upon England and France, which destroyed their 
trust in his honour. He had already gathered 
troops in the south, to say nothing of a fleet in 
the Euxine ; and having determined on an em- 
bassy to Constantinople, he chose Mentschikoff 
as his messenger, a man who was said to hate 
the Turks and dislike the English, and who, 
according to Kinglake, was a wit rather than 
a diplomat or a soldier. Advancing with much 
of the pomp of war, and disregarding much of 
the etiquette of peace, his arrival and behaviour 
caused such a panic in the Turkish capital that 
Colonel Rose was besought to take an English 
fleet to the protection of the Ottoman Empire. 
Colonel Rose's friendly willingness, though after- 
wards cancelled by our Home Government, at 
once quieted the terror in Constantinople ; but 



88 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

the Emperor of the French cast oil upon the 
smouldering flame by sending a fleet to Salamis. 
This greatly angered Nicholas, and, although he 
was pleased to find England disapproved of what 
France had done, Mentschikojff offered a secret 
treaty to Turkey, with ships and men, if she ever 
needed help, and asked in return for complete 
control of the Greek Church. This broke all his 
promises to the Western Powers, and England 
at once was made aware of it by the Turkish 
minister. 

Prince Mentschikoff meanwhile drew to 
himself an army, and the English Vice-consul 
at Galatz reported that in Bessarabia preparations 
were already made for the passage of 120,000 
men, while battalions from all directions were 
making southward — the fleet was even then at 
Sebastopol. 

The double-dealing of Russia was met by a 
gradual and tacit alliance between England and 
the Sultan ; and Lord Aberdeen, whose love of 
peace has been described by one historian as 
" passionate " and " fanatical," was unknowingly 
tying his own hands by the advice he gave in his 




Florence Nightingale. 

LFr(>m the painting in the National Portrait Gallery by Augustus Egg, R.A.) 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 89 

despatches when consulted by Turkey. More- 
over, in Turkey, our ambassador, Lord Stratford 
de RedclifFe, stiffened the back of Ottoman 
resistance against the Czar's wily handling of 
" the sick man." Lord Stratford's tact and force 
of character had moulded all to his will, and our 
admiral at Malta was told to obey any directions 
he received from him. Our fleets were ordered 
into the neighbourhood of the Dardanelles, and 
Lord Stratford held his watch at Therapia against 
the gathering wrath of the Czar. Only a very 
little kindling touch was needed to light the 
fires of a terrible conflict in Europe. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Pastor Fliedner. 

A PEBBLE thrown into a lake sends the tiny circ- 
ling ripples very far, and one good piece of work 
leads to others of a quite different kind. Pastor 
Fliedner, inspired by love to his Master and 
deeply interested in Elizabeth Fry's efforts, began 
to help prisoners. Finding no nurses for those 
of them who were ill, he was led to found the 
institution at Kaiserswerth, where Miss Nightin- 
gale afterwards received a part of her training. 

His story is a beautiful one. His father and 
grandfather had both been pastors in the Lutheran 
Church, and, like so many sons of the Manse, he 
was exceedingly poor, but he lived to justify his 
name of Theodor. He was born twenty years 
before Miss Nightingale, in the village of Epp- 
stein, and perhaps he was the more determined 
to prove to himself and others that he had a 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 91 

soul, because he was one of those plump children 
who get teased for looking like dumplings, and 
when his father laughingly called him the " little 
beer-brewer " he didn't like it, for he was a 
bit thin-skinned. He worked his way bravely 
through school and college, Giessen and Got- 
tingen, and not only earned his fees by teaching, 
but also his bread and roof ; and when teaching 
was not enough, he had the good sense to turn 
shoeblack and carpenter and odd man. He 
valued all that opens the eyes of the mind and 
educates what is highest and best. Many a 
time, heedless of hardship and privation, he 
would, in his holidays, tramp long distances that 
he might see more of God's world and learn 
more of men and things. He taught himself 
in this way to speak several languages, learned 
the useful healing properties of many herbs, and 
other homely knowledge that afterwards helped 
him in his work among the sick. Then, too, 
the games and songs that he picked up on his 
travels afterwards enriched his own kindergarten. 
While tutoring at Cologne, he did quite informally 
some of the work of a curate, and, through preach- 



92 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

ing sometimes in the prison, became interested 
in the lot of discharged prisoners. It was at 
Cologne too that he received from the mother 
of his pupils kindly suggestions as to his own 
manners, which led him to write what is as true 
as it is quaint, that " gentle ways and polite 
manners help greatly to further the Kingdom 
of God." 

He was only twenty-two when he became 
pastor of the little Protestant flock at Kaisers- 
werth, having walked there on foot and purposely 
taken his parishioners by surprise that they might 
not be put to the expense of a formal welcome. 
His yearly salary was only twenty pounds, and 
he helped his widowed mother by sharing the 
parsonage with a sister and two younger brothers, 
though in any case he had to house the mother 
of the man who had been there before him. 
Then came a failure in the business of the little 
town — the making of velvet — and though there 
were other rich communities that would have 
liked to claim him, he was true to his own 
impoverished flock, and set forth like a pilgrim 
in search of aid for them. In this apostolic 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 93 

journey he visited Holland and England as well 
as Germany, and it was in London that, in 
Elizabeth Fry, he found a noble kindred spirit, 
much older, of course, than himself, as we count 
the time of earth, but still full of all the tender 
enthusiasm of love's immortal youth. Her 
wonderful work among the prisoners of New- 
gate sent him back to his own parish all on 
fire to help the prisoners of his own country, 
and he began at once with Diisseldorf, the prison 
nearest home. Through him was founded the 
first German organization for improving the 
discipline of prisons. 

Most of all he wanted to help the women 
who on leaving the prison doors were left with- 
out roof or protector. 

With his own hands he made clean his old 
summer-house, and in this shelter — twelve feet 
square — which he had furnished with a bed, a 
chair, and a table, he asked the All-father to lead 
some poor outcast to the little home he had 
made for her. 

It was at night that for the first time a poor 
forlorn creature came in answer to that prayer. 



94 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and he and his wife led her in to the place pre- 
pared for her. Nine others followed, and, by 
the time the number had risen to twenty, a new 
building was ready for them with its own field 
and garden, and Fliedner's wife, helped by 
Mademoiselle Gobel, who gave her services " all 
for love and nothing for reward," had charge 
of the home, where many a one who, like the 
woman in the Gospel, "had been a great sinner" 
began to lead a new life and to follow Christ. 

For the children of some of these women a 
kindergarten arose ; but the work of all others 
on which the pastor's heart was set was the 
training of women to nurse and tend the poor ; 
for in his own parish, where there was much 
illness and ignorance, there was no one to do 
this. Three years after his earlier venture, in 
1836 when Miss Nightingale in her far-away 
home was a girl of sixteen still more or less 
in the schoolroom, this new undertaking was 
begun, this quiet haven, from which her own 
great venture long afterwards took help and 
teaching, was built up by this German saint. 

The failure of the velvet industry at Kaisers- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 95 

werth, in the pastor's first year, had left an 
empty factory which he turned into a hospital. 

But when it was opened, the faith needed was 
much like the faith of Abraham when great 
blessing was promised to a son whom the world 
thought he would never possess ; for the Deaconess 
Hospital, when the wards were fitted up by its 
pastor with *' mended furniture and cracked 
earthenware," had as yet no patients and no 
deaconesses. 

There is, however, one essential of a good 
hospital which can be bought by labour as well 
as by money ; and by hard work the hospital 
was kept admirably clean. 

The first patient who knocked at its doors 
was a servant girl, and other patients followed 
so quickly that within the first year sixty patients 
were nursed there and seven nurses had entered 
as deaconess and probationers. All the deacon- 
esses were to be over twenty-five, and though 
they entered for five years, they could leave at 
any moment. The code of rules drawn up by 
the pastor was very simple, and there were not 
any vows ; but the form of admission was a 



96 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

solemn one and included the laying on of hands, 
while the pastor invoked the Threefold Name, 
saying : " May God the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, bless 
you ; may He stablish you in the Truth until 
death, and give you hereafter the Crown of 
Life. Amen." 

It all had a kind of homely grace, even in 
outward things. The deaconesses wore a large 
white turned-down collar over a blue cotton 
gown, a white muslin cap tied on under the chin 
with a large bow, and a white apron — a dress so 
well suited to the work that young and old both 
looked more than usually sweet and womanly 
in it. 

The story of how the deaconesses found a 
head, and Fliedner a second helper after the 
death of his first wife, reads rather like a Hans 
Andersen fairy tale. 

He travelled to Hamburg to ask Amalie 
Sievekin to take charge of the Home, and as she 
could not do so, she advised him to go to her 
friend and pupil Caroline Berthean, who had had 
experience of nursing in the Hamburg Hospital. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 97 

The pastor was so pleased with Miss Caroline 
that he then and there offered her the choice 
of becoming either his wife or the Superin- 
tendent of the Deaconesses' Home. 

She said she would fill both the vacant places, 
and their honeymoon was spent in Berlin that 
they might " settle " the first five deaconesses 
in the Charite Hospital. 

Caroline, young though she was, made a good 
Deaconess Mother,* and she seems also to have 
been an excellent wife, full of devotion to the 
work her husband loved, through all the rest 
of her life. The deaconesses give their work, 
and in a sense give themselves. They do not 
pay for their board, but neither are they paid 
for their work, though they are allowed a very 
simple yearly outfit of two cotton gowns and 
aprons, and every five years a new best dress of 
blue woollen material and an apron of black alpaca. 
Also their outdoor garb of a long black cloak 
and bonnet is supplied to them, and each is 

* For a charming sketch of Fliedner's first wife, a woman of 
rare excellence, my readers are referred to " A History of Nursing," 
by M. Adelaide Nutting, R.N., and Lavinia P. Dock, R.N. (G. P. 
Putnam and Sons.) 

(1.7M) -7 



98 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

allowed a little pocket money. Their private 
property remains their own to control as they 
please, whether they live or die. 

The little account of Kaiserswerth which Miss 
Nightingale wrote is most rare and precious, 
having long been out of print, but from the 
copy in the British Museum I transfer a few 
sentences to these pages, because of their quaint- 
ness and their interest for all who are feeling 
their way in the education of young children : — 

" In the Orphan Asylum," wrote Miss Night- 
ingale, " each family lives with its deaconess 
exactly as her children. Some of them have 
already become deaconesses or teachers, some 
have returned home. When a new child is 
admitted, a little feast celebrates its arrival, at 
which the pastor himself presides, who under- 
stands children so well that his presence, instead 
of being a constraint, serves to make the little 
new-comer feel herself at home. She chooses 
what is to be sung, she has a little present from 
the pastor, and, after tea, at the end of the 
evening, she is prayed for. . . . 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 99 

" One morning, in the boys' ward, as they 
were about to have prayers, just before breakfast, 
two of the boys quarrelled about a hymn book. 
The ' sister ' was uncertain, for a moment, what 
to do. They could not pray in that state of 
mind, yet excluding them from the prayer was 
not likely to improve them. She told a story 
of her own childhood, how one night she had 
been cross with her parents, and, putting off her 
prayers till she felt good again, had fallen asleep. 
The children were quite silent for a moment and 
shocked at the idea that anybody should go to 
bed without praying. The two boys were recon- 
ciled, and prayers took place. . . ." 

In the British Museum also is a copy of the 
following letter : — 

" Messrs. Dubaw, — A gentleman called here 
yesterday from you, asking for a copy of my 
' Kaiserswerth ' for, I believe, the British Museum. 

" Since yesterday a search has been instituted — 
but only two copies have been found, and one 
of those is torn and dirty. I send you the least 



loo FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

bad-looking. You will see the date is 1851, 
and after the copies then printed were given 
away I don't think I have ever thought of it. 

" I was twice in training there myself. Of 
course, since then hospital and district nursing 
have made great strides. Indeed, district nursing 
has been invented. 

" But never have I met with a higher love, 
a purer devotion than there. There was no 
neglect. 

" It was the more remarkable because many of 
the deaconesses had been only peasants (none were 
gentlewomen when I was there). 

"The food was poor — no coffee but bean coffee 
— no luxury but cleanliness. 

" Florence Nightingale.'* 



CHAPTER VII. 

Years of preparation. 

Florence Nightingale, like Felicia Skene, had 
that saving gift of humour which at times may 
make bearable an otherwise unbearable keenness 
of vision. 

Here, for instance, is her account of the 
customary dusting of a room in those days (is 
it always nowadays so entirely different as might 
be wished ?) : — 

" Having witnessed the morning process called 
' tidying the room ' for many years, and with 
ever-increasing astonishment, I can describe what 
it is. From the chairs, tables, or sofa, upon 
which * things ' have lain during the night, and 
which are therefore comparatively clean from 
dust or blacks, the poor * things ' having ' caught 
it,' they are removed to other chairs, tables, sofas, 



102 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

upon which you could write your name with 
your finger in the dust or blacks. The other 
side of the things is therefore now evenly dirtied 
or dusted. The housemaid then flaps everything 
or some things not out of her reach with a thing 
called a duster — the dust flies up, then resettles 
more equally than it lay before the operation. 
The room has now been ' put to rights.' " 

You see the shrewd humour of that observa 
tion touches the smallest detail. Miss Nightin- 
gale never wasted time in unpractical theorizing. 
In discussing the far-off attainment of ideal nurs- 
ing she says : — 

" Will the top of Mont Blanc ever be made 
habitable ? Our answer would be, it will be 
many thousands of years before we have reached 
the bottom of Mont Blanc in making the earth 
healthy. Wait till we have reached the bottom 
before we discuss the top." 

Did she with her large outlook and big heart 
see our absurdity as well as our shame when. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 103 

pointing a finger of scorn at what we named the 
superstition of other countries, we were yet con- 
tent to sec Spain and France and Italy sending 
out daily, in religious service to the poor, whole 
regiments of gentle and refined women trained 
in the arts of healing and the methods of dis- 
cipline, while even in our public institutions — 
our hospitals and workhouses and prisons — it 
would hardly have been an exaggeration to say 
that most of the so-called " nurses " of those 
days were but drunken sluts ? 
She herself has said : — 

" Shall the Roman Catholic Church do all the 
work ? Has not the Protestant the same Lord, 
who accepted the services not only of men, but 
also of women ? " 

One saving clause there is for England con- 
cerning this matter in the history of that time, 
in the work of a distinguished member of the 
Society of Friends, even before Florence Night- 
ingale or Felicia Skene had been much heard 
of. We read that " the heavenly personality of 
Elizabeth Fry (whom Miss Nightingale sought 



104 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

out and visited) was an ever-present inspiration 
in her life." From Elizabeth Fry our heroine 
heard of Pastor Fliedner's training institute for 
nurses at Kaiserswerth, already described in the 
foregoing chapter ; but, before going there, she 
took in the meantime a self-imposed course of 
training in Britain, visiting the hospitals in 
London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, though, so far 
as the nursing was concerned, the criticisms in 
her own Nursing Notes of later years would 
certainly suggest that what she learned was 
chiefly what not to do. Her gracious and win 
ning dignity was far indeed from the blindness 
of a weak amiability, and it can hardly be 
doubted that what she saw of the so-called 
" nurses " in our hospitals of those days, went 
far to deepen her resolve to devote herself to 
a calling then in dire neglect and disrepute. 
Dirt, disorder, drunkenness — these are the words 
used by a trustworthy biographer in describing 
the ways of English nurses in those days — of 
whom, indeed, we are told that they were of 
a very coarse order — ill-trained, hard-hearted, 
immoral. There must surely have been cxcep- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 105 

tions, but they seem to have been so rare as to 
have escaped notice. Indeed, it was even said 
that in those days — so strong and stupefying is 
the force of custom — decent girls avoided this 
noble calling, fearing to lose their character if 
found in its ranks. 

But whatever were Florence Nightingale's 
faults — and she was by no means so inhuman 
as to be without faults — conventionality of 
thought and action certainly cannot be counted 
among them ; and what she saw of the poor 
degraded souls who waited on the sick in our 
hospitals did but strengthen her resolve to be- 
come a nurse herself. 

Since she found no good school of nursing 
in England, she went abroad, and visited, among 
other places, the peaceful old hospital of St. 
John at Bruges, where the nuns are cultivated 
and devoted women who are well skilled in the 
gentle art of nursing. 

To city after city she went, taking with her 
not only her gift of discernment, but also that 
open mind and earnest heart which made of her 
life-offering so world-wide a boon. 



io6 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

I do not think I have used too strong a word 
of the gift she was preparing. For the writer 
of an article which appeared in Nursing Notes* 
was right when, at the end of Miss Nightin- 
gale's life, she wrote of her : — 

" Miss Nightingale belongs to that band of 
the great ones of the earth who may be 
acclaimed as citizens of the world ; her influence 
has extended far beyond the limits of the nation 
to which she owed her birth, and in a very 
special sense she will be the great prototype for 
all time to those who follow more especially in 
her footsteps, in the profession she practically 
created. We must ever be grateful for the 
shining example she has given to nurses, who in 
her find united that broad-minded comprehension 
of the ultimate aim of all their work, with a pa- 
tient and untiring devotion to its practical detail, 
which alone combine to make the perfect nurse." 

But as yet she was only humbly and diligently 
preparing herself for the vocation to which she 

* The reference here is not to Miss Nightingale's book, but to 
the periodical which at present bears that name. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 107 

had determined, in face of countless obstacles, 
to devote herself, little knowing how vast would 
be the opportunities given to her when once she 
was ready for the work. 

During the winter and spring of 1849-50 
she made a long tour through Egypt with 
Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge. On her way there 
she met in Paris two Sisters of the Order 
of St. Vincent de Paul, from whom she took 
introductions to the schools and " misericorde " 
in Alexandria. There she saw the fruits of 
long and self-denying discipline among the 
Nursing Sisters, and in the following year she 
visited Pastor Fliedner's Institute at Kaiserswerth, 
where, among Protestant deaconesses, the life 
of ordered simplicity and service showed some 
of the same virtues. 

Miss Nightingale's first visit to Kaiserswerth 
was comparatively short, but in the following 
year, 1852, she went there again and took 
four months of definite training, from June to 
October. 

A deep and warm regard seems to have arisen 
between the Fliedners and their English pupil. 



io8 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and the pastor's friendship for Miss Nightin- 
gale's revered counsellor, Elizabeth Fry, must 
have been one pleasant link in the happy bond. 

Fliedner was certainly a w^onderful man, and 
Miss Nightingale's comment on the spirit of 
his work was as true as it was witty. " Pastor 
Fliedner," she said, " began his work with two 
beds under a roof, not with a castle in the air, 
and Kaiserswerth is now diffusing its blessings 
and its deaconesses over almost every Protestant 
land." This was literally true. Within ten 
years of founding Kaiserswerth he had established 
sixty nurses in twenty-five different centres. 
Later he founded a Mother-house on Mount 
Zion at Jerusalem, having already settled some 
of his nurses at Pittsburg in the United States. 
The building for the Jerusalem Mother-house 
was given by the King of Prussia, and, nursing 
all sick people, without any question of creed, 
is a school of training for nurses in the East. 

Alexandria, Beyrout, Smyrna, Bucharest — he 
visited them all, and it is due to his efforts 
nearer home that to-day in almost all German 
towns of any importance there is a Deaconess 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 109 

Home, sending out trained women to nurse in 
middle-class families at very moderate fees, and 
ready to nurse the poor without any charge at all. 
When, in 1864, "he passed to his glorious 
rest " — the words are Miss Nightingale's — there 
were already one hundred such houses, and during 
part of Miss Nightingale's visit to Kaiserswerth, 
Pastor Fliedner was away a good deal on the 
missionary journeys which spread the Deaconess 
Homes through Germany, but they met quite 
often enough for each to appreciate the noble 
character of the other. In all his different kinds 
of work for helping the poor she was eagerly 
interested, and it may be that some of her wise 
criticisms of district visiting in later years may 
have been suggested by the courtesy and good 
manners that ruled the visiting of poor homes 
at Kaiserswerth in which she shared. It was 
there also that she made warm friendship with 
Henrietta Frickenhaus, in whose training college 
at Kaiserswerth 400 pupils had already passed 
muster. It should be added that Henrietta 
Frickenhaus was the first schoolmistress of 
Kaiserswerth. 



no FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Mr. Sidney Herbert visited Kaiserswerth 
while Miss Nightingale was there, and when, 
in the great moment that came afterwards, he 
asked her to go out to the Crimea, he knew 
well how detailed and definite her training had 
been. 

Pastor Fliedner's eldest daughter told Mrs. 
Tooley how vividly she recalled her father's 
solemn farewell blessing when Miss Nightingale 
was leaving Kaiserswerth ; laying his hands on 
her bent head and, with eyes that seemed to look 
beyond the scene that lay before him, praying 
that she might be stablished in the Truth till 
death, and receive the Crown of Life. 

And even mortal eyes may read a little of 
how those prayers for her future were fulfilled. 

She left vivid memories. " No one has ever 
passed so brilliant an examination," said Fliedner, 
" or shown herself so thoroughly mistress of all 
she had to learn, as the young, wealthy, and 
graceful EngUshwoman." Agnes Jones, who 
was trained there before her work in Liver- 
pool left a memorable record of life spent in 
self-denying service, tells how the workers at 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. iii 

Kaiserswerth longed to see Miss Nightingale 
again, how her womanliness and lovableness were 
remembered, and how among the sick people 
were those who even in dying blessed her for 
having led them to the Redeemer ; for through- 
out her whole life her religion was the very life 
of her life, as deep as it was quiet, the underlying 
secret of that compassionate self-detachment and 
subdued fire, without which her wit and shrewd- 
ness would have lost their absolving glow and 
underlying tenderness. Hers was ever the 
gentleness of strength, not the easy bending of 
the weak. She was a pioneer among women, 
and did much to break down the cruel limitations 
which, in the name of affection and tradition, 
hemmed in the lives of English girls in those 
days. Perhaps she was among the first of that 
day in England to realize that the Christ, her 
Master, who sent Mary as His first messenger 
of the Resurrection, was in a fine sense of the 
word " unconventional," even though He came 
that every jot and tittle of religious law might 
be spiritually fulfilled. 

It was after her return to England from 



112 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Germany that she published her little pamphlet 
on Kaiserswerth, from which quotations have 
already been given. 

Her next visit was to the Convent of St. 
Vincent de Paul in Paris, where the nursing 
was a part of the long-established routine, and 
while there she was able to visit the hospitals 
in Paris, and learned much from the Sisters in 
their organized work among the houses of the 
poor. In the midst of all this she was herself 
taken ill, and was nursed by the Sisters. Her 
direct and personal experience of their tender 
skill no doubt left its mark upon her own fitness. 
On her return home to complete her recovery, 
her new capacity and knowledge made a good 
deal of delighted talk in the cottages, and Mrs. 
Tooley tells us how it was rumoured that " Miss 
Florence could set a broken leg better than a 
doctor," and made the old rheumatic folk feel 
young again with her remedies, to say nothing 
of her " eye lotions," which " was enough to 
ruin the spectacle folk." She was always ahead 
of her time in her belief in simple rules of 
health and diet and hatred of all that continual 











Florence Nightingale in 1854. 

(From a drawing by H. M. B. C) 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 113 

use of drugs which was then so much in fashion, 
and she no doubt saw many interesting experi- 
ments at Matlock Bank in helping Nature to do 
her own work. 

As soon as her convalescence was over she 
visited London hospitals, and in the autumn of 
1852 those of Edinburgh and Dublin, having 
spent a part of the interval in her home at 
Embley, where she had again the pleasure of 
being near her friends the Herberts, with whose 
neighbourly work among the poor she was in 
fullest sympathy. 

Her first post was at the Harley Street Home 
for Sick Governesses. She had been interested 
in many kinds of efforts on behalf of those who 
suffer ; Lord Shaftesbury's Ragged School labours, 
for instance, had appealed to her, and to that 
and other like enterprises she had given the 
money earned by her little book on Kaiserswerth. 
But she always had in view the one clear and 
definite aim — to fit herself in every possible way 
for competent nursing. It was on August 12, 
1853, that she became Superintendent of the 
Harley Street institution, which is now known 

(1,764) 8 



114 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

as the Florence Nightingale Hospital. It was 
founded in 1850 by Lady Canning, as a Home 
for Invalid Gentlewomen, and when an appeal 
was made to Miss Nightingale for money and 
good counsel, she gave in addition herself and 
became for a time the Lady Superintendent. 

The hospital was intended mainly for sick 
governesses, for whom the need of such a home 
of rest and care and surgical help had sometimes 
arisen, but it had been mismanaged and was in 
danger of becoming a failure. There Miss 
Nightingale, we read, was to be found " in the 
midst of various duties of a hospital — for the 
Home was largely a sanatorium — organizing 
the nurses, attending to the correspondence, 
prescriptions, and accounts ; in short, performing 
all the duties of a hard-working matron, as well 
as largely financing the institution." 

" The task of dealing with sick and querulous 
women," says Mrs. Tooley, "embittered and 
rendered sensitive and exacting by the un- 
fortunate circumstances of their lives, was not 
an easy one, but Miss Nightingale had a calm 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 115 

and cheerful spirit which could bear with the 
infirmities of the weak. And so she laboured 
on in the dull house in Harley Street, summer 
and winter, bringing order and comfort out of 
a wretched chaos, and proving a real friend and 
helper to the sick and sorrow-laden women. 

" At length the strain proved too much for 
her delicate body, and she was compelled most 
reluctantly to resign her task." 

She had worked very hard, and was seldom 
seen outside the walls of the house in Harley 
Street. Though she was not there very long, 
the effect of her presence was great and lasting, 
and the Home, which has now moved to Lisson 
Grove, has increased steadily in usefulness, though 
it has of necessity changed its lines a little, 
because the High Schools and the higher educa- 
tion of women have opened new careers and 
lessened the number of governesses, especially 
helpless governesses. It gives aid far and wide 
to the daughters and other kindred of hard- 
worked professional men, men who are serving 
the world with their brains, and nobly seeking 



ii6 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

to give work and service of as good a kind as 
lies within their povvrer, rather than to snatch 
at its exact value in coin, even if that vs^ere 
possible — and in such toil as theirs, whether they 
be teachers, artists, parsons, or themselves doctors, 
it is not possible ; for such work cannot be 
weighed in money. 

Queen Alexandra is President, and last year 
301 patients were treated, besides the 16 who 
were already within its walls when the new year 
began. 



CHAPTER VIIL 

The beginning of the war — A sketch of Sidney Herbert. 

It was on April ii, 1854, that war was 
declared by Russia, and four days later the in- 
vasion of the Ottoman Empire began. England 
and France were the sworn allies of Turkey, and 
though the war had begun with a quarrel about 
" a key and a trinket," the key and the trinket 
were, after all, symbols, just as truly as the flags 
for which men lay down their lives. 

England had entrusted the cause of peace to 
those faithful lovers of peace. Lord Aberdeen, 
Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Bright ; 
but no single man in our "constitutional" 
Government is in reality a free agent, and the 
peace-loving members of the Cabinet had been 
skilfully handled by the potent Lord Palmerston, 
and did not perceive soon enough that the 
understanding with Turkey and with France, 



ii8 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

into which they had drifted, must endanger the 
peace of Europe because the other Powers were 
ignored. If the English people had been secretly 
longing for war — and it is said that they had — 
then the terrible cup they had desired was to be 
drunk to the lees : the war on which they were 
entering was a war of agony and shame, a war 
in which men died by hundreds of neglect and 
mismanagement, before a woman's hand could 
reach the helm and reform the hospital ordinances 
in the ship of State. 

Meanwhile, before we plunge into the horrors 
of the Crimean War we may rest our minds 
with a few pages about Miss Nightingale's 
friend, Mr. Sidney Herbert, who became an 
active and self-sacrificing power in the War 
Office. 

When Florence Nightingale was born, Sidney 
Herbert — afterwards Lord Herbert of Lea — was 
already a boy of ten. 

Those who know the outlook over the Thames, 
from the windows of Pembroke Lodge at Rich- 
mond, will realize that he too, like Florence 
Nightingale, was born in a very beautiful spot. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 119 

His father, the eleventh Earl of Pembroke, had 
married the daughter of Count Woronzow, the 
Russian Ambassador, and, in Sidney's knowledge- 
able help afterwards at the War Office during the 
Crimean War, it is not without interest to 
remember this. 

His birth had not been expected so soon, and 
there were no baby clothes handy at Pembroke 
Lodge, where his mother was staying. It would 
seem that shops were not so well able to supply 
every need with a ready-made garment as they 
are in these days ; so the first clothes that the 
baby boy wore were lent by the workhouse until 
his own were ready. 

In later days, when he cared for the needs of 
all who crossed his path, until his people feared 
— or pretended to fear — that he would give 
away all he had, his mother used to say that 
workhouse clothes were the first he had worn 
after his birth, and were also clearly those in 
which he would die. 

He had good reason to rejoice in his lineage, 
for he was descended from the sister of Sir 
Philip Sidney, after whom he was named. He 



120 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

too, like his great namesake, was all his life full 
of that high courtesy which comes of loving 
consideration for others rather than for self, and 
is never more charming than in those who, 
being in every sense " well-born," have seen it 
in their fathers, and in their fathers before them, 
notwithstanding that in those others who, less 
fortunate, whether they be rich or poor, having 
come of an ill brood, are yet themselves well- 
bred, such courtesy is of the courts of heaven. 

The boy's father had much individuality. 
Being the owner of some thirty villages, and lord- 
lieutenant of the county, he was naturally a 
great magnate in Wiltshire. He was very fond 
of dogs, and his favourites among them sat at 
his own table, each with its own chair and plate. 

Sidney was almost like an only son at home, 
for his elder brother, who was, of course, the 
heir to Lord Herbert's patrimony, had married 
unhappily and lived abroad. 

The little boy seems to have been really rather 
like the little angels in Italian pictures, a child 
with golden curls and big brown eyes, with the 
look of love and sunshine gleaming out of them 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 121 

that he kept all his life, and there is a letter of 
his mother's, describing a children's fancy dress 
ball, at which she dressed him up as a little 
cupid, with wings and a wreath of roses, and 
was very proud of the result. He was either 
too little to mind, or if he hated it, as so many 
boys would, he bore with it to please his mother, 
who, we are told, made as much of an idol of 
him as did the rest of his family. And indeed 
it is most wonderful, from all accounts, that he 
was not completely spoiled. Here is his mother's 
letter about it : — 

" I never did see anything half so like an 
angel. I must say so, although it was my own 
performance. He had on a garland of roses and 
green leaves mixed ; a pair of wild duck's wings, 
put on wire to make them set well ; a bow and 
arrow, and a quiver with arrows in it, tied on 
with a broad blue ribbon that went across his 
sweet neck." 

In another of her letters we are told of a visit 
paid, about this time, to Queen Charlotte, and 
how the child " Boysey" climbed into the Queen's 



122 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

lap, drew up and pulled down window-blinds, 
romped at hide-and-seek with the Duke of 
Cambridge, and showed himself to be not in 
the slightest degree abashed by the presence 
of royalty. 

Lord Fitzwilliam, a friend and distant relation, 
used often to stay at Pembroke Lodge and at 
Wilton, and seems to have been pleased by the 
boy's courteous ways and winning looks ; for, 
having no children of his own, when he left 
most of his property to Lord Pembroke, the 
" remainder," which meant big estates in Ireland 
and Shropshire, was to go to his second son, 
Sidney. 

The boy loved his father with a very special 
intimacy and tenderness, as we see by a letter 
written soon after he left Harrow and a little 
while before he went up to Oxford, where at 
Oriel he at once made friends with men of fine 
character and sterling worth. His father had 
died in 1827, and he writes from Chilmark, 
where the rector, Mr. Lear, was his tutor, and 
the Rectory was near his own old home at 
Wilton : — 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 123 

" You cannot think how comfortable it is to 
be in a nice little country church after that great 
noisy chapel. Everything is so quiet and the 
people all so attentive that you might hear a pin 
fall while Mr. Lear is preaching. I like, too, 
being so near Wilton, so many things here ever 
bringing to mind all he said and did, all places 
where I have ridden with him^ and the home 
where we used to be so happy. In short, there 
is not a spot about Wilton now which I do not 
love as if it were a person. I hope you will be 
coming there soon and get it over, for seeing 
that place again will be a dreadful trial to you." 

Among his friends at Oxford were Cardinal 
Manning, Lord Lincoln, who as Duke of New- 
castle was afterwards closely associated with him at 
the War Office ; Lord Elgin, Lord Dalhousie, and 
Lord Canning, all three Viceroys of India. It was 
there, too, that his friendship with Mr. Gladstone 
began. Lord Stanmore says that Mr. Gladstone 
told him a year or two before his death how one 
day at a University Convocation dealing with a 
petition against the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, 



124 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

to which he had himself gone as an under- 
graduate outsider, he had noticed among the 
crowd of undergraduates in the vestibule of the 
Convocation House " a tall and graceful figure, 
surmounted by a face of such singular sweetness 
and refinement that his attention was at once 
riveted by it, and with such force that the picture 
he then saw rose again as vividly before him 
while talking as when first seen sixty-eight years 
before." Mr. Gladstone inquired the name of 
this attractive freshman. " Herbert of Oriel," 
was the answer. They became friends ; but in 
those days friendships between men of different 
colleges and different ages were not always easily 
kept up. The more intimate relations between 
himself and Herbert date only from a later time. 
Herbert's noble and beautiful life was to be 
closely intertwined with that of his little friend 
and neighbour, in one of those friendships — 
holy in their unselfish ardour of comradeship and 
service of others — which put to shame many of 
the foolish sayings of the world, and prove that, 
while an ideal marriage is the divinest happiness 
God gives to earthly life, an ideal friendship also 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 125 

has the power to lift both joy and pain into the 
region of heaven itself. 

This was a friendship which, as we shall see, 
arose in the first instance partly out of the fact 
that the two children grew up on neighbouring 
estates, and were both what Mrs. Tollemache 
has called " Sunday people " — people with leisure 
to give to others, as well as wealth ; and at the 
end of Sidney Herbert's life it was said that the 
following description of Sir Philip Sidney, after 
whom he was named, was in every particular a 
description of him : — 

" He was gentle, loving, compassionate, forgiv- 
ing as a woman, and yet had the dignity and valour 
of a man. His liberality was so great that with 
him not to give was not to enjoy what he had. 

" In his familiarity with men he never de- 
scended, but raised everybody to his own level. 
So modest, so humble was he, and so inaccessible 
to flattery, that he esteemed not praise except as 
an encouragement to further exertion in well- 
doing. His tongue knew no deceit, and his 
mind no policy but frankness, courage, and sin- 



126 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

cerity, and . . . England has had greater states- 
men, but never so choice a union of the qualities 
which make a Sidney. His fame is founded on 
those personal qualities of which his contem- 
poraries were the best judges, although they may 
not leave a trace in books or in history." 

And of both might it most emphatically have 
been said, as was said by Mr. Gladstone of one 
of them : " Rare indeed — God only knows how 
rare — are men with his qualities ; but even a 
man with his qualities might not have been so 
happy as to possess his opportunities. He had 
them, and he used them." 

The story of his betraying a State secret to that 
other friend, who was the original of " Diana of 
the Crossways," is a myth which has been more 
than once disproved, and of which his biographer 
says that any one who knew him, or knew the 
real " Diana," would have treated it with derision. 

But he was always ready to bear lightly 
undeserved blame, just as he took it as of no 
account when credit that should have been his 
was rendered elsewhere. Take, for instance, the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 127 

warrant which relieved soldiers of good conduct 
from the liability of punishment by flogging. 
He had worked hard at this warrant, and it 
originated with him, although the Duke of 
Cambridge supported him in it. But when one 
of his friends expressed annoyance that the praise 
had come to the better-known man, he replied 
impatiently : " What does it matter who gets the 
credit so long as the thing itself is done .? " 

Nor did he ever seem to care about mere 
material reward, and he simply could not under- 
stand the outcry of one useful servant of the 
State who, when likely to be left out of office 
in prospective Cabinet arrangements, exclaimed, 
" And pray what is to become of me ? " 

With him, as with Miss Nightingale, giving 
was an untold and constant joy, and he was able 
to be lavish because of his great personal economy 
and self-denial. In all his beautiful home at 
Wilton, Lord Stanmore tells us, his own were 
the only rooms that could have been called bare 
or shabby, and when he was urged to buy a good 
hunter for himself, he had spent too much on 
others to allow himself such a luxury. He 



128 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

delighted in educating the sons of widows left 
by men of his own order without means. " He 
maintained," we read, "at one and the same time 
boys at Harrow, Marlborough, and Woolwich, 
another in training for an Australian career, and 
a fifth who was being educated for missionary 
work. And he expended much in sending poor 
clergymen and their families to the seaside for a 
month's holiday.'* And to gentlepeople who 
were poor we read that the help of money "was 
given so delicately as to remove the burden of 
obligation. A thousand little attentions in time 
of sickness or sorrow helped and cheered them. 
In all these works his wife was his active co- 
adjutor, but " we read that " it was not till after 
his death that she was at all aware of their extent, 
and even then not fully, so unostentatiously and 
secretly were they performed. His sunny pres- 
ence," says his biographer, "warmed and cheered 
all around him, and the charm of his conversation 
made him the light and centre of any company 
of which he formed a part.* There are, however, 

* "Memoir of Sidney Herbert," by Lord Stanmore. (John 
Murray. ) 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 129 

many men who are brilliant and joyous in society, 
over whom a strange change comes when they 
cross their own threshold. Sidney Herbert was 
never more brilliant, never more charming, never 
more witty than when alone with his mother, 
his wife, his sisters, or his children. 

" Nowhere was he seen to greater advantage 
than in his own home. He delighted in country 
life, and took a keen and almost boyish interest 
in its sports and pursuits, into the enjoyment of 
which he threw himself with a zest and fulness 
not common among busy men ... a good shot, 
a bold rider, and an expert fisherman, he was 
welcomed by the country gentlemen as one of 
themselves, and to this he owed much of his 
great popularity in his own country. But it 
was also due to the unfailing consideration shown 
by him to those of every class around him, and 
the sure trust in his responsive sympathy which 
was felt by all, high and low alike, dwelling 
within many miles of Wilton. By all dependent 
on him, or in any way under his orders, he was 
adored, and well deserved to be so. The older 
servants were virtually members of his family, 

(1.764) 9 



130 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and he took much pains in seeing to their 
interests, and helping their children to start well 
in the world." 

" Never," says Lady Herbert, " did he come 
down to Wilton, if only for a few days, without 
going to see Sally Parham, an old housemaid, 
who had been sixty years in the family, and 
Larkum, an old carpenter of whom he was very 
fond, and who on his death-bed gave him the most 
beautiful and emphatic blessing I ever heard." 

Of his splendid work in the War Office, and 
for our soldiers long after he had laid aside War 
Office cares, we shall read in its due place. 
Meanwhile we think of him for the present as 
Florence Nightingale's friend, and her neighbour 
when in the south, for his beautiful Wilton home 
was quite near to her own home at Embley. 

Before the Crimean War began he was already 
giving his mind to army reform, and while that 
war was in progress the horrors of insanitary care- 
lessness, as he saw them through Florence Night- 
ingale's letters, made of him England's greatest 
sanitary reformer in army matters, with the 
single exception of Florence Nightingale herself. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 131 

The two had from the first many tastes in 
common, and among those of minor importance 
was their great affection for animals. He was 
as devoted to his horse Andover as she had been 
to the little owl Athene, of which her sister, 
Lady Verney, in an old MS. quoted by Sir 
Stuart Grant Duff, gives the following pretty 
history : — 

" Bought for 6 lepta from some children into 
whose hands it had dropped out of its nest in 
the Parthenon, it was brought by Miss Nightin- 
gale to Trieste, with a slip of a plane from the 
Ilissus and a cicala. At Vienna the owl ate 
the cicala and was mesmerized, much to the 
improvement of his temper. At Prague a waiter 
was heard to say that ' this is the bird which 
all English ladies carry with them, because it 
tells them when they are to die.' It came to 
England by Berlin, lived at Embley, Lea Hurst, 
and in London, travelled in Germany, and stayed 
at Carlsbad while its mistress was at Kaiserswerth. 
It died the very day she was to have started for 
Scutari (her departure was delayed two days). 



132 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and the only tear that she had shed during that 

tremendous week was when put the little 

body into her hand. ' Poor little beastie,' she 
said, ' it was odd how much I loved you.' " 

And we read that before his death, Lord 
Herbert with a like tenderness bade a special 
farewell to his horse Andover, kissing him on 
the neck, feeding him with sugar, and telling 
him he should never ride again. 

That was when he was already extremely ill, 
though not too ill to take care that a young 
priest who was dying also, but too poor to buy 
all the doctor had ordered, should be cared for 
out of his own purse. 

With him, as with Florence Nightingale, 
giving and helping seem to have been unceasing. 

The friendship between them was very dear 
to both of them, and was warmly shared by 
Lord Herbert's wife. When they all knew 
that death was waiting with a summons, and 
that Lord Herbert's last journey abroad could 
have but one ending, even though, as things 
turned out, he was to have just a momentary 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 133 

glimpse of home again, Florence Nightingale 
was the last friend to whom he bade farewell. 
But that was not till 1861, and in the inter- 
vening years they worked incessantly together, 
for the good of the army and the improvement 
of sanitary conditions. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Tfu Crimean muddle— Explanations and excuses. 

In our last chapter we ended with a word about 
those sanitary reforms which were yet to come. 
How appalling was the ignorance and confusion 
in 1854, when the war in the Crimea began, has 
now become matter of common knowledge 
everywhere. 

I note later, as a result of my talk with General 
Evatt, some of the reasons and excuses for the 
dire neglect and muddle that reigned. John Bull 
was, as usual, so arrogantly sure of himself that 
he had — also as usual — taken no sort of care to 
keep himself fit in time of peace, and there was 
no central organizing authority for the equip- 
ment of the army — every one was responsible, 
and therefore no one. The provisions bought 
by contract were many of them rotten and 
mouldy, so cleverly had the purchasers been 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 135 

deceived and defrauded. The clothing provided 
for the men before Sebastopol, where, in at 
least one instance, man w^as literally frozen 
to man, were such as would have been better 
suited to India or South Africa. Many of the 
boots sent out were fitter for women and 
children playing on green lawns than for the men 
who must tramp over rough and icy roads. The 
very horses were left to starve for want of proper 
hay. Proper medical provision there was none. 
There were doctors, some of them nobly un- 
selfish, but few of them trained for that 
particular work. An army surgeon gets little 
practice in time of peace, and one lady, a Red 
Cross nurse, told me that even in our South 
African campaign the doctor with whom she 
did her first bit of bandaging out there told her 
he had not bandaged an arm for fifteen years ! 
But indeed many of the doctors in the Crimea 
were not only badly prepared, they were also so 
tied up with red-tape details that, though they 
gave their lives freely, they quickly fell in with 
the helpless chaos of a hospital without a head. 
England shuddered to the heart when at last 



136 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

she woke up under the lash of the following 
letter from William Howard Russell, the Times 
war correspondent : — 

" The commonest accessories of a hospital are 
wanting, there is not the least attention paid to 
decency or cleanliness, the stench is appalling . . . 
and, for all I can observe, the men die without 
the least effort to save them. There they lie just 
as they were let gently down on the ground by 
the poor fellows, the comrades, who brought 
them on their backs from the camp with the 
greatest tenderness, but who are not allowed to 
remain with them." 

" Are there," he wrote at a later date, " no 
devoted women among us, able and willing to go 
forth and minister to the sick and suffering 
soldiers of the East in the hospitals at Scutari ? 
Are none of the daughters of England, at this 
extreme hour of need, ready for such a work of 
mercy ? . . . France has sent forth her Sisters 
of Mercy unsparingly, and they are even now by 
the bedsides of the wounded and the dying, 
giving what woman's hand alone can give of 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 137 

comfort and relief. ... Must we fall so far 
below the French in self-sacrifice and devotedness, 
in a work which Christ so signally blesses as done 
unto Himself? ' I was sick and ye visited me.' " 

What the art of nursing had fallen to in 
England may be guessed from the fact lately 
mentioned to me by a great friend of Miss 
Nightingale's, that when Florence Nightingale 
told her family she would like to devote her life 
to nursing, they said with a smile, " Are you 
sure you would not like to be a kitchen-maid ? " 

Yet the Nightingales were, on other questions, 
such as that of the education of girls, far in 
advance of their time. 

Possibly nothing short of those letters to 
the Times, touching, as they did, the very quick 
of the national pride, could have broken down 
the " Chinese wall " of that particular prejudice. 

Something may be said at this point as to what 
had been at the root of the dreadful condition of 
things in the hospitals before Miss Nightingale's 
arrival. I have had some instructive talk with 
Surgeon-General Evatt, who knows the medical 



138 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

administration of our army through and through, 
and whose friendship with Miss Nightingale 
arose in a very interesting way, but will be 
mentioned later on in its due place. 

General Evatt has pointed out to me in 
conversation that what is still a weakness of our 
great London hospitals, though lessened there by 
the fierce light of public opinion that is ever 
beating upon them, was the very source of the 
evil at Scutari. 

Such hospitals as the London, doing such 
magnificent work that it deserves a thousand 
times the support it receives, are, explained 
General Evatt, without any central authority. 
The doctors pay their daily visits and their code 
is a high one, but they are as varied in ability 
and in character as any other group of doctors, 
and are responsible to no one but God and their 
own conscience. The nursing staff have their 
duties and their code, but are under separate 
management. The committee secures the funds 
and manages the finance, but it is again quite 
distinct in its powers, and does not control either 
doctors or nurses. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 139 

The Barrack Hospital at Scutari was, said the 
General, in this respect just like a London 
hospital of sixty years ago, set down in the midst 
of the Crimea. There was, he said — to adapt 
a well-known quotation — " knowledge without 
authority, and authority without knowledge," 
but no power to unite them in responsible effort. 
Therefore we must feel deep pity, not indignation, 
with regard to any one member of the staff ; for 
each alone was helpless against the chaos, until 
Miss Nightingale, who stood outside the ofKcial 
muddle, yet with the friendship of a great War 
Minister behind her, and in her hand all the 
powers of wealth, hereditary influence, and 
personal charm, quietly cut some of the knots of 
red tape which were, as she saw clearly, strangling 
the very lives of our wounded soldiers. When I 
spoke of the miracle by which a woman who had 
been all her life fitting herself for this work, had 
suddenly received her world-wide opportunity, he 
replied : " Yes, I have often said it was as if a 
very perfect machine had through long years 
been fitted together and polished to the highest 
efficiency, and when, at last, it was ready for 



140 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

service, a hand was put forth to accept and 
use it." 

Just as he sought to explain the awful condi- 
tion of the army hospitals at the beginning of the 
war ; so also he, as a military doctor, pointed out 
to me that there were even many excuses for the 
condition of the transport service, and the idiotic 
blunders of a government that sent soldiers to the 
freezing winters of the Crimea in clothes that 
would have been better suited to the hot climate 
of India. 

The army after the Peninsular War had been 
split up into battalions, and had, like the hospitals, 
lost all centre of authority. England had been 
seething with the social troubles of our transition 
from the feudal order to the new competitions 
and miseries of a commercial and mechanical age. 
Machinery was causing uproar among the 
hand-workers. Chartist riots, bread riots, were 
upsetting the customary peace. Troops were 
sent hither and thither, scattered over the country, 
and allowed a certain degree of licence and 
slackness. The army had no administrative 
head. There was no one to consider the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 141 

question of stores or transit, and, even when the 
war broke out, it was treated with John Bull's 
too casual self-satisfaction as a moment of 
excitement and self-glorification, from which 
our troops were to return as victors in October, 
after displaying themselves for a few weeks and 
satisfactorily alarming the enemy. The moral of 
it all is ever present and needs no pressing home. 
Not until every man has had the training of a 
man in defence of his own home, and is himself 
responsible for the defence of his own hearth, 
shall we as a nation learn the humility and 
caution of the true courage, and realize how 
much, at the best, is outside human control, and 
how great is our responsibility in every detail for 
all that lies within it. 



CHAPTER X. 

^^ Five were wise, and five foolish^ 

When the great moment came, there was one 
wise virgin whose lamp had long been trimmed 
and daily refilled with ever finer quality of flame. 
She was not alone. There were others, and she 
was always among the first to do them honour. 
But she stood easily first, and first, too, in the 
modesty of all true greatness. All her life had 
been a training for the work which was now 
given to her hand. 

Among the many women who longed to nurse 
and tend our soldiers, many were fast bound by 
duties to those dependent on them, many were 
tied hand and foot by the pettifogging prejudices 
of the school in which they had been brought up. 
Many, whose ardour would have burned up all 
prejudice and all secondary claim, were yet 
ignorant, weak, incapable. Florence Nightingale, 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 143 

on the contrary, was highly trained, not only in 
intellect, but in the details of what she rightly 
regarded as an art, "a craft," the careful art 
of nursing — highly disciplined in body and in 
soul, every muscle and nerve obedient to her 
will, an international linguist, a woman in whom 
organizing power had been developed to its 
utmost capacity by a severely masculine edu- 
cation, and whose experience had been deepened 
by practical service both at home and abroad. 

Her decision was a foregone conclusion, and a 
very striking seal was set upon it. For the 
letter, in which she offered to go out to the 
Crimea as the servant of her country, was crossed 
by a letter from Mr. Sidney Herbert, that 
country's representative at the War Office, asking 
her to go. Promptitude on both sides had its 
own reward ; for each would have missed the 
honour of spontaneous initiative had there been 
a day's delay. 

Here is a part of Mr. Herbert's letter : — 

" October 15, 1854. 

" Dear Miss Nightingale, — You will have 



144 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

seen in the papers that there is a great deficiency 
of nurses at the hospital of Scutari. The other 
alleged deficiencies, namely, of medical men, lint, 
sheets, etc., must, if they ever existed, have been 
remedied ere this, as the number of medical officers 
with the army amounted to one to every ninety- 
five men in the whole force, being nearly double 
what we have ever had before ; and thirty more 
surgeons went out there three weeks ago, and 
must at this time, therefore, be at Constantinople. 
A further supply went on Monday, and a fresh 
batch sail next week. As to medical stores, they 
have been sent out in profusion, by the ton 
weight — 15,000 pair of sheets, medicine, wine, 
arrowroot in the same proportion ; and the only 
way of accounting for the deficiency at Scutari, 
if it exists, is that the mass of the stores went to 
Varna, and had not been sent back when the 
army left for the Crimea, but four days would 
have remedied that. 

" In the meantime, stores are arriving, but the 
deficiency of female nurses is undoubted ; none 
but male nurses have ever been admitted to 
military hospitals. It would be impossible to 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 145 

carry about a large staff of female nurses with an 
army in the field. But at Scutari, having now a 
fixed hospital, no military reason exists against the 
introduction ; and I am confident they might be 
introduced with great benefit, for hospital orderlies 
must be very rough hands, and most of them, on 
such an occasion as this, very inexperienced 
ones. 

" I receive numbers of offers from ladies to go 
out, but they are ladies who have no conception 
of what a hospital is, nor of the nature of its 
duties ; and they would, when the time came, 
either recoil from the work or be entirely useless, 
and consequently, what is worse, entirely in the 
way ; nor would these ladies probably even under- 
stand the necessity, especially in a military 
hospital, of strict obedience to rule, etc. . . . 

" There is but one person in England that 

I know of who would be capable of organizing 

and superintending such a scheme, and I have 

been several times on the point of asking you 

hypothetically if, supposing the attempt were 

made, you would undertake to direct it. The 

selection of the rank and file of nurses would 
(1.764) 10 



146 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

be difficult — no one knows that better than your- 
self. The difficulty of finding women equal to 
the task, after all, full of horror, and requiring, 
besides knowledge and goodwill, great knowledge 
and great courage, will be great ; the task of 
ruling them and introducing system among them 
great ; and not the least will be the difficulty 
of making the whole work smoothly with the 
medical and military authorities out there. 

" This is what makes it so important that the 
experiment should be carried out by one with 
administrative capacity and experience. A number 
of sentimental, enthusiastic ladies turned loose 
in the hospital at Scutari would probably after 
a few days be mises a la porte by those whose 
business they would interrupt, and whose authority 
they would dispute. 

" My question simply is — would you listen to 
the request to go out and supervise the whole 
thing ? You would, of course, have plenary 
authority over all the nurses, and I think I could 
secure you the fullest assistance and co-operation 
from the medical staff, and you would also have 
an unlimited power of drawing on the Govern- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 147 

ment for whatever you think requisite for the 
success of your mission. On this part of the 
subject the details are too many for a letter, and 
I reserve it for our meeting ; for, whatever 
decision you take, I know you will give me 
every assistance and advice. I do not say one 
word to press you. You are the only person who 
can judge for yourself which of conflicting or 
incompatible duties is the first or the highest ; 
but I think I must not conceal from you that 
upon your decision will depend the ultimate 
success or failure of the plan. . . . Will you 
let me have a line at the War Office, to let 
me know ? 

"There is one point which I have hardly 
a right to touch upon, but I trust you will 
pardon me. If you were inclined to undertake 
the great work, would Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale 
consent ? This work would be so national, and 
the request made to you, proceeding from the 
Government which represents the nation, comes 
at such a moment that I do not despair of their 
consent. 

" Deriving your authority from the Govern- 



148 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

ment, your position would ensure the respect 
and consideration of every one, especially in 
a service where official rank carries so much 
respect. This would secure you any attention 
or comfort on your way out there, together 
with a complete submission to your orders. I 
know these things are a matter of indifference 
to you, except so far as they may further the 
great object you may have in view ; but they 
are of importance in themselves, and of every 
importance to those who have a right to take 
an interest in your personal position and comfort. 
" I know you will come to a right and wise 
decision. God grant it may be one in accordance 
with my hopes. — Believe me, dear Miss Night- 
ingale, ever yours, Sidney Herbert." 

Miss Nightingale's decision was announced in 
the Times ^ and on October 23 the following 
paragraph appeared in that paper : — 

" It is known that Miss Nightingale has been 
appointed by Government to the office of Super- 
intendent of Nurses at Scutari. She has been 
pressed to accept of sums of money for the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 149 

general objects of the hospitals for the sick and 
wounded. Miss Nightingale neither invites nor 
can refuse these generous offers. Her bankers' 
account is opened at Messrs. Glyn's, but it must 
be understood that any funds forwarded to her 
can only be used so as not to interfere with the 
official duties of the Superintendent." 

This was written by Miss Nightingale herself, 
and the response in money was at once very large, 
but money was by no means the first or most 
difficult question. 

No time must be lost in choosing the nurses 
who were to accompany the Lady-in-Chief. It 
was not until later that she became known by 
that name, but it already well described her 
office, for every vital arrangement and decision 
seems to have centred in her. She knew well 
that her task could be undertaken in no spirit 
of lightness, and she never wasted power in mere 
fuss or flurry. 

She once wrote to Sir Bartle Frere of " that 
careless and ignorant person called the Devil," 
and she did not want any of his careless and 



150 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

ignorant disciples to go out with her among her 
chosen band. Nor did she want any incompetent 
sentimentalists of the kind brought before us in 
that delightful story of our own South African 
War, of the soldier who gave thanks for the 
offer to wash his face, but confessed that fourteen 
other ladies had already offered the same service. 
Indeed, the rather garish merriment of that little 
tale seems almost out of place when we recall the 
rotting filth and unspeakable stench of blood and 
misery in which the men wounded in the Crimea 
were lying wrapped from head to foot. No 
antiseptic surgery, no decent sanitation, no means 
of ordinary cleanliness, were as yet found for our 
poor Tommies, and Kinglake assures us that all 
the efforts of masculine organization, seeking to 
serve the crowded hospitals with something called 
a laundry, had only succeeded in washing seven 
shirts for the entire army ! 

Miss Nightingale knew a little of the vastness 
of her undertaking, but she is described by Lady 
Canning at this critical time as " gentle and wise 
and quiet " — " in no bustle or hurry." Yet within 
a single week from the date of Mr. Herbert's 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 151 

letter asking her to go out, all her arrangements 
were made and her nurses chosen — nay more, 
the expedition had actually started. 

The War Office issued its official intimation 
that " Miss Nightingale, a lady with greater 
practical experience of hospital administration 
and treatment than any other lady in this country," 
had undertaken the noble and arduous work of 
organizing and taking out nurses for the soldiers ; 
and it was also notified that she had been 
appointed by Government to the office of Super- 
intendent of Nurses at Scutari. 

The Examiner published a little biographical 
sketch in reply to the question which was being 
asked everywhere. Society, of course, knew Miss 
Nightingale very well, but Society includes only 
a small knot of people out of the crowd of 
London's millions, to say nothing of the pro- 
vinces. Many out of those millions were asking, 
" Who is Miss Nightingale ? '* and, in looking 
back, it is amazing to see how many disapproved 
of the step she was taking. 

In those days, as in these, and much more 
tyrannically than in these, Mrs. Grundy had her 



152 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

silly (laughters, ready to talk slander and folly 
about any good woman who disregarded her. To 
Miss Nightingale she simply did not exist. Miss 
Martineau was right when she wrote of her that 
" to her it was a small thing to be judged by 
man's judgment." 

And the spirit in which she chose the women 
who were to go out under her to the Crimea may 
be judged by later words of her own, called forth by 
a discussion of fees for nurses — words in which the 
italics are mine, though the sentence is quoted 
here to show the scorn she poured on fashion's 
canting view of class distinction. 

" I have seen," she said, " somewhere in print 
that nursing is a profession to be followed by the 
'lower middle-class.' Shall we say that painting 
or sculpture is a profession to be followed by the 
' lower middle-class' .? Why limit the class at all? 
Or shall we say that God is only to be served in 
His sick by the ' lower middle-class ' ? 

" // appears to be the most futile of all distinctions 
to classify as between ^ paid' and unpaid art^ so 
between ^ paid' and unpaid nursing, to make into a 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 153 

test a circumstance as adventitious as whether the hair 
is black or brown — viz., whether people have private 
means or not, whether they are obliged or not to work 
at their art or their nursing for a livelihood. Prob- 
ably no person ever did that well which he did 
only for money. Certainly no person ever did 
that well which he did not work at as hard as 
if he did it solely for money. If by amateur in 
art or in nursing are meant those who take it 
up for play, it is not art at all, it is not nursing 
at all. Tou never yet made an artist by paying him 
well ; but an artist ought to be well paid. ^^ 

The woman who in later life wrote this, and 
all her life acted on it, could not only well afford 
to let Punch have his joke about the nightingales 
who would shortly turn into ringdoves — although, 
indeed. Punch's verses and illustration were delight- 
ful in their innocent fun — but could even without 
flinching let vulgar slander insinuate its usual 
common -minded nonsense. She herself has 
written in Nursing Notes : — 

'* The everyday management of a large ward, 
let alone of a hospital, the knowing what are the 



154 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

laws of life and death for men, and what the laws 
of health for wards (and wards are healthy or un- 
healthy mainly according to the knowledge or 
ignorance of the nurse) — are not these matters 
of sufficient importance and difficulty to require 
learning by experience and careful inquiry, just 
as much as any other art ? They do not come 
by inspiration to the lady disappointed in love, 
nor to the poor workhouse drudge hard up for 
a livelihood. And terrible is the injury which 
has followed to the sick from such wild notions." 

Happily, too, she was not blinded by the 
narrow sectarian view of religion which was, in 
her day and generation, so often a part of the 
parrot belief of those who learned their English 
version of the faith by rote, rather than with the 
soul's experience, for she goes on to say : — 

" In this respect (and why is it so ?) in Roman 
Catholic countries, both writers and workers are, 
in theory at least, far before ours. They would 
never think of such a beginning for a good- 
working Superior or Sister of Charity. And 
many a Superior has refused to admit a postulant 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 155 

who appeared to have no better ' vocation ' or 
reasons for offering herself than these. 

" It is true we make no * vows.' But is a 
' vow ' necessary to convince us that the true 
spirit for learning any art, most especially an art 
of charity, aright, is not a disgust to everything 
or something else ? Do we really place the love 
of our kind (and of nursing as one branch of it) 
so low as this ? What would the Mere Angelique 
of Port Royal, what would our own Mrs. Fry, 
have said to this ? " 

How silly, in the light of these words, was the 
gossip of the idle person, proud of her shopping 
and her visiting list and her elaborate choice 
of dinner, who greeted the news of this nursing 
embassy to the Crimea with such cheap remarks 
as that the women would be all invalided home 
in a month ; that it was most improper for "young 
ladies " — for it was not only shop assistants who 
were called " young ladies " in early Victorian 
days — to nurse in a military hospital ; it was only 
nonsense to try and "nurse soldiers when they did 
not even yet know what it was to nurse a baby ! " 



156 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Such folly would only shake its hardened old 
noddle on reading, in the Times reprint of the 
article in the Examiner, that Miss Nightingale 
was " a young lady of singular endowments both 
natural and acquired. In a knowledge of the 
ancient languages and of the higher branches 
of mathematics, in general art, science, and 
literature, her attainments are extraordinary. 
There is scarcely a modern language which she 
does not understand, and she speaks French, 
German, and Italian as fluently as her native 
English. She has visited and studied all the 
various nations of Europe, and has ascended the 
Nile to its remotest cataract. Young (about 
the age of our Queen), graceful, feminine, rich, 
popular, she holds a singularly gentle and per- 
suasive influence over all with whom she comes 
in contact. Her friends and acquaintances are 
of all classes and persuasions, but her happiest 
place is at home, in the centre of a very large 
band of accomplished relatives." 

Girton and Newnham, Somerville and Lady 
Margaret did not then exist. If any one had 
dreamed of them, the dream had not yet been 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 157 

recorded. Perhaps its first recognized expression, 
in Tennyson's "Princess" in 1847, mingling as 
it does with the story of a war and of the 
nursing of wounded men, may have imper- 
ceptibly smoothed away a few coarse prejudices 
from the path Florence Nightingale was to 
tread, but far more effectually was the way 
cleared by her own inspiring personality. Mrs. 
Tooley quotes from an intimate letter the follow- 
ing words : " Miss Nightingale is one of those 
whom God forms for great ends. You cannot 
hear her say a few sentences — no, not even look 
at her — without feeling that she is an extra- 
ordinary being. Simple, intellectual, sweet, full 
of love and benevolence, she is a fascinating and 
perfect woman. She is tall and pale. Her face 
is exceedingly lovely, but better than all is the 
soul's glory that shines through every feature 
so exultingly. Nothing can be sweeter than 
her smile. It is like a sunny day in summer." 

She who advised other women to make ready 
for the business of their lives as men make ready 
had been for long years preparing herself, and 
there was therefore none of the nervous waste 



158 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and excitement of those who in a moment of 
impulse take a path which to their ignorance 
is like leaping in the dark. 

But she knew well how much must depend 
on those she took with her, and it was clear that 
many who desired to go were quite unfitted for 
the work. 

With her usual clearsightedness she knew 
where to turn for help. Felicia Skene was 
among those whom she consulted and whose 
advice she found of good service. It has already 
been noted in these pages that Miss Skene had, 
without knowing it, been preparing one of the 
threads to be interwoven in that living tapestry 
in which Miss Nightingale's labours were to 
endure in such glowing colours. Like Miss 
Nightingale she had real intimacy with those 
outside her own order, and by her practical 
human sympathy understood life, not only in 
one rank, but in all ranks. By night as well 
as by day her door was open to the outcast, and 
in several life-stories she had played a part 
which saved some poor girl from suicide. Full 
of humour and romance, and a welcome guest in 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 159 

every society, she will be remembered longest 
for her work in rescuing others both in body 
and in soul, and you will remember that, on the 
two occasions when the cholera visited Oxford, 
she nursed the sick and the dying by day and by 
night, and did much to direct and organize the 
helpful work of others. Miss Wordsworth 
speaks of her " innate purity of heart and mind," 
and says of her, " one always felt of her that she 
had been brought up in the best of company, as 
indeed she had." It was just such women that 
Miss Nightingale needed — women who, in con- 
stant touch with what was coarse and hard, could 
never become coarse or hard themselves ; women 
versed in practical service and trained by actual 
experience as well as by hard-won knowledge. 

Moreover, it chanced that after Miss Skene's 
labour of love in the cholera visitation, her 
niece, " Miss Janie Skene, then a girl of 
fifteen, who was staying in Constantinople with 
her parents, had gone with her mother to 
visit the wounded soldiers at Scutari. Shocked 
by their terrible sufferings and the lack of all 
that might have eased their pain, she wrote 



i6o FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

strongly to her grandfather, who sent her letter 
to the Times, where it did much to stir up public 
opinion." 

" It struck Felicia," says Miss Rickards, " that 
having with great pains trained her corps of 
nurses for the cholera, they might now be utilized 
at Scutari, her great desire being to go out 
herself at the head of them. Had these events 
occurred at the present day, when ideas have 
changed as to what ladies, still young, may and 
may not do in the way of bold enterprise, 
perhaps she might have obtained her parents' 
permission to go. As it was the notion 
was too new and startling to be taken into 
consideration ; and she had to content herself 
with doing all she could at home to send out 
others. 

" Her zeal was quickened by a letter she 
received from Lord Stratford de RedclifFe, who 
had been much struck by her energy and ability, 
urging her to do all she could in England to send 
to the rescue. 

" At once she set out as a pioneer in the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. i6i 

undertaking, delighted to encourage her nurses 
to take their part in the heroic task. 

" Meantime Miss Nightingale was hard at 
work enlisting recruits, thankful to secure Felicia's 
services as agent at Oxford. She sent her friends 
Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge down there, that they 
might inspect the volunteers and select the 
women they thought would be suitable. 

"The interviews took place in Mr. Skene's 
dining-room, along the walls of which the 
candidates were ranged. 

" Kind-hearted as Mrs. Bracebridge was, her 
proceedings were somewhat in the ' Off with 
their heads ! ' style of the famous duchess in 
'Alice in Wonderland.' If the sudden ques- 
tions fired at each in succession were not answered 
in a way that she thought quite satisfactory, 
' She won't do ; send her out/ was the decided 
command. 

** And Felicia had to administer balm to the 
wounded feelings of the rejected." * 

* " Felicia Skene of Oxford," by E. C. Rickards. 

(1.7«4) II 



CHAPTER XL 

The Expedition. 

Of the thirty-eight nurses who went out with 
Miss Nightingale, twenty-four had been trained 
in sisterhoods, Roman and Anglican, and of the 
remaining fourteen, some had been chosen in 
the first instance by Lady Maria Forrester, others 
by Miss Skene and Mrs. Bracebridge, but it must 
be supposed that the final decision lay always 
with Miss Nightingale. 

The correspondence that had poured in upon 
her and upon Mr. Herbert was overwhelming, 
and there was a personal interview with all who 
seemed in the least degree likely to be admitted 
to her staff; so that she worked very hard, with 
little pause for rest, to get through her ever- 
increasing task in time. Each member of the 
staff undertook to obey her absolutely. 

Among the many who were rejected, though 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 163 

most were unsuitable for quite other reasons, 
there were some who objected to this rule. 
Many who were full of sympathy and generosity 
had to be turned away, because they had not had 
enough training. Advertisements had appeared 
in the Record and the Guardiafi, but the crowd 
of fair ladies who flocked to the War Office in 
response were not always received with such 
open arms as they expected. Mr. Herbert was 
well on his guard against the charms of im- 
pulsive, but ignorant, goodwill, and he issued a 
sort of little manifesto in which he said that 
" many ladies whose generous enthusiasm prompts 
them to offisr services as nurses are little aware 
of the hardships they would have to encounter, 
and the horrors they would have to witness. 
Were all accepted who offer," he added, with a 
touch of humour, " I fear we should have not 
only many indifferent nurses, but many hysterical 
patients." 

He and his wife were untiring in their effi- 
ciency and their help. 

The English Sisterhoods had made a difficulty 
about surrendering control over the Sisters they 



164 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

sent out, but Miss Nightingale overcame that, 
and the Roman bishop entirely freed the ten 
Sisters of his communion from any rule which 
could clash with Miss Nightingale's orders. 

It was on the evening of October 21, 1854, 
that the " Angel Band," as Kinglake rightly 
names them, quietly set out under cover of 
darkness, escorted by a parson and a courier 
and by Miss Nightingale's friends, Mr. and 
Mrs. Bracebridge of Atherstone Hall. 

In this way all flourish of trumpets was 
avoided. Miss Nightingale always hated public 
fuss — or, indeed, fuss of any kind. She was 
anxious also to lighten the parting for those who 
loved her best, and who had given a somewhat 
doubting consent to her resolve. 

The Quakerish plainness of her black dress did 
but make the more striking the beauty of her 
lovely countenance, the firm, calm sweetness of 
the smiling lips and steadfast eyes, the grace of 
the tall, slender figure ; and as the train whirled 
her out of sight with her carefully-chosen regi- 
ment, she left with her friends a vision of good 
cheer and high courage. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 165 

But however quiet the setting forth, the 
arrival at Boulogne could not be kept a secret, 
and the enthusiasm of our French allies for those 
wrho were going to nurse the wounded made 
the little procession a heart-moving triumph. 
A merry band of white-capped fishwives met 
the boat and, seizing all the luggage, insisted on 
doing everything for nothing. Boxes on their 
backs and bags in their hands, they ran along in 
their bright petticoats, pouring out their hearts 
about their own boys at the front, and asking 
only the blessing of a handshake as the sole 
payment they would take. Then, as Miss 
Nightingale's train whistled its noisy way out 
of the station, waving their adieus while the 
tears streamed down the weather-beaten cheeks 
of more than one old wife, they stood and 
watched with longing hearts. At Paris there 
was a passing visit to the Mother-house of Miss 
Nightingale's old friends, the Sisters of St. Vin- 
cent de Paul, and a little call on Lady Canning, 
also an old friend, who writes of her as " happy 
and stout-hearted." 

The poor " Angels " had a terrible voyage to 



i66 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Malta, for the wind, as with St. Paul, was " con- 
trary " and blew a hurricane dead against them, 
so that their ship, the Fectis, had something of a 
struggle to escape with its many lives. They 
touched at Malta on October 31, 1854, and soon 
afterwards set sail again for Constantinople. 

What an old-world story it seems now to talk 
of " setting sail " ! 

On the 4th of November, the day before the 
battle of Inkermann, they had reached their 
goal, and had their work before them at Scutari. 

A friend of mine who knows Scutari well has 
described it in summer as a place of roses, the 
very graves wreathed all over with the blossom- 
ing briars of them ; and among those graves she 
found a nameless one, on which, without reveal- 
ing identity, the epitaph stated, in the briefest 
possible way, that this was the grave of a hospital 
matron, adding in comment the words spoken of 
Mary when she broke the alabaster box — and in 
this instance full of pathos — ';he six words, 
" She hath done what she could." And I find 
from one of Miss Nightingale's letters that it 
was she herself who inscribed those words. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 167 

Unspeakable indeed must have been the diffi- 
culties with which any previous hospital matron 
had to contend, rigid and unbreakable for ordinary 
fingers the red tape by which she must have 
been bound. On this subject Kinglake has 
written words which are strong indeed in their 
haunting sincerity. 

He writes of an " England officially typified 
that swathes her limbs round with red tape," 
and of those who, though dogged in routine 
duty, were so afraid of any new methods that 
they were found " surrendering, as it were, at 
discretion, to want and misery " for those in 
their care. 

" But," he adds, " happily, after a while, and 
in gentle, almost humble, disguise which put 
foes of change off their guard, there acceded 
to the State a new power. 

" Almost at one time — it was when they 
learnt how our troops had fought on the banks 
of the Alma — the hearts of many women in 
England, in Scotland, in Ireland, were stirred 
with a heavenly thought impelling them to offer 



i68 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and say that, if only the State were consenting, 
they would go out to tend our poor soldiers laid 
low on their hospital pallets by sickness or 
wounds ; and the honour of welcoming into our 
public service this new and gracious aid belonged 
to Mr. Sidney Herbert." 

He goes on to explain and define Mr. Her- 
bert's exact position at the War Office ; how 
he was not only official chief there, but, " having 
perhaps also learnt from life's happy experience 
that, along with what he might owe to fortune 
and birth, his capacity for business of State, his 
frank, pleasant speech, his bright, winning man- 
ners, and even his glad, sunshine looks, had a 
tendency to disarm opposition, he quietly, yet 
boldly, stepped out beyond his set bounds, and 
not only became in this hospital business the 
volunteer delegate of the Duke of Newcastle, 
but even ventured to act without always asking 
the overworked Department of War to go through 
the form of supporting him by orders from the 
Secretary of State ; so that thus, and to the great 
advantage of the public service, he usurped, as 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 169 

it were, an authority which all who knew what 
he was doing rejoiced to see him wield. If he 
could not in strictness command by an official 
despatch, he at least could impart what he 
wished in a * private letter ; ' and a letter, 
though ostensibly * private,' which came from 
the War Office, under the hand of its chief, 
was scarce likely to encounter resistance from 
any official personages to whom the writer might 
send it. 

" Most happily this gifted minister had formed 
a strong belief in the advantages our military 
hospitals would gain by accepting womanly aid ; 
and, proceeding to act on this faith, he not only 
despatched to the East some chosen bands of 
ladies, and of salaried attendants accustomed to 
hospital duties, but also requested that they 
might have quarters and rations assigned to 
them ; and, moreover, whilst requesting the 
principal medical officer at Scutari to point out 
to these new auxiliaries how best they could 
make themselves useful, Mr. Sidney Herbert 
enjoined him to receive with attention and 
deference the counsels of the Lady-in-Chief, who 



I70 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

was, of course, no other than Miss Nightingale 
herself. 

" That direction was one of great moment, and 
well calculated to govern the fate of a newly 
ventured experiment. 

" Thus it was that, under the sanction of a 
government acceding to the counsels of one of 
its most alert and sagacious members, there went 
out angel women from England, resolved to 
confront that whole world of horror and misery 
that can be gathered into a military hospital 
from camp or battlefield ; and their plea, when 
they asked to be trusted with this painful, this 
heart-rending mission, was simply the natural 
aptitude of their sex for ministering to those 
who lie prostrate from sickness and wounds. 
Using that tender word which likened the help- 
lessness of the down-stricken soldier to the help- 
lessness of infancy, they only said they would 
' nurse ' him ; and accordingly, if regarded with 
literal strictness, their duty would simply be that 
of attendants in hospital wards — attendants obey- 
ing with strictness the orders of the medical 
officers. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 171 

" It was seen that the humble soldiers were 
likely to be the men most in want of care, and 
the ladies were instructed to abstain from attend- 
ing upon any of the officers." * 

* Kinglake's " Invasion of the Crimea," vol. ri. (William Black- 
wood and Sons.) 



CHAPTER XII. 

The tribute of Kinglake and Macdonald and the Chelsea 
Pensioners. 

But before continuing the story of Miss Night- 
ingale's expedition, we must turn aside for a 
moment in Kinglake's company to realize some- 
thing of the devotion of another brave and unselfish 
Englishwoman who, without her "commanding 
genius," yet trod the same path of sacrifice and 
compassion. The words " commanding genius " 
were spoken by Dean Stanley of Miss Night- 
ingale, and it is of Dean Stanley's sister Mary 
that a word must now be spoken. She had been 
the right hand of her father, the Bishop of 
Norwich, and, in serving the poor, had disclosed 
special gifts, made the more winning by her 
gentle, loving nature. Having had experience 
of travel, which was much less a thing of course 
than it is in these days, she was willing to escort 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 173 

a company of nurses chosen for work in the 
Levant, and at first this was all she expected to 
do. But there proved to be a difficulty about 
receiving them at Scutari, and she could not bring 
herself to leave them without guidance ; so she 
quietly gave up all thought of returning to 
England while the war continued. 

" Could she," asks Kinglake, " see them in 
that strait disband, when she knew but too well 
that their services were bitterly needed for the 
shiploads and shiploads of stricken soldiery brought 
down day by day from the seat of war ? Under 
stress of the question thus put by her own 
exacting conscience, or perhaps by the simpler 
commandment of her generous heart, she formed 
the heroic resolve which was destined to govern 
her life throughout the long, dismal period of 
which she then knew not the end. Instead of 
returning to England, and leaving on the shores 
of the Bosphorus her band of sisters and nurses, 
she steadfastly remained at their head, and along 
with them entered at once upon what may be 
soberly called an appalling task — the task of 



174 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

' nursing * in hospitals not only overcrowded 
with sufferers, but painfully, grievously wanting 
in most of the conditions essential to all good 
hospital management. 

"The sisters and salaried nurses," says King- 
lake, " who placed themselves under this guidance 
were in all forty-six ; and Miss Stanley, with 
great spirit and energy, brought the aid of her 
whole reinforcement — at first to the naval hos- 
pital newly founded at Therapia under the 
auspices of our Embassy, and afterwards to 
another establishment — to that fated hospital at 
Kullali, in which, as we saw, at one time a 
fearful mortality raged. 

" Not regarding her mission as one that needs 
should aim loftily at the reformation of the 
hospital management. Miss Stanley submitted 
herself for guidance to the medical officers, 
saying, * What do you wish us to do ? ' The 
officers wisely determined that they would not 
allow the gentle women to exhaust their power 
of doing good by undertaking those kinds of 
work that might be as well or better performed 
by men, and their answer was to this effect : 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 175 

* The work that in surgical cases has been 
commonly done by our dressers will be performed 
by them, as before, under our orders. What we 
ask of you is that you will see the men take 
the medicines and the nourishment ordered for 
them, and we know we can trust that you 
will give them all that watchful care which 
alleviates suffering, and tends to restore health 
and strength.' 

" With ceaseless devotion and energy the in- 
structions were obeyed. What number of lives 
were saved — saved even in that pest-stricken hos- 
pital of Kullali — by a long, gentle watchfulness, 
when science almost despaired, no statistics, of 
course, can show ; and still less can they gauge or 
record the alleviation of misery effected by care 
such as this ; but apparent to all was the softened 
demeanour of the soldier when he saw approach- 
ing his pallet some tender, gracious lady intent 
to assuage his suffering, to give him the blessing 
of hope, to bring him the food he liked, and 
withal — when she came with the medicine — 
to rule him like a sick child. Coarse expressions 
and oaths deriving from barracks and camps died 



176 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

out in the wards as though exorcised by the 
sacred spell of her presence, and gave way to 
murmurs of gratitude. When conversing in this 
softened mood with the lady appointed to nurse 
him, the soldier used often to speak as though 
the worship he owed her and the worship he 
owed to Heaven were blending into one senti- 
ment ; and sometimes, indeed, he disclosed a wild 
faith in the ministering angel that strained be- 
yond the grave. ' Oh ! ' said one to the lady 
he saw bending over his pallet, * you are taking 
me on the way to heaven ; don't forsake me 
now ! ' When a man was under delirium, its 
magic force almost always transported him to 
the home of his childhood, and made him indeed 
a child — a child crying, ' Mother ! mother ! ' 
Amongst the men generally, notwithstanding 
their moments of fitful piety, there still glowed 
a savage desire for the fall of Sebastopol. More 
than once — wafted up from Constantinople — 
the sound of great guns was believed to announce 
a victory, and sometimes there came into the 
wards fresh tidings of combat brought down 
from our army in front of the long-besieged 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 177 

stronghold. When this happened, almost all of 
the sufferers who had not yet lost their conscious- 
ness used to show that, however disabled, they 
were still soldiers — true soldiers. At such times, 
on many a pallet, the dying man used to raise 
himself by unwonted effort, and seem to yearn 
after the strife, as though he would answer once 
more the appeal of the bugles and drums." 

Kinglake*s touching description of what 
womanly tenderness could do for our soldiers, 
and of the worship it called forth, is followed 
by these words : — 

" But great would be the mistake of any 
chronicler fancying that the advantage our 
countrv derived from womanly aid was only an 
accession of nurses ; for, if gifted with the 
power to comfort and soothe, woman also — a 
still higher gift — can impel, can disturb, can 
destroy pernicious content ; and when she came 
to the rescue in an hour of gloom and adversity, 
she brought to her self-imposed task that fore- 
thought, that agile brain power, that organizing 

and governing faculty of which our country had 
(i,7M) 1 •? 



178 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

need. The males at that time in England were 
already giving proofs of the lameness in the use 
of brain power, which afterwards became more 
distinct. Owing, possibly, to their habits of 
industry, applied in fixed, stated directions, they 
had lost that command of brain force which 
kindles * initiative,' and with it, of course, the 
faculty of opportunely resorting to any very new 
ways of action. They proved slow to see and to 
meet the fresh exigencies occasioned by war, 
when approaching, or even by war when present ; 
and, apparently, in the hospital problem, they 
must have gone on failing and failing indefinitely, 
if they had not undergone the propulsion of the 
quicker — the woman's — brain to * set them going ' 
in time." 

He then goes on to tell of the arrival at " the 
immense Barrack Hospital " at Scutari of Miss 
Nightingale and her chosen band. " If," he 
says, " the generous women thus sacrificing them- 
selves were all alike in devotion to their sacred 
cause, there was one of them — the Lady-in-Chief 
— who not only came armed with the special ex- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 179 

perience needed, but also was clearly transcendent 
in that subtle quality which gives to one human 
being a power of command over others. Of 
slender, delicate form, engaging, highly -bred, 
and in council a rapt, careful listener, so long 
as others were speaking ; and strongly, though 
gently, persuasive whenever speaking herself, the 
Lady-in-Chief, the Lady Florence, Miss Night- 
ingale, gave her heart to this enterprise in a 
spirit of absolute devotion ; but her sway was 
not quite of the kind that many in England 
imagined." 

No, indeed ! Sentimentalists who talk as 
though she had been cast in the conventional 
mould of mere yielding amiabihty, do not realize 
what she had to do, nor with what fearless, un- 
flinching force she went straight to her mark, 
not heeding what was thought of herself, over- 
looking the necessary wounds she must give to 
fools, caring only that the difficult duty should 
be done, the wholesale agony be lessened, the 
filth and disorder be swept away. 

Her sweetness was the sweetness of strength, 
not weakness, and was reserved not for the care- 



i8o FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

less, the stupid, the self-satisfied, but for the 
men whose festering wounds and corrupting 
gangrene were suffered in their country's pay, 
and had been increased by the heedless muddle 
of a careless peace-time and a criminally mis- 
managed transport service. 

The picture of their condition before her 
arrival is revolting in its horror. There is no 
finer thing in the history of this war, perhaps, 
than the heroism of the wounded and dying 
soldiers. We are told how, in the midst of their 
appalling privation, if they fancied a shadow on 
their General's face — as well, indeed, there might 
be, when he saw them without the common 
necessaries and decencies of life, let alone a sick- 
room — they would seize the first possible opening 
for assuring him they had all they needed, and 
if they were questioned by him, though they 
were dying of cold and hunger — 

" No man ever used to say : ' My Lord, you 
see how I am lying wet and cold, with only this 
one blanket to serve me for bed and covering. 
The doctors are wonderfully kind, but they have 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. i8i 

not the medicines, nor the wine, nor any of the 
comforting things they would hke to be given 
me. If only I had another blanket, I think 
perhaps I might live.' Such words would have 
been true to the letter." 

But as for Lord Raglan, the chief whom 
they thus adored, " with the absolute hideous 
truth thus day by day spread out before him, 
he did not for a moment deceive himself by 
observing that no man complained." 

Yet even cold and hunger were as nothing to 
the loathsome condition in which Miss Night- 
ingale found the hospital at Scutari. There are 
certain kinds of filth which make life far more 
horrible than the brief moment of a brave death, 
and of filth of every sort that crowded hospital 
was full — filth in the air, for the stench was 
horrible, filth and gore as the very garment of 
the poor, patient, dying men. 

There was no washing, no clean linen. Even 
for bandages the shirts had to be stripped from 
the dead and torn up to stanch the wounds of 
the living. 



i82 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

And there were other foul conditions which 
only the long labour of sanitary engineering 
could cure. 

The arrival day by day of more and more of 
the wounded has been described as an avalanche. 
We all know Tennyson's " Charge of the Light 
Brigade " : that charge occurred at Balaclava the 
day before Miss Nightingale left England. And 
the terrible battle of Inkermann was fought the 
day after she arrived at Scutari. 

Here is a word-for-word description from 
Nolan's history of the campaign, given also in 
Mrs. Tooley's admirable " Life " : — 

*' There were no vessels for water or utensils 
of any kind ; no soap, towels, or cloths, no 
hospital clothes ; the men lying in their uniforms, 
stiff with gore and covered with filth to a degree 
and of a kind no one could write about ; their 
persons covered with vermin, which crawled 
about the floors and walls of the dreadful den 
of dirt, pestilence, and death to which they were 
consigned. 

" Medical assistance would naturally be ex- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 183 

pected by the invalid as soon as he found himself 
in a place of shelter, but many lay waiting for 
their turn until death anticipated the doctor. 
The medical men toiled with unwearied as- 
siduity, but their numbers were inadequate to 
the work." 

The great hospital at Scutari is a quadrangle, 
each wing nearly a quarter of a mile long, and 
built in tiers of corridors and galleries, one above 
the other. The wounded men had been brought 
in and laid on the floor, side by side, as closely as 
they could lie^ so that Kinglake was writing 
quite literally when he spoke of " miles of the 
wounded." 

Rotting beneath an Eastern sky and filling the 
air with poison. Miss Nightingale counted the 
carcasses of six dead dogs lying under the hospital 
windows. And in all the vast building there 
was no cooking apparatus, though it did boast 
of what was supposed to be a kitchen. As for 
our modern bathrooms, the mere notion would 
have given rise to bitter laughter ; for even the 
homely jugs and basins were wanting in that 



184 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

palace of a building, and water of any kind was 
a rare treasure. 

How were sick men to be " nursed," when 
they could not even be washed, and their very 
food had to be carried long distances and was 
usually the worst possible ! 

Miss Nightingale — the Lady-in-Chief — had 
the capacity, the will, the driving power, to 
change all that. 

A week or two ago I had some talk with 
several of the old pensioners who remember her. 
The first to be introduced to me has lost now 
his power of speech through a paralytic stroke, 
but it was almost surprising, after all these long 
years that have passed between the Crimean day 
and our own day, to see how well-nigh over- 
whelming was the dumb emotion which moved 
the strong man at the naming of her name. The 
second, who was full of lively, chuckling talk, 
having been in active service for a month before 
her arrival in the Crimea, and himself seen the 
wondrous changes she wrought, was not only 
one of her adorers — all soldiers seem to be that 
— but also overflowing with admiration for her 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 185 

capability, her pluck. To him she was not only 
the ideal nurse, but also emphatically a woman 
of unsurpassed courage and efficiency. 

" You know, miss," he said, " there was a 
many young doctors out there that should never 
have been there — they didn*t know their duty 
and they didn't do as they should for us — and 
she chased 'em, ay, she did that ! She got rid 
of 'em, and there was better ones come in their 
place, and it was all quite diffisrent. Oh yes," 
and he laughed delightedly, as a schoolboy 
might. " Oh yes, she hunted 'em out." I, 
who have a great reverence for the medical 
profession, felt rather shy and frightened and 
inclined to blush, but the gusto with which the 
veteran recalled a righteous vengeance on the 
heads of the unworthy was really very funny. 
And his gargoyle mirth set in high relief the 
tenderness with which he told of Miss Nightin- 
gale's motherly ways with his poor wounded 
comrades, and how she begged them not to 
mind having their wounds washed, any more 
than if she were really their mother or sister, 
and thus overcame any false shame that might 



i86 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

have prevented their recovery. " Ah, she was 
a good w^oman," he kept repeating, " there's 
no two ways about it, a good woman ! " 

From Pensioner John Garrett of the 3rd 
Battalion Grenadier Guards, I had one very 
interesting bit of history at first hand ; for he 
volunteered the fact that on his first arrival in 
the Crimea — which was evidently about the 
same time as Miss Nightingale's own, his first 
engagement having been the battle of Inkermann 
— Miss Nightingale being still unknown to the 
soldiers — a mere name to them — she had much 
unpopularity to overcome. Clearly jealous rum- 
our had been at work against this mere woman 
who was coming, as the other pensioner had 
phrased it, " to chase the doctors." This, of 
course, made the completeness of her rapid 
victory over the hearts of the entire army the 
more noteworthy. 

" And afterwards .? " I asked. 

" Oh, afterwards we knew what she was, and 
she was very popular indeed ! " Though he 
treasured and carried about with him everywhere 
a Prayer Book containing Florence Nightingale's 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 187 

autograph — which I told him ought to be a 
precious heirloom to his sons and their children, 
and therefore refused to accept, when in the 
generosity of his kind old heart he thrice tried 
to press it upon me — he had only seen her once ; 
for he was camping out at the front, and it was 
on one of her passing visits that he had his 
vision of her. He is a very young-looking old 
man of eighty-two, Suffolk-born, and had been in 
the army from boyhood up to the time of taking 
his pension. He had fought in the battle of 
Inkermann and done valiant trench-duty before 
Sebastopol, and confirmed quite of his own 
accord the terrible accounts that have come to 
us of the privations suffered. " Water," he said, 
" why, we could scarce get water to drink — 
much less to wash — why, I hadn't a change of 
linen all the winter through." 

" And you hadn't much food, I hear, for your 
daily rations ? " I said. 

" Oh, we didn't have food every day ! " 
said he, with a touch of gently scornful 
laughter. " Every three days or so, we may 
have had some biscuits served out. But 



i88 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

there was a lot of the food as wasn't fit 



to eat." 



He was, however, a man of few words, and 
when I asked him what Miss Nightingale was 
like, he answered rather unexpectedly and with 
great promptitude, " Well, she had a very nice 
figger." All the same, though he did not dilate 
on the beauty of her countenance, and exercised 
a certain reserve of speech when I tried to draw 
him out about the Lady-in-Chief, it was clear 
that hers was a sacred name to him, and that 
the bit of her handwriting which he possessed 
in the little book, so carefully unwrapped for me 
from the tin box holding his dearest possessions, 
which he uncorded under my eyes with his own 
capable but rather tired old hands, between two 
bouts of his wearying cough, had for long been 
the great joy and pride of his present quiet 
existence. 

I had a talk with others of these veterans in 
their stately and well-earned home of rest in the 
Royal Hospital at Chelsea, and it was clear that 
to them all she was enshrined in memory's 
highest place. This may be a fitting moment 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 189 

for recording the tribute of Mr. Macdonald, 
the administrator of the Times Fund, who wrote 
of her before his return to England : — 

" Wherever there is disease in its most danger- 
ous form, and the hand of the spoiler distressingly 
nigh, there is that incomparable woman sure to 
be seen ; her benignant presence is an influence 
for good comfort, even among the struggles of 
expiring nature. She is a * ministering angel,' 
without any exaggeration, in these hospitals, 
and, as her slender form glides quietly along 
each corridor, every poor fellow's face softens 
with gratitude at the sight of her. When all 
the medical officers have retired for the night, 
and silence and darkness have settled down upon 
those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed 
alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making 
her solitary rounds. The popular instinct was 
not mistaken, which, when she had set out from 
England on her mission of mercy, hailed her as 
a heroine ; I trust she may not earn her title 
to a higher though sadder appellation. No one 
who has observed her fragile figure and delicate 



190 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

health can avoid misgivings lest these should 
fail. With the heart of a true woman, and the 
manners of a lady, accomplished and refined 
beyond most of her sex, she combines a surpris- 
ing calmness of judgment and promptitude and 
decision of character." 

The soldier w^ho watched for her coming, 
night by night, on her quiet rounds, after dark, 
when other nurses were by her orders resting, 
and who only knew her as " the Lady with the 
Lamp," has been quoted all over the world ; but 
it has been well said that she was also " the lady 
with the brain." Hercules had not so big a 
task before him when he cleansed the Augean 
stables, and the swiftness with which order and 
comfort were created in this " hell " of suffering 
— for so it has been named by those who saw 
and knew — might well be called one of the 
wonders of the world. 

The secret lay partly in the fact that Florence 
Nightingale's whole life had been an offering and 
a preparation. She knew all it had been possible 
for her to learn of hospital management and 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 191 

training. She never wasted words, nor frittered 
away her power. Her authority grew daily. Mr. 
Herbert's support, even at so great a distance, was, 
of course, beyond price. Lord Raglan soon found 
the value of her letters. She inspired her orderlies 
with utmost devotion, and it is needless to speak 
of what her patients themselves felt to her. 
Kinglake is not, like the present writer, a woman, 
and therefore he can write with a good grace 
and from his own knowledge what might come 
with an ill grace from a woman's pen. He shall 
again therefore be quoted, word for word, through 
a few pages. 

" The growth of her dominion was rapid, was 
natural, and not unlike the development of what 
men call ' responsible government.' One of 
others accepting a task ostensibly subordinate 
and humble, she yet could not, if she would, 
divest herself of the authority that belonged 
to her as a gentlewoman — as a gentlewoman 
abounding in all the natural gifts, and all the 
peculiar knowledge required for hospital manage- 
ment. Charged to be in the wards, to smooth 



192 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

the sufferer's pillow, to give him his food and 
his medicine as ordered by the medical officers, 
she could not but speak with cogency of the 
state of the air which she herself had to breathe ; 
she could not be bidden to acquiesce if the beds 
she approached were impure ; she could scarcely 
be held to silence if the diet she had been told 
to administer were not forthcoming ; and, what- 
ever her orders, she could hardly be expected to 
give a sufferer food which she perceived to be 
bad or unfit. If the males * did not quite under- 
stand the peculiar contrivances fitted for the 
preparation of hospital diet, might she not, 
perhaps, disclose her own knowledge, and show 
them what to do ? Or, if they could not be 
taught, or imagined that they had not the power 
to do what was needed, might not she herself 
compass her object by using the resources which 
she had at command ? Might not she herself 
found and organize the requisite kitchens, when 
she knew that the difference between fit and 
unfit food was one of life and death to the 
soldier ? And again, if she chose, might she 

* Kinglake's " Invasion of the Crimea," vol. vi. p. 426. 




:3 

o 






bX) 



fe 






o 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 193 

not expend her own resources in striving against 
the foul poisons that surrounded our prostrate 
soldiery ? Rather, far, than that even one man 
should suffer from those cruel wants which she 
generously chose to supply, it was well that the 
State should be humbled, and submit to the taunt 
which accused it of taking alms from her hand. 

" If we learnt that the cause of the evils afflict- 
ing our Levantine hospitals was a want of 
impelling and of governing power, we now see 
how the want was supplied. In the absence 
of all constituted authority proving equal to the 
emergency, there was need — dire need — of a 
firm, well-intentioned usurper ; but amongst the 
males acting at Scutari there was no one with 
that resolute will, overstriding law, habit, and 
custom, which the cruel occasion required ; for 
even Dr. M'Gregor, whose zeal and abilities 
were admirable, omitted to lay hold, dictatorially, 
of that commanding authority which — because 
his chief could not wield it — had fallen into 
abeyance. The will of the males was always 
to go on performing their accustomed duties 
industriously, steadily, faithfully, each labouring 

(1,W4) 13 



194 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

to the utmost, and, if need be, even to death (as 
too often, indeed, was the case), in that groove- 
going ' state of life to vs^hich it had pleased God 
to call him.' The v^ill of the w^oman, w^hilst 
stronger, flew also more straight to the end ; * 
for what she almost fiercely sought was — not 
to make good mere equations between official 
codes of duty and official acts of obedience, but 
— overcoming all obstacles, to succour, to save 
our prostrate soldiery, and turn into a well-ordered 
hospital the hell — the appalling hell — of the vast 
barrack wards and corridors. Nature seemed, 
as it were, to ordain that in such a conjuncture 
the all-essential power which our cramped, over- 
disciplined males had chosen to leave unexerted 
should pass to one who would seize it, should 
pass to one who could wield it — should pass to 
the Lady-in-Chief. 

" To have power was an essential condition of 
success in her sacred cause ; and of power accord- 
ingly she knew and felt the worth, rightly judg- 
ing that, in all sorts of matters within what she 
deemed its true range, her word must be law. 
* Kinglake's " Invasion of the Crimea," vcJ. vi. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 195 

Like other dictators, she had cast upon her one 
duty which no one can hope to perform without 
exciting cavil. For the sake of the cause, she 
had to maintain her dictatorship, and (on pain 
of seeing her efforts defeated by anarchical action) 
to check the growth of authority — of authority 
in even small matters — if not derived from her- 
self. She was apparently careful in this direction ; 
and, though outwardly calm when provoked, 
could give strong effect to her anger. On the 
other hand, when seeing merit in the labours 
of others, she was ready with generous praise. 
It was hardly in the nature of things that her 
sway should excite no jealousies, or that always, 
hand in hand with the energy which made her 
great enterprise possible, there should be the 
cold, accurate justice at which the slower sex 
aims ; but she reigned — painful, heart-rending 
empire — in a spirit of thorough devotion to the 
objects of her care, and, upon the whole, with 
excellent wisdom. 

" To all the other sources of power which we 
have seen her commanding, she added oncof a kind 
less dependent upon her personal qualities. Know- 



196 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

ing thoroughly the wants of a hospital, and foresee- 
ing, apparently, that the State might fail to meet 
them, she had taken care to provide herself with 
vast quantities of hospital stores, and by drawing 
upon these to make good the shortcoming of any 
hampered or lazy official, she not only furnished 
our soldiery with the things they were needing, 
but administered to the defaulting administrator 
a telling, though silent, rebuke ; and it would 
seem that under this discipline the groove-going 
men winced in agony, for they uttered touching 
complaints, declaring that the Lady-in-Chief did 
not choose to give them time (it was always 
time that the males wanted), and that the 
moment a want declared itself she made haste 
to supply it herself." 

Another able writer — a woman — has said that 
for Miss Nightingale the testing moment of her 
life met her with the coming of the wagon-loads 
of wounded men from the battlefield of Inker- 
mann, who were poured into the hospital at 
Scutari within twenty-four hours of her arrival. 
Had the sight of all that agony and of the sense- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 197 

less confusion that received it, led the Lady-in- 
Chief and her nurses to waste their power in 
rushing hither and thither in disorganized fear of 
defeat, their very sympathy and emotion dimming 
their foresight and clouding their brain, the 
whole story might have been different. But 
Miss Nightingale was of those who, by a stead- 
fast obedience hour by hour to the voice within, 
have attained through the long years to a fine 
mastery of every nerve and muscle of that frail 
house wherein they dwell. The more critical 
the occasion, the more her will rose to meet it. 
She knew she must think of the welfare, not of 
one, but of thousands ; and for tens of thousands 
she wrought the change from this welter of 
misery and death to that clean orderliness which 
for the moment seemed as far away as the unseen 
heaven. There were many other faithful and 
devoted nurses in the Crimea, though few, perhaps, 
so highly skilled ; but her name stands alone as 
that of the high-hearted and daring spirit who 
made bold to change the evil system of the past 
when no man else had done anything but either 
consent to it or bemoan it. She, at least, had 



198 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

never been bound by red tape, and her whole 
soul rose up in arms at sight of the awful suffer- 
ing which had been allowed under the shelter of 
dogged routine. 

Before ten days had passed, she had her 
kitchen ready and was feeding 800 men every 
day with well-cooked food, and this in spite of 
the unforeseen and overwhelming numbers in 
which the new patients had been poured into 
the hospitals after Balaclava and Inkermann. She 
had brought out with her, in the Fectis, stores of 
invalid food, and all sorts of little delicacies sur- 
prised the eyes and lips of the hitherto half-starved 
men. Their gentle nurses brought them beef tea, 
chicken broth, jelly. They were weak and in 
great pain, and may be forgiven if their gratitude 
was, as we are told, often choked with sobs. 

Mrs. Tooley tells us of one Crimean veteran, 
that when he received a basin of arrowroot on 
his first arrival at the hospital early in the morn- 
ing, he said to himself, " ' Tommy, me boy, that's 
all you'll get into your inside this blessed day, 
and think yourself lucky you've got that.' But 
two hours later, if another of them blessed angels 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 199 

didn't come entreating of me to have just a little 
chicken broth ! Well, I took that, thinking 
maybe it was early dinner, and before I had well 
done wondering what would happen next, round 
the nurse came again with a bit o' jelly ; and all 
day long at intervals they kept on bringing me 
what they called * a little nourishment.' In the 
evening, Miss Nightingale she came and had a 
look at me, and says she, ' I hope you're feeling 
better ? ' I could have said, * Ma'am, I feels as 
fit as a fightin' cock,' but I managed to git out 
somethin' a bit more polite." * 

The barracks had thirteen " coppers," and in 
the old days meat and vegetables had just been 
tossed into these and boiled together anyhow. 
It is easy to imagine the greasy mess to which 
the fevered invalids must have been treated by 
the time the stuff had been carried round to the 
hospital. 

But now, sometimes in a single day, thirteen 
gallons of chicken broth, and forty gallons of 
arrowroot found their way from the new kitchen 
to the hospital wards. 

* " The Life of Florence Nightingale," by Sarah Tooley. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The horrors of Scutari — The victory of the Lady-in-Chief — The 
Queen^s letter — Her gift of butter and treacle. 

Miss Nightingale's discipline was strict ; she 
did not mind the name of autocrat when men 
were dying by twenties for lack of what only 
an autocrat could do ; and when there was con- 
tinual loss of life for want of fitting nourishment, 
though there had been supplies sent out, as had 
been said " by the ton-weight," she herself on 
at least one occasion, broke open the stores and 
fed her famishing patients. It is true that the 
ordinary matron would have been dismissed for 
doing so ; she was not an ordinary matron — she 
was the Lady-in-Chief. To her that hath shall 
be given. She had grudged nothing to the 
service to which from childhood she had given 
herself — not strength, nor time, nor any other 
good gift of her womanhood, and having done 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 201 

her part nobly, fortune aided her. Her friends 
were among the " powers that be," and even her 
wealth was, in this particular battle, a very 
important means of victory. Her beauty would 
have done little for her if she had been in- 
competent, but being to the last degree efficient, 
her loveliness gave the final touch to her power 
— her loveliness and that personal magnetism 
which gave her sway over the hearts and minds 
of men, and also, let it be added, of women. 
Not only did those in authority give to her of 
their best — their best knowledge, their closest 
attention, their most untiring service — but she 
knew how to discern the true from the false, 
and to put to the best use the valuable information 
often confided to her. She had many helpers. 
Besides her thirty-eight nurses and the chaplain, 
Mr. Sidney Osborne, there were her friends, 
Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge, and that splendid 
" fag," as he called himself, the young " Mr. 
Stafford," * who had left the gaieties of London 
to fetch and carry for the Lady-in-Chief, and — 
to quote Mrs. Tooley, " did anything and every- 

♦ Stafford O'Brien. 



202 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

thing which a handy and gallant gentleman 
could do to make himself useful to the lady 
whom he felt honoured to serve." Among 
those who were most thoughtful in their little 
gifts for the wounded officers was the wife of 
our ambassador, Lady Stratford de RedclifFe, and 
her " beauteous guest," as Kinglake calls her. 
Lady George Paget. But Miss Nightingale's 
chief anxiety was not for the officers — they, like 
herself, had many influences in their favour — her 
thought was for the nameless rank and file, who 
had neither money nor rank, and were too often, 
as she knew, the forgotten pawns on the big 
chessboard. It was said " she thought only of 
the men ; " she understood well that for their 
commanders her thought was less needed. 

" In the hearts of thousands and thousands of 
our people," says Kinglake, "there was a yearning 
to be able to share the toil, the distress, the 
danger of battling for our sick and wounded 
troops against the sea of miseries that encom- 
passed them on their hospital pallets ; and men 
still remember how graciously, how simply, how 
naturally, if so one may speak, the ambassadress 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 203 

Lady Stratford de RedclifFe and her beauteous 
guest gave their energies and their time to the 
work; still remember the generous exertions 
of Mr. Sidney Osborne and Mr. Joscelyne 
Percy ; still remember, too, how Mr. Stafford — 
I would rather call him 'Stafford O'Brien' — 
the cherished yet unspoilt favourite of English 
society, devoted himself heart and soul to the 
task of helping and comforting our prostrate 
soldiery in the most frightful depths of their 

misery. 

"Many found themselves embarrassed when 
trying to choose the best direction they could 
for their generous impulses; and not, I think, 
the least praiseworthy of all the self-sacrificing 
enterprises which imagination devised was that 
of the enthusiastic young fellow who, abandoning 
his life of ease, pleasure, and luxury, went out, 
as he probably phrased it, to ' fag ' for the Lady- 
in-Chief. Whether fetching and carrying for her, 
or writing for her letters or orders, or orally 
conveying her wishes to public servants or others, 
he, for months and months, faithfully toiled, 
obeying in all things her word. 



204 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

" There was grace — grace almost mediaeval — 
in his simple yet romantic idea ; and, if humbly, 
still not the less usefully he aided the sacred 
cause, for it was one largely, mainly dependent 
on the power of the lady he served ; so that, 
when by obeying her orders he augmented her 
means of action, and saved her precious time, 
there were unnumbered sufferers deriving sure 
benefit from his opportune, well-applied help. 
By no other kind of toil, however ambitiously 
aimed, could he well have achieved so much 
good." 

But there was many a disappointment, much 
that did not seem " good luck " by any means, 
and that called for great courage and endurance. 
The stores, which Mr. Herbert had sent out in 
such abundance, had gone to Varna by mistake, 
and the loss of the Prince, a ship laden with 
ample supplies, a fortnight after Miss Nightin- 
gale's arrival, was a very serious matter. 

Warm clothing for the frost-bitten men brought 
in from Sebastopol was so badly needed that one 
nurse, writing home, told her people : " When- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 205 

ever a man opens his mouth with ' Please, ma'am, 
I want to speak to you,' my heart sinks within 
me, for I feel sure it will end in flannel shirts." 

Every one had for too long been saying " all 
right," when, as a matter of fact, it was all wrong. 
Here once again it is best to quote Kinglake. 
"By shunning the irksome light," he says, "by 
choosing a low standard of excellence, and by 
vaguely thinking ' War ' an excuse for defects 
which war did not cause, men, it seems, had 
contrived to be satisfied with the condition of 
our hospitals ; but the Lady-in-Chief was one 
who would harbour no such content, seek no 
such refuge from pain. Not for her was the 
bliss — fragile bliss — of dwelling in any false 
paradise. She confronted the hideous truth. 
Her first care was — Eve-like — to dare to know, 
and — still Eve-like — to force dreaded knowledge 
on the faltering lord of creation. Then declar- 
ing against acquiescence in horror and misery 
which firmness and toil might remove, she 
waged her ceaseless war against custom and 
sloth, gaining every day on the enemy, and 
achieving, as we saw, in December, that which 



2o6 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

to eyes less intent than her own upon actual 
saving of life, and actual restoration of health, 
seemed already the highest excellence." 

But, of course, what most made the men adore 
her was her loving individual care for each of 
those for whom she felt herself responsible. 
There was one occasion on which she begged 
to be allowed to try whether she could nurse 
back to possible life five wounded men who 
were being given up as " hopeless cases," and 
did actually succeed in doing so. 

In all that terrible confusion of suffering that 
surrounded her soon after her first arrival, the 
first duty of the doctors was to sort out from the 
wounded as they arrived those cases which they 
could help and save from those which it seemed 
no human surgery could help. 

While this was being done she stood by : she 
never spared herself the sight of suffering, and 
her eyes — the trained eyes that had all the in- 
tuition of a born nurse — saw a glimmer of hope 
for five badly wounded men who were being 
set aside among those for whom nothing could 
be done. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 207 

" Will you give me those five men ? " she 
asked. She knew how much might be done 
by gentle and gradual feeding, and by all the 
intently watchful care of a good nurse, to give 
them just enough strength to risk the surgery 
that might save them. With her own hand, 
spoonful by spoonful, as they were able to bear 
it, she gave the nourishment, and by her own 
night-long watching and tending in the care of 
all those details which to a poor helpless patient 
may make the difference between life and death 
— the purifying of the air, the avoidance of 
draughts, the mending of the fire — she nursed 
her five patients back into a condition in which 
the risks of an operation were, to say the least 
of it, greatly lessened. The operation was in 
each case successfully performed ; by all human 
standards it may be said that she saved the lives 
of all the five. 

She never spared herself, though she sometimes 
spared others. She has been known to stand for 
twenty hours out of the twenty-four, and at night, 
when she had sent her day-nurses to rest, it was 
she herself who watched in all the wards and 



2o8 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

silently cared for the needs of one and another. 
Is it any wonder that " there was worship almost 
in the gratitude of the prostrate sufferer, who 
saw her glide into his ward, and at last approach 
his bedside ? The magic of her power over men 
used often to be felt in the room — the dreaded, 
the blood-stained room — where ' operations ' took 
place. There, perhaps, the maimed soldier, if 
not yet resigned to his fate, might at first be 
craving death rather than meet the knife of the 
surgeon ; but, when such a one looked and saw 
that the honoured Lady-in-Chief was patiently 
standing beside him, and — with lips closely set 
and hands folded — decreeing herself to go through 
the pain of witnessing pain, he used to fall into 
the mood for obeying her silent command, and 
— finding strange support in her presence — bring 
himself to submit and endure." * 

M. Soyer, who placed his culinary art at her 
service, has written a book about his experiences 
in which he tells us that, after a merry evening 
in the doctors' quarters, when on his way back 
to his own, he saw by a faint light a little group 

* Kinglake's " Invasion of Crimea." 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 209 

— shadowy in the half-darkness — in a corner of 
one of the corridors. A Sister stood beside Miss 
Nightingale with a lighted candle that she might 
see clearly enough to scribble down the last 
wishes of the dying soldier who was supported 
on the bed beside her. With its deep colouring, 
described as like a grave study by Rembrandt, 
the little picture drew the passer-by, and for a 
few minutes he watched unseen while the Lady- 
in-Chief took into those "tender womanly hands" 
the watch and trinkets of the soldier, who with 
his last gasping breath was trying to make clear 
to her his farewell message to his wife and 
children. And this seems to have been but one 
among many kindred scenes. 

We have all heard of the man who watched 
till her shadow fell across the wall by his bed 
that he might at least kiss that shadow as it 
passed ; but few of us, perhaps, know the whole 
story. The man was a Highland soldier who 
had been doomed to lose his arm by amputa- 
tion. Miss Nightingale believed that she might 
possibly be able to save the arm by careful 

nursing, and she begged that she might at least 
(1,764) 14 



210 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

be allowed to try. Nursing was to her an 
art as well as a labour of love. The ceaseless 
care in matters of detail, which she considered 
the very alphabet of that art, stand out clearly 
in her own Notes on Nursing. And in this 
instance her skill and watchfulness and untiring 
effort saved the man's arm. No wonder that he 
wanted to kiss her shadow ! 

To the wives of the soldiers she was indeed 
a saving angel. When she arrived at Scutari, 
they were living, we are told, literally in holes 
and corners of the hospital. Their clothes were 
worn out. They had neither bonnets, nor shoes, 
nor any claim on rations. Poor faithful creatures, 
many of them described in the biographies as 
respectable and decent, they had followed their 
husbands through all the horrors of the campaign, 
and now, divided from them and thrust aside for 
want of space, they were indeed in sorry case. 

Well might Miss Nightingale write later, and 
well may we all lay it to heart — " When the 
improvements in our system are discussed, let not 
the wife and child of the soldier be forgotten." 

After being moved about from one den to 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 211 

another, the poor women — some wives and some, 
alas, widows — had been quartered in a few damp 
rooms in the hospital basement, where those who 
wanted solitude or privacy could do nothing to 
secure it beyond hanging a few rags on a line 
as a sort of screen between home and home. 
And in these desolate quarters many babies had 
been born. 

It was but the last drop of misery in their cup 
when, early in 1855, a month or two after Miss 
Nightingale's arrival, a drain broke in the base- 
ment, and fever followed. 

Miss Nightingale had already sought them 
out, and from her own stores given them food 
and clothing ; but now she did not rest until 
through her influence a house had been requisi- 
tioned and cleaned and furnished for them out 
of her own funds. Next, after fitting out the 
widows to return to their homes, employment 
was found for the wives who remained. Work 
was found for some of them in Constantinople, 
but for most of them occupation was at hand 
in the laundry she had set going, and there those 
who were willing to do their part could earn 



212 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

from I OS. to 14s. a week. In this way, through 

our heroine*s wise energy, helped by the wife 

and daughter of Dr. Blackwood, one of the army 

chaplains, we are told that about 500 women 

were cared for. 

There had already arrived through the hands of 

Mr. Sidney Herbert, who forwarded it to Miss 

Nightingale, a message from Queen Victoria — 

in effect a letter — which greatly cheered the 

army and also strengthened Miss Nightingale's 

position. 

"Windsor Castle, 
^^ December 6, '54. 

" Would you tell Mrs. Herbert," wrote the 
Queen to Mr. Sidney Herbert, " that I beg she 
would let me see frequently the accounts she 
receives from Miss Nightingale or Mrs. Brace- 
bridge, as I hear no details of the wounded, 
though I see so many from officers, etc., about 
the battlefield, and naturally the former must 
interest me more than any one. 

" Let Mrs. Herbert also know that I wish Miss 
Nightingale and the ladies would tell these poor, 
noble wounded and sick men that no one takes 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 213 

a warmer interest or feels more for their sufferings 
or admires their courage and heroism more than 
their Queen. Day and night she thinks of her 
beloved troops. So does the Prince. 

" Beg Mrs. Herbert to communicate these my 
words to those ladies, as I know that our sym- 
pathy is much valued by these noble fellows. 

" Victoria." 

Miss Nightingale agreed with the Queen in 
her use of the word " noble " here, for she 
herself has written of the men : — 

" Never came from any of them one word 
nor one look which a gentleman would not have 
used ; and while paying this humble tribute to 
humble courtesy, the tears come into my eyes as 
I think how, amidst scenes of . . . loathsome 
disease and death, there rose above it all the 
innate dignity, gentleness, and chivalry of the 
men (for never, surely, was chivalry so strikingly 
exemplified), shining in the midst of what must 
be considered as the lowest sinks of human misery, 
and preventing instinctively the use of one ex- 
pression which could distress a gentlewoman." 



214 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Having transcribed the Queen's letter, this 
may be a good place for adding from the letters 
of Sister Aloysius a little instance of Her 
Majesty's homely kindness to her troops when- 
ever she heard of any need which she could 
supply : — 

" When Miss Stanley reached England, Her 
Majesty the Queen (anxious, of course, to hear 
all about her soldiers) sent for her ; and when 
the interview was nearly over Her Majesty asked 
her what she thought the poor soldiers would 
like — she was anxious to send them a present. 
Miss Stanley said : ' Oh, I do know what they 
would like — plenty of flannel shirts, mufflers, 
butter, and treacle.' Her Majesty said they must 
have all these things ; and they did come out 
in abundance : Kullali got its share of the gifts. 
But the very name of butter or treacle was 
enough for the doctors : they said they would 
not allow it into the wards, because it would be 
going about in bits of paper and daubing every- 
thing. So Rev. Mother at once interposed, and 
said if the doctors allowed it, she would have it 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 215 

distributed in a way that could give no trouble. 
They apologized, and said they should have 
known that, and at once left everything to her. 
Each Sister got her portion of butter and treacle 
(which were given only to the convalescent 
patients), and when the bell rang every evening 
for tea she stood at the table in the centre of 
the ward, and each soldier walked over and got 
his bread buttered, and some treacle if he wished 
spread on like jam. We told them it was a gift 
from the Queen ; and if Her Majesty could only 
have seen how gratified they were it would have 
given her pleasure. One evening Lady Stratford, 
and some distinguished guests who were staying 
at the Embassy, came, and were much pleased 
to see how happy and comfortable the men were, 
and how much they enjoyed Her Majesty's 
gifts." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Letters from Scutari — Kinglake on Miss Nightingale and her 
dynasty — The refusal of a new contingent. 

Miss Nightingale's saving sense of humour 
gleams forth in her letters in the most delightful 
way, even in the darkest days. In the following, 
something of the hugeness of her task is dimly 
seen through the comic background of the un- 
becoming cap that " If I'd known, ma'am, I 
wouldn't have come, ma'am." Here is the 
letter just as it is given in Lord Herbert's life. 
It begins abruptly, evidently quoting from a 
conversation just held with one of the staff 
nurses : — 

" * I came out, ma'am, prepared to submit to 
everything, to be put upon in every way. But 
there are some things, ma'am, one can't submit 
to. There is the caps, ma'am, that suits one 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 217 

face and some that suits another ; and if I'd 
known, ma'am, about the caps, great as was my 
desire to come out to nurse at Scutari, I wouldn't 
have come, ma'am.' — Speech of Mrs. L., Barrack 
Hospital., Scutari^ Asiatic Side., November 14, 1854. 
" Time must be at a discount with the man 
who can adjust the balance of such an important 
question as the above, and I for one have none, 
as you will easily suppose when I tell you that 
on Thursday last we had 1,175 sick and wounded 
in this hospital (among whom 120 cholera pa- 
tients), and 650 severely wounded in the other 
building, called the General Hospital, of which 
we also have charge, when a message came to 
me to prepare for 510 wounded on our side of 
the hospital, who were arriving from the dread- 
ful affair of November 5, from Balaclava, in 
which battle were 1,763 wounded and 442 
killed, besides 96 officers wounded and 38 killed. 
I always expected to end my days as a hospital 
matron, but I never expected to be barrack mis- 
tress. We had but half an hour's notice before 
they began landing the wounded. Between one 
and nine o'clock we had the mattresses stuffed. 



2i8 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

sewn up, laid down (alas ! only upon matting on 
the floor), the men washed and put to bed, and 
all their wounds dressed. 

" We are very lucky in our medical heads. 
Two of them are brutes and four are angels — 
for this is a work which makes either angels 
or devils of men, and of women too. As for 
the assistants, they are all cubs, and will, while 
a man is breathing his last breath under the 
knife, lament the * annoyance of being called 
up from their dinners by such a fresh influx 
of wounded.' But unlicked cubs grow up into 
good old bears, though I don't know how ; for 
certain it is, the old bears are good. We have 
now four miles of beds and not eighteen inches 
apart. 

" We have our quarters in one tower of the 
barracks, and all this fresh influx has been laid 
down between us and the main guard, in two 
corridors, with a line of beds down each side, 
just room for one person to pass between, and 
four wards. Yet in the midst of this appalling 
horror (we are steeped up to our necks in blood) 
there is good — and I can truly say, like St. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 219 

Peter, * It is good for us to be here ' — though 
I doubt whether, if St. Peter had been there, 
he would have said so." 

Meanwhile England, stirred to its depths by 
the accounts given by Mr. William Howard 
Russell, of the sufferings of our soldiers, had 
begged the Times, in whose pages his letters 
appeared, to receive funds and send them out 
by the hand of Mr. Macdonald, a man of vigour, 
firmness, and good sense, and " loyally devoted 
to his duty." Before leaving England, he saw 
the Inspector-General of the army. Dr. Andrew 
Smith, and also the Duke of Newcastle, but was 
assured that Government had already provided 
so amply for the sick and wounded that his fund 
was not likely to be needed. When he reached 
the Bosphorus all the official people there talked 
to him in the same strain. But there leaked 
out through an officer on duty one little fact 
that showed how much such assurances were 
worth. 

It seemed that the 39th Regiment was actually 
on its way to the severities of a Crimean winter 



220 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

with only the light summer clothing that would 
be worn in hot countries. Happily, the surgeon 
of the regiment appealed to Mr. Macdonald, and, 
more happily still, Mr. Macdonald dared to go 
beyond his exact instructions and give help out of 
his fund which might prevent illness, instead of 
waiting for the moment when death was already 
at the door. He went into the markets of Con- 
stantinople and bought then and there a suit of 
flannels or other woollens for every man in that 
regiment. 

Mr. Macdonald saw that he must be ready 
to offer help, or red tape and loyalty together 
would seal the lips of men in the service, lest 
they should seem to be casting a slur on the 
army administration. 

There is humour of the grimmest kind in 
what resulted. The chief of the Scutari nos- 
pitals told him " nothing was wanted," and on 
pushing his inquiry with a yet more dis- 
tinguished personage, he was actually advised to 
spend the money on building a church at Pera ! 

" Yet at that very time," says Kinglake, 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 221 

"wants so dire as to include want of hospital 
furniture and of shirts for the patients, and of 
the commonest means for obtaining cleanliness, 
were afflicting our stricken soldiery in the 
hospitals." 

The Pera proposal — rightly described as 
" astounding " — led to an interview with the 
Lady-in-Chief. Tears and laughter must have 
met in her heart as she heard this absurdity, 
and away she took him — money as well — to 
the very centre of her commissariat, to see for 
himself the daily demands and the gaping need 
— furniture, pillows, sheets, shirts — endless ap- 
pliances and drugs — that need seemed truly 
endless, and many hours daily he spent with 
her in the Nurses' Tower, taking down lists 
of orders for the storekeepers in Constantinople. 
Here was the right help at last — not pretty 
mufflers for men in need of shirts, nor fine 
cambric for stout bed-linen. 

However, from the Lady-in-Chief Mr. Mac- 
donald soon learned the truth, and the course he 
then took was one of the simplest kind, but it 



222 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

worked a mighty change. He bought the 
things needed, and the authorities, succumbing 
at last to this excruciating form of demonstra- 
tion, had to witness the supply of wants which 
before they had refused to confess. So now, 
besides using the stores which she had at her own 
command, the Lady-in-Chief could impart wants 
felt in our hospitals to Mr. Macdonald with the 
certainty that he would hasten to meet them by 
applying what was called the " Times Fund " in 
purchasing the articles needed. 

" It was thus," adds Kinglake, " that under 
the sway of motives superbly exalted, a great 
lady came to the rescue of our prostrate soldiery, 
made good the default of the State, won the 
gratitude, the rapt admiration of an enthusiastic 
people, and earned for the name she bears a pure, 
a lasting renown. 

" She even did more. By the very power 
of her fame, but also, I believe, by the wisdom 
and the authority of her counsels, she founded, 
if so one may speak, a gracious dynasty that 
still reigns supreme in the wards where sufferers 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 223 

lie, and even brings solace, brings guidance, 
brings hope, into those dens of misery that, 
until the blessing has reached them, seem only 
to harbour despair. When into the midst of 
such scenes the young high-bred lady now glides, 
she wears that same sacred armour — the gentle 
attire of the servitress — which seemed ' heavenly ' 
in the eyes of our soldiers at the time of the war, 
and finds strength to meet her dire task, because 
she knows by tradition what the first of the 
dynasty proved able to confront and to vanquish 
in the wards of the great Barrack Hospital." 

In everything a woman's hand and brain had 
been needed. It was, for instance, of little use 
to receive in the evening, after barrack fires were 
out, food which had been asked for from the 
supplies for some meal several hours earlier ; yet 
that, it appears, was the sort of thing that hap- 
pened. And too much of the food officially 
provided, even when it did reach the patients 
at last, had been unfit for use. 

As for the question of laundry, a washing 
contract that had only succeeded in washing 



224 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

seven shirts for two or three thousand men 
could not have been permitted to exist under any- 
feminine management. Nor could any trained 
or knowledgeable nurse have allowed for a single 
day the washing of infectious bed-linen in one 
common tub with the rest. Yet this had been 
the condition of affairs before the Lady-in-Chicf 
came on the scenes. In speaking of her work 
among the soldiers' wives it has already been 
noted how she quickly hired and fitted up a 
house close to the hospital as a laundry, where 
under sanitary regulations 500 shirts and 150 
other articles were washed every week. 

Then there arose the practical question of 
what could be done for the poor fellows who 
had no clothes at all except the grimy and 
blood-stained garments in which they arrived, 
and we are told that in the first three months, 
out of her own private funds, she provided the 
men with ten thousand shirts. 

The drugs had all been in such confusion 
that once when Mrs. Bracebridge had asked 
three times for chloride of lime and been assured 
that there was none, Miss Nightingale insisted 



FLORENCE NlGHllNGALE. 225 

on a thorough search, and not less than ninety 
pounds of it were discovered. 

The semi-starvation of many hospital patients 
before Miss Nightingale's arrival, noted on an 
earlier page, wsls chiefly the result of mismanage- 
ment — mismanagement on the part of those v^rho 
meant well — often, indeed, meant the very best 
within their power, but among whom there was, 
until her coming, no central directing power, 
with brain and heart alike capable and energizing 
and alive to all the vital needs of deathly illness 
— alert with large foreseeing outlook, yet shrewd 
and swift in detail. 

It is at first puzzling to compare Kinglake's 
picture of the confusion and suffering, even 
while he is defending Lord Raglan, with some 
of the letters in Lord Stanmore's " Life of Lord 
Herbert," especially one from General Estcourt, 
in which he says " never was an army better fed." 
But even in this letter — dated, be it noted, a 
fortnight after Miss Nightingale's arrival — the 
next sentence, which refers, of course, to the 
army in general and not to the hospitals under 
her management, shows the same muddling that 

(1,764) jlj 



226 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

had pursued the hospitals until she came to their 
aid with Mr. Herbert and the War Office at 
her back ; for after saying that the ration is 
ample and most liberal, it adds — and the italics 
are mine — " but the men cannot cook for want of 
camp-fettles and for want of fuel. ^' 

Yet even with regard to the hospitals, it is 
startling to find Mr. Bracebridge, in his first 
letter to Mr. Herbert, speaking of the Barrack 
Hospital as clean and airy. But people have 
such odd ideas of what is " clean and airy," and 
it would seem that he thought it " clean and 
airy '* for the patients to have no proper arrange- 
ments for washing, for the drains to be in such 
a noisome state as to need engineering, and for 
six dead dogs to be rotting under the windows ! 
I suppose he liked the look of the walls and the 
height of the ceilings, and wanted, moreover, to 
comfort Mr. Herbert's sad heart at a time when 
all England was up in arms at the mistakes made 
in transport and other arrangements. 

The letters of the chaplain to Mr. Herbert 
are full of interest, and in reading the following 
we have to put ourselves back into the mind 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 227 

of a time that looked anxiously to see whether 
Miss Nightingale was really equal to her task — 
an idea which to us of to-day seems foolish and 
timorous, but which was, after all, quite natural, 
seeing that she was new and untried in this 
particular venture of army nursing, and that half 
the onlookers had no idea of the long and varied 
training she had had. 

" My dear Herbert, — I have now had near 
a week's opportunity of closely observing the 
details of the hospitals at Scutari. First, as to 
Miss Nightingale and her company, nothing can 
be said too strong in their praise ; she works 
them wonderfully, and they are so useful that 
I have no hesitation in saying some twenty more 
of the same sort would be a very great blessing 
to the establishment. Her nerve is equal to her 
good sense ; she, with one of her nurses and 
myself, gave efficient aid at an amputation of 
the thigh yesterday. She was just as cool as if 
she had had to do it herself. We are close 
allies, and through Macdonald and the funds 
at my own command, I get her everything 



228 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

for which she asks, and this is saying a great 
deal. 

" My honest view of the matter is this : I 
found but too great evidence of the staff and 
means being unequal to the emergency ; the 
requirements have almost doubled through the 
last two unhappy actions at Balaclava. Still, 
day by day I see manifest improvement ; no 
government, no nation could have provided, on 
a sudden, staff and appliances for accident 
wards miles in length, and for such sickness as 
that horrid Varna dysentery. To manage more 
than three thousand casualties of the worst nature 
is indeed a task to be met in an entirely satisfac- 
tory way by nothing short of a miraculous energy 
with the means it would require. The men are 
landed necessarily in a rnost pitiable state, and 
have to be carried up steep ground for con- 
siderable distance, either by those beasts of 
Turks, who are as stupid as callous, or by our 
invalids, who arc not equal to the task. Still, 
it is done, and as this is war, not peace, and 
Scutari is really a battlefield, I am more disposed 
to lament than to blame. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 229 

" There seems now, so far as I can sec, no 
lack of lint and plaister ; there is a lack of linen, 
— we have sent home for it. The surgeons are 
working their utmost, and serious cases seem 
treated with great humanity and skill. There 
was and is an awful want of shirts for the men, 
and socks, and such matters ; we have already 
let Miss Nightingale have all she applies for, 
and this morning I, with Macdonald's sanction, 
or, rather, in concert with him, have sent to the 
Crimea a large stock of shirts of warm serge, 
socks, flannel, tea, etc., etc. I spend the best 
part of every day there acting, at one time as 
priest to the dying, at another helping the sur- 
geons or the men to dress their wounds ; again, 
I go to the landing-place and try to work them 
into method for an hour or two, etc., etc. One 
and all are now most kind and civil to me, meet 
my wishes in every way they can. Alas ! I fear, 
with every possible effort of the existing estab- 
lishment, the crisis is still too great ; there arc 
wanting hundreds of beds — that is, many hun- 
dreds have only matting between the beds and 
the stone floor. I slept here Sunday night, and 



230 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

walked the wards late and early in the morning ; 
I fear the cold weather in these passages will 
produce on men so crippled and so maimed 
much supplementary evil in the way of coughs 
and chest diseases. The wounded do better than 
the sick. I scarce pray with one of the lattei 
one day but I hear he is dead on the morrow. 
... I am glad to say the authorities have left 
off swearing they had everything and wanted 
nothing ; they are now grateful for the help 
which, with the fund at command, we liberally 
meet. The wounds are, many of them, of the 
most fearful character, and yet I have not heard 
a murmur, even from those who, from the press- 
ing urgency of the case, are often left with most 
obvious grounds of complaint. Stafford O'Brien 
is here ; he, at my suggestion, aids my son and 
self in letter writing for the poor creatures. My 
room is a post office ; I pay the post of every 
letter from every hospital patient, and we write 
masses every day. They show one what the 
British soldier really is ; I only wish to God the 
people of England, who regard the red coat as a 
mere guise of a roystering rake in the private and 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 231 

a dandified exclusive in the officer, could see the 
patience, true modesty, and courageous endurance 
of all ranks. 

" Understand me clearly. I could pick many 
a hole ; I could show where head has been 
wanting, truth perverted, duty neglected, etc. ; 
but I feel that the pressure was such and of so 
frightful, so severe (in one way) a character, 
there is such an effort at what we desire, that I 
for one cry out of the past ' non mi ricordo ; * of 
the present, ' If the cart is in the rut, there is 
every shoulder at the wheel.' The things wanted 
we cannot wait for you to supply, in England ; 
if the slaughter is to go on as it has done the 
last fortnight, the need must be met at once. 
Macdonald is doing his work most sensibly, 
steadily, and I believe not only with no offence 
to any, but is earning the goodwill of all." 

Truth is a two-edged sword, and for purposes 
of rebuke or reform Miss Nightingale used it 
at times with keenness and daring. In that 
sense this glowing, loving-hearted woman knew 
how on occasions to be stern. Her salt never 



232 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

lost its savour. She was swift, efficient, capable 
to the last degree, and she was also high-spirited 
and sometimes sharp-tongued. Perhaps we love 
her all the more for being so human. A person 
outwardly all perfection, if not altogether divine, 
is apt to give the idea that there are faults hidden 
up somewhere. It was not so with Miss Night- 
ingale. Her determination to carry at all costs 
the purpose she had in hand laid her often open 
to criticism, for, just as she was ready on occasion 
to override her own feelings, so also she was ready 
sometimes to override the feelings of others. Mr. 
Herbert judged from her letters that an addition 
to her staff of nurses would be welcome, but we 
saw that when the new band of forty-six arrived, 
under the escort of Miss Nightingale's old friend 
Miss Stanley, they were not admitted to the 
hospital at Scutari, and to tell the truth, Miss 
Nightingale was very angry at their being thrust 
upon her, just when she was finding her own 
staff rather a " handful." In point of fact, she 
not only wrote a very warm letter to her old 
friend Mr. Herbert, but she also formally gave 
in her resignation. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 233 

This was not accepted. Mr. Herbert's gener- 
ous sweetness of nature, his love for the writer, 
and his belief that she was the one person needed 
in the hospitals, and was doing wonders there, 
led him to write a very noble and humble reply, 
saying that he had made a mistake — which, indeed, 
was true enough — in taking his well-meant step 
without consulting her. She yielded her point 
in so far as to remain at her post, now that Miss 
Stanley and her staff had moved on to Thcrapia 
and Smyrna, and were doing real good there, 
Miss Stanley having given up all her own plans, 
to remain and look after the nurses who had 
come under her escort. 

But, apart from the fact that it would have 
been a great hindrance to discipline to have 
forty-six women on her hands who had not 
promised obedience to her, as had her own 
nurses, a little sidelight is thrown upon it all 
by these words in one of Miss Stanley's own 
letters, speaking of the nurses under her 
guardianship : — 

" The first night there was great dissatisfaction 



234 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

among them, and a strong inclination to strike 
work. * We are not come out to be cooks, 
housemaids, and washerwomen,' and they dwelt 
considerably on Mr. Herbert's words about 
equality. They are like troublesome children.^' 

Though our sympathy goes out to Miss Stan- 
ley, it is not impossible that Miss Nightingale's 
decision may have saved Scutari from unavoidable 
confusions of authority which would have been 
very unseemly, and from more than a possibility 
of defeat in the experiment she was making, in 
the eyes of all Europe, as to how far women 
could be wisely admitted into military hospitals. 
Such confusion might have arisen, not from any 
fault in Miss Nightingale or Miss Stanley, but 
from the special work of reorganization which 
had to be done at Scutari, and the special code 
of obedience by which Miss Nightingale's staff 
had been prepared for it. She did not want for 
such work any " troublesome children." 



CHAPTER XV. 

The busy nursing hive — M. Soyer and his memories — Miss 
Nightingales complete triumph over prejudice — The memories 
of Sister Aloysius. 

Meanwhile Miss Stanley's letters give us a 
very interesting informal glimpse of the work 
that was going on and of Miss Nightingale 
herself. Here is one in which she describes her 
visit to her in the hospital at Scutari : — 

" Wc passed down two or three of these 
immense corridors, asking our way as we went. 
At last we came to the guard-room, another 
corridor, then through a door into a large, busy 
kitchen, where stood Mrs. Margaret Williams, 
who seemed much pleased to see me : then a 
heavy curtain was raised ; I went through a 
door, and there sat dear Flo writing on a small 
unpainted deal table. I never saw her looking 



236 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

better. She had on her black merino, trimmed 
with black velvet, clean linen collar and cuffs, 
apron, white cap with a black handkerchief tied 
over it ; and there was Mrs. Bracebridge, look- 
ing so nice, too. I was quite satisfied with my 
welcome. It was settled at once that I was to 
sleep here, especially as, being post day, Flo 
could not attend to me till the afternoon. 

" The sofa is covered with newspapers just 
come in by the post. I have been sitting for 
an hour here, having some coffee, and writing, 
Mrs. Clarke coming in to see what I have 
wanted, in spite of what I could say. 

" The work this morning was the sending off 
General Adams's remains, and the arrangements 
consequent upon it. 

" A stream of people every minute. 

" ' Please, ma'am, have you any black-edged 
paper ? ' 

" ' Please, what can I give which would keep 
on his stomach ; is there any arrowroot to-day 
for him .? ' 

" ' No ; the tubs of arrowroot must be for 
the worst cases ; we cannot spare him any, nor 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 237 

is there any jelly to-day ; try him with some 
eggs, etc' 

" ' Please, Mr. Gordon wishes to sec Miss 
Nightingale about the orders she gave him.' 

" Mr. Sabine comes in for something else. 

" Mr. Bracebridge in and out about General 
Adams, and orders of various kinds." 

Such was the busy life of which Miss Nightin- 
gale was the queen, though, unlike the queen- 
bee of the ordinary honey-hive, this queen of 
nurses was the hardest-worked and most severely 
strained worker in the whole toiling com- 
munity. 

It was early in the spring of 1855 that in 
the feeding department, which she rightly 
considered of great importance to her invalids, 
she received unexpected help. 

This came from M. Soyer, who may be 
remembered by more than one old Londoner 
as at one time chef of the New Reform Club, 
where his biography, which contains some 
interesting illustrations, still adorns the library. 
M. Soyer begged to be allowed the command of 



238 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

the hospital kitchen at Scutari. He was an 
expert and an enthusiast, and very amusing. 

Also what he offered was of no slight impor- 
tance and unselfishness. In February, 1855, he 
wrote as follows to the Times : — 

" Sir, — After carefully perusing the letter of 
your correspondent, dated Scutari, in your 
impression of Wednesday last, I perceive that, 
although the kitchen under the superintendence 
of Miss Nightingale affords so much relief, the 
system of management at the large one at the 
Barrack Hospital is far from being perfect. I 
propose offering my services gratuitously, and 
proceeding direct to Scutari at my own personal 
expense, to regulate that important department, 
if the Government will honour me with their 
confidence, and grant me the full power of 
acting according to my knowledge and experience 
in such matters. — I have the honour to remain, 
sir, your obedient servant, A. Soyer." 

His proposal was accepted, and on his arrival at 
Scutari he was welcomed by Miss Nightingale in 
what he names, after his rather florid manner, " a 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 239 

sanctuary of benevolence." There he presented 
his letters and parcels from the Duchess of 
Sutherland and Mr. Stafford and others, the 
Duchess especially commending him to the 
Lady-in-Chief as likely to be of service in the 
cooking department. He was found to be a 
most valuable ally, and his letters and writings, 
since published, are full of interest. He wrote 
home at once, saying : " I must especially express 
my gratitude to Miss Nightingale, who from her 
extraordinary intelligence and the good organiza- 
tion of her kitchen procured me every material 
for making a commencement, and thus saved me 
at least one week's sheer loss of time, as my 
model kitchen did not arrive till Saturday last." 

This is interesting, because it shows yet once 
more Miss Nightingale's thoroughness and fore- 
sight and attention to detail — the more valuable 
in one whose outlook at the same time touched 
so wide a skyline, and was so large in its noble 
care for a far-off future and a world of many 
nations, never bounded by her own small island 
or her own church pew. 



240 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Soyer's description of her is worth giving in 
full, and later we shall, through his eyes, have a 
vision of her as she rode to Balaclava. 

" Her visage as regards expression is very 
remarkable, and one can almost anticipate by her 
countenance what she is about to say : alternately, 
with matters of the most grave importance, 
a gentle smile passes radiantly over her counten- 
ance, thus proving her evenness of temper ; at 
other times, when wit or a pleasantry prevails, 
the heroine is lost in the happy, good-natured 
smile which pervades her face, and you recog- 
nize only the charming woman. Her dress is 
generally of a greyish or black tint ; she wears a 
simple white cap, and often a rough apron. In 
a word, her whole appearance is religiously 
simple and unsophisticated. In conversation no 
member of the fair sex can be more amiable and 
gentle than Miss Nightingale. Removed from 
her arduous and cavalier-like duties, which require 
the nerve of a Hercules — and she possesses it 
when required — she is Rachel on the stage in 
both tragedy and comedy." 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 241 

Soyer's help and loyalty proved invaluable all 
through the campaign. His volume of memories 
adds a vivid bit of colour here and there to these 
pages. His own life had been romantic, and he 
saw everything from the romantic point of 
view. 

We read and know that although Sidney 
Herbert's letter to Dr. Menzies, the principal 
medical officer at Scutari, asked that all regard 
should be paid to every wish of the Lady-in- 
Chief, and that was in itself a great means of 
power, the greatest power of all lay in her own 
personality and its compelling magnetism, which 
drew others to obedience. The attractive force 
of a strong, clear, comprehensive mind, and still 
more of a soul on fire with high purpose and deep 
compassion, which never wasted themselves in 
words, became tenfold the more powerful for the 
restraint and self- discipline which held all 
boisterous expression of them in check — her 
word, her very glance, 

"Winning its way with extreme gentleness 
Through all the outworks of suspicious pride." 

Her strength was to be tried to the uttermost ; 
(i,7fl4) 16 



242 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

for scarcely had her work in the hospital begun 
when cholera came stalking over the threshold. 
Day and night among the dying and the dead 
she and her nurses toiled with fearless devotion, 
each one carrying her life in her hand, but 
seldom, indeed, even thinking of that in the 
heroic struggle to save as many other lives as 
possible. 

Miss Nightingale long afterwards, when 
talking of services of a far easier kind, once 
said to a professional friend that no one was 
fit to be a nurse who did not really enjoy precisely 
those duties of a sick-room which the ordinary 
uneducated woman counts revolting ; and if she 
was, at this time, now and then impatient with 
stupidity and incompetence and carelessness, that 
is not wonderful in one whose effort was always 
at high level, and for whom every detail was of 
vivid interest, because she realized that often on 
exactitude in details hung the balance between 
life and death. 

On their first arrival she and her nurses may, no 
doubt, have had to bear cold-shouldering and 
jealousy ; but in the long agony of the cholera 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 243 

visitation they were welcomed as veritable angels 
of light. It would be easy to be sensational in 
describing the scenes amid which they moved, 
for before long the hospital was filled, day and 
night, with two long processions : on one side 
came in those who carried the sick men in on 
their stretchers, and on the other side those who 
carried out the dead. The orderlies could not 
have been trusted to do the nursing that was 
required; the "stuping" — a professional method 
of wholesale hot fomentations and rubbings to 
release the iron rigidity of the cholera patient*s 
body — was best done by skilled and gentle hands, 
and even in such hands, so bad were the surround- 
ing conditions — the crowding, the bad drainage, 
the impure water — that, despite the utmost 
devotion, only a small proportion of lives could 
be saved. 

It was especially at this time that the feeling 
towards the Lady-in-Chief deepened into a trust 
that was almost worship. Watchful, resourceful, 
unconquered, with a mind that, missing no 
detail, yet took account of the widest issues and 
the farthest ends, she was yet full of divine 



244 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

tenderness for each sufferer whom with her own 
hands she tended ; and, although she did not 
nurse the officers — she left that to others — in her 
devotion to Tommy Atkins she had been known 
to be on her feet, as already has been said, for 
twenty hours on end ; and, whether she was 
kneeling or standing, stooping or lifting, always 
an ideal nurse. 

The graves round the hospitals were not dug 
deep enough, and the air became even fouler than 
before. To the inroads of cholera the suffering 
of Sebastopol patients added a new form of death. 
Sister Aloysius writes of these men who came in 
by scores and hundreds from the trenches, and 
whom this Sister, greatly valued by the Lady-in- 
Chief, helped to nurse both at Scutari and at 
Balaclava : — 

" I must say something of my poor frost-bitten 
patients. The men who came from the 'front,' 
as they called it, had only thin linen suits, no 
other clothing to keep out the Crimean frost of 
1854-5. When they were carried in on the 
stretchers which conveyed so many to their last 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 245 

resting-place, their clothes had to be cut off. 
In most cases the flesh and clothes were frozen 
together ; and, as for the feet, the boots had to 
be cut off bit by bit, the flesh coming off with 
them ; many pieces of the flesh I have seen 
remain in the boot. 

"We have just received some hundreds of poor 
creatures, worn out with sufferings beyond any 
you could imagine, in the Crimea, where the 
cold is so intense that a soldier described to me 
the Russians and the Allies in a sudden skirmish, 
and neither party able to draw a trigger ! So 
fancy what the poor soldiers must endure in the 
' trenches.' 

"It was a comfort to think that these brave men 
had some care, all that we could procure for 
them. For at this time the food was very bad — 
goat's flesh, and sometimes what they called 
mutton, but black, blue, and green. Yet who 
could complain of anything after the sufferings I 
have faintly described — borne, too, with such 
patience : not a murmur ! . . . One day, after 
a batch had arrived from the Crimea, and I 
had gone my rounds through them, one of my 



246 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

orderlies told me that a man wanted to speak one 
word to me. 

"When I had a moment I went to him. 'Tell 
me at once what you want ; I have worse cases 
to see after ' — he did not happen to be very bad. 
* All I want to know, ma'am, is, are you one of 
our own Sisters of Mercy from Ireland ? ' 'Yes,' 
I said, ' your very own.' ' God be praised for 
that ! ' 

"Another poor fellow said to me one day, 
' Do they give you anything good out here ? ' 
' Oh yes,' I said ; ' why do you ask me ? ' 
' Because, ma'am, you gave me a piece of chicken 
for my dinner, and I kept some of it for you.' 
He pulled it out from under his head and offered 
it to me. I declined the favour with thanks. 
I never could say enough of those kind-hearted 
soldiers and their consideration for us in the 
midst of their sufferings." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Inexactitudes — Labels — Cholera — '^ The Lady with the iMtnp^ — 
Her humour — Letters of Sister Aloysius. 

About the middle of December Miss Nightin- 
gale had to rebuke very severely one of her own 
nurses, who had written a letter to the Times 
which made a great sensation by its lurid picture 
of the evils in the hospital — a misrepresentation 
so great that the nurse herself confessed in the 
end that it was " a tissue of exaggerations " — 
perhaps " inexactitudes " would be our modern 
word. 

Meanwhile, the small-minded parochial gossips 
at home were wasting their time in discussing 
Miss Nightingale's religious opinions. One who 
worked so happily with all who served the same 
Master was first accused under the old cry of 
" Popery," and then under the equally silly label 
of " Unitarianism." Her friend Mrs. Herbert, 



248 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

in rebuking parish gossip, felt it necessary to 
unpin these two labels and loyally pin on a new 
one, by explaining that in reality she was rather 
" Low Church." The really sensible person, 
with whom, doubtless. Lady Herbert would have 
fully agreed, was the Irish parson, and his like, 
when he replied to some foolish questions about 
her that Miss Nightingale belonged to a very 
rare sect indeed — the sect of the Good Samaritans. 

Miss Stanley tells a most amusing story of 
how one of the military chaplains complained to 
Miss Jebbut that very improper books had been 
circulated in the wards ; she pressed in vain to 
know what they were. " As I was coming away 
he begged for five minutes* conversation, said he 
was answerable for the men and what they read, 
and he must protest against sentiments he neither 
approved nor understood, and that he would 
fetch me the book. It was Keble's ' Christian 
Year,' which Miss Jebbut had lent to a sick 
midshipman ! " 

It was a brave heart indeed that the Good 
Samaritan needed now, with cholera added to 
the other horrors of hospital suffering, and the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 249 

frost-bitten cases from Sebastopol were almost 
equally heart-rending. 

It was early in January 1855 that Miss 
Stanley escorted fifty more nurses. Most of 
them worked under Miss Anderson at the 
General Hospital at Scutari, but eight were 
sent into the midst of the fighting at Balaclava, 
and of the life there " at the front " the letters 
of Sister Aloysius give a terrible picture. We 
have, for instance, the story of a man ill and 
frost-bitten, who found he could not turn on his 
side because his feet were frozen to those of the 
soldier opposite. And it came to pass that for 
two months the death-rate in the hospitals was 
sixty per cent. 

Night after night, the restless, lonely sufferers 
watched for the coming of the slender, white- 
capped figure with the little light that she 
shaded so carefully lest it should waken any 
sleeper, as she passed through the long cor- 
ridors watching over the welfare of her patients, 
and to them she was " the Lady with the 
Lamp." 

We still see with the American poet : — 



250 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

" The wounded from the battle-plain, 
In dreary hospitals of pain, 
The cheerless corridors, 
The cold and stony floors. 

** Lo ! in that house of misery 
A lady with a lamp I see 
Pass through the glimmering gloom. 
And flit from room to room. 

*• And slow, as in a dream of bliss, 
The speechless sufferer turns to kiss 
Her shadow, as it falls 
Upon the darkening walls." 

" Ah," said to me old John Ball, the veteran 
of the Crimea, who had been wounded at Alma 
and been at Scutari a month before her arrival, 
so that in his later days there he saw the changes 
that she wrought, " ah, she was a good soul — 
she was a^oo</ woman ! " And through his words, 
and those of the other old men who remembered 
her, it was possible to discern a little of the glow, 
the humour, the homely maternal tenderness with 
which the Wohlgebohrene Dame had comforted 
young and old in their hours of patriotic wound- 
ing and pain. 

For herself, in the long days of sacrificial service, 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 251 

was there any human solace, any dear companion- 
ship, any dawning light of love ? 

For us at least, the mere outsiders, to whom 
she is just a very practical saint and a very great 
woman, " there lives no record of reply." But 
we know that, though hers was the solitary path, 
which yet was no solitude because of the out- 
poured love and sympathy to others, when in 
her presence once some one was chattering about 
the advantages of " single blessedness," she, with 
her quick sense of humour, replied that a fish 
out of water might be blessed, but a good deal 
of effort was needed to become accustomed to 
the air ! 

None of the letters describing the Scutari life 
are more interesting than those of Sister Aloysius, 
the Irish Sister of Mercy, from whose graphic 
descriptions quotations have already been made. 

" She and her companions had had only a few 
hours in which to prepare for a long and danger- 
ous journey, with the details of which they were 
quite unacquainted, only knowing that they were 
to start for Turkey at half-past seven in the 



252 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

morning, and that they went for the love of 
God. 

" ' And who is to take care of you from this to 
Turkey ? ' asked one of their amazed well-wishers. 
To which the Sisters only replied that ' they hoped 
their guardian angels would kindly do so.' " 

Needless to say, the little party did reach 
its destination safely, and " at last," writes Sister 
Aloysius, " a despatch came * to say that five 
Sisters were to proceed to Scutari, to the General 
Hospital ; while arrangements were made for the 
other ten Sisters to proceed to a house on the 
Bosphorus, to await further orders. At once the 
five Sisters started for Scutari : Reverend Mother, 
Sister M. Agnes, Sister M. EHzabeth, Sister M. 
Winifred, and myself. When we reached Scutari 
we were shown to our quarters consisting of one 
little room, not in a very agreeable locality. How- 
ever, we were quite satisfied none better could be 
found, and for this little nook we were thankful. 

" Of course, we expected to be sent to the 
wards at once. Sister M. Agnes and the writer 

* " Memories of the Crimea," by Sister Mary Aloysius. (Bums 
and Oates.) 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 253 

were sent to a store to sort clothes that had been 
eaten by the rats ; Rev. Mother and Sister M. 
Elizabeth either to the kitchen or to another 
store. In a dark, damp, gloomy shed we set to 
work and did the best we could ; but, indeed, 
the destruction accomplished by the rats was 
something wonderful. On the woollen goods 
they had feasted sumptuously. They were run- 
ning about us in all directions ; we begged of 
the sergeant to leave the door open that we 
might make our escape if they attacked us. Our 
home rats would run if you ' hushed ' them ; but 
you might ' hush ' away, and the Scutari rats 
would not take the least notice. 

" During my stay in the stores I saw number- 
less funerals pass by the window. Cholera was 
raging, and how I did wish to be in the wards 
amongst the poor dying soldiers ! Before I leave 
the stores I must mention that Sister M. Agnes 
and myself thought the English nobility must 
have emptied their wardrobes and linen stores to 
send out bandages for the wounded — the most 
beautiful underclothing, the finest cambric sheets, 
with merely a scissors run here and there through 



254 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

them to ensure their being used for no other 
purpose. And such large bales, too ; some from 
the Queen's Palace, with the Royal monogram 
beautifully worked. Whoever sent out these 
immense bales thought nothing too good for the 
poor soldiers. And they were right — nothing 
was too good for them. And now good-bye 
stores and good-bye rats ; for I was to be in the 
cholera wards in the morning. 

" Where shall I begin, or how can I ever 
describe my first day in the hospital at Scutari ? 
Vessels were arriving, and the orderlies carrying 
the poor fellows, who, with their wounds and 
frost-bites, had been tossing about on the Black 
Sea for two or three days, and sometimes more. 
Where were they to go ? Not an available bed. 
They were laid on the floor one after another, 
till the beds were emptied of those dying of 
cholera and every other disease. Many died 
immediately after being brought in — their moans 
would pierce the heart — the taking of them in and 
out of the vessels must have increased their pain. 

" The look of agony in those poor dying faces 
will never leave my heart. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 255 

" Week in, week out, the cholera went on. 
The same remedies were continued, though 
almost always to fail. However, while there 
was life there was hope, and we kept on the 
warm applications to the last. When it came 
near the end the patients got into a sort of 
collapse, out of which they did not rally. 

" We begged the orderlies, waiting to take 
them to the dead-house, to wait a little lest they 
might not be dead ; and with great difficulty wc 
prevailed on them to make the least delay. As 
a rule the orderlies drank freely — * to drown 
their grief,' they said. I must say that their 
position was a very hard one — their work always 
increasing — and such work ; death around them 
on every side ; their own lives in continual danger 
— it was almost for them a continuation of the 
field of battle. 

" The poor wounded men brought in out of 
the vessels were in a dreadful state of dirt, and 
so weak that whatever cleaning they got had to 
be done cautiously. Oh, the state of those fine 
fellows, so worn out with fatigue, so full of 
vermin ! Most, or all, of them required spoon- 



256 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

feeding. We had wine, sago, arrowroot. In- 
deed, I think there was everything in the stores, 
but it was so hard to get them. . . . An 
orderly officer took the rounds of the wards every 
night to see that all was right. He was expected 
bv the orderlies, and the moment he raised the 
latch one cried out, ' All right, your honour.' 
Many a time I said, ' All wrong.' The poor 
officer, of course, went his way ; and one could 
scarcely blame him for not entering those wards, 
so filled with pestilence, the air so dreadful that 
to breathe it might cost him his life. And then, 
what could he do even if he did come ? I re- 
member one day an officer's orderly being brought 
in — a dreadful case of cholera ; and so devoted 
was his master that he came in every half-hour 
to see him, and stood over him in the bed as if 
it was only a cold he had ; the poor fellow died 
after a few hours' illness. I hope his devoted 
master escaped. I never heard. 

" Each Sister had charge of two wards, and 
there was just at this time a fresh outbreak of 
cholera. The Sisters were up every night ; and 
the cases, as in Scutari and Kullali, were nearly 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 257 

all fatal. Reverend Mother did not allow the 
Sisters to remain up all night, except in cases 
of cholera, without a written order from the 
doctor. 

" In passing to the wards at night we used 
to meet the rats in droves. They would not 
even move out of our way. They were there 
before us, and were determined to keep pos- 
session. As for our hut, they evidently wanted 
to make it theirs, scraping under the boards, 
jumping up on the shelf where our little tin 
utensils were kept, rattling everything. One 
night dear Sister M. Paula found one licking 
her forehead — she had a real horror of them. 
Sleep was out of the question. Our third day 
in Balaclava was a very sad one for us. One of 
our dear band, Sister Winifred, got very ill during 
the night with cholera. She was a most angelic 
Sister, and we were all deeply grieved. 

" She, the first to go of all our little band, had 
been full of life and energy the day before. We 
were all very sad, and we wondered who would 
be the next. 

" Miss Nightingale was at the funeral, and 

(1.7M) 17 



258 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

even joined in the prayers. The soldiers, doctors, 
officers, and officials followed. When all was 
over we returned to our hut, very sad ; but we 
had no further time to think. Patients were 
pouring in, and we should be out again to the 
cholera wards. Besides cholera there were cases 
of fever — in fact, of every disease. Others had 
been nearly killed by the blasting of rocks, and 
they came in fearfuUv disfigured. 

" Father Woolett brought us one day a present 
of a Russian cat ; he bought it, he told us, from 
an old Russian woman for the small sum of seven 
shillings. It made a particularly handsome cap- 
tive in the land of its fathers, for we were obliged 
to keep it tied to a chair to prevent its escape. 
But the very sight of this powerful champion 
soon relieved us of some of our unwelcome and 
voracious visitors. 

"Early in 1856 rumours of peace reached us 
from all sides. But our Heavenly Father de- 
manded another sacrifice from our devoted little 
band. Dear Sister Mary Elizabeth was called 
to a martyr's crown. 

" She was specially beloved for her extra- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 259 

ordinary sweetness of disposition. The doctor, 
when called, pronounced her illness to be fever ; 
she had caught typhus in her ward. Every 
loving care was bestowed on her by our dearest 
Mother, who scarcely ever left her bedside. 
Death seemed to have no sting. . . . She had 
no wish to live or die, feeling she was in the 
arms of her Heavenly Father. ' He will do for 
me what is best,' she whispered, ' and His will 
is all I desire.' " 

At Scutari Miss Nightingale's work of re- 
organization was bearing swift fruit. The wives 
of the soldiers were daily employed in the laundry 
she had established, so that they had a decent 
livelihood, and the soldiers themselves had clean 
linen. But, of course, a great many of the 
soldiers had left their wives and children at 
home. 

A money office also had been formed by the 
Lady-in-Chief, which helped them in sending 
home their pay. It was she too who arranged 
for the safe return of the widows to England, 
and it was she who provided stamps and station- 



26o FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

ery for the men, that they might be able to 
write to those dear to them. No one had had a 
moment, it seemed, to give thought to anything 
but the actual warfare with all its horrors, until 
her womanly sympathy and splendid capacity 
came on the scene. With her there was always 
little time lost between planning and achieving, 
and happily she had power of every kind in her 
hand. Besides her own means, which she poured 
forth like water, the people of England had, as 
we saw, subscribed magnificently through the 
Times Fund, and with one so practical as the 
Lady-in-Chief in daily consultation with Mr. 
Macdonald, there was no longer any fear of 
giving to church walls what was intended to 
save the lives of ill-clad and dying soldiers. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Miss Nightingale visits Balaclava — Her illness — Lord Raglan's 
visit — The Fall of Sebastopol. 

At last, in the May of 1855, the Lady-in-Chief 
was able to see such fruits of the six months' 
steady work at Scutari that the scene of her 
labours could be changed, and she set out for 
Balaclava to inspect the other hospitals, for 
which, as superintendent of the ladies in the 
military hospitals in the East, she was responsible. 
She wished to see for herself what was being 
done for the soldiers on the field. Besides Mr. 
Bracebridge and her nursing staff, M. Soyer 
accompanied her with a view to improving the 
cooking arrangements for the army in the field, 
and he writes with his usual vividness : — 

" Thomas, Miss Nightingale's boy, the twelve- 
year-old drummer who had left what he called 



262 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

his ' instrument sticks ' to make himself her most 
devoted slave and messenger, was also allowed 
to go. 

" At nine," says M. Soyer, " we were all on 
shore and mounted. There were about eight 
of us ready to escort our heroine to the seat of 
war. Miss Nightingale was attired simply in 
a genteel amazone, or riding habit, and had quite 
a martial air. She was mounted upon a very 
pretty mare of a golden colour which, by its 
gambols and caracoling, seemed proud to carry 
its noble charge. The weather was very fine. 
Our cavalcade produced an extraordinary effect 
upon the motley crowd of all nations assembled 
at Balaclava, who were astonished at seeing a 
lady so well escorted. It was not so, however, 
with those who knew who the lady was." 

Later he gives us a most characteristic glimpse 
of the light-hearted courage and high spirit of 
his Lady-in-Chief : — 

" Mr. Anderson proposed to have a peep at 
Sebastopol. It was four o'clock, and they were 
firing sharply on both sides. Miss Nightingale, 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 263 

to whom the offer was made, immediately ac- 
cepted it ; so we formed a column and, 
for the first time, fearlessly faced the enemy, 
and prepared to go under fire. P. M. turned 
round to me, saying quietly, but with great 
trepidation, ' I say. Monsieur Soyer, of course 
you would not take Miss Nightingale where 
there will be any danger ? ' . . . The sentry then 
repeated his caution, saying, * Madam, even 
where you stand you are in great danger ; some 
of the shot reach more than half a mile beyond 
this !'...' My good young man,' replied Miss 
Nightingale in French, * more dead and wounded 
have passed through my hands than I hope you 
will ever see in the battlefield during the whole 
of your military career ; believe me, I have no 
fear of death ! ' " 

By a little guile the eager Frenchman led the 
unsuspecting idol of the troops into a position 
where she could be well seen by the soldiers ; 
and while she was seated on the Morta, in view 
of them all, it hardly needed his own dramatic 
outcry for a salutation to " the Daughter of Eng- 



264 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

land" to call forth the ringing cheers which 
greeted her from the men of the 39th Regiment, 
and the shouts were taken up so loudly by all 
the rest that the Russians were actually startled 
by them at Sebastopol. 

The darkness fell quickly, and half-way back 
to Balaclava Miss Nightingale and her party 
found themselves in the midst of a merry Zouave 
camp, where the men were singing and drinking 
coffee, but warned our friends that brigands were 
in the neighbourhood. However, there was 
nothing for it but to push on, and, as a matter 
of fact, the only wound received was from the 
head of Miss Nightingale's horse, which hit 
violently against the face of her escort at the 
bridle rein, who kept silence that he might 
not alarm her, but was found with a face black 
and bleeding at the end of the journey. 

After her night's rest in her state-cabin in the 
Robert Lowe, though still feeling used up with 
the adventurous visit to the camp hospitals. Miss 
Nightingale visited the General Hospital at 
Balaclava and the collection of huts on the 
heights, which formed the sanatoria, and also 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 265 

went to see an officer ill with typhus in the 
doctors* huts. She renewed her visit next day, 
when, after a night at Balaclava, she settled three 
nurses into the sanatorium, and then for some 
days continued her inspection of hospitals and 
moved into the ship London, the Robert Lowe 
having been ordered home. 

Worn out by her ceaseless labours at Scutari, 
she had probably been specially open to infection 
in the sick officer's hut, and while on board the 
London it became clear that she had contracted 
Crimean fever in a very bad form. 

She was ordered up to the huts amid such 
dreadful lamentations of the surrounding folk 
that, thanks to their well-meant delays, it took 
an hour to carry her up to the heights, her 
faithful nurse, Mrs. Roberts, keeping off the 
sun-glare by walking beside her with an umbrella, 
and her page-boy Thomas weeping his heart out 
at the tail of the little procession. 

A spot was found after her own heart near 
a running stream where the wild flowers were in 
bloom, and she tells in her Nursing Notes how her 
first recovery began when a nosegay of her be- 



266 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

loved flowers was brought to her bedside. But 
for some days she was desperately ill, and the 
camp was unspeakably moved and alarmed. 

Britain also shared deeply in the suspense, 
though happily the worst crisis was passed in 
about twelve days, leaving, however, a long time 
of great weakness and slow convalescence to be 
won through afterwards. 

During those twelve days some very sharp 
skirmishing took place, and there was talk of an 
attack on Balaclava from the Kamara side, in 
which case Miss Nightingale's hut would, it was 
said, be the first outpost to be attacked. Any such 
notion was, of course, an injustice to the Russians, 
who would not knowingly have hurt a hair 
of her head — indeed, it may almost be said that 
she was sacred to all the troops, whether friends 
or foes. But at all events it gave her boy Thomas 
his opportunity, and he was prepared, we are told, 
" to die valiantly in defence of his mistress." 

Soyer gives a picturesque account of Lord 
Raglan's visit to Miss Nightingale when her 
recovery was first beginning. He begins by de- 
scribing his own visit, and tells the story through 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 267 

the lips of Mrs. Roberts, Miss Nightingale's 
faithful nurse. 

"... I was," he writes, " very anxious to 
know the actual state of Miss Nightingale's 
health, and went to her hut to inquire. I 
found Mrs. Roberts, who was quite astonished 
and very much delighted to see me. 

'"Thank God, Monsieur Soyer,' she exclaimed, 
' you are here again. We have all been in such a 
way about you. Why, it was reported that you 
had been taken prisoner by the Russians. I must 
go and tell Miss Nightingale you are found again.' 

" ' Don't disturb her now. I understand Lord 
Raglan has been to see her.' 

" ' Yes, he has, and I made a serious mistake. 
It was about five o'clock in the afternoon when 
he came. Miss Nightingale was dozing, after a 
very restless night. We had a storm that day 
and it was very wet. I was in my room sewing 
when two men on horseback, wrapped in large 
gutta-percha cloaks and dripping wet, knocked 
at the door. I went out, and one inquired in 
which hut Miss Nightingale resided. 



268 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

" ' He spoke so loud that I said, " Hist ! hist ! 
don't make such a horrible noise as that, my 
man," at the same time making a sign with both 
hands for him to be quiet. He then repeated 
his question, but not in so loud a tone. I told 
him this was the hut. 

"'"All right," said he, jumping from his horse, 
and he was walking straight in when I pushed 
him back, asking what he meant and whom he 
wanted. 

" ' " Miss Nightingale," said he. 

" * " And pray who are you .? " 

" * " Oh, only a soldier," was the reply ; "but I 
must see her — I have come a long way — my 
name is Raglan : she knows me very well." 

" ' Miss Nightingale, overhearing him, called 
me in, saying, " Oh ! Mrs. Roberts, it is Lord 
Raglan. Pray tell him I have a very bad fever, 
and it will be dangerous for him to come near 
me. 

" ' " I have no fear of fever, or anything else," 
said Lord Raglan. 

" ' And before I had time to turn round, in 
came his lordship. He took up a stool, sat 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 269 

down at the foot of the bed, and kindly asked 
Miss Nightingale how she was, expressing his 
sorrow at her illness, and thanking her and 
praising her for the good she had done for the 
troops. He wished her a speedy recovery, and 
hoped that she might be able to continue her 
charitable and invaluable exertions, so highly 
appreciated by every one, as well as by himself. 

" ' He then bade Miss Nightingale good-bye, 
and went away. As he was going I said I 
wished to apologize. 

" ' " No, no ! not at all, my dear lady," said 
Lord Raglan ; " you did very right ; for I per- 
ceive that Miss Nightingale has not yet received 
my letter, in which I announced my intention 
of paying her a visit to-day — having previously 
inquired of the doctor if she could be seen." ' " * 

The doctors, after her twelve days of danger- 
ous illness, were urgent for Miss Nightingale's 
instant return to England ; but this she would 
not do : she was sure that, with time and patience, 
she would be able once more to take up her 

* "Soyer's Culinary Campaign," Alexis Soyer- (Routledge, 1857. '^ 



270 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

work at Scutari. Lord Ward placed his yacht 
at her disposal, and by slow degrees she made 
recovery, though Lord Raglan's death, June 
1 8, 1855, was a great grief and shock to her. 

Wellington said of Lord Raglan that he was 
a man who would not tell a lie to save his life, 
and he v/as also a man of great charm and 
benevolence, adored by his troops. He felt to 
the quick the terrible repulse of our troops 
before Sebastopol that June, having yielded his 
own counsels to those of France rather than 
break the alliance, and he died two days after the 
despatch was written in which he told the story 
of this event. 

Writing to the Duke of Newcastle in October, 
he had entreated for his army a little repose — 
that brave army, worn out, not only by the 
ordinary fatigues of a military campaign, and by 
the actual collecting of wood and water to keep 
life from extinction, but by cholera, sickness, 
and the bitter purgatorial cold of a black hillside 
in a Russian winter. 

" Repose ! " echoes Kinglake with sardonic 
bitterness, and we too echo it, remembering how, 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 271 

two days afterwards, it was riding through the 
devil's jaws at Balaclava, to hurl itself but a little 
later against its myriad assailants at Inkermann ! 

Repose ! uncomplaining and loyal, in the 
bitter grasp of winter on the heights of the 
Chersonese, holding day and night a siege that 
seemed endless, the allied armies had proved 
their heroism through the slow tragedy. And 
when at last, on the day of victory, amid the 
fury of the elements and the avenging fury of 
their own surging hearts, they grasped the result 
of their patient agony, though 

* Stormed at with shot and shell, 
Boldly they rode and well," 

that final moment of onset did but crown the 
fortitude of those long, slow days of dying by 
inches in the slow clutch of starvation, that had 
been so much harder to bear, while they saw 
their comrades in the anguish of cholera and felt 
their own limbs freezing beneath them. 

But it was doubtless a brave assault, and it was 
sad that their loved commander was not there 
to see ; for, while the MalakofF fell before the 



272 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

French, it was the British troops that took the 
Redan — that Redan of which it has been written 
that " three months before it had repulsed the 
attacking force with fearful carnage, and brought 
Lord Raglan to a despairing death." 

There is tragedy, therefore, in the fact that 
when, so soon afterwards, Sebastopol fell, the 
triumph was not his. 

It was on September 8, amid a furious storm 
which suddenly broke up a summer-like day, 
that the cannonade joined with the thunder and 
the final assault was made. Though the first 
shouts of victory came at the end of an hour, 
it was nightfall before the fighting ceased and 
the Russians retreated. Sebastopol was in flames. 
And before the next day dawned the last act in 
this terrible war-drama was over. 

Within a month of leaving Scutari Miss 
Nightingale was already there again, and during 
these days of slowly returning strength, when 
she wandered sometimes through the beautiful 
cemetery where the strange, black-plumaged 
birds fly above the cypresses and, against the 
background of the blue Bosphorus, the roses 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 273 

garland the tombs, she planned, for the soldiers 
who had fallen, the monument which now stands 
there to their undying memory, where under the 
drooping wings of the angels that support it are 
inserted the words, " This monument was erected 
by Queen Victoria and her people." 



(l.T«4) X8 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

The Nightingale Fund — Miss Nightingale remains at her post, 
organizing healthy occupations for the men off duty — Sisters 
of Mercy — The Queen's Jewel — Its meaning. 

Far and wide spread the news of the fall of 
Sebastopol, and London took the lead in re- 
joicings. The Tower guns shouted the victory, 
the arsenals fired their salutes, cathedrals and 
village churches rang out their welcome to peace. 
There were sons, husbands, brothers, fathers, for 
whom there would be no more home-coming on 
earth; and some who would come back broken 
and maimed : but all had served their country, 
and heroism lasts beyond time and death. 

All through the empire arose an outcry of 
thanksgiving to the woman who still remained at 
her post among the sick and the dying — the 
woman who had saved England's honour in the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 275 

day of disgrace and neglect, and had saved also 
countless lives among her brave sons. 

The Queen and all her people were eager to 
know what there was that they might lay at her 
feet. In one form only would Miss Nightingale 
accept the testimony offered — namely, the means 
of yet further work. The Herberts knew she had 
longed to organize a hospital on the lines of 
unpaid nursing, but there was a difficulty for the 
moment, because she could not bring herself 
to leave the East until her work there was 
fully completed, and such a hospital must, they 
thought, have her presence from the first. Just 
now she was with Sister Aloysius at Balaclava, 
nursing one of her staff, and while there an 
accident on the rough roads, which injured not 
only herself, but also the Sister who was walking 
beside her, led to a thoughtful kindness from 
Colonel Macmurdo, who had a little carriage 
especially made for her. In this little carriage, 
through the cutting cold and snow of a Crimean 
winter, she would drive about among the camp 
hospitals with no escort but her driver, as she 
returned through the dark night at the end of her 



276 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

long day of self-imposed duties. Sometimes she 
has stood for hours on a cold, shelterless rock, 
giving her directions, and when one and another 
of her friends entreated against such risk and 
exposure, she would just smile with a quiet 
certainty that, for all that in her eyes was her 
clear duty, strength and protection would 
certainly be given. 

She was much occupied in helping and 
uplifting the convalescent, and not only these, 
but also all the soldiers in camp in the army 
of occupation, which was for a while to be left 
in the East until the treaty was signed, and would 
necessarily be surrounded by special temptations 
in time of peace. Her way of fighting drunken- 
ness — and after Sebastopol you may be sure there 
was a good deal of " drinking of healths " — was 
to provide all possible means of interest and 
amusement. Huts were built, clubs were formed. 
Stationery was provided for letters home. So 
eiTectually was every one in England interested 
that, while Queen Victoria herself led the way in 
sending newspapers and magazines, all through 
the country her example was followed. 



FLOREI^CE NIGHTINGALE. 277 

And while this was going on, the great 
testimonial fund in London was mounting and 
mounting. 

The Duke of Cambridge, Lord Houghton, and 
the Marquis of Ripon were members of the 
committee. The great bankers opened their 
books. The churches collected funds, the rank 
and file of our impoverished army sent ^4,000, 
and taking Mrs. Tooley's figures, which are 
doubtless correct, and including all ranks and 
all troops throughout the world, the military 
contributions alone appear to have risen to about 
^10,000. 

Jenny Lind, then Madame Goldschmidt, gave 
a concert, of which she herself bore all the 
expense, amounting to about jCs*^^* ^^^ then 
gave the entire proceeds, about /^2,ooo, to the 
fund. This was so warmly appreciated by some 
of those interested in the success of the fund that, 
by private subscription, they gave a marble bust 
of Queen Victoria to the Goldschmidts as a 
thank-offering. 

From the overseas dominions came over 
^4,000 ; from provincial cities, towns, and 



278 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

villages in Britain, between ^6,000 and ^7,000, 
and from British residents abroad also a very 
handsome sum. Indeed, it may be truly said 
that in every quarter of the globe men and 
women united to pour forth their gratitude to 
Miss Nightingale, and to enable her to complete 
the work so bravely begun, by transforming the 
old and evil methods of nursing under British 
rule to that ideal art in which fortitude, tender- 
ness, and skill receive their crowning grace. 
It has been said — I know not with what ex- 
actitude — that no British subject has ever received 
such world-wide honour as was at this time laid 
at her feet. 

At one of the great meetings Mr. Sidney 
Herbert read the following letter from one of his 
friends : — 

" I have just heard a pretty account from a 
soldier describing the comfort it was even to see 
Florence pass. * She would speak to one and 
another,' he said, ' and nod and smile to many 
more, but she could not do it to all, you know, 
for we lay there by hundreds ; but we could kiss 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 279 

her shadow * as it fell, and lay our heads on 
the pillow again content.' " 

That letter alone, we are told, brought another 
£10,000. 

The gross amount had reached £44,000, 
but in 1857 Miss Nightingale desired that 
the list should be closed and help be given 
instead to our French Allies, who were then 
suffering from the terrible floods that laid waste 
their country in that year. 

And whatever she commanded, of course, was 
done. Alike in England and in the Crimea, her 
influence was potent for all good. 

She herself was still busy nursing some of the 
Roman Catholic members of her staff in the huts 
on the snowclad heights of Balaclava, and how 
heartily she valued them may be judged from 
these closing sentences of a letter to their 
Reverend Mother : — 

" You know that I shall do everything I can 

* I know not whether this was the man whose arm she had 
saved ; probably many others echoed his feeling, and he was not 
by any means the only soldier who thus reverently greeted her 
passing presence. 



28o FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

for the Sisters whom you have left me. T will 
care for them as if they were my own children. 
But it will not be like you." 

Not very far from the sanatorium on the 
heights above Balaclava, two new camp hospitals 
had been put up, and while superintending the 
nursing there, our Lady-in-Chief lived in a three- 
roomed hut with a medical store attached to it, 
where she was quite near to sanatorium and 
hospitals. She and the three Sisters who were 
with her had not very weather-proof quarters. 
One of them, whose letters are full of interest, 
tells of their waking one morning to find them- 
selves covered with snow, and leading a life of 
such adventurous simplicity that when the 
Protestant chaplain brought some eggs tied up in 
a handkerchief the gift was regarded as princely ! 
Happily, they were able to reward the gentleman 
by washing his neckties, and ironing them with 
an ingenious makeshift for the missing flat-iron, 
in the shape of a teapot filled with hot water. 
Every night everything in the huts froze, even to 
the ink. But Miss Nightingale tells how brave 




^wi. 



- . / 





Q 



(L) 



fcuo 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 281 

and entirely self-forgetful the Sisters were under 
every hardship and privation. 

By those v^ho have never had the privilege of 
knowing such women intimately, her affection for 
them may be the better understood from the 
following graphic letter written by Lord 
Napier : — 

" At an early period of my life I held a 
diplomatic position under Lord Stratford de 
Redcliffe in Constantinople. During the 
distress of the Crimean War the Ambassador 
called me one morning and said : ' Go down to 
the port ; you will find a ship there loaded with 
Jewish exiles — Russian subjects from the Crimea. 
It is your duty to disembark them. The Turks 
will give you a house in which they may be 
placed. I turn them over entirely to you.' I 
went down to the shore and received about two 
hundred persons, the most miserable objects that 
could be witnessed, most of them old men, 
women, and children. I placed them in the cold, 
ruinous lodging allocated to them by the Ottoman 
authorities. I went back to the Ambassador and 



282 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

said : ' Your Excellency, these people are cold, 
and I have no fuel or blankets. They are hungry, 
and I have no food. They are dirty, and I have 
no soap. Their hair is in an indescribable 
condition, and I have no combs. What am I to 
do with these people .? ' ' Do ? ' said the 
Ambassador. ' Get a couple of Sisters of Mercy ; 
they will put all to right in a moment.' I went, 
saw the Mother Superior, and explained the case. 
I asked for two Sisters. She ordered two from 
her presence to follow me. They were ladies of 
refinement and intellect. I was a stranger and a 
Protestant, and I invoked their assistance for the 
benefit of the Jews. Yet these two women made 
up their bundles and followed me through 
the rain, without a look, a whisper, a sign of 
hesitation. From that moment my fugitives 
were saved. I witnessed the labours of those 
Sisters for months, and they never endeavoured 
to make a single convert." 

The military men were not less enthusi- 
astic. When Colonel Connolly, brother-in- 
law to Mr. Bruin, of Carlow, was travelling. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 283 

after his return from the war, near the Bruin 
estate, a fellow-traveller spoke disrespectfully 
of nuns. The colonel, a Protestant, not only 
made a warm defence of the ladies who had 
nursed him in Russia and Ottoman regions, and 
for their sakes of all other nuns, but handed the 
assailant his card, saying : " If you say another 
word against these saintly gentlewomen I shall 
call you out." The slanderer subsided very 
quickly. 

Sister Aloysius, one of those very Sisters who 
were with Miss Nightingale in the huts, has 
written in her " Memories of the Crimea " : — 

" It was said at one time that the War Office 
was on the point of issuing a mandate forbidding 
us to speak even to the Catholic soldiers on 
religion, or to say a prayer for them. However, 
that mandate never came ; we often thought the 
guardian angels of the soldiers prevented it." 

It made no difference to the loyalty of their 
work together that Miss Nightingale was not a 
Roman Catholic ; they all obeyed the Master who 
has taught that it is not the way in which He is 



2S4 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

addressed that matters, but whether we help those 
whom He gave His life to help, and in loving 
and serving whom, we love and serve Him. 

So in London and in Balaclava the good of her 
influence was felt. In London the funds mounted, 
and at Balaclava the excellent work among the 
soldiers still went on. 

Her very presence among the men helped to 
keep them sober and diligent, and in every way 
at their best, in those first months of victory 
when heads are only too easily turned. And she 
had the reward she most desired, for she was able 
to speak of these brave fellows — the nameless 
heroes of the long campaign — as having been 
" uniformly quiet and well-bred." Those words, 
it is true, were spoken of the men attending the 
reading-huts ; but they are quite in line with her 
more general verdict with regard to Tommy ; 
though, alas, we cannot stretch them to cover 
his behaviour at the canteens, where we are told 
that much drunkenness prevailed. 

She had advanced money for the building of a 
coffee-house at Inkermann, and had helped the 
chaplain to get maps and slates for his school 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 285 

work, and the bundles of magazines and illus- 
trated papers, sent out from England in answer 
to her appeal, as well as books sent out by the 
Duchess of Kent, cheered and brightened many 
a long hour for the men. She was always on 
the alert to help them about sending home their 
pay, and quick to care for the interests of their 
wives and children. 

Before she left the Crimea, her hut was beset 
by fifty or sixty poor women who had been left 
behind when their husbands sailed for home 
with their regiments. They had followed their 
husbands to the war without leave and, having 
proved themselves useful, had been allowed to 
remain. And now they were left alone in a 
strange land and, but for Florence Nightingale, 
the end of the story might have been bitter 
sorrow. But she managed to get them sent 
home in a British ship. 

Many a mother at home must already have 
blessed her ; for reckless boys who had enlisted, 
without the sanction of their families, had again 
and again been by her persuaded to write home, 
and in the first months of the war she had 



286 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

actually undertaken to stamp for the men any 
letters home which were sent to her camp. And 
at Scutari she had arranged a provisional money- 
order office where, four afternoons in each week, 
she received from the men the pay which she 
encouraged them to send home. When we are 
told that, in small sums, about jri,ooo passed 
through this office month by month, we realize 
dimly something of the labour involved, and 
thinking of all her other cares and labours, which 
were nevertheless not allowed to stand in the 
way of such practical thoughtfulness as this, we 
do not wonder that " the services " loved her 
with a love that was akin to worship. The 
money, as she herself says, " was literally so 
much rescued from the canteens and from 
drunkenness ; " and the Government, following 
her lead, had themselves established money-order 
offices later at Scutari, Balaclava, Constantinople, 
and the Headquarters, Crimea. 

It is not surprising that, in the " Old Country," 
songs were dedicated to her as " the good angel 
of Derbyshire," and that her very portrait be- 
came a popular advertisement. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 287 

And we have it on good authority that her 
name was revered alike by English, French, 
Turks, and Russians. 

The Treaty of Peace was signed at Paris on 
March 30, 1856, and on July 12 General 
Codrington formally gave up Sebastopol and 
Balaclava to the Russians. When the last rem- 
nant of our army was ordered home and the 
hospitals were finally closed, Florence Nightin- 
gale was for the first time willing to leave a post 
which she had held so bravely and so long. But 
before she left she wished to leave a memorial 
to the brave men who had fallen, and the brave 
women, her comrades, who had died upon that 
other battlefield where disease, and Death himself, 
must be wrestled with on behalf of those who 
are nursed and tended. 

And so it comes to pass that among the visible 
tokens which the war has left behind, is a 
gigantic white marble cross erected by Florence 
Nightingale upon the sombre heights of Bala- 
clava, where it still opens wide its arms for 
every gleam of golden sunlight, every reflected 
shimmer, through the dark night, of silvery moon 



288 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and star, to hearten the sailors voyaging north- 
ward and mark a prayer for the brave men and 
women who toiled and suffered there. It is 
inscribed with the words in Italian, " Lord, have 
mercy upon us." But while she herself asked 
only mercy for herself and others, that human 
shortcomings might be forgiven, her compatriots 
were uniting to do her honour. 

On December 20, 1855, the Morning Post 
printed the following announcement : — 

" The country will experience much satisfac- 
tion, though no surprise, on learning, as we 
believe we are correct in stating, that Her 
Majesty the Queen has, in a manner as honour- 
able to herself as it must be gratifying to her 
people, been pleased to mark her warm apprecia- 
tion of the unparalleled self-devotion of the good 
Miss Nightingale. The Queen has transmitted 
to that lady a jewelled ornament of great beauty, 
which may be worn as a decoration, and has 
accompanied it with an autograph letter — such 
a letter as Queen Victoria has ere now proved 
she can write — a letter not merely of graceful 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 289 

acknowledgment, but full of that deep feeling 
which speaks from heart to heart, and at once 
ennobles the sovereign and the subject." 

Of the symbolic meaning of this jewel the 
following exposition appeared in the issue of 
January 15, 1856, of the same paper : — 

" The design of the jewel is admirable, and 
the effect no less brilliant than chaste. It is 
characteristic and emblematical — being formed 
of a St. George's cross in ruby-red enamel, on a 
white field — representing England. This is 
encircled by a black band, typifying the office 
of Charity, on which is inscribed a golden legend, 
' Blessed are the merciful.' The Royal donor is 
expressed by the letters ' V. R.' surmounted by 
a crown in diamonds, impressed upon the centre 
of the St. George's cross, from which also rays 
of gold emanating upon the field of white enamel 
are supposed to represent the glory of England. 
While spreading branches of palm, in bright 
green enamel, tipped with gold, form a frame- 
work for the shield, their stems at the bottom 

(1,764) ig 



290 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

being banded with a ribbon of blue enamel (the 
colour of the ribbon for the Crimean medal), 
on which, in golden letters, is inscribed ' Crimea.' 
At the top of the shield, between the palm 
branches, and connecting the whole, three 
brilliant stars of diamonds illustrate the idea 
of the light of heaven shed upon the labours 
of Mercy, Peace, and Charity, in connection 
with the glory of a nation. On the back of thif 
Royal jewel is an inscription on a golden tablet, 
written by Her Majesty . . . recording it to be 
a gift and testimonial in memory of services 
rendered to her brave army by Miss Nightingale. 
The jewel is about three inches in depth by two 
and a half in width. It is to be worn, not as a 
brooch or ornament, but rather as the badge of 
an order. We believe the credit of the design 
is due to the illustrious consort of Her Majesty." 

Punchy of course, had always taken the liveliest 
interest in Miss Nightingale's work, and having 
begun with friendly jesting, he ended with a 
tribute so tender in its grave beauty that it 
would hardly have been out of place in a 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 291 

church window ; for below a sketch of Florence 
Nightingale herself, holding a wounded soldier 
by the hand, and with the badge of Scutari 
across her breast, was a vision of the Good 
Samaritan. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Htr citizenship — Her initiative — Public recognition and gratitude — 
Her return incognito — Village excitement — The country's wel- 
come — Miss Nightingale^ s broken health — Th£ Nightingale 
Fund — St. Thoma^s Hospital — Reform of nursing as a 
profession. 

It may be fairly supposed that even those 
benighted Philistines whose mockery had at the 
outset been of a less innocent quality than 
Punch's gentle fun, now found it expedient to 
alter their tone, and if their objections had been 
mere honest stupidity, they were probably both 
convinced of their past folly and a good deal 
ashamed. 

For Britain was very proud of the daughter 
who had become so mighty a power for good in 
the State. The Sister of Mercy whom Miss 
Nightingale used laughingly to call "her Cardinal " 
had responded on one occasion by addressing her 
with equal affection as " Your Holiness," and the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 293 

nickname was not altogether inappropriate, for 
her advice in civic and hygienic matters had an 
authority which might well be compared with 
that which the Pope himself wielded on theo- 
logical questions. 

Among the doctors at Scutari was a friend of 
General Evatt, from whom he had many facts at 
first-hand, and it was therefore not without 
knowledge that, in his conversation with me on 
the subject, the latter confirmed and strengthened 
all that has already been written of Miss Nightin- 
gale's mental grasp and supreme capacity. To 
him, knowing her well, and knowing well also 
the facts, she was the highest embodiment of 
womanhood and of citizenship. Yet, while he 
talked, my heart ached for her, thinking of the 
womanly joys of home and motherhood which 
were not for her, and all the pure and tender 
romance which woman bears in her inmost 
soul, even when, as in this noble instance, it is 
transmuted by the will of God and the woman's 
own obedient will into service of other homes 
and other lives. 

Perhaps I may here be allowed to quote a 



294 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

sentence from Mrs. Tooley's admirable life of 
our heroine ; for it could not have been better 
expressed : " No one would wish to exempt from 
due praise even the humblest of that * Angel 
Band ' who worked with Florence Nightingale, 
and still less would she, but in every great cause 
there is the initiating genius who stands in 
solitary grandeur above the rank and file of 
followers." 

Nor was official recognition of the country's 
debt to Miss Nightingale in any wise lack- 
ing. When the Treaty of Peace was under 
discussion in the House of Lords, Lord EUes- 
mere made it an opportunity for the following 
tribute : — 

" My Lords, the agony of that time has 
become a matter of history. The vegetation 
of two successive springs has obscured the 
vestiges of Balaclava and of Inkermann. Strong 
voices now answer to the roll-call, and sturdy 
forms now cluster round the colours. The 
ranks are full, the hospitals are empty. The 
Angel of Mercy still lingers to the last on the 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 295 

scene of her labours ; but her mission is all but 
accomplished. Those long arcades of Scutari, 
in which dying men sat up to catch the sound 
of her footstep or the flutter of her dress, and 
fell back on the pillow content to have seen 
her shadow as it passed, are now comparatively 
deserted. She may probably be thinking how 
to escape, as best she may, on her return, the 
demonstrations of a nation's appreciation of 
the deeds and motives of Florence Nightin- 
gale." 

And in the House of Commons Mr. Sidney 
Herbert said : " I have received, not only from 
medical men, but from many others who have 
had an opportunity of making observations, 
letters couched in the highest possible terms of 
praise. I will not repeat the words, but no 
higher expressions of praise could be applied to 
woman, for the wonderful energy, the wonder- 
ful tact, the wonderful tenderness, combined 
with the extraordinary self-devotion, which have 
been displayed by Miss Nightingale." 

Lord Ellesmere was right when he hinted 



296 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

that Miss Nightingale would be likely to do her 
best to escape all public fuss on her return. The 
Government had offered her a British man-of- 
war to take her home ; but it was not her way 
to accept any such outward pomp, and, almost 
before people knew what had happened, it was 
found that she had travelled quietly home as 
Miss Smith in a French vessel, visiting in Paris 
her old friends the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, 
and finding that by having embarked at night, 
at a moment when Scutari was not looking for 
her departure, her little ruse had been very 
successful. An eager people had not recognized 
under the passing incognito of Miss Smith, travel- 
ling with her aunt, Mrs. Smith, the great 
Florence Nightingale whose return they had 
wished to celebrate. The village gossips at Lea 
Hurst have it that " the closely veiled lady in 
black, who slipped into her father's house by the 
back door, was first recognized by the family 
butler," and it seems a pity to spoil such a 
picturesque tradition by inquiring into it too 
closely. 

There was great joy among the villagers that 




I I II ii I I i iiimiitflii 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 297 

" Miss Florence had come home from the wars," 
but it was understood that she wished to be quiet, 
and that bonfires and such-like rejoicings were 
out of the question. 

Along the roads near Lea Hurst came troops 
of people from Derby and Nottingham, and even 
from Manchester, hoping to catch a glimpse of 
her ; and there is in one of the biographies a 
vivid account, given by the old lady who kept 
the lodge gates, of how the park round Lea 
Hurst was beset by these lingering crowds, how 
men came without arms or without legs, hoping 
to see the Queen of Nurses. " But," added the 
old lady, " the squire wasn't a-going to let Miss 
Florence be made a staring-stock of." And, 
indeed, " Miss Florence " must have been in great 
need of repose, though never to the end of her 
life would it seem that she was allowed to have 
much of it ; for the very fruitfulness of her 
work made work multiply upon her hands, and 
her friend Mrs. Sidney Herbert knew her well 
when she said that to Florence Nightingale the 
dearest guerdon of work already done was the gift 
of more work still to do. 



298 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Perhaps we shall never any of us fully know 
what it must have been to one so abounding in 
spiritual energy and world-wide compassion to 
have to learn slowly and painfully, through the 
years that followed, what must henceforth be the 
physical limitations of her life. When we think 
of the long, careful training that had been given 
to her fine gifts of eye and hand in the art that 
she loved — for she rightly regarded nursing as an 
art — an art in which every movement must be a 
skilled and disciplined movement — we may divine 
something of what it cost to bear, without one 
murmur of complaint, what she might so easily 
have been tempted to regard as a lifelong waste 
of faculty. Instead of allowing herself to dwell 
on any such idea, gradually, as the knowledge 
dawned on her of what she must forego, she 
gave herself, with tenfold power in other 
directions, to work which could be achieved 
from an invalid's couch, and thus helped and 
guided others in that art all over the world. 

Among the greetings which pleased her 
most on her first return to England was an 
address from the workmen of Newcastle-on- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 299 

Tyne, to whom she replied in the following 
letter : — 

August 23, 1856. 

" My Dear Friends, — I wish it were in my 
power to tell you what was in my heart when I 
received your letter. 

" Your welcome home, your sympathy with 
what has been passing while I have been absent, 
have touched me more than I can tell in words. 
My dear friends, the things that are the deepest 
in our hearts are perhaps what it is most difficult 
for us to express. ' She hath done what she 
could.' These words I inscribed on the tomb of 
one of my best helpers when I left Scutari. It 
has been my endeavour, in the sight of God, to do 
as she has done. 

" I will not speak of reward when permitted 
to do our country's work — it is what we live 
for — but I may say to receive sympathy from 
affectionate hearts like yours is the greatest sup- 
port, the greatest gratification, that it is possible 
for me to receive from man. 

" I thank you all, the eighteen hundred, with 
grateful, tender affection. And I should have 



300 FLORENCE NIGHTIIslGALE. 

written before to do so, were not the business, 
which my return home has not ended, been 
almost more than I can manage. — Pray believe 
me, my dear friends, yours faithfully and 
gratefully, Florence Nightingale." 

Among the tokens of regard which the late 
Duke of Devonshire brought to his old friend on 
her return, when he drove over from Chatsworth 
to Lea Hurst to see her after her long, eventful 
absence, was a little silver owl, a sort of souvenir, 
I suppose, of her beloved little " Athena," whose 
death she had felt so keenly when leaving for the 
Crimea. Queen Victoria and the young princesses 
were eager to welcome Miss Nightingale to Bal- 
moral ; and in looking back on her little visit 
there, which seems to have been a happiness on 
both sides, it is interesting to see how her 
influence told upon the Crown Princess and 
Princess Alice in their later organization of 
hospital work, and to be reminded by Mrs. 
Tooley, whose words we here venture to quote, 
that the " tiny Princess Helena was to become 
in after years an accomplished nurse, and an 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 301 

active leader in the nursing movement of this 
country ; and, alas, to yield her soldier son on 
the fatal field of South Africa." 

Meanwhile, before and after this visit. Miss 
Nightingale was quietly receiving her own friends 
and neighbours at Lea Hurst, and entertaining 
little parties of villagers from among the rustics 
she had so long known and loved. Rich and 
poor alike were all so eager to do her honour 
that it is impossible to speak separately of all the 
many forms which their expressions of gratitude 
took. They included a gift from the workmen 
of Sheffield as well as from her own more 
immediate neighbours, and found their climax 
in the fund pressed upon her by a grateful 
nation, and for convenience called the Nightin- 
gale Fund, which was still awaiting its final 
disposal. 

Meanwhile, imagine the importance of the ex- 
drummer-boy Thomas, her devoted servant and 
would-be defender at Balaclava, promoted now 
to be " Miss Nightingale's own man " in her 
home at Lea Hurst — an even more exciting 
presence to the villagers than the Russian hound 



302 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

which was known through the country-side as 
" Miss Florence's Crimean dog." 

There were still living, we are told, when Mrs. 
Tooley wrote her delightful record, a few old 
people round about Lea Hurst who remembered 
those great days of " Miss Florence's return," 
and the cannon balls and bullets they had seen as 
trophies, the dried flowers gathered at Scutari, 
and Thomas's thrilling stories, for if he had not 
himself been present in the famous charge at 
Balaclava, he did at least know all about it at 
first-hand. 

So little did any one dream that Miss Night- 
ingale's health had been permanently shattered 
that when the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1857, 
she offered to go out to her friend Lady Canning, 
and organize a nursing staff for the troops. And 
while, with her customary business-like clearness, 
she proceeded to draw up a detailed account of 
all the private gifts entrusted to her for the 
Crimea, and took the opportunity of putting on 
record her tribute to Lord Raglan, the final 
arrangements with regard to the Nightingale 
Fund were still for a time held in suspense, in 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 303 

the hope that she would so far recover strength 
as to be able to take into her own hands the 
government of that institution for the training of 
hospital nurses, to which it was to be devoted. 
When her friend Mr. Herbert talked gaily in 
public of chaining her to the oar for the rest of 
her life, that she might " raise the system of 
nursing to a pitch of efficiency never before 
known," he did not foresee that the invisible 
chain, which was to bruise her eager spirit, was 
to be of a kind so much harder to bear. But 
when, in i860, her health showed no signs of 
recovery, she definitely handed over to others 
the management of the fund, only reserving to 
herself the right to advise. Her friend Mr. 
Herbert was, up to the time of his death, the 
guiding spirit of the council, and it gave Miss 
Nightingale pleasure that St. Thomas's Hospital 
should from the outset be associated with the 
scheme, because that hospital had originated in 
one of the oldest foundations in the country for 
the relief of the sick poor, and in choosing it for 
the training of lay sisters as nurses, its earliest 
tradition was being continued. The work of 



304 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

the fund began at St. Thomas's in i860, in 
the old building near London Bridge, before it 
moved into its present palace at Westminster, 
of which the Nightingale Training Home is a 
part. In those first early days an upper floor 
was arranged for the nurses in a new part of the 
old hospital, with a bedroom for each probationer, 
two rooms for the Sister-in-charge, and a sitting- 
room in which all shared. As the result of the 
advertisement for candidates in i860, fifteen pro- 
bationers were admitted in June, the first super- 
intendent being Mrs. Wardroper. The proba- 
tioners were, of course, under the authority of the 
matron, and subject to the rules of the hospital. 
They were to give help in the wards and receive 
teaching from the Sisters and medical staff, and if 
at the end of the year they passed their examina- 
tion, they were to be registered as certified 
nurses. 

Thanks to Miss Nightingale and other pioneers, 
the fifty years that have passed since then have 
made Mrs. Grundy a little less Grundyish, but 
in those days she considered the whole business 
a terrible venture, and was too much occupied 




o 
o 



O 2 



X 






X 



-en ^ 









FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 305 

with the idea of possible love affairs between the 
doctors and nurses to realize what good work 
was being done. The first year was a very 
anxious one for Miss Nightingale, but all the 
world knows now how her experiment has 
justified itself and how her prayers have been 
answered ; for it was in prayer that she found 
her " quietness and confidence " through those 
first months of tension when the enemy was 
watching and four probationers had to be dis- 
missed, though their ranks were speedily filled 
up by others. 

At the end of the year, from among those who 
were placed on the register, six received appoint- 
ments at St. Thomas's and two took work in 
infirmaries. There was special need of good 
nurses in workhouse infirmaries, and there was 
also throughout the whole country a crying need 
for nurses carefully trained in midwifery : lack of 
knowledge, for instance, had greatly increased 
the danger of puerperal fever, a scourge against 
which Miss Nightingale was one of the first 
to contend ; and it had been wisely decided that 

while two-thirds of the fund should go to the 
(1.764) 20 



3o6 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

work at St. Thomas's, one-third should be used 
for special training of nurses in these branches at 
King's College. 

" How has the tone and state of hospital nurses 
been raised ? " Miss Nightingale asks in her little 
book on "Trained Nursing for the Sick Poor," 
published in 1876. 

" By, more than anything else, making the 
hospital such a home as good young women — 
educated young women — can live and nurse in ; 
and, secondly, by raising hospital nursing into 
such a profession as these can earn an honourable 
livelihood in." 

In her " Notes on Hospitals," published in 
1859, she pointed out what she considered the 
four radical defects in hospital construction — 
namely : — 

1. The agglomeration of a large number of 

sick under the same roof. 

2. Deficiency of space. 

3. Deficiency of ventilation. 

4. Deficiency of light. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 307 

How magnificently builders have since learned 
to remedy such defects may be seen in the 
Nightingale Wing of St. Thomas's Hospital. 

The block system on which St. Thomas's 
Hospital is built is what Miss Nightingale has 
always recommended, each block being divided 
from the next by a space of 125 feet, across 
which runs a double corridor by means of which 
they communicate with one another. Each has 
three tiers of wards above the ground floor. 

The six blocks in the centre are those used for 
patients, that at the south for the lecture-rooms 
and a school of medicine, the one at the north, 
adjoining Westminster Bridge, for the official 
staff. From Lambeth Palace to Westminster 
Bridge, with a frontage of 1,700 feet, the 
hospital extends ; and there would be room in 
the operating theatre for 600 students. In the 
special wing in one of the northern blocks, 
reserved for the Nightingale Home and Training 
School for Nurses, everything has been ordered 
in accordance with Miss Nightingale's wishes. 

To-day the whole status of nursing in Britain 
and British dominions is recognized as that of an 



3o8 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

honoured and certified profession, and year by 
year, at St. Thomas's alone, thirty probationers 
are trained, of whom fifteen pay ^i, is. a week 
for the privilege, whereas to the other fifteen it 
is given gratuitously. At St. Thomas's were 
trained nurses who were among the earliest to 
be decorated with the Red Cross, that inter- 
national badge of good army nursing throughout 
the world which, indirectly as well as directly, 
owed much to Miss Nightingale. How warmly, 
even arduously, Miss Nightingale shared in the 
trials and joys and adventures of her nurses, comes 
out very clearly in some of her letters to one of 
them, whom, as a personal friend and one of the 
first nine to receive the Red Cross, she playfully 
named " her Cape of Good Hope." Those tender 
and intimate letters, which I will not name 
emotional, because she who wrote them had 
justified emotion by ever translating it into 
useful work, made me feel to an almost startling 
degree her warm, eager, dominating personality 
with its extraordinary mingling of utmost modesty 
and pleading authority. To me that personality 
seems to win the heart of the coldest and dullest 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 309 

by its ardent enthusiasm and humility, and those 
unpublished letters, which I was privileged to 
read, brought home to me how Miss Nightingale 
— then an invalid of sixty-two — literally lived in 
the life of those pioneer nurses whom she had 
inspired and sent forth. 

It is easy to see in them how much she feared 
for her nurses any innocent little trip of the tongue, 
with regard to the rest of the staff, which might 
set rolling the dangerous ball of hospital gossip. 
She puts the duty of obedience and forbearance 
on the highest grounds, and she draws a useful 
distinction between the sham dignity which we all 
know in the hatefulness of " the superior person," 
and the true dignity which tries to uplift those 
less fortunate, rather than self-indulgently to lean 
on them or make to them foolish confidences. 

And while she is all aglow with sympathy for 
every detail of a nurse's work, she entreats her 
friend to " let no want of concord or discretion 
appear to mar that blessed work. And let no 
one," she adds, " be able justly to say what was 
said to me last month, * It is only Roman Catholic 
vows that can keep Sisters together.' " 



310 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

What she wrote when asking for recruits for 
St. Thomas's at the outset still remains the basis 
of the ideal held there. " We require," she 
wrote, "that a woman be sober, honest, truthful, 
without which there is no foundation on which 
to build. 

" We train her in habits of punctuality, quiet- 
ness, trustworthiness, personal neatness. We 
teach her how to manage the concerns of a large 
ward or establishment. We train her in dressing 
wounds and other injuries, and in performing all 
those minor operations which nurses are called 
upon day and night to undertake. 

" We teach her how to manage helpless 
patients in regard to moving, changing, feeding, 
temperature, and the prevention of bedsores. 

" She has to make and apply bandages, line 
splints, and the like. She must know how to 
make beds with as little disturbance as possible 
to their inmates. She is instructed how to wait 
at operations, and as to the kind of aid the 
surgeon requires at her hands. She is taught 
cooking for the sick ; the principle on which 
sick wards ought to be cleansed, aired, and 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 311 

warmed ; the management of convalescents ; and 
how to observe sick and maimed patients, so as 
to give an intelligent and truthful account to the 
physician or surgeon in regard to the progress 
of cases in the intervals between visits — a much 
more difficult thing than is generally supposed. 

" We do not seek to make ' medical women,' 
but simply nurses acquainted with the principle 
which they are required constantly to apply at 
the bedside. 

" For the future superintendent is added a 
course of instruction in the administration of a 
hospital, including, of course, the linen arrange- 
ments, and what else is necessary for a matron to 
be conversant with. 

" There are those who think that all this is 
intuitive in women, that they are born so, or, at 
least, that it comes to them without training. 
To such we say, by all means send us as many 
such geniuses as you can, for we are sorely in 
want of them." 



CHAPTER XX. 

William Rathbone — Agnes Jones — Infirmaries — Nursing in the 
homes of the poor — Municipal work — Homely power of Miss 
Nightingale^ s writings — Lord Herbert's death. 

A WORD must here be said of Mr. William Rath- 
bone's work in Liverpool. After the death of 
his first wife, realizing the comfort and help 
that had been given during her last illness by a 
trained nurse, he determined to do what he could 
to bring aid of the same kind into the homes of 
the poor, where the need was often so much 
more terrible. This brought him into touch 
with Miss Nightingale, who advised him to 
start a school of nursing in connection with the 
Liverpool Hospital. These two friends — for they 
soon became trusted and valued friends, each to 
each — were both people of prompt and efficient 
action, and one step led to another, until Liver- 
pool had not only an important school of nurses 
for the sick poor, but also led the way throughout 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 313 

the country in the reform of the hitherto scan- 
dalous nursing in workhouse infirmaries. Mr. 
Rathbone set his mind on securing the services 
of Miss Agnes Elizabeth Jones to help him in 
his work, a woman of character as saintly as his 
own, and the difference in their religious outlook 
only made more beautiful their mutual relations 
in this great work. 

Miss Agnes Jones, who has already been men- 
tioned more than once in these pages, left an un- 
dying record on England's roll of honour. It was 
of her that in 1868 Miss Nightingale wrote*: — 

" A woman attractive and rich, and young 
and witty ; yet a veiled and silent woman, 
distinguished by no other genius but the divine 
genius — working hard to train herself in order 
to train others to walk in the footsteps of Him 
who went about doing good. . . . She died, as 
she had lived, at her post in one of the largest 
workhouse infirmaries in this kingdom — the first 
in which trained nursing has been introduced. . . . 



* (( 



' Introduction to Memorials of Agnes Elizabeth Jones." Re- 
printed from Good Words for June 1868. Florence Nightingale, 



314 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

When her whole life and image rise before me, 
so far from thinking the story of Una and her 
lion a myth, I say here is Una in real flesh and 
blood — Una and her paupers far more untamable 
than lions. In less than three years she had 
reduced one of the most disorderly hospital pop- 
ulations in the world to something like Christian 
discipline, and had converted a vestry to the con- 
viction of the economy as well as humanity of 
nursing pauper sick by trained nurses." 

And it was in introducing a book about the 
Liverpool Home and School for Nurses that she 
wrote : — 

" Nursing, especially that most important of 
all its branches — nursing of the sick poor at home 
— is no amateur work. To do it as it ought 
to be done requires knowledge, practice, self- 
abnegation, and, as is so well said here, direct 
obedience to and activity under the highest of all 
masters and from the highest of all motives. It 
is an essential part of the daily service of the 
Christian Church. It has never been otherwise. 
It has proved itself superior to all religious divi- 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 315 

sions, and is destined, by God's blessing, to supply 
an opening the great value of which, in our 
densely populated towns, has been unaccountably 
overlooked until within these few years." 

As early as 1858 Miss Nightingale published 
" Notes on Matters affecting the Health, Effi- 
ciency, and Hospital Administration of the 
British Army," and the commission on this 
subject appointed in 1857 set a high value on 
her evidence. 

Something of the development that followed 
along both these lines — that of army reform and 
of nursing among the submerged — may be 
gleaned from the following clear statement of 
fact which appeared during the South African 
War, on May 21, 1900, in a great London 
daily : — 

" In the forty and more years that have elapsed 
since her return, Miss Nightingale has seen the 
whole system of army nursing and hospitals 
transformed. Netley, which has been visited 
by the Queen again this week, was designed by 
her, and for the next largest, namely, the Her- 



3i6 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

bert Hospital, Woolwich, she assisted and advised 
Sir Douglas Galton in his plans. 

" There is not a naval or military hospital on 
any of the foreign stations or depots on which 
she has not been consulted, and matters concern- 
ing the health and well-being of both services 
have been constantly brought before her. Dis- 
trict nursing owes much to her, and in this 
connection may be cited a few lines from a letter 
which she wrote when Princess Louise, Duchess 
of Argyll, was initiating a movement to establish 
a home for the Queen's Jubilee Nurses in Chis- 
wick and Hammersmith. ' I look upon district 
nursing,' she wrote, ' as one of the most hopeful 
of the agencies for raising the poor, physically 
as well as morally, its province being not only 
nursing the patient, but nursing the room, show- 
ing the family and neighbours how to second the 
nurse, and eminently how to nurse health as well 
as disease.' " 

" Everywhere," we read in Mr. Stephen Paget's 
contribution to the " Dictionary of National Biog- 
raphy," " her expert reputation was paramount," 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 317 

and "during the American Civil War of 1862-4, 
and the Franco-German War of 1 870-1, her 
advice was eagerly sought by the governments 
concerned." The " Dictionary of National Biog- 
raphy " also assures us that " in regard to civil 
hospitals, home nursing, care of poor women in 
childbirth, and sanitation. Miss Nightingale's 
authority stood equally high." 

In what she wrote there was a homely direct- 
ness, a complete absence of anything like pose or 
affectation, which more than doubled her power, 
and was the more charming in a woman of 
such brilliant acquirements and — to quote once 
more Dean Stanley's words — such " com- 
manding genius " ; but, then, genius is of 
its nature opposed to all that is sentimental or 
artificial. 

I believe it is in her " Notes on Nursing for 
the Labouring Classes " that she writes to those 
who are " minding baby " : " One-half of all the 
nurses in service are girls of from five to twenty 
years old. You see you are very important little 
people. Then there are all the girls who are 



3i8 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

nursing mother's baby at home ; and in all these 
cases it seems pretty nearly to come to this, that 
baby's health for its whole life depends upon 
you, girls, more than upon anything else." 
Simple rules, such as a girl of six could under- 
stand, are given for the feeding, washing, dressing, 
nursing, and even amusement of that important 
person, " baby." 

And it is in her best known book of all that 
she says : "The healthiest, happiest, liveliest, most 
beautiful baby I ever saw was the only child of 
a busy laundress. She washed all day in a room 
with the door open upon a larger room, where 
she put the child. It sat or crawled upon the 
floor all day with no other playfellow than a 
kitten, which it used to hug. Its mother kept 
it beautifully clean, and fed it with perfect 
regularity. The child was never frightened at 
anything. The room where it sat was the 
house-place ; and it always gave notice to its 
mother when anybody came in, not by a cry, 
but by a crow. I lived for many months within 
hearing of that child, and never heard it cry day 
or night. I think there is a great deal too much 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 319 

of amusing children now, and not enough of 
letting them amuse themselves." 

What, again, could be more useful in its sim- 
plicity than the following, addressed to working 
mothers : — 

" Dear Hard-working Friends, — I am a 
hard-working woman too. May I speak to 
you ? And will you excuse me, though not a 
mother ? 

" You feel with mc that every mother who 
brings a child into the world has the duty laid 
upon her of bringing up the child in such health 
as will enable him to do the work of his life. 

" But though you toil all day for your children, 
and are so devoted to them, this is not at all an 
easy task. 

" We should not attempt to practise dress- 
making, or any other trade, without any training 
for it ; but it is generally impossible for a woman 
to get any teaching about the management of 
health ; yet health is to be learnt. . . . 

" The cottage homes of England are, after all, 
the most important of the homes of any class ; 



320 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

they should be pure in every sense, pure in body 
and mind. 

" Boys and girls must grow up healthy, with 
clean minds and clean bodies and clean skins. 

" And for this to be possible, the air, the 
earth, and the water that they grow up in and 
have around them must be clean. Fresh air, 
not bad air ; clean earth, not foul earth ; pure 
water, not dirty water ; and the first teachings 
and impressions that they have at home must 
all be pure, and gentle, and firm. It is home 
that teaches the child, after all, more than any 
other schooling. A child learns before it is three 
whether it shall obey its mother or not ; and 
before it is seven, wise men tell us that its 
character is formed. 

" There is, too, another thing — orderliness. 
We know your daily toil and love. May not 
the busiest and hardest life be somewhat light- 
ened, the day mapped out, so that each duty has 
the same hours ? . . . 

" Think what enormous extra trouble it entails 
on mothers when there is sickness. It is worth 
while to try to keep the family in health, to 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 321 

prevent the sorrow, the anxiety, the trouble of 
illness in the house, of which so much can be 
prevented. 

" When a child has lost its health, how often 
the mother says, ' Oh, if I had only known ! 
but there was no one to tell me.' And after 
all, it is health and not sickness that is our 
natural state — the state that God intends for us. 
There are more people to pick us up when we 
fall than to enable us to stand upon our feet. 
God did not intend all mothers to be accom- 
panied by doctors, but He meant all children 
to be cared for by mothers. God bless your 
work and labour of love." 

Or in a widely different field, in that fight 
against one of the most important causes of 
consumption, in which she was so far ahead of 
her time, what could be more clear and con- 
vincing, both in knowledge and in reasoning, than 
the following analysis with regard to army 
barracks : — 

" The cavalry barracks, as a whole, are the 

least overcrowded, and have the freest external 
(i,»64) 21 



322 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

movement of air. Next come the infantry ; and 
the most crowded and the least ventilated 
externally are the Guards' barracks ; so that the 
mortality from consumption, which follows the same 
order of increase in the different arms, augments with 
increase of crowding and difficulty of ventilation.^^ * 

Her own well-trained mind was in extreme 
contrast with the type of mind which she 
describes in the following story : — 

" I remember, when a child, hearing the story 
of an accident, related by some one who sent two 
girls to fetch a ' bottle of sal volatile from her 
room.' 'Mary could not stir,' she said; * Fanny 
ran and fetched a bottle that was not sal volatile, 
and that was not in my room.' " 

All her teaching, so far as I know it, is 
clearly at first-hand and carefully sifted. It is as 
far as possible from that useless kind of doctrine 
which is a mere echo of unthinking hearsay. 
For instance, how many sufferers she must have 
saved from unnecessary irritation by the following 
reminder to nurses : — 

* The italics are added. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 323 

" Of all parts of the body, the face is perhaps 
the one which tells the least to the common 
observer or the casual visitor. 

"I have known patients dying of sheer pain, 
exhaustion, and want of sleep, from one of the 
most lingering and painful diseases known, 
preserve, till within a few days of death, not only 
the healthy colour of the cheek, but the mottled 
appearance of a robust child. And scores of 
times have I heard these unfortunate creatures 
assailed with, * I am glad to see you looking so 
well.' *I see no reason why you should not live 
till ninety years of age.' * Why don't you take a 
little more exercise and amusement ? ' — with all 
the other commonplaces with which we are so 
familiar." 

And then, again, how like her it is to remind 
those who are nursing that " a patient is not 
merely a piece of furniture, to be kept clean and 
arranged against the wall, and saved from injury 
or breakage." 

She was one of the rare people who realized 
that truth of word is partly a question of educa- 



324 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

tion, and that many people are quite unconscious 
of their lack of that difficult virtue. " I know I 
fibbs dreadful," said a poor little servant girl to 
her once. " But believe me, miss, I never finds 
out I have fibbed until they tell me so ! " 
And her comment suggests that in this matter 
that poor little servant girl by no means stood 
alone. 

She worked very hard. Her books and 
pamphlets* were important, and her correspond- 
ence, ever dealing with the reforms she had 
at heart all over the world, was of itself an 
immense output. 

Those who have had to write much from bed 
or sofa know only too well the abnormal fatigue 
it involves, and her labours of this kind seem to 
have been unlimited. 

How strongly she sympathized with all 
municipal efforts, we see in many such letters as 
the one to General Evatt, given him for election- 
eering purposes, but not hitherto included 
in any biography, which we are allowed to 
reproduce here : — 

* A complete list is subjoined in the Appendix. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 325 

" Strenuously desiring, as we all of us must, 
that Administration as well as Politics should 
be well represented in Parliament, and that vital 
matters of social, sanitary, and general interest 
should find their voice, we could desire no better 
representative and advocate of these essential 
matters — matters of life and death — than a man 
who, like yourself, unites with almost exhaustless 
energy and public spirit, sympathy with the 
wronged and enthusiasm with the right, a 
persevering acuteness in unravelling the causes of 
the evil and the good, large and varied experience 
and practical power, limited only by the nature 
of the object for which it is exerted. 

"It is important beyond measure that such a 
man's thoughtful and well-considered opinions 
and energetic voice should be heard in the 
House of Commons. 

"You have my warmest sympathy in your 
candidature for Woolwich, my best wishes that 
you should succeed, even less for your own sake 
than for that of Administration and of England. — 
Pray believe me, ever your faithful servant, 

" Florence Nightingale." 



326 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

And also the following letter written to the 
Buckinghamshire County Council in 1892, 
begging them to appoint a sanitary committee : — 

" We must create a public opinion which will 
drive the Government, instead of the Government 
having to drive us — an enlightened public 
opinion, wise in principles, wise in details. We 
hail the County Council as being or becoming 
one of the strongest engines in our favour, at once 
fathering and obeying the great impulse for 
national health against national and local disease. 
For we have learned that we have national 
health in our own hands — local sanitation, national 
health. But we have to contend against 
centuries of superstition and generations of 
indifference. Let the County Council take 
the lead." 

And how justly, how clearly, she was able to 
weigh the work of those who had borne the 
brunt of sanitary inquiry in the Crimea, with but 
little except kicks for their pains, may be judged 
by the following sentences from a letter to 
Lady Tulloch in 1878 :— 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 327 

" My Dear Lady Tulloch, — I give you joy, 
I give you both joy, for this crowding recognition 
of one of the noblest labours ever done on earth. 
You yourself cannot cling to it more than I do ; 
hardly so much, in one sense, for I saw how^ Sir 
John MacNeill's and Sir A. TuUoch's reporting 
was the salvation of the army in the Crimea. 
Without them everything that happened would 
have been considered * all right.' 

" Mr. Martin's note is perfect, for it does not 
look like an afterthought, nor as prompted by 
others, but as the flow of a generous and able man's 
own reflection, and careful search into authentic 
documents. Thank you again and again for 
sending it to me. It is the greatest consolation I 
could have had. Will you remember me grate- 
fully to Mr. Paget, also to Dr. Balfour ? I look 
back upon these twenty years as if they were yesterday^ 
but also as if they were a thousand years. Success 
be with us and the noble dead — and it has been 
success. — Yours ever, 

"Florence Nightingale." 

We see from this letter how warmly the 



328 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

old memories dwelt with her, even while 
her hands were full of good work for the 
future. 

The death of Lord Herbert in 1868 had been 
a blow that struck very deeply at her health and 
spirits. 

In all her work of army reform she had looked 
up to him as her " Chief," hardly realizing, 
perhaps, how much of the initiating had been her 
own. Their friendship, too, had been almost life- 
long, and in every way ideal. The whole nation 
mourned his loss, but only the little intimate group 
which centred in his wife and children and those 
dearest friends, of whom Miss Nightingale was 
one, knew fully all that the country had lost 
in him. 

It may be worth while for a double reason to 
quote here from Mr. Gladstone's tribute at a 
meeting held to decide on a memorial. 

"To him," said Gladstone, "we owe the com- 
mission for inquiry into barracks and hospitals ; 
to him we are indebted for the reorganization of 
the medical department of the army. To him 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 329 

we owe the commission of inquiry into, and re- 
modelling the medical education of, the army. 
And, lastly, we owe him the commission for 
presenting to the public the vital statistics of 
the army in such a form, from time to time, 
that the great and living facts of the subject are 
brought to view." 

Lord Herbert had toiled with ever-deepening 
zeal to reform the unhealthy conditions to which, 
even in times of peace, our soldiers had been 
exposed — so unhealthy that, while the mortality 
lists showed a death of eight in every thousand for 
civilians, for soldiers the number of deaths was 
seventeen per thousand. And of every two 
deaths in the army it was asserted that one was 
preventable. Lord Herbert was the heart and 
soul of the Royal Commission to inquire into 
these preventable causes, and through his work- 
ing ardour the work branched forth into 
four supplementary commissions concerning 
hospitals and barracks. When he died. Miss 
Nightingale not only felt the pang of parting 
from one of her oldest and most valued friends, but 



330 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

she also felt that in this cause, so specially 
dear to her heart, she had lost a helper who 
could never be replaced, though she dauntlessly 
stood to her task and helped to carry on his 
work. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Multifarious work and many honours— Jubilee Nurses — Nursing 
Association — Death of father and mother — Lady Verney and 
her husband — No respecter of persons — From within four 
walls — South Africa a?td America. 

Her activities were so multitudinous that it is 
difficult even to name them all in such a brief 
sketch as this. Besides those at which we have 
already glanced, prison reform, help to Bosnian 
fugitives, Manchester Police Court Mission for 
Lads, Indian Famine Fund — merely glancing 
down two pages of her biography, I find all 
these mentioned. She was herself, of course, 
decorated with the Red Cross, but M. Henri 
Dunant's magnificent Red Cross scheme for 
helping the wounded on the battlefield may be 
said to have been really the outcome of her own 
work and example. For it was the extension 
of her own activities, by means of the Red Cross 



332 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Societies, which throughout the European con- 
tinent act in concert with their respective armies 
and governments. 

She was the first woman to be decorated with 
the Order of Merit, which was bestowed on her 
in 1907, and in the following year she received, 
as the Baroness Burdett Coutts had done, the 
"Freedom of the City of London," having already 
been awarded, among many like honours, the 
French Gold Medal of Secours aux blesses Mili- 
taires, and the German Order of the Cross of 
Merit. On May 10, 1910, she received the 
badge of honour of the Norwegian Red Cross 
Society. But there was another distinction, 
even more unique, which was already hers. For 
when ;^7o,ooo came into Queen Victoria's hands 
as a gift from the women of her empire at the 
time of her Jubilee, so much had the Queen been 
impressed by the work of the Nursing Associa- 
tion and all that had been done for the sick poor, 
that the interest of this Women's Jubilee Fund, 
^2,000 a year, was devoted to an Institution for 
Training and Maintaining Nurses for the Sick 
Poor ; and the National Association for Providing 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 333 

Trained Nurses, which owed so much to Miss 
Nightingale, was affiliated with it, though it still 
keeps its old headquarters at 23 Bloomsbury 
Square, where for so many years would arrive 
at Christmas from her old home a consign- 
ment of beautiful holly and other evergreens 
for Christmas festivities. H.R.H. the Princess 
Christian is President of the Nursing Associa- 
tion, and Miss Nightingale's old friend and 
fellow-worker, Mr. Henry Bonham Carter, is 
the Secretary. The influence of Miss Florence 
Lees, described by Kinglake as " the gifted 
and radiant pupil of Florence Nightingale," who 
afterwards became Mrs. Dacre Craven, and was 
the first Superintendent-General, has been a 
very vitalizing influence there, and the home 
owes much also to her husband, the Rev. Dacre 
Craven, of St. Andrew's, Holborn. Miss Nightin- 
gale's warm friendship for Miss Florence Lees 
brought her into peculiarly intimate relations with 
the home, and both the Association and the Queen's 
Jubilee Institute are the fruit of Miss Nightingale's 
teaching, and a noble double memorial of the 
national — nay, imperial — recognition of its value. 



334 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

The Royal Pension Fund for Nurses also, in 
which Queen Alexandra was so specially in- 
terested, helped to crown the fulfilment of Miss 
Nightingale's early dream and long, steadfast 
life-work. 

But equally important, though less striking, 
has been the growing harvest of her quiet, 
courteous efforts to help village mothers to 
understand the laws of health, her pioneer-work 
in regard to all the dangers of careless milk-farms, 
her insistence on the importance of pure air as 
well as pure water, though she had always been 
careful to treat the poor man's rooftree as his 
castle and never to cross his doorstep except by 
permission or invitation. 

After the death of her father at Embley in 
1874 — a very peaceful death, commemorated in 
the inscription on his tomb, " In Thy light we 
shall see light," which suggests in him a nature 
at once devout and sincere — she was much with 
her mother, in the old homes at Embley and 
Lea Hurst, though Lea Hurst was the one she 
loved best, and the beech-wood walk in Lea 
Woods, with its radiant shower of golden leaves 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 335 

in the autumn, for which she would sometimes 
delay her leaving, is still specially associated with 
her memory : and her thoughtfulness for the 
poor still expressed itself in many different ways 
— in careful gifts, for instance, through one 
whom she trusted for knowledge and tact; in 
her arrangement that pure milk should be sent 
daily from the home dairy at Lea Hurst to those 
in need of it. 

With faithful love she tended her mother to 
the time of her death in 1880, and there seems 
to be a joyous thanksgiving for that mother's 
beauty of character in the words the two sisters 
inscribed to her memory : " God is love — Bless 
the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His 
benefits." 

After her mother's death, when the property 
had passed into the hands of Mr. William Shore 
Nightingale, she still visited her kinsman there 
and kept up her interest in the people of the 
district. 

Among the outward events of her life, after 
her return from the Crimea, one of the earliest 
had been the marriage of her sister Parthenope, 



336 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

who in 1858 became the second wife of Sir 
Harry Verney,* and her home at Claydon in 
Buckinghamshire was thenceforth a second home 
to Miss Nightingale. It need hardly be said 
that in Sir Harry Verney's various generous 
schemes for the good of the neighbourhood, 
schemes in which his wife cordially co-operated, 
Miss Nightingale took a warm and sympathetic 
pleasure. His keen interest in army reform was, 
of course, a special ground of comradeship. 
Miss Nightingale divided her time chiefly be- 
tween her own home in South Street, Park Lane, 
and visits to the rooms that were reserved for 
her at Claydon. One of her great interests 
while at Claydon, soon after her sister's marriage, 
had been the building of the new Buckingham- 
shire Infirmary in 1 861, of which her sister laid 
the foundation ; and her bust still adorns the 
entrance hall. 

Mrs. Tooley reminds us that not only was 
Lady Verney well known in literary and political 
circles, but also her books on social questions 

* Sir Harry Verney died four years later, and Claydon then 
passed to Sir Edmund Hope Verney, the son of his first marriage. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 337 

had the distinction of being quoted in the House 
of Commons. She gives many interesting details 
with regard to the philanthropic and political 
work of Sir Harry Verney and his family, but 
it is hardly necessary to duplicate them here, 
since her book is still available. Lady Verney's 
death in 1890, after a long and painful illness, 
following on that of her father and mother, 
bereaved Miss Nightingale of a lifelong compan- 
ionship, and might have left her very lonely but 
for her absorbing work and her troops of friends. 

How fruitful that work was we may dimly 
see when we remember that — to instance one 
branch of it only — in ten years the death-rate 
in the army in India, which her efforts so deter- 
minately strove to lessen, fell from sixty-nine per 
thousand to eighteen per thousand.* She strove — 
and not in vain — to improve the sanitary condi- 
tions of immense areas of undrained country, but 
she also endeavoured to bring home to the rank 
and file of the army individual teaching. 

She gives in one of her pamphlets a delightful 
story of men who came to a district in India 

* " Life of Florence Nightingale," by Sarah Tooley, p. 295. 
(1,7M) 22 



338 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

supposed to be fatal to any new-comer, but, strong 
in their new hygienic knowledge, determined not 
to have cholera. They lived carefully, they grew 
their own garden produce, they did not give way 
to fear, and all^ without exception, escaped. 

To return for a moment to Britain, since a 
separate chapter is reserved for India. She was 
before her day in contending that foul air was 
one of the great causes of consumption and other 
diseases. And her teaching was ever given with 
courtesy and consideration. How strongly she 
felt on this and kindred subjects, and how prac- 
tical her help was, we see clearly in her letters 
and pamphlets. She delighted in making festivi- 
ties for companies of nurses and of her other 
hard-working friends. And in St. Paul's fine 
sense of the phrase, she was no " respecter of 
persons " : she reverenced personality, not acci- 
dental rank. She had no patience with those 
visiting ladies who think they may intrude at 
all hours of the day into the homes of the poor, 
and her quick sense of humour delighted in 
many of the odd speeches which would have 
shocked the prim and conventional. She thought 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 339 

the highest compliment ever paid to her staff 
of nurses who visited in the homes of the poor 
was the speech of the grubby ragamuffin, who 
seemed to think they could wash off even the 
blackness of the Arch-fiend and, when being 
scrubbed, cried out, " You may bathe the divil." 

But with all her fun and relish of life, how 
sane, how practical, she was ! 

Do you remember how she laughed at the 
silly idea that nothing was needed to make a 
good nurse except what the " Early Victorian " 
used to call " a disappointment in love " ? 

Here are other of her shrewd sayings from 
her Nursing Notes: — 

" Another extraordinary fallacy is the dread 
of night air. What air can we breathe at night 
but night air ? The choice is between pure 
night air from without and foul air from within. 
Most people prefer the latter. . . . Without 
cleanliness within and without your house, ven- 
tilation is comparatively useless. . . . And now, 
you think these things trifles, or at least ex- 
aggerated. But what you ' think ' or what I 



340 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

'think' matters little. Let us see what God 
thinks of them. God always justifies His ways. 
While we are thinking, He has been teaching. 
I have known cases of hospital pyaemia quite as 
severe in handsome private houses as in any of 
the worst hospitals, and from the same cause — 
viz., foul air. Yet nobody learnt the lesson. 
Nobody learnt anything at all from it. They 
went on thinking — thinking that the sufferer had 
scratched his thumb, or that it was singular that 
' all the servants ' had ' whitlows,' or that some- 
thing was ' much about this year.' " 

If there had been any hope at first that Miss 
Nightingale might grow strong enough to stand 
visibly among those who were being trained as 
nurses by the fund raised in her honour, that 
hope was now past, and when the great new 
wing of St. Thomas's was built — the finest build- 
ing for its purpose in Europe — the outward reins 
of government had to be delivered over into the 
hands of another, though hers was throughout 
the directing hand. And the results of her work 
are written in big type upon the page of history. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 341 

In India and America she is acclaimed as an 
adored benefactress, but what has she not done 
for our own country alone ? To sum up even 
a few of the points on which I have touched : 
she initiated sick nursing among the poor, 
through her special appeal was built the Central 
Home for Nurses, she was the pioneer in the 
hygienic work of county councils, and, besides 
the great nursing school at St. Thomas's, to 
her was largely due the reform of nursing in 
workhouses and infirmaries. And in 1890, with 
the ^70,000 of the Women's Jubilee Fund, the 
establishment of the Queen's Nurses received its 
charter. 

In affairs of military nursing it is no exaggera- 
tion to say that she was consulted throughout 
the world. America came to her in the Civil 
War ; South Africa owed much to her ; India 
infinitely more ; and so vital have been the 
reforms introduced by Lord Herbert and herself 
that even as early as 1880, when General 
Gordon was waging war in China during the 
Taiping Rebellion, the death-rate as compared 
with the Crimea was reduced from sixty per 



342 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

cent, to little more than three in every hundred 
yearly.''^ 

We have seen that, though she was so much 
more seriously broken in health than any one 
at first realized, that did not prevent her in- 
cessant work, though it did in the end make 
her life more or less a hidden life, spent within 
four walls, and chiefly on her bed. 

Yet from those four walls what electric 
messages of help and common sense were con- 
tinuously flashing across the length and breadth of 
the world ! She was regarded as an expert in 
her own subjects, and long before her Jubilee 
Fund enabled her to send forth the Queen's 
Nurses, she was, as we have already seen, busy 
writing and working to improve not only nurs- 
ing in general, but especially the nursing of 
the sick poor ; and unceasingly she still laboured 
for the army. 

Repeated mention has been made of General 
Evatt, to whose memory of Miss Nightingale 
I am much indebted. 

General Evatt served in the last Afghan 

* See "life of Florence Nightingale," by Sarah Tooley, p. 268. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 343 

campaign, and what he there experienced deter- 
mined him to seek an interview, as soon as 
he returned to England, with her whom he 
regarded as the great reformer of military hygiene 
— Florence Nightingale. In this way and on 
this subject there arose between them a delight- 
ful and enduring friendship. Many and many a 
time in that quiet room in South Street where 
she lay upon her bed — its dainty coverlet all 
strewn with the letters and papers that might 
have befitted the desk or office of a busy states- 
man, and surrounded by books and by the flowers 
that she loved so well — he had talked with her 
for four hours on end, admiring with a sort 
of wonder her great staying power and her 
big, untiring brain. 

He did not, like another acquaintance of mine, 
say that he came away feeling like a sucked 
orange, with all hoarded knowledge on matters 
great and small gently, resistlessly drawn from 
him by his charming companion ; but so vora- 
cious was the eager, sympathetic interest of Miss 
Niehtingale in the men and women of that active 
world whose streets, at the time he learned to 



344 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

know her, she no longer walked, that no con- 
versation on human affairs ever seemed, he said, 
to tire her. 

And her mind was ever working towards new 
measures for the health and uplifting of her 
fellow-creatures. 

We have seen how eager she was to use for 
good every municipal opportunity, but she did 
not stop at the municipality, for she knew that 
there are many womanly duties also at the 
imperial hearth ; and without entering on any 
controversy, it is necessary to state clearly that 
she very early declared herself in favour of 
household suffrage for women, and that " the 
North of England Society for Women's Suffrage 
is the proud possessor of her signature to an 
address to Mr. Disraeli, thanking him for his 
favourable vote in the House of Commons, and 
begging him to do his utmost to remove the 
injustice under which women householders 
suffered by being deprived of the parliamentary 
vote.' 



»» * 



* " Florence Nightingale," a Cameo Life-Sketch by Marioi) 
Holmes. 








^ 



Florence Nightingale's London House, lo South Street, 

Park Lane (house with balcony), where she died, 

August 14, 1 9 10. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 345 

Whatever could aid womanly service — as a 
voice in choosing our great domestic executive 
nowadays undoubtedly can — had her sympathy 
and interest ; but what she emphasized most, 
I take it, at all times, was that when any door 
opened for service, woman should be not only 
willing, but also nobly efficient. She herself 
opened many such doors, and her lamp was 
always trimmed and filled and ready to give light 
and comfort in the darkest room. 

It has been well said that in describing a friend 
in the following words, she unconsciously drew 
a picture of herself : — 

" She had the gracefulness, the wit, the 
unfailing cheerfulness — qualities so remarkable, 
but so much overlooked, in our Saviour's life. 
She had the absence of all ' mortification ' for 
mortification's sake, which characterized His 
work, and any real work in the present day 
as in His day. And how did she do all this ? 
. . . She was always filled with the thought 
that she must be about her Father's business." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

India — Correspondence with Sir Bar tie Frere — Interest in village 
girls — The Lamp. 

We come now to Miss Nightingale's most 
monumental achievement of all, the reform of 
sanitary conditions in India — a reform ever 
widening and developing, branching forth and 
striking its roots deeper. Her interest in that 
vast population, that world-old treasury of subtle 
religious thought and ever-present mystical faith, 
may perhaps have been in part an inheritance 
from the Anglo-Indian Governor who was 
counted in her near ancestry. But there can 
be little doubt that her ardent and practical 
desire to improve the conditions of camp life 
in India began in her intimate care for the 
soldiers, and her close knowledge of many things 
unknown to the ordinary English subject. The 
world-wide freemasonry of the rank and file in 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 347 

our army enabled her to hear while at Scutari 
much of the life of the army in the vast and 
distant dominions of Burma and Bengal, and 
she had that gift for seeing through things to 
their farthest roots which enabled her to perceive 
clearly that no mere mending of camp conditions 
could stay the continual ravages of disease among 
our men. The evil was deeper and wider, and 
only as conditions were improved in sanitary mat- 
ters could the mortality of the army be lessened. 
She saw, and saw clearly, that the reason chil- 
dren died like flies in India, so that those who 
loved them best chose the agony of years of part- 
ing rather than take the risks, lay not so much 
in the climate as in the human poisons and 
putrefactions so carelessly treated and so quickly 
raised to murder-power by the extreme heat. 

Much of this comes out clearly in her letter 
to Sir Bartle Frere, with whom her first ground 
of friendship had arisen out of their common 
interest in sanitary matters. 

What manner of man Sir Bartle was may be 
divined from a letter to him written by Colonel 
W. F. Marriott, one of the secretaries of the 



348 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Bombay Government, at the time of his leaving 
Bombay : — 

" The scene of your departure stirred me 
much. That bright evening, the crow^d on the 
pier and shore as the boat put off, the music 
from the Octavia^ as the band played ' Auld 
Lang Syne ' as we passed, were all typical and 
impressive by association of ideas. But it was 
not a shallow sympathy with which I took in 
all the circumstances. I could divine some of 
your thoughts. If I felt like Sir Bedivere, left 
behind ' among new men, strange faces, other 
minds,' you must have felt in some degree like 
King Arthur in the barge, ' I have lived my 
life, and that which I have done may He 
Himself make pure.' I do not doubt that you 
felt that all this ' mouth honour ' is only worth 
so far as it is the seal of one's own approving 
conscience, and though you could accept it freely 
as deserved from their lips, yet at that hour you 
judged your own work hardly. You measured 
the palpable results with your conceptions and 
hopes, and were inclined to sav, ' T am no better 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 349 

than my fathers.' But I, judging now calmly 
and critically, feel — I may say, see — that though 
the things that seem to have failed be amongst 
those for which you have taken most pains, yet 
they are small things compared with the work 
which has not failed. You have made an 
impression of earnest human sympathy with the 
people of this country, which will deepen and 
expand, so that it will be felt as a perpetual 
witness against any narrower and less noble 
conception of our relation to them, permanently 
raising the moral standard of highest policy 
towards them ; and your name will become a 
traditional embodiment of a good governor.'* * 

Frere had seen that the filthy condition of 
many of the roads, after the passing of animals 
and the failure to cleanse from manure, was of 
itself a source of poison, though the relation be- 
tween garbage and disease-bearing flies was then 
less commonly understood, and he was never tired 
of urging the making of decent roads ; but this, 

* "Life of Sir Bartle Frere," by John Martineau. (John 
Murray.) 



350 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

he knew, was only a very small part of the im- 
provements needed. 

His correspondence with Miss Nightingale 
began in 1867, and in that and the five following 
years they exchanged about one hundred letters, 
chiefly on sanitary questions. 

It was part of her genius always to see and 
seize her opportunity, and she rightly thought 
that, as she says in one of her letters, " We 
might never have such a favourable conjunction 
of the larger planets again : 

" You, who are willing and most able to 
organize the machinery here ; Sir John Lawrence, 
who is able and ^willing, provided only he knew 
what to do ; and a Secretary of State who is 
willing and in earnest. And I believe nothing 
would bring them to their senses in India more 
than an annual report of what they have done, with 
your comments upon it, laid before Parliament." 

In order to set in motion the machinery of a 
sanitary department for all India, a despatch had 
to be written, pointing out clearly and concisely 
what was to be done. 

Frere consulted Miss Nightingale at every 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 351 

point about this despatch, but spoke of the 
necessity for some sort of peg to hang it on 
— " not," he said, " that the Secretary of State is 
at all lukewarm, nor, I think, that he has any 
doubt as to what should be said, or how — that, 
I think, your memoranda have fixed ; the only 
difficulty is as to the when. . . . 

" No governor-general, I believe, since the 
time of Clive has had such powers and such 
opportunities, but he fancies the want of progress 
is owing to some opposing power which does 
not exist anywhere but in his own imagination. 

" He cannot see that perpetual inspection by 
the admiral of the drill and kit of every sailor is 
not the way to make the fleet efficient, and he 
gets disheartened and depressed because he finds 
that months and years of this squirrel-like activity 
lead to no real progress." 

The despatch with its accompanying documents 
went to Miss Nightingale for her remarks before it 
was sent out. Her commentary was as follows : — 

" I find nothing to add or to take away in the 
memorandum (sanitary). It appears to me quite 



352 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

perfect in itself — that is, it is quite as much as 
the enemy will bear, meaning by the enemy — 
not at all the Government of India in India, 
still less the Government of India at home, but 
— that careless and ignorant person called the 
Devil, who is always walking about taking 
knowledge out of people's heads, who said that 
he was coming to give us the knowledge of 
good and evil, and who has done just the 
contrary. 

" It is a noble paper, an admirable paper — 
and what a present to make to a government ! 
You have included in it all the great principles 
— sanitary and administrative — which the country 
requires. And now you must work, work these 
points until they are embodied in local works in 
India. This will not be in our time, for it takes 
more than a few years to fill a continent with 
civilization. But I never despair that in God's 
good time every man of us will reap the common 
benefit of obeying all the laws which He has 
given us for our well-being. 

" I shall give myself the pleasure of writing to 
you again about these papers. But I write this 




Florence Nightingale in her Last Days. 

{.From a drawing from memory. Copyright A. Rischgitz.) 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 353 

note merely to say that I don't think this mem- 
orandum requires any addition. 

" God bless you for it ! I think it is a great 
work."* 

It was a great work, and it might have been 
delayed for scores of years, with a yearly un- 
necessary waste of thousands of lives, if she had 
not initiated it. 

Her words to Sir Bartle Frere at the outset 
had been : '* It does seem that there is no element 
in the scheme of government (of India) by which 
the public health can be taken care of. And the 
thing is now to create such an element." 

As early as 1863, in her " Observations on the 
Sanitary State of the Army in India," she had 
written : — 

" Native * caste ' prejudices appear to have 
been made the excuse for European laziness, as 
far as regards our sanitary and hospital neglects 
of the natives. Recent railroad experience is 
a striking proof that ' caste,' in their minds, is 
* "Life of Sir Baxtle Frere," by John Martineau. (John Murray.) 

(1.W4) 23 



354 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

no bar to intercommunication in arrangements 
tending to their benefit." 

Sir C. Trevelyan justly says that " a good sani- 
tary state of the military force cannot be secured 
without making similar arrangements for the 
populations settled in and around the military 
cantonments ; that sanitary reform must be 
generally introduced into India for the civil as 
well as the military portion of the community." 

And now that the opportunity arrived, all was 
done with wise and swift diplomacy. The way 
was smoothed by a call from Frere on his old 
friend Sir Richard Temple, at that time Finance 
Minister at Calcutta, asking him to help. 

Those who know India best, and know Miss 
Nightingale best, are those who are most aware 
of the mighty tree of ever-widening health im- 
provement that grew from this little seed, and 
of the care with which Miss Nightingale helped 
to guard and foster it. 

" She was a great Indian," her friend General 
Evatt repeated to me more than once, " and 
what a head she had ! She was the only human 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 355 

being I have ever met, for instance, man or 
woman, who had thoroughly mastered the intri- 
cate details of the Bengal land-purchase system. 
She loved India, and she knew it through and 
through. It was no wonder that every dis- 
tinguished Indian who came to England went 
to see Miss Nightingale." 

She bore her ninety years very lightly, and 
made a vision serene and noble, as will be seen 
from our picture, though that does not give the 
lovely youthful colouring in contrast with the 
silvery hair, and we read of the great expressive- 
ness of her hands, which, a little more, perhaps, 
than is usual with Englishwomen, she used in 
conversation. 

It was a very secluded life that she lived at 
No. 10 South Street ; but she was by no means 
without devotees, and the bouquet that the 
German Emperor sent her was but one of many 
offerings from many high-hearted warriors at 
her shrine. 

And when she visited her old haunts at Lea 
Hurst and Embley she delighted in sending 
invitations to the girls growing up in those 



356 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

village families that she had long counted among 
her friends, so that to her tea-table were lovingly 
welcomed guests very lowly, as well as those 
better known to the world. 

Her intense and sympathetic interest in all 
the preparations for nursing in the South African 
campaign has already been touched upon, as well 
as her joy that some of her own nurses from 
among the first probationers at St. Thomas's 
were accepted in that enterprise with praise and 
gratitude. 

It would be a serious omission not to refer my 
readers to a very moving letter which she wrote 
to Cavaliere Sebastiano Fenzi, during the Italian 
War of Independence in 1866, of which a part 
is given in Mrs. Tooley's book, and from which 
I am permitted to quote the following: — 

" I have given dry advice as dryly as I could. 
But you must permit me to say that if there 
is anything I could do for you at any time, and 
you would command me, I should esteem it the 
greatest honour and pleasure. I am a hopeless 
invalid, entirely a prisoner to my room, and 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 357 

overwhelmed with business. Otherwise how 
gladly would I answer to your call and come 
and do my little best for you in the dear city 
where I was born. If the giving my miserable 
life could hasten your success but by half an 
hour, how gladly would I give it ! " 

How far she was ahead of her time becomes 
every day more obvious ; for every day the 
results of her teaching are gradually making 
themselves felt. For example, it can no longer, 
without qualification, be said, as she so truly said 
in her own day, that while " the coxcombries of 
education are taught to every schoolgirl " there is 
gross ignorance, not only among schoolgirls, but 
also even among mothers and nurses, with regard 
to " those laws which God has assigned to the 
relations of our bodies with the world in which 
He has put them. In other words, the laws 
which make these bodies, into which He has 
put our minds, healthy or unhealthy organs of 
those minds, are all but unlearnt. Not but that 
these laws — the laws of life — are in a certain 
measure understood, but not even mothers think 



358 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

it worth their while to study them — to study 
how to give their children healthy existences. 
They call it medical or physiological knowledge, 
fit only for doctors." 

In her old age, loved and honoured far and 
wide, she toiled on with all the warm enthusiasm 
of a girl, and the ripe wisdom of fourscore 
years and ten spent in the service of her one 
Master, for she was not of those who ever 
tried to serve two. And when she died at 
No. lo South Street, on August lo, 19 lo — 
died so peacefully that the tranquil glow of 
sunset descended upon her day of harvest — the 
following beautiful incident was recorded in 
Nursing Notes, to whose editor I am specially 
indebted for bringing to my notice the verses in 
which the story is told * : — 

" At Chelsea, under the lime tree's stir, 
I read the news to a pensioner 
That a noble lord and a judge were dead — 
* They were younger men than me,' he said. 

" I read again of another death ; 
The old man turned, and caught his breath — 



* "The Lady of the Lamp," by F. S., reprinted from the Evening 
News of August 16, 1 910, in Nursing Notes of September i, 1910. 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 359 

' She's gone ? ' he said ; * she too ? In camp 
We called her the Lady of the Lamp.' 

" He would not listen to what I read, 
But wanted it certain — * The Lady's dead ? * 
I showed it him to remove his doubt, 
And added, unthinking, ' The Lamp is out.' 

" He rose — and I had to help him stand — 
Then, as he saluted with trembling hand, 
I was abashed to hear him say, 
* The Lamp she lit is alight to-day.' " 

F. S. 



CHAPTER XXIIL 

A brief summing up. 

Those who write of Florence Nightingale 
sentimentally, as though she spent herself in 
a blind, caressing tenderness, would have earned 
her secret scorn, not unflavoured by a jest ; for 
she stood always at the opposite pole from the 
sentimentalists, and perhaps had a little of her 
father in her — that father who, when he was 
giving right and left, would say to some plausible 
beggar of society who came to him for whole- 
sale subscriptions, " You see, I was not born 
generous," well knowing that his ideas of 
generosity and theirs differed by a whole heaven, 
and that his were the wider and the more 
generous of the two. 

She had a will of iron. That is what one of 
her greatest admirers has more than once said to 
me — and he knew her well. No doubt it was 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 361 

true. Only a will of iron could have enabled 
a delicate woman to serve, for twenty hours 
at a time, with unwearying tenderness and 
courage among the wounded and the dying. 
Even her iron resolution and absolute fearlessness 
could not prevent her from taking Crimean fever 
when she insisted on visiting a second time 
the lonely typhus patient outside Balaclava, at 
a moment when she was worn out with six 
months of nursing and administration combined. 
But it did enable her to go back to her post 
when barely recovered, and, later in life, even 
when a prisoner within four walls, who seldom 
left her bed, that will of iron did enable her 
to go on labouring till the age of ninety, and 
to fulfil for the good of mankind the dearest 
purpose of her heart. Nothing is harder than 
iron, and that which is made of it after it has 
been through the furnace has long been the very 
symbol of loyalty and uprightness when we 
say of a man that he is " true as steel." 

Yes, iron is hard and makes a pillar of strength 
in time of need. But he who forges out of 
it weapons and tools that are at once delicate 



362 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

and resistless, knows that it will humbly shoe 
the feet of horses, and cut the household bread, 
and will make for others besides Lombardy a 
kingly crown. And when iron is truly on fire, 
nothing commoner or softer nor anything more 
yielding — not even gold itself — can glow with a 
more steadfast and fervent heat to warm the 
hands and hearts of men. 

The picture of Miss Nightingale that dwells 
in the popular mind no doubt owes its outline 
to the memories of the men she nursed with such 
tenderness and skill. And it is a true picture. 
Like all good workmen, she loved her work, and 
nursing was her chosen work so long as her 
strength remained. None can read her writing, 
and especially her Nursing Notes and her pam- 
phlet on nursing among the sick poor, without 
feeling how much she cared for every minutest 
detail, and how sensitively she felt with, and for, 
her patients. 

But such a picture, as will have been made 
clear by this time, shows only one aspect of her 
life-work. One of her nearest intimates writes 
to me of her difficulties in reforming military 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 363 

hospitals, and her determination therefore to give 
herself later in life to the reform of civiHan 
nursing ; but in reaUty she did both, for through 
the one she indirectly influenced the other, and 
began what has been widening and unfolding in 
every direction ever since. 

Those who knew her best speak almost with 
awe of her constructive and organizing power. 
She was indeed a pioneer and a leader, and 
girt about with the modesty of all true greatness. 
Like Joan of Arc, she heeded not the outward 
voices, but, through all faults and sorrows, 
sought to follow always and only the voice of the 
Divine One. This gave her life unity and 
power. And when she passed on into the hfe 
beyond, the door opened and closed again very 
quietly, leaving the whole world the better for 
her ninety years in our midst. " When I have 
done with this old suit," says George Meredith, 
" so much in need of mending ; " but hers, 
like his, was a very charming suit to the last, and 
even to the end of her ninety years the colour- 
ing was clear and fresh as a girl's. 

Like all strong, true, disinterested people, she 



364 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

made enemies — where is there any sanitary re- 
former who does not ? — yet seldom indeed has 
any one, man or woman, won deeper and more 
world-wide love. But that was not her aim ; 
her aim was to do the will of her Commander 
and leave the world better than she found it. 

Seldom has there been a moment when 
women have more needed the counsel given 
in one of the letters here published for the first 
time, when she begs of a dear friend that her 
name may be that " of one who obeys authority, 
however unreasonable, in the name of Him who 
is above all, and who is Reason itself." 

And as we think of the debt the world owes 
to Florence Nightingale and of all she did for 
England, for India, and not only for the British 
Empire, but for the world, we may well pause 
for a moment on the words that closed our 
opening chapter, in which she begs her fellow- 
workers to give up considering their actions 
in any light of rivalry as between men and 
women, and ends with an entreaty : — 

" It does not make a thing good, that it 



FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 365 

is remarkable that a woman should have been 
able to do it. Neither does it make a thing 
bad, which would have been good had a man 
done it, that it has been done by a woman. 

" Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way 
straight to God's work, in simplicity and single- 
ness of heart." 

The well-remembered words of Ruskin's ap- 
peal to girls in " Sesame and Lilies," published 
but a few years earlier, were evidently in Miss 
Nightingale's mind when she wrote the closing 
sentences of her tribute to Agnes Jones — 
sentences which set their seal upon this volume, 
and will echo long after it is forgotten. 

" Let us," she writes, " add living flowers to 
her grave, 'lilies with full hands,' not fleeting 
primroses, nor dying flowers. Let us bring the 
work of our hands and our heads and our hearts 
to finish her work which God has so blessed. 
Let us not merely rest in peace, but let hers be 
the life which stirs up to fight the good fight 
against vice and sin and misery and wretchedness. 



366 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

as she did — the call to arms which she was ever 
obeying : — 

' The Son of God goes forth to war — 
Who follows in His train ? ' 

" O daughters ot God, are there so few to 
answer f " 



APPENDIX. 



LIST OF PUBLICATIONS 
BY FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 

Letter (on the Madras Famine) : The Great 
Lesson of the Indian Famine, etc. 1877. 

Life or Death in India. A Paper read at the 
Meeting of the National Association for the 
Promotion of Social Science, Norwich, 1873, 
with an Appendix on Life or Death by 
Irrigation. 1874. 

Notes on Hospitals : being two Papers read 
before the National Association for the Pro- 
motion of Science . . . 1858, with the 
evidence given to the Royal Commissioners 
on the state of the Army in 1857 (Appendix, 
Sites and Construction of Hospitals, etc.). 

Do., 3rd Edition, enlarged, and for the most 
part rewritten. 1863. 



368 APPENDIX. 

Notes on Matters affecting the Health, 

Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of 

the British Army, founded chiefly on the 

experience of the late war. 1858. 
Notes on Nursing : What it is, and what it is 

not. i860. 
New Edition, revised and enlarged, i860 ; 

another Edition, 1876. 
Miss Florence Nightingale ovy knitra o osctfovani 

nemocnych. z anglickeho prelozila. Krdlova, 

1872. 
Des Soins a donner aux malades ce qu'il faut 

faire, ce qu'il faut eviter. Ouvrage traduit de 

1' Anglais. 1862. 
Notes on Nursing for the Labouring Classes, 

with a Chapter on Children. 1861. 
Do., New Edition, 1868 and 1876. 
Observations on the . . . Sanitary State of the 

Army in India. Reprinted from the Report 

of the Royal Commission. 1863. 
On Trained Nursing for the Sick Poor ... A 

Letter ... to The Times . . . April 14, 1876. 
Sanitary Statistics of Native Nursing Schools 

and Hospitals. 1863. 



APPENDIX. 369 

Reproduction of a printed Report originally 
submitted to the Bucks County Council in 
the year 1892, containing Letters from Miss 
Florence Nightingale on Health Visiting in 
Rural Districts. 191 1. 

Statements exhibiting the Voluntary Contribu- 
tions received by Miss Nightingale for the 
Use of the British War Hospitals in the East, 
with the mode of their Distribution in 1854, 
1855, 1856. Published, London, 1857. 



(1,764) 24 



A LIST OF SOME OF THE BOOKS 
CONSULTED 

In case any of my readers wish to read further 
for themselves : — 

Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea. (William 

Blackwood.) 
Memoir of Sidney Herbert, by Lord Stanmore. 

(John Murray.) 
Life of Sir Bartle Frere, by John Martineau. 

(John Murray.) 
Letters of John Stuart Mill, edited by John Elliot. 

(Longmans.) 
William ^^athbone, a Memoir by Eleanor F. Rath- 
bone. (Macmillan.) 
The Life of Florence Nightingale, by Sarah Tooley. 

(Cassell.) 
Felicia Skene of Oxford, by E. C. Rickards. (John 

Murray.) 
Memoir of Sir John MacNeill, G.C.B., by his 

Granddaughter. (John Murray.) 



APPENDIX. 371 

Agnes "Elizabeth Jones, by her Sister. (Alexander 

Strahan.) 
A History of Nursing, by M. Adelaide Nutting, 

R.N., and Lavinia L. Dock, R.N. (G. P. 

Putnam and Sons.) 
A Sister of Mercy's Memories of the Crimea, by 

Sister Aloysius. (Burns and Oates.) 
The Story of Florence Nightingale, by W. I. W. 

(Pilgrim Press.) 
Soyers Culinary Campaign, by Alexis Soyer. 

(Routledge.) 
Kaiserswerth, by Florence Nightingale. 
Florence Nightingale, a Cameo Life -Sketch by 

Marion Holmes. (Women's Freedom 

League.) 
Patersons Roads, edited by Edward Mogg. 

(Longmans, Green, Orme.) 
The London Library, No. 3, vol. of The Times for 

1910. 
Nursing Notes, by Florence Nightingale, and 

other writings of Miss Nightingale included 

in the foregoing list. 



A BRIEF SKETCH 
OF GENERAL EVATT'S CAREER. 

[As given in Who's Who.'] 

EvATT, Surgeon -General George Joseph 
Hamilton, C.B., 1903 ; M.D., R.A.M.C. ; 
retired ; Member, Council British Medical 
Association, 1904 ; born, nth Nov. 1843 ; son 
of Captain George Evatt, 70th Foot ; married, 
1877, Sophie Mary Frances, daughter of William 
Walter Raleigh Kerr, Treasurer of Mauritius, 
and granddaughter of Lord Robert Kerr ; one 
son, one daughter. Educated, Royal College of 
Surgeons, and Trinity College, Dublin. Entered 
Army Medical Service, 1865 ; joined 25th 
(K.O.S.B.) Regiment, 1866 ; Surgeon-Major, 
1877 ; Lieutenant-Colonel, R.A.M.C, 1885 ; 
Colonel, 1896 ; Surgeon-General, 1899 ; served 
Perak Expedition with Sir H. Ross's Bengal 



APPENDIX. 373 

Column, 1876 (medal and clasp) ; Afghan War, 
1878-80 ; capture of Ali Musjid (despatches) ; 
action in Bazaar Valley, with General Tytler's 
Column (despatches) ; advance on Gundamak, 
and return in " Death March," 1879 (specially 
thanked in General Orders by Viceroy of India 
in Council and Commander-in-Chief in India 
for services) ; commanded Field Hospital in 
second campaign, including advance to relief 
of Cabul under General Sir Charles Gough, 
1879 ; action on the Ghuzni Road ; return to 
India, 1880 (medal and two clasps) ; Suakin 
Expedition, 1885, including actions at Handoub, 
Tamai, and removal of wounded from MacNeill's 
zareba (despatches, medal and clasp, Khedive's 
Star) ; Zhob Valley Expedition, 1890 ; com- 
manded a Field Hospital (despatches) ; Medical 
Officer, Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, 
1880-96 ; Senior Medical Officer, Quetta 
Garrison, Baluchistan, 1887-91 ; Sanitary Officer, 
Woolwich Garrison, 1892-94 ; Secretary, Royal 
Victoria Hospital, Netley, 1894-96 ; P.M.O., 
China, 1896-99 ; P.M.O., Western District, 
1 899- 1 902 ; Surgeon-General, 2nd Army Corps, 



374 APPENDIX. 

Salisbury, 1902-3 ; raised with Mr. Cantlie 
R.A.M.C. Volunteers, 1883 ; founded, 1884, 
Medical Officers, of Schools Association, London ; 
and, 1886, drew up scheme for Army Nursing 
Service Reserve ; Member, Committee Inter- 
national Health Exhibition, 1884 ; Member of 
Council, Royal Army Temperance Association, 
1903 ; President, Poor Law Medical Officers' 
Association ; contested (L.) Woolwich, 1886, 
Fareham Division, Hampshire, 1906, and 
Brighton, 1910 ; Honorary Colonel, Home 
Counties Division, R.A.M.C, Territorial Force, 
1908 ; received Distinguished Service Reward, 
1 910. Publications : Travels in the Euphrates 
Valley and Mesopotamia, 1873 ; and many 
publications on military and medical subjects. 



THE END. 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN. 












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