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MACMILLAN & CO., Limited 




A Short Life 


Florence Nightingale 

Abridged from 

the Life, by Sir Edward Cook 

with additional matter 



il5eij) ^otfe 



All rights reserved 

Copyright, 1925, 

Set up and electrotyped. 
Published August, 1925. 




It was agreed with Sir Edward Cook that if a Short Life 
of Florence Nightingale based on his biography and not 
written by himself should be published, it should be stated 
therein by whom the abbreviation was made. In this 
matter, therefore, there has been no choice as to the title 
page. Death has prevented him from writing the Short 
Life he contemplated. He intended it to be not an ab- 
breviation, but a fresh book. This volume cannot pretend 
to be a fresh book. It is Sir Edward Cook's book in a short- 
ened form; but some passages of it are fresh and there is 
some rearrangement of the material. 
, Two Lives have appeared since 1913 of which account 
has had to be taken. The Life of Lord Ripon by Mr. 
Lucien Wolf (1921) has made it possible to add to the 
later history of Lord Herbert's and Miss Nightingale's at- 
tempted reorganisation of the War Ofl&ce, broken off by 
Lord Herbert's death. A memorandum on the projected 
reforms had been drawn up for Lord Herbert in 1869 by 
his under-secretary. Lord de Grey (afterwards Lord Ripon) ; 
and reforms based on this memorandum were carried out 
by Lord de Grey in later years, during which he was often 
in consultation with Miss Nightingale. Some account of 
these matters will be found on page 235. 

Mr. Shane Leslie's Henry Edward Manning, His Life 
a7id Labours (1921) contains in one chapter a good many 
references to Miss Nightingale. Her letters to Manning 
naturally give prominence to the Catholic -side of her 
religious interests — the side that, in respect of creed, at no 
time prevailed with her. Mr, Leslie does not continuously 



bear in mind the fact that it was the works (and in some 
cases the spirit) but not the beUefs of the Roman Church 
that attracted her: hence references to lier ''vocation to 
serve God as a nun," and to her having "begged Manning 
to send her to the French or the Irish Sisters of St. Vincent," 
which give a wrong impression. The introductions she 
obtained from Manning were of course for her investi- 
gations.* Mr. Leslie is mistaken in implying that she did 
not go to Dublin.' 

Manning seems, on Mr. Leslie's showing, to have been 
much concerned in the sending to Scutari of Miss Stanley's 
party of nurses. Of the religious differences which their 
arrival occasioned, he was able, at a distance, to take a 
philosophical view: "Paul and Barnabas had a sharp con- 
tention — why not Mother Francis and Mother Clare?" It 
is new, I think, that Miss Stanley was received into the 
Roman Church before her return to England ; though Man- 
ning told her he saw "no occasion to publish the fact at 
Constantinople for the moment." All this shows yet more 
clearly the activities on behalf of religious bodies by which 
Miss Nightingale's work was troubled. I do not know 
what authority Mr. Leslie has for the statement that she 
"resigned the Balaclava hospital." It is inconsistent with 
the facts given by Sir Edward Cook." Some new points 
and part of a letter from Miss Nightingale drawn from 
Mr. Leslie's book will be found on page 30. 

From the Second Volume of Mr. Karl Pearson's Life of 
Francis Gallon are derived the interesting comparison be- 
tween Miss Nightingale's religious views and Galton's 
(page 375), some points relating to her proposal for a Pro- 
fessorship of Statistics and the letter given in Appendix 
C (page 386). 

After the Life was finished, Sir Edward Cook showed me 

*See page 59. 

"See her evidence for the Royal Commission of 1857. 

"Life of Florence Nightingale, vol. i, pp. 255, 286. 

Preface vii 

one day a bit of paper pencilled in Miss Nightingale's beau- 
tiful writing, the draft of a letter which he had found unfor- 
tunately too late to use, and was putting aside for a second 
edition. He was immensely delighted with the discovery. 
It was the letter on page 152 — "Snow on the ground." 
"Sent for a chair out of Surgery — to show I was in earnest." 
Using this letter, I have rearranged the narrative from 
November, 1855, to the following spring in a stricter order 
of time, a change which I think throws fresh light on Miss 
Nightingale's hard experiences, and on her relations with 
her supporters in England and her opponents in the East. 

The anecdote on pages 16, 17 was found by Sir E. Cook 
in Sir R. Murchison's Life. 

There is certain other fresh matter for which I am re- 
sponsible. The beginning of the first chapter (pages 3 to 6) 
has been rewritten; in the original it received some criti- 
cism as giving too much space to collateral relations and 
too little account of family origins. The passages on nurs- 
ing have been added to (pages 21 to 24 and 110) and Chap- 
ter II of Part IV is largely the result of rewriting. There 
are other additions which hardly require mention. And in 
various passages (apart from quotations) dealing with Miss 
Nightingale's character and personal circumstances, I have 
drawn on my own knowledge. The last chapter, for which 
I am entirely responsible, contains a fresh discussion of 
Miss Nightingale's character with which I found myself 
unable to deal by the method of abridgement. 

It was on the ground especially of excellent "architecton- 
ics" that Lord Morley spoke of Sir E. Cook as the best 
possible writer to deal with the immense mass of papers 
in which Miss Nightingale's history was concealed. My 
changes in the framework have only been such as abbre- 
viation made necessary, except a few alterations of order, 
of which the one already mentioned is an example. As 
far as facts are concerned, Sir E. Cook's account is followed, 
with only such small difference of values as must result 



here and there from the necessity of using my own lan- 
guage, and from the little additions from my own know- 
ledge and a few other sources. In almost all cases where a 
judgment of the effect of Miss Nightingale's work was con- 
cerned I have used Sir E. Cook's own words; and in many 
other cases. 

It must be regretted that in the process of shortening, 
the author's characteristic accompaniment of commentary 
has usually had to be sacrificed. Much explanation and 
comment were necessary in first making known the course 
of an extraordinary life, and they contributed to the read- 
ableness and authority of a very lengthy and detailed 
record. Students can refer to them, but in a shorter nar- 
rative the life may now be allowed to speak for itself. It 
has been necessary also to omit many of Miss Nightingale's 

Appendix A (page 379) deals with Mr. Lytton Strachey's 
sketch of Florence Nightingale in Eminent Victorians. 

I have to thank Sir Thomas Middleton and Dr. H. H. 
Woollard for kindly allowing me to refer to them on specific 
points; Sir Herbert Greedy for the copy of a document; 
Sir Herbert Stephen for collaboration in Appendix A; and 
my brother, Dr. S. Shore Nightingale, for helpful discus- 
sion and advice on various matters. My husband has given 
much help, including the reading of the manuscript and 
proofs, and Mrs. Vincent, Sir Edward Cook's sister, has 
been so kind as to read the typescript and to give me sev- 
eral useful hints. 

Rosalind Nash. 

March, 1925. 






I. The Nightingales and Florence 3 

II. A Personality and a Vocation 16 

III. Rome and Her Merit 26 

IV. Abjltiations 32 

V. The Protestant Rhine 37 

VI. A Religion for Use 47 

VII. "The Establishment for Gentlewomen During 

Illness" ^8 


I. The Hour and the Woman 69 

II. The Arrival 82 

III. Setting to Work 86 

IV. Miss Nightingale as Administrator .... 94 
V. The Nurses and Ward Management .... 107 

VI. New Nurses and New Nuns 113 

VII. Reforms of System 120 

VIII. "Spoiling the Brutes" 128 

IX. Influence in High Places 131 

X. The Lady with the Lamp 137 

XL Her Illness 143 

XII. The Crimea in Winter 151 

XIII. A Contrast 1^9 

XIV. Last Days in the Crimea 164 


X Contents 



I. A Royal Commission 171 

II. Notes on the Health of the British Army . . 182 

HI. Among the Experts 186 

IV. The Commission's Report and the Plan of 

Action 192 

V. Overstrain 199 

VI. Reform of the Barracks and Army Hospitals . 207 

VII. The Army Medical School and Statistics . . 213 

VIII. The Wiping Sub-Commission 216 

IX. The Death of Sidney Herbert 219 

X. Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post . . . 227 

XI. The Armies in India 242 


I. Hospital Construction and Statistics 

11. The Spirit of Good Nursing 

III. The Nightingale School 

IV. "Medical Women" and Their Craft 
V. The Workhouse and the Poor Law 

VI. The Head Centre 



I. The Administrative Machine 307 

II. The Machine and the Missionary .... 315 


I. Changes and Sorrows 323 

II. The Spread of Trained Nursing 334 

III. An Old Campaigner 341 

IV. Larger Cares for India 347 

V. Friends and Farewells 356 

Contents xi 


Conclusion 369 

Appendix A — ]\Ir. Lytton Strachey's "Florence Night- 
ingale" 379 

Appendix B — ^\^erse 382 

Appendix C — Letter from Florence Nightingale to 

Francis Galton 386 

Appendix D — How to Make a Nightingale .... 390 

Index 391 




As the Midland Railway leaves the flats of Leicestershire 
and Derby for the ascent of the Peak, it passes up the 
Derwent Valley through a region of lesser heights and wider 
dales sometimes called the Lower Peak. In this country 
the original moor, a barren tumble of rock, heather and 
bilberry with woods of stunted oak and birch, still sur- 
vives in fragments, but small dairy farms have mostly 
smoothed it out into hilly pastures with walls built of loose 
lumps of gritstone or limestone often richly fossilled. Mills 
in some of the valleys make small centres of industry. 
Small old towns and villages, like Ash over, where Night- 
ingales are buried, Wirksworth, Winster and Bonsall still 
keep much of the ancient aspect of life when farms were 
not more than encroachments on the unreclaimed wild. 
The grim style of the stone cottages has hardly varied in 
three centuries, and the climate is severe. News of a cold 
turn of English weather always begins with the announce- 
ment in the London papers that the High Peak Railway 
is blocked with snow. 

The earliest Nightingale ancestor who is recorded by a 
curious antiquary as "adscriptus glebae" lived, probably as 
a labourer and small holder, on the moors of Lea, between 
Matlock and the well-known landmark of Crich Hill. The 
shafts of lead mines dot this country, and a Nightingale 
found lead. Everyone found lead. "There's lead for all, 
and always will be" was proverbial. Peter Nightingale, 
the last male descendant of the "adscriptus glebae," died in 


4 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

1803, a "squire" and son of a "lead merchant." Besides the 
lead mine, the "squire," a man of a certain ability and en- 
ergy, had a business in the local black marble; he made 
some of the familiar marble mantelpieces in our great- 
grandfathers' houses. He faced his old farmhouse at Lea 
near Matlock with an attractive Georgian-classical front 
and called it Lea Hall. He also built a little Unitarian 
chapel in the village, and his niece (daughter of his sister 
Ann) was the wife of a Sheffield Unitarian, William Shore of 
Tapton, a banker and fourth son of William Shore of Norton 
Hall, near Sheffield. The Shores were an old family of 
Yorkshire squires, with a long tradition of religious dissent. 
Ann Nightingale's grandson, William Edward Shore, was 
to inherit at his majority, with the name of Nightingale, 
the proceeds of the lead, the mantelpieces and the rents 
of his grand-uncle; and as he was nine years of age in 
1803, the long accumulation made him a rich man. Wil- 
liam Edward and his only sister Mary were of a marked 
type of character: refined, conscientious, unpractical; rather 
abnormally retiring and self-distrustful. Both were given 
to religious speculation of an unorthodox kind. These 
apparently were Shore characteristics. 

William Edward Shore took the name of Nightingale 
in 1815 and three years later he was married at St. Mar- 
garet's, Westminster, to Frances, a daughter of William 
Smith, M.P., first for Sudbury and Chehnsford and later 
for Norwich. "Our beautiful Fanny is to marry young 
Nightingale," her mother wrote to a friend, and in 1818, 
Fanny was indeed a lovely creature. In old age she had 
still unusual natural grace of person and manner and beauty 
of feature. She spoke clearly and in exquisite tones, with 
the ease of a lady who has been admired, and she had artis- 
tic taste. Tradition says that she had wanted to marry 
"an officer,'' but it had been thought too poor a match. 
"Nightingale," as she always called him. was six years 

The Nightingales and Florence 5 

younger, and of a much less assured will. The beautiful 
Fanny had her own way in the ordering of their joint life. 
She did everything so charmingly that it would be unkind 
to call her worldly. 

The acquaintance had most likely been formed through 
the Unitarian connection. William Smith was of that per- 
suasion, and in Parliament was a constant supporter of 
religious freedom. He was chairman for forty years of 
the "Deputies of the Three Denominations" elected to pro- 
tect the interests of Protestant Dissenters, and, unlike some 
of his associates, favoured liberty for Roman Catholics 
also. When in 1813 the obsolete penal laws against "per- 
sons who impugn the doctrine of the Holy Trinity" were 
repealed, it was William Smith who brought in the Bill. 
Sir James Stephen ^ speaks of his "heart-stirring laugh," 
vigorous health and happy family circumstances, adding 
that "if he had gone mourning all his days, he could scarcely 
have acquired a more tender pity for the miserable or have 
laboured more habitually for their relief." He was a fol- 
lower of Fox and a loved and trusted fellow worker and 
friend of Clarkson and Wilberforce. The means for forty- 
three years of Parliamentary life and a family of ten were 
drawn from the merchant grocer's business in which he 
joined and succeeded his father — Smiths, Nash and Kemble, 
afterwards Smith, Travers and Kemble, a firm still well 
known as J. Travers & Sons, of 119 Cannon Street, where 
hangs a picture by Zoffany of its former heads, William 
Smith and his father Samuel. The Smiths' country home 
was Jermyns, near Parndon, Essex, but the family came 
originally from the Isle of Wight. 

A respectable and persistent but not particularly distin- 
guished politician, William Smith was perhaps more re- 
markable as a lover of pictures. The best known of his 
collection, "many of them very fine and all good of their 

^Essays in Ecclesiastical Biography: the Clapham Sect. 

6 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

kind," ' as Farington says, were Reynolds' Mrs. Siddons as 
the Tragic Muse, and Rembrandt's Mill, for which he gave 

On one of William Smith's journeys to Scotland for his 
work as Commissioner of Highland Roads and Bridges, he 
planned to take with him a young painter of twenty-six, 
Mr. J. Turner, then about to set forth on the three months' 
tour which, according to his biographer, marks his final 
deliverance from tradition and from "topographical slav- 
ery." But Turner was unwell on the day and seems to 
have put off his journey. 

The Smith social atmosphere with their political and 
other acquaintanceships in London and their taste for art 
was predominant with the young Nightingales. The strain 
of the "adscriptus glebae" was quite transformed, and of 
the Shores, the quiet country gentry and bankers of Shef- 
field, there remained only Mr. Nightingale's reflective tem- 
perament and free religious speculation. His letters through- 
out life are pervaded by a curious and attractive air of 
aloofness and critical rumination. In intellect and cultiva- 
tion, though not in readiness and social gifts, he was the 
superior of the charming Fanny. He had been educated 
at Edinburgh and Trinity College, Cambridge. Mr. Shore 
had sent him on the foreign tour considered necessary to 
complete "the education of a gentleman," and he was a 
well read man and a good linguist. 

Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale went abroad after their mar- 
riage, and were away for three years, principally in Italy, 
where their two daughters were born and named after the 
cities of their birth, the elder (Frances) Parthenope, after 

* His granddaughter Florence used to tell of Mrs. Siddons' visit to see 
her own portrait. The Smiths were away, and the great actress was 
received at the house in Park Street, Westminster, by the housekeeper, 
Mrs. Plummer. As she stood before the picture, the deep voice of Mrs. 
Siddons proclaimed in her usual metre, "Myself surveys myself." "Lord, 
ma'am," said the surprised Mrs. Plummer, "I never should have thought 
you was so slim as that." And the tragic voice answered, "A vast deal 
slimmer, housekeeper." 

,The Nightingales and Florence 7 

the old Greek settlement on the site of Naples, and the 
younger, Florence, after the Tuscan city, where she was 
born on the 12 May 1820 at the Villa Colombaia, near 
the Porta Romana/ Returning to England, they had to 
solve the great question where to live. Lea Hall was too 
small. A larger house, Lea Hurst, was built on an open 
spot high above the beautiful Derwent Valley; but they 
had no intention of settling in Derbyshire, or of investing 
in land in the New World, as the great-uncle had desired. 
Kynsham Court, Presteigne, in Herefordshire, was taken, 
but proved "more picturesque than habitable," and the 
search was pursued. "The diflBculty is," wrote Mr. Night- 
ingale to his wife, "where is the county that is habitable 
for two successive months?" At last the desired home was 
found at Embley, near Romsey, on the edge of the New 
Forest, and it was bought in 1825. The natural beauty 
of the place was its attraction, and the Nightingales' 
cultivations and alterations were made with good taste. 
The moist and sunny climate made Embley a favoured spot 
for trees and flowers. Thickets grew up of rhododendron, 
azalea, syringa, flowering laurels; and birds abounded. A 
great deciduous cypress grew at the garden front of the 
house, so close that in summer some of the rooms were 
shadowed by its feathery foliage. It was called the nursery 
tree, and, from the nursery, birds could be invited to feed 
and squirrels could be seen in the branches. Nuts could 
be poked into the bark for the nuthatch. And outside were 
flowering copses, bogs, heaths, woods, lakes. There could 
be no more delightful home for children. 

From her fifth year onwards, Embley was for the most 
part Florence's home, but the family usually spent part 
of the season in London, and Mrs. Nightingale thought 
so highly of Derbyshire air that an autumn stay at Lea 
Hurst took the place of a visit to the seaside. They used 
to drive all the way in the early years, stopping for visits 

'For convenience, the younger sister will be called "Miss Nightingale." 

8 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

to people and places. Later Mr. Nightingale would some- 
times go alone, to receive rents, to eat the late peas, occa- 
sionally to escape from visitors. 

The contrast between the two children appears already 
in Chalon's portrait group of this time. The little, lively, 
delicate, Parthe,^ her mother's favourite, sits on her knee, 
and beside them stands the tall Florence, whose eyes and 
expression already have a touch of the earnestness and 
reserve so noticeable in later portraits. She was a sensitive, 
shy and somewhat morbid child, fond of flowers, birds 
and beasts, and of an eager and solid intelligence, but 
much given to dreaming. Though she presently developed 
a lively sense of humour to which she could give trenchant 
expression, her early letters are for the most part grave 
and introspective. 

There were governesses, and as the girls grew older, Mr. 
Nightingale took a great part in their education. They 
read much with him, especially in Italian and history. In 
her teens Florence had mastered the elements of Greek 
and Latin, read some of the Dialogues of Plato, a good 
deal of history, some mathematics and a little philosophy, 
and was in the habit of writing essays on subjects set by 
her father. It was an unusually good and stimulating gen- 
eral education for a girl of her time, but did not attain 
to specialising. 

As yet there was no indication of the direction her powers 
were to take, but already a characteristic habit of mind was 
beginning to show itself. There came to her in early child- 
hood, as her autobiographical notes show, the sense of 
dedication to some divinely appointed mission. In later 
life she had the habit of recalling anniversaries, and she 
wrote of the 7 February 1837 as the day when "God 
called her to his service." Perhaps not a very rare thing 
in an earnest and sensitive child, but this one had the force 
of intellect and character to make the mission good. 

*The final e was sounded. 

The Nightingales and Florence 9 

When Florence was seventeen she and her sister were 
taken abroad for the first time. With Mr. and Mrs. Night- 
ingale they travelled for a year and a half, returning in 
April 1839. They went far and leisurely through France, 
northern Italy and Switzerland, spending a month here 
and there, seeing a good deal of Italian society, and reach- 
ing Geneva on the road home in September 1838. Her 
diary shows an intelligent girl's interest in art, architec- 
ture and natural beauty, and, what is less common, con- 
tains an admixture of notes and statistics on the laws, 
land systems, social conditions and benevolent institutions 
of the places she visited. She was an enthusiastic poli- 
tician, and at Venice and among the Italian refugees in 
Geneva learnt to feel a warm sympathy with the cause of 
Italian freedom. One of the best fruits of this journey was 
an enduring friendship with Mary Clarke, hostess of "the 
last of the Salons," and from 1847 the wife of the orientalist 
Jules Mohl. The Nightingales left Switzerland on account 
of the movement of French troops aimed at Louis Napoleon, 
then a refugee among the Swiss, and their last stage was 
Paris, where they spent the winter of 1838-9 in apartments 
in the Place Vendome (No. 22). Miss Clarke's circle of 
friends, into which the Nightingales were welcomed, in- 
cluded many of the most distinguished poHtical, literary 
and learned men in France. Parthenope then and at all 
times wholeheartedly enjoyed and sought such society. 
Florence was always a serious-minded girl; but she was not 
without an inclination to use her social advantages. She 
chose in the end another path ; but one of the last "tempta- 
tions" to be overcome was "the desire to shine in society." 
The Nightingales and some of their connections remained 
among the closest friends of Mary Clarke and M. Mohl. 
Mme. Mohl used for many years to pay a yearly visit of 
three or four weeks at Embley or Lea Hurst, and to her 
many of Florence's most interesting letters are addressed. 
"We always talk of you and all you did for us in Paris," 

10 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Flo wrote to her (June 1, 1839) from the Carlton Hotel, 
Regent Street, in a long, gossiping letter: 

"I heard yesterday that Gonfalonieri was coming to Lon- 
don in a month. Is he at Paris now? I have just been 
reading the account of M. Mignet's eloge of Talleyrand. I 
hope you were there, for it must have been very interesting, 
but did he not make rather an extraordinary defence of 
Talleyrand's political tergiversation and of his conduct 
while the allies were at Paris? Extraordinary to our ideas 
of political integrity. We met 'ubiquity' Young and Mr. 
Babbage yesterday at dinner at the E. Strutts', who told 
all sorts of droll stories about Lord Brougham, who seems 
to have fairly lost his wits. He had Lord Duncannon to 
dine with him the other day, which is new ..." 

And so forth : how the young Queen is "vibrating between 
popularity and unpopularity," how the new Speaker Shaw 
Lefevre, "a great friend of ours," was only elected by a 
majority of eighteen, "Spring Rice arriving half an hour 
too late to vote," how very nervous Pauline Garcia was at 
her debut; with much more of musical news. The Night- 
ingales stayed some weeks in London on their return and 
the two girls were presented at Court. They took piano 
and singing lessons and heard all the great performers of 
the day. Parthe and Flo were now of full age for "society." 
London in the season became a regular part of their routine, 
and at other times of the year country neighbours and the 
guests from London whom Mrs. Nightingale delighted to 
collect were entertained both in Derbyshire and Hampshire. 
Embley House had been added to during their travels, and 
could receive at one time, as Florence recorded in a letter, 
"five ablebodied married females with their husbands and 
belongings." These were often some of the large Smith 
clan, Mrs. Nightingale's brothers and sisters and their chil- 
dren ; and there was much travelling to and fro for summer 
visits and Christmas parties among the many cousins. The 
young people and their friends acted, danced and sang, 

The Nightingales and Florence 11 

walked and picnicked, read and drew together. A fancy- 
dress ball at Waverley Abbey, the home of Aunt Anne 
(Mrs. G. Nicholson) was the subject of many sketches by 
Parthe, and Florence was stage manager of a performance 
there of the Merchant oj Venice (1841) for which Macready 
volunteered some help. It was noticed that the usual little 
jealousies about parts and costumes used to vanish in her 

So the round went on — Embley, London, Lea Hurst and 
country visits, with much of gaiety and much of desultory 
interest. Florence's inward life had never been satisfied 
by the outward beauty or the pleasures with which she 
was surrounded. "Nothing makes my heart thrill like the 
voice of birds," she writes, "but the living chorus so seldom 
finds a second voice in the starved and earthly soul, which, 
like the withered arm, cannot stretch forth its hand till 
Christ bids it." A friend of those days, who could recall 
her as "the girl of sixteen of high promise," noted the 
expansion of her character. "When I look back on every 
time I saw her after her sixteenth year, I see that she was 
ripening constantly for her work, and that her mind was 
dwelling on the painful differences of man and man in this 
life, and on the traps that a luxurious life laid for the afflu- 
ent." ' Her inward mind at this time is shown in diaries 
and notes of private reflection, and in many a page of her 
later unpublished book, Suggestions for Thought. The 
sorrows and misery of the world weighed on her thoughts. 
She writes to Miss Clarke on the death of M. Fauriel: 

Embley, July 1844- I cannot help writing one word, 
my dear Miss Clarke, after having just received your note, 
though I know I cannot say anything which can be of any 
comfort — for there are few sorrows I do believe like your 
sorrow, and few people so necessary to another's happiness 
of every instant, as he was to yours. . . . How sorry I am, 
dear Miss Clarke, that you will not think of coming to us 

* Fanny Allen in "A Century of Family Letters," vol. ii, p. 74. 

12 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

here. Oh, do not say that you "will not cloud young peo- 
ple's spirits." Do you think young people are so afraid 
of sorrow, or that if they have lively spirits, which I often 
doubt, they think these are worth anything, except in so far 
as they can be put at the service of sorrow, not to relieve 
it, which I believe can very seldom be done, but to sym- 
pathise with it? I am sure this is the only thing worth 
living for, and I do so believe that every tear one sheds 
waters some good thing into life. . . . 

"One sees in every cottage some trouble that defies sym- 
pathy," she says in the same letter; and she is tempted 
to think "death less dreary than life"; but sometimes at 
night she can feel that "the coffin of every hope is the 
cradle of a good experience, and that nobody suffers in 

Obsessed with the longing to bring help and comfort 
to the suffering world, Florence became more and more con- 
scious that in the life she was leading there would never 
be opportunities for what she desired. The waste of time 
was a sore trial to her. The life of a hospitable country 
house with its constant call to be "looking merry and saying 
something lively, mornings, noons and nights," was more 
distracting than even London in the season. "There you 
can at least have the mornings to yourself." When she 
was alone with her parents and her sister, it was hardly 
better. Mrs. Nightingale and Parthe were content and 
happy in the enjoyment of their pleasant surroundings 
and in gratifying their artistic tastes. Florence's unsatis- 
fied longings were a mystery and a disappointment to them. 
"Our position to one another in our families," she wrote in 
a private notebook, "is and must be like that of the 
Moon to the Earth. The Moon revolves round her, moves 
with her, never leaves her. Yet the Earth never sees but 
one side of her. The other remains for ever unknown," 
Between Mr. Nightingale and his second child there was a 
special attachment. But he liked to read aloud, and ex- 

The Nightingales and Florence 13 

pected his daughters to hear him go through the Times 
every morning. Florence could not, like Parthe, take refuge 
in drawing while it went on. "To be read aloud to," she 
wrote, "is the most miserable exercise of the human intel- 
lect. Or rather, is it any exercise at all? It is like lying 
on one's back with one's hands tied, and having liquid 
poured down one's throat." There were sometimes, though 
not often, domestic duties. There were books and study, 
but Florence was not drawn to literature as an occupation. 
"You ask me," she wrote to Miss Clarke in 1844, "why I 
do not write something. I think what is not of the first 
class had better not exist at all; and besides I had so much 
rather live than write; writing is only a substitute for 
living. Would you have one go away and 'give utterance 
to one's feelings' in a poem to appear (price two guineas) 
in the Belle Assemblee? I think one's feelings waste them- 
selves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions 
which bring results." She sang with her cousins, one of 
whom w^as a fine singer, but for music or other art she had 
no especial gift, and she held in great suspicion and dislike 
what she called "the artist way of looking upon life" which 
reduced "all religious and most inward and spiritual feel- 
ings into a sort of magic lantern with which to make play 
for the amusement of the company." 

A young man in her position and with her objects might 
have turned to politics, like Lord Shaftesbury. For a girl 
there was then no such outlet, and her books only brought 
her back to the constant question how to "serve God" in 
such a life or how to find a way out. "Piling up miscel- 
laneous instruction for oneself," she writes, "the most un- 
satisfactory of all pursuits." If she tried to accommodate 
herself by "shining in society" or by writing the lively 
letters about visits and visitors which contrasted so strongly 
with her private diaries and notes, the result was only a 
bitter inward self-reproach for "vanity and deceit." The 

14 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

waste of youthful years that might have been spent in 
preparation or in active work was a constant torment to 
her spirit. 

She was most herself when there was help to be given, 
an aunt's place to be filled in her absence, or someone to 
be cared for in illness. In 1845 she passed some time at 
Tapton nursing ''Grandmama Shore," a vigorous old lady 
whom nobody else could manage, and writes to her cousin 
and especial friend Hilary Bonham Carter: 

"I am very glad sometimes to walk in the valley of 
the shadow of death as I do here; there is something in 
the stillness and silence of it which levels all earthly trou- 
bles. God tempers our wings in the waters of that valley, 
and I have not been so happy and so thankful for a long 

At Lea Hurst, where there is a large industrial village, 
she had more scope than at Embley. But the threads of 
village friendships were soon broken when the time came 
for moving to Embley or London. 

"I am almost heartbroken to leave Lea Hurst," she 
writes (24 September 1846) to an elder friend, Miss Hannah 
Nicholson. "There are so many duties there which lie 
near at hand, and I could be well content to do them there 
all the days of my life. I have left so many poor friends 
there whom I shall never see again, and so much might 
have been done for them. ... I feel my sympathies are 
with Ignorance and Poverty. The things which interest 
me interest them; we are alike in expecting little from life, 
much from God. . . . My imagination is so filled with the 
misery of this world that the only thing in which to labour 
brings any return seems to me help and sympathising there; 
and all that poets sing of the glories of this world appears 
to me untrue: all the people I see are eaten up with care 
or poverty or disease. I know that misery is the alphabet 
of fire, in which history, with its warning hand, writes in 
flaming letters the consequences of Evil. . . . Misery is 

The Nightingales and Florence 15 

perhaps here the strongest proof that His loving hand is 
present — yet all our powers, hopes, and fears must, it seems 
to me, be engrossed by doing His work for its relief. Life 
is no holiday game, nor is it a clever book, nor is it a school 
of instruction, nor a valley of tears; but it is a hard fight, 
a struggle, a wrestling with the principle of evil, hand to 
hand, foot to foot. . . . The Kingdom of God is coming; 
and "Thy Kingdom come" does not mean "My salvation 

"To find out what we can do," she writes on the margin 
of Browning's Paracelsus, "one's individual place, as well 
as the general end, is man's task." 



It was not as a social failure that Florence was turning 
from the usual life of a woman of her class. She was 
not only admired, but warmly loved by many friends of 
all ages. Though not at first sight striking, she soon aroused 
interest. Her gentle manner is one of the first character- 
istics noted by those who knew her. In appearance she 
was attractive. Her features were not strictly beautiful, 
but she was remarkable for grace of figure and move- 
ment, for a shapely head, a sweet voice, and the air of a 
woman of unaffected high breeding. In repose her features 
expressed great reserve and self-control: there was a cer- 
tain aloofness. But Mrs. Ward Howe calls her countenance 
"mobile and expressive," and we see an expressive moment 
in Lady Eastlake's portrait.^ "Grey eyes which are gen- 
erally pensive and drooping, but when they choose can be 
the merriest eyes I ever saw," says Mrs. Gaskell. On 
serious observers she produced an impression of unusual 
character and intelligence, and her talk was clever and 
amusing when she was "tempted to shine in society." There 
is a glimpse of her in the diary of Sir Roderick Murchison, 
who paid a visit to Embley in 1846. Wheatstone, the in- 
ventor, a man of great and miscellaneous ingenuity, was 
amusing the company one evening. After "peering into 

^ This portrait is not in Sir Edward Cook's list. It could not be found 
at the time when he was writing Miss Nightingale's life. The merry light 
grey eyes, the prominent nose, the mouth, with its lower lip quaintly 
bunched, as if ,a laugh were hard to keep in, make it very characteristic. 
The date is 1846. The picture, a very beautiful drawing, belongs to Dr. S. 
Shore Nightingale. 


A Personality and a Vocation 17 

the faces of all the women" he chose Florence as his accom- 
plice. He took her out of the room for half an hour and 
they came back and performed "the trick of telling you 
what was in places where no one could see anything." 
"On talking to my friend about the talent of the girl," 
says Murchison, "he said, 'Oh, if I had no other means of 
living I could go about to fairs with her and pick up a good 
deal of money.' " * Guizot, who had made her acquaintance 
with Mme. Mohl in Paris, found her in 1848 (when he 
came to London after the fall of Louis Philippe), "a brave 
and sympathetic soul, for whom great thoughts and great 
devotions had a serious attraction." 

Visitors were not wanting to whom Florence could at 
least talk of the subjects that interested her. Such were 
Sir Joshua Jebb, Surveyor General of Prisons; Dr. Richard 
Dawes, Dean of Hereford, who was an educational re- 
former ; ' Dr. Richard Fowler of Salisbury, who anticipated 
the open-air treatment for consumption and was otherwise a 
man of marked originality; Richard Monckton Milnes (Lord 
Houghton), "a tolerant liberal-minded man who was apt 
to look at religion from many different points of view." * 
and among whose many and miscellaneous interests the 
establishment of reformatories for boys was a persistent 
one; Mrs. Plunkett, daughter of Lord Sherborne, and her 
own aunt, Mrs. Samuel Smith, both of whom were in sym- 
pathy with her longing for work. Her most sympathetic 
girl friends were her cousin, Hilary Bonham Carter, and 
Louisa Stewart Mackenzie, afterwards the second wife of 
the second Lord Ashburton. 

Mrs. Ward Howe relates that during her visit to Embley 
in 1844 Florence took Dr. Howe aside and asked him: 
"If I should determine to study nursing and to devote my 
life to that profession, do you think it would be a dreadful 

"" Sir A. Geikie's Lije of Sir R. Murchison, 1875, vol. ii, pp. 65-6. 
"Both of these afterwards became trustees of the Nightingale Fund. 
* The Life, Letters and Fmndships of R. M. Milnes, first Lord Houghton, 
by T. Wemyss Reid. 

18 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

thing?" To Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell she confided that 
the big drawing-room at Embley always made her wonder 
how hospital beds might best be arranged in it. These 
sympathetic friends could be told something of the desire 
that was ripening in her mind, but for the rest she kept 
her own counsel, making such enquiries as she could. Her 
first scheme was to learn nursing at the Salisbury Infirm- 
ary, where her friend. Dr. Fowler, was the physician. But 
Mrs. Nightingale was not to be persuaded. 

Florence Nightingale to Hilary Bonham Carter (Dec. 
1845) : Well, my dearest, I am not yet come to the great 
thing I wanted to say. I have always found that there was 
so much truth in the suggestion that you must dig for hid- 
den treasure in silence, or you will not find it ; and so I dug 
after my poor little plan in silence, even from you. It was 
to go to be a nurse at Salisbury Hospital for these few 
months to learn the "prax"; and then to come home and 
make such wondrous intimacies at West Wellow, under 
the shelter of a rhubarb powder and a dressed leg ; let alone 
that no one could ever say to me again, your health will 
not stand this or that. I saw a poor woman die before my 
eyes this summer because there was no one but fools to 
sit up with her, who poisoned her as much as if they had 
given her arsenic. And then- 1 had such a fine plan for 
those dreaded latter days (which I have never dreaded), 
if I should outlive my immediate ties, of taking a small 
house in West Wellow. Well, I do not much like talking 
about it, but I thought something like a Protestant Sister- 
hood, without vows, for women of educated feelings, might 
be established. But there have been difficulties about my 
very first step, which terrified Mama. I do not mean the 
physically revolting parts of a hospital, but things about 
surgeons and nurses which you may guess. Even Mrs. 
Fowler threw cold water upon it ; and nothing will be done 
this year at all events, and I do not believe — ever; and no 
advantage that I see comes of my living on, excepting 
that one becomes less and less of a young lady every year, 
which is only a negative one. You will laugh, dear, at the 
whole plan, I dare say; but no one but the mother of it 
knows how precious an infant idea becomes; nor how the 

A Personality and a Vocation 19 

sou] dies between the destruction of one and the taking up 
of another. I shall never do anything, and am worse than 
dust and nothing, I wonder if our Saviour were to walk 
the earth again, and I were to go to Him and ask, whether 
He would send me back to live this life again, which crushes 
me into vanity and deceit. Oh, for some strong thing to 
sweep this loathsome life into the past. 

This hopeless mood was not to last long; but for the 
moment and at many recurring moments in later years, 
the dejection was intense. The habit of dreaming, as an 
instinctive refuge from the outer life and from the denial 
of action, grew upon her and was the theme of constant 
self-reproach. "When all one's imaginations are wandering 
out of one's reach, then one realises the state of future 
punishment even in this world." ' To the gentle and pious 
"Aunt Hannah" Florence poured out unreservedly the spir- 
itual wrestlings with which she sought to overcome the 
misery of an empty life. One desire, for purity of purpose, 
was perhaps with her through life more constantly than 
any other. 

"The foundation of all must be the love of God. That 
the sufferings of Christ's life were intense who doubts? 
But the happiness must also have been intense. Only think 
of the happiness of working, and working successfully, with 
no doubts as to His path, and with no alloy of vanity or 
love of display or glory, but with the ecstasy of single 
heart edness! All that I do is always poisoned by the 
fear that I am not doing it in simplicity and godly sin- 

The purpose of caring for the sick and sad grew more 
and more fixed. "The longer I live," she wrote in her diary 
(22 June 1846), "the more I feel as if all my being was 
gradually drawing to one point, and if I could be permitted 
to return and accomplish that in another being, if I may 
not in this, I should need no other heaven." 

* Letter to Miss Hannah Nicholson, aunt of her Nicholson cousins, 
May 1846. 

20 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Now that the fruits of Florence Nightingale's pioneer 
work in nursing have been gathered, it is not altogether 
easy to understand the difficulties which stood in her way. 
The objections were made on moral and social grounds. 
The work was unworthy of an educated woman. "It was 
as if I had wanted to be a kitchen maid," she said in later 
years to a young friend. Much of it was scarcely decent; 
there were vicious and degraded people among hospital 
patients. And it involved companionship with medical 
students and nurses, of whose manners and conduct Mr. 
Nightingale in answer to his enquiries and consultations 
received very unsatisfactory accounts. Though there were 
better managed hospitals and worse managed, yet there 
was a strong body of evidence to show that hospital nurses 
had opportunities, which they freely used, of putting the 
bottle to their lips "when so disposed," and that other 
evils were more or less rife. "All drunkards without excep- 
tion, Sisters and all; and there are but two nurses whom 
the surgeon can trust to give the patients their medicines," 
is a doctor's account of a London hospital quoted by Miss 
Nightingale herself in 1852. In a letter to her father 
(February 1854) she writes that the head nurse in a cer- 
tain London hospital told her that "in the course of her 
large experience she had never known a nurse who was not 
drunken, and that there was immoral conduct practised 
in the very wards, of which she gave me some awful ex- 
amples." Reports from Paris and its famous schools of 
medicine and surgery were no better. Miss Nightingale's 
own opinion, reached after much enquiry and observation, 
was that hospitals were "a school, it may almost be said, 
for immorality and impropriety — inevitable where women 
of bad character are admitted as nurses, to become worse 
by their contact with male patients and young surgeons. 
. . . We see the nurses drinking, we see the neglect at 
night owing to their falling asleep.'' Such statements were 

A Personality and a Vocation 21 

indignantly denied by other authorities. In 1857, "one who 
has walked a good many hospitals" gave the same account 
in the Times that Miss Nightingale had given in 1851. He 
was answered and his statements were hotly denied by Mr. 
J. F. South of St. Thomas's Hospital. Obviously there were 
hospitals and hospitals, nurses and nurses, and on the point 
of morals, no general indictment was just. Upon the 
question of drinking among nurses, both in hospitals and 
in private service, there is less room for doubt. Dickens 
in his preface to Martin Chuzzlewit spoke of Mrs. Gamp 
as a fair representation at the time of the hired attendant 
on the poor; and he might have added, says his biography, 
that the rich were no better off, for the original of Mrs. 
Gamp "was in reality a person hired by a most distinguished 
friend of his own, a lady, to take charge of an invalid very 
dear to her." How far drinking habits were a disability 
was a matter of opinion. "The nurses are very good now," 
wrote Lord Granville in 1854; "perhaps they do drink a 
little, but so do the ladies' monthly nurses, and nothing can 
be better than them; poor people, it must be so tiresome 
sitting up all night." 

Even in 1877, one of the first batch of probationers 
trained at St. Bartholomew's found that "drunkenness was 
very common among the staff nurses, who were chiefly 
women of the charwoman type, frequently of bad character 
. . . The worst women we had were those who used to 
come in to look after bad cases, more particularly at night. 
They were called 'night extras.' They were most dreadful 
persons, possessing neither character nor ability." * 

Miss Nightingale came to know, in the course of her 
experience, that even "most dreadful persons" might have 
had their own troubles. "A very large proportion of nurses 
are mothers," she wrote in 1858, "often widows with large 

"Journal of St. Bartholomew's Nurses' League, No. 5, p. 134, quoted in 
Nutting and Dock's History of Nursing. 

22 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

families, whom they support and put to service out of theii* 
wages, too often eked out by improper means, i.e., bribes 
and petty dishonesty. Many of these women are (at first) 
moral, sober, industrious, and doubly anxious to retain their 
places on account of their children. . . . The wages of 
hospital nurses are not and never can be enough to supply 
a proper support for children in addition to the support the 
mothers ought themselves to have. Consequently, when 
children are in whole or in part lodged, fed, clothed, 'edu- 
cated,' and put to service out of the £50 a year of the head 
nurse, or out of the 12/ — a week of the nurse, the mother 
either stints herself of proper food, proper strong drink (we 
deal with practice, not with theory), proper warm clothing, 
for the children's sake, or she supplies the deficiency by im- 
proper means. If the nurse cannot afford to live well and 
abstains from dishonesty, one of two things infallibly hap- 
pens — either she takes to drink, as the fallacious support of 
an exhausted frame, or her strength fails and she breaks 
down, after a few months', sometimes a few years', struggle. 
When once she has taken to drink, one of two things invar- 
iably follows . . . ; she is or becomes unguarded, and is soon 
found out and sinks into the miserable second and far too 
numerous class of characterless hospital nurses, unless drink 
shortly finishes her; or, in the other case, she is cautious 
and guarded — she then becomes sly, dishonest, and thor- 
oughly venal; she extorts gifts and takes bribes from her 
patients and their friends . . . she commits constant acts 
of petty but often most dangerous dishonesty, possibly 
remaining an efficient and clever nurse, sometimes a favour- 
ite nurse, and, so far as regards the crime which has taken 
the name of immorality, a moral woman. A certain pro- 
portion of nurses are all the above, excepting drink; for 
though, almost without exception, every nurse who drinks 
takes bribes, some take bribes and do not drink. Of course, 
widows and unmarried women who are not mothers do the 
above things; but there cannot be a doubt of the additional 

A Personality and a Vocation 23 

and terrible temptation to women burdened with children 
to make money in various ways out of their patients." ' 

The conditions of a hospital nurse's work were so little 
cared for that Miss Nightingale, in her wonderfully detailed 
scheme of model nursing arrangements written for the 
army in 1858/ had to plead with anxious apology for some 
of their simplest needs. "To lay more upon human nature 
than its IMaker has intended it to bear is to do a foolish, let 
alone a wicked thing. . . . Upon an average, all men and 
women, after a laborious day require a good night, in the 
long run. When they do not have it, either health or effici- 
ency or sobriety, all go. Believe . . . that this is not theory, 
but the result of practical observation, much extended. 
Now comes a thing I am very anxious about con- 
cerning night duty, the more anxious because it is impor- 
tant, and because I am afraid it is an innovation. I have 
watched the night duty with particularly anxious interest 
in each Hospital I have entered, feeling at once its impor- 
tance and its difficulties, and of the following principle I am 
thoroughly certain." The important principle thus pref- 
aced is that food should be regularly allowed at night. 
In none of the Civil Hospitals, so far as I know, is night 
refreshment given. The Nurses, usually on board wages, 
apportion, when they can, some from their food. In one 
Hospital there exists a rule that no Night Nurse is to take re- 
freshment during her watch, the intention being to keep her 
more vigilantly to her duty. This is one instance among 
many of the serious and cruel mistakes which men of busi- 
ness or benevolence or both make when legislating on mat- 
ters which they do not understand. It is, fortunately for 
the fine Hospital where it is the rule, practically disre- 

^ Subsidiary Notes, p. 11 of Appendix on a Nurses' Provident Fund. She 
goes on to explain how these "maternal nurses" were tempted to bring 
their children into hospital at forbidden times or even to have them per- 
petually there. 

'Subsidiary Notes as to the Introduction of Female Nursing into Mili- 
tary Hospitals in Peace and in War, 1858. 

24 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

garded; the Head Nurses knowing well that a Nurse 
watching and fasting in a ward from 9 to 9, or even from 
9 to the breakfast hour of 6, would either soon be unfit for 
duty, or put drams in her pocket, or doze through the 
night." " 

The level of the nursing profession, in fine, was such 
that it might well be thought that a gentlewoman among 
nurses would be exposed, if not to dangers and temptations, 
at least to undesirable and unfitting conditions. These are 
considerations to which full weight must be allowed, if we 
are to understand the opposition Miss Nightingale met 
with, and the measure of her own courage and persistency. 

Miss Nightingale herself was so much impressed by the 
difiiculties and dangers in the way of women nurses that 
she was inclined at first to the idea that the introduction 
of gentlewomen to the profession might be best effected 
either in special hospitals connected with religious institu- 
tions or in a general hospital under cover of some religious 
bond. She distrusted vows, it was true, and her own test 
would have been the nurse's personal fitness for the calling 
and devotion to it. But it was necessary to consider what 
was immediately practicable, what was the best expedient 
for overcoming prejudices and dangers. Miss Nightingale 
was therefore intensely interested in what she heard of the 
Institution for Deaconesses, with its hospital, school and 
penitentiary, with a Protestant minister. Pastor Fliedner, 
had established some years before at Kaiserswerth on the 
Rhine. The Bunsens were friends of her family, and the 
Baron had sent her Fliedner's Annual Report, perhaps as a 
result of one of her enquiries. Mme. Mohl had also 
sent her some information, but in whatever way she may 
first have heard of the institution, it is certain that by 1846 
she had its papers. And during these years she made some 
study of medical and sanitary subjects amid the distrac- 
tions of home. 

'Subsidiary Notes, pp. 96, 98. 

A Personality and a Vocation 25 

Lea Hurst, 7 July I846. What is my business in the 
world and what have I done this last fortnight? I have 
read the Daughter at Home " to father, and two chapters 
of Mackintosh; a volume of Sybil to mama. Learnt seven 
tunes by heart. Written various letters. Ridden with 
papa. Paid eight visits. Done company. And that is all. 

Emhley, October 7. What have I done the last three 
months? Oh, happy, happy six weeks at the Hurst, where 
I had found my business in this world. My heart was filled. 
My soul was at home. I wanted no other heaven. May 
God be thanked as He never yet has been thanked for that 
glimpse of what it is to live. Now for the last five weeks 
my business has been much harder. They don't know how 
weary this way of life is to me — this table d'hote of 
people. . . . When I want Erfrischung I read a little of the 
Jahresberichte uber die Diakonissen-Anstalt in Kaisers- 
werth. There is my home. There are my brothers and 
sisters all at work. There my heart is, and there I trust will 
one day be my body, whether in this state or in the next, 
in Germany or in England, I do not care. 

^'' Anna, or Passages in the Life of a Daughter at Home, By Caroline 



The year 1847 was a busy one in the social way. There 
was the usual spring stay in London, and Florence paid 
a number of country visits with her father. She wrote 
many lively accounts to her friends of the events of the 
British Association meeting at Oxford, where Adams and 
Leverrier sat "on either side of the President like a pair 
of turtle doves cooing at their joint star, and holding it 
between them." In the autumn she set out with her 
friends Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge to spend the winter in 
Rome. The two sisters gave different accounts of the 
reasons for this journey. "All that I want to do in life," 
Florence wrote to her cousin Hilary, "depends upon my 
health, which I am told a winter in Rome will establish 
for ever." "God is very good to provide such a pleasant 
time," wrote Parthenope to the same correspondent. "It 
will rest her mind entirely from wearing thoughts that all 
men have at home when their duties weigh much on their 
consciences." Florence did find consolation and joy in the 
tour, but it was destined not to divert but to confirm her 
purpose in life. She entered fully into the traveller's inter- 
ests in Rome, but her own preoccupations show through 
them in her letters and notes: she reads her thoughts and 
aspirations into many of the works of arts. What most 
impressed her mind and stimulated her imagination was 
the genius, of Michael Angelo. Her reverence for the cre- 
ator of the Sistine ceiling and of the allegorical figures at 
Florence was lifelong. Michael Angelo's grandeur of ex- 


Rome and Her Merit 27 

pression, his love of freedom and his part in the siege of 
Florence, the individual and austere note of his religious 
musings, perhaps also his aloof and lonely life, all appealed 
to her inmost nature, ' 

"I do not feel," she wrote, "though Pagan in the morn- 
ing, Jew in the afternoon and Christian in the evening, 
anything but a unity of interest in all these representations. 
To know God we must study him as much in the Pagan 
and Jewish dispensations as in the Christian (though that 
is the last and most perfect manifestation) ; and this gives 
unity to the whole — one continuous thread of interest to 
all these pearls." 

She made in Rome a methodical study of Roman doc- 
trine and ritual, analysing the theory of Indulgence, of the 
Real Presence, of the Rosary, and so forth. She also made 
a careful collation of the Latin Breviary with the English 
Prayer Book. Her study was summed up in this generalisa- 
tion: "The great merit of the Catholic Church: its asser- 
tion of the truth that God still inspires mankind as much 
as ever. Its great fault: its luniting this inspiration to 
itself. The great merit of Protestantism: its proclamation 
of freedom of conscience within the limits of the Scrip- 
tures. The great fault: its erection of the Bible into a 
master of the soul." Florence went into Retreat for ten 
days in the Convent of the Trinita dei Monti, to whose 
Superior, the Madre Sta. Colomba, she became warmly at- 
tached. She studied the organisation, methods, and rules 
of the large school attached to the Convent, and intercourse 
with the Madre Sta. Colomba, of whose talk and spiritual 
experiences she wrote full notes, made a very deep im- 
pression on her mind. At the Trinita dei Monti, as in her 
preparatory studies elsewhere, she sought not so much a 

* Photographs and engravings of the Sistine ceiling hung in her bedroom 
at 10 South Street and were among the few things she bequeathed specifi- 
cally. In 1874 she sent to Embley some inscribed photographs of the 
figures on the Medici tombs in commemoration of her father. 

28 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

method as a motive, though rules and organisation had 
their place. She wished to find the secret of inspiring 
women with devotion, "that state of mind," as a friend 
wrote to her in later years, "in which the current of desire 
is flowing towards one high end." For this she made notes 
of the Superior's exhortations, of the spiritual exercises 
enjoined on novices, of the forms and discipline of self- 

There is no evidence that her deep interest in intercourse 
with this Roman Catholic community ever for a moment 
led her towards conversion. The Madre Sta. Colomba 
yearned over her young friend in vain. Miss Nightingale 
always had a sympathetic mind for any faith that issued 
in good works, and an impatience of any that did not. 
It is for this reason that in religious matters she some- 
times seemed to be all things to all men. As children she 
and her sister had been taken on Sundays to the little 
Unitarian Chapel at Lea. Its existence was short and in 
later years her parents attended church. Florence's atti- 
tude never varied. She had a fervent belief in God, and 
could sometimes feel a reverent interest in doctrines as 
human attempts to interpret aspects of spiritual truth; 
but her own mind was not troubled by disputations con- 
cerning creeds or the claims of churches. Protestants 
thought her too indulgent to Roman Catholics, and Cath- 
olics were sore that she did not go further with them. 
Arthur Stanley (afterwards the Dean) once asked her to 
use her influence with a friend to prevent her from joining 
the Roman Church. In a long reply which Miss Night- 
ingale wrote with great care (November 26, 1852) she 
promised to do what she could, but explained that this 
might not be much. She herself remained in the Anglican 
Communion "because she was born there," and because the 
Roman Church ofi'ered some things which she personally 
did not want. She feared their friend might consider that 

Rome and Her Merit 29 

such arguments as she could urge against the Roman 
Church applied equally against the Anglican. And on the 
other hand, she had never concealed her opinion that the 
Roman Communion offered advantages to women which 
the Church of England did not: 

"The Catholic orders offered me work, training for that 
work, sympathy and help in it, such as I had in vain sought 
in the Church of England. The Church of England has 
for men bishoprics, archbishoprics, and a little work (good 
men make a great deal for themselves). For women she 
has — what? I had no taste for theological discoveries. I 
would have given her my head, my heart, my hand. She 
would not have them. She did not know what to do with 
them. She told me to go back and do crochet in my 
mother's drawing-room; or if I was tired of that, to marry 
and look well at the head of my husband's table. You 
may go to the Sunday School if you like it^ she said. But 
she gave me no training even for that. She gave me neither 
work to do for her, nor education for it." 

"I dislike and despise the Church of England," she writes 
in a fiery letter to a Roman Catholic friend (1852) ' to much 
the same effect. And, in a note book of 1849, "The only 
clergy who deserve the name of pastors are the Roman 
Catholic. The rest, of all the denominations — Church of 
England, Church of Scotland, Dissenters — are only theol- 
ogy or tea mongers." 

"It will never do," she said to a friend, "unless we have 
a Church of which the terms of membership shall be works, 
not doctrines." 

"I feel little zeal," she wrote to Mme. Mohl in 1851, 
during the Ecclesiastical Titles controversy, "in pulling 
down one Church and building up another, in making 
Bishops or unmaking them. If they would make us, our 
Faith would spring up of itself, and then we shouldn't 

^ Henry Edward Manning, His Life and Labours, by Shane Leslie, p. 109. 

30 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

want either Anglican Church or Roman Catholic Church 
to make it for us.' 

The absorbing interest of these Roman studies raised 
Florence above all those superficial things which fostered 
her "vanity" ; it was her "happiest New Year." "The most 
entire and unbroken freedom from dreaming I ever had," 
she wrote later; "Oh, how happy I was!" And after 
twenty years she could say to Mme. Mohl, "I never enjoyed 
any time in my life so much as my time in Rome." It led 
the way, too, to her great opportunity; for among the 
visitors to Rome that winter were Mr. and Mrs. Sidney 
Herbert. Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge were friends of the 
Herberts; rides, expeditions and visits to galleries were 
made in common, and Florence became friendly and even 
intimate with these new acquaintances. Mr. Herbert was 
full of a scheme for a Convalescent Home and Cottage Hos- 
pital for the poor on his estate — institutions then almost 
unknown. This was a project after her own heart, and 
one of her first engagements after returning to England 
was "an expedition with Mrs. Sidney Herbert to set up 
her Convalescent Home at Charmouth." Another Roman 
acquaintance was Archdeacon Manning, the future Car- 

Miss Nightingale's visit to Rome synchronised with that 
curious and short-lived episode in the struggle for Italian 
freedom during which Pio Nono was playing "the ineffec- 
tual tragedy of Liberal Catholicism." "I thought it was 
the Kingdom of Heaven coming under the face of a Re- 
public," she wrote to Mme. Mohl later in the year, after 
disillusion had come. She saw Roman nobles presiding 
over the "patriotic altars" where gifts of money and jew- 

' Mr. Shane Leslie in his book on Manning gives part of a chapter to 
Miss Nightingale, who had some correspondence with Manning in 1852. 
He thinks that "all that 3'ear her strong wings beat on the bars of Man- 
ning's confessional." Manning tried to convert her, and Mr. Leslie would 
naturally like to believe she wished to be "received." But he makes it 
clear that "she insisted on presenting religion scientifically." This in fact 
she was trying to do in her Suggestions for Thought at that very time. 

Rome and Her Merit 31 

ellery were received. She heard Father Gavazzi preach the 
crusade in the Colosseum. She cheered the hoisting of 
the Itahan tricolor on the Capitol. Mr. Bracebridge and 
she broke their own windows because they were not il- 
luminated, and were saluted with cries of "God save the 
Queen" as they stood to watch the torchlight procession 
of patriots singing the hymn to Pio Nono. A year later, 
when the Republic had been declared, the Pope had fled 
and the French were besieging Rome, she had to "exhale 
her rage and indignation" in a diary. The heroic defence of 
the Republic, she thought, "would have raised the Romans 
in the moral scale, and in their own esteem." They would 
never sink back to what they had been. Sooner or later, 
Rome would be free. 

"They must carry out their defence to the last. I should 
like to see them fight in the streets inch by inch till the 
last man dies at his barricade, till St. Peter's is level with 
the ground, till the Vatican is blown into the air. Then 
this would be the last of such brutal, not house breakings, 
but city breakings; then and not till then would Europe 
do justice to France as a thief and a murderer, and a sim- 
ilar crime be rendered impossible for all ages. If I were 
in Rome I should be the first to fire the Sistine, turning 
my head aside, and Michael Angelo would cry 'Well done,' 
as he saw his work destroyed." 



Florence returned in the early summer of 1848 to the 
old round of social life, which grew more and more dis- 
tasteful. In a letter to Miss Nicholson she explained why- 
she could not smile and be gay while biding her time. 
It was because "she hated God to hear her laugh, as if 
she had not repented of her sin." There is something 
obviously morbid in such words, and they might be multi- 
plied indefinitely from her letters, diaries, and notebooks. 
The sins of which she most often convicted herself were 
"hypocrisy" and "vanity." She prayed to be delivered 
"from the desire of producing an effect." That was 
"vanity"; and it was "hypocrisy" to play a part and re- 
spond to friends' conception of her, though her heart was 
set on other things and her true life was being lived else- 
where. The kind "Aunt" reminded her that anything 
and everything may be done "to the glory of God." But 
"can it be to the glory of God," she asked, "when there 
is so much misery among the poor, which we might be 
curing instead of living in luxury?" In the autumn, her 
dearest wish seemed about to be realised. Her mother 
and sister were to go to Carlsbad for the cure. The three 
were to meet M. and Mme. Mohl in Frankfurt, and as 
Kaiserswerth is near Frankfurt, Florence was to be allowed 
to go there. But disturbances broke out in Frankfurt, the 
whole plan was given up, and Florence, bitterly disap- 
pointed, accompanied her mother to the Malvern cure 
instead. The next year she found some congenial work 
in London, inspecting hospitals and working in Ragged 


Abjurations 33 

Schools, with which she had come into touch through Lord 
Shaftesbury. She spoke of her "Httle thieves of West- 
minster" as her greatest joy in London. But such occu- 
pations were hampered by the proprieties, which laid it 
down that a young woman in her station of life could 
not go out in London without a servant. 

Diary, July 2, 1849. Ought not one's externals to be as 
nearly as possible an incarnation of what life really is? 
Life is not a green pasture and a still water, as our homes 
make it. . . . In an English country place everything that 
is painful is so carefully removed out of sight, behind those 
fine trees, to a village three miles off. In London, at all 
events if you open your eyes, you cannot help seeing in 
the next street that life is not as it has been made to you. 
You cannot get out of a carriage at a party without seeing 
what is in the faces making a lane on either side, and 
without feeling tempted to rush back and say, "There are 
my brothers and sisters!" 

The natural expectation of Florence's family and friends 
was that she would marry, and various suitors were favoured 
by Mrs. Nightingale. The proposals of one of these im- 
posed upon Florence a difficult and even painful choice. 
He was a man already distinguished, of whom the Night- 
ingales had seen much. Florence admired his talents and 
took great and increasing pleasure in his society. She 
leaned more and more upon his sympathy. Yet when the 
proposal first came she refused it, and when it was renewed 
she persisted. 

Among her private notes was one which contains the 
explanation of her refusal. 

"I have an intellectual nature which requires satisfaction 
and that would find it in him. I have a passional nature 
which requires satisfaction and that would find it in him. 
I have a moral, an active, nature which requires satisfaction 
and that would not find it in his life. I can hardly find 
satisfaction for any of my natures. Sometimes I think 
that I will satisfy my passional nature at all events, because 
that will at least secure me from the evil of dreaming. 

34 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

But would it? I could be satisfied to spend a life with him 
combining our different powers in some great object. I 
could not satisfy this nature by spending a life with him 
in making society and arranging domestic things. ... To 
be nailed to a continuation and exaggeration of my present 
life, without hope of another, would be intolerable to me. 
Voluntarily to put it out of my power ever to be able to 
seize the chance of forming for myself a true and rich life 
would seem to me like suicide." 

There is nothing to be added to this account of the 
matter. Her nature was not that of a woman predestined 
to celibacy. It is clear that she saw here the promise of 
whatever happiness a marriage of inclination and intellec- 
tual accord could give her. She was very lonely and longed 
for sympathy. But the longing for her work was overpow- 
ering and it was sympathy in her work that she dreamed of. 
The lesser happiness she resolved to put aside; and it was 
put aside for an uncertainty. 

She has filled out the argument in her Suggestions for 

"Without the right cultivation and employment of all the 
powers . . . there can be no repose, and with it repose may 
be found in a hell, in a hospital of wounds and pain and 
operations and death and remorse and tears and despair.^ 
The effervescence of energy which there is in every young 
being not diseased in mind or body, which struggles to find 
its satisfaction in the excitement of society, of imagination, 
of the vulgar conflicts of social life, will seek its true occu- 
pation at last in the anguish of real life. Many a woman 
cannot resign herself to lead the life she has seen every 
woman about her lead — of composing parties, laying out 
the grounds, reading the newspapers, superintending chil- 
dren whom she cannot manage, servants whom she cannot 
influence, schools which she knows nothing about . . . and 
this unsustained by any real deep sympathy with her hus- 
band, good though he may be. He is thinking of other 
things; he does not cause her to partake his ideas and plans 
except indeed his desire to have such and such a person 

* This passage was no doubt written after the war. 

Abjurations 35 

at the house, such and such a disposition of the furniture 
or the garden. Such a woman longs for a profession — strug- 
gles to open to woman the paths of the school, the hospital, 
the penitentiary, the care of the young, the sick, the bad — • 
not as an amusement, to fill up odd times, to fancy they 
have done something when they have done nothing, to 
make a sham of visiting — but systematically, as a reality, 
an occupation, a 'profession.' 

Hardly any class suffers more from want of sympathy 
than married women, even those who are loving and loved. 
In some sorts of attraction the woman does not want sym- 
pathy; she only needs to satisfy the want of 'his' presence, 
the want to supply 'his' interest, or amusement, or com- 
fort, to feel what he is feeling and fulfil his consequent 
desires. But this is by no means the highest, certainly not 
the most improving kind of married love. To work at one 
or more objects interesting in the view of God, important 
in God's purposes for man, to work with one or more be- 
tween whom there is a mutual attraction and who are 
mutually interested in these objects, not only for each 
other's sakes but from their own natures and for God's 
sake and man's sake, this only is human happiness. Who 
has it?" 

She goes on to ask what hope there is for women who 
cannot have this happiness. "While unhappy we can do 
comparatively so little." Is there "nothing which can 
be called happiness while this is impossible?" "The want 
of all this," she answers, "ought to be recognised as a want;" 
but "such a state admits of partial riches, of partial happi- 
ness, even with a sense of want and suffering." "Sympathy 
being one of the essentials of the human spirit, must not the 
human spirit be famishing without it, as the human body 
without food? No, we can feel what is to be called happi- 
ness, without attraction or sympathy, in certain exercises 
of the nature, where God has a part." 

And elsewhere: 

"The craving for sympathy which exists between two 
who are to form an indivisible and perfect whole is in 
most cases between man and woman, in some between man 

36 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

and God. This the Roman Catholics have understood and 
expressed under the simile Christ the bridegroom, the nun 
married to him, the monk married to the Church; or as 
St. Francis to poverty, or as St. Ignatius Loyola to the 
divine mistress of his thoughts, the Virgin. This sort of 
tie between man and God seems alone able to fill the want 
of the other, the permanent exclusive tie between the one 
man and the one woman." 

Some women, she thought, were marked out to be single, 
and in later years she was apt to think it a sad falling away 
when any of her nurses left a responsible position for mar- 
ried life. "I think some have every reason for not marrying. 
. . . The Primitive Church clearly thought so, too, and 
provided accordingly; and though no doubt the Primitive 
Church was in many matters an old woman, yet I think 
the experience of ages has proved her right in this." 

At the end of one of Florence's meditations on marriage 
and her refusal of it come the significant words: "I must 
strive after a better life for woman." 



In the autumn of 1849, Florence again went abroad 
with the Bracebridges to spend the winter in Egypt and 
the spring in Greece, with the promise of a visit to Kaisers- 
werth on the way homewards. Her sister was delighted 
with the Egyptian plan and hoped that what Rome had 
failed to do would be effected by this fresh interest. Flo 
went "laden with learned books" ; she made tables of dynas- 
ties, copied plans of temples and analysed the leading ideas 
of Egyptian mythology as expounded by the best writers 
of the day. The Egypt in which she travelled was as 
Mehemet Ali had left it. She saw girls sold in the open 
market "at from £2 to £9 a head." She heard how justice 
was sold to the highest bidder; and noted that "everybody 
seems to bastinado everybody else." Always on her travels 
she took opportunities to visit institutions, and at Alex- 
andria she enjoyed "a great deal of time with the Sisters 
of S. Vincent de Paul in their beautiful schools and 
Misericorde. There are only nineteen of them, but they 
do the work of ninety." Florence was fond of escaping 
from the dahabiah to wander about the desert, "poking 
my nose," as she wrote home, "into all the villages" and 
seeing how "these poor people" live. Her long and elo- 
quent letters home show the deep impression made upon 
her by the solemn beauty of temples and tombs, the glow 
of light and colour, above all by the fascination of the 
religious ideas. A recollection of Egypt occurs in one of 
her Indian articles of thirty years later: 


38 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"Whoever in the glorious light of an Egyptian sunset, 
where all glows with colour, not like that of birds and 
flowers, but like transparent emeralds and sapphires and 
rubies and amethysts — the gold and jewels and precious 
stones of the Revelations — has seen the herds wending their 
way home on the plain of Thebes by the colossal pair of 
sitting statues, followed by the stately woman in her one 
draped garment, plying her distaff, a naked, lovely little 
brown child riding on her shoulder, and another on a buf- 
falo, can conjure up something of the ideal of the ryot's 
family life in India." 

The party reached Greece (April, 1850) in the height 
of the Don Pacifico crisis. Lord Palmerston had ordered 
the Mediterranean fleet to the Peiraeus, and Florence was 
sitting next Mr. Vyse, the British Minister at Athens, at 
dinner on board H.M.S. Howe, when the Greek Govern- 
ment's submission was brought to him. Her letters home 
are full of speculations as to the manifestations of the Greek 
soul in art and worship, and their sources in Greek scenery 
and circumstance. Of the Parthenon by moonlight she 
wrote that it was "impossible that earth or heaven could 
produce anything more beautiful." One day she found 
some boys with a baby owl which had fallen from its nest 
in the temple. She bought it from them, and "Athena" 
travelled in her pocket, eating its companion, a cicada, on 
the journey, and "thus consolidating two pets in one." 
The little owl passed the rest of its life at Embley, where 
the provision of mice became an anxious preoccupation 
of the butler. 

Florence's greatest pleasure in Athens was in the society 
of the American missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. Hill, who con- 
ducted a school and orphanage, and of their school mistress, 
Elizabeth Kontaxaki. Elizabeth was a Greek refugee from 
Crete, whose father had fallen by a Turkish bullet. Her 
mother had" made a heroic escape from a Turkish captor, 
and the child's first years were spent in the fastnesses of 
Mount Ida. "Alas," wrote Florence, "how worthless my 

The Protestant Rhine 39 

life seems to me by the side of these women!" A mood 
of great dejection overtook her at this time, to which an 
attack of fever must have contributed. But on the way 
north she spent some days at Berlin, inspecting the hos- 
pitals and other institutions, and the fit of depression 
passed. On July 31 she reached Kaiserswerth. "I could 
hardly believe I was there," she wrote in her diary. "With 
the feeling with which a pilgrim first looks on the Kedron, 
I saw the Rhine, dearer to me than the Nile." She stayed 
a fortnight. "Left Kaiserswerth," says the diary (August 
13) "feeling so brave, as if nothing could ever vex me 
again." She rejoined her friends at Diisseldorf. "They 
stayed at Ghent actually for me to finish my MSS." The 
next day they returned to England. The MSS. was of the 
pamphlet describing "the Institution of Kaiserswerth on 
the Rhine," which was issued anonymously soon after Miss 
Nightingale's return. It ended with an appeal to English- 
women to follow the Kaiserswerth example, 

"I am thirty," wrote Florence in her diary of 1850; 
"the age at which Christ began His mission. Now no 
more childish things, no more vain things, no more love, 
no more marriage. Now, Lord, let me only think of Thy 

One of the friends who sympathised with her desires was 
Byron's daughter. Lady Lovelace. Her verses called A 
Portrait Taken jrom Life give a picture of the impression 
made by Florence Nightingale at this time of ripened 
powers when she was yet unknown; and they end with a 
truly astonishing prophecy: 

I saw her pass and paused to think! 

She moves as one on whom to gaze 
With calm and holy thoughts that link 

The soul to God in prayer and praise. 
She walks as if on heaven's brink 

Unscathed thro' life's entangled maze. 

40 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

I heard her soft and silver voice 

Take part in songs of harmony, 
Well framed to gladden and rejoice; 

Whilst her ethereal melody 
Still kept my soul in wav'ring choice 

Twixt smiles and tears of ecstasy. . . . 

I deem her fair, yes, very fair! 

Yet some there are who pass her by, 
Unmoved by all the graces there. 

Her face doth raise no burning sigh, 
Nor hath her slender form the glare 

Which strikes and rivets every eye. 

Her grave, but large and lucid eye, 
Unites a boundless depth of feeling 

With Truth's own bright transparency, 
Her singleness of heart revealing. 

But still her spirit's history 

From light and curious gaze concealing. 

In future years, in distant climes. 

Should war's dread strife its victims claim. 

Should pestilence, unchecked betimes, 

Strike more than sword, than cannon maim, 

He who then reads these truthful rhymes 
Will trace her progress to undying fame. 

This was written in 1851. Lady Lovelace died in 1852. 

There was still before Florence the painful last stage of 
her struggle for freedom. She felt with piteous keenness 
the gulf which separated her from her parents and her 
sister. It seemed that everything she said or did was a 
subject of vexation to her sister, a disappointment to her 
mother, a worry even to her father. 'T have never known 
a happy time," she exclaimed to herself, "except at Rome 
and that fortnight at Kaiserswerth. It is not the unhappi- 
ness I mind, it is not indeed; but people can't be unhappy 
without making those about them so." 

"The thoughts and feelings that I have now I can remem- 
ber since I was six years old. It was not that I made them. 

The Protestant Rhine 41 

A profession, a trade, a necessary occupation, something 
to fill and employ all my faculties, I have always felt essen- 
tial to me, I have always longed for, consciously or not. 
During a middle part of my life, college education, acquire- 
ment, I longed for, but that was temporary. The first 
thought I can remember, and the last, was nursing work; 
and in the absence of this, education work, but more the 
education of the bad than of the young. But for this I 
had had no education myself." 

Eighteen months before she had resolved in a great effort 
to "crucify" her old self, "to break through the habits, 
entailed on me by an idle life, of living not in the present 
world of action, but in a future one of dreams. Since 
then nations have passed before me but have brought no 
new life to me. In my thirty-first year I see nothing desir- 
able but death." "Everything has been tried, foreign 
travel, kind friends, everything." "My God, what is to 
become of me?" "0 weary days, evenings that seem 
never to end! For how many long years I have watched 
that drawing-room clock and thought it would never reach 
the ten! And for twenty or thirty more to do this!"' 
"0 how am I to get through this day, to talk through all 
this day, is the thought of every morning. . . , Why do I 
wish to leave this world? God knows I do not expect a 
heaven beyond, but that he would set me down in St. 
Giles's, at a Kaiserswerth, there to find my work and my 
salvation in my work." 

As the year advances, a more decided spirit of revolt 
begins to appear in her diaries. One of her perplexities 
had been a doubt whether her "mountains of difl&culties" 
were to be taken as occasions for submission to God's will, 
or whether they were trials of her patience and resolve. 
She now began to interpret God's will as a call upon her 
for a stronger initiative. "I must take some things," she 
wrote on Whit Sunday (8 June 1851) "as few as I can, 

^Tradition records that Florence sometimes contrived to put on the 
hands of this clock — a florid erection in ormolu. 

42 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

to enable me to live. I must take them, they will not be 
given me; take them in a spirit of doing Thy will, not of 
snatching them for my own will. I must do without some 
things, as many as I can, which I could not have without 
causing more suffering than I am obliged to cause any way." 
And she must leave behind the hope of real sympathy and 
understanding from her mother and sister. 

In a long letter to her father she argues the need of 
training, not specifically for herself, but in general. Some- 
thing more than good intention is necessary in order to do 
good. Philanthropy is a matter of skill, and an apprentice- 
ship in it is necessary. An opportunity for such apprentice- 
ship came sooner than she had dared to hope. A stay at 
Carlsbad was proposed for Parthe's health. Florence in- 
sisted on being allowed to start with her mother and sister, 
and to spend the time of their foreign stay at Kaisers- 
werth. This was permitted, the more readily, it appears, 
that nobody need know where she was. 

"I have not mentioned to anyone," wrote Florence (16 
July), "where I am, and should also be very sorry that 
the old ladies should know. With regard, however, to your 
fear of what people will say, the people whose opinion you 
most care about, it has been their earnest wish for years 
that I should come here. The Bunsens (I know he wishes 
one of his own daughters would come), the Bracebridges, 
the Sam Smiths, Lady Inglis, the Sidney Herberts, the 
Plunketts, all wish it ; and I know that others — Lady Byron, 
Caroline Bathurst, Mr. Tremenheere, Mr. Rich (whose opin- 
ions however I have not asked) — would think it a very 
desirable thing for everybody. . . . With regard to telling 
people the fact (afterwards) of my having been here, I 
can see no difficulty. The Herberts, as you know, even 
commissioned me to do something for them here. The fact 
itself will pain none of them." 

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert, who were at Homburg, presently 
paid her a visit at Kaiserswerth. She reached the institu- 
tion early in July, and stayed three months. 

The Protestant Rhine 43 

The Institution for Deaconesses, now grown into a great 
group of institutions with many daughter houses in Ger- 
many and others in the near East, was the first of its kind. 
It began in 1833 with the opening of a tiny summer house 
for a single discharged prisoner in the garden of the Pastor 
of Kaiserswerth and his wife, Friederike Miinster, both 
devoted workers for the reformation of prisoners. Fliedner 
had met Mrs. Fry in London, and had been greatly im- 
pressed by her work in Newgate. An infant school and a 
hospital where deaconesses could be trained as nurses were 
soon added, at first also in a very small way. 

"It is impossible not to observe," wrote Miss Nightingale 
in her account of the place, "how different was the begin- 
ning from the way in which institutions are generally 
founded. A list of subscribers with some royal and noble 
names at the head, a double column of rules and regula- 
tions, a collection of great names begin (and end) most 
new enterprises." "At Kaiserswerth," she notes elsewhere, 
"a clergyman and his wife have begun not with a prospectus, 
but with a couple of hospital beds, and have offered, not 
an advertisement, but a home to young women willing to 
come." In 1851, Kaiserswerth had a hospital with 100 
beds, an infant school, a penitentiary with 12 inmates, 
an orphan asylum and a normal school for the training of 
school mistresses. There were 116 deaconesses, of whom 94 
had been "consecrated" by "a solemn blessing in the church, 
without vows of any kind." The rest were still on pro- 
bation. Forty-nine were working at Kaiserswerth, the 
others elsewhere in Germany and abroad. After six months' 
trial, they received a small salary, just enough to provide 
their clothes. There was no other reward, except that the 
Mother House stood open to receive those who might fall 
ill or become infirm in its service. Every week the pastor 
gave a conversational lecture to the deaconesses, advising 
in each one's difficulties, and they were taught education 
of the young, care of the sick, district visiting, rescue and 

44 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

reformatory work. Private instruction on matters connected 
with the moral side of the work was also given individually 
by the pastor, and Miss Nightingale was deeply impressed 
by the excellence and seriousness of this. Her manner of 
life there and her joy in it were told in letters to her 

"On Sunday I took the sick boys a long walk along 
the Rhine ; two Sisters were with me to help to keep order. 
They were all in ecstasies with the beauty of the scenery, 
and really I thought it very fine, too, in its way — the 
broad mass of waters flowing ever on slowly and calmly 
to their destination, and all that unvarying horizon — 
so like the slow, calm, earnest, meditative German char- 

"The world here fills my life with interest, and strength- 
ens me in body and mind. I succeeded directly to an ofl5ce, 
am now in another, so that until yesterday I never had 
time even to send my things to the wash. We have ten 
minutes for each of our meals, of which we have four. 
We get up at 5; breakfast 14 before 6. The patients dine 
at eleven ; the Sisters at 12. We drink tea, i.e., a drink made 
of ground rye, between 2 and 3, and sup at 7. We have two 
ryes and two broths — ryes at 6 and 3, broths at 12 and 
7; bread at the two former, vegetables at 12. Several 
evenings in the week we collect in the Great Hall for a 
Bible lesson. The Pastor sent for me once to give me 
some of his unexampled instructions; the man's wisdom 
and knowledge of human nature is wonderful; he has an 
instinctive acquaintance with every character in his place. 
Except that once I have only seen him in his rounds." 

"The operation to which Mrs. Bracebridge alludes was 
an amputation at which I was present, but which I did not 

mention to , knowing that she would see no more in 

my interest in it than the pleasure dirty boys have in 
playing in the puddles about a butcher's shop. I find the 
deepest interest in everything here, and am so well in body 
and mind. This is Life. Now I know what it is to live 
and to love life, and really I should be sorry now to leave 
life. I know you will be glad to hear this, dearest Mum. 
God has indeed made life rich in interests and blessings, 
and I wish for no other earth, no other world but this." 

The Protestant Rhine 45 

Miss Nightingale objected strongly in later years to 
statements that her own training was confined to Kaisers- 
werth. "The nursing there," she wrote, "was nil. The 
hygiene horrible. The hospital was certainly the worst 
part of Kaiserswerth. I took all the training that was to 
be had — there was none to be had in England, but Kaisers- 
werth was far from having trained me." On the other 
hand, "the tone was excellent, admirable. And Pastor 
Fliedner's addresses were the best I ever heard. The peni- 
tentiary outdoor work and vegetable gardening under a very 
capable Sister were excellently adapted to the case. And 
Pastor Fliedner's solemn and reverential teaching to us of 
the sad events of hospital life was what I have never heard 
in England," ' Never have I met a higher tone, a purer 
devotion, than there. It was the more remarkable because 
many of the Deaconesses had been only peasants — none 
were Gentlewomen (when I was there)."' 

Mrs. Nightingale and Parthe reached Cologne on their 
way home in October, and there Florence joined them. She 
had written from Kaiserswerth a carefully considered letter 
appealing for her "beloved people's" sympathy. They still 
could not give it. Parthe hoped the visit would only be an 
episode. It was a good thing, she had told her mother, 
for Florence to go there, "as we can get her back sooner 
to Lea Hurst." To Florence she had written a lively letter 
describing in detail the birth of a friend's twins: "I tell 
you, as you are going to be a sage jemme, I suppose." 

"Our dear child Florence," wrote Mrs. Nightingale to 
Mme. Mohl (October 9), "came to us yesterday and is 
gone this morning to visit certain Deaconesses and others. 
I long to be at home and among our people. Daily and 
hourly I congratulate myself that our home is where it is. 
Oh, what a land of justice and freedom and all good things 

'Letter to Mrs. C. S. Roimdell, August 4, 1896. 

' From a note of 1897 in the British Museum, sent with a copy of the 
pamphlet on Kaiserswerth, for which the Museum authorities had applied 
to her. 

46 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

it is, compared to what we have seen, and how surprising 
that with all our advantages and our freedom won we 
should not be so much better than other people. Well, 
I hope Florence will be able to apply all the fine things she 
has been learning, to do a little to make us better. Parthe 
and I are much too idle to help and too apt to be satisfied 
with things as they are." 



The three months at Kaiserswerth were a turning pomt 
in Florence Nightingale's life. A note of serenity in marked 
contrast with the storm and distress of earlier years now 
appears in some of her letters. 

We get a glimpse of her from George Eliot (July 1852), 
"I was much pleased with her. There is a loftiness of 
mind about her which is well expressed by her form and 
manner." Mrs. Browning saw her about this time and 
remembered three years later "her graceful manner and the 
flowers she sent." "She is an earnest, noble woman." We 
get a last outside impression of her as the Daughter at 
Home in an account of a dinner party given by her father. 
Florence sat between Sir Henry de la Beche, the pioneer 
of the geological map of England, and Mr. W. Warington 
Smyth. "She began by drawing Sir Henry out on geology, 
and charmed him by the boldness and breadth of her views, 
which were not common then. She accidentally proceeded 
into regions of Greek and Latin, and then our geologist 
had to get out of it. She was fresh from Egypt, and began 
talking with W. Smyth about the inscriptions, etc., where 
he thought he could do pretty well; but when she began 
quoting Lepsius, which she had been studying in the orig- 
inal, he was in the same case as Sir Henry. When the 
ladies left the room. Sir Henry said to Smyth, "a capital 
young lady that, if she hadn't floored me with her Latin 
and Greek." ' 

What was Florence thinking as "the ladies left the room"? 

* Caroline Fox, Memories oj Old Friends, pp. 311, 312. 


48 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"Oh, God," she had written in her diary at Cairo, "Thou 
puttest into my heart this great desire to devote myself 
to the sick and sorrowful, I offer it to Thee. Do with it 
what is for Thy service." 

"On my thirty-second birthday," she writes to her father 
(12 May 1852), "I think I must write a word of acknow- 
ledgement to you. I am glad to think that my youth is 
past and rejoice that it never, never can return — that time 
of follies and bondage, of unfulfilled hopes and disappointed 
mexperience, when a man possesses nothing, not even him- 
self. I am glad to have lived; though it has been a life 
which, except as the necessary preparation for another, few 
would accept. I hope now that I have come into posses- 
sion of myself. I hope that I have escaped from that 
bondage which knows not how to distinguish between 'bad 
habits' and 'duties' — terms often used synonymously by 
all the world. It is too soon to holloa before you are out 
of the wood ; and like the Magdalen in Correggio's picture, 
I see the dark wood behind, the sharp stones in front 
with only too much dearness. Of clearness, however, there 
cannot be too much. But, as in the picture, there is light. 
I hope that I may live, a thing which I have not often 
been able to say; because I think I have learnt something 
which it would be a pity to waste. And I am ever yours, 
dear father, in struggle as in peace, with thanks for all your 
kind care, F. N. 

"When I speak of the disappointed inexperience of 
youth, of course I accept that, not only as inevitable, but 
as the beautiful arrangement of Infinite Wisdom, which 
cannot create us gods, but which will not create us ani- 
mals, and therefore wills mankind to create mankind by 
their own experience — a disposition of Perfect Goodness 
which no one can quarrel with. I shall be very ready to 
read you when I come home, any of my 'Works,' in your 
own room before breakfast, if you have any desire to hear 
them. Au revoir, dear Papa." 

To these "works" Florence had given a great deal of 
time in 1851 and 1852. They were privately printed some 
years later under the title of Suggestions for Thought. The 
theme, or the main part of it, is indicated in the latter 

A Religion for Use 49 

part of this letter. Florence had made some acquaintance 
with workmen of "advanced" opinions through Truelove, 
the secularist publisher and bookseller, who was secretary 
of the Literary and Scientific Institution in John Street, 
Fitzroy Square. This was the headquarters of Owenite 
Socialists and of the party of whom G. J. Holyoake was 
the prophet.* "The most thinking and conscientious of the 
artisans have no religion at all," she concluded, and she 
planned to devote some part of her time at home to "giving 
a new religion to the tailors." * 

From childhood her heart and thoughts had been much 
occupied by religious ideas. In her home religious belief 
was taken for granted, and a governess. Miss Christie, 
whose death was a great grief to the sensitive child, is 
said to have strongly influenced her in religious matters. 
But she was critical and could not rest in any existing creed. 
Kaiserswerth had shown her a more logically founded re- 
ligious life than anything she could find in England. "The 
historic made Schlegcl, as you say, a Catholic," she wrote 
to Manning at this time. 

"But the English have never been historians. Instead 
of Saints they have had Civil Engineers, instead of Sisters 
of Charity they have had Political Economists. The Church 
of England could not have stood in any country but Eng- 
land, because she is such a poor historian. I have always 
thought that the great theological fight has yet to be fought 
out in England between Catholicism and Protestantism. 

"In Germany it was fought out 300 years ago. They 
know why they are Protestants. I never knew an English- 
man who did, and if he inquires, he becomes a Catholic!" * 

She did not adopt the creed or cause of any Protestant 
denomination ; but her attitude in spiritual things is based 

* Miss Nightingale occasionally visited Truelove's shop and made ac- 
quaintance with his wife, whom for many years after she befriended in 
small ways, and helped by sympathy in the many troubles of her hus- 
band's life as a secularist agitator. 

^The hero of Alton Locke (1850) was a tailor. 
'Mr. Shane Leslie's H. E. Manning, pp. 110-11. 

50 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

on the distinctively Protestant tenet of freedom of con- 
science, indeed on freedom of thought. 

The "works" were done in collaboration with Mrs. S. 
Smith/ and by the end of 1852 were ready for the criti- 
cism of friends. In the beginning of her diary for 1853, 
Florence made this entry: 

The last day of the old year. I am so glad this year is 
over. Nevertheless it has not been wasted, I trust. I have 
remodelled my whole religious belief from beginning to 
end. I have learnt to know God. I have recast my social 
belief; have them both written for use when my hour is 

They were written "for use," and they were amply used 
when her hour came. She was conscious of the imperfec- 
tion of the Suggestions. She was "so sick of it" that she 
lost "all discrimination about the ensemble and the form" 
and later she told Mme. Mohl that she could not read it 
herself. But its main ideas remained with her through life 
as a sustaining force: as the only satisfying attempt she 
could make towards the interpretation of God's will for 

In 1858 and 1859 she worked on the subject again, re- 
reading Mill's Logic and Edgar Quinet's Histoire de mes 
idees, and talking with Arthur Clough. After some re- 
writing and many additions, she had the book privately 
printed, and sent part of it to Mill through the introduc- 
tion of Edwin Chadwick, of the Poor Law Board, a sani- 
tarian who had been in the field earlier than herself. Mill 
read and annotated it, was much interested and asked to 
see the rest.* Through Mr. Clough the book went to Jowett, 
and the acquaintance thus made was the beginning of a 

*Mary Shore, Mr. Nightingale's only sister, was married to Mrs. Night- 
ingale's second brother, Samuel Smith. The tie between Florence and 
this aunt and uncle was very close, and both were full of help and 
kindness to her. - 

'Hia two letters to her on Suggestions for Thought are those printed 
as "To a Correspondent" at vol. i, pp. 238-242 of the Letters of J. S. Mill 

A Religion for Use 51 

long friendship. Jowett wrote her long letters of general 
discussion on the book, and annotated it carefully. Both 
wished that the book should be recast, and hoped that it 
would be published. But the recasting was never done, 
and it has remained unpublished. 

Anyone who tries to read it must find that, while inter- 
esting and attractive to dip into, it is eminently unread- 
able as a whole. As Mill and Jowett said, there are defects 
of arrangement. There are many repetitions, and it is irri- 
tating to find that the multiplicity of heads and subheads 
give only a deceptive appearance of method. It appears 
from a will made in 1862 that while she then wished the 
"Stuff," as she called it, to be "revised and arranged accord- 
ing to the hints of Mr. Jowett and Mr. Mill," it was not to 
be altered "according to their principles," with which, she 
says, "I entirely disagree." 

Her belief in God was intense and unquestioned. Love 
of God meant with her both the longing for a spiritual 
communion with Perfection, and a thirst for the moral 
beauty and satisfyingness of trying to remodel the world 
of men according to God's Will, if only in the capacity of a 
"scavenger," a "maid of all work." These desires of the 
heart transcended argument. But the conceptions of rea- 
son as the organ of knowledge and of evolution as the 
course of nature were in the air, and profoundly affected 
her way of seeking for truth. "Law as the basis of a new 
theology" is the main theme of her argument. A charming 
passage tells of her childhood's belief in prayer. 

"When I was young I could not understand what people 
meant by 'their thoughts wandering in prayer.' I asked 
for what I really wished and really wished for what I asked. 
And my thoughts wandered no more than those of a mother 
would wander, who was supplicating her Sovereign for her 
son's reprieve from execution. ... I liked the morning 
service much better than the evening, because we asked for 
more things. ... I was always miserable if I was not at 
church when the Litany was said. I well remember, when 

52 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

an uncle died, the care I took, on behalf of my aunt and 
cousins, to be always present in spirit at the petition for 
the fatherless children and widows; and, when Gon- 
falonieri was in the Austrian prison of Spielberg, at that 
for 'prisoners and captives.' My conscience pricked 
me a little whether this should extend to those who were in 
prison for murder and debt, but I supposed that I might 
pray for them spiritually. I could not pray for George 
IV. I thought people very good who prayed for him, and 
•u^pndered whether he could have been much worse if he 
had not been prayed for. William IV I prayed for a little. 
But when Victoria came to the throne, I prayed for her in a 
rapture of feeling and my thoughts never wandered." 

To this simple faith of youth, experience succeeded. What 
was the use of praying to be delivered from plague and 
pestilence so long as the common sewers ran into the 
Thames? If a visitation of cholera afflicted the world, 
which was the more probable reading of God's mind — that 
men should pray for relief, or that they should themselves 
set about removing the causes? The laws of God, she 
suggested, were discoverable by experience, research and 
analysis. As she sometimes put it, the character of God 
was ascertainable, though His essence might be a mys- 
tery. The laws of God were the laws of life, to be ascer- 
tained by enquiry and recorded in statistics. And hence 
she regarded statistics with a religious reverence: in them 
could be registered not only the physical history of human 
life, but the effects of this or that method of reform on 
both material conditions and character, in short, the path 
by which mankind could follow God's leading towards 
the perfect life. 

"I think the subject is this:" she writes, in sending her 
father Part I of her "works" — "Granted that we see signs 
of universal law all over this world, i.e., law or plan or 
constant sequences in the moral and intellectual as well as 
the physical phenomena of the world — granted this, we 
must in this universal law find the traces of a Being who 
made it, and what is more of the character of the Being 

A Religion for Use 53 

who made it. If we stop at the superficial signs, the Being 
is something so bad as no human character can be found 
to equal in badness, and certainly all the beings He has 
made are better than Himself. But go deeper and see 
wider, and it appears as if this plan of universal law were 
the only one by which a good Being could teach His 
creatures to teach themselves and one another what is the 
road to universal perfection. And this we shall acknowl- 
edge is the only way for any educator, whether human 
or divine, to act — viz: to teach men to teach themselves 
and each other. It we could not depend upon God, i.e., 
if this sequence were not always to be calculated upon in 
moral as well as physical things — if He were to have ca- 
prices (by some called grace, by others answers to prayer. 
etc.) there would be no order in creation to depend upon. 
There would be chaos. And the only way by which man 
can have Free Will, i.e., can learn to govern his own will, 
to have what will he thinks right (which is having his will 
free), is to have universal Order or Law (by some mis- 
called Necessity). I put this thus brusquely because 
philosophers have generally said Necessity and Free Will 
are incompatible. It seems to have appeared to God that 
Law is the only way, on the contrary, to give man his free 
will. And this I have attempted to prove. And further 
that this is the only plan a perfectly good omnipotent Being 
could pursue. . . . Ever, dear Papa, your loving child, 
F. N." 

"When Christ preaches the Cross, when all mystical the- 
ology preaches the Cross," she writes again to her father, "I 
go along with them entirely. It is the self-same thing as 
what I mean when I say that God educates the world by 
His laws, i.e., by sin — that man must create mankind — 
that all this evil, i.e., the Cross, is the proof of God's good- 
ness, is the only way by which God could work out man's 
salvation without a contradiction. You say, but there is too 
much evil. I say there is just enough (not a millionth part 
of a grain more than is necessary) to teach man by his own 
mistakes — by his sins, if you will — to show man the way 
to perjection in eternity, to perfection which is the only 
happiness, ..." 

The belief in a future life was bound up in these ideas. 
The sense of communion, however imperfect, with divine 

54 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

perfection and the belief in the soul's limitless capacities re- 
quired a future state of infinite progress in which life would 
still be devoted to God's work. "We admit that we discern 
tendencies, evidence only, not proof, verification," she says 
in the final summing-up. "But are these tendencies, this 
evidence, to be therefore disregarded, when they lead to the 
conclusion that the process of verification extends over 
eternity?" With religion centred on self she had no sym- 
pathy. "Is there anything higher," she asked, "in thinking 
of one's own salvation than in thinking of one's own dinner? 
I have always felt that the soldier who gives his life for 
something which is certainly not himself or his shilling a 
day — whether he call it his Queen or his Country or his 
Colours — is higher in the scale than the Saints or the 
Faquirs or the Evangelicals who (some of them don't) be- 
lieve that the end of religion is to secure one's own salva- 

The reasoning she expended on these problems was yet 
consistent with a spiritual fervour of faith. 

"If it is said, 'we cannot love a law' — the mode in which 
God reveals Himself — the answer is, we can love the spirit 
which originates, which is manifested in, the law. It is 
not the material presence only that we love in our fellow 
creatures. It is the spirit, which bespeaks the material 
presence, that we love. Shall we not then love the spirit 
of all that is lovable, which all material presence bespeaks 
to us? . . . How penetrated must those have been who 
first, genuinely, had the conception, who felt, who thought, 
whose imaginations helped them to conceive, that the Di- 
vine Verity manifests itself in the human, partakes itself, 
becomes one with the human, descends into the hell of 
sin and suffering with the human, by 'being verily and 
indeed taken and received with the human! . . . We will 
seek continually (and stimulate mankind to seek with 
us) to prepare the eye and the ear of the great human 
existence that seeing it shall perceive, and hearing it shall 
understand. . . . 'Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever 
ye do, do all to the glory of God.' To do it 'to the glory of 

A Religion for Use 55 

God' must be to fulfil the Lord's purpose. That purpose 
is man's increase in truth, increase in right being. The 
history of mankind should be, will be one day, the history 
of man's endeavour after increase of truth, and after a right 
nature. . . . What does ignorant finite man want? How 
great, how suffering, yet how sublime are his wants! Think 
of his wounded, aching heart, as compared with the 
bird and beast ! His longing eye, his speaking countenance, 
compared with these! They show something of such dif- 
ference, but nothing, nothing compared with what is within 
where no eye can read. What then, poor sufferer, dost thou 
want? I want a wise and loving counsellor, whose love 
and wisdom should come home to the whole of my nature. 
I would work, oh! how gladly, but I want direction how 
to work. I would suffer, oh! how willingly, but for a pur- 
pose. . . . God always speaks plain in His laws — His ever- 
lasting voice. . . . My poor child, He says, dost thou com- 
plain that I do not prematurely give thee food which thou 
couldst not digest? My son, I am always one with thee, 
though thou are not always one with me. That spirit 
racked or blighted by sin, my child, it is thy Father's spirit. 
Whence comes it, why does it suffer, or why is it blighted, 
but that it is incipient love, and truth, and wisdom, tor- 
tured or suppressed? But Law (that is, the will of the 
Perfect) is now, was without beginning, and ever shall be, 
as the inducement and the means by which that blight or 
suffering, which is God within man, shall become man one 
with God." 

From these ideas of the religious life, the author turns 
to life as she saw it in her own social circle, where the claims 
of religion were mostly satisfied by attending church on 
Sunday and thanking God for any pleasant experience. 
It is characteristically under the head of "Practical 
Deductions" that she first introduces a scathing and 
often very humorous criticism of religious and social 
life. She describes, or rather she attacks, the position of 
women in the upper classes; and no suffragist or feminist 
of the twentieth century has more eagerly, or from more 
painful experience, claimed for women the freedom to 

56 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"The family? It is too narrow a field for the develop- 
ment of an immortal spirit, be that spirit male or female. 
The chances are a thousand to one that in that small 
sphere, the task for which that immortal spirit is destined 
by the qualities and gifts which its Creator has placed 
within it, will not be found. 

"The family dooms some minds to incurable infancy, 
others to silent misery. 

"And family boasts that it has performed its mission 
well, in so far as it has enabled the individual to say, T 
have no peculiar work, nothing but what the moment brings 
me, nothing that I cannot throw up at once at anybody's 
claim;' in as far, that is, as it has destroyed the individual 
life. And the individual thinks that a great victory has 
been accomplished, when, at last, she is able to say that 
she has 'no personal desires or plans.' What is this but 
throwing the gifts of God aside as worthless, and substi- 
tuting for them those of the world? . . . 

"If a man were to follow up his profession or occupation 
at odd times, how would he do it? Would he become skill- 
ful in that profession? It is acknowledged by women them- 
selves that they are inferior in every occupation to men. 
Is it wonderful? They do everything at 'odd times.' ' 

"Society triumphs over many. They wish to regenerate 
the world with their institutions, with their moral philoso- 
phy, with their love. Then they sink from living from 
breakfast till dinner, from dinner till tea, with a little 
worsted work, and to looking forward to nothing but bed. 

"When shall we see a life full of steady enthusiasm, walk- 
ing straight to its aim, flying home, as that bird is now, 
against the wind — with the calmness and the confidence 
of one who knows the laws of God and can apply 
them? . . . 

"Why cannot we make use of the noble rising heroisms 
of our own day instead of leaving them to rust? . . . 

"Suppose we were to see a number of men in the morning 
sitting round a table in the drawing-room, looking at prints, 
doing worsted work, and reading little books, how we should 
laugh! . . . Now why is it more ridiculous for a man than 
for a woman to do worsted work and drive out every day 
in the carriage? Why should we laugh if we were to see 

* Mill quoted this in The Subjection of Women, Ch. III. 

A Religion for Use 57 

a parcel of men sitting round a drawing-room table in the 
morning, and think it all right if they were women? 

*'Is man's time more valuable than woman's? Or is the 
difference between man and woman this, that woman has 
confessedly nothing to do?" 


"the establishment for gentlewomen during illness" 

In an imaginary dialogue with her mother at this time 
Florence makes herself say, "Why, my dear, you don't sup- 
pose that with my 'talents' and my 'European reputation' 
and my 'beautiful letters' and all that, I'm going to stay 
dangling about my mother's drawing-room all my life! I 
shall go and look out for work, to be sure. You must look 
upon me as your son. I should have cost you a great deal 
more if I had married or been a son. You must now con- 
sider me married or a son. You were willing to part with 
me to be married." Florence's cause owed a good deal to 
the diplomacy of her faithful ally, Mrs. Smith. "Your 
mother," reported the aunt, "would, I believe, be most will- 
ing that you undertake a mission like Mrs. Fry or Mrs. 
Chisholm,' but she thinks it necessary for your peace and 
well-being that there should be a Mr. Fry or Captain 
Chisholm to protect you, and in conscience she thinks it 
right to defend you from doing anything which she thinks 
would be an impediment to the existence of Mr. F. or 
Captain C." It must have been evident even to Mrs. 
Nightingale that a time limit to her expectation of a Mr. 
F. or Captain C. would be natural, and this in fact was 
agreed on as the result of Mrs. Smith's anxious negotiations. 
At some future age to be specified, Florence was to be free, 
even if unmarried. This quaint compact was not actually 
put on paper, but Mrs. Bracebridge was called in as a wit- 
ness to the understanding. The logical consequence was 
that Florence -should at once be free to prepare herself, 

^ Mrs. Chisholm founded orphan schools in Madras, 1832, and befriended 
women emigrants to Australia 1841-66. 


The Establishment for Gentlewomen 50 

and accordingly she proposed to give some time to study- 
ing among the Catholic Sisters in France. By the good 
ofiBces of her Roman acquaintance, Manning, who had lately 
been received into the Roman Catholic Church, it was pro- 
jected that she should stay at the Maison de la Providence 
in the Rue Oudinot, with its orphanage, creche and hos- 
pital for aged and sick women. To travel alone was of 
course impossible, but Miss Bonham Carter was to study 
painting in Paris, and the cousins could travel together, 
and could creditably arrive (though they spared Mrs. Night- 
ingale the shock of knowing they could not arrange to 
start) with Lady Augusta Bruce.' But even after the Paris 
plan was agreed to, Mrs. Nightingale tried to draw back, 
and Florence was induced, partly by the illness of her great- 
aunt Evans,' to put off the journey. She was offered as an 
alternative to her French plan the little old rambling Crom- 
ford Bridge House, on her father's Derbyshire land, in 
which to conduct some very small institution. In answer, 
Florence wrote an affectionate and touching appeal to her 
sister to have patience with what was "ingrained in her 

It was not till February 1853 that she and Hilary Bon- 
ham Carter reached Paris. They stayed with the Mohls 
in the Rue du Bac, and Florence, armed with a compre- 
hensive permit from the Administration Generate de F As- 
sistance Publique, set methodically about her business, 
spending the days inspecting hospitals, infirmaries and re- 
ligious houses and seeing the famous Paris surgeons at their 
work, while in the evenings she took part in the usual lively 
social life of the Mohls. Then, as ever, she was a diligent 
collector of pamphlets, reports and statistics, and among 
her papers of this date were elaborately tabulated analyses 
of hospital and nursing arrangements in France and Ger- 

^ Afterwards wife of Dean Stanley, whom she met at Mme. Mohl's. 
' George Evans, "Gentleman," of Cranford Bridge House, married Anu 
Nightingale (v. Chap. I). 

60 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

many and a questionnaire which she seems to have ad- 
dressed to the principal institutions in the United Kingdom. 
There was a short break when she was recalled to Lea 
Hurst to nurse her grandmother Shore, who died soon after 
at the age of 95, and on June 8, after another week of visits 
to hospitals, she entered the Maison de la Providence. But 
not for long. The measles obliged her to retire to her 
room; "and of all my adventures, of which I have had 
many and queer, . . . the dirtiest and the queerest I have 
ever had has been a measles in the cell of a Soeur de la 
Charite." M. Mohl sent tea and letters, and finally car- 
ried off the patient to his back drawing-room, his wife being 
away in England. "Please write to M. Mohl and comfort 
him for his disaster," Florence begged her. "I am so re- 
pentant that I can say nothing — which the Catholics tell 
me is the 'marque' of a true 'humiliation.' " M. Mohl re- 
quired no comforting. "Her gentle manner," he wrote to 
Mr. Nightingale, "covers such a depth and strength of mind 
and thought that I am afraid of nothing for her, but that 
her health should fail her." 

Florence had already been negotiating in England and 
in letters from Paris for the Office of Superintendent of an 
"Establishment for Gentlewomen During Illness," * which 
had been founded a few years before at 8 Chandos Street, 
Cavendish Square, to give treatment and a home to sick 
governesses and other poor gentlewomen. After her return 
to England, she wrote to report progress to Mme. Mohl. 
Her friend had advised her to keep in their places the 
"fashionable asses" — the great ladies who formed the "Com- 
mittee of Ladies," and, with a "Committee of Gentlemen," 
presided over the Establishment. 

Florence Nightingale to Mme. Mohl. Lea Hurst, 8 April. 

In all that you say I cordially agree, and if you knew 

what the "fashionable asses" have been doing, their "offs" 

*Now the Florence Nightingale Hospital for Gentlewomen, Lisson 

The Establishment for Gentlewomen 61 

and their "ons," poor fools! you would say so ten tnnes 
more. I shall be truly grateful if you will write to Pop 
[Parthe] — my people know as much of the affair as I do — 
which is not much. You see the F. A. S. or (A. F. S., which 
will stand for "ancient fathers" and be more respectful, as 
they are all Puseyites) the F. A. S. want me to come up 
to London now and look at them, and if we suit to come 
very soon into the Sanatorium. ... I can give you no 
particulars, dearest friend, because I don't know any. I 
can only say that, unless I am left a free agent and am 
to organize the thing myself and not they, I will have 
nothing to do with it. But as the thing is yet to be organ- 
ized, I cannot lay a plan either before you or my people. 
And that rather perplexes them, as they want to make 
conditions that I shan't do this or that. If you would "well 
present" my plans, as you say, to them, it would be an 
inestimable benefit both to them and to me. . . . Hillie 
will tell you all I know — that it is a Sanatorium for sick 
governesses managed by a Committee of fine ladies. But 
there are no surgeon students nor improper patients there 
at all, which is, of course, a great recommendation in the 
eyes of the Proper. The Patients, or rather the Impatients, 
for I know what it is to nurse sick ladies, are all pay 
patients, poor friendless folk in London. I am to have 
the choosing of the house, the appointment of the Chaplain 
and the management of the funds as the F. A. S. are at 
present minded. But Isaiah himself could not prophesy 
how they will be minded at 8 o'clock this evening. 

The ladies had to be assured that the appointment had 
the approval of Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale. They had to 
be persuaded that it was not unseemly for the superin- 
tendent to be present when the doctors made their rounds 
and did operations. They had to be instructed in the 
essentials of a convenient nursing home with its bells ring- 
ing in the proper places, its hot water supply, and its lift 
or "windlass" (a new idea) in order that the nurse might 
not be "converted into a pair of legs." And an empty house 
— ^No. 1 Upper Harley Street — had to be furnished in ten 

"My Committee refused me to take in Catholic patients 


62 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

— whereupon I wished them good morning, unless I might 
take Jews and their Rabbis to attend them. So now it is 
settled, and in print, that we are to take in all denomina- 
tions whatever, and allow them to be visited by their 
respective priests and Muftis, provided / will receive (in 
any case whatsoever that is not of the Church of England) 
the obnoxious animal at the door, take him upstairs my- 
self, remain while he is conferring with his patient, make 
myself responsible that he does not speak to, or look at, 
anyone else, and bring him downstairs again in a noose, 
and out into the street. And to this I have agreed! And 
this is in print! 

"Amen. From Committees, charity, and Schism — from 
the Church of England and all other deadly sin — from 
philanthrophy and all the deceits of the Devil, Good Lord, 
deliver us." ° 

Letters to her father contain amusing accounts of the 
arts by which she managed committees and doctors. By 
the harmless device of letting both parties in turn initiate 
her own economies and regulations, without either knowing 
the other is doing so, she gets things done without friction 
and without claiming the credit. 

"The Medical Men approved all nem. con. and thought 
they were their own. And I came off with flying colours, 
no one suspecting my intrigue, which of course would ruin 
me were it known, as there is much jealousy in the Com- 
mittee of one another, and among the Medical Men of one 
another, as ever what's his name had of Marlborough. . . . 

"My Committee have not the courage to discharge a 
single case. They say the Medical Man must do it. The 
Medical Men say they won't, although the cases, they say, 
must be discharged. And I always have to do it, as the 
stop-gap on all occasions." 

By such arts, by readiness to shoulder responsibility, and 
by close attention to detail, which was never too small for 
her personal care. Miss Nightingale successfully reduced 
chaos to order. The combination of masterful powers of 
organisation with sympathy and gentleness were already 
" To Mme. Mohl, 20 August 1853. 

The Establishment for Gentlewomen 63 

observed. Letters of gratitude from patients after their 
discharge speak of her ''unwearied and afifectionate atten- 
tion." They were often addressed to "My good dear and 
faithful Friend" or "My darling Mother." She did much 
to find the poor ladies after-care, convalescent homes and 
openings in the Colonies, and also took great interest in 
Sidney Herbert's scheme for Female Emigration. The work 
was exacting and hard, but Florence could write to Miss 
Nicholson: "I have never repented nor looked back, not 
for one moment. And I begin the New Year with more 
feeling of a Happy New Year than ever I had in my life." 
Her family had not yet quite fully accepted her vocation. 
Mr. Nightingale indeed took pride in his daughter's suc- 
cess and the correspondence between them at this time is 
very pleasant. As a magistrate, concerned in the adminis- 
tration of hospitals and asylums, he followed her strategy 
with lively interest. There is a postscript in one of his 
letters which tells a good deal between the lines: "Better 
write to me at the Athenaeum so as not to excite enquiry." 
Her mother and sister seem to have thought that while 
they were in London, Florence might have lived with them, 
or, at any rate, been with them often, and Mme. Mohl, 
as the affectionate friend of both sisters, put the case to her. 
But the step of leaving home, Florence wrote, was the result 
of "years of anxious consideration" of "the fullest and 
deepest thought." It had not been done without "the full- 
est advice," and "being the growth of so long" was "not 
likely to be repented of or reconsidered." It was a ''fait 
accompli." "With regard to my sacrificing my peace and 
comfort," she went on, "it is true I am here entirely for 
their sakes." In fact it had not been her desire to serve 
gentlewomen in particular, but rather the poorest, or "the 
bad," and the superintendence of the institution was a com- 
promise for the sake of her family's feelings. 

"But to serve my country in this way had also Heen the 
object of my life, though I should not have done it in 

64 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

this time or manner. But it is not a sacrifice any more 
than that I have done a good thing in a bad way, which 
I would fain have done in a good one. For this is sure to 

She had wanted to receive patients of all classes, to enrol 
many volunteer nurses, and to institute a nurses' training 
school. There proved to be no such possibilities at Harley 
Street. She was making the most of the opportunity, 
though it was a narrow one. Already in her correspondence 
for a year or two past, she appears as a woman to whom 
reference was made as to one speaking with authority. 
"Her position does not seem very suitable," wrote Monck- 
ton Milnes to his wife. "I wish we could put her at the 
head of a Juvenile Reformatory." Mrs. Bracebridge and 
other friends advised her to leave Harley Street, as there 
was no hope of a nurses' training school there, and one. 
Miss Louisa Twining, tried to effect her appointment as 
Superintendent of Nurses at King's College Hospital, which 
had just been rebuilt. Some of the doctors connected with 
the Harley Street institution, and especially Dr. William 
Bowman, had learned enough of her gifts to urge the ap- 
pointment. Mrs. Nightingale and Parthe tried as strongly 
to dissuade her. Florence herself was greatly drawn to the 
plan, and began devising schemes on the Kaiserswerth 
model, for enrolling farmers' daughters as nurses. But 
another call intervened. 

In August 1854 Florence took a few days' holiday at Lea 
Hurst, where Mrs. Gaskell, the authoress, was on a visit. 
We have a description of the young Superintendent in a 
letter of Mrs. Gaskell to Catherine Winkworth. 

"She is tall; very straight and willowy in figure; thick 
and shortish rich brown hair; very delicate complexion; 
grey eyes, which are generally pensive and drooping, but 
when they choose can be the merriest eyes I ever saw ; and 
perfect teeth, making her smile the sweetest I ever saw. Put 
a long piece of soft net and tie it round this beautifully 
shaped head, so as to form a soft white framework for the 

The Establishment for Gentlewomen 65 

full oval of her face (for she had the toothache and so wore 
this little piece of drapery), and dress her up in Black silk 
with a black shawl on, and you may get iiear an idea of her 
perfect grace and lovely appearance. She is so like a Saint." 

Florence cut short her holiday on hearing that an epi- 
demic of cholera had broken out in London. She volunteered 
to help with cholera patients at the Middlesex Hospital 
and was up day and night receiving and caring for the sick 
women, chiefly, it seems, outcasts from the district of Soho. 
For two or three days there were "scares not unlike those 
of the old plague." ' The epidemic soon subsided, and she 
returned to Harley Street. 

• From a letter of A. H. Clough. 




Six days after the first landing of the British and French 
Forces in the Crimea, the battle of the Alma was fought. 
Rejoicings in a swift and brilliant victory gave way to a 
mood of anxious expectation when it was understood that 
the battle was not to be the first step in a triumphant prog- 
ress, but the preliminary of a siege that would be both 
arduous and uncertain. Reports in the Times of neglect of 
the wounded began, too, to arouse resentment and pity. It 
was the first war in which the newspaper "special corre- 
spondent" had played a conspicuous part, and Mr. W. H. 
Russell's letters were subject to no censor. On October 9th 
it was learnt from the Times that the old pensioners who 
had been sent out to nurse the wounded were "not of the 
slightest use"; the soldiers had to "attend upon each other." 
On the 12th a long dispatch dated "Constantinople Sept. 
30th" ended with these words: 

"It is with feelings of surprise and anger that the public 
will learn that no sufficient preparations have been made 
for the proper care of the wounded. Not only are there not 
sufficient surgeons — that, it might be urged, was unavoid- 
able ; not only are there no dressers and nurses — that might 
be a defect of system for which no one is to blame; but 
what will be said when it is known that there is not even 
linen to make bandages for the wounded? The greatest 
commiseration prevails for the sufferings of the unhappy 
inmates of Scutari, and every family is giving sheets and old 
garments to supply their wants. But why could not this 
clearly foreseen want have been supplied? Can it be said 
that the battle of the Alma has been an event to take the 
world by surprise? Has not the expedition to the Crimea 


70 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

been the talk of the last four months? And when the Turks 
gave up to our use the vast barracks to form a hospital and 
depot, was it not on the ground that the loss of the English 
troops was sure to be considerable when engaged in so dan- 
gerous an enterprise? And yet, after the troops have been 
six months in the country, there is no preparation for the 
commonest surgical operations. Not only are the men kept, 
in some cases, for a week without the hand of a medical 
man coming near their wounds; not only are they left to 
expire in agony, unheeded and shaken off, though catching 
desperately at the surgeon whenever he makes his rounds 
through the fetid ship ; but now, when they are placed in the 
spacious building, where we were led to believe that every- 
thing was ready which could ease their pain or facilitate 
their recovery, it is found that the commonest appliances of 
a workhouse sick ward are wanting, and that the men must 
die through the medical staff of the British army having 
forgotten that old rags are necessary for the dressing of 
wounds. If Parliament were sitting, some notice would 
probably be taken of these facts, which are notorious and 
have excited much concern; as it is, it rests with the 
Government to make inquiries into the conduct of those 
who have so greatly neglected their duty." 

The Times accompanied this letter by a leading article 
appealing to its readers to help our soldiers in the East, 
and the next day published a letter from Sir Robert Peel, 
who enclosed £200 to start a fund for providing comforts 
for the sick and wounded. Mr. Russell quoted the French 
to our disadvantage: "Their medical arrangements are 
extremely good, their surgeons more numerous, and they 
have the help of the Sisters of Charity who have accom- 
panied the expedition. . . . These devoted women are ex- 
cellent nurses." "Why have we no Sisters of Charity?" 
was asked in a letter to the Times the next day (October 
14). "There are numbers of ablebodied and tender-hearted 
Englishwomen who would joyfully and with alacrity go 
out to devote themselves to nursing the sick and wounded 
if they could be associated for that purpose and place under 
proper protection." 

The Hour and the Woman 71 

The same thought was stirring in other minds. Manning 
wrote to Miss Mary Stanley, "I have written to the Bishop 
of Southwark to see if any sisters can be found for the 
East. Why will not Florence Nightingale give herself to 
this great work?"^ Lady Maria Forester had already (Oc- 
tober 11) urged her to take out a party of nurses and had 
offered £200 for the expenses of three. Miss Nightingale 
set quietly about getting official sanction for a small party, 
and by the 14th, two days after the appearance of the 
Times letter from Constantinople, her plan was ready, and 
was submitted to Mr. Sidney Herbert, the Secretary at 
War, in a letter to his wife. 

1 Upper Harley St., October 14 [1854]. 

My dearest, I went to Belgrave Square this morning 
for the chance of catching you, or Mr. Herbert even, had 
he been in town. 

A small private expedition of nurses has been organ- 
ised for Scutari, and I have been asked to command it. 
I take myself out and one nurse. 

Lady Maria Forester has given £200 to take out three 
others. We feed and lodge ourselves there, and are to be 
no expense whatever to the country. Lord Clarendon has 
been asked by Lord Palmerston to write to Lord Stratford 
for us, and has consented. Dr. Andrew Smith of the Army 
Medical Board, whom I have seen, authorises us, and gives 
us letters to the Chief Medical Officer at Scutari. 

I do not mean to say that I believe the Times accounts, 
but I do believe that we may be of use to the wounded 

Now to business. 

(1) Unless my Ladies' Committee feel that this is a 
thing which appeals to the sympathies of all, and urge me, 
rather than barely consent, I cannot honourably break my 
engagement here. And I write to you as one of my mis- 

(2) What does Mr. Herbert say to the scheme itself? 
Does he think it will be objected to by the authorities? 
Would he give us any advice or letters of recommenda- 

^H. E. Manning, by Shane Leslie, p. 112. 

72 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

tion? And are there any stores for the Hospital he would 
advise us to take out? Dr. Smith says that nothing is 

I enclose a letter from E. Do you think it any use to 
apply to Miss Burdett Coutts? 

We start on Tuesday if we go, to catch the Marseilles 
boat of the 21st for Constantinople, where I leave my 
nurses, thinking the Medical Staff at Scutari will be more 
frightened than amused at being bombarded by a parcel 
of women, and I cross over to Scutari with someone from 
the Embassy to present my credentials from Dr. Smith, 
and put ourselves at the disposal of the Doctors. 

(3) Would you or some one of my committee write to 
Lady Stratford to say, "This is not a lady but a real Hos- 
pital Nurse" of me? "And she has had experience." 

My uncle went down this morning to ask my father 
and mother's consent. 

Would there be any use in my applying to the Duke 
of Newcastle for his authority? 

Believe me, dearest, in haste, ever yours, 

F. Nightingale. 

Perhaps it is better to keep it quite a private thing, and 
not apply to Govt, qua Govt." 

This letter was posted on Saturday. Mr. Herbert had 
left London to spend the Sunday at Bournemouth, and 
there, on the Sunday, knowing nothing of the letter on its 
way to him, he wrote to Miss Nightingale. 

Bournemouth, October 15 (1854). 

Dear Miss Nightingale: You will have seen in the 
papers that there is a great deficiency of nurses at the Hos- 
pital at Scutari. 

The other alleged deficiencies — namely of medical men, 
lint, sheets, etc. — must, if they have really ever existed, have 
been remedied ere this, as the number of medical officers 
with the army amounted to one to every 95 men in the 
whole force, being nearly double what we have ever had be- 
fore, and 30 more surgeons went out three weeks ago, and 
would by this time therefore be at Constantinople. A fur- 

The Hour and the Woman 73 

ther supply went on Thursday, and a fresh batch sail next 

As to medical stores, they have been sent out in profu- 
sion; lint by the ton weight, 15,000 pairs of sheets, medi- 
cine, 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 stores went to Varna, and was not sent 
back when the army left for the Crimea; but four days 
would have remedied this. In the meanwhile fresh stores 
are arriving. 

But the deficiency of female nurses is undoubted, none 
but male nurses having ever been admitted to military 

It would be impossible to carry about a large staff of 
female nurses with the army in the field, but at Scutari, 
having now a fixed hospital, no military reason exists 
against their 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 occa- 
sion 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 an 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 ever understand the 
necessity, especially in a military hospital, of strict obedi- 
ence to rule. Lady M. Forester (Lord Roden's daughter) 
has made some proposal to Dr. Smith, the head of the 
Army Medical Department, either to go with or to send 
out trained nurses. I apprehend she means from Fitzroy 
Square, John Street, or some such establishment. The Rev. 
Mr. Hume, once Chaplain to the General Hospital at Bir- 
mingham (and better known as author of the scheme for 
transferring the city churches to the suburbs), has offered 
to go out himself as chaplain with two daughters and 
twelve nurses. He was in the army seven years, and has 
been used to hospitals, and I like the tone of his letters very 
much. I think from both of these offers practical effects may 
be drawn. But the difficulty of finding nurses who are at 
all versed in their business is probably not known to Mr. 
Hume, and Lady M. Forester probably has not tested the 

74 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

willingness of the trained nurses to go, and is incapable of 
directing or ruling them." 

There is but one person in England that I know of who 
would be capable of organising 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 will be very 
difficult: no one knows it better than yourself. The diffi- 
culty of finding women equal to a task, after all, full of 
horrors, and requiring, besides knowledge and good will, 
great energy 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 mihtary authorities out 
there. This it is which makes it so important that the experi- 
ment should be carried out by one with a capacity for 
administration and experience. A number of sentimental 
enthusiastic ladies turned loose into 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 and superintend 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 Government foi* 
whatever you thought requisite for the success of your mis- 
sion. 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 must 
not conceal from you that I think upon your decision will 
depend the ultimate success or failure of the plan. Your 
own personal qualities, your knowledge and your power of 
administration, and among greater things your rank and 

^Lady Maria had not intended to go. "I knew," she said to the elder 
Miss Nightingale, "that I should not have been the slightest use." 

The Hour and the Woman 75 

position in Society give you advantages in such a work 
which no other person possesses. 

If this succeeds, an enormous amount of good will be 
done now, and to persons deserving everything at our 
hands; and a prejudice will have been broken through and 
a precedent established which will multiply the good to 
all time. 

I hardly like to be sanguine as to your answer. If it 
were "y^s" I am certain the Bracebridges would go with 
you and give you all the comfort you would require, and 
which their society and sympathy only could give you. 
I have written very long, for the subject is very near my 
heart. Liz [Mrs. Herbert] is writing to Mrs. Bracebridge 
to tell her what I am doing. I go back to town to-morrow 
morning. Shall I come to you between 3 and 5? Will 
you let me have a line at the War Office to let me know? 

There is a point which I have hardly a right to touch 
upon, but I know you will pardon me. If you were in- 
clined to undertake this great work, would Mr. and Mrs. 
Nightingale give their consent? The work would be so 
national, and the request made to you proceeding from the 
Government who represent the nation comes at such a 
moment that I do not despair of their consent. Deriving 
your authority from the Government, your position would 
secure the respect and consideration of everyone, especially 
in a service where official rank carries so much weight. This 
would secure to you every attention and comfort on your 
way and 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 objects 
you have in view; but they are of importance in them- 
selves, 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 wise decision. God grant it 
may be in accordance with my hopes! Believe me, dear 
Miss Nightingale, ever yours, 

Sidney Herbert. 

Mr. Herbert's proposal was a courageous one. The em- 
ployment of women nurses in the army was entirely novel 
in this country. So indeed was the placing of a woman in 
any position of public responsibility except the throne. He 

76 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

could anticipate some support from public opinion. But if 
public opinion had understood the nature of the responsi- 
bility and had perceived that the occasion demanded not 
merely women "able-bodied and tender-hearted," but a 
trainer and leader of initiative, prudence and capacity, there 
would have been less enthusiasm and more opposition and 
derision for such an experiment. He himself was under 
no sentimental delusions. There was medical and mili- 
tary criticism and jealousy to be anticipated. The idea of 
employing female nurses at Scutari had been mooted before 
the army left for the East, and abandoned because it was 
not liked by the military authorities. He knew the nature 
of the trust, though not then the full tale of the disorgan- 
isation and need which were to lead the experiment far 
beyond his first intention. He could hardly have appointed 
a woman unless he had known the right woman, and per- 
haps no one else could or would have ventured to do it. 
Mr. Herbert with his winning manner, his unmistakable 
sincerity and sweetness of character, his high sense of pub- 
lic duty, untainted by personal ambition, had the influence 
in the Cabinet which could commend such a startling inno- 
vation. And his influence was felt wherever he was seen 
and known. A rare charm of personality and character 
was the secret of "his extraordinary and most just popular- 
ity."' He had already carried out useful reforms for the 
soldiers' benefit, and shown his interest in the care of the 
sick. As Secretary at War his official duties were confined 
to finance and accounts. The Secretary for War, the Duke 
of Newcastle — the curious distinction of offices is sugges- 
tive of the confused organisation hastily adopted after the 
outbreak of war — had more on his hands than anyone could 
do, and Mr. Herbert came to his help. 

Miss Nightingale's uncle, Samuel Smith, had already half 
obtained her parents' consent to the "private party." The 

'Gladstone in Morley's Life, vol. i,. p. 651. 

The Hour and the Woman 77 

request from Government put an end to all doubts, and 
from the instant it was known no more was heard of 
opposition from home to Florence's work in life. The mis- 
sion was "a great and noble work," "a real duty." "I must 
say," wrote Parthenope to a friend, "the way in which all 
things have tended to and fitted her for this is so very 
remarkable that one cannot but believe she was intended 
for it." Other matters were as quickly arranged. The 
Duke of Newcastle, who had some slight acquaintance with 
Miss Nightingale, and the other members of the Cabinet 
approved Mr. Herbert's proposal; the Harley Street Com- 
mittee released their Superintendent; Mr. and Mrs. Brace- 
bridge agreed to accompany her, and the ofiicial appoint- 
ment and instructions were conveyed. 

The Secretary at War to Miss Nightingale, War Office, 
October 19 [1854]. 

Madam, Having consented at the pressing instance of 
the Government to accept the office of Superintendent of 
the female nursing establishment in the English General 
Military Hospitals in Turkey, you will, on your arrival 
there, place yourself at once in communication with the 
Chief Army Medical Officer of the Hospital at Scutari, 
under whose orders and direction you will carry on the 
duties of your appointment. 

Everything relating to the distribution of the nurses, 
the hours of their attendance, their allotment to particular 
duties, is placed in your hands, subject of course to the 
sanction and approval of the Chief Medical Officer; but 
the selection of the nurses in the first instance is placed 
solely under your controul, or under that of persons to be 
agreed on between yourself and the Director General of 
the Army and Ordnance Medical Department, and the per- 
sons so selected will receive certificates from the Director 
General or the principal Medical Officer of one of the 
General Hospitals, without which Certificate no one will be 
permitted to enter the Hospital in order to attend the sick. 

In like manner the power of discharge on account of 
illness or of dismissal for misconduct, inaptitude or other 
cause is vested entirely in yourself; but in cases of such 

78 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

discharge or dismissals, the cost of the return passage of 
such person home will, if you think it advisable, and if 
they proceed at once or so soon as their health enables 
them, be defrayed by the Government. 

Directions will be given by the mail of this day to 
engage one or two houses in a situation as convenient as 
can be found for attendance at the Hospital, or to provide 
accommodation in the Barracks if thought more advisable. 
And instructions will be given to Lord Stratford de Red- 
cliffe to afford you every facility and assistance on landing 
at Constantinople, as also to Dr. Menzies, the Chief Med- 
ical Officer of the Hospital at Scutari, who will give you 
all the aid in his power and every support in the execution 
of your arduous duties. 

The cost of the passage both out and home of yourself 
and the nurses who may accompany you, or who may 
follow you, will be defrayed by the Government, as also 
the cost of house rent, subsistence, etc., etc.; and I leave 
to your discretion the rate of pay which you may think it 
advisable to give to the different persons acting under your 

In the meanwhile. Sir John Kirkland, the Army Agent, 
has received orders to honour your drafts to the amount of 
One Thousand Pounds for the necessary expense of outfit, 
travelling expenses, etc., etc., of which sum you will render 
an account to the Purveyor of the Forces at Scutari. 

You will, for your current expenses, payment of wages, 
etc., etc., apply to the Purveyor through the Chief Medical 
Officer in charge of the Hospital, who will provide you with 
the necessary funds. 

I feel confident that, with a view to the fulfilment of 
the arduous task you have undertaken, you will impress 
upon those acting under your orders the necessity of the 
strictest attention to the regulations of the Hospital and 
the preservation of that subordination which is indispens- 
able in every Military Establishment. 

And I rely on your discretion and vigilance carefully 
to guard against any attempt being made among those 
under your authority, selected as they are with a view 
to fitness and. without any reference to religious creed, to 
make use of their position in the Hospitals to tamper with 
or disturb the religious opinions of the patients of any 

The Hour and the Woman 79 

denomination whatever, and at once to check any such 
tendency and to take, if necessary, severe measures to pre- 
vent its repetition, 

I have the honour to be, Madam, your most obedient 

Sidney Herbert. 

The promised instructions were duly sent to the Com- 
mander of the Forces, the Purveyor-in-Chief and the Prin- 
cipal Medical Officer. Mr. Herbert also wrote to the Pur- 
veyor-General to bespeak his assistance and co-operation 
for Miss Nightingale, and Sir Charles Trevelyan, Assistant 
Secretary to the Treasury, wrote to the principal com- 
missariat officers to request they would fully support her, 
"and instruct their officers of every grade to do the same." 
Mr. Henry Reeve, then on the staff of the Times, re- 
joicing that she had now "an opportunity of action worthy 
of her," wrote to Delane to secure the co-operation of the 
Times Fund, and Delane obtained from Monckton Milnes 
an introduction to Miss Nightingale for the administrator 
of the fund, Mr. Macdonald — to the great advantage, as it 
proved, of their common cause. 

During the few days of preparation, the labour which 
fell on Miss Nightingale was enormous. "No one is so well 
fitted as she to do such work," wrote Lady Canning to 
Lady Stuart de Rothesay (October 17) ; "she has such 
nerve and skill and is so wise and quiet. Even now she is 
no bustle and hurry, though so much is on her hands, and 
such numbers of people volunteer their services." "She is 
as calm and composed in this furious haste ..." wrote 
her sister, "as if she were going for a walk." Headquarters 
were at Mr. Herbert's house, 49, Belgrave Square, and 
there Miss Mary Stanley and Mrs. Bracebridge interviewed 
nurses. Miss Nightingale, knowing the difficulties, had 
proposed to take twenty, but gave way to Mr. Herbert's 
wish for a larger party, and forty was the number agreed 
on. The material was not promising. "Here we sit all 

80 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

day," wrote Miss Stanley; "I wish people who may here- 
after complain of the women selected could have seen the 
set we had to choose from. All London was scoured 
for them. We sent emissaries in every direction to every 
likely place. . , . We felt ashamed to have in the 
house such women as came. One alone expressed a wish 
to go from any good motive. Money was the only induce- 

Finally thirty-eight were collected. With a few excep- 
tions they were not of gentle birth, nor were all sects repre- 
sented, though "Flo so earnestly desired," as her sister 
wrote, "to include all shades of opinion, to prove that all, 
however they differed, might work together in a common 
brotherhood of love to God and man." The party was com- 
posed of ten Roman Catholic Sisters (five from Bermondsey 
and five from Norwood),* eight Anglican Sisters from Miss 
Sellon's home at Devonport, six nurses from St. John's 
House, an institution inclined to Tractarianism, and four- 
teen from various English hospitals. The distinctively 
Protestant institution for nurses in Devonshire Square had 
been applied to, but would only supply nurses on the im- 
practicable condition that they should be subject to their 
own committee. A similar difficulty as to Miss Nightin- 
gale's control had to be exorcised in the case of St. John's 
House by means of a meeting between its Council, Mr. 
Sidney Herbert, the Chaplain-General of the Forces and 
Miss Nightingale. An attempt supported by the British 
Government and the French military authorities to recruit 
Sisters of the Order of S. Vincent de Paul was made in 
passing through Paris, but failed. 

On the eve of departure, the nurses were addressed by 
Mr. Herbert in his dining room. "All started on their 
ways," we are told, "strengthened by his heart-stirring 

*The rule laid down by the War Office was that the Roman Catholic 
nurses should not exceed one-third of the whole number. 

Tlie Hour and the Woman 81 

words, and cheered no less by the sunny brightness of his 
presence than by his kindly and unfailing sympathy." The 
start was made on October 21, five days after the decisive 
interview with Mr. Herbert. 



On the journey Miss Nightingale's expedition excited 
lively interest. At Boulogne, fishwives seized the English- 
women's bags and carried them to the hotel, refusing to 
be paid/ The landlord of the hotel asked them to order 
their own dinner, adding that there would be no bill. The 
waiters and chambermaids refused fees, and even the rail- 
way "would not be paid for her boxes." "Kindly received 
everywhere, by French and English," wrote Mr. Sam Smith, 
who went with his niece as far as Marseilles. His com- 
ments show the material out of which nurses had to be 

". . .It was very hard work for Flo to keep 40 in good 
humour ; arranging the rooms of 5 different sects each night 
before sitting down to supper took a long time ; then calling 
all to be down at 6 ready to start. She bears all wonder- 
fully, so calm, winning everybody, French and English." 
At Marseilles, "where she was seen or heard there was 
nothing but admiration from high and low. Her calm 
dignity influenced everybody. I am sure the nurses love 
her already. . . . She makes everybody who is with her 
feel the good and like it. ..." In another letter. "Her 
influence on all (to captain and steward of boat) was 
wonderful. The rough hospital nurses on the third day 
after breakfasting and dining with us each day, and re- 
ceiving all her attentions, were quite humanised and civ- 
ilised, their very manners at table softened. 'We never had 
so much care taken of our comforts before ; it is not people's 
way with us; we had no notion Miss N. would slave herself 
for us/ She looked so calm and noble in it all, whether 

'One of Misa Nightingale's family has a cardboard box of the time, 
with a coloured picture of the landing on the lid. 


The Arrival 83 

waiting on the nurses at dinner in the station (because no 
one else would), or carrying parcels, or receiving function- 
aries. ... I went back with the literary public of Mar- 
seilles, all full of admiration." 

She sailed from Marseilles on board the Vectis on Friday, 
October 27, loudly cheered from an English vessel in the 
harbour, carrying with her, as a friend wrote, "the deep 
prayers and gratitude of the English people." She also took 
a large quantity of stores she had had the forethought to lay 
in at Marseilles — food, medical comforts, beds, which were 
to be of vital use at Scutari. 

From the moment when her mission was announced in 
public she had become a popular heroine, and a fervid 
biographical article in the Examiner (October 28) was the 
first source of the legend of Florence Nightingale which 
was to persist through her life time. This article stated 
the course of her life with substantial accuracy; dwelt upon 
the fact that she was "young, graceful, feminine, rich and 
popular," enlarged with less truth on her delight in the 
"palpable and heartfelt" attractions of her home; described 
her forsaking the "assemblies, lectures, concerts, exhibitions 
and all the entertainments for taste and intellect with which 
London abounds" in order to sit beside the sick and dying; 
and exalted this "deliberate, sensitive and highly endowed 
young lady" for her "resolute accumulation of the powers 
of consolation and her devoted application of them" to the 
sick and wounded in the war. "A sage few will no doubt 
condemn, sneer at or pity an enthusiasm which to them 
seems eccentric or at best misplaced, but to the true heart 
of the country it will speak home, and be there felt that 
there is not one of England's proudest and purest daugh- 
ters who at this moment stands on as high a pinnacle 
as Florence Nightingale." 

These and other well-meant efforts of the journalism of 
the time were accompanied by a flood of contributions 
in money and kind and offers of personal service. 

84 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

The discovery that the head of the Nursing Expedition 
was not, as first announced, "Mrs." Nightingale, a matron, 
but a young lady '^graceful, rich and popular" added to 
the public enthusiasm and generosity. The statement 
that she was rich requires some qualification. Her father 
was rich, by the standard of those times, but the personal 
allowance he made to her when she declared her inde- 
pendence in 1853 was £500 a year. During her mission in 
the East she devoted the whole of it to her work. Her 
services were of course given gratuitously. 

While, at 4, Cavendish Square, a house taken by Mr. 
Nightingale for the tiijie, Parthe Nightingale and Mary 
Stanley sorted socks and linen and interviewed would-be 
nurses "rabble and respectable, ladies and very much the 
reverse," Florence was at sea on her way to Constantinople, 
revolving many things in her mind. 

Her mission was an experiment, and its fate was doubt- 
ful. She was taking in her hands the reputation of the 
Minister who trusted her and her own dearest hopes. She 
foresaw, as Mr. Herbert did, that her work would be ex- 
posed to many difficulties, in addition to those for which 
the Times reports had prepared her. Medical jealousy and 
military prejudice had to be overcome, and there was an- 
other danger which she had hoped to stave off by uniting 
nurses of all creeds in a "common brotherhood," the danger 
of religious disputations. All these, she and Mr. Herbert had 
tried to guard against beforehand. The result of her fore- 
thought was a course of action very different from what 
many people anticipated, but entirely consonant with her 
sense of the necessities of the case. If she was to avoid 
the rocks ahead, impulsive kindness must not prevail over 
system. Effective care, true kindness, success in conciliating 
opposition, depended on strict method, stern discipline, rigid 
subordination. The criticisms to which her regime as head 
of nurses was exposed were based not on laxity, but upon 
alleged severity. As for her own conduct, she supposed 

The Arrival 85 

that her work, when she landed, would be that of matron 
of a hospital. If, as it turned out, she became rather "mis- 
tress of a barrack," and indeed an assistant purveyor to the 
British Army, it was because she found herself among con- 
ditions which the home authorities had not foreseen, and 
before which those on the spot stood powerless. 

Constantinople, November 4, on board Vectis. 

Dearest People: Anchored off the Seraglio point wait- 
ing for our fate, whether we can disembark direct into the 
Hospital, which, with our heterogeneous mass, we should 

At six o'clock yesterday I staggered on deck to look at 
the plains of Troy, the tomb of Achilles, the mouths of 
the Scamander, the little harbour of Tenedos, between which 
and the main shore our Vectis, with stewards' cabins and 
galley torn away, blustering, creaking, shrieking, storming, 
rushed on her way. It was in a dense mist that the ghosts 
of the Trojans answered my cordial hail. . . . We made 
the castles of Europe and Asia (Dardanelles) by eleven, but 
also reached Constantinople this morn in a thick and heavy 
rain, through which the Sophia, Sulieman, the Seven Tow- 
ers, the walls and the Golden Horn looked hke a bad 
daguerreotype washed out. . . . 

Bad news from Balaclava. You will hear the awful wreck 
of our poor cavalry, 400 wounded, arriving at this moment 
for us to nurse. . . . 

(Later.) Just starting for Scutari. We are to be housed 
in the Hospital this very afternoon. Everybody is most 
kind. The fresh wounded are, I believe, to be placed under 
our care. They are landing them now. 



There were two hospitals at Scutari in which Miss Night- 
ingale worked. 

The General Hospital was the former Turkish Military- 
Hospital. Having been planned for its purpose, and given 
up to the British partially fitted, it was early reduced to 
good order "by the unwearied efforts of the first-class Staff 
Surgeon in introducing a good working system. It was 
then maintained in excellent condition to the close of the 
war."^ Miss Nightingale assigned ten nurses to this hos- 

The other, the Barrack Hospital, was Miss Nightingale's 
headquarters throughout her stay. It had been the Selim- 
iyeh Barracks. The great yellow building, with square 
towers at each angle, had been made over to the British 
when, after the Battle of the Alma, the accommodation 
at the General Hospital proved too small. Its maximum 
accommodation (December 1854) was 2,434. It stands on 
rising ground near the Turkish Cemetery at Scutari, and 
looks over the Sea of Marmora on one side, towards the 
Princes Islands on another, and towards Constantinople 
and up the Bosphorus on the third.^ 

^Miss Nightingale's Statement to Subscribers, p. 13. 

* Another hospital, the Palace Hospital, was opened m January 1855 
in buildings belonging to the Sultan's summer palace. Miss Nightingale 
had no nurses there, but four female nurses were sent there from England 
in the summer of 1855 under Mrs. Willoughby Moore, widow of an 
officer killed in' the war. The hospitals at Koulali 4 or 5 miles farther 
north on the Bosphorus were under Miss Nightingale's supervision till 
the spring of 1855, when Miss Mary Stanley took charge of them for a 
few months. They were broken up in November 1855, Miss Nightingale 


Setting to Work 87 

Nurses having been told off to attend to the worst cases in 
the wards to which they were admitted, the first thing to 
be done was to provide something the sick men could 
swallow, for until IMiss Nightingale arrived it was left to 
untrained orderlies to cook the sick diet where they could, 
and if they could — and if it was to be had, which was rare. 
It was evident to the newcomers that many patients must 
have been lost from want of nourishment, being unable to 
feed themselves or to eat the universal boiled meat. Extra 
diets were at once prepared on the stoves Miss Nightingale 
had brought, and within a week the first "extra diet 
kitchen" was established adjoining the nurses' quarters. 

These quarters were in the northwest tower. The rooms 
opened out of a large kitchen or store room. Mr. Brace- 
bridge and the courier took one room. A small room was 
assigned to Miss Nightingale and Mrs. Bracebridge, and 
three others were for nurses and Sisters.' The party made 
shift with this small accommodation in order to make no 
pressure for room on an already overcrowded hospital. It 
could not have been done with justice to the women's 
health, had not Miss Nightingale later taken a house in 
Scutari at private expense, to which every nurse attacked 
with fever was removed. The quarters were as uncom- 
fortable as they were cramped and lacking in privacy. 
"Occasionally," wrote Miss Nightingale, "our roof is torn 
off, or the windows are blown in and we are under water 
for the night." In the hospital, which consisted of wards 
facing outwards and corridors facing the courtyard, almost 
everything that makes a hospital was lacking. It had 
been transformed from a barrack by the simple process 

transferring some of the nurses to Scutari. For the hospital controlled 
by civilian doctors at Renliioi (on the Dardanelles) at Smyrna, and for 
the Naval Hospital at Therapia, Miss Nightingale, as a War Office official, 
had of course no responsibility, but she was constantly consulted on the 
sites and arrangements. She formed a lifelong friendship with Dr. E. A. 
Parkes, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital at Renkioi. 

' Miss Nightingale later gave up her bed to an officer's widow and slept 
behind a screen in the central room. 

88 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

of an application of whitewash, and underneath its im- 
posing mass were "sewers of the worst possible construc- 
tion, loaded with filth, mere cesspools in fact, through 
which the wind blew sewer air up the pipes of numerous 
open privies into the corridors and wards where the sick 
were lying." Wounds and sickness, overcrowding and want 
of proper ventilation added to the foulness of the at- 
mosphere. At night it was indescribable. The wards were 
infested with rats, mice and vermin. Flooring was defec- 
tive, furniture, and even the commonest utensils for clean- 
liness, decency and comfort, were lacking. The canvas 
sheets supplied were too coarse to be used for the wounded 
and emaciated men. There were not enough bedsteads. 
Surgical and medical appliances were often not to be had, 
and the cooking arrangements were devised for ordinary 
meals only. 

This was the hospital at which the unfortunate men 
arrived, already in a terrible condition from the absence 
of sufficient attention and supplies at the front. They were 
admitted suffering not only from wounds and exposure, 
and from diseases due to bad and scanty diet, but from 
the hardships consequent on lack of ambulances or other 
transport, the want of ordinary accommodations (not to 
speak of hospital comforts) on board ship, and the cruel 
conditions of the landing at Scutari. 

Miss Nightingale must now be imagined as immured in 
the foulness and misery of this deadly building. "I have 
not been out of the hospital yet," she wrote ten days after 
her arrival, ''but the most beautiful view in all the world 
lies, I believe, outside." "I was never out of the hospitals," 
she says. It is half an hour's walk from the Barrack to 
the General Hospital, and on rough nights she used to 
take an invalid soldier with a lantern to light her across 
the barren common which lay between. During the six 
months which covered the worst period of sickness and 
crowding in the Barrack Hospital, she must hardly have 

Setting to Work 89 

been conscious of time. This unhappy hospital population 
as it came and went was everything to her — the outer world 
nothing, except in so far as it could help or harm them. 
The wonder is that she contrived to write so much to 
friends in England; but letters were the means of letting 
in light and bringing help. Miss Nightingale arrived at 
Scutari on November the 4th, "the eve of Inkerman" (as 
she would add to the date of letters written on that day in 
after years), and on the 9th the wounded began to pour 
into the already well-filled hospital. 

Florence Nightingale to Dr. Bowman* November 11 
. . . On Thursday last we had 1,715 sick and wounded in 
this hospital (among whom 120 Cholera Patients) 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 dreadful affair of 
the 5th November 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 Hos- 
pital Matron, but I never expected to be Barrack Mistress. 
We had but half an hour's notice before they began land- 
ing the wounded. Between 1 and 9 o'clock we had the mat- 
tresses stuffed, sewn up, laid down — alas! only upon mat- 
ting on the floor — the men washed and put to bed, and 
all their wounds dressed, I wish I had time, I would write 
you a letter dear to a surgeon's heart. I am as good as a 
Medical Times! But oh! you Gentlemen of England, who 
sit at Home in all the well-earned satisfaction of your suc- 
cessful cases, can have little Idea from reading the news- 
papers of the Horror and Misery (in a Military Hospital) 
of operating upon these dying, exhausted men. A London 
Hospital is a Garden of Flowers to it. 

We have had such a Sea in the Bosphorus, and the Turks, 
the very men for whom we are fighting, carry in our 
Wounded so cruelly that they arrive in a state of Agony. 
One amputated Stump died two hours after we received 
him, one compound Fracture just as we were getting him 
into Bed — in all twenty-four cases died on the day of 

^The Ophthalmic surgeon, a friend of Harley Street days. 

90 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

landing. The Dysentery Cases have died at the rate of one 
in two. Then the day of operations which follows. . . . 

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, tho' 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 Barrack, 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. Peter, "It is good for us to be 
here" — though I doubt whether if St. Peter had been here 
he would have said so. As I went my night rounds among 
the newly wounded that first night, there was not one 
murmur, not one groan, the strictest discipline — the most 
absolute silence and quiet prevailed — only the steps of the 
Sentry — and I heard one man say, "I was dreaming of my 
friends at Home," and another said, "I was thinking of 
them." These poor fellows bear pain and mutilation with 
an unshrinking heroism which is really superhuman, and 
die or are cut up without a complaint.^ 

The wounded are now lying up to our very door and 
we are landing 540 more from the Andes. I take rank in 
the Army as Brigadier General, because forty British fe- 
males, whom I have with me, are more difiScult to manage 
than 4,000 men. Let no lady come out here who is not 
used to fatigue and privation. . . . Every ten minutes an 
Orderly runs, and we have to go and cram lint into the 
wound till a Surgeon can be sent for, and stop the Bleeding 
as well as we can. In all our corridor, I think, we have not 
an average of three Limbs per man. And there are two 

"The use of chloroform was known, but was not familiar. Dr. Hall, 
the principal medical officer of the Crimean forces, cautioned medical of- 
ficers against its use in the severe shock of gunshot wounds, as he thought 
few would survive where it was employed. 

Setting to Work 91 

Ships more "loading" at the Crimea with womided — (this 
is our Phraseology). Then come the operations, and a 
melancholy, not an encouraging List is this. They are all 
performed in the wards — no time to move them; one poor 
fellow exhausted with hemorrhage, has his leg amputated as 
a last hope, and dies ten minutes after the Surgeon has left 
him. Almost before the breath has left his body, it is sewn 
up in its blanket, and carried away and buried the same 
day. We have no room for Corpses in the Wards. The 
Surgeons pass on to the next, an excision of the shoulder 
joint beautifully performed and going on well. Ball lodged 
just in the head of the joint and fracture starred all round. 
The next poor fellow has two Stumps for arms, and the 
next has lost an arm and a leg. As for the Balls, they 
go in where they like, and come out where they like, and 
do as much harm as they can in passing. That is the only 
rule they have. . . . 

I am getting a Screen now for the amputations, for 
when one poor fellow, who is to be amputated tomorrow, 
sees his comrade today die under the knife, it makes im- 
pression and diminishes his chance. But any way among 
these exhausted Frames, the mortality of the operations is 
frightful. We have Erysipelas, fever and gangrene and the 
Russian wounded are the worst. 

We are getting on nicely though in many ways. They 
were so glad to see us. The Senior Chaplain is a sensible 
man, which is a remarkable Providence. ... If ever you 
see Mr. Whitfield, the House Apothecary of St. Thomas', 
will you tell him that the nurse he sent me, Mrs. Roberts, 
is worth her weight in gold. . . . Mrs. Drake is a Treasure. 
The four others are not fit to take care of themselves, but 
they may do better by and bye if I can convince them 
of the absolute necessity of discipline. We hear there was 
another engagement on the 8th and more wounded, who are 
coming down to us. This is only the beginning of things. 

The Senior Chaplain on his side appreciated Miss Night- 
ingale's help. "The Chaplain says 'Miss Nightingale is 
an admirable person,' " wrote her father to a friend (De- 
cember 12) ; "none of us can sufficiently admire her. A 
perfect lady, she wins and rules everyone, the most rugged 
official melts before her gentle voice, and all seem glad 

92 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

to do her bidding." "She was always calm and self-pos- 
sessed," says one of the Roman Catholic Sisters; "she was 
a perfect lady through everything — never overbearing. I 
never heard her raise her voice." 

"Comfort yourselves," wrote Mr. Bracebridge to her par- 
ents, "that the good Flo has done and is doing is priceless 
and is felt to be so by the medical men — the cleanliness 
of the wounds, which were horribly dirty, the general order 
and arrangement. There has not been half the jealousy I 
expected from them towards her." 

"Miss N. is decidedly well received," he reported to Mr. 
Herbert (8 November), and a few days later, the Com- 
mander of the Forces welcomed her in a letter dated "Be- 
fore Sevastopol, November 13, 1854." She acknowledged 
after the war the support and encouragement, the high 
courtesy and benevolence, invariably shown by Lord Rag- 
lan. Some of the military officers, jealous of the powers 
assigned to her, sulked and put difficulties in "the Bird's" 
way, or did not trouble to lighten burdens which they con- 
sidered "the Bird's duty." Sir Anthony Sterling's "High- 
land Brigade in the Crimea" gives an amusing picture of 
the difficulties she encountered in this kind. He has an 
old soldier's prejudice against womanish novelties in nurs- 
ing, against women in war, and against Ministers who 
"allow these absurdities." He cannot help laughing at 
"the Nightingale" because he has "such a keen sense of 
the ludicrous." Women, he supposes, will be teaching us 
how to fight next. He bitterly resents their "capture" of the 
orderlies for nursing, and cannot see why floors should be 
scrubbed. The Chief Medical Officer, he thinks, "ought to 
have been intrusted with Nightingale powers." And some 
of the Medical Service felt the encroachment for themselves. 
Upon most pf the medical men on the spot Miss Night- 
ingale made a good impression at once, because she proved 
herself efficient and helpful. Some welcomed her and her 
staff and made as much use of them as possible. Others 

Setting to Work 93 

resented their presence and threw obstacles in their way. 
There was one ward in which the junior medical ofl&cers 
were advised by their superior to have as little to do with 
Miss Nightingale as possible. She took such opposi- 
tion with patience, and gradually won her way into the 
confidence of most of the doctors. But certain of them 
remained to the last impatient of any "meddling" by the 
women nurses. 



The hot and bitter controversy begun by the Times let- 
ters went on for months and years and long outlived the 
war. The treatment of sick and wounded and the supply 
and transport of food and equipment were the subject of 
many Enquiries, Committees and Commissions, which, 
when they had finished sitting on the matters of their 
reference, began sitting on one another. It was the first 
war in which the British public could follow events within 
a few days of their occurrence, and thus they were alive 
as never before to the sufferings of the men, and the scan- 
dal of administrative collapse. Old soldiers, on the other 
hand, saw little to complain of. They expected noth- 
ing else. Of Sir George Brown, who commanded the Light 
"Division in the Crimea, it was said: "As he was thrown 
into a cart on some straw when shot through the legs in 
Spain, he thinks the same conveyances admirable now, and 
hates ambulances as the invention of the Evil One." But 
the chief reason for the conflict of testimony was that the 
very facts of protest and inquiry put the responsible offi- 
cials on the defensive. Any suggestion of fault or defect 
was resented as a personal imputation. The final verdict, 
however, was decisive. There was a terrible breakdown in 
the hurriedly improvised administration and the work of 
the undermanned and largely inexperienced medical and 
supply service, and the state of the hospitals was "dis- 
graceful." An attempt had been made, after war broke 
out, to create an organisation by flinging together various 
sections of military supply, etc., under a separate Secretary 


Miss Nightingale as Administrator 95 

of State, but it was hardly surprising that such an impro- 
visation did not work. Public administration was then 
neither large in scale nor high in standard; the Civil Serv- 
ice was still recruited by patronage. 

Mr. Herbert had not waited for the results of enquiry. 
As to the Barrack Hospital, he had written urgently to the 
Commandant at Scutari expressing his dissatisfaction, and 
pointing to a "want of co-operation between departments 
and a fear of responsibility or timidity, arising from an 
entire misconception of the wishes of the Government." 
This was the root of the evil. Though there were some 
individuals to blame, the fault at Scutari was the fault 
of the administration as a whole — division of responsibility, 
want of co-ordination. In London there was an amazing 
complex of authorities working independently, on whose co- 
operation an eflEicient service depended. The Director Gen- 
eral of the Medical Department in London told the Roebuck 
Committee that he was under five distinct masters — The 
Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of State, the Secretary 
at War, the Master General of Ordnance, and the Board of 
Ordnance. The Secretary of State said that he had issued 
no instructions as to the Hospitals. He had left that to 
the Medical Board. But the Medical Director General 
said that it would have been impertinent for him to take 
the first step. Everywhere were division of responsibility 
and reluctance to assume it. In the Crimea a good many 
of the medical officers feared even to make requisitions lest 
they should appear to be complaining of their chief. Dr. 
Alexander, then Principal Medical Officer of the Light Di- 
vision, and some others had the courage to push their 
requisitions and to complain of the delays and neglects 
of their superiors. After all that can be said of the defects 
of system, it is impossible not to be painfully struck by 
the contrast between such men, and those above them who 
seem to have been chiefly conscious of the dangers to them- 
selves of taking any action. 

96 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Even when action was pressed from above on the re- 
sponsible officers, they were, as Mr. Herbert wrote to Mr. 
Bracebridge, "so saturated with the cheese-paring economy 
of 40 years' peace that they could hardly be got to move." 
"I could not believe myself," said the Medical Director 
General, ''when I knew that I could spend money without 
going through the regular forms." He admitted that it 
took "months" to convince him that it could be done. The 
responsible authorities seem sometimes to have shrunk from 
making requisitions lest they should reveal their own unpre- 

"The first real improvements in the lamentable condi- 
tion of the Hospitals at Scutari," reported the Roebuck 
Committee," "are to be attributed to private suggestions, 
private exertions, and private benevolence," and they went 
on to describe Miss Nightingale's mission. "The first im- 
provements took place," wrote Mr. Macdonald, "after Miss 
Nightingale's arrival — greater cleanliness and greater order. 
She found, as she says herself, "not a basin, nor a towel, 
not a bit of soap, nor a broom." "I recollect one of the 
first things she asked me to supply," Mr. Macdonald con- 
tinues, "was 200 hard scrubbers and sacking, for washing 
the floors, for which no means existed at that time." Miss 
Nightingale had foreseen that washing would be one of the 
first things. As the Vectis was approaching Constantinople, 
one of the women went up to her and said earnestly, "Oh, 
Miss Nightingale, when we land, don't let there be any red- 
tape delays, let us get straight to nursing the poor fellows." 
"The strongest will be wanted at the washtub," was the 
reply. Before Miss Nightingale arrived, the number of 
shirts washed during a month was six. The Purveyor Gen- 
eral had contracted for the washing of bedding and patients' 
linen, but the contractors were untrustworthy, and just as 
the wounded were arriving from Inkerman the supply of 

^ A Select Committee of the House of Commons. 

Miss Nightingale as Administrator 97 

clean clothes broke down. The bedding, Miss Nightingale 
discovered, was washed in cold water, with the natural 
result that much of it had to be destroyed after washing 
as verminous. Miss Nightingale, using her own private 
funds and the Times fund, took a house, had boilers put 
in by the Engineers' Office and employed soldiers' wives 
to do the washing.' The cookery of the Barrack Hospital, 
as she found it, was supposed to be done in thirteen large 
coppers, but five of them were out of order. They were 
at one end of the vast building, and as there were be- 
tween three and four miles of beds, it took three or four 
hours to serve the ordinary dinners. Miss Nightingale 
set to work at once on the cooking problem, and 
within ten days of her arrival had opened two "extra diet 
kitchens" in different parts of the building. Three supple- 
mentary boilers were also fixed on a staircase. If the gov- 
ernment stores of material for invalid cookery failed, and 
"in the majority of cases the purveyor had either no sup- 
ply or a supply of very indifferent quality" she produced 
what was wanted from her private stores. Her eye was 
not above distinguishing bone and gristle from meat in the 
men's dinners, and she wanted to have the meat boned 
before issue, so that no patient's portion should be a mere 
bone or a lump of gristle. But on this point she was beaten. 
It would have required a new Regulation of the Service. 

'Some of the poor women, whom she had found in a pitiable con- 
dition, separated from their regiments, she put to making up old linen 
into hospital necessaries. She deputed the care of them to Mrs. Brace- 
bridge, who, with her husband, collected and administered a fund for 
the wives, women and children of soldiers at Scutari. A lying-in hos- 
pital was organised for them and much help was given by Dr. and Lady 
Alicia Blackwood, who went out after Inkerman. Lady Alicia's Narrative 
of a Residence on the Bosphorus gives a harrowing account of their state. 
Miss Nightingale said in answer to her offer of help: "In this barrack 
are now located some two hundred poor women in the most abject 
misery. A great number have been sent down from Varna; they are 
in rags and covered with vermin. My heart bleeds for them; but my 
work is with the soldiers, not with their wives — now will you undertake 
to look after them? If you will take them as your charge, I will send 
an orderly who will show you their haunts." 

98 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

In 1855 arrived a distinguished volunteer in the department 
of cookery — Alexis Soyer, the famous chef of the Reform 
Club, the Monsieur Mirobolant of Thackeray's Pendennis — 
who rearranged the kitchens at Scutari, and later went with 
her to the Crimea. The extras prepared in these kitchens 
were of course supplied in accordance with the doctors' 
entries in the diet rolls; but even so, the patient might 
not always get them. Some of the doctors were hostile to 
what they considered "too much indulgence" of the soldier. 
If it became known that the Inspector General was going 
round, "extras" which might be condemned as "making 
the ward untidy" would hastily be hidden under the pa- 
tients' mattresses. Miss Nightingale relates that some but- 
ter had been obtained on the requisition of the assistant 
surgeon in charge of the ward, countersigned by the Deputy 
Inspector General in charge of the Hospital. The Divisional 
Surgeon and the Station Inspector General came to inspect 
the ward, and unaware of the strictly official origin of the 
butter, threw it out of window. Miss Nightingale remarks 
in her best official style that the fate of the butter was 
"an instance of the non-definition of the respective duties 
of the several medical ranks." * 

The uses of larders, store places and cupboards seem not 
to have been understood. When recommending such things 
in 1858 as necessary to systematic moving, Miss Night- 
ingale felt it necessary to add — "Believe that this is neither 
theory nor fidget — ^but practice." * 

Washing, cookery, wardmaids' work and the technicalities 
of nursing were offices to which Miss Nightingale had been 
expected to bring the expert's touch. As Dr. Andrew Smith, 
the head of the Army Medical Department, felt bound to 
admit afterwards, "females are apt to discover many de- 
ficiencies that a man would not think of, and they will look 
at things that a man will have no idea of looking to." But 

^ Notes on the British Army, p. 421. 
* Subsidiary Notes, page 85. 

Miss Nightingale as Administrator 99 

these deficiencies led Miss Nightingale far beyond what 
might be considered woman's work into the purveying de- 
partment — she provided foods, beds and other furniture 
and equipment, necessary stores, medical and other, and 
even clothing. Fifty thousand shirts were issued from her 

"I am a kind of general dealer," she wrote to Mr. Herbert 
(January 4, 1855), "in socks, shirts, knives and forks, 
wooden spoons, tin baths, tables and forms, cabbage and 
carrots, operating tables, towels and soap, small tooth 
combs, precipitate for destroying lice, scissors, bed pans and 
stump pillows. I will send you a picture of my Caravanserai, 
into whicli beasts come in and out. Indeed the vermin 
might, if they had but 'unity of purpose,' carry off the four 
miles of beds on their backs, and march with them into the 
War Office, Horse Guards, S. W." 

The "caravanserai" was the large central room of Miss 
Nightingale's quarters. 

"From this room," wrote one of the lady volunteers, 
"were distributed quantities of arrowroot, sago, rice pud- 
dings, jelly, beef tea, and lemonade upon requisitions made 
by the surgeons. This caused great comings to and fro ; num- 
bers of orderlies were waiting at the door with requisitions. 
One of the nuns or a lady received them and saw they were 
signed and countersigned before serving. We used among 
ourselves to call this kitchen the Tower of Babel. In the 
middle of the day everything and everybody seemed to be 
there : boxes, parcels, bundles of sheets, shirts and old linen 
and flannels, tubs of butter, sugar, bread, kettles, saucepans, 
heaps of books and of all kinds of rubbish, besides the diets 
which were being dispensed; then the people, ladies, nuns, 
nurses, orderlies, Turks, Greeks, French and Italian serv- 
ants, officers and others waiting to see Miss Nightingale; 
all passing to and fro, all intent on their own business, and 
all speaking their own language." There was also in "the 
Sisters' Tower" a small sitting room; and in it "were held 

100 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

those councils over which Miss Nightingale so ably pre- 
sided, at which were discussed the measures necessary to 
meet the daily varying exigencies of the hospital. From 
hence were given the orders which regulated the female 
staff. This, too, was the office from which were sent 
those many letters to the Government, to friends and sup- 
porters at home, telling of the sufferings of the sick and 
wounded." ^ 

In the Report of the Duke of Newcastle's Commission 
and in Miss Nightingale's own Statement to Subscribers 
appears the full list of articles supplied by her, tabulated 
with characteristic precision and abundance of detail. She 
got them wherever she could — from Constantinople, Malta, 
Marseilles, Smyrna, London. It was shown by the Com- 
mission that she never issued anything from her stores, 
nor allowed anyone else to do so, except upon demand of 
the medical officers and after enquiry of the purveyor 
whether he could supply them. To act only on a doctor's 
requisition was her very wise rule, not only in the case of 
necessaries from the purveyor's store, but for every issue 
of stores procured by her in the purveyors' default, and 
for the distribution of the Royal "Free Gifts," of which 
she was appointed almoner, and which she could, had she 
chosen, have distributed on her own or her deputies' judg- 
ment. No doubt she was herself often the origin of the 
doctors' requisitions; many of the needs were such as "fe- 
males are more apt to discover." Miss Nightingale kept a 
few of the original requisitions among her papers. Here 
is one, and it comes from a hospital which Miss Nightingale 
was not nursing : 

Palace Hospital, 18th January, 1855. 

I have the honour to forward a requisition for 50 shirts 
and 50 warm flannels. The Purveyor has none. Knowing 
the extensive demand I have limited my request to meet 

^ Scutari and Its Hospitals, by S. G. 0., p. 24. 

Miss Nightingale as Administrator 101 

the urgent requirements of the most serious cases in my 

I have the honour to be, Madam, 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

Edward Menzies, 
Staff Surgeon in Charge. 

The articles mentioned in the list, said the Commissioners 
drily, were not "invariably wanting." Goods had been re- 
fused to the doctors, though "lying in abundance in the 
store of the Purveyor," because "they had not been exam- 
ined by a Board of Survey." Miss Nightingale's letters to 
Mr. Herbert show that this was a frequent occurrence. In 
February 1855, for instance, she received a requisition from 
the doctors at Balaclava for shirts. She knew that 27,000 
shirts had been sent by the Government at her instance, 
and they were already landed, but the Purveyor "could not 
unpack them without a Board." It was three weeks before 
they were released. Miss Nightingale's impatience at such 
delays was the origin doubtless of a widespread story that 
she once ordered a Government consignment to be broken 
open. The dreadful deed is not out of character, and she 
must have described depredations from store to Miss Marti- 
neau, for that lady writes that "there were instances when 
a person of courageous benevolence took the responsibility 
of laying hands on articles in store, whether beds or food, 
without going through forms which would have caused 
fatal delay." * Certainly she often obtained first-hand evi- 
dence of the supplies: 

"This morning I foraged in the Purveyor's Store — a cruise 
I rnake almost daily, as the only way of getting things. 
No mops, no plates, no wooden trays (the engineer is having 
these made), no slippers, no shoebrushes, no blacking, no 
knives and forks, no spoons, no scissors (for cutting the 
men's hair, which is literally alive), no basins, no towelling, 
no chloride of zinc." 

'England and Her Soldiers. 

102 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Then she enumerates things which Mr. Herbert should 
send from London, adding that the rest can be got in Con- 
stantinople or Marseilles; whence no doubt she proceeded 
to get them. At Scutari there was Mr. Macdonald's untir- 
ing and resourceful help ; and from the first announcement 
of her mission, clothing and comforts in large quantity, 
besides subscriptions in money, had been sent from friends 
and others in England to Miss Nightingale herself. Her 
private fund came to nearly £7,000, a large sum for that 
time. She was particularly pleased by the arrival of £1,000 
from New Zealand. The largest item was from the Ladies 
of Launceston, New South Wales, £1,684, "placed at the 
disposal of Her Majesty." In addition Miss Nightingale 
and her friends spent £2,600 which was repaid by Govern- 

The difiSculty of transport was one of the troubles: 

"English people," she wrote to Mr. Herbert (Dec. 10, 
1854), "look upon Scutari as a place with inns and hackney 
coaches and houses to let furnished. It required yester- 
day, to land 25 casks of sugar, four oxen and two men for 
six hours, plus two passes, two requisitions, Mr. Brace- 
bridge's two interferences and one apology from a quarter- 
master for seizing the araha, received with a smile and a 
kind word, because he did his duty; for every araha is 
required on Military store or Commissariat duty. There 
are no pack horses and no asses, except those used by the 
peasantry to attend the market 1^/4 miles off. An araha 
consists of loose poles and planks, extended between two 
axle trees, placed on four small wheels, and drawn by a yoke 
of weak oxen. . . . Four days in the week we cannot com- 
municate with Constantinople except by the other harbour, 
1^ miles off, to which the road is almost impassable." 

At a later time, when the French army was ravaged 
by typhus and the Intendance hesitated to accept the loan 
of medical comforts from the British Government, Miss 
Nightingale was able to overcome their scruples by sending 

Miss Nightingale as Administrator 103 

as a present to the French Sisters and Medical Officers large 
quantities of wine, arrowroot and meat essence. She helped 
the Sardinian Sisters of Mercy in a crisis when one of the 
supply ships was burned; and she sent supplies to the 
Prussian Civil Hospital, where many British were treated. 
The Turks, too, often came to her at Scutari for medicine 
and advice. 

On one occasion Miss Nightingale appeared as a builder, 
and this was at the time the usurpation most condemned 
in some quarters and most commended in others. Some 
wards in the Barrack Hospital, with space for 800 beds, 
were too dilapidated for use. The Commander-in-Chief 
had sent a warning that fresh patients might be expected, 
but no one was willing to be responsible for authorising 
the expensive repairs that were needed. With the support 
of Dr. MacGrigor, one of the senior medical officers, Miss 
Nightingale, through Lady Stratford, appealed to the Am- 
bassador, who had been empowered to incur expenditure. 
The engineering staff began the repairs, on which 125 
workmen were employed, but work was stopped by a strike. 
Miss Nightingale on her own authority engaged 200 fresh 
workmen, who quickly had the wards ready. Lord Strat- 
ford afterwards disclaimed responsibility,' and Miss 
Nightingale paid the bill out of her own pocket. The 
War Department approved her action and reimbursed 

It was not the first time Miss Nightingale had concerned 
herself about repairs. There were many odd jobs to be 
done and the floors were very bad and harboured vermin. 
The Director General recommended the repair of the floors 
in March, and was informed by the Inspector General 
at Scutari that "the Turkish carpentering is so bad and 

'' Lord Stratford, when consulted by the Commissioner of the Times, 
had said "Nothing is needed." The fund, he thought, might be used for 
building an English church at Pera. 

104 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

gaping beams so general, that it would require many months 
to remove this cause of complaint." Miss Nightingale, 
however, had induced the War OfiBce to send out a squad 
of carpenters in February. 

The matter of the building was an instance of "the 
Nightingale power" that made a great impression, and the 
fame of it was noised abroad. Colonel Sterling again gives 
us the old soldier's disgust at these feminine interferences: 
"Miss Nightingale coolly draws a cheque. Is this the way 
to manage the finances of a great nation? Vox populi? 
A divine afflatus. Priestess, Miss N. Magnetic impetus 
drawing cash out of my pocket ! " The way of course would 
have been to approach the great nation's Treasury through 
the tangle of departments by the roundabout ways of 
routine. As it was. Miss Nightingale could report that 
"the wards were ready to receive 500 men on the 19th from 
the Ships Ripon and Golden Fleece. They were received 
in the wards by Dr. McGrigor and myself, and were gen- 
erally in the last stage of exhaustion. I supplied all the 
utensils, including knives and forks, spoons, cans, towels, 
etc., clearing our quarters of these." 

In the reform of the structural sanitation of the hos- 
pitals it was Lord Shaftesbury who effected the decisive 
step. The death rates had risen appallingly through the 
winter. The defective walls and floors of the Barrack Hos- 
pital, sodden with filth, and the increasingly loaded sewers, 
grew more and more deadly. Miss Nightingale had made 
urgent and detailed representations as to the need of large 
works at Scutari, insisting repeatedly that the mere giving 
of orders was insufficient, and that responsible officers with 
executive powers should be appointed for taking action on 
the spot. Lord Shaftesbury later struck on the same idea in 
conversation with Dr. Hector Gavin, and he successfully 
pressed Lord Panmure to send out a strong Sanitary Com- 

Miss Nightingale as Administrator 105 

"February 15th. — A day of success. May God be praised 
and to Him be all the glory! First, efforts with the Bishop 
of London, Archbishop of Canterbury, Gladstone and Pal- 
merston, for a day of humiliation have prospered. Most 
thankful was I today to find P. not only ready, but urging, 
that the day should be a Special day, and not a Sunday. 
This is very good; it looks serious and reverent. 

"Next Panmure has listened to my scheme for a Sanitary 
Commission to proceed, with full powers, to Scutari and 
Balaclava, there to purify the hospitals, ventilate the ships, 
and exert all that science can do to save life where thou- 
sands are dying, not of their wounds, but of dysentery and 
diarrhoea, the result of foul air and preventible mischiefs. 
Again I bless Thee, Lord; and bring the work, we pray 
Thee, to a joyous issue!"" 

Lord Shaftesbury himself attended to the arrangements 
for sending out the Commission, and drew up precise and 
detailed instructions. Lord Palmerston added a dispatch 
to Lord Raglan: the medical officers, the camp and port 
authorities, would oppose and thwart the Commissioners, 
he plainly said. Their mission would be a failure without 
"the peremptory exercise" of Lord Raglan's authority. "But 
that authority I request you to exercise in the most per- 
emptory manner." The dispatch might have been written 
by Miss Nightingale. She had at least laid the ground 

This was the commission which, as Miss Nightingale 
afterwards told Lord Shaftesbury, "saved the Army," and 
she delighted to give him honour due.' Dr. Gavin (who 
died in the Crimea), Dr. John Sutherland and Mr. Robert 
Rawlinson, C.E., were the Commissioners, with inspectors 
and an assistant engineer. The reconstruction began in 
March and in her evidence to the Royal Commission of 
1857, she described the immense improvement which fol- 

'Lord Shaftesbury's Diary. Hodder's Life of Lord Shaftesbury, p. 603. 
"See Hodder's Life of Lord Shaftesbury, p. 503. 

106 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

lowed their work/" Dr. Sutherland and Mr. (afterwards 
Sir R.) Rawlinson became faithful friends of Miss Night- 
ingale, and were her trusted supporters and advisers to the 
end of their lives. 

"The death rate fell from 427 per 1,000 in February to 107 per 1,000 
in the latter part of April, when the pressure on the Scutari hospitals was 
relieved, and 22 per 1,000 in June, when the sanitary works were finished. 



From the beginning Miss Nightingale laid down her 
invariable rule that the nurse was to be entirely subordi- 
nate to the doctor and to act only by his leave and accord- 
ing to his instructions. Nursing was not to be a separate 
service of housemaiding and domestic care, still less were 
nurses to be rivals of the doctors. They were to be a sub- 
ordinate branch of the medical service under the doctors' 
orders as to matters of treatment, while under their own 
superintendent as to matters of discipline. The fixing of 
this conception of the place of the nurse we owe to her. 
Writing of Military Hospitals, she recommended that 
where women nurses were employed orderlies "should by 
no means be done away with." . . . "Female nursing, 
while entirely subordinate to the medical authority, 
should not be charged with the mere drudgery in the 
necessary cleansing and labour of a Military Hospital, 
but should be made capable of performing what may be 
termed 'skilled' nursing, by a course of previous instruction, 
and should add to the niceties of female attendance . . . 
a moral influence which has now been proved, beyond 
doubt, to be highly beneficial to the soldier." ^ 

Miss Nightingale was well aware that the only wise, the 
only practicable course was to uphold the doctor's author- 
ity with his subordinates on every occasion. "Miss Night- 
ingale told us," says one of her stafi", "only to attend to 
patients in the wards of those surgeons who wished for our 
services and never to do anything for the patients without 

* Notes on the British Army, pp. 158-9. 


108 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

the leave of the doctors." "The number of nurses admitted 
into each division of a hospital depended/' she writes her- 
self, "upon the medical officer of that division, who some- 
times accepted them, sometimes refused them, sometimes 
accepted them after they had been refused, while the duties 
they were permitted to perform varied according to the 
will of each medical officer." 

The training of the women called for Miss Nightingale's 
incessant vigilance. One had to be sent back at once, and 
the vacancy was filled by a Kaiserswerth Sister from Con- 
stantinople. Of the six from St. John's House "four, alas! 
returned shortly from Scutari, not being prepared to accept 
the discipline and privations of the life." * Another seemed 
about to rebel against the caps. 

"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'ani, 
that suits one 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." =" 

In this case the difficulty was got over, and the woman 
proved an excellent nurse. The uniform indeed had been 
designed for strict utility and to give the wearer such a 
sobriety of appearance as might disarm criticism and belie 
the untoward reputation of nurses. The Nightingale nurses 
wore "grey tweed wrappers, worsted jackets, with caps and 
short woollen cloaks, and a frightful scarf of brown hoUand 
embroidered in red with the words 'Scutari Hospital.' " * 
The short cloak had a future. "The red uniform caps worn 
by the ladies of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military 
Nursing Service is modelled on that originally introduced 
by Florence Nightingale for the nurses whom she took to 

'St. John's House; A Record, p. 8. 

' From the beginning of Miss Nightingale's letter to Mr. Bowman 
quoted above, p. 89. 
* Memories of the Crimea, by Sister Mary Aloysius, p. 17. 

The Nurses and .Ward Management 109 

Scutari. This cape may therefore be regarded as a memo- 
rial to the great founder of military nursing." " As for 
the "frightful scarf," a very harmless holland band, some 
such distinctive badge was a necessity. ''You leave her 
alone," said a man to his mate who approached a nurse in 
the street. "Don't you see she's one of Miss Nightingale's 
women?" Their cloth was respected throughout the camps, 
but Miss Nightingale had to dismiss two or three for levity 
of conduct. She transferred nurses from time to time, send- 
ing the best to other hospitals, keeping the less trustworthy 
under her own eye, and despatching some home as other 
recruits arrived. Of the original thirty-eight she considered 
not more than sixteen were really efficient, while five or six 
were in a class of excellence by themselves. 

The difficulties of maintaining order in such surround- 
ings among women all of whom were without regular 
training, many of whom had little education and were 
"wholly undisciplined" (as Miss Nightingale complained of 
the greater number of the recruits sent out) appear in the 
"Rules and Regulations for the Nurses attached to the 
Military Hospitals in the East," which she sent home to 
Mr. Herbert, and a printed copy of which was thereafter 
given to every candidate. These rules lay it down that 
nurses must always appear in "the regulation dress with 
the badge," and must not wear "flowers in their bonnet- 
caps" or unauthorized ribbons. They are not to have more 
than specified amounts of spirituous liquors or to walk out 
except by leave, and either with the housekeeper or in par- 
ties of three. But even with the official regulations to 
point to, Miss Nightingale found it hard to accustom her 
inexperienced followers to discipline. 

It must not be supposed that the nurses on their arrival 

'Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, p. 393. It was the fashion 
of the time to "veil the figure" with a shawl or scarf, often very loosely- 
worn, and a tradition has been met with among nurses that the more 
workmanlike cape was meant for the same prim purpose. 

110 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

were allowed or attempted the full duties of a modern 
trained nurse. They were not at first permitted to under- 
take important surgical dressings ; these were done by assis- 
tant surgeons; though, as Miss Nightingale's letter shows, 
they would "cram lint into the wounds" of newly arrived 
patients as an emergency measure. One of the doctors 
thought they were useful "more particularly in washing 
the faces and hands of such as are badly wounded, and 
shifting their linen." ' As Miss Nightingale and the more 
friendly of the doctors became better able to judge which 
nurses could be trusted, some of them were allowed to give 
more skilled help. "A great amount of daily dressings and 
attention to compound fractures" were then given by the 
most competent. Miss Nightingale herself used to take up 
arteries after the surgeon ; and Mrs. Roberts is described as 
a first-rate surgical nurse. 

An interesting picture of the introduction of discipline 
in the wards is given in Harriet Martineau's England and 
Her Soldiers, written in consultation with Miss Nightingale 
as a plea for administrative and nursing reform. 

"The orderlies," she says, "did nof understand their busi- 
ness, and the sick had no conception of a discipline in the 
ward as thorough as that of the ranks. They did not know 
that their own lives and those of their comrades depended 
upon it. The nurses therefore entered among a mob of 
sufferers and had to establish discipline in the wards before 
they could help to do much more. They did it by their 
own example of instant and constant obedience to orders; 
and by introducing order into their own province. . . . 
There was no one whose special business it was to maintain 
hospital discipline. The ward master or hospital sergeant 
was hard at work about other affairs. The orderlies had 
never been trained to clean and air the wards. Their way 
(and each took his own way) 'would have made a house- 
maid laugh,' we are told. 'The patients undid it all, and 

°A Century of Family Leters, vol. ii^ p. 156. 

The Nurses and Ward Management 111 

it had to be done over again.' ' It was all a chance whether 
medicine or food was taken. If the surgeon gave the medi- 
cine with his own hand, the patient had it; if not, he took 
it or left it, as he chose, or was able. When the meals came, 
the stronger patients who could feed themselves got some, 
but the weak, and especially those who could not rise in 
bed or feed themselves, lay too often unfed. Messes of 
arrowroot and wine were seen standing cold and stiff by 
the bedside of a sinking sufferer till they were thrown 
away at night. The orderlies appeared not to know the 
importance of the patients, in certain surgical cases, being 
laid in particular positions; and it was usually neglected. 
So were many bed sores. Unless the men asked to be 
washed, they were left dirty; their wounds were not 
cleansed and dressed with the simple dressings which nurses 
in civil hospitals are expected to undertake. Poultices were 
left on when they were cold and hard, and then not washed 
off. Some patients were up who ought not to have left 
their beds, and others were in bed who ought to have 
been up." 

Miss Martineau goes on to explain that though the 
comfort of the women's nursing was much — the bringing of 
drinks and medicines at the right moment, the punctual 
feeding, the quick and gentle dressing of sores, the getting 
rid of everything dirty and bringing in of everything clean,' 
it was more important in producing discipline. "The grand 
achievement was the organisation of hospital management." 
. . . "Assistance was always at hand, and directions were 

"The instruction of the orderlies in their business," said 
Miss Nightingale herself, "was one of the main uses of 
us in the War Hospitals." 

"I must pay my tribute," she wrote elsewhere in describ- 
ing some sanitary measures she instituted in the hospitals, 

^The words are Miss Nightingale's. Her name seldom appears in this 
book which she inspired and for which she supplied information. 

*The soldiers used to keep dirty clothes in their beds, lest they should 
not get them back if sent to be "washed." 

112 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"to the instinctive delicacy, the ready attention, of order- 
lies and patients all through that dreadful period; for my 
sake they performed offices of this kind (which they neither 
would for the sake of discipline, nor for that of the impor- 
tance of their own health, which they did not know), and 
never was there one word or 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 gentleness and chivalry of the 
men (for surely never was chivalry so strikingly exam- 
plified) shining in the midst of what must be considered 
as the lowest sinks of human misery and preventing instinc- 
tively the use of one expression which could distress a 



In the midst of the heavy work of nursing in a great 
war hospital, of reducing ignorant and undisciplined nurses 
to order, of persuading orderlies, of making up deficiencies 
in the supplies, suggesting and carrying out reforms and 
keeping everybody in a good humour. Miss Nightingale 
was dismayed to hear that a party of forty-seven nurses 
under the care of Miss Mary Stanley were on their way 
to join her. It had been distinctly stated in the official 
instructions and in an emphatic notice sent by Mr. Herbert 
to the newspapers that the sending out of nurses was to 
be exclusively controlled by Miss Nightingale; and it was 
owing to a misunderstanding that Mr. Herbert now sent 
this new party without her knowledge. Neither Miss Night- 
ingale nor her friends could explain it at the time, but it 
seems certain that Mr. Herbert acted on a passage in a 
letter from Mr. Bracebridge which he took to be a message 
from Miss Nightingale. 

Miss Nightingale felt she could not risk having her au- 
thority weakened and, as she thought, the delicate and 
difficult nursing experiment endangered. She sorely felt 
what seemed an act of supersession on the part of her 
friend and chief, especially as Miss Stanley was ordered 
to report herself, not to the Superintendent of Nurses, but 
to other officials, and did so. If the experiment was to 
succeed, there must be undivided responsibility and clearly 
established authority: to acquiesce in the disregard of her 
position and control would have been to open the way to 
confusion and failure. The forty-six fell upon the little 


114 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

crowded establishment of nurses "like a cloud of locusts/' 
according to Mr. Bracebridge. Miss Nightingale was almost 
at her wits' end to provide for them and dispose of them. 
The Principal Medical Officer at first flatly refused to have 
more nurses, and for a further difficulty many of the new 
party were Roman Catholics, that is, they belonged to a 
persuasion which Miss Nightingale had already been ac- 
cused of favouring unduly.^ She wrote Mr. Herbert a 
vehement letter of reproach. 

"You have sacrificed the cause so near my heart, you 
have sacrificed me, a matter of small importance now; you 
have sacrificed your own written word to a popular cry. 
You must feel that I ought to resign, where conditions are 
imposed upon me which render the object for which I am 
employed unattainable, and I only remain at my post till 
I have provided in some measure for these poor wanderers. 
... I have toiled my way into the confidence of the Medical 
Men. I have by incessant vigilance, day and night, intro- 
duced something like system into the disorderly operations 
of these women. And the plan may be said to have suc- 
ceeded in some measure as it stands. . . . But to have 
women scampering about the wards of a Military Hospital 
all day long, which they would do, did an increased number 
relax the discipline and increase their leisure, would be 
as improper as absurd." ' 

Mr. Herbert replied, as his biographer states, in terms of 
courtesy and kindness. He authorized Miss Nightingale, 

^It is curious that so many sympathetic onlookers, Mr. Bracebridge, 
Godolphin Osborne, Manning, all took upon themselves to say there ought 
to be more nurses without consulting Miss Nightingale. It seems to have 
been difficult to realise that a woman was in authority. Manning calcu- 
lates that there ought to be 200 for the wounded of the Alma. "The 
responsibility of sending for 20 [for Miss Stanley's party] is wholly mine 
and mine alone" (Shane Leslie's H. E. Manning^ p. 113). The War Office 
had laid down the proportion of Catholics as not more than one-third. 
Was it Manning who induced Mr. Herbert to accept the larger proportion 
in this party? Manning's latest biographer thinks that the war was his 
"splendid opportunity." He was "yearning for work and place," and was 
very active about sending out more chaplains and collecting nuns. 

'^ Miss Stanley's party on their arrival at Therapia behaved "like trouble- 
some children." (LAJe of Lord Herbert of Lea, by Lord Stanmore, vol. i, 
p. 365). 

New Nurses and New Nuns 115 

if on consideration she thought fit, to return the party to 
England at his expense. His letter has unfortunately not 
survived, but there can be no doubt of his having made it 
clear that no infringement of her authority had been in- 
tended. "I am heart-broken about the nurses," wrote Mrs. 
Herbert to Mrs. Bracebridge, "but I do assure you, if you 
send them all home without a trial, you will lose some 
really valuable women." Miss Nightingale, as she wrote, 
was deeply touched by their kindness and generosity. Her 
friendship with Mr. and Mrs. Herbert was in no way af- 
fected. Reassured as to the main point, she accepted the 
fresh burden and set about making the best of it. Between 
her and Miss Stanley, there was estrangement,* and after 
their parting at Scutari they did not meet again. 

The fact that there were fifteen nuns in Miss Stanley's 
party gave rise to much trouble. The religious difficulty 
had appeared at the very opening of Miss Nightingale's 
mission, and dogged her footsteps to the end of it. It was 
perhaps of all her difficulties the most wearying and worry- 
ing. It enveloped a great undertaking in a fog of "envy, 
strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings." The 
country had at the time hardly recovered from the shock 
of the Tractarian Movement, and echoes of the "No Popery" 
cry of 1850 still sounded. Owing to the abstention of a 
Protestant Institution, Roman Catholics and High Church 
nurses made a considerable majority in the original little 
party, and a sectarian hue and cry was at once raised in 
the Daily News and taken up by the religious press. It 
raged for months, though Queen Victoria's signs of confi- 
dence in Miss Nightingale did something to check its fury. 

* Miss Stanley took the part of a plausible but dishonest nurse whom 
Miss Nightingale (with the concurrence of the other authorities) dis- 
missed, but whom Miss Stanley believed to be ill used. Miss Nightingale 
in an official letter to the War Office, made some criticisms of the nursing 
service at Koulali, where Miss Stanley took charge; and in another letter 
(5 March 1855) she asked to be relieved of the responsibility for these hos- 
pitals, which were broken up soon after. 

116 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Miss Nightingale's comment to Mr. Herbert (Jan. 28, 
1855), when the echoes of the storm reached her on the 
Bosphorus, was characteristic: 

"They tell me that there is a religious war about poor 
me in the Times, and that Mrs. Herbert has generously 
defended me. I do not know what I have done to be so 
dragged before the Public. But I am so glad that my 
God is not the God of the High Church, or of the Low, 
that He is not a Romanist or an Anglican — or a Unitarian. 
I don't believe He is even a Russian, though His events go 
strangely against us. (N. B. — A Greek once said to me 
at Salamis, 'I do believe God Almighty is an Englishman.' " 

There was every reason for including Catholics among 
the nurses. Many of the soldiers were Catholics, the nuns' 
discipline and spirit were valuable, and some of them were 
good nurses, though others were more accustomed to deal 
with souls than with bodies. She retained Catholics on 
the staff to the end, in spite of great difficulties. One ad- 
vantage was that she did not lose them by marriage: on a 
certain morning, six of her best nurses presented themselves 
with a following of six sergeants and corporals, fortifying 
themselves with numbers to announce their intention to 

The allocation of the new nuns to different hospitals was 
opposed by their Superior, Mrs. Bridgeman, on the ground 
that it would be "uncanonical" to separate her from any 
of her party. A priest said that to return any of them to 
England would be "like the driving of the Blessed Virgin 
through the desert by Herod." Dr. CuUen sent Mrs. Bridge- 
man a Papal Blessing from Rome, with orders to "hold 
your ground till you shall be sent away by force." * Miss 
Nightingale almost despaired. "The fifteen New Nuns are 
leading me the devil of a life, trying to get in vi et armis, 
and will upset the coach, there is little doubt of that." 
"Such a tempest has been brewed in this little pint pot 

* Shane Leslie's H. E. Manning, p. 117. 

New Nurses and New Nuns 117 

as you could have no idea of. But I, like the Ass, have 
put on the Lion's skin, and when once I have done that 
(poor me, who never affronted anyone before), I can bray 
so loud that I shall be heard, I am afraid, as far as England. 
However, this is no place for lions; and as for asses, we 
have enough." One proposal made to her was that to ab- 
sorb the nurses whom the doctors were unwilling to accept 
"ten of the Protestants should be appropriated as clerical 
females by the chaplains, and ten of the nuns by the priests, 
not as nurses, but as female ecclesiastics." Miss Nightin- 
gale stood firm, and the Reverend Mother Moore, of Ber- 
mondsey, the Superior of the first party of nuns, who was 
a good influence throughout, strove to compose the can- 
onical difficulty. At last it was arranged that five of the 
fifteen should go to the General Hospital, and the other 
ten to Koulali. Some of the other new nurses went to 
Balaclava, and some replaced women whom Miss Night- 
ingale weeded out of her original staff. Later at various 
dates, Miss Nightingale sent for more nurses, and before 
the war was over she had control of one hundred and 

There was great variety in the religious objections. A 
chaplain appealed to the War Office to remove an excellent 
nurse who was a ''Socinian"; and it was also a chaplain 
who accused one of Miss Stanley's nurses of "circulating 
improper books in the wards" — the book being Keble's 
Christian Year. 

Charges and countercharges of proselytism were referred 
by the chaplains to the Secretary of State and instructions 
were sent out, but the dispatch was unfortunately worded. 
Nurses being forbidden "to enter upon the discussion of 
religious subjects with any patients other than those of 
their own faith," the new nuns inferred unlimited license 
for pious discourse with their co-religionists. They "now 
wander over the whole Hospital out of nursing hours 'in- 
structing' (it is their own word) groups of Orderlies and 

118 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Convalescents in the corridors, doing the work each of ten 
chaplains, and bring ridicule upon the whole thing, while 
they quote the words of the War Ofl5ce." Miss Nightingale 
had to beg that the new instructions might not be embodied 
in Regulations. 

One grievance was that there were no Presbyterian nurses. 
Miss Nightingale was willing to accept some, but she prob- 
ably found a little consolation for her troubles in laying 
down a standard of weight. "I must bar these fat, drunken 
old dames. Above 14 stone we will not have; the pro- 
vision of bedsteads is not strong enough. Three were 
nearly swamped in a caique, whom Mr. Bracebridge was 
conducting to the ship, and had he not walked with the 
fear of the police before his eyes he might have swamped 
the whole." Sad to relate, two of the Presbyterians did 
turn out to be too fond of drink and had to be sent back; 
but the weakness was not peculiar to the persuasion. There 
were some black sheep among Miss Nightingale's flock, but 
there were also devoted and competent women of all de- 
nominations. Of some of the Catholic Sisters Miss Night- 
ingale wrote: "They are the truest Christians I ever met 
with — invaluable in their work — devoted, heart and head, 
to serve God and mankind — not to intrigue for their 
Church." The Reverend Mother Moore was throughout 
one of Miss Nightingale's mainstays. "God's blessing and 
my love and gratitude go with you, as you well know," 
Miss Nightingale wrote to her when they were parting in 

"You know well, too, that I shall do everything I can 
for the Sisters whom you have left me. But it will be not 
like you. Your wishes will be our law. And I shall try 
and remain in the Crimea for their sakes as long as we 
are any of us there. I do not presume to express praise 
or gratitude to you. Reverend Mother, because it would 
look as if I thought you had done the work not unto God 
but unto me. You were far above me in fitness for the 
General Superintendency, both in worldly talent of admin- 

New Nurses and New Nuns 119 

istration, and far more in the spiritual qualifications which 
God values in a Superior. My being placed over you in an 
unenviable reign in the East was my misfortune and not 
my fault." 

Miss Nightingale let her high opinion of the Reverend 
Mother be known in England. "She writes," said Cardinal 
Wiseman, "that great part of her success is due to Reverend 
Mother of Bermondsey, without whom it would have been 
a failure." Of Miss Shaw Stewart, who served in the 
Crimea as Superintendent successively of the nurses in the 
General and the Castle Hospitals, she wrote with almost 
equally fervent appreciation: 

"Without her our Crimean work would have come to 
grief — without her judgment, her devotion, her unselfish 
consistent looking to the one great end, viz: the carrying 
out the work as a whole — without her untiring zeal, her 
watchful care of the nurses, her accuracy in all trusts and 
accounts, her truth, her faithfulness. Her praise and her 
reward are in higher hands than mine." 

The services of the invaluable St. Thomas's Sister, Mrs. 
Roberts, too, were warmly and eloquently described in 
another of the character sketches she sent to Lady Cran- 
worth, who was acting as nurses' friend in London. Praises 
might be multiplied, and criticisms recorded, too, for Miss 
Nightingale sent a careful and plain-spoken sketch of each 
one of her fellow workers, mainly in order to help the pro- 
fessional nurses to find suitable work on their return. The 
sketches show the close observation which she kept on 
the character and conduct of every member of the expe- 



The Government of Lord Aberdeen, defeated on the 
motion appointing the Roebuck Committee, resigned in 
January 1855, and under his successor. Lord Palmerston, 
the offices of Secretary of State and Secretary at War were 
amalgamated. Lord Panmure became Secretary of State 
in place of the Duke of Newcastle. Sidney Herbert was 
for a short time Secretary for the Colonies, and then re- 
signed. Mr. Herbert, however, begged Miss Nightingale 
to continue writing to him, promising to pass on her sug- 
gestions. Lord Palmerston knew her personally, and Lord 
Panmure paid deference to her wishes and opinions. Thus 
the change of Government did not seriously weaken her 

Her earlier letters to Mr. Herbert were largely filled with 
urgent requests for stores. She begs for "hair mattresses or 
even flock, as cheaper"; for knives and forks: "the men 
have to tear their meat like wild beasts;" she suggests mops, 
plates, dishes, towelling, disinfectants. Soon she was send- 
ing suggestions of a larger administrative scope. The stores 
she asked for were sent. But it was one thing for stores 
to be sent and another for them to arrive. Packing and 
delivery were almost at haphazard. The Prince "had on 
board," Miss Nightingale wrote, "a quantity of medical 
comforts for us which were so packed under shot and shell 
as that it was found impossible to disembark them here 
and they were sent to Balaclava and lost" in the wreck 
of the ship. It had occurred to nobody to establish a re- 
ceiving office at Scutari or at Constantinople, and the 


Reforms of System 121 

Turkish Custom House was "a bottomless pit, where noth- 
ing ever issued of all that was thrown in." It occasionally- 
happened that ships made the journey to the Crimea and 
back three times before hospital stores in them could be 
disentangled from military stores and put ashore at Scu- 
tari. Sometimes, when warned in time, she was able by 
petition to the military authorities to intercept consign- 
ments; but she saw, what no one else seems to have done, 
that the whole system was at fault. "It is absolutely 
necessary," she wrote, "that there should be a Government 
store house in the shape of a hulk. . . . There are no store 
houses to be had by the water's edge, and porterage is very 
expensive and slow." In March, 1855, her plan was adopted. 
The exhaustion of sick and wounded men, the evidence 
of their sufferings from exposure, showed only too clearly 
what was going wrong at the front. There was needless 
overwork; and the clothing supply had broken down. Lord 
Panmure wrote a polite enquiry about Miss Nightingale's 
health. In her answer, she told him of the disproportionate 
number of patients from the Artillery, and threw out hints 
for economising the men's labour. She begged Mr. Her- 
bert to send warm clothing to the Crimea: 

"The state of the troops, who return here, particularly 
those 500 who were admitted on the 19th, is frost bitten, 
demi-nude, half-starved, ragged. If the troops who work 
in the trenches are not supplied with warm clothing. 
Napoleon's Russian campaign will be repeated here." 

The plight of the army before Sebastopol in that first 
winter of the war was some fulfilment of the prediction. 

"The extraordinary circumstance of a whole army having 
been ordered to abandon its kits, as was done when we 
landed our men before Alma, has been overlooked entirely 
in all our system. The fact is, that I am now clothing the 
British Army. The sick were re-embarked at Balaclava for 
these Hospitals, without resuming their kits, also half-naked 

122 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

The soldier's pack contained — at first — two shirts, knife, 
fork, spoon, brushes, etc., and since 1817 the issue of these 
articles to hospitals had been discontinued. It was assumed 
that the wounded soldier would bring them into hospital. 
What really happened was that he commonly arrived draped 
in the single verminous blanket he had lain in on board 
ship. "A pair of ragged trousers and a forage cap might 
be all besides. Many had no shirt." ^ In January they 
were coming in barefoot and barelegged. Miss Nightingale 
within three months from the middle of November had 
issued from her private store 16,560 shirts. But it was 
not enough to provide clothing for hospital. There was 
no regular method of renewing lost or war-worn service kit 
for the convalescent. 

"When discharged from here they carry off, small blame 
to them, even my knives and forks — shirts, of course, and 
Hospital clothing also. The men who were sent to Abydos 
as convalescents were sent in their Hospital dresses, or they 
must have gone naked. The consequence is that not one 
single Hospital dress is now left in store, and I have sub- 
stituted Turkish dressing-gowns from Stamboul (three bales 
in the passage are marked Hospital Gowns, but have not 
yet been 'sat upon'). To purvey this Hospital is like pour- 
ing water into a sieve; and will be till regimental stores 
have been sent out from England enough to clothe the 
naked and refill the kit. I have requisitions for Uniform 
trousers, for each and all of the articles of a kit, sent in 
to me." ' "The second office of the Purveyor ' now is to fur- 
nish, upon requisition, the Hospital with utensils and cloth- 
ing. But let the Hospital be furnished at once, as has already 
been described in former letters. If 2,000 beds exist, let 
these 2,000 beds have their appropriate complement of fur- 
niture and clothing, stationary and fixed. . . . The Hos- 
pital being once furnished, and a storekeeper appointed to 
each division to supply wear and tear, let the Ward Mas- 
ters be responsible. Let an inventory hang on the door of 

^England and Her Soldiers. 

'Letter to Sidney Herbert, January 8, 1855. 

' The first being the provision of food. 

Reforms of Sj^stem 123 

each ward to shew what ought to be found there. Let the 
Ward Masters give up the dirty linen every night and 
receive the same quantity in clean linen every morning. 
Let the Patient shed his Hospital clothing like a snake 
when he goes out of Hospital, be inspected by the Quarter- 
master, and receive, if necessary, from Quartermaster's 
store what is requisite for his becoming a soldier again. 
While the next patient succeeds to his bed and its fur- 
niture." * 

In the same letter she speaks of the "total inefficiency 
of the Hospital Orderly System as now is," and sketches a 
new one. 

"The French have a permanent system of Orderlies, 
trained for the purpose, who do not re-enter the ranks. It is 
too late for us to organise this. But if the convalescents, 
being good Orderlies, were not sent away to the Crimea as 
soon as they have learnt their work — if the Commander-in- 
Chief would call upon the Commanding Officer of each Regi- 
ment to select ten men from each as Hospital Orderlies to 
form a depot here (not young soldiers but men of good char- 
acter), this would give some hope of organising an efficient 
corps. Above all that the class of Ward Master I shall 
mention should be sent out from England. . . . We want 
discharged Non-Commissioned Officers, not past the merid- 
ian of life — not the Ambulance Corps, who all died of de- 
lirium tremens or cholera — but the class of men employed 
as Ward Masters of Military Prisons, or as Barrack Ser- 
geants, or Hospital Sergeants of the Guards who can be 
highly recommended. 

"We want these men as Ward Masters and Assistant Ward 
Masters, as Stewards. They must be under the orders of 
the Senior Medical Officer, removable by him; they must 
be well paid, so as to make it worth their while — say 5/ 
per day, 1st class, 2/6 per day, 2nd class — for they must be 
superior men, not the rabble we have now. (N. B. — There 
are three Ward Masters to each division of this Hospital — 
of which there are three — containing 800 and odd sick in 
each.) ... 

"The Hospital Sergeants are, of course, up in the Crimea 
with their Regiments — and we have nothing but such raw 

* Letter to S. Herbert, January 28, 1855. 

124 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Corporals and Sergeants as can be spared, new to their 
work, to place in charge of the divisions and wards. And 
these Lord Raglan complains of our keeping. We must 
have Hospital Sergeants if there is to be the remotest hope 
of efficiency among the Orderlies here. 

"The orderlies ought to be well paid, well fed, well housed. 
They are now overworked, ill fed, and underpaid. The sick- 
ness and mortality among them is extraordinary — ten took 
sick in one Division to-night." 

For the Purveying, Miss Nightingale sketched a plan, 
not a systematic reorganisation, "deeming so great a change 
impracticable during the present heavy pressure of calam- 
ities here," but one "by which great improvement might 
be made from within" without abandoning "the forms under 
which the service is carried on." In a later letter she 
explains it briefly. 

"As Purveying seems likely to come to an end of itself, 
perhaps I shall not be guilty of the murder of the Inno- 
cents if I venture to suggest what may take the place 
of the venerable Wreford. . . . Let there be three distinct 
ofl&ces instead of one indistinct one: 

(1) To provide us with food. 

(2) With Hospital furniture and clothing. 

(3) To keep the daily routine going. 

"These are now the three offices of the unfortunate Pur- 
veyor; and none of them are perfonned. 

"But the Purveyor is supposed to be only the channel 
through which the Commissariat stores pass. Theoretically, 
but not practically, it is so. (For practically Wreford gets 
nothing through the Commissary, but employs a con- 

"Now why should not the Commissariat purvey the Hos- 
pital with food? Perform the whole of Purveyor's office 
No. 1? The practice of drawing raw rations, as here seen, 
seems on purpose to waste the time of as many Orderlies 
as possible. . . . The scene of confusion, delay, and dis- 
appointment where all these raw diets are being weighed 
out by twos and threes and fours is inconceivable . . . raw 
meat drawn too late to be cooked standing all night in the 

Reforms of System 125 

wards, etc., etc., etc. Why should not the Commissariat 
send at once the amount of beef and mutton, etc., etc., 
required into the kitchens, without passing through this 
intermediate stage of drawing by Orderlies?" 

The astonishing custom was that the orderlies brought in 
the portions at whatever time in the course of the morning 
they could get them. These portions had somehow to be 
marked, "often in a peculiar manner," before being thrown 
into the common copper, to which also were consigned 
potatoes and other vegetables in nets. Hence the rations 
were cooked perhaps for half an hour, perhaps for four 
hours, before being fished out. 

"Let a Commissariat Officer reside here — let the Ward 
Masters make a total from the Diet Rolls of the Medical 
Men — so many hundred full diets — so many hundred half 
diets — so many hundred spoon diets, and give it over to 
the Commissariat Officer the day before. The next day 
the whole quantity, the total of all the Ward Masters' totals, 
is given into the kitchens direct. 

"It should all be carved in the kitchens on hot plates, and 
at meal times the Orderlies come to fetch it for the patients 
— carry it through the wards, where an Ofiicer tells it off 
to every bed, according to the Bed-ticket, on which he reads 
the Diet, hung up at every bed. The time and confusion 
thus saved would be incalculable. Punctuality is now im- 
possible; the food is half raw and often many hours after 
time. . . . 

"There might be, besides, an Extra Diet Kitchen to each 
division; a teapot, issue of tea, sugar, etc., to every mess, 
for which stores made the Ward Master responsible ; arrow- 
root, beef tea, etc., to be issued from the Extra Diet 

"But into these details it is needless to enter to you. . . ." 

"(3) The daily routine of the Hospital. This is now 
performed, or rather not performed by the Purveyor. I 
am really cook, housekeeper, scavenger (I go about making 
the Orderlies empty huge tubs), washer-woman, general 
dealer, store-keeper. The Purveyor is supposed to do all this 
but it is physically impossible. And the filth, and the dis- 

^For (2) see the account of the clothing difficulty above p. 122. 

126 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

order, and the neglect, let those describe who saw it when 
we first came. . . . 

"Let us have a Hotel Keeper, a House Steward, who shall 
take the daily routine in charge — the cooking, washing and 
cleaning up — the superintending the housekeeping, in short 
be responsible for the cleanliness of the wards, now done by 
one Medical Officer, Dr. M'Grigor, by me, or by no one — 
inspect the kitchens, the wash-houses, be what a house- 
keeper ought to be in a private Asylum. ..." 

"Whether, in any new plan, the House Stewards have 
command of the Orderlies, or the Medical Man, which I 
am incompetent to determine, whichever it be let us have 
a Governor of the Hospital. As it is a Military Hospital, 
a Military Head is probably necessary as a Governor." 

An effective medical and purveying staff to be sent out 
from England is sketched, "but beyond this a head, some 
one with authority to mash up the departments into uni- 
form and rapid action." 

On September 20, 1855, a Royal Warrant was issued, 
reorganising the Medical Staff Corps, "for the better care 
of the sick and wounded," revising the duties of the several 
officers, and improving their pay. Comparing this with 
Miss Nightingale's letters, it may be seen that in large 
measure her suggestions were adopted by the War Depart- 
ment. In her later writings, hospital organisation was 
worked out in the fullest way, and with immense mastery 
both of system and of detail. 

One more instance of her eagerness for better ways. Up 
to the Spring of 1855, the authorities had not taken what 
she called "the finest opportunity for advancing the cause 
of Medicine and erecting it into a science which will prob- 
ably ever be afforded." There was no dissecting room, nor 
any proper medical statistics. 

"Post mortem examinations are seldom made and then in 
the dead house (the ablest Staff Surgeon here told me that 
he considered that he had killed hundreds of men owing to 
the absence of these). No statistics are kept as to between 
what ages most deaths occur, as to modes of treatment, 
appearances of the body after death, etc., etc., etc., and all 

Reforms of System 127 

the innumerable and most important points which con- 
tribute to making Therapeutics a means of saving life, and 
not, as it is here, a formal duty. Our registration generally 
is so lamentably defective that often the only record kept 
is — a man died on such a day. There is a kiosk on the 
Esplanade before the Barrack Hospital, rejected by the 
Quartermaster for his stores, which I have asked for and 
obtained as a School of Medicine. It is not used now for 
any purpose — £300 or £400 (which I would willingly give) 
would put it in a state of repair. . . . The Medical teach- 
ing duties could not be carried on efficiently with a less 
staff than two lecturers on Physiology and Pathology, and 
one lecturer on Anatomy, who will be employed in pre- 
paring the subject for demonstration, and performing oper- 
ations for the information of the Juniors." 

The Government did better than the kiosk. They built 
a good dissecting room and provided it with apparatus 
and instruments. 


"We have established a reading room for convalescents," 
Miss Nightingale wrote to her sister, "which is well at- 
tended; and the conduct of the soldiers is uniformly good. 
. . . But it makes me cry to think that all these six months 
we might have had a trained schoolmaster and that I was 
told it was quite impossible; that in the Indian Army 
effectual and successful measures are taken to prevent in- 
toxication and disorganisation, and that here the Conva- 
lescents are brought in emphatically dead drunk (for they 
die of it) and officers look on with composure and say to me, 
'You are spoiling the brutes.' The men are so glad to read, 
so glad to give their money." 

This letter refers to reading huts she set up in the Bar- 
rack Hospital. Providing the men with leisure occupation 
and helping them to save were hardly less novel than nurs- 
ing them, and in these, too. Miss Nightingale was a pioneer. 
The experiments she set on foot, directly and indirectly, 
did much to humanize the Army. 

"I have never," she wrote home from Scutari, "seen so 
teachable and helpful a class as the Army generally. Give 
them opportunity promptly and securely to send money 
home, and they will use it. Give them schools and lectures 
and they will come to them. Give them books and games 
and amusements and they will leave off drinking. Give 
them suffering and they will bear it. Give them work and 
they will do it." 

Her war experiences gave Miss Nightingale the warmest 
affection for "her children" of the Army. In extreme old 


"Spoiling the Brutes" 129 

age, when failing powers could no longer answer to every 
call, the old light would come to her eye and the faltering 
mind would instantly stand at attention upon the slightest 
word about the British soldier. 

It was a common belief of the time that it was in the 
nature of the British Soldier (like the British Nurse) to be 
drunken. Miss Nightingale had taken an opportunity to 
lay her views before the Queen, and the letter had reached 
the Cabinet. 'Tam thought it excellent," wrote Lord Gran- 
ville to Lord Canning. "Clarendon said it was full of real 
stuff, but Mars said it only showed that she knew nothing 
of the British Soldier." 

Miss Nightingale did not wait for official action. She 
set up an extempore Money Order Office, in which on four 
afternoons a month she received the money of any soldier 
who wished to send it to his family. About £1,000 a month 
was taken in this way and transmitted with manuscript 
money order forms, signed by Miss Nightingale or one of 
her helpers, to Mr. Sam Smith, who passed on these volun- 
tary separation allowances to the homes in England. After 
the Cabinet meeting just described. Lord Panmure wrote 
to the Commander of the Forces in the Crimea about Miss 
Nightingale's "cry," and money order offices were soon 
opened in Constantinople, at Scutari, Balaclava, and "Head- 
quarters, Crimea." "It will do no good," grumbled "Mars"; 
"the soldier is not a remitting animal." But during the 
next six months £71,000 was sent home, rescued, as Miss 
Nightingale said, from the canteen. She was instrumental, 
too, in setting up another rival to the canteen — the "Inker- 
man Cafe" on the Bosphorus shore, midway between the 
chief hospitals. She gave much attention to the details 
of this coffee house, for which the Queen sent a picture. In 
all such work for the soldiers she was warmly supported by 
Sir Henry Storks, who succeeded to the command at Scu- 
tari towards the end of 1855, for he, too, believed that 
drunkenness could be made "the ejcception, not the rule, in 

130 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

the Army." At the war, the friends of reform were the 
friends of Miss Nightingale. In later years Sir Henry wrote 
in "grateful recollection of the time when we served to- 
gether at Scutari." Her personal influence on the men 
helped them to give up drink. "I promised Her I would not 
drink." "I promised Her to send my money home," they 
would say, as Mr. Stafford recorded, "in such a tone, as if 
it were ingrained in the very stuff of them." 

She went on to establish classrooms and reading rooms 
and to equip them with books, games, music, maps, dia- 
grams, magic lantern, stereoscope — all the apparatus of 
an institute — which were eagerly contributed by all classes 
in England, from the Queen and her mother the Duchess 
of Kent downwards, as soon as the plan was made known. 
The chief centre was at Scutari. Outside the Barrack Hos- 
pital a building was bought by Sir Henry Storks in behalf 
of the Government for a reading room and a garrison 
school, for which two schoolmasters were sent out. A sec- 
ond school was conducted in a hut between the two large 



A high authority, who had been through the war, said 
of her at the time, "She has taught officers and officials 
to treat the soldiers as Christian men." "I believe," she 
wrote home, "that we have been the most efficient means 
of restoring discipline, instead of destroying it, as I have 
been accused of." 

So Miss Nightingale continued, week after week, month 
after month, pouring out requisitions, hints, plans; effect- 
ing much and suggesting more for reducing disorder to 
good organisation; advising and creating fresh expedients 
wherever a chance came of helping the soldiers in body, 
mind, or estate. She did many things herself, but she was 
the inspirer and instigator of more things which were done 
by others. She was able of her own initiative to institute 
considerable reforms, but she was a reformer on a larger 
scale through the influence she exercised. It was soon per- 
ceived at Scutari that she was a power. Any official who 
felt a particular need in his department, any surgeon who 
wanted some special representation made to the authorities 
in London, any purveyor desiring special authority from 
the military went to her. The confidence with which she 
was regarded is shewn in an illustration she gave when, 
years later, she was urging a separation of the Pay Depart- 
ment from Purveying: "I had at Scutari thousands of 
sovereigns at a time in my bedroom, entrusted to me by 
officers, who preferred making me their banker because 
of the perpetual discord. 'Offend the Commissary or Pur- 
veyor and you won't be able to get your money.' " Her 
influence seemed to some onlookers mysterious and "fabu- 


132 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

lous," ' but the private papers which were not available till 
recent years fully account for it, so far as it was not directly 
due to her own personal qualities. She had the ear of 
ministers, she had the favour of the press and public opin- 
ion, and she had the sympathy of the Court, which in Vic- 
torian times stood for much, especially in military matters. 
Something of her personal influence may be recovered from 
the words of Kinglake, the minute historian of the war: " 
"Of slender, delicate form, engaging, highly bred and in 
council a rapt, careful listener, so long as others were speak- 
ing, and strongly though gently persuasive when speaking 
herself . . , Miss Nightingale gave her heart to this enter- 
prise in a spirit of absolute devotion." "The gift, without 
which she never could have achieved what she did, was 
her faculty of conquering dominion over the minds of men ; 
and this, after all, was the force which lifted her out of the 
ranks of those who are only 'able' to the height reached by 
those who are 'great.' " 

Mr. Herbert had given her private instructions that she 
was to act as eye and ear for him in the East. A com- 
parison of the long series of her letters to him with his 
correspondence with officials show how much of the im- 
provements effected by the two Governments were due to 
her suggestions, remonstrances, entreaties. Her letters were 
written with complete freedom and often in great haste. 
She wrote unreservedly about individuals because she saw, 
as Mr. Herbert himself saw also, that the personnel was at 
fault, and that the most admirable instructions from home 
would be useless without men of initiative and vigour to 
carry them out. She wrote in anger, because she saw, 
what Mr. Herbert soon came to know, that such men were 
not forthcoming. And it must be remembered that she 
wrote privately. He was a friend who could not misinter- 
pret her motives, whose discretion might be trusted, to 

^Sterling's Highland Brigade. 

" He had a long interview with her in 1860. 

Influence in High Places 133 

whom the hard-hitting style of her humorous quips was 
well known, and to whom, as he read, the most alarming, 
knock-down blow of the pen must have seemed to be ut- 
tered by a graceful presence in a very sweet voice. The 
written word is not so tempered in after years, especially 
when published to the world. It has to be judged in its 
bare self whatever hurry or emergency produced it, and the 
impetuous and downright letters which were Miss Night- 
ingale's hnpromptu weapons of reform have sometimes 
shocked recent readers who took her hard words for the 
display of ill temper. She has defended herself: "I feel 
that this is no time for compliments or false shame, and 
that you will never hear the truth, troublesome as it is, 
except from one independent of promotion" (8 January 
1855).' "I write with all this savagery because of the non- 
success of your unwearied efforts for the good of these poor 
Hospitals" (5 March 1855). 

Her bearing as she went about her heavy business was 
closely observed by Mr. Sidney Godolphin Osborne, as it 
was by many. We trace the weight of the responsibility 
in his description : 

' The piece of plain speech for which she apologises here is the following 
(in which letters have been substituted for some of the names) : "The 
Commission has done nothing; probably its powers were limited to 
enquiry. A. has done nothing. B. has done nothing. Lord Stratford, 
absorbed in politics, does not know the circumstances. Lord William 
Paulet knows them but partially. Dr. C. knows them but will not tell 
them. D. knows them and is stupefied. The medical officers, if they 
were to betray them, would have it reported personally and professionally 
to their disadvantage. Lord William Paulet and Dr. Forrest, the new 
medical head, I see are desperate. As your official servant, you will say 
that I ought to have reported these things before. But I did not wish 
to be made a spy. I thought it better if the remedy could be brought 
quietly, and I thought the Commission was to bring it. But matters 
are worse than they were two months ago, and will be worse two months 
hence than they are now. The medical men are pulled up by the senior 
medical authorities for receiving ward furniture and food and its being paid 
for by me, and therefore the naughty children pretend to ignore that their 
requisitions go in to me, instead of to the Purveyor, and leave me to be 
rebuked for overfacility." Mr. Herbert thanked her for telling him "the 
terrible truth." 

134 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"In appearance," he wrote/ "Miss Nightingale is just 
what you would expect in any other well-bred woman, 
who may have seen perhaps rather more than thirty years 
of life ; her manner and countenance are prepossessing, and 
this without the possession of positive beauty; it is a face 
not easily forgotten, pleasing in its smile, with an eye be- 
tokening great self-possession, and giving, when she wishes, 
a quiet look of firm determination to every feature. Her 
general demeanour is quiet and rather reserved; still I am. 
much mistaken if she is not gifted with a very lively sense 
of the ridiculous. In conversation, she speaks on matters 
of business with a grave earnestness one would not expect 
from her appearance. She has evidently a mind disciplined 
to restrain under the principles of the action of the moment 
every feeling which would interfere with it. She has trained 
herself to command, and learned the value of conciliation 
towards others and constraint over herself. I can conceive 
her to be a strict disciplinarian; she throws herself into a 
work as its head. As such she knows well how much success 
must depend upon literal obedience to her every order." 

. . . "Every day brought some new complication of mis- 
ery to be somehow unravelled. . . . Each day had its pecu- 
liar trial to one who had taken such a load of responsibility, 
in an untried field, and with a staff of her own sex, all new to 
it. Hers was a post requiring the courage of a Cardigan, the 
tact and diplomacy of a Palmerston, the endurance of a 
Howard, the cheerful philanthropy of a Mrs. Fry. Miss 
Nightingale fills that post, and, in my opinion, is the one 
individual who in this whole unhappy war has shown more 
than any other what real energy guided by good sense can 
do to meet the calls of sudden emergency." ^ 

The Court had early expressed a lively interest in Miss 
Nightingale's mission and intimated a wish that full con- 

* Scutari and Its Hospitals, p. 25. 
'Scutari and Its Hospitals, p. 27. 

Influence in High Places 135 

sideration should be given to her experiences and impres- 

"Would you tell Mrs. Herbert/' wrote Queen Victoria 
to Mr. Sidney Herbert (6 December 1854), "that I beg 
she would let me see frequently the accounts she receives 
from Miss Nightingale or Mrs. Bracebridge, as / 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 anyone. 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 a 
warmer interest or feels more for their sufferings or ad- 
mires 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 sympathy is much 
valued by those noble fellows." 

In accordance with the Queen's wishes reports from Miss 
Nightingale were forwarded to her, and by her were sent 
on to the Duke of Newcastle, then Prime Minister. The 
Duke assured Her Majesty of his constant and painful 
anxiety for the hospitals. "Nothing can be more just," 
he added, "than all your Majesty's comments upon the 
state of facts exhibited in these letters." He had written 
repeatedly and in the strongest terms respecting them, but 
with little other result than the denial of charges "which 
must now be considered to be substantiated." 

Miss Nightingale was asked by the Queen, through Mr. 
Herbert, what comforts would be most useful to the pa- 
tients, and these were put into her hands for distribution, 
with some warm scarves, and other things for the nurses. 
With this commission, the Keeper of the Queen's Purse 
wrote (14 December 1854): 

"The Queen has directed me to ask you to undertake 
the distribution and application of these articles partly 
because Her Majesty wished you to be made aware that 
your goodness and self-devotion in giving yourself up to 

136 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

the soothing attendance upon these wounded and sick sol- 
diers had been observed by the Queen with sentiments of 
the highest approval and admiration; and partly because, 
as the articles did not come within the description of Med- 
ical or Government stores usually furnished, they could not 
be better entrusted than to one who, by constant personal 
observation, would form a correct judgment where they 
would be most usefully employed." 

The Queen was invoked again in the matter of hospital 
stoppages against pay — 9d a day for the sick, 4i/2d for the 
wounded. Miss Nightingale earnestly pressed on Mr. Her- 
bert that soldiers who fell sick at the front should be treated 
as favourably as the wounded; and on 1 February 1855 she 
heard with great satisfaction that this had been done and 
that it had been made retrospective as from the Battle of 
the Alma. The Queen had asked Miss Nightingale to sug- 
gest what might be done "to testify her sense of the courage 
and endurance, so abundantly shown by her sick soldiers." 
This matter of the stoppages was put before Her Majesty, 
and another suggestion was that the Sultan should be asked 
to grant the military cemetery at Scutari to the British, and 
that the Queen should have it enclosed by a stone wall. 

"There are already, alas!" wrote Miss Nightingale, "about 
a thousand lying in this cemetery. Nine hundred were re- 
ported last week. We have buried one hundred in the last 
two days only. The spot is beautiful, overlooking the Sea 
of Marmora, and occupies the space between the General 
Hospital wall and the edge of the cliff." 

The Queen was evidently touched, for she wrote both 
to the Foreign Secretary and the Ambassador to the Porte, 
and the soldiers' burial place became British ground." It 
was at Miss Nightingale's suggestion that the memorial 
obelisk, still seen afar, was erected "by Queen Victoria and 
her people." 

'In 1865 Miss Nightingale, hearing that the cemetery was neglected, 
succeeded in getting from the War Office a payment, promised long before, 
for a British custodian. 



Behind the scenes it was Miss Nightingale's administra- 
tive power that made the deepest unpression. The re- 
formers applauded her; others to whom her resource admin- 
istered a "telling though silent rebuke" ^ complained that 
in her methods there was something too masterful. All 
recognised her power and strength of will. 

The sick and wounded knew another side of her character. 
To them she \vas also the compassionate and tender nurse. 
And the general public, who knew nothing else of her work, 
supposed that ministration to the sick comprised it all. 
Sidney Smith once complained of "two phrases, the delight 
of noodledom," which were the current commonplaces about 
woman : "The true theatre for a woman is the sick cham- 
ber," and "Nothing is so honourable for a woman as not to 
be spoken of at all." Miss Nightingale scarcely succeeded 
in the second. Everybody was talking about her; she could 
not help it. The first fitted in perfectly with the popular 
idea of her mission and of her fitness for it, though, as she 
wrote to Mr. Herbert, nursing was the least important of 
the functions into which she "had been forced." But to 
help and sustain sick and dying people among her neigh- 
bours in the cottages near her homes had been her first 
essay in the work of her life ; and she gave the soldiers her 
best in this as in other ways. There was genuine feeling 
among the floods of sentiment poured out upon her by 
noodledom. Some of the enthusiasm bore lasting fruit. 

^Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea^ vol. vi. 


138 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

A letter from Miss Stanley gives a picture of her at work 
in the Barrack Hospital in December 1854. 

"We turned up the stone stairs; on the second floor 
we came to the corridors of sick, on low wooden stands, 
raised about a foot from the floor, placed about two feet 
apart, and leaving two or three feet down the middle, along 
which we walked. The atmosphere worsened as we ad- 
vanced. We 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 Wil- 
liams, 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 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, looking so nice, too. I 
was quite satisfied with my welcome. ... A stream of 
people every minute. 'Please, ma'am, have j^ou any black- 
edged paper?' Tlease, 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 is there any jelly to-day; try 
him with some eggs.' Tlease, Mr. Gordon [the Chief En- 
gineer] wishes to see Miss Nightingale about the orders 
she gave him.' Mr. Sabin [the Senior Chaplain] comes 
in for something else. Mr. Bracebridge in and out about 
[the dead] General Adams and orders of various kinds." 

This was post day. Still busier were the awful days 
when sick and wounded arrived from the Crimea Miss 
Nightingale was known, says General Bentinck, to have 
passed eight hours on her knees dressing wounds and com- 
forting the men. Sometimes she stood twenty hours at a 
stretch, apportioning quarters, distributing stores, directing 
work or assisting at operations. "She has," said Mr. Os- 
borne, "an utter disregard of contagion. I have known 
her spend hours over men dying of cholera or fever. The 
more awful, to every sense, any particular case, especially 

The Lady with the Lamp 139 

if it was that of a dying man, the more certainly might 
her sHght form be seen bending over him, administering 
to his ease by every means in her power, and seldom quit- 
ting his side till death released him." "We cannot," wrote 
Mr. Bracebridge to her uncle, "prevent her self-sacrifice for 
the dying; she cannot delegate as we would wish." One 
night he records: "Selina [Mrs. Bracebridge] is sitting up 
with a dying man. Florence at last asleep, 1 a.m." It is 
recorded that on one occasion she saw five soldiers set 
aside as hopeless cases. The first duty of the overworked 
surgeons was with those whom there was better hope of 
saving. With the doctors' consent she took charge of the 
five, and tended them throughout the night with a nurse's 
help. In the morning they were found to be fit for surgical 
treatment. "I believe," wrote a civilian doctor who saw her 
at work, "that there was never a severe case of any kind 
that escaped her notice." She did not allow the nurses to 
be in the wards after eight at night, but her own hours 
were much longer. A night round of the wards is recalled 
by a volunteer nurse who two days after arrival was sent 
for to accompany Miss Nightingale on her final visit to the 

"We went round the whole of the second story into many 
of the wards and into one of the upper corridors. It seemed 
an endless walk and was one not easily forgotten. As we 
slowly passed along, the silence was profound; very seldom 
did a moan or cry from these deeply suffering ones fall on 
our ears. A dim light burned here and there. Miss Night- 
ingale carried her lantern, which she would set down before 
she bent over any of the patients. I much admired her 
manner to the men — it was so tender and kind." 

The description of these midnight watches given by Mr. 
Macdonald of the Times Fund was made famous through- 
out the world by adaptation. It was the origin of Long- 
fellow's poem, "The Lady with the Lamp," which became 
one of the most widely known of poems.^ 

"See Appendix B. 

140 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"Wherever there is disease in its most dangerous form 
and the hand of the despoiler distressingly nigh, there is 
that incomparable woman sure to be seen. Her benignant 
presence is an influence for good comfort, even amid 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 ofiicers 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 round." 

The words which one of her patients sent home also 
became famous: 

"What a comfort it was to see her pass even. She would 
speak to one, and nod and smile to as many more; but 
she could not do it to all, you know. We lay there by hun- 
dreds; but we could kiss her shadow as it fell, and lay our 
heads on the pillow again, content." "Before she came," 
said another soldier's letter, "there was cussin' and swearin', 
but after that it was holy as a church." 

The lamp which became the symbolic attribute of Flor- 
ence Nightingale was an ordinary camp lantern. 

The men used to salute as she passed down the ranks 
of beds. "She was wonderful," said one, "at cheering up 
anyone who was a bit low." "She was all full of life and 
fun," said another, "when she talked to us, especially if 
a man was a bit down-hearted." An old patient wrote to 
remind her, years after, how she had saved his arm, 
advising him not to have it amputated. "Your arm will 
look better in your sleeve than your sleeve would look 
against your coat." "The magic of her power over men" 
was felt, as Kinglake told, in the dreaded operating room. 
Men not yet resigned, "finding strange support in her pres- 
ence," would bring themselves to submit and endure. 

A member of Parliament, Mr. Augustus Stafford, went 

The Lady with the Lamp 141 

to Scutari in the recess of 1854, and worked with great de- 
votion for Miss Nightingale. "He says," wrote Monckton 
Milnes (January 1855) that Florence in the hospital makes 
intelligible to him the Saints of the Middle Ages. If the 
soldiers were told that the roof had opened, and she had 
gone up palpably to Heaven, they would not be the least 
surprised. They quite believe she is in several places at 

They felt her power, too, and were even ready to attribute 
to her the gifts of leadership in the field. "If she were at 
their head, they would be in Sebastopol in a week," was 
a saying often heard in the wards. In her sympathy there 
never was anything weakening. Her "life and fun" were 
for those who could be helped by it. Men who had to be 
supported in the pains of death could lean on her strength. 

]\Iiss Nightingale kept among her papers a bundle of 
touching letters to and from the friends and relatives of 
the soldiers. "My dear Miss," writes one mother, "I feel 
the loss of my poor son's death very keenly, but if anything 
could help my grief it is the thought that he was looked 
to and cared for by kind friends when so many miles away 
from his native land." One letter to a bereaved mother 
may be given to represent many: 

"The first time I saw your son was in going round the 
wards in the General Hospital at Balaclava. He had been 
brought in in the morning. . . . He was always conscious 
and remained so to the very last. He prayed aloud so 
beautifully that, as the Nurse in charge said, 'It was like a 
sermon to hear him.' He asked 'to see Miss Nightingale.' 
He knew me and expressed himself to me as entirely re- 
signed to die. He pressed my hand when he could not speak. 
He died in the night. ... He was decently interred in a 
burial ground we have a mile from Balaclava. One of my 
own Sisters' lies in the same ground, to whom I have 
erected a monument. Should you wish anything similar to 
be done over the grave of your lost son, I will endeavour to 
gratify you, if you will inform me of your wishes. 

* Elizabeth Drake, of St. Thomas's Hospital, one of the best of the nurses. 

142 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"With true sympathy for your loss, I remain, dear 
Madam, "Yours sincerely, 

"Florence Nightingale." 

Letters from England contain anxious enquiries about a 
husband, brother, father, or son. "In order that you may 
know him," writes one fond mother, "he is a straight, nice, 
clean-looking, light-complexioned youth." "Died in hos- 
pital, in good frame of mind," was Miss Nightingale's docket 
for the reply. Often the writer of these letters begins by 
explaining that the newspapers have told of her great 
kindness, and so she will forgive the intrusion. Others 
take all that for granted, and begin "Dear Friend." Many 
are the blessings invoked on Miss Nightingale's head. Every 
letter was carefully answered, and every message we may 
be sure was given, whenever it was in her power. 

The extent of Miss Nightingale's correspondence with 
Ministers at home, with military and medical officers in 
the Crimea and at Scutari may be guessed. She left among 
her papers piles of store-keeping accounts, mostly in her 
own handwriting. Accounts relating to the nurses, answers 
to complaints from them and letters to their relatives made 
another mass of correspondence, and yet a fourth had to 
do with contributions and offers of help in money and kind. 
How she did so much herself without breaking down is the 
wonder. She could not have done it without a good deal 
of help from Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge, from Mr. Mac- 
donald's co-operation and from the volunteer services of 
several others such as "S. G. 0.," Mr. Stafford, the Black- 
woods, and one or two other occasional assistants. 



After six months of heavy work and heavy responsibility, 
Miss Nightingale set forth for the Crimean hospitals, leav- 
ing Mrs. Bracebridge in charge at Scutari, where supply 
and sanitation were much improved, and the pressure in 
the wards, caused by the terrible winter before Sebastopol, 
was relieved. Of 1,100 patients left in the Barrack Hos- 
pital, only 100 were in bed, and the death rate in the hos- 
pitals had fallen from 42 per cent to 22 per thousand of 
cases. The strain was now more likely to fall on the 
Balaclava Hospitals, as assaults on the defences of Sebasto- 
pol might be expected, and it was hoped that patients might 
be saved the suffering of the sea voyage to Scutari. 

Miss Nightingale wrote home from the Black Sea (5 May 
1855) of 

"Poor old Flo steaming up the Bosphorus and across the 
Black sea with four nurses, two cooks, and a boy to Crim 
Tartary (to overhaul the Regimental Hospitals) in the 
Robert Lowe or Robert Slow (for an exceedingly slow boat 
she is) taking back 420 of her patients, a draught of con- 
valescents returning to their regiments to be shot at again. 
'A mother in Israel' Pastor Fliedner called me; a mother 
in the Coldstreams is the more appropriate appellation. 
What suggestions do the above ideas make to you in Em- 
bley drawing-room? Stranger ones perhaps than to me, 
who, on the 5th May, year of disgrace 1855, having been 
at Scutari six months today, am in sympathy with God, 
fulfilling the purpose I came into the world for." 

Far from pluming herself on the Scutari reforms, she 
was haunted by the sense of all that had failed or been 


144 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

left undone. "What the disappointments of the conclu- 
sion of these six months are no one can tell. But I am not 
dead but alive." 

It was a mixed party — the faithful Mr. Bracebridge ; 
among the nurses, the excellent Mrs. Roberts; Soyer the 
cook, who afterwards published a gossiping account of the 
expedition ; the messenger Robert Robinson, an invalided 
soldier of the 68th Light Infantry, who wrote down his 
experiences in a copy book which is one of our authorities, 
and the drummer boy Thomas, aged twelve, a regular 
enfant de troupe, full of wits and fun. He called himself 
Miss Nightingale's man, and, according to Soyer, used to 
explain that he had "forsaken his instruments in order to 
devote his civil and military career" to her. The party 
arrived at Balaclava on May 5, and the decks of vessels 
in the harbour were crowded with people anxious to catch 
a glimpse of the famous lady. There was no accommo- 
dation for her ashore, so her headquarters were on the 
Robert Lowe and later on the sailing transport London. 

Miss Nightingale set to work at once and with char- 
acteristic energy. During the few days after her arrival 
she investigated hospitals, regimental and general, planned 
the building of new huts and, in consultation with Soyer, 
of extra diet kitchens, and made arrangements as to the 
nurses. Her position in the Crimea was a little ambiguous. 
Dr. Hall, the Principal Medical Oflficer in the Crimea, was 
in some sort the person most responsible individually for 
the state of things which had stirred so much outcry in 
England. He had been appointed while still in India and 
had not arrived in time to think out the preparations prop- 
erly, nor was he the exceptional man who could have caught 
up with lost time or carried through the prodigious task of 
improvising an eflScient medical and hospital service in time 
of war. Mr. Sidney Herbert at a very early stage had put his 
finger on Dr. Hall's touchy spot. "I cannot help feeling," 
he had written to Lord Raglan in December 1854, "that 

Her Illness 145 

Dr. Hall resents offers of assistance as being slurs on his 

Miss Nightingale's visit to the Crimea was approved by 
the War Ofl&ce, Lord Raglan had received private instruc- 
tions as to her position, and by published instructions dated 
27 April 1855 she was given authority as almoner of Free 
Gifts in all the hospitals in the Crimea, a position which 
would enable her to draw on very large donations and pri- 
vate resources to supply the doctors' requisitions for hos- 
pital supplies not provided by the Purveying Department. 
Mr. Herbert's published instructions, however, had named 
her as Superintendent of the female nurses in all the British 
Military Hospitals m Turkey "^ and these words gave a 
standing ground for opponents in the Crimea. The inten- 
tion of the War Office was to give her general superin- 
tendence, but to relieve her of direct responsibility for the 
nurses in the Crimea, so long as she was at Scutari. 

One of her first official duties was a visit to Lord 
Raglan. She was a good horsewoman, and was now 
mounted, Soyer says, "on a very pretty mare, which by its 
gambols and caracoling seemed proud to carry its noble 
charge." "Our cavalcade produced an extraordinary effect 
upon the motley crowd of all nations assembled at Bala- 
clava, who were astonished to see a lady so well escorted." 
The Commander of the Forces was away, but Miss Night- 
ingale was taken to the Three Mortar Battery and the 
soldiers gave her three times three. The courage and 
endurance of the men, "often 48 hours with no food but 
raw salt pork sprinkled with sugar, rum and biscuits," ' 
made the deepest impression on her. "I wonder not that 
the army suffered so much, but that there is any army left 
at all," she wrote to Lady Canning; "but now all is looking 

*See above, p. 77. 

'Miss Nightingale's account of her visit to the trenches was shown 
to Queen Victoria. It was afterwards found among the Prince Consort's 

146 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

up. Sir John McNeill has done wonders." ' Miss Night- 
ingale on this and later visits to the Crimea saw and heard 
of many deeds of heroism of which she loved to tell. One 
of these was of the sergeant who having rescued his wounded 
General when himself too badly hurt to know who it was, 
assured him afterwards in hospital — "I didn't know your 
honour, but if I'd known it was you I'd have saved you all 
the same." 

She was always utterly indifferent to "contagion," and 
now attended to some fever patients herself. One evening 
on returning to her ship, she complained of great fatigue. 
There was a consultation of doctors next morning, and 
they issued a bulletin that Miss Nightingale was suffering 
from Crimean fever. She was carried on a stretcher by 
relays of soldiers to the Castle Hospital on the Genoese 
Heights, and there nursed by Mrs. Roberts in a hut behind 
the wounded soldiers' huts. The news of her illness was 
received with consternation in England ; the anxiety of her 
friends was intense, and the suspense in the War Hospitals 
was scarcely less. "The soldiers turned their faces to the 
wall and cried." The attack was sharp. She admitted to 
friends that she had been "very near to death." But after 
two or three days, hopes of recovery were given. On May 
24 Lord Raglan could telegraph that she was out of danger 
and three days later that she was going on favourably. 
The bulletins were forwarded to the Queen, and on May 
28 Her Majesty, in writing to Lord Panmure, was "truly 
thankful to learn that that excellent and valuable person. 
Miss Nightingale, is safe." At this time, a horseman rode 
up to her hut, and Mrs. Roberts, who had been enjoined to 
keep her patient quiet, refused to let him in. He said that 
he most particularly desired to see Miss Nightingale. "And 

' Sir J. McNeill, a. man of great ability and high character, was a doctor 
who afterwards entered the political service in the East. He became one 
of Miss Nightingale's most valued friends and fellow-workers. He and 
Colonel Tulloch had been sent out to report on the Commissariat system. 

Her Illness 147 

pray/' said Mrs. Roberts, "who are you?" "Only a sol- 
dier," replied the visitor, "but I have ridden a long way, and 
your patient knows me very well." He was admitted, and 
a month later himself lay ill and died. It was Lord Raglan. 
Mrs. Bracebridge, who came from Scutari, found her 
friend convalescent, but in extreme exhaustion, less from 
the fever than from the previous overstrain of mind and 
body. The doctors recommended a complete rest in Eng- 
land, but she would not hear of it. Lord Ward's steam 
yacht was in Balaclava harbour, and in it she was taken 
to Scutari, where all the high ofl&cials were present at her 
landing. One of the large barges used to land the sick 
and wounded was brought alongside, and Miss Night- 
ingale, in a state of extreme weakness and exhaustion, was 
lowered into it. Soldiers were waiting at the pier to carry 
her to the chaplain's house. A large and sympathetic crowd 
followed, "There was no sadder sight," said a soldier, 
"than to Bee that dear lady carried up from the pier on a 
stretcher just the same as we men, and perhaps by some 
of the fellows she nursed herself." It was the same when 
a little later she was brought down to go to Therapia, where 
the Ambassador had offered her his summer residence. Four 
guardsmen carried her on a litter, but though it was only 
five minutes' walk to the shore, there were two relays, and 
her baggage, which two could easily have carried, was 
divided among twelve, so great was their desire to share 
in the honour. 

Mrs. Bracebridge described her as still unable to feed 
herself or to speak above a whisper, and the recovery was 
slow, but neither doctors nor friends could persuade her to 
go home. There was still work to be done in the Crimean 
hospitals. There were nurses who, if she went, would go 
too, and others who had died at their posts. In July busi- 
ness letters were resumed, and in August she was in the full 
rush of work again. Her sister had at that time "a charm- 
ing account" from a cousin "about her good looks, which. 

148 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

as all her hair has been cut off, is good testimony — 'her own 
smile,' he talks of, and says he can hardly believe she had 
gone through such a winter." The autumn was a season 
of heavy work. Sebastopol did not fall till September 8, 
after assaults which filled the British cemeteries and hos- 
pitals. She stayed till the end, till the war was over and 
the last transport had sailed. But the look of exhaustion, 
the emaciation, and in some cases the sad depression of 
the portraits which show her as she was after it was all 
over, tell very plainly at what cost it was done. 

In England her illness made her more than ever the 
popular heroine. Soldiers' letters had made Florence Night- 
ingale known in thousands of small homes, and she became 
the heroine of the cottages, the workshops and the alleys. 
Rhymed broad sheets from Seven Dials and Soho with 
rough wood-cuts of the Lady with the Lamp, penny lives. 
Poets' Corners in every newspaper from Punch and the 
Spectator to the smallest country journal, and University 
Prize poems, were devoted to her praise. A maker of ana- 
grams discovered the equivalent of Florence Nightingale 
in "Flit on, cheering angel." Stationers brought out note- 
paper with her portrait as a watermark, or with a litho- 
graphed view of Lea Hurst, and, where portraits failed, 
likenesses were invented for sentimental prints, china fig- 
ures, and tradesmen's paper bags. Life boats, emigrant 
ships, children, streets, valses and race horses were named 
after her. "The Forest Plate handicap was won by Miss 
Nightingale, beating Barbarity and nine others." The 
popularity of the name Florence dates from this time. 

This enthusiasm, in part kindly and grateful, in part 
shallow and fashionable, could not console the subject of 
it for the real difficulties, the obstacles, intrigues and van- 
ities, with which she was struggling. Her family sent her 
a packet of lives,, poems and portraits with one of the con- 
signments of supplies. 

Her Illness 149 

"My effigies and praises," she wrote in reply, "were less 
welcome. I do not affect indifference to real sympathy, 
but I have felt painfully since I have had time to hear 
of it, the eclat which has been given to this adventure. 
The small still beginning, the simple hardship, the silent 
and gradual struggle upwards, these are the climate in 
which an enterprise really thrives and grows. Time has 
not yet altered our Saviour's lesson on that point, which 
has been learnt successively by all reformers from their own 
experience. The vanity and frivolity which the eclat thrown 
upon this affair has called forth has done us unmitigated 
harm, and has brought mischief on (perhaps) one of the 
most promising enterprises that ever set sail from England. 
Our own old party which began its work in hardship, toil, 
struggle and obscurity has done better than any other." 

The popular glorification of her work, however well 
meant, was not a help towards Miss Nightingale's constant 
aim of creating a disinterested, serious and efficient nursing 
service. This letter throws a light on one of the reasons 
for her severe caution in adding to the number of the nurses. 

When it became known that Miss Nightingale had re- 
covered from her illness and was remaining at her post till 
the war should end, a movement at once sprang up for 
marking in some public manner the nation's gratitude. 
She declined any personal testimonial, and her friends 
knew that what she would best like would be the estab- 
lishment in some form of "an English Kaiserswerth." The 
suggestion was put before her and she was asked to submit 
a plan. This she was not disposed to do. For one thing 
she w^as too busy, and for another it must have seemed an 
invitation to renew the life of negotiation and obstacles of 
which she had already had too much. "Dr. Bence Jones 
has written to me," she says in one of her letters, "for 
a plan. People seem to think that I have nothing to do 
but sit here and form plans. If the public choose to recog- 
nise my services and my judgment in this manner, they 
must leave these services and that judgment unfettered." 

150 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

The request was dropped, and an influential committee was 
formed, with Mr. Sidney Herbert and Mr. S. C. Hall as 
secretaries. It was decided to raise a fund to enable Miss 
Nightingale to establish and control a school for nurses. 

That she dreaded so conspicuous a scheme is evident. 

"Quietness has been, from the beginning of its publicity, 
the one thing wanting in this work," she wrote later, in lay- 
ing out a model scheme of military nursing. "I know the 
fuss which from its beginning surrounded it was abhorrent 
to us, and was the act of others; but the work, which is all 
we care for, has throughout suffered from it. It is equally 
injurious and impeding as regards surgeons, nurses, and 
people who are neither. . . . One hospital, naval, military 
or civil, nursed well, and gradually training a few nurses, 
would do more good to the cause than an endless amount 
of meetings, testimonials, pounds and speeches, to say noth- 
ing of newspaper puffings, which to-morrow might turn into 
revilings. This never will, never can be a popular work. 
Few good ones are, for few are without the stern fructifying 
element of moral restraint or influence; and though the 
streams of this are many, its source is one. Hearts are not 
touched without Religion. Religion was not given us from 
above in impressions and generalities, but in habits of 
thought and action, in love of God and of mankind, carried 
into action." * 

* Subsidiary Notes, p. 19. See below, p. 272, 276. 



Meantime, Miss Nightingale was resuming the Crimean 
work cut short by her illness. A month after the fall of 
Sebastopol (8 September 1855) she left Scutari for Bala- 

There were four hospitals in the Crimea besides the regi- 
mental hospitals — the General Hospital at Balaclava, the 
Castle Hospital at St. George's Monastery, also consisting 
of huts, for convalescent and opthalmic cases; and the huts 
of the Hospitals of the Land Transport Corps near Karani. 
At the time of Miss Nightingale's second visit to the Crimea 
only the first two had women nurses.' 

The distance between the hospitals was great, the roads 
were notorious for badness, the winter was rigorous. Miss 
Nightingale's exertions, wrote Soyer, "would have been 
incredible if they had not been witnessed by many." The 
return at night through uneven country, from the Castle 
Hospital to the Monastery Hospital, which were her head- 
quarters in turn, was difficult and dangerous. Soyer says 
he sometimes saw her stand for hours outside the hospital 
in heavily falling snow, giving instructions. She spent long 
days in the saddle, or in a mule cart, from which she once 
had a nasty upset. After this misadventure. Colonel Mc- 
Murdo, Commandant of the Land Transport Corps, gave 
her the best vehicle he could get — a hooded baggage car 
without springs, and in this, on horseback, or, when the 

^The Monastery Hospital had women nurses from December 1855, the 
Land Transport Hospitals not till 1856. 


152 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

roads were very bad, on foot, she made her rounds in all 
weathers in spite of fatigue and rheumatic pains. 

In her absence there had been many difficulties from the 
supineness or hostility of officials. The Extra Diet Kitchen 
promised her in May had not been built, and, as she wrote 
to Mrs. Herbert (17 November 1855) "from that tune to 
this we cooked all the Extra Diet for 500 to 600 patients, 
and the whole diet for all wounded officers by ourselves 
in a shed. . . . Every egg, every bit of butter, jelly, ale 
and Eau de Cologne which the sick officers have had has 
come out of Mrs. Samuel Smith's or my private pocket. 
On November 4 I opened my Extra Diet Kitchen." She 
also established reading rooms, bored for water, and had 
the huts covered with felt for protection against the 

She had received written instructions to send nurses to 
the General Hospital, had made all the arrangements and 
told off the party, when a warning came that admission 
was going to be refused them. She only told the story 
years after for the encouragement of one who had suffered 
in the same sort of way. 

"I cannot but feel deeply touched," she wrote in 1867, 
"with what you tell me of your difficulties and of the dis- 
heartening absence of support. 

I do, however, heartily believe that things prosper best 
in this way. 

When a thing becomes the fashion, then it is ruined. I 
have gone through opposition which would have been 
ridiculous if it had not been heartrending. 

E.G., it was currently supposed that I in the Crimean 
War received support from the War Office at home. 

And so I did. 

But the W. 0. at home is a long way off. 

Some of the superior authorities out there supported us. 
Others persecuted us, even to the extent of trying to 
starve us. 

Of these were the principal Medical and Purveying au- 
thorities in the Crimea. 

The Crimea in Winter 153 

It was not the way to win through all these difficulties 
to publish them. 

So I kept them very much to myself. 

But e.g. 

I was ordered by the chief authority to occupy the Gen- 
eral Hospital in the Crimea (Balaclava). 

I had already deputed a Superintendent and Staff of 
Nurses to do so, when one of my Superintendents (for which 
I can never be too grateful) told me — there was to be a 
'scrimmage' and I had better go myself. 

So I did. 

I walked down in the morning from another Hospital 
(Castle), found the huts for the Nurses locked and the 
key lost — ditto for our Office — principal authorities out — 
no means of doing anything for the Patients — getting at 
food or shelter or anything — snow on the ground. 

It was vain for me to send for women whom I could 
neither house nor feed. 

Condition of the Patients frightful — lying in their own 

Sent a messenger up to the front (for orders for keys). 

Sent for a chair out of Surgery — to show that I was in 
earnest — and sat down outside the hut, saying I should 
wait till they found it convenient to find me the keys. 
Before night and before my messenger came back, these 
were brought. 

Before night I had sent for my Nurses — we had to sleep 
on benches in my Office — without food or blankets but 
what I had sent for from our own nearest Nursing Staff. 

I have often been without anything but a cup of tea 
or a little brandy and water given me by a compassionate 
Surgeon, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in those days. 

I could tell many a similar adventure. 

But I do not think this injured our work. 

But it does not do to talk about it." '' 

Her manner of behaviour after this experience and after 
others of the same kind is described in a letter she wrote in 
1869 to one of her nurses who was working well but "in a 
spirit of opposition" which was likely to diminish the good 
she was doing. 

*The date of this siege of the General Hospital Nurses' Quarters is 
not given, but the snow indicates November 1855. 

154 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"Do you think I should have succeeded in doing anything 
if I had kicked and resisted and resented? Is it our Mas- 
ter's command? Is it even common sense? I have been 
even shut out of hospitals into which I had been ordered 
to go by the Commander-in-Chief — obliged to stand out- 
side the door in the snow till night — been refused rations 
for as much as ten days at a time for the nurses I had 
brought by superior command. And I have been as good 
friends the day after with the officials who did these things 
— have resolutely ignored these things for the sake of the 
work. What was I to my Master's work? When people 
offend, they offend the Master before they do me. And 
who am I that I should not choose to bear what my Master 
chooses to bear? You have many high and noble points 
of character. Else I should not write to you as I do." 

Lord Raglan, who believed in her and always supported 
her, was now dead. By some strange omission, the private 
official instructions sent to him with regard to her position 
were unknown to his successors, and Headquarters were 

"We get things done all the same," she wrote to Mrs. Her- 
bert, "only a little more slowly. When we have support 
at Headquarters matters advance faster, that is all. The 
real grievance against us is that though subordinate to the 
Medical Chiefs in Office, we are superior to them in influ- 
ence and in the chance of being heard at home." That 
this was the correct explanation of the attitude of the 
"Medical Chiefs in Office" may be gathered from their 
correspondence. Miss Nightingale had to fight her way 
into full authority. Dr. Hall disputed her title and re- 
sented her interference. She fought him and in the end she 
beat him. But their personal relations were not unfriendly 
and she sometimes in her letters bears testimony to good 
services of his and to his high capacity in many respects. 

The attempt to shut out Miss Nightingale from her 
quarters was the climax of a difficulty in which the second 
party of nuns were concerned. These were the ladies 
whom Miss Nightingale described as "excellent, gentle, self- 

The Crimea in Winter 155 

devoted women, fit more for Heaven than for a Hospital. 
They flit about/' she said, 'like angels without hands among 
the patients, soothing their souls while they leave their 
bodies dirty and neglected." They had gone to Koulali 
with Miss Stanley, and now, in October 1855, had come at 
Dr. Hall's instance to the General Hospital at Balaclava, 
where the nursing staff in consequence contained too high 
a proportion of Roman Catholics. 

Miss Nightingale's object was efficient nursing. Dr. Hall 
supported the nuns as his nominees. Mr. FitzGerald, the 
Deputy Purveyor-in-Chief, supported them as Roman 
Catholics and Irishwomen, giving the dispute the appear- 
ance of a racial-religious feud. He sent confidential reports 
to the War Office, criticising the female nursing establish- 
ment, and opposing Miss Nightingale's claim to be Super- 
intendent of the Nurses in the Crimea. Miss Nightingale 
was shown these reports by a friend and she felt that ad- 
vantage was taken in them of mistakes and misdeeds which 
she could have prevented had she had explicit authority. 

There was another case in which a transfer of nurses 
had been made without Miss Nightingale's sanction, and 
she made up her mind that it was time to bring about a 

It was in the middle of these painful and exasperating 
troubles that there was a serious outbreak of cholera at 
the Barrack Hospital, and Miss Nightingale was summoned 
back to Scutari. From there she wrote an official letter 
to the War Office (January 7) complaining of the encroach- 
ment on her department by the Medical Officer. She also 
wrote personal letters to Mr. Herbert (February 20 and 
21, 1856) telling him that Dr. Hall was "attempting to root 
her out of the Crimea." Other officials were traducing her 
behind her back. The War Office was not adequately sup- 
porting her. "It is profuse," she said, "in tinsel and empty 
praises which I do not want, and does not give me the real, 
businesslike, efficient standing which I do want." She 

156 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

begged Mr. Herbert to move the House of Commons for 
the production of the correspondence, so that the public 
might judge between her and those who were traducing 
her and striving to thwart her work. 

Mr. Herbert thought Miss Nightingale was "overdone 
with her long, anxious and harassing work" ; ' he told her 
she over-rated the importance of the unjust reports and 
wrote of them "with an irritation and vehemence" which 
detracted very much from the weight which would attach 
to what she said. He was, as we have seen, unaware of 
the lengths to which the opposition had gone, and he was 
not now in the War OfiBce. He went on to say that it would 
be injudicious to raise the question in Parliament; there 
was no public attack and the publication of papers would 
call needless attention to disputes; her answers to her 
critics were complete and conclusive; and a dispatch from 
the War Office to General Codrington was on its way — 
"very much what you wish, and what Dr. Hall's proceeding 
rendered necessary, if you are to maintain any order or 
discipline among your nurses." 

The War Office dispatch was not settled without a stiff 
fight with subordinates who sided with Sir John Hall and 
Mr. FitzGerald. But meantime Lord Panmure had sent 
out Colonel Lefroy, the scientific adviser to the War Office, 
to bring a confidential report of the condition of the hos- 
pitals. Colonel Lefroy had come back with a high opinion 
of Miss Nightingale's work and abilities and with know- 
ledge of her difficulties. The papers went sent to him, and 
his minutes on them were plain and forcible. "The med- 
ical men," he said, "were jealous of her mission." "Dr. Hall 
would upset it tomorrow if he could." "A General Order 
defining her mission ... is due, I think, to all she has done 
and has sacrificed." 

Lord Panmure decided in Miss Nightingale's favour; but 

*He wrote in March 1856. 

The Crimea in Winter 157 

even after his instructions were given, protests were made 
against a step which, in supporting her, would censure Dr. 
Hall. He held out, however, and wrote (25 February 1856) 
to the Commander of the Forces directing that Dr. Hall's 
attention should be called to the irregularity of his pro- 
ceeding in introducing nurses into a hospital without pre- 
vious communication with Miss Nightingale, and that the 
following statement should be issued: 

The Secretary of State has addressed the following dis- 
patch to the Commander of the Forces, with a desire that 
it should be promulgated in General Orders: "It appears 
to me that the Medical Authorities of the Army do not cor- 
rectly comprehend Miss Nightingale's position as it has 
been ofl&cially recognised by me. I therefore think it right 
to state to you briefly for their guidance, as well as for the 
information of the Army, what the position of that excellent 
lady is. Miss Nightingale is recognised by Her Majesty's 
Government as the General Superintendent of the Female 
Nursing Establishment of the military hospitals of the 
Army. No lady, or sister, or nurse is to be transferred 
from one hospital to another, or introduced into any hos- 
pital, without consultation with her. Her instructions, how- 
ever, require to have the approval of the Principal Medical 
Officer in the exercise of the responsibility thus vested in 
her. The Principal Medical Officer will communicate with 
Miss Nightingale upon all subjects connected with the Fe- 
male Nursing Establishment, and will give his directions 
through that lady." ' 

Miss Nightingale was much pleased at appearing in Gen- 
eral Orders. She did not care for honours, but she was 
proud of "serving in the Army," especially since she had 
come to love the fine qualities of the men. 

She now made some transferences of nurses to improve 
the eflBciency of their work. She urged Mrs. Bridgeman 
to stay on with her nuns, but Sir John Hall and the Deputy 
Purveyor-in-Chief seem to have laid their heads together 

■* The order was issued on March 16th, a fortnight before the signing 
of peace. It was printed in the Times of April 7th. 

158 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

and advised Mrs. Bridgeman to resign. "It must rest with 
you," wrote Sir John, "to decide whether you wish to remain 
subservient to the control of Miss Nightingale or not." She 
and her sisterhood resigned (March 28) and returned to 



While Miss Nightingale was leaving the jealousies of 
the Crimea to return to the cholera at Scutari, her friends 
in London were holding a public meeting (20 November 
1855) "to give expression to a general feeling that the 
services of Miss Nightingale in the hospitals of the East 
demand the grateful recognition of the British people." 
Willis's Rooms proved far too small, and never, said the 
Times, had a more brilliant, enthusiastic and unanimous 
gathering been held in London. The Duke of Cambridge 
took the chair, and among the speakers were Mr. Herbert, 
Lord Stanley, the Duke of Argyll, Monckton Milnes and 
Lord Lansdowne. Mrs. Nightingale and Parthe "could not 
take courage to go" — "our informants came flocking in, and 
we were rewarded." It was resolved at the meeting to form 
a "Nightingale Fund" to enable her to establish a nurses' 
training school, and Mr. Herbert sent her a copy of the 
resolution. Her answer was dated from Scutari, 6 January 
1856 — the day before she wrote her final appeal for recog- 
nition to the War Ofiice. 

Dear Mr. Herbert : 

In answer to your letter (which followed me to the 
Crimea and back to Scutari) proposing to me the under- 
taking of a Training School for Nurses, I will first beg to 
say that it is impossible for me to express what I have felt 
in regard to the sympathy and the confidence shown to 
me by the originators and supporters of the scheme. Ex- 
posed as I am to be misinterpreted and misunderstood in a 
field of action which is new, complicated and distant from 
many who sit in judgment upon it — it is indeed an abiding 


160 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

support to have such sympathy and such appreciation 
brought home to me in the midst of labour and difficulties 
all but overpowering. I must add, however, that my pres- 
ent work is such as I would never leave for any other, so 
long as I see room to believe that what I may do here 
is unfinished. May I, then, beg of you to express to the 
Committee that I accept their proposal, provided I may 
do so on their understanding of this great uncertainty as 
to when it will be possible for me to carry it out? 

This letter was written at a time of great pressure. Mrs. 
S. Smith, who had taken Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge's place 
at Scutari, describes her niece's nightly toil. "She habitually 
writes till 1 or 2, sometunes till 3 or 4; has in the last 
pressure given up 3 whole nights to it. We seldom get 
through even our little dinner (after it has been put off 
one, two or three hours on account of her visitors) without 
her being called away from it. I never saw a greater pic- 
ture of exhaustion than Flo last night at ten (January 7) 
. . . and she sat up the greater part of the night." 

"Such questions as food, rest, temperature," wrote Mrs. 
Smith again (25 January 1856), "never interfere with her 
during her work; I suppose she has gained some advantage 
over other people in her entire absence of thought about 
these things. . . . She is extremely quick and clear, too, 
as you know, at her work. This, I suppose, has increased 
upon her, and she can turn from one thing or one person 
to another, when in the midst of business, in a most extraor- 
dinary manner. She has attained a most wonderful calm 
and presence of mind. She is, I think, often deeply im- 
pressed, and depressed, though she does not show it out- 
wardly, but no irritation of temper, no hurry or confusion 
of manner, ever appears for a moment." 

Public meetings in support of the Nightingale Fund 
were held throughout England and in the British Domin- 
ions. Mr. Herbert, Mr. Monckton Milnes and Lord Stan- 
ley spoke to large audiences. The Fund was taken up 
heartily, but there were still some who thought the attempt 

A Contrast 161 

to raise the nursing profession a silly fad. "Lady Pam," 
wrote Lord Granville, "thinks the Nightingale Fund great 
humbug." "The nurses are very good now; perhaps they 
do drink a little . . . poor people, it must be so tiresome 
sitting up all night." And the jealousies which attended 
Miss Nightingale's work still found expression. The exist- 
ence of the Fund was notified in General Orders to the 
Army in the East. "I hear," wrote Dr. Robertson at Scu- 
tari to Dr. Hall in the Crimea, "that you have not (any 
more than myself) subscribed your day's pay to the Night- 
ingale Fund. I certainly said, the moment it appeared in 
Orders, I would not do so, and thereby countenance what I 
disapproved. I believe the subscriptions in the hospital 
are not many or large." But this disgruntlement of some 
of the doctors was not shared by the troops, who subscribed 
nearly £9,000. The Navy and the Coast Guard Service 
joined in, and among the contributions from wealthier sub- 
scribers were the proceeds of a concert given by Mme. 
Goldschmidt (Jenny Lind), always a warm admirer of 
Miss Nightingale. 

The Queen had not been behindhand in her recogni- 

Windsor Castle (November 1855). 

Dear Miss Nightingale : 

You are, I know, well aware of the high sense I enter- 
tain of the Christian devotion which you have displayed 
during this great and bloody war, and I need hardly repeat 
to you how warm my admiration is for your services, which 
are fully equal to those of my dear and brave soldiers, 
whose sufferings you have had the privilege of alleviating 
in so merciful a manner. I am, however, anxious of mark- 
ing my feelings in a manner which I trust will be agree- 
able to you, and therefore send you with this letter a 
brooch, the form and emblems of which commemorate your 
great and blessed work, and which I hope you will wear 
as a mark of the high approbation of your Sovereign! 

It will be a very great satisfaction to me, when you 
return at last to these shores, to make the acquaintance of 

162 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

one who has set so bright an example to our sex. And 
with every prayer for the preservation of your valuable 
health, believe me, always, yours sincerely, 

Victoria R. 

The jewel, which is now in the Museum of the United 
Service Institution, is a large enamelled badge bearing a 
St. George's Cross and the Royal Cypher with a crown 
in diamonds and the word "Crimea." The inscription 
"Blessed are the Merciful" surrounds it and on the reverse 
is inscribed: To Miss Florence Nightingale, as a mark of 
esteem and gratitude for her devotion to the Queen's brave 
soldiers. From Victoria R. 1855.^ 

Miss Nightingale is known to have worn the jewel once, 
on Christmas Day, 1855, when she dined at the British 
Embassy in Constantinople. Lady Hornby, who was an- 
other guest, has described her appearance that day: ' 

"By the side of the Ambassadress was a tall, fashionable, 
haughty beauty. But the next instant my eye wandered 
to a lady modestly standing on the other side of Lady 
Stratford. At first I thought she was a nun from the black 
dress and close cap. She was not introduced, and j^et Ed- 
mund and I looked at each other at the same moment to 
whisper Miss Nightingale. Yes, it was Florence Nightin- 
gale, greatest of all now in name and honour among women. 
I assure you that I was glad not to be obliged to speak 
just then, for I felt quite dumb as I looked at her wasted 
figure and short brown hair combed over the forehead like 
a child's, cut so when her life was despaired of from a fever 
but a short time ago. Her dress, as I have said, was black, 
made high to the throat, its only ornament being a large 
enamelled brooch, which looked to me like the colours of 
a regiment surmounted with a wreath of laurel. . . . Miss 
Nightingale is by no means striking in appearance. Only 
her plain black dress, quiet manner and great renown told 

*Miss Nightingale received a large number of decorations and distinc- 
tions from Sovereigns and Associations. The Order of Merit, then for the 
first time given to a woman, was conferri.d on her by King Edward in 1907. 

' Constantinople during the Crimean War, by Lady Hornby. She was 
wife of Sir Edmund Hornby, British Commissioner to Turkey. 

A Contrast 163 

so powerfully altogether in that assembly of brilliant dress 
and uniforms. She is very slight, rather above the middle 
height; her face is long and thin, but this may be from 
recent illness and great fatigue. She has a very prominent 
nose, slightly Roman; and small dark eyes,' kind, yet pene- 
trating; but her face does not give you at all the idea of 
great talent. She looks a quiet, persevering, orderly, lady- 
like woman. . . . She was still very weak, and did not 
join in the games, but she sat on a sofa and looked on, 
laughing until the tears came into her eyes." 

* Miss Nightingale's eyes were light grey. In the case of grey eyes, 
reflections account for much mistakes. 



In the spring of 1856 there was an urgent appeal for 
help on account of great sickness among the Land Trans- 
port Corps in the Crimea, and Sir John Hall wrote to Miss 
Nightingale (March 10) asking her to send the twelve 
nurses requested by Dr. Taylor, the Medical Officer in 
charge of the corps. She brought them herself, and it was 
soon after her arrival that she took occasion to an- 
swer Mr. Herbert's expostulations about the "iritation and 
vehemence" of her language. The gist of her letter was 
that it was easy to be calm and "statesmanlike" at a dis- 
tance, but difficult not to be angry and downright when 
you were on the spot finding your work for the sick and 
wounded hampered at every turn. And this time she had 
an example to hand and gave it. Even now the opposition 
had not ceased. This time it was an attempt not to shut 
out, but to starve out. 

Miss Nightingale to Sidney Herbert, Crimea, April 4 (1856) 
I arrived here March 24 with Nurses for two Land Trans- 
port Hospitals required by Dr. Hall in writing on March 
10. We have now been ten days without rations. Lord 
Cardigan was surprised to find his horses die at the end 
of a fortnight because they were without rations, and said 
that they chose to do it, obstinate brutes. The Inspector- 
General and Purveyors wish to see whether women can live 
as long as horses without rations. I thank God my charge 
has felt neither cold nor hunger (and is in efficient working 
order, having cooked and administered in both Hospitals 
the whole of the extras for 260 bad cases ever since the 
first day of their arrival). I have, however, felt both. I 


Last Days in the Crimea 165 

do not wish to make a martyr of myself; within sight of 
the graves of the Crimean Army of last winter (too soon 
forgotten in England) it would be difficult to do so. I am 
glad to have had the experience. For cold and hunger 
wonderfully sharpen the wits. . . . During these ten days 
I have fed and warmed these women at my own private 
expense by my own private exertions. I have never been 
off my horse till 9 or 10 at night, except when it was too 
dark to walk home over these crags even with a lantern, 
when I have gone on foot. During the greater part of the 
day I have been without food necessarily, except a little 
brandy and water (you see I am taking to drinking like 
my Comrades of the Army). But the object of my coming 
has been attained, and my women have neither starved nor 

The time of this work at Karani was. Miss Nightingale 
considered, one of the occasions on which the women nurses 
most clearly showed their usefulness. She was so much 
exhausted by the work of this spring in the Crimea that 
she made some dispositions in case of her death, expressing 
to Sir Henry Storks, the Commandant at Scutari, the wish 
that Miss Shaw Stewart should succeed her and requesting 
among other things that the Army might be given a mes- 
sage of farewell from her, "of remembrance of the time 
when we lived and suffered and worked together." 

It is a relief to turn from painful incidents of Miss Night- 
ingale's Crimean work to Lady Hornby's description (May 
1856) of the order and charm of her hospital huts in spring, 
as seen some weeks after the conclusion of peace. 

"The first day of our arrival we took a long ramble on 
the heights of Balaclava, by the old Genoese castle. On 
one side is a solitary and magnificent view of sea and cliffs; 
but pass a sharp and lofty turning, and the crowded port 
beneath and all the active military movements are instantly 
before your eyes. Higher up we came to Miss Nightingale's 
hospital huts, built of long planks, and adorned with neatly 
bordering flowers. The sea was glistening before us, and 
as we lingered to admire the fine view one of the nurses, a 
kind, motherly looking woman, came into the little porch, 

166 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale • 

and invited us to enter and rest. A wooden stool was 
kindly offered to us by another and younger Sister. On the 
large deal table was a simple pot of wild flowers, so beau- 
tifully arranged they instantly struck my eye. How charm- 
ing the little deal house appeared to me, with its perfect 
cleanliness, its glorious view, and the health, contentment 
and usefulness of its inmates! How respectable their few 
wants seemed, how suited their simple dress to the stern 
realities, as well as to the charities of life, and how fear- 
lessly they reposed on the care and love of God in that 
lonely place, far away from all their friends; how earnestly 
they admired and tended the few spring flowers of a strange 
land, these brave, quiet women, who had witnessed and 
helped to relieve so much suffering! This was the pleas- 
antest visit I ever made. Miss Nightingale had been there 
but a few days before, and this deal room and stool were 

Peace was signed at Paris on March 30, 1856, but Miss 
Nightingale was detained at Balaclava till the beginning 
of July, after which she spent a month at Scutari in wind- 
ing up her work there. In the House of Lords, Lord EUes- 
mere moved the address on the conclusion of peace, and 
included in his speech a florid tribute to the "angel of 
mercy." The Secretary of State wrote (June 3) to ask 
what arrangements should be made for her return, "as the 
period is now fast approaching when your generous and 
disinterested labours will cease." 

"In thus contemplating the close of these anxious and 
trying duties, which you iinposed on yourself solely with 
a view to alleviate the sufferings of Her Majesty's Army 
in the East, and which you have accomplished with a sin- 
gleness of purpose beyond all praise, it is not necessary 
for me to inform you how highly Her Majesty appreciates 
the services you have rendered to Her Army, as Her Majesty 
has already conveyed to you a signal proof of Her gracious 
approbation. But I desire now, on behalf of my colleagues 
and myself, to offer you our most cordial thanks for your 
humane and generous exertions. In doing so, I feel con- 
fident that I simply express the unanimous feelings of the 
people of this country." 

Last Days in the Crimea 167 

Writing from Headquarters at Scutari on July 25, Sir 
Henry Storks took leave of her, hoping "that you will 
permit me hereafter to continue an acquaintance (may I 
say friendship) which I highly value and appreciate." 

"I have received your kind note with mingled feelings of 
extreme pleasure and regret — the former because I appreci- 
ate your good opinion very highly; the latter because your 
note is a Farewell. It will ever be to me a source of pride 
and gratification to have been associated with you in the 
work which you have performed with so much devotion 
and with so much courage. Amidst the acknowledgments 
you have received from all classes and from many quarters, 
I feel persuaded there are none more pleasing to yourself 
than the grateful recognition of the poor men you came to 
succour and to save. You will ever live in their remem- 
brance, be assured of that; for amongst the faults and 
vices, which ignorance has produced, and a bad system has 
fostered and matured, ingratitude is not one of the defects 
of the British soldier." 

The Government offered a man-of-war for the voyage 
home, but Miss Nightingale and her aunt sailed privately 
in the Danube, accompanied by a Queen's messenger to 
help with passports, and stayed a night in a modest hotel 
in Paris. Travelling thence as Miss Smith, she reached 
London the next day, and avoided the curiosity of news-, 
papers and the suggested public reception, the proposed 
civic addresses and triumphal arches, by keeping her move- 
ments unknown even to her family. "The whole regi- 
ments" of the Coldstream, the Grenadiers and the Fusiliers 
"would like to come, but as that was impossible they de- 
sired to send down their three bands to meet her at the 
station and play her home, whenever she might arrive, 
whether by day or by night, if only they could find out 
when." This, too, was eluded. She lay lost for a night 
in London and next morning (7 August) was at the Con- 
vent door at Bermondsey, according to promise. She rested 
a few hours with the nuns, and then took train and reached 

168 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Lea Hurst, unexpected, walking up from the little country 
station of Whatstandwell. 

Certain spoils of war had arrived in advance: William 
Jones, a one-legged sailor boy ; Peter, a little Russian found 
on the field of Inkerman, who had acquired the surname 
of Grillage — no doubt a soldier's version of a Russian pa- 
tronymic; and Rousch, a big black Crimean puppy, a 
present from soldiers. 




Lord Stanley, speaking for the Nightingale Fund, showed 
one aspect of the significance of Miss Nightingale's work. 
"Mark," he said, "what by breaking through customs and 
prejudices, Miss Nightingale has effected for her sex. She 
has opened to them a new profession, a new sphere of use- 
fulness, ... a claim for more extended freedom of action, 
based on proved public usefulness in the highest sense of 
the word, with the whole nation to look on and bear wit- 
ness, is one which must be listened to and cannot be easily 

But in Florence Nightingale's life the Crimean mission 
was only an episode. She had shown the way to a new 
and worthy occupation for women, but she had not been able 
to give the nurses more than an emergency training. Noth- 
ing permanent had been established. The sanitary and ad- 
ministrative reforms had been useful lessons, but they, too, 
extended only to the emergency of the war, and with the 
war they vanished. The ancien regime was still in force 
in the Departments, and there was nothing to prevent the 
whole disaster from happening again in a few years. 
Miss Nightingale, as she walked near the soldiers' graves 
on the Bosphorus shore in the days that followed her 
illness, had "identified herself with the heroic dead." What 
they had suffered, soldiers should not suffer again. "No 
one," she says in a letter (Feb. 1857), "can feel for the Army 
as I do. These people who talk to us have all fed their 
children on the fat of the land and dressed them in velvet 
and silk while we have been away. I have had to see my 


172 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

children dressed in a dirty blanket, and an old pair of 
regimental trousers/ and to see them fed on raw salt meat ; 
and nine thousand of my children are lying, from causes 
which might have been prevented, in their forgotten graves. 
But I can never forget. People must have seen that long, 
long, dreadful winter to know what it was." In the Sebas- 
topol trenches "these men would refuse to report them- 
selves sick lest they should throw more labour on their 
comrades. They would draw their blankets over their 
heads and die without a word. Well may it be said that 
there is hardly an example in history to compare with this 
long and silent fortitude. But surely the blood of such 
men is calling to us from the ground, not to avenge them, 
but to have mercy upon their survivors." ' 

"We can do no more for those who have suffered and 
died in their country's service," she says again; "they need 
our help no longer; their spirits are with God who gave 
them. It remains for us to strive that their sufferings may 
not have been endured in vain — to endeavour so to learn 
from experience as to lessen such sufferings in future by 
forethought and wise management." ' 

This was the work to which she was now to devote her- 
self. There were others who knew, or might have known, 
the facts as well as she, but none who had the same inde- 
pendent knowledge of the working of the administrative 
machine in the field and of the men who worked it; few 
who had the same influence; none so free of the ties of 
party, interest, or other personal consideration. Now, when 
the lesson of the war was fresh, it was not the moment 
for rest, however much rest might be needed, but for a 
supreme effort. "I stand before the altar of the murdered 
men," she wrote in a private note, "and while I live I fight 

*See p. 122. 

^ Notes on the Army, pp. 507-8. 

^Answer to an Address from Parishioners of East Wellow. Embley 
is in this Parish. 

A Royal Commission 173 

their cause." The expression may be rhetorical, but she 
made good her promise and the fight was victorious. 
It was generally supposed that Florence Nightingale, her 
work done, and the addresses and presentations answered, 
had retired into private life.'' She never appeared in public 
on her return/ She retired from the public view, indeed, 
but the sphere in which she was now to appear was acutely 
conscious of her presence. During her first undertaking after 
the war we have the extraordinary spectacle of a woman 
at work privately within and upon the War Office, reform- 
ing its methods and creating new ones, educating and im- 
proving its personnel, amending its organisation, writing 
its regulations; holding and justifying an anomalous and 
privileged position in which she had all the advantages of 
independence and some of those of official power. 

She started with the advantage of having a case that 
was already proven, and a cloud of expert and faithful 
witnesses. The last five or six months of the war had 
given "a complete example — history does not afford its 
equal — of an army, after a great disaster arising from 
neglects, having been brought into the highest state of 
health and efficiency." In the first seven months the mor- 
tality had been "at the rate of 60 per cent per annum from 
disease alone, a rate of mortality which exceeds that of the 
Great Plague in London, and a higher ratio than that of 
cholera to the attacks." "We had during the last six 
months of the war, a mortality among our sick not much 
more than among our healthy Guards at home, and a mor- 

''The addresses and presentations she most valued came from working 
men — a case of steel knives and forks from Sheffield cutlers, and an 
address from 1800 Newcastle workmen. 

° Incidents of 1857 show what she would have had to endure. Her parents 
and sister stayed at Manchester to see the "Art Treasures Exhibition," 
and the newspapers included Florence in the party. The sightseers, Parthe 
wrote, took Lady Newport, "a very sweet-looking woman in black," for 
Florence, and treated her like a saint of the Middle Ages. "Let me touch 
your shawl only," they said as they crowded round, or "Let me stroke 
your arm." 

174 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

tality among our troops, in the last five months, two-thirds 
only of what it is among our troops at home." 

This matter of the death rate of troops in England Miss 
Nightingale investigated in the Registrar General's Office. 
She found that in the Army from the age of twenty to 
thirty-five, and even among the Guards, men of picked 
physique, it was nearly double what it was in civil life. 
"With our present amount of sanitary knowledge," she 
wrote to Sir John McNeill, "it is as criminal to have a 
mortality of 17, 19 and 20 per 1,000 in the Line, Artillery 
and Guards, as it would be to take 1,100 men per annum 
out upon Salisbury Plain and shoot them — no body of men 
being so much under control, none so dependent upon their 
employers for health, life and morality as the Army." 

The campaign opened with the acceptance of an invita- 
tion, given with the Queen's knowledge, to stay during 
September 1856 at Birk Hall, near Balmoral, the home of 
Sir James Clark, the Queen's physician. Miss Nightingale 
prepared herself by consultation with the knot of Crimean 
reformers who were already gathered round her. She met 
Sir John McNeill at Edinburgh on her way. Colonel Tul- 
loch wrote his advice, and Mr. Herbert his encourage- 
ment. The fullest and most suggestive letter was from 
Colonel Lefroy. He recommended Miss Nightingale to talk 
unreservedly to the Prince Consort and to "be tempted 
irresistibly to let fall such suggestions as are most likely 
to germinate in that high latitude." But royalty was not 
all-powerful. She was to be similarly frank with the Sec- 
retary for War. "Lord Panmure hates detail and does not 
appreciate system. He can reform, but not organise. It 
is organisation we want, but which arouses every instinct 
of resistance in the British bosom, and it is this which can 
be least influenced by H.M.'s personal interest in it. Like 
a rickety, clumsy-machine, with a pin loose here and a tooth 
broken there, and a makeshift somewhere else ... so is 
our Executive, with the Treasury, the Horse Guards, the 

A Royal Commission 175 

War Department, the Medical Department, all out of gear, 
but all require to move together before a result can be at- 
tained." "In some form or other," he continues, after a long 
statement of suggested reforms, "we have almost a right to 
ask at your hands an account of the trials you have gone 
through, the difficulties you have encountered, and the evils 
you have observed — not only because no other person ever 
was or can be in such a position to give it, but because, per- 
mit me to say, no one else is so gifted. It will be no ordinary 
task; and no ordinary powers of reasoning, illustrating, 
grouping facts will be requisite. Another might repeat 
what you told him, but the burning conviction, the vis viva 
of the soul cannot be imparted." 

A confidential report to Lord Panmure upon a formal 
request, or evidence before a Royal Commission, were Colo- 
nel Lefroy's suggestions, and Miss Nightingale's own ideas 
took the same lines. Accompanied for a few days by her 
father, she reached Birk Hall in September and was intro- 
duced by Sir James Clark to the Queen and Prince at 
Balmoral. "She put before us," wrote the Prince in his 
Diary, "all the defects of our present military hospital sys- 
tem, and the reforms that are needed. We are much pleased 
with her. She is extremely modest." A few days later 
the Queen drove to Birk Hall and Miss Nightingale had 
"tea and a great talk" with Her Majesty. The Queen re- 
corded the impression made on her in a letter to the Duke 
of Cambridge. "We have made Miss Nightingale's ac- 
quaintance and are delighted and very much struck by her 
great gentleness and simplicity, and wonderfully clear and 
comprehesive head. I wish we had her at the War Office;" 
and to the War Minister: "Lord Panmure will be much 
gratified and struck with Miss Nightingale — her powerful, 
clear head, and simple, modest manner." To Miss Night- 
ingale the interviews were most satisfactory — "satisfactory, 
that is, as far as their will, not as their power, is con- 
cerned." "The Queen," she told her uncle, "wished me to 

176 A Shoi-t Life of Florence Nightingale 

remain to see Lord Panmure here rather than in London, 
because she thinks it more likely that something might 
be done with him here with her to back me. I don't. 
But I am obliged to succumb." Miss Nightingale was 
commanded to Balmoral when Lord Panmure arrived, and 
they had long talks at Birk Hall when she returned there. 
The vis inertiae of the burly "Bison's" resistance was 
dreaded by Miss Nightingale's friends. But she seemed 
to have won him. "You may like to know," wrote Sir 
James Clark's son, "that you fairly overcame Pan. We 
found him with his mane absolutely silky, and a loving 
sadness pervading his whole being." "I forget whether I 
told you," wrote Sidney Herbert (November 2), "that the 
Bison wrote to me very much pleased with his interview 
with you. He says that he was very much surprised at 
your physical appearance, as I think you must have been 
with his." Lord Panmure had probably imagined a virago. 
It was agreed that Miss Nightingale should write her 
experiences with notes on necessary reforms for the informa- 
tion of the Government, and in this request, the Prime 
Minister, Lord Palmerston, joined. Lord Panmure seemed 
favourable to the scheme for an Army Medical School. He 
agreed in principle to the appointment of a Royal Com- 
mission, and, perhaps at the Queen's suggestion, he asked 
Miss Nightingale to advise on the plans for the Royal 
Military Hospital at Netley. All seemed well and hopes 
ran high among Miss Nightingale's friends. On her return 
to London, where she stayed at the Burlington Hotel in 
Old Burlington Street — some of them used to call it "the 
Little War Office" — she drew up and took opinions on lists 
of Commissioners. Mr. Herbert of course was to be Chair- 
man; and, for the rest. Dr. Sutherland, Sanitary Commis- 
sioner and her friend and physician at Scutari; Sir Henry 
Storks, the Scutari commandant; Colonel Lefroy, the War 
Office scientific adviser; Dr. Farr for statistics; and an 
assortment of civilian and army doctors, with Dr. Graham 

A Royal Commission 177 

Balfour for secretary. Miss Nightingale drafted Instruc- 
tions for the Commission, too, and circulated them for 
criticism and advice. On November 16 she had a long 
interview with Lord Panmure and noted for Mr. Herbert 
the result of further stroking of the Bison's mane. 

My "Pan" here for three hours. . . . Will have Drs. 
balanced. Not fair: two soldiers reckon as against Civil 
element. Whenever I represented it (I did not know old 
"Pan" was so sharp) he offered to take off Col. Lefroy! 
So I had to knock under. 

Won't bring back Alexander from Canada. Will have 
three Army Doctors. So, like a sensible General in retreat, 
I named Brown, Surgeon Major, Grenadier Guards, there- 
fore not wedded to Dr. Smith, an old Peninsular and Re- 
former. Left Lord P. his McLachlan, who will do less harm 
than a better man. He has generously struck out Milton.' 
Seeing him in such a "coming-on disposition," I was so 
good as to leave him Dr. Smith, the more so as I could not 
help it. 

Have a tough fight of it : Dr. Balfour as Secretary. Pan 
amazed at my condescension in naming a Military Doctor; 
so I concealed the fact of the man being a dangerous animal 
and obstinate innovator. . . . 

Besides things Ld. P. finds convenient to forget, has 
really an inconveniently bad memory as to names, facts, 
dates and numbers. Hope I know what discipline is too 
well, having had the honour of holding H.M.'s Commission, 
to have a better memory than my Chief. . . . 

Instructions: General and comprehensive, comprising 
the whole Army Medical Department, and the health of 
the Army at home and abroad. Semi-official letter from 
Secretary of State and Memorandum from President giving 
details. Smith, equal parts lachrymose and threatening, 
will say "I did not understand that we were to enquire 
into this." 

My master jealous. Does not wish it to be supposed he 
takes suggestions from me, which crime indeed very unjust 
to impute to him. 

You must drag it through. If not you, no one else. 

(1) Col. Lefroy to be instructed by Lord P. to draw 

*A Purveyor, who, she thought, dealt in whitewash. 

178 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

up scheme and estimate for Army Medical School, appendix 
to his own Military Education. — I won. 

(2) Netley Hospital plans to be privately reported on 
by Sutherland and me to Lord P. — I won. 

(3) Commissariat to be put on same footing as Indian. — 
I lost. 

(4) Camp at Aldershot to "do for" themselves — kill cat- 
tle, bake bread, build, drain, shoe-make, tailor, etc. — Lord 
P. will consider: quite agrees; means "will do nothing." 

(5) Sir J. Hall not to be made Director General while 
Lord P. in office. — I won. 

(6) Col. Tulloch to be knighted.— I lost. . . . 

(7) About Statistics, Lord P. said (i) the strength of 
these regiments averaged only 200, (ii) denied the mortality, 
(iii) said that statistics prove anything — and I, a soldier, 
must not know better than my Chief. 

(8) Lord P. contradicted everything — so that I retain 
the most sanguine expectations of success. 

Miss Nightingale had lost on Dr. Alexander, but Mr. 
Herbert in reply to the offer of the chairmanship, resumed 
the bargaining (November 22) and made the appointment 
of Alexander, "the ablest and most effective man in our 
Army," a condition of his acceptance. He lost on Col. 
Lefroy, and "a good examining lawyer," Sir T. Phillips, 
was substituted for Dr. Farr, who, however, worked with 
Miss Nightingale in preparing the statistics. Sir T. Phil- 
lips was the one dark horse; and before the Commission 
sat, Miss Nightingale was asked to meet him. "We pro- 
pose an irregular mess," wrote Mrs. Herbert (May 13, '57), 
"as Sidney thinks Sir T. Phillips wants cramming." Dr. 
Andrew Smith was the only upholder of the old regime on 
the Commission.' 

The passive resistance of the old regime delayed the Com- 
mission for six months. It was not till May 1857 that the 

'The Commission finally consisted of: Mr. Herbert (Chairman), Mr. 
Augustus Stafford, M.P. (who had spent some months at Scutari during 
the war); General Storks, Sir T. Phillips; Army doctors Andrew Smith, 
Alexander, Graham Balfour, and civilian doctors Sir J. Ranald Martin, 
Sir J. Clark, J. Sutherland. 

A Royal Commission 179 

Royal Warrant for its appointment was issued; and mean- 
time officials in the War Office and the Army Medical De- 
partment were exerting themselves to the utmost to restrict 
the powers to be granted it and to narrow its scope. The 
Secretary of State, between two parties, was not the man 
to force the pace of reform, and Miss Nightingale con- 
stantly had occasion to remind her friends of the possi- 
bility of ^'bullying the Bison." At one time she pressed 
Mr. Herbert to renounce the chairmanship unless Lord 
Panmure put an end to delay and gave a pledge that the 
Commission's recommendations should be acted on. 

Meantime came the affair of the Chelsea Board. Sir John 
McNeill and Col. Tulloch had been sent out in 1855 to 
enquire into the transport and commissariat arrangements 
of the campaign. With the exception of a single sentence, 
their report had imputed blame to no one, but the evi- 
dence contained in it implied blame, and the impugned 
officers raised an outcry. The Government thereupon ap- 
pointed a Board of other officers to report on the Commis- 
sion's Report, and this Board — called after the Chelsea 
Hospital, where it sat — removed all blame from individuals 
and found, in July 1856, that the true cause of the Crimean 
muddle was the failure of the Treasury to send out at the 
proper moment a particular consignment of pressed hay. 
This curious conclusion was accepted by the Government, 
and the Commissioners' Report was set aside, Lord Pan- 
mure omitting even to thank them. But public opinion 
had to be reckoned with. The Times led a spirited attack 
on the Chelsea Board, and though Sir John McNeill re- 
mained contemptuously silent. Col. Tulloch was vigorous 
in self-defence and rejoinder. In several large towns sym- 
pathy was expressed with the slighted Commissioners — a 
movement which Miss Nightingale and her family, through 
friends in various places, did something to advance. Signs 
of sympathy were shown in the House of Commons, and 
Lord Panmure, driven to offer some sort of amends, re- 

180 A short Life of Florence Nightingale 

sorted to a strange expedient. He "had the honour to 
acquaint "the Commissioners that Her Majesty's Gov- 
ernment have decided to mark the services rendered by 
you in the discharge of your duties in the Crimea by ten- 
dering to each of you the sum of £1,000." The offer was 
promptly refused by each. "I am glad," wrote Miss Night- 
ingale to Mrs. Tulloch, "that they have been such fools! 
I am sure the British Lion will sympathise with this insult, 
and if it does not, then it is a degraded beast." She pro- 
ceeded to rouse the beast. She told Mr. Herbert of the 
Government's offer, and on March 12 he moved a Humble 
Address to the Crown praying that Her Majesty would be 
pleased to confer some signal mark of favour on Sir John 
McNeill and Col. Tulloch. The Prime Minister noted the 
temper of the House and accepted the motion, which was 
agreed to without a division. "Victory!" wrote Miss Night- 
ingale in her Diary. "Milnes came in to tell us;" and she 
was able to address her congratulations to the Right Hon. 
Sir John McNeill. "I consider," she said, "that you and 
Sir Alexander Tulloch have been borne on the arms of the 
people — a much higher triumph than the mere gift of 
honour by the Crown." 

An appeal to the people might, she thought, be her own 
last resource if Lord Panmure finally failed the reformers 
as to the Royal Commission. About the time of her letter 
to Mrs. Tulloch, another letter went from her to Mr. Her- 
bert threatening the obstructors with an appeal to the 
British Lion. "Three months from this day I publish my 
experience of the Crimean campaign and my suggestions 
for improvement, unless there has been a fair and tangible 
pledge by that time for reform." She was well aware, and 
so perhaps was Lord Panmure, of the strong weapon she 
had in reserve in her popularity in the country, and the 
use she could make if she chose of the ear of the press 
and the public. The Report she had been requested to 

A Royal Commission 181 

write would remain confidential if she were convinced the 
work of the Commission was to be prompt and genuine. 
If not, there was nothing to prevent her from leading a 
popular agitation 'like Cobden with the Corn Law." 



It was not till February 1857 that Lord Panmure put into 
official words the suggestion made at Balmoral that Miss 
Nightingale should write a report of her own. In asking 
her "further assistance and advice," he said: 

"Your personal experience and observation during the 
late War must have furnished you with much important 
information relating not only to the medical care and 
treatment of the sick and wounded, but also to the sanatory 
requirements of the Army generally. I now have the 
honour to ask you to favour me with the results of that 
experience on matters of so much importance to Her Maj- 
esty's Army. I need hardly add that, should you do so, 
they will meet with the most attentive consideration, and 
that I shall endeavour to further, so far as it lies in my 
power, the large and generous views which you entertain 
on this important subject." 

The Report written in response to this request — "Notes 
affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administra- 
tion of the British Army" — is the most remarkable of her 
works. It is also the least known, because it was never 
published. The War Office did not print it, and thus it 
never became generally known how much of the Report 
of the subsequent Royal Commission, and how many of 
the administrative reforms consequent on it, were the work 
of Miss Nightingale. 

The Commission is of course officially the Herbert Com- 
mission. The reforms are the Herbert reforms. She 
printed the Notes on the British Army at her own ex- 


Notes on the Army 183 

pense for private circulation, and upon all who read it 
the book produced, as well it might, a profound iinpression. 
Kinglake, the historian of the war, called it "a treasury of 
authentic statement and wise disquisition." Sir John Mc- 
Neill, the able and large-minded man who had probed most 
deeply into the Crimean muddle, regarded it with the high- 
est admiration for its vigour and simplicity of style, its 
cogent reasoning, and the novel value of its mass of infor- 
mation and its recommendations. It was "a gift to the 
army and the country altogether priceless." It would be 
possible to add pages of quotations which would show the 
unstinted welcome it received from the friends of reform. 

The Notes indeed contained not only the scheme of 
all Sidney Herbert's subsequent reforms (except those re- 
lating to defence), but the germ and often the details of 
further reforms in the same kind which have continued 
to our own day. A recent writer has said that "Had the 
conclusions which she reached (in this work) been heeded 
in the Civil War in America, or in the Boer War in South 
Africa, or in the Spanish-American War, hundreds of thou- 
sands of lives might have been saved." ' 

The wide range of the book and its mastery of a great 
variety of subjects are as remarkable as its firm and con- 
sistent grasp of principles. The keynote is struck in the 
preface. The question of Military Hospitals is shown to 
be part of wider questions involving the health and effi- 
ciency of the Army. The same defects of management 
of which the soldiers died at so high a rate in hospital were 
often the only cause of their coming there. Those who 
fell before Sebastopol by disease were above seven times 
the number of those who fell by the enemy. And the bad 
health of the British Army in peace was shown to be hardly 
less appalling than the mortality during the Crimean War. 

^Florence Nightingale: a Force in Medicine. Address at the Nurses' 
Training School, John Hopkins Hospital, 19 May 1910, by H. M. Hurd, 
M. D. Baltimore, 1910. 

184 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

The only way to prevent such disasters in future was to 
improve the health conditions of the soldier's life in peace, 
and during peace to organise and maintain General Hos- 
pitals in thorough efficiency. The necessity of reorganisa- 
tion and the application of sanitary science to the care of 
the Army are the two principles of which Miss Nightingale 
never loses sight. In an introductory chapter she writes 
of the health of British armies in previous campaigns. The 
medical history of the Crimean War and a discussion of 
Regimental and General Hospitals follow. The latter part 
of the book takes wider scope, treating of the need of 
Army Sanitary Officers ; of a Statistical Department ; of the 
education, employment and promotion of Medical Offi- 
cers; of the Commissariat; of soldiers' pay and stoppages, 
dieting and cooking, washing and canteens; soldiers' wives; 
the construction of army hospitals; and the mortality of 
armies in peace and war. Later Miss Nightingale added 
abstracts of the principal documents of the official cor- 
respondence on the care of the sick and wounded. She 
occasionally allowed herself an ironical comment; but no 
comment could be more effective than this deadly parallel 
between facts and utterances. While the book was passing 
through the press, news of the Indian Mutiny reached 
England, and in a flyleaf at the end, the need of army 
sanitation in India is foreshadov/ed. 

As the work of a single hand, and that the hand of a 
woman in delicate health, the writing of the Notes on the 
British Army in the space of six months is an astonishing 
tour de force. Only the most intense application assisted 
by great power of brain and will could have accomplished 
it. She had no staff of secretaries. Writing in type was 
unknown. Arthur Hugh Clough, who then held an ap- 
pointment in the Education Office, gave her some help, 
out of office hours, with the proofs, and her faithful Aunt 
Mai did some copying and correspondence. But for the 
most part everything was written with her own hand, and 

Notes on the Army 185 

it was only by almost incessant labour that the book, which 
consisted of 830 octavo pages, was completed in the time. 

The Notes were supplemented at Lord Panmure's re- 
quest by a confidential report on female nursing. This is 
called "Subsidiary Notes as to the Introduction of Female 
Nursing into Military Hospitals in Peace and War," and is 
almost a treatise on nursing at large. It is her most com- 
plete work on hospital nursing, and shows perhaps more 
fully than any of her other writings the grasp of organisa- 
tion which she combined with immense care for the small- 
est particulars. Packed with practical detail though it is, 
a reader's attention is captured by the author's intense 
concentration on making the very best of every least part 
of the nursing method. Mrs. Gaskell, to whom, among 
others, a copy was sent, said she could not put it down, and 
had read it -through at one long morning sitting. It is 
notable for attention throughout to what are now called 
labour-saving arrangements, and for the spirit, both hu- 
mane and businesslike, in which the conditions of work, 
both for orderlies and nurses, are shaped. 

And at the same time she was preparing the masterly 
Statement to Subscribers, in which she gave an account of 
the administration of funds and gifts entrusted to her dur- 
ing the war. "Why do you do all this with your own 
hands?" wrote Mr. Herbert. "I wish you could be turned 
into a cross-country squire like me for a few weeks." 



Miss Nightingale had seen the army administrative ma- 
chine at work, and she knew where and why it had broken 
down. This was one of her best quahfications for laying out 
a scheme of reform. But she did not propose to rely on 
her past experience alone. From a very short time after 
her return to England she had been taking every oppor- 
tunity of adding to her material by visits to hospitals and 
institutions, and by extending her acquaintance with ex- 
perts. She visited all the leading civil hospitals in London, 
and on these expeditions we may imagine her driving about 
London in her uncle's carriage, with one of his servants on 
the box. She dines out at this time; with Mr. and Mrs. 
Milnes to meet Lord Stanley,^ with Sir James Clark to 
meet Dr. Sutherland, with the Tullochs to meet Dr. Farr, 
the first authority on vital statistics of his day; and with 
the Herberts. She is seen at Dr. Farr's in an afternoon, by 
a lady who notes "the willowy grace of her figure." 

Meantune there were bits of definite reform going on, 
for which visits and consultations sometimes gave oppor- 
tunities; and there were matters already raised with Lord 
Panmure to be followed up. Colonel Lefroy had already 
drafted the scheme for an Army Medical School to which 
Miss Nightingale had got Lord Panmure's consent, and she 
was working on this draft in November 1856, making sug- 

' Lord Stanley, afterwards 15th Earl of Derby, was already a warm 
aidmirer of Miss Nightingale's work, and became one of her steadfast 


Among the Experts 187 

gestions in advance of the time, such as a proposal that 
IMedical OflBcers from the Colonies should be given oppor- 
tunities for study in the college. She was becoming an 
established consultant in the War Ofl&ce: Sir Henry Storks 
was in frequent correspondence with her, and sent drafts 
of new regulations for her criticism. 

Lord Panmure had shown her the plans for Netley Hos- 
pital as he had promised. Miss Nightingale was a pioneer 
in this country of the "pavilion" system — of separate blocks 
of buildings — which she had studied in France. She instantly 
condemned the design, which was on the old corridor lines 
and had other faults. The foundations were already laid, 
but she set to work to get the decision reversed, consulting 
all the best authorities, untiringly collecting information at 
home and abroad, preparing alternative plans and memo- 
randa and, as a last resort, appealing to the Prime Min- 
ister. She went down to Embley at Christmas 1856, 
and dined and slept at Broadlands. The result was a per- 
emptory letter to Lord Panmure from his chief requesting 
that the works be stopped for further consideration. But 
it was of no avail. The scandal and great expense of a 
rupture of contracts, "the reflections it must cast on all 
concerned in the planning," prevailed. Many of the minor 
alterations recommended by Miss Nightingale and Dr. 
Sutherland were adopted, but the long front of Netley Hos- 
pital seen from the water remains to recall Lord Pal- 
merston's remark on it: the object, he thought, had been 
not to cure the patients but to put up a building which 
should "cut a dash when looked at from the Southampton 
River." Miss Nightingale made the future safe, however. 
Her Notes and the Report of the Royal Commission in 
ahnost identical words recommended the submission of 
plans of new hospitals to competent sanitary authorities 
before approval, and "that all new hospitals be constructed 
in separate pavilions." "Poor Andrew Smith," wrote Mr. 
Herbert during a sitting of the Commission, "swallowed 

188 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

some bitter pills today, including Pavilions." The bitter 
pill is now the recognised prescription.^ 

In all branches of the public service, the friends of health 
reform were now coming to her, some openly, some in 
secret, some with hints and offers of help, others with 
petitions for her assistance. Sir John Liddell, Director 
General of the Navy Medical Department, begged her ''to 
take up the sailors," and "introduce female nurses into naval 
hospitals." She inspected Haslar Hospital at his request, 
and he made use of her ideas and consulted her on the 
plans of a Naval Hospital at Woolwich, supplying in return 
information about the stores, dietaries and statistics of the 
Navy. He also accompanied her on a visit to Chatham, 
a military as well as a naval station. Dr. McLachlan, of the 
Chelsea Military Hospital, invited her to inspect his Institu- 
tion, and at his request she exerted "a little pressure from 
without" to remedy defects she had noticed. Through Mr. 
Lowe, then in the Ministry, "all the really important points" 
were conceded. "The men are to have flannel vests and 
drawers, knives, forks, spoons, plates, etc," 

Colonel Lefroy, and another friend, Mr. Sabin, the Scu- 
tari Senior Chaplain, who had been her ally in the matter 
of soldiers' reading rooms and was now stationed at Alder- 
shot, gave their help in the renewal of the war-time experi- 
ment in England. After much negotiation, leave was given 
to use one of the Canteens, and "Divisional Reading Room 
H Canteen, Aldershot Camp," was opened on 17 June 1857. 

^Miss Nightingale had a last fight with "the Bison" (as Lord Dal- 
housie) in 1865. Speaking on a motion he introduced in the House of 
Lords, he extolled his Netley and attacked the Herbert Hospital as an 
example of Lord Herbert's "wasteful" system and his habit of paying 
attention to "hygeists who carried their opinions too far," "hygeists who 
were not connected with the War Office." Miss Nightingale was fore- 
warned, for the War Office (Lord de Grey) had asked her for a brief; 
and she primed Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Houghton (Monckton Milnes) 
and others. But Lord de Grey's speech was so effective that they were 
able to sit by and witness the triumph of "hygeism" in silence. 

Among the Experts 189 

The funds were provided by Miss Nightingale, and the 
soldiers liked it so much that she determined to enlarge 
the expermient. "A propitious moment offered itself yes- 
terday," Colonel Lefroy wrote, "and I asked the Chief 
whether I was at liberty to accept the offer of *a private 
person' to contribute to the amusement of the Soldiers and 
the improvement of their Reading rooms. He laughed, 
having probably a shrewd suspicion of the identity of the 
unknown, and gave leave. I am now therefore quite at 
your service. ... I should like to print Milton's IXth 
Sonnet on everything you give us." 

Dr. Farr was at work with her during January and Feb- 
ruary 1857 on comparisons between military and civil death 
rates, and asked her help in improving the health of the 
people. She sent him the proofs of her statistical section. 
He altered nothing, and thought it "the best that ever was 
written on diagrams or on the Army." She was something 
of a pioneer in the graphic method of presenting statistics. 
The diagrams were in circular arrangement with concentric 
segments of varying dimensions in colour or shading, and 
showed the deaths in military hospitals during the War, and 
in barracks at home. They were nicknamed "coxcombs" 
in her correspondence, from their shape and colours. 

In the spring an expedition was sent to China, and Miss 
Nightingale, too wise to approach Dr. Smith herself, got 
Sir James Clark, who was on friendly terms with him, to 
make some suggestions for the health of the troops. "I 
find he has attended to almost everything I suggested," 
reported Sir James, "the disasters of the Crmiea are al- 
ready telling for the benefit of the soldiers." And the 
sickness and deaths on this expedition showed an immense 
saving of life and health. 

Besides Dr. Sutherland, with whom she was in constant 
consultation, her other friend of the Crimean Commission, 
Sir Robert Rawliosoxi^ gave her help in Sanitary matters. 

190 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

She was in frequent communication from this time on- 
wards with Sir Edwin Chadwick. Sir Joshua Jebb, the 
architect of model prisons, was an older friend. Professor 
Christison advised on dietetics and procured dietaries from 
foreign hospitals; and there was correspondence with Army- 
surgeons whom she had met in the East, and with Army 
chaplains and missionaries. She was equally thorough in 
every branch of her enquiry, consulting the best author- 
ities, and collecting the essential facts. 

An example of the feeling which fellow workers had for 
Miss Nightingale appears in a note from Sir Robert Raw- 
linson to her aunt (1858). "To have earned the good word 
of Miss N. is most gratifying. I trust I may deserve a 
continuance of it. I learn with sorrow that her health is 
so doubtful, but I have a full and abiding faith in the 
providence of God. She has sown seed that will give a full 
harvest, and mankind will be better for her practical labours 
to the end of time. Hospitals will be constructed accord- 
ing to her wise arrangements, and they will be managed 
in conformity with her humane rules. One man in the 
army will be more useful than two formerly, and reason 
will preside over comfort and health. So far as my weak 
means extend I will strive to work in the same field, and 
do that which in me lies to embody the lessons I have 

Miss Nightingale's Notes were her own work in a pe- 
culiar degree, and, as Sir John McNeill said, no one else 
could have done it. But it is also true that the book col- 
lects from many quarters the best that was known and 
thought at the time. Except in the nursing system she had 
built up, she was not a specialist. She was not an architect, 
nor a sanitary engineer, nor a dietician. But she could use 
specialists, having the great administrator's flair for the 
essential and the -practical in what she studied, and the gift 
of memory. 

Among the Experts 191 

The high standard of well-being to which she worked 
was novel in its application to public institutions and to 
"common" soldiers. Sympathy and an unusual sensitive- 
ness created it; and something must be set down to a highly 
civilised upbringing. 



The private and confidential Report was more than half 
finished when the long delayed Royal Commission was ap- 
pointed. On April 26 Lord Panmure called at the Burling- 
ton Hotel with the draft of the Royal Warrant containing 
detailed instructions to the Commission. Miss Nightingale 
suggested a few alterations, which were accepted. Every 
member had been "carried by force of will against Dr. 
Andrew Smith," she explained to Dr. Graham Balfour, the 
secretary of the Commission, "and poor Pan has been the 
shuttlecock. I think I am not without merit for labouring 
at bullying Pan — a petty kind of warfare, very unpleasant." 
Even now Lord Panmure protected himself from further 
departmental resistance by taking care to have the docu- 
ment initialed by the Queen before they were submitted 
to Dr. Smith — such is the power of permanent officials. 

The terms of reference were very wide. The Commis- 
sioners were to inquire into and make recommendations as 
to the organisation and system of the Army Medical De- 
partment; the regulations as to Army clothing; rations, 
etc., having regard to varying climatic conditions; the Army 
hospitals and their administration and supply in every re- 
spect; the system of invaliding and discharging unfit sol- 
diers; the provision for sick and wounded officers and for 
lunatic officers and men. They were also to report what 
records should be kept for the purposes of military medical 
statistics. They were even to inquire into "the system of 
management of and treatment of and the provision made 
for patients in civil hospitals," and to consider whether any 


The Report and the Plan 193 

methods there used could with advantage be introduced 
into the Army Medical Department. All these matters 
were laid down in great detail. Miss Nightingale had 
certainly been successful in getting a comprehensive refer- 

The sittings and the Report of the Commission occupied 
exactly three months. Mr. Herbert as chairman gave his 
best to the task, and worked hard and incessantly; but, 
even so, such speed would have been impossible, but that 
most of the ground had already been exhaustively covered 
by Miss Nightingale. Mr. Herbert, Dr. Sutherland and 
she formed an innermost Cabinet of the Commission and 
throughout its work she was in daily communication with 
one or both of her two confederates. She was an unre- 
mitting taskmaster. 

"My dear Lady," wrote Dr. Sutherland one Friday, "do 
not be unreasonable. I fear your sex is much given to 
being so. I would have been with you yesterday had I 
been able, but, alas! my will was stronger than my legs. 
I have been at the Commission today, and as yet there is 
nothing to fear. I was too much fatigued and too stupid 
to see you afterwards, but I intend coming tomorrow about 
12 o'clock, and we can then prepare for the campaign 
of the coming week. There won't be much to do, as the 
Commission is going to the Derby, except your humble 
servant and Alexander, who, for the sake of example, are 
going to see Portsmouth and Haslar to give evidence on 
both. We shall meet on Monday and Friday only. The 
Sanitary arguing goes on on both these days, and I hope 
tomorrow to be able to perform the coaching operation 
you desiderate, and as you don't go to church you can 
coach Mr. Herbert on Sunday. I have now sent you a 
Roland for your Oliver." 

From Mr. Herbert there are constant little letters of con- 
sultation between the frequent interviews. As each branch 
of the enquiry came up, she sent hun a memorandum upon 

194 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

it. She suggested who should give evidence and in what 
order, and often saw the witnesses beforehand. She was 
full of the subject and had a good memory: she could 
examine a witness for two hours and recollect his answers 
without a note. In the case of some important witnesses, 
she prepared the briefs for cross-examination, as well as 
examination. And she was always at Mr. Herbert's call 
to supply details, dates and references. Of Mr. Herbert 
she wrote in later years: "He was a man of the quickest 
and most accurate perception that I have ever known. Also 
he was the most symxpathetic. His very manner engaged 
the most sulky and the most recalcitrant of witnesses. He 
never made an enemy or a quarrel in the Commission." 

Miss Nightingale did not appear as a witness. She did 
not wish to do so, and Sir John McNeill strongly supported 
her on grounds of health. It was unusual though not 
unprecedented to call a woman.^ But it was felt that the 
weight of the report would be diminished if she abstained 
altogether, and it was agreed that she should supply written 
answers to written questions. Her evidence occupies thirty- 
three pages in the Blue book, and is in effect a condensed 
summary of her confidential report. "When you have to 
encounter uncouth, hydra-headed monsters of ofl&cialism 
and ineptitude, straight hitting is the best mode of attack. 
. . . There is in all, she says, a clearness, a logical coher- 
ence, a pungency and abruptness, a ring as of true metal, 
that is altogether admirable." The writer of this comment 
was an army doctor. 

The Report of the Commission was written by Mr. Her- 
bert in August 1857, with much assistance from Miss Night- 
ingale. It closely followed the recommendations made by 
her in her private Report. 

A Royal Commission is sometimes a device for decently 

* Miss Mary Carpenter and Mrs. Chisholm had previously given evidence 
at public enquiries. 

The Report and the Plan 195 

burying an inconvenient question under a pile of blue 
books. Mr. Herbert had made it clear in accepting the 
chairmanship, and Miss Nightingale was resolved that this 
was to be an effective one. The personnel of the Com- 
mission was a guarantee in advance against a whitewashing 
or an equivocal report, but there was still the danger that a 
strong Report would be shelved. The Crimean War and 
its muddles were beginning to fade into the past, espe- 
cially since the Indian Mutiny; and the reorganisation of 
a department of the Army was not a subject likely to 
excite any great public interest. What would cause a sen- 
sation, the Commissioners knew, was their revelation of 
the state of the barracks, in figures which Miss Nightingale 
had tabulated months before, and which they had adopted 
and confirmed. The death rate of the Army at home in 
time of peace was twice that of the civil population; and 
a comparison of the death rates in London barracks with 
those of the civil population in the same parishes was still 
more startling.' When it was understood that the same 
bad administration which had killed so many men in the 
war hospitals was killing hundreds of strong young men 
year by year at home, public indignation could be counted 
on for forcing the Government to accept reform. It was 
agreed therefore that the Report should not be immediately 
published when it was completed. Mr. Herbert communi- 
cated the gist of it privately to Lord Panmure. It was 
likely, he pointed out, "to arrest a good deal of general 
attention." There was time, he suggested, to take measures 
for reform, before the Report became known to the public. 
To publish at the same moment the Report and the new 
Regulations founded on it would "give the prestige which 
promptitude always carries with it." Mr. Herbert would 
gladly give all the assistance in his power towards that end. 

' In St. Pancras the civil rate was 2.2 ; in the barracks of the 2nd Life 
Guards it was 10.4. In Kensington, the civil rate was 3.3; the rate in the 
Knightsbridge barracks was 17.5. 

196 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

There was iron within the velvet of Mr. Herbert's words, 
for the publication of the Report could not be put off 
indefinitely. Lord Panmure had to choose between com- 
mitting himself to mstant reform and facing a public 
opinion inflamed by the disclosures of the Commission. 
Meantime, Miss Nightingale still held her own report in 
reserve in case of need. 

The plan of action agreed on between her and Mr. Her- 
bert was that four Subcommissions with executive powers 
'should be appointed to settle the details of reform, and 
in some measure to carry it out, on the general lines 
laid down in the Report. Mr. Herbert was to be chairman 
of all four. The Subcommissions were severally (1) to put 
the Barracks in sanitary order, (2) to organise a Statistical 
Department, (3) to institute a Medical School, and (4) to 
reconstruct the Army Medical Department, revise the Hos- 
pital Regulations and draw up a Warrant for the Promotion 
of Medical OflBcers. 

Mr. Herbert sent these proposals on August 7 to Lord 
Panmure, who wrote "fairly enough" but tried to escape 
on the plea of grouse shooting. He was caught, however, 
and agreed to the four Sub-Commissions in general terms. 
But many weeks passed and there were re-iterated remind- 
ers from Miss Nightingale before they were all set on foot. 
The War Office continued to produce objections. Dr. Smith 
was reported to be active, and the Minister, who continued 
his shooting late into the autumn, showed a disposition 
to back out of his promises. Mr. Herbert returned in Sep- 
tember from a well-earned month's fishing in Ireland. Miss 
Nightingale, in spite of failing strength, had continued at 
work with Dr. Sutherland, drafting instructions and schemes 
for each of the Sub-Commissions, and keeping Lord Pan- 
mure and others up to the mark by letter. Her cor- 
respondence, especially with Sir John McNeill, gives a 
lively picture of the anxieties and agitations of the cam- 
paign, of Miss Nightingale's eagerness, of the Minister's 

The Report and the Plan 197 

holidays and hesitations ("Panmure's unmanly and stupid 
indifference") of her thoroughness and energy in supplying 
him with material, in "putting together draft regulations" 
for her advisers to "cut up," and in dealing with their com- 
ments — comments which were sometimes nothing but com- 
mendations and rejoicings in "the fruits of your labours." 

As each of the Sub-Commissions set to work, there were 
meetings in Miss Nightingale's rooms to settle the pro- 
cedure. There were times, as she afterwards recalled, "when 
Sidney Herbert would meet the Cabal, as he used to call it 
which consists of 'you and me and Alexander and Suther- 
land, and sometimes Martin and Farr/ every day either 
at Burlington St. or at Belgrave Square,' and sometimes 
as often as twice or even three times a day." They spoke 
and wrote of their working together as "our Cabal," "our 
Cabinet," or "our Mess." Of the members of their "Cab- 
inet," Sir John McNeiU was the one for whose intellectual 
power and judgment she had the highest respect — a respect 
which he warmly returned, taking a paternal interest in 
her well-being. "The Nation is grateful to you," he wrote 
in December 1857, "for what you did at Scutari, but all 
that it was possible for you to do there was a trifle com- 
pared with the good you are doing now." To Mr. Herbert 
she was personally the most attached, but she was often 
in dread of his not taking the decisive action for which 
she looked to her chairman. Dr. Sutherland was becoming 
an indispensable helper, and to him also she sometimes 
confided her inner thoughts. He was of a somewhat way- 
ward disposition, which alternately pleased and vexed her 
businesslike mind. She and Mrs. Sutherland, who was her 
deeply affectionate friend, sometimes call him "the baby" 
in their correspondence. "Dr. Sutherland burst out to 
Aunt Mai the other day," says Parthe, "that F.'s clearness 
and strength of mind, her extraordinary powers, her grasp 
of intellect and benevolence of heart struck him more and 

*Mr. Herbert's house, No. 49. 

198 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

more as he worked with her— that no one who did not see 
her proved and tried as he did could conceive the extent 
of both. The most gifted of God's creatures/ he called 


J> 4 

* It was at this time that Sir George Scharf, the Director of the National 
Gallery, made the pencil drawing of her which is now shown in the 
National Portrait Gallery. Sir George Scharf was not a portraitist, and 
the drawing is rather lifeless, but otherwise the likeness seems good. For 
a reproduction see opposite page. The portrait is not in Sir E. Cook's list. 


From a pencil drawing by Sir George Scharf in the National Portrait Gallery. 



There was a serious breakdown in Miss Nightingale's 
health this autumn, but she struggled on without, it seems, 
even a day's complete intermission. "I quite hate the 
sight of the post with its long official envelopes," Parthe had 
written a few days after her sister's return from the war. 
Florence had had no rest after her convalescence from the 
Crimean fever, no respite from letters and work in her 
short stay at home. "I should doubt," Mr. Herbert wrote 
to her uncle at this time, "with a mind constituted as hers 
is, whether entire rest, with a total cessation of all active 
business, w^ould not be a greater trial . . . than a life of 
some, though very limited and moderate, occupation." The 
year 1857 had brought this fresh undertaking to which in 
importance the work at Scutari was, as she said, "child's 
play." And now her friends who had vainly advised and 
scolded saw her threatened with entire collapse. In August 
and September she went with her aunt for quiet and treat- 
ment to Dr. Johnson's medical establishment at Malvern, 
and paid a second visit in December, still writing when she 
was not too ill, and doing business with Commissioners who 
visited her there. Dr. Sutherland in two letters written at 
the end of August begged her to put all work aside even if 
only for a week. She was thinking, he said, of everybody's 
sanitary improvement but her own. "Pray leave us all to 
ourselves, soldiers and all, for a while. We shall be all the 
better for a rest. Even your 'divine Pan' will be more 
musical for not being beaten quite so much. . . . Please 
don't gull Dr. Gully, but do eat and drink and don't think. 


200 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

We'll make such a precious row when you come back. The 
day you left town it appeared as if all your blood wanted 
renewing, and that cannot be done in a week. You must 
have new blood, or you can't work, and new blood can't 
be made out of tea, at least so far as I know. There is a 
paper of Dr. Christison's about 28 ounces of solid food per 
diem. You know where that is, and depend on it 
the Doctor is right. . . . And now I have done my 
duty as confessor, and hope I shall find you an obedient 

Miss Nightingale did not take the advice in the spirit 
in which it was given. She was overwrought and exhausted. 
However ready and expert her helpers were, she knew they 
depended on her for directing and bringing together their 
contributions, and needed her force for carrying the joint 
work through; and it was work that could not wait, for 
while reformers were holidaying, soldiers would be dying. 
The real responsibility, she knew, was hers, and her nerves 
were no longer in a state to bear responsibility with ease, 
or to let her consider fairly the economy of some rest. It 
was only three years since she had broken away from that 
old irksome life of perpetual holiday, and Dr. Sutherland's 
advice sounded maddeningly like the familiar exhortations 
she had been accustomed to hear from the sofas of Embley: 
"don't exert yourself" — "don't tire yourself" — "why can't 
you enjoy life as we do?" 

Miss Nightingale to Dr. Sutherland 
And what shall I say in answer to your letter? Some 
one said once, He that would save his life shall lose it; 
and what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world 
and lose his own soul? He meant, I suppose, that "life" is 
a means and not an end, and that "soul," or the object of 
life, is the end. Perhaps he was right. Now in what one 
respect could I have done other than I have done? Or 
what exertion have I made that I could have left unmade? 
. . . Had I "lost" the Report what would the health I 
should have saved have "profited" me? Or what would ten 

Overstrain 201 

years of life have advantaged me, exchanged for the ten 
weeks this summer? . . . 

But shall I tell you what made you write to me? I have 
no second sight. I do not see visions nor dream dreams. It 
was my sister. Or rather I will tell you that I have second 
sight. I have been greatly harassed by seeing my poor 
owl lately, without her head, without her life, without her 
talons, lying in the cage of your canary (like the statue 
of Rameses II in the pool at Memphis) and the little vil- 
lain pecking at her. Now, that's me. I am lying without 
my head, without my claws, and you all peck at me. It is 
de rigueur, d'ohligation, like the saying something into one's 
hat when one goes into church, to say to me all that has 
been said to me 110 times a day during the last three 
months. It is the obbligato on the violin, and the twelve 
violins all practise it together, like the clocks striking 12 
o'clock at night all over London, till I say like Xavier de 
Maistre, Assez, je le sais, je ne le sais que trop. I am not a 
penitent; but you are like the R. C. Confessor, who says 
what is de rigueur, what is in his Formulary to say, and 
never comes to the life of the thing — the root of the matter. 

Dr. Sutherland wrote a friendly and charming answer, 
but he had no success. In September her aunt reported 
that for a month she had scarcely been off her sofa. ''Now 
she goes down for half an hour into a parlour, to do business 
with a Commissioner who has been there to see her. Aunt 
Mai says it throws her back more to put off work for 'the 
cause' she lives for than to do a little every day — so we 
reconcile ourselves. . . . Aunt Mai is a dragon, and the 
Commissioner is the only person who has seen her." The 
doctors said there was no disease, but every organ was 
exhausted from overwork, and only a long rest could restore 
her. Yet in November she made Lady Canning an offer 
to go out to India for army nursing if there was anything 
to do in her "line of business." Had this been accepted 
by the Viceroy, it is possible that her power of will and 
the excitement of service in the field would have carried 
her along; but she had barely enough strength for what 
she had undertaken in England. Towards the end of the 

202 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

year she was not thought likely to live, and fearing that 
death might overtake her with the work unfinished, she 
wrote a letter to Mr. Herbert "to be sent when I am dead." 
The work, she wrote, had kept her alive. "I am sorry not 
to stay alive to do the 'Nurses.' But I can't help it. 'Lord, 
here I am, send me,' has always been religion to me. I 
must be willing to go now as I was to go to the East. You 
know I always thought it the greatest of your kindnesses 
sending me there. Perhaps He wants a 'Sanitary Ofiicer' 
now for my Crimeans in some other world where they are 

"I have no fears for the Army now. You have al- 
ways been our 'Cid' — the true chivalrous sort — which is 
to be the defender of all that is weak and ugly and dirty 
and undefended, rather than of what is beautiful and ar- 
tistic. You are so now more than ever for us. 'Us' means 
in my language the troops and me." She goes on with a 
careful list under heads, of "What remains to be done," 
already "sanctioned by your judgment." She also arranged 
that the Nightingale Fund should go to St. Thomas' Hos- 
pital, and her own inheritance in trust to Sir John McNeill, 
Mr. Herbert and Dr. Sutherland for building model bar- 
racks "with day rooms, separate places to sleep in (like 
Jebb's Asylum at Fulham), lavatories, gymnastic places, 
reading rooms, etc., not forgetting the wives, but having a 
kind of Model Lodging House for the married men." To 
her sister she wrote about personal keepsakes for Mrs. Her- 
bert and her fellow workers, and of her wishes for hei^ 
burial: "The associations with our men amount with me 
to what I never should have expected to feel — a super- 
stition, which makes me wish to be buried in the Crimea, 
absurd as I know it to be. For they are not there." 

Miss Nightingale did not die and she continued to work. 
Throughout 1858 she was in very weak health and there 
were many times in 1859 when she and her friends expected 
her death at any moment. In 1860 she wrote to Manning: 

Overstrain 203 

"Dear Sir, or dear Friend (whichever I may call you), I 
am in the land of the living still, as you see, contrary to 
everybody's expectation, but so much weaker than when 
you were so kind as to come here, that I do not sit up at 
all now." " 'Nunc dimittis' is the only prayer I can make 
now as regards myself." Yet she would show a fire and 
energy, an animation and vigour in her talk that seemed to 
some of her visitors to negative the idea that she was a 
serious invalid; and she lived laborious days in writing 
and interviews. This she was only able to do by careful 
husbanding of her strength; any critical business or the 
strain of any excitement in conversation would leave her 
prostrate and palpitating afterwards. The doctors believed 
for long that her heart was seriously affected and that she 
could not live. There were times when for weeks she did 
not leave her sofa or her bed, and for months did not go 
out of doors. She lived thus for years under sentence of 
death; and when her continued life and activity falsified 
the too confident opinion, she continued to work as an 
"incurable invalid." What must have been the discour- 
agement and the physical depression of such sentences! 
She lived to be 90 and to regain perfect health. The his- 
tory of her case appears to point to dilatation of the heart 
and neurasthenia, the distressing symptoms of which yield 
to treatment and above all to rest.^ Complete rest would 
probably have cured her; but the hope was not held out, 
and she continued to save up her strength for work, and to 
live the life of a laborious hermit, cut off from almost every 
pleasure and variety of life and from almost all friendship 
and intercourse unconnected with work. A strange, iso- 
lated, unnatural life, but irradiated by splendour of achieve- 
ment and by the brave, merry and helpful front she could 
turn to the world. 
During 1858 she divided her time between Malvern and 

*In 1865-66 her letters sometimes complain of acute pain, which, it has 
been suggested, may have been pseudo-angina. 

204 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Old Burlington Street, travelling backwards and forwards 
in an invalid carriage, accompanied on the journey by Mr. 
Clough. Her aunt was still in frequent attendance on her, 
and her father came to stay with her at Malvern. She 
seldom saw her mother and sister. In June 1858 her sister 
married. "Thank you very much," wrote Miss Nightingale 
to Lady McNeill, "for your congratulations on my sister's 
marriage, which took place last month. She likes it, which 
is the main thing. And my father is very fond of Sir 
Harry Verney, which is the next best thing. He is old and 
rich, which is a disadvantage. He is active, has a will of 
his own and four children ready made, which is an advan- 
tage. Unmarried life, at least in our class, takes every- 
thing and gives nothing back to this poor earth. It runs 
no risk, it gives no pledge to life. So, on the whole, I think 
these reflections tend to approbation." For herself she 
"thinks," wrote her aunt, "that each day may be the last 
on which she will have power to work." 

During this time "Aunt Mai" was very helpful to her; 
but if her aunt or a cousin stayed with her at Old Burling- 
ton Street it did not mean that they saw very much of her. 
"I communicate with her every day," wrote Mrs. Smith 
(January 1861), "but I have not seen her to speak to for 
nearly four years." "Indeed we know," wrote Mrs. Smith's 
daughter Beatrice to Mr. Nightingale, "how hard it is for 
you to hear nothing of her, but no one can know anything 
now that the isolation of work has set in." Her father, 
however, she did see when he was in London. Her parents 
had been asked not to stay at the Burlington Hotel during 
their London visits, as it was difficult to keep their many 
visitors from wanting to break in upon their much-sought 
daughter. "Dear Papa," she wrote, "I shall always be well 
enough to see you while this mortal coil is on me at all." 
"Dear Papa, I will keep all Sunday vacant for you. I should 
like to have you twice, please, say at ll^^ and Sy^." The 

Overstrain 205 

relations between father and daughter, always sympathetic, 
had been made closer by her book of religious speculation. 
He loved to sit with her and talk of such things. In a letter 
of 1861 he writes to her: " 'Quidquid ex Agricola amavimus, 
quidquid mirati sumus, manet mansurumque est in animis.' 
I say it not in vain praise, but whatever I have heard at 
your bedside and from your sofa manet mansurumque est 
in animis. And so would I fain hear whatever words I 
might catch from your lips when your active work ceases 
and your prophecy begins." Hilary Bonham Carter was 
often with her at Burlington Street and at Hampstead. She 
was an artist; Florence continually urged her to persevere 
with her own work and not sacrifice it, as a very kind heart 
tempted her to do, to other people's daily needs. To her 
cousin's great grief she died in 1865. 

Miss Nightingale's uncle, Samuel Smith, who was an 
Examiner of Private Bills, managed her money matters and 
answered personal letters. She was, as she had been ever 
since her return, inundated with begging letters, appeals 
from every kind of eccentric, proposals of marriage, requests 
for interviews and religious outpourings. Her dockets to 
these must have been some reward for the drudgery. "Dear 
Uncle Sam, please choke off this woman [a member of a 
religious community] and tell her that I shall never be 
well enough to see her, here or hereafter." "Choke her 
ofif; my private belief is that she merely wants a chance of 
getting married." On a reverend gentleman who had "a 
secret cure" : "These miserable ecclesiastical quacks ! Could 
you give them a lesson? What would they think of me did 
I possess such a discovery and keep it secret?" "Dear 
Uncle Sam, I am so glad to think that I am laying up 
such a store in heaven upon your £2 sent without my 
permission to this woman." 

Benefactions on her own account were many and gener- 
ous. Her father had enlarged her allowance at the 

,206 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

time of Parthe's marriage, giving her £500 a year in addi- 
tion to paying her bills for board and lodging. Among 
the first uses she made of her increased income was to give 
£500 for the improvement of the school near Lea Hurst. 



By the end of 1857 the Sub-Commissioners were getting 
on with their work ; and the Report of the Royal Commis- 
sion was published at the beginning of February, 1858. On 
May 11th Lord Ebrington, prompted by Mr. Herbert and 
Miss Nightingale, moved in the House of Commons a 
series of Resolutions with regard to the health of the 
Army. These were accepted by the Government, and 
Miss Nightingale's campaign thus had the unanimous ap- 
proval of the House. She left among her papers a curious 
collection of letters and memoranda, partly in her own 
handwriting, partly in Mr. and Mrs. Herbert's, showing 
how industriously they then set to work to pull wires in 
the press, negotiating with editors and scheming with 
friends to place articles by public men who were in their 
counsels. The result was that the Report had prompt 
notice, and on the whole "a good press" in the dailies, 
monthlies and quarterlies. Further publicity was given by 
a pamphlet. Mortality of the British Army, containing hei: 
"coxcomb" diagrams, which had formed an appendix to the 
Report. This was now distributed by her to Royal persons, 
Ministers and leading Members of the Houses of Parlia- 
ment and to medical and commanding ofl&cers throughout 
the country, in India and the Colonies. "It is our flank 
march upon the enemy," she wrote to Sir John McNeill, 
"and we might give it the old name of God's Revenge upon 

But the month of February was not out before Lord 
Palmerston's government was defeated on the Conspiracy 
Bill and resigned. Lord Derby came in (Feb. 25th, 1858), 


208 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

with General Peel as Secretary for War. The "Bison" had 
been dilatory to the last, and Mr. Herbert had had trouble in 
moving him to appoint Professors for the Army Medical 

Mr. Herbert at first had high hopes of General Peel, who, 
to begin with, gave ear to his warning against the expected 
recommendation of Sir John Hall of the Crimea, and ap- 
pointed Miss Nightingale's candidate. Dr. Alexander, as 
head of the Army Medical Department on the retirement 
of Dr. Smith.^ Another new Minister — Lord Stanley, the 
Colonial Secretary — was also a friend. "He will send the 
Coxcombs out to the Colonial Governors," Mr. Herbert 
reported; "he offered any service his position can enable 
him to give to assist our cause, and suggests that a Com- 
mission should inspect Colonial barracks." Lord Stanley, 
however, was soon moved to the India Office, where Miss 
Nightingale enlisted his interest in another sanitary cam- 

But though the new Government seemed promising, the 
"intolerable War Office subs." continued to obstruct. "Peel 
ought not to let these subs, interfere, spoil and delay as 
they do," wrote Mr. Herbert. "That office wants a thor- 
ough recasting, but I doubt whether Peel is the man to do 
it. He has a clear head and good sense, but I think he is 
overpowered by the amount of work, which Panmure, by 
the simple process of never attempting to do it, found so 

Mr. Herbert himself was feeling the strain. He had all 
four Sub-Commissions at work, and from time to time 
during 1858, he broke down, once with a sharp attack of 
pleurisy. Upon the Barracks and Hospitals Commission, 
he did the harder work, inspecting Barracks and Hos- 

^It was a great thing for the reformers to have such a man as Dr. 
Alexander in power while the Department was being recast. "Alexander 
seems able and willing to be his own Commission," wrote Mr. Herbert. 
Dr. Alexander unhappily died suddenly in 1860. 

Barracks and Army Hospitals 209 

pitals throughout the kingdom and writing or revising each 
report on them. But he or Dr. Sutherland or Captain 
Galton (the three original members of this Commission) 
or all of them, reported each inspection to their "Chief," 
as they sometimes called her, and she was unfailing in 
suggestions and criticisms. Much of the Report, and espe- 
cially the long section on Hospital and Barrack construc- 
tion, in large measure was her work. Miss Nightingale's 
improvement of barrack accommodation is probably the 
chief of the many causes which have conduced to the better 
health of the Army in peace.'' 

When the London Barracks were being overhauled, Miss 
Nightingale called Soyer into counsel and they took the 
kitchens in hand. 

The reform of army cookery was one of Miss Nightin- 
gale's excellent achievements. "At present," she had writ- 
ten in her Notes on the Army, "but one mode of dressing 
food is recognised or provided for, viz., boiling." "As Sir 
Richard Airey states, 'the man lives upon boiled meat for 
21 years.'" The ration was "full diet," "half diet" or 
"low diet," according to the quantity of boiled meat served 
to a patient. It was this universality of the common 
copper that made Miss Nightingale's stoves and the extra 
diet cooked on them so important at Scutari. The stoves 
introduced later by Soyer "did everything except grill." 

But the kitchen reforms had only just begun when Soyer 
died suddenly. 

*The final results of the work of this Commission, which reported in 
1861, may be summarised here. Buildings were ventilated and warmed; 
drainage was introduced and improved; water supply was extended; 
kitchens were remodelled; gas was introduced in place of "dips." Struc- 
tural improvements were made in many cases; and buildings condemned 
by the Commission were reconstructed, so far as Mr. Herbert could 
extract money from the Treasury. Miss Nightingale, with a view to the 
future, later induced Mr. Herbert to appoint a special Barracks Works 
Committee to report on measures to improve the system of construction, 
repair and maintenance in order to give more direct responsibility to 
the officers concerned. The Draft Report of this Committee was sub- 
mitted to her for criticism and suggestion. 

210 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"His death is a great disaster," she wrote to Captain 
Galton. "Others have studied cookery for the purpose of 
gormandizing, some for show, but none but he for the 
purpose of cooking large quantities of food in the most 
nutritious manner for great numbers of men. He has no 
successor. My only comfort is that you were imbued be- 
fore his death with his doctrines, and that the Barracks 
Commission will now take up the matter for itself." 

As a supplement to the improvement of barrack kitchens 
Mr. Herbert later introduced a reform which Miss Nightin- 
gale had urged on Lord Panmure. He established a School 
of Practical Cookery at Aldershot, for the training of Regi- 
mental and Hospital cooks. 

In the work of the other three Commissions Miss Night- 
ingale had a large share. There were hundreds of letters 
to her at this time, full of technical detail, and there were 
constant interviews. 

The main labours of the year were interrupted by a 
last fight over Netley Hospital, undertaken in the hope of 
converting the new Secretary of State, now that both the 
Commission and the Sub-Commission could be quoted 
against his plans. Mr. Herbert and Miss Nightingale made 
a hard fight. She herself wrote half-a-dozen newspaper 
articles in the cause. But General Peel appointed another 
Committee to report, and went on with the building. 
"Unhappily the country which has led the van in sanitary 
science has as its chief military hospital a building far from 
satisfactory." ' 

Miss Nightingale's defeat over Netley showed her the 
need of informing public opinion on Hospital construction, 
and she wrote two papers for the Social Science Congress 
(Liverpool, 1858) which were the germ of her Notes on 

She now distributed widely her private report, the 

* Prof. F. de Chaumont in the 9th Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica. But Netley is no longer the chief military hospital. 

Barracks and Army Hospitals 211 

Notes on the Health of the British Army, and received in 
return many letters of encouragement from illustrious and 
influential personages. The Prince Consort wrote to assure 
her again of the Queen's high appreciation of her services. 
The Princess Royal, then Crown Princess of Prussia, begged 
for a copy, and the Duke of Cambridge in a particularly 
cordial letter assured her of his and the whole Army's sense 
of her devotion, and his hopes of carrying out her sugges- 

Harriet Martineau was one of those to whom Miss Night- 
ingale sent a copy of the Report, warning her to use it 

"The Report is in no sense public property. And I have 
a great horror of its being made use of after my death by 
Women's Missionaries and those kinds of people. I am 
brutally indifferent to the wrongs or the rights of my sex. 
And I should have been equally so to any controversy as 
to whether women ought or ought not to do what I have 
done for the Army; though a woman, having the oppor- 
tunity and not doing it, ought, I think, to be burnt alive." 

The result was a series of articles by Miss Martineau in 
the Daily News and afterwards the able and readable 
"England and her Soldiers" (1859).' The "coxcomb" dia- 
grams were repeated in the book, and appeared again in 

* Miss Nightingale was often severe on the Commander-in-Chief in her 
letters. He was anything but a red hot reformer, but she had a certain 
fondness for him, and was alive to his better qualities. "In going round 
the Scutari hospitals at the worst time with me," she wrote, "he recog- 
nised a sergeant of the Guards (he has a royal memory, always a great 
passport to popularity) who had had at least one-third of his body shot 
away, and said to him with a great oath, calling him by his Christian 
and surname. 'Aren't you dead yet?' The man said to me afterwards 
'Sa feelin' o' 'is Royal 'Ighness, wasn't it, m'm?' with tears in his eyes. 
George's manner is very popular, his oaths are popular in the army. 
And he is certainly the best man, both of business and of nature, at the 
Horse Guards: that even I admit. And there is no man I should like 
to see in his place." (Letter to Harriet Martineau, 8th Oct., 1861.) 

^Miss Nightingale revised the MS. of this book, supplemented the 
publisher's fee to the author and bought £20 worth of copies for reading 

212 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

a yet more telling form in "A Contribution to the Sanitary 
History of the British Army," Miss Nightingale's answer 
to what she calls "an obscure pamphlet circulated without 
a printer's name," and reproducing "nearly every possible 
statistical blunder on this and other points." Mr. Herbert 
and she suspected in it the hand of Sir John Hall. Her 
reply is the most concise, the most scathing and the most 
eloquent of all her accounts of the preventable mortality 
she had witnessed in the East. 



The second Sub-Commission, for reorganising the Army 
Medical Statistics, reported in June, 1858/ The Secretary 
of the main Commission, Dr. T. Graham Balfour, was 
appointed head of the Statistical branch of the Army Med- 
ical Department, and in 1861 was issued the First Annual 
Statistical Report on the Health of the Army, compiled by 
him. Miss Nightingale's perception of the importance of 
statistics, the persistence and the statistical skill with 
which she showed the way to an effective system, are among 
her best services to the Army. When the suggestions of 
the Sub-Commission were carried out, the British Army 
Statistics became the best and most useful in Europe. 

The new year (1859) brought an event of great import 
for the cause of Army reform. The Government was de- 
feated on Disraeli's Reform Bill, and after a general elec- 
tion. Lord Palmerston returned to power. On June 13th, 
Mr. Herbert wrote to Miss Nightingale: 

"I must send you a line to tell you that I have under- 
taken the Ministry of War. I have undertaken it because 
in certam branches of administration I believe that I can 
be of use, but I do not disguise from myself the severity 
of the task, nor the probability of my proving unequal to 
it. But I know that you will be pleased to hear of my being 
there. ... I will try to ride down to you tomorrow 
afternoon. God bless you!" 

As Secretary of State Mr. Herbert was able to accom- 

*Mr. Herbert, Sir A. TuIIoch and Dr. Farr were the members of this 


214 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

plish a great deal in continuing and adding to the work 
which he had set going as Royal Commissioner while he 
was out of office. But he could by no means always count 
upon the consent of the Treasury for his schemes. Mr. 
Gladstone was now Chancellor of the Exchequer. They 
were close friends; but Mr. Gladstone's chief concern was 
for public economy, and much of Mr. Herbert's strength 
was exhausted in disputes with the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer about expenditure on the national defences, and 
in extracting money for plans for improving the sanitary 
and moral condition of the Army. 

The project of the third Sub-Commission for an Army 
Medical School had met with the most wearisome delays 
and obstructions, and it was only after Mr. Herbert's return 
to office that the School was set up at Chatham. Even then 
the War Office "Subs" had not done with it, for as Secretary 
of State Mr. Herbert had much else to attend to. The 
first students did not arrive till September, 1860, and then 
they found only bare walls, and concluded, as its foundress 
remarked, that "the school was a hoax." The Professors 
had sent in their requisitions for fittings and instruments 
in April, Treasury sanction was not given till August, and 
the document was then sent wandering to the Tower, to 
Woolwich Arsenal, and other appropriate places, until Miss 
Nightingale at last rescued it from the Assistant Under- 
Secretary by calhng in Mr. Herbert again. The Army 
Medical School was peculiarly Miss Nightingale's child, 
and she watched over its early stages with constant solici- 
tude. Mr. Herbert commissioned her, in consultation with 
Sir James Clark, to draw up the regulations. She nom- 
inated the Professors. For the chair of hygiene she named 
the great sanitarian, Dr. E. A. Parkes, whose acquaintance 
she had made during the war, and he had much correspon- 
dence with her about the syllabus of his first course of lec- 
tures. She had made a successful fight against much op- 
position for a Professorship of Pathology, and Dr. Aitken, 

The Army Medical School 215 

who became one of her most volummous correspondents, 
was appointed to this chair. In every administrative diffi- 
culty the professors went to her for help ; at one point she 
had to intervene to extract their pay. 

The School was afterwards removed to Netley, and it 
is now in London. Under the name of the Royal Army 
Medical College, it is one of the Medical Schools of the 
London University, and is housed in a spacious building 
with laboratories, lecture theatre, library and messrooms, 
on the Embankment next to the Tate Gallery, and conven- 
iently near to the Royal Alexandra Military Hospital. Both 
these military buildings bear witness to the work of Miss 
Nightingale. The hospital, built on the pavilion plan of 
which she was a pioneer in this country, conforms to her 
ideas of what a hospital should be, with many fresh re- 
sources which science has suggested since her day. Through 
its neighbour the College every Army doctor now has to 
pass, taking a preliminary and a post-graduate course. Miss 
Nightingale's services as the true founder of the Army Med- 
ical School were publicly acknowledged at the time. Dr. 
Longmore," the Professor of Military Surgery, told the stu- 
dents that it was she "whose opinion, derived from large 
experience and remarkable sagacity in observation, exerted 
an especial influence in originating and establishing this 
School." "In the Army Medical School just established," 
wrote Sir James Clark, "hygiene will form the most im- 
portant branch of the young medical officer's instruction. 
For originating this School we have to thank Miss Night- 
ingale, who, had her long and persevering efforts effected 
no other improvement in the Army, would have conferred 
by this alone an inestimable boon on the British soldier." 

" The death, at the age of 97, of Dr. Longmore, who went out with Miss 
Nightingale in the Vectis, is announced while this chapter is being revised. 



The last of the Sub-Commissions, called in the corre- 
spondence the "Wiping Commission," from its varied func- 
tions, effected a reorganisation and other reforms in the 
Army Medical Department which are now ancient history. 
With its more general work the case is different. Though 
there have been new developments and some changes of 
form, the foundations laid in the years 1859-60 remain 
good. To Miss Nightingale primarily and to her more than 
to any other is due the principle that the Army Medical 
Department is a department of sanitation and hygiene as 
well as treatment, caring for the soldier's health as well as 
for his sickness. 

The code drawn up by her and Mr. Herbert defines the 
position and relative duties of the Commanding and Med- 
ical Officers in regard to soldiers' health, constitutes the 
regimental surgeon the sanitary adviser of his Command- 
ing Officer, and lays down regulations for organising Gen- 
eral Hospitals and improving the administration of Regi- 
mental Hospitals in peace and war. Formerly General 
Hospitals in the field had to be improvised on no defined 
principles, and on no defined personal responsibility. The 
wonder is not that they broke down, as they did in all our 
wars, but that they could be made to stand at all. The 
new general hospital system, with governor, principal med- 
ical officer, captain of orderlies, female nurses and their 
Superintendent (Miss Shaw Stewart), was first realised in 
1861, in the hospital at Woolwich. 


The Wiping Sub-Commission 217 

In January, 1861, Mr. Herbert issued a new Purveyor's 
Warrant and Regulations, which owed their origin to Miss 
Nightingale's experiences and suggestions. The new code 
defined the duties of each class of purveying officers, and 
their relation to the Army Medical Department. They 
were to provide "all necessaries and comforts for men in 
hospital (both in the field and at home) on fixed scales, 
instead of requiring sick and wounded men to bring with 
them into hospital articles for their own use which they 
had lost before reaching it." This code, based on the lines 
Miss Nightingale had suggested in letters from Scutari, was 
drawn up by her in consultation with Sir John McNeill. 

Mr. Herbert also appointed in 1861 a Committee to re- 
organise the Army Hospital Corps. The reformed corps 
was on Miss Nightingale's lines, and definitely on a regi- 
mental basis. The men were selected by the commanding 
and medical officers, trained for their work and perma- 
nently attached to the regimental hospitals. In the old 
system, men were sometimes told off in rotation to attend 
to the sick, as if they had been mounting guard over stores. 
These regimental Hospital Orderlies have been succeeded 
by the trained men of the Royal Army Medical Corps. As 
Miss Nightingale desired, they form a less skilled grade of 
hospital attendants, while the once despised nurses repre- 
sent the highly trained and professional element. Promo- 
tion in the ranks of the R.A.M.C. is now dependent 
on an examination plus a certificate from the nursing 

Those questions of wholesome leisure occupation for the 
soldiers in which Miss Nightingale had been a pioneer were 
also taken up. She was the prime mover in the appoint- 
ment of a Committee to consider how best to provide sol- 
diers' dayrooms and institutes; ^ and plans for the men's 
work and play were introduced with great success at Gib- 

^ Col. Lefroy, Captain Galton and Dr. Sutherland were on this Com- 

218 A Short Life of Florence N.ightingale 

raltar, Chatham and Montreal.^ Mr. Herbert's latest ofificial 
act was to direct an inquiry as to how best to introduce im- 
provements of this kind at Aldershot. 

The Committee, it may hardly be realised now, had to 
demonstrate that there were advantages in providing the 
soldiers with some place in which they could sit: "that 
separate rooms can be attached to barracks, where men 
can meet their comrades, sit with them, talk with them, 
have their newspaper and their coffee, if they want it, play 
innocent games and write letters; that every barrack, in 
short, may easily be provided with a kind of soldiers' club, 
to which the men can resort when off duty, instead of to 
the everlasting barrack-room or the demoralising dram- 
shop." Workshops, outdoor games, lectures, etc., were also 
recommended. In all these respects, Miss Nightingale's 
reforms have been greatly developed. No modern barrack 
is considered complete without its regimental institute, with 
recreation room, reading room, coffee room, lecture room, 
workshops, and means of outdoor recreation. The Army is 
now actually recommended as giving young men the means 
of preparing themselves for various occupations in civil life. 

The reformers were speedily justified of their work. To 
her account of Mr. Herbert's reforms written in 1861, Miss 
Nightingale added some coloured diagrams showing how he 
found the Army and how he left it. The death-rate in the 
three years 1859-60-61 among the men who entered the 
Army was just half what it had been, and the China expe- 
dition had put the reforms to the test of service in the field. 
The death-rate in the expeditionary force, including 
wounded, was little more than three per cent per annum, 
while the "constantly sick" in hospital were about the same 
as at home. 

''The reading room at Gibraltar was in part equipped by Miss Nightin- 
gale and friends she had interested, one of whom was Mrs. Gaskell. 



The end of the fortunate and fruitful co-operation of 
Sidney Herbert and Florence Nightingale came in sight 
in December, 1860. "A sad change," wrote Miss Nightin- 
gale from Hampstead (Dec. 6th) to her uncle, "has come 
over the spirit of my (not dreams but) too strong realities. 
Mr. Herbert is said to have a fatal disease. You know I 
don't believe in fatal diseases, but fatal to his work I be- 
lieve this will be. He came over himself to tell me and to 
discuss what part of the work had better be given up. I 
shall always respect the man for having seen him so. He 
was not low, but awestruck. It was settled that he should 
give up the House of Commons, but keep in office at least 
till some of the things are done which want doing. It is 
another reason for my wishing to go to town soon, as he 
is particularly forbidden damp, and to see him here always 
entails a night ride." To their meeting on this occasion 
Miss Nightingale often referred in letters of a later date. 
Mr. Herbert had put before her the three courses between 
which he had to choose. He might retire from public life 
altogether. He might retire from office, remaining in the 
Commons, or retain office and go to the House of Lords. 
The first, though it might promise the best hope of recov- 
ery, was soon put away. It offered small temptation to a 
man of Herbert's buoyancy of spirit and high sense of 
public duty. The second alternative was that to which he 
at first inclined. He had sat for twenty-eight years in the 
House of Commons, where his fine appearance, his per- 
sonal charm and his gifts as a speaker made him a com- 


220 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

manding and popular figure. To go to the House of Lords 
was, as he thought and said, to be ''shelved." Miss Night- 
ingale urged him to make the sacrifice for the sake of their 
unfinished work, and so it was agreed ; at the cost of many 
a pang on his part, as he confessed, but to the great relief 
of his wife, who warmly thanked Miss Nightingale for her 
help in the decision. Mr. Herbert retained ofl&ce, resigned 
his seat in the Commons, and was created Lord Herbert 
of Lea. 

Miss Nightingale did not know, did not see, how ill Lord 
Herbert was. She was passionately set on crowning and se- 
curing their reforms in the Army Medical Department, the 
Purveying and the Barracks by completing the reorganisa- 
tion of the War Ofiice. "The principle involved in [Lord 
Herbert's] reforms" was, she wrote, "to simplify procedure, 
to abolish divided responsibility, to define clearly the duties 
of each head of the department, and of each class of office ; 
to hold heads responsible for their respective departments, 
with direct communication with the Secretary of State." 
The work would not be completed and secured unless every 
department of the War Office were similarly re-organised 
under a general and coherent scheme. A Departmental 
Committee had been appointed, and Lord de Grey (who 
was Under Secretary until Mr. Herbert went to the Lords) 
had drafted a scheme. This in substance was what Miss 
Nightingale now urged on Lord Herbert. But the Horse 
Guards was on the alert; and Sir Benjamin Hawes, the 
Permanent Under Secretary at the War Office, was copious 
with objections. Miss Nightingale had her fears from the 
first. The scheme was launched, she wrote to Sir John 
McNeill (Jan. 17th, 1861), but I feel that Hawes may 
make it fail: there is no strong hand over him." Lord 
Herbert struggled on manfully with his many tasks, in- 
cluding constant dispute with Mr. Gladstone over the Army 
Estimates. But his strength was failing. At last he had 
to admit that on the reorganisation he was beaten. 

The Death of Sidney Herbert 221 

Lord Herbert to Miss Nightingale, 7th June, 1861 
As to the organisation I am at my wits' end. The real 
truth is that I do not understand it. I have not the bump 
of system in me. I beheve more in good men than in 
good systems. De Grey understands it much better. [He 
then describes some minor reforms in personnel.] This I 
should like to do before I go. And now comes the question, 
when is that to be, and what had I best do and what leave to 
be done by others. I feel that I am not now doing justice 
to the War Office or myself. On days when the morning 
is spent on a sofa drinking gulps of brandy till I am fit 
to crawl down to the Office I am not very energetic when 
I get there. I have still two or three matters which I 
should like to settle and finish, but I am by no means clear 
that the organisation of the Office is one of them. . . . 
I cannot end even this long letter without a word on a 
subject of which my mind is full and yours will be too — 
Cavour. What a life! What a life! And what a death! 
I know of no fifty lives that could be put in competition 
with his. It casts a shade over all Europe. . . . But 
what a glorious career ! And what a work done in one life ! 
I don't know where to look for anything to compare 
with it. 

Cavour had died the day before, his work done. His last 
recorded words were: "La cosa va." The next few weeks 
gave a sadder meaning to Lord Herbert's letter, and in pen- 
cilled notes of many years later Miss Nightingale recalled its 
phrases with deep feeling, and recalled also words spoken 
by Lord Herbert about this time. But at the moment his 
confession of failure left little room in her thoughts for 
anything but the sense of despair and defeat. Sir John 
McNeill, to whom she confided her bitter disappointment, 
took the true view of the case. It was sad, he admitted 
(June 18th) that Lord Herbert had been beaten on his 
chosen ground by Ben Hawes. "But," he added, "the truth 
I suspect is that he has been beaten by disease and not 
by Ben." "What strikes me in this great defeat," she 
replied (June 21), "more painfully even than the loss to 
the Army is the triumph of the bureaucracy over the leaders 

222 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

— the political aristocracy who at least advocate higher 
principles. A Sidney Herbert beaten by a Ben Hawes is a 
greater humiliation really (as a matter of principle) than 
the disaster of Scutari." 

Ill as he was, Lord Herbert still worked indomitably 
at others of the reforms. One was the General Military 
Hospital at Woolwich. "Col. Wilbraham has consented 
to be Governor," wrote Miss Nightingale to Sir John Mc- 
Neill. "Last week we made a list of the staff and the 
names were approved by Lord Herbert. There has been 
an immense uproar, perhaps no more than you antici- 
pated, from the Army Medical Department and the Horse 
Guards." Would he help her in revising the draft of the 
Governor's Commission? Then she was to name a Super- 
intendent of Nurses. She chose Miss Shaw Stewart, an 
admirable, though at this time "difficult," lady who had 
now quarrelled with Miss Nightingale, but whose eflSciency 
marked her out for the place. Two other of Lord Herbert's 
last official acts were suggested by Miss Nightingale, the 
appointment of the Barracks Works Committee, and of a 
Commission^ to improve the Barracks and Hospitals on 
the Mediterranean Station. 

Lord Herbert was worse in June and the doctors ordered 
him to Spa. On July 9 he called at the Burlington Hotel 
to say good-bye to Miss Nightingale. He thought, or at 
least said, that he was better; but they never met again. 
He wrote to her from Spa a week later, first of some details 
about Woolwich. 

"I have written an undated letter of resignation to Pal- 
merston to be used whenever convenient to him. I have 
not written it without a pang, but I believe it to be the 
right and best course. I believe Lewis with de Grey for 
Under Secretary is to be my successor. I can fancy no 
fish more out of water than Lewis amidst Armstrong guns 

* Captain Galton and Dr. Sutherland. 

The Death of Sidney Herbert 223 

and General Officers, but he is a gentleman, an honest 
man, and de Grey will be invaluable for the office, and 
for many of the especial interests to which I specially 
looked. ... I wish I had any confidence that you are as 
much better as I am." 

But not many days had passed when he learnt that if 
he wished to die at home no time must be lost. The Her- 
berts left Spa for Wilton on July 25, and on August 2 he 
died. "To the last," wrote his sister to Miss Nightingale, 
"he had the same charm, that dear, winning smile, that 
almost playful, pretty way of saying everything." Among 
his last words were these: "Poor Florence! Poor Flor- 
ence! Our joint work unfinished." 

The death of Sidney Herbert was a heavy blow to Miss 
Nightingale, the heaviest, perhaps, which she ever had to 
suffer. It meant not only the loss of an old friend and 
companion, in whose society she had constantly lived and 
worked for five years. It meant also the closing of her 
way of communication, the interruption of the work which 
was dearer to her than life itself. She was without all 
public responsibility and direct power; and now the friend 
was gone who had both, and had carried her influence as 
well as his own. She felt in the severance of their alli- 
ance the true bitterness of death. 

Miss Nightingale to Her Father, Hampstead, August 21 


Dear Papa: 

Indeed your sympathy is very dear to me. So few people 
know in the least what I have lost in my dear master. 
Indeed I know no one but myself who had it to lose. For 
no two people pursue together the same object, as I did 
with him. And when they lose their companion by death 
they have in fact lost no companionship. Now he takes 
my life with him. My work, the object of my life, the 
means to do it, all in one, depart with him. "Grief fills the 

224 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

room up of my absent" master. I cannot say it "walks up 
and down" with me, for I don't walk up and down. But it 
"eats" and sleeps and wakes with me. Yet I can truly say 
that I see it is better that God should not work a miracle to 
save Sidney Herbert, altho' his death involves the misfor- 
tune, moral and physical, of five hundred thousand men, 
and altho' it would have been but to set aside a few trifling 
physical laws to save him. . . . "The righteous perisheth 
and no man layeth it to heart." The Scripture goes on 
to say, "None considering that he is taken away from the 
evil to come." / say, "None considering that he is taken 
away from the good he might have done." Now not one 
man remains (that I can call a man) of all those whom I 
began work with five years ago. And I alone of all men 
"most deject and wretched" survive them all. I am sure I 
meant to have died. . . . Ever, dear papa, your loving 
child, F. 

Her grief was accompanied and intensified by some 

Miss Nightingale to Harriet Martineau, Hampstead, 24 
September [1861] 
. . . And I, too, was hard upon him. I told him that 
Cavour's death was a blow to European liberty. But that 
a greater blow was that Sidney Herbert should be beaten 
on his own ground by a bureaucracy. I told him that no 
man in my day had thrown away so noble a game with 
all the winning cards in his hands. And his angelic temper 
with me, at the same time that he felt what I said was 
true, I shall never forget. I wish people to know that what 
was done was done by a man struggling with death — to 
know that he thought so much more of what he had not 
done than of what he had done — to know that all his latter 
suffering years were filled not by a selfish desire for his 
own salvation — far less for his own ambition (he hated 
office, his was the purest ambition I have ever known), 
but by the struggle of exertion for our benefit. "As for his 
friendship and mine," she added, "I doubt whether the 
same could ever occur again." 

The friendship, commemorated now by the two statues 
on either side of the Guards' Crimean Memorial, is prob- 

The Death of Sidney Herbert 225 

ably unique in the history of pohtics and of friendship. 
For five years the pohtician in the pubhc eye and the 
woman behind the scenes were in active co-operation, often 
seeing each other daily, at other times in frequent com- 
munication, either directly or through Mr. Herbert's be- 
loved and devoted wife, who often acted as her husband's 
secretary, and whose admiring affection for Miss Night- 
ingale was constant. The secret of this rare friendship 
lay not only in the gifts and characters of the two friends, 
but in a common disinterested devotion to great public 
objects, and in their differing and complementary capacities 
and experience, he in the first place a public man, and in 
the best sense a man of the world, with political influence 
and the politician's caution, she a great administrator, with 
grasp of principles and immense knowledge of detail. The 
motive was all. "A woman once told me," Miss Nightin- 
gale said to an old friend, "that my character would be 
more sympathised with by men than by women. In one 
sense I don't choose to have that said. Sidney Herbert 
and I were together exactly like two men — exactly like 
him and Gladstone." Florence Nightingale, said Jowett, 
was the only woman he ever knew in whom public feelings 
were far stronger than private. With her, the service of 
suffering mankind was a passion and the greater part of 
religion; and Herbert, to whom worldly position and the 
popularity due to a peculiar charm of personality might well 
have sufficed for happiness, was drawn the same way by a 
high conception of duty and a sensitive conscience; no doubt 
in some measure, too, by the powerful influence of his friend, 
whom so many able men, and women also, delighted to 
serve. In all that was done, she wrote, "Sidney Herbert was 
head and centre." And so in many respects he was. He was 
from first to last the official and responsible head of the 
movement, and, more than that, he threw his heart and 
soul into the work with generous devotion. Yet if Sidney 
Herbert had written the account he might have said that 

226 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Florence Nightingale was the head and centre of it all. 
His was the public voice ; the words were often hers. The 
initiating, the inspiring, the impelling force was hers. Her 
mastery of detail was ever at Mr. Herbert's elbow. Her 
powerful, persuasive influence, her practical experience and 
insight were always at hand to move obstruction, to sug- 
gest expedients, to make the experts give their best. "I 
never intend to tell you," he wrote to her, when their first 
Royal Commission was nearing its end, "how much I owe 
you for all your help during these last three months, for I 
should never be able to make you understand how helpless 
my ignorance would have been among the medical Philis- 
tines. God bless you!" 



Fortunately for Miss Nightingale's peace of mind, there 
came an almost immediate call to serve the memory and 
the work of her "dear master," as in her letters of this time 
she constantly named Lord Herbert. On behalf of his 
friends and family, Mr. Gladstone asked her to advise 
how his services might best be made known and recorded, 
and she instantly set about writing a memorandum on his 
work as an Army reformer. At the end she wrote of what 
he meant to do, and what remained to be done by others. 
His heart was set on the preservation of the soldiers' health, 
physical and moral. "This is the work of his which ought 
to bear fruit in all future time, and which his death has 
committed to the guardianship of his country." 

In sending the paper to Mr. Gladstone, Miss Nightingale 
offered to talk with him about the unfinished work. Mr. 
Gladstone, warmly as he had felt towards Sidney Herbert, 
did not refuse to hear, but made it clear that he was not 
to be captured. His duty was "to watch and control on 
the part of the Treasury rather than to promote officially 
departmental reforms." His watchfulness on behalf of the 
Treasury had indeed been one of the chief obstacles with 
which Lord Herbert had had to struggle so desperately. 
Sidney Herbert, she now wrote to Dr. Farr, would live in 
the hearts of the nation, but "not in the hearts of Min- 
isters. There he is dead already, if indeed they have any. 
. . . Gladstone attends his funeral and then writes to me 
that he cannot pledge himself to give any assistance in 
carrying out his friend's reforms. The reign of intelligence 


1228 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

at the War Office is over. The reign of Muffs has begun." 
The policy of spending money on barrack improvements 
was abandoned for many years after Lord Herbert's death, 
and later generations in consequence heard of sanitary scan- 
dals in barracks in various places. 

Only a few months after the death of Sidney Herbert 
Miss Nightingale had another loss, which she felt scarcely 
less, if less at all. Arthur Hugh Clough, the poet, had 
been her close friend since her return from the Crimea.* 
He held an appointment in the Education Office, and had 
for some time been giving his spare time to helping her. 
He was bent, he had told her, on doing "plain work"; 
he had "studied and taught too much for a man's own moral 
good." He did secretary's work for her, arranged journeys, 
corrected proofs and became, at a modest salary. Secretary 
of the Nightingale Fund. Some of his friends thought the 
work not good enough for him ; nor was it, in a sense. But 
there can be nothing but admiration for the desire of such 
a man to serve, if only as a private soldier, in an 
assault on the world of selfish materialism, so alien to all 
he cared for. His health began to fail in 1861, and in the 
following spring he went abroad. But the journey was in 
vain, and in April he died at Florence. The depth of her 
grief at his loss was intense. As with Sidney Herbert, she 
had sometimes been inclined to attribute to infirmity of 
will what was in fact infirmity of health, and she reproached 
herself. "I have always felt," she had written to her uncle 
(December 7, 1860), "that I have been a great drag on 
Arthur's health and spirits, a much greater one than I 
should have chosen to be if I had not promised him to die 

"He was a man of rare mind and temper," she wrote to 
Sir John McNeill, "the more so because he would gladly 
do 'plain work.' To me, seeing the blundering harasses 

* His wife was the eldest daughter of the uncle and aunt who were her 
nearest friends of the elder generation, Mr. and Mrs, S. Smith. 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 229 

which were the uses to which we put him, he seemed Hke a 
race horse harnessed to a coal truck. This is not because 
he did 'plain work' and did it so well. For the best of us 
can be put to no better use than that. He helped me im- 
mensely, though not officially, by his sound judgment and 
constant sympathy. 'Oh, Jonathan, my brother Jonathan, 
my love to thee was very great, passing the love of woman.' 
Now, not one man remains (that I can call a man) of all 
those whom these five years I have worked with. But as 
you say, 'we are all dying.' " 

"His death leaves you dreadfully alone in the midst of 
your work," Sir John McNeill answered; "but that work 
is your life, and you can do it alone. ... To work out 
views in which no one helped me has all my life been 
to me a source of vitality and strength. So I doubt not it 
will be to you, for you have a strength and a power for 
good to which I never could pretend. It is a small matter 
to die a few days sooner than usual. It is a great matter 
to work while it is day, and so to husband one's power as 
to make the most of the days that are given us. This 
you will do. Herbert and Clough and many more may fall 
around you, but you are destined to do a great work, and 
you cannot die till it is substantially, if not apparently, 
done. You are leaving your impress on the age in which 
you live, and the print of your foot will be traced by gen- 
erations yet unborn. Go on — to you the accidents of mor- 
tality ought to be as the falling of the leaves in autumn." 

Sir John McNeill was not mistaken. But at the time 
Miss Nightingale's grief and loneliness were intense. In 
her state of nervous exhaustion they were sometimes mor- 
bid. Soon after Lord Herbert's death, having finished the 
paper on his work, she left the Burlington Hotel finally, 
and was inclined to shut herself up from friends and fellow 
workers. Her correspondence was to go through her uncle's 
hands, and he was to give no one her address. A great 
and overwhelming affliction, he was to say, entirely pre- 

230 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

eluded her from seeing or writing to anybody. She was 
in such extreme discouragement that her fellow workers 
feared her working days were over, and this was intensified 
by the loss of Clough. "She saw my father," wrote Mr. 
Smith's daughter, Beatrice, "to speak only of Arthur, as only 
she can speak. She was quite natural, very affectionate, 
very, very much moved." For months she could not bear 
to open a newspaper for dread of seeing a loved name. "I 
believe it is a morbid peculiarity of long illness," she wrote 
to Mrs. Clough, "the loss of power of resistance to morbid 
thoughts." But she was drawn into work again by the 
possibility of "saving something from the wreck," as she 
put it, and the years which followed these sorrows were to 
be among the busiest and most useful in her life. 

In the first place, the "reign of muffs" had not set in so 
hopelessly as she supposed. Lord de Grey, who now re- 
turned to the War Office Under-secretaryship under Sir 
George Lewis, could not be counted among the muffs. He 
told Monckton Milnes "with much earnestness" that he 
would do all in his power, hmited though it was, to for- 
ward Miss Nightingale's "great and wise designs." He was 
in the councils of the "Cabal" and during his earlier ten- 
ure of office, he had already, at Mr. Herbert's request, 
drawn up a clear and careful scheme of reorganisation in 
accordance with their views — of reorganisation, that is, of 
the only part of the administrative machine which Parlia- 
ment had left them free to operate upon. For a Select 
Committee of the House of Commons had reported against 
any interference with the Commander-in-Chief's powers. 
As to the War Office, however, there was hope; and its 
"chaos," as the Select Committee called it. Lord de Grey 
had proposed should be organised into four great depart- 
ments, the heads of which were to be competent military 
technicians with distinct functions and directly responsible 
to the Secretary of State and to the Parliamentary JJnder 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 231 

Secretary, who was to be relieved from departmental work 
and become his chief's deputy. Lord Herbert, not long 
before his death, had presented this minute to the Cabinet 
and it had been accepted. He had wished De Grey to 
be his successor; but the office had fallen to Sir George 
Lewis, Gladstone being determined that the heads of the 
great spending departments should be in the Commons. 
As Lord de Grey was not to be in the chief seat himself, 
it was fortunate that he had over him a man who took 
little interest in the department,"* and he was thus able 
quickly to rectify the position of the Under Secretary (him- 
self) in the sense of his scheme. The change gave him 
new leverage for reform, and within a month he had set 
up a Director of Ordnance responsible for the supply of 
war material. For the moment he could do no more. But 
in May 1862 the chief obstruction was removed by the 
death of Sir B. Hawes — "Ben Hawes," who had beaten 
Lord Herbert. Miss Nightingale's hopes revived and she 
wrote to Lord de Grey. There was "but one man who 
could carry through the reorganisation," and that was him- 
self. Lord Herbert, she recalled to him, had intended to 
put Captain Galton in one of the headships of Depart- 

Lord de Grey was ready and willing; but the Horse 
Guards were not. They considered the appointment and 
the necessary re-arrangement "simply impossible." Miss 
Nightingale had to carry the case to the Prime Minister. 

Miss Nightingale to Her Father, 9, Chesterfield St. 

Poor Queen's Birthday, 1862. I must tell you the first 
joy I have had since poor Sidney Herbert's death. Lord 
Palmerston has forced Sir G. Lewis to carry out Mr. Her- 
bert's and my plan for the reorganisation of the War Office 
in some measure. Hawes's place is not to be filled up. 

*Sir George Lewis became "the Muff" in Miss Nightingale's cor- 

' See letter from Miss Nightingale to Lord de Grey. Life of Lord Ripon 
pp. 181-2. 

232 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Galton is to do his work as Assistant Under-Secretary. 
This brings with it some other reforms. Lord de Grey 
says that he can reorganise the War Oflace with Captain 
Galton, because Sir G. Lewis will know nothing about it, 
and never inquires. Sir G. Lewis wrote it (innocently) 
to the Queen yesterday, and Captain Galton was appointed 
today, resigning the Army of course. No, Sir Charles Trev- 
elyan would not have done at all [in Hawes's place]. It 
would have been perpetuating the principle (which I have 
been fighting against in all my official life, i.e., for eight 
years) of having a dictator, an autocrat, irresponsible to 
Parliament, quite unassailable from any quarter, immov- 
able in the middle of a (so-called) constitutional govern- 
ment and under a Secretary of State who is responsible 
to Parliament. And, inasmuch as Trevelyan is a better 
and abler man than Hawes, it would have been worse for 
any reform of principle. I don't mean to say that I am 
the first person who has laid down this. But I do believe 
I am the first person who has felt it so bitterly, keenly, 
constantly as to give up life, health, joy, congenial occu- 
pation for a thankless work like this. ... It has come too 
late to give happiness to Galton, as it has come too late 
for me. He seems more depressed than pleased. And 1 
do believe, if he feels any pleasure, it is that now he can 
carry out Sidney Herbert's plans in some measure. And 
it may seem to you some compensation for the enormous 
expense I cause you, that if I had not been here, it would 
not have been done. Would that Sidney Herbert could 
have lived to do it himself! Would that poor Clough 
could have lived to see it! He wished for it so much — for 
my sake. ... 

The new arrangement was not quite as symmetrical as 
the original scheme, but it gave Galton a share with the 
new Permanent Under Secretary in the direction of the 
office, and in the co-ordination of the various departments; 
and it disposed between these two officials of the work of a 
second of the four departments that had been proposed— 
the only one which akeady had a well defined sphere — 
that of the "Secretary for Military Correspondence," a name 
redolent of the dual control of military affairs, for the cor- 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 233 

respondence iii question was largely correspondence with 
the Horse Guards. For Miss Nightingale's own work, Gal- 
ton's new appointment was important. He was in close 
touch with her/ and thenceforth until his retirement in 
1869 she had a valuable standing ally within the War 

The third great department was soon after constituted 
by appointing an officer of Engineers as adviser of the 
Secretary of State on all engineering questions, and head 
of a department comprising Fortifications and Works. The 
Barrack and Hospital Improvement Commission, of which 
Dr. Sutherland was the paid member, was put on a per- 
manent basis. Miss Nightingale secured for it the right 
to report directly to the Secretary of State, and she drew 
up its instructions. "Lord de Grey said," wrote Galton, 
"that he had adopted exactly your minute about the In- 
structions to the Commission." Most of the plans for new 
barracks and hospitals were submitted to her searching 
criticism, as were all regulations for military hospitals and 
their nursing staff. 

The work of supply, of which Miss Nightingale had 
so extensive and peculiar a knowledge, was the last left in 
the region of chaos. Miss Nightingale preached the neces- 
sity of reform incessantly and plied her War Office friends 
with schemes, calling always for clear responsibility and 
logically defined functions. "What strikes me in them," 
she said of some papers submitted to her (June 1862), "is 
the black ignorance, the total want of unagination as to a 
state of war in which the War Office seems to be. Really 
if it was a Joint Stock Company for the manufacture of 
skins, it could not, as far as appears, be less accustomed 
to contemplate, or to imagine, or to remember a state of 
war." And again, on papers dealing with the Commissariat 
and its banking functions: "Is a man who buys bullocks 

*His wife was her first cousin. Marianne Nicholson. 

234 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

the best man to be a banker? Would it not be better to 
have a separate Treasurer for the Army to receive all 
moneys and issue them to all departments? In private life 
nobody makes his steward or butler his banker. It would 
not be economical. Finance is as much a specialty as 
marketing, and as much so, to say the least of it, in the 
Army as in private life." She had a conclusive argument 
against the confusion of functions: it worked badly in the 

It was at this stage of the War Office story that Miss 
Nightingale heard one day from her brother-in-law, Sir 
Harry Verney, of the sudden death of Sir George Lewis, 
the Secretary for War. Three men were talked of for the 
succession. One was Lord de Grey, but he himself was 
not very hopeful of the promotion. Gladstone knew him 
for one of the extravagants of the War Office, and still 
wished for the Secretary for War to be in the Commons. 
The second was Lord Panmure, whose advent would mean 
more of the unpleasant task of bullying the Bison; and 
the third was Cardwell, of whom Miss Nightingale knew 
nothing. There was no doubt about her choice. A tele- 
gram preserved by Miss Martineau shows how "a good 
press" was obtained for Lord de Grey. 

From Florence Nightingale to Harriet Martineau — Agi- 
tate, agitate, for Lord de Grey to succeed Sir George Lewis. 

The Daily News informed the world next day that public 
opinion expected the appointment of Lord de Grey. Miss 
Nightingale also used her court of last instance: she wrote 
to Lord Pahnerston. The letter was committed to Sir 
Harry Verney, with strict instructions as to what he was 
to do with it. This was Sir Harry's report of his mission: 

Cleveland Row, Ap. 15. 
From Hampstead I returned to South St. [to his house] 
and found your letter. Thence to Cambridge House. Lord 
Pahnerston was so good as to admit me. I said that I had 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 235 

seen you this morning, and that by your desire I requested 
him to allow me to read a letter to him from you. He 
said "Certainly"; and I read it to him rather slowly. Hav- 
ing read it, I said you had mentioned this morning that 
within a fortnight of Lord Herbert's death, he had said 
to you more than once that he hoped Lord de Grey might 
be his successor. I then added, "I have not to request 
any reply or observations on Miss Nightingale's letter. I 
have only to thank you for your kindness in allowing me 
to read it." He took the letter and put it in his pocket. 
He then asked how you are, and where, and I told him. 
There is a Cabinet at 5:30 this afternoon. I think if 
Gladstone has your note before going to it, it might be 

Gladstone had already had a copy of the letter to Lord 
Palmerston, and had answered that he saw great difficulty 
in not having the head of the War Office, with its vast 
expenditure, in the Commons. 

But Lord Palmerston took the letter with him to Wind- 
sor and read it to the Queen," and on April 22 it was an- 
nounced that Her Majesty had approved the appointment 
of Lord de Grey as Secretary of State for War. Lord de 
Grey's biographer thinks that he never knew of Miss Night- 
ingale's part in his appointment. He was astonished at 
his own success and could hardly believe it.' 

During Lord de Grey's tenure of the Secretaryship of 
State and under his successor, the remaining part of those 
War Office responsibilities which were still, in his words of 
1860, "wild, indefinite, and unprofessional," were dealt with. 
In 1863 he carried out part of his scheme by taking the 
clothing business from the old Stores Department and 
making it a separate branch under a Director of Clothing. 
It was not till two years later that he was able to appoint 

*It had been thought the Queen would object to the appointment 
to such a position of a man who had not yet been in the Cabinet. 

'Li/e oj Lord Ripon, pp. 192-3. Mr. Wolf adds that "Together with 
Tom Hughes, Miss Nightingale frequently whipped up her friends in 
the Press to help her friend in Pall Mall, and in this way did much 
io smooth his path." 

236 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

a Commission on Military Transport. Its powers were 
enlarged by General Peel, who succeeded him, and as the 
result of its Report, a supplies department was at last 
created on the lines of the original scheme, though with 
rather larger functions. All business relating to sup- 
plies, stores, transport and clothing was placed under a 
Military chief directly responsible to the Secretary of 

By the time this last reform was carried Miss Nightingale 
was deep in other work, and it does not appear that she 
was concerned in it latterly. But the above general outline 
will show that between 1861 and 1868 a substantial reform 
of military administration was effected on the lines of and 
in direct descent from the scheme for which Lord Herbert 
was officially responsible.' 

Miss Nightingale was much concerned in the current 
work of the War Office during these years. Her position 
as the first expert of the day on her special questions was 
so well established that though, without Lord Herbert's 
support, she was deprived of much in the scope and direct- 
ness of her influence on War Office policy, her work, even 
for the War Office itself, remained as constant and varied 
as when her friend was Secretary of State. Her position 
was an extraordinary one. She was a kind of Advisory 
Council to the War Office, a privileged consultant and vol- 
unteer draughtsman, with the right of initiating sugges- 

'^The changes here described were by no means the end of the story, 
for modifications and re-organisations have taken place at different times 
during Miss Nightingale's life and later. The complex problem of good 
administrative method is not peculiar to the War Office. Distinction of 
functions in separate branches has to be reconciled with the local man's 
initiative in his various matters of concern. Intelligent and responsible 
service throughout a Department of State has to be reconciled with Par- 
liamentary control of finance. Those who wish for light on these vital 
problems of Government will find it in a most readable article on Decen- 
tralisation, by Sir Charles Harris, late of the War Office, in the Journal of 
Public Administration for April, 1925. 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 237 

tions.' Minutes, Warrants, Regulations, Plans of Barracks 
and of Hospitals, and Rules for Nurses, passed to and fro. 
Nearly every vexed question of administration (other than 
purely military) came to her, and she carried on an iinmense 
correspondence with Ministers, with Captain Douglas Gal- 
ton, and with the Secretary of the Barrack and Hospital 
Commission. Dr. Sutherland, her constant assistant, was 
a member of this Commission and of the Army Sanitary 
Committee. Lord de Grey was ready both as Under Sec- 
retary and as Secretary of State to ask and to take her 
advice. She was on very friendly terms with him and he 
was a valuable ally, though he lacked the brilliance and 
popularity of Sidney Herbert, and his modesty deprived 
him of some of his due honour as a genuine reformer 
and a man of industry, good sense and rare disinterest- 

At the end of 1861 he made a call upon her which 
brought into play all her war experience. Britain was in 
danger of being involved in the American Civil War 
through the Trent affair, and it was decided to send rein- 
forcements to Canada. Lord de Grey was charged with 
many of the preparations, and he consulted Miss Night- 
ingale as to sanitary arrangements — transports, hospitals, 
clothing of the troops, supplies and comforts for the sick, 
and generally upon the defects and dangers to be p» ovided 

'The War Office was not the only department which consulted her. 
There is a correspondence with Mr. N. S. (afterwards Mr. Justice) Wright 
on Colonial prisons on which he was reporting for the Colonial Office. 
He thought it would be "a great advantage" if he might say she approved 
of his conclusions. On her own initiative, she carried on a large work 
through the Colonial Office from 1860 to 1864 — an enquiry into the causes 
of the disappearance of native races in British dominions. This arose from 
talks with Sir George Grey, the great Colonial statesman, whom she met 
in 1859 and 1860. She was among the pioneers in advocating protection 
for these races by the provision of lands, suppression of the liquor traffic, 
and wise adaptation of educational methods to their habits of life and 
hygienic needs. See her papers for the Social Science Congress, 1863 and 

238 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

against. He also asked her for the names of suitable men 
for the position of Principal Medical Officer, and he con- 
sulted her again before making the appointment. All her 
suggestions for the Instructions to Officers were adopted. 
She worked out the problems of the special Canadian con- 
ditions in great detail, calculating the distances that might 
have to be covered in sledges, counting relays and depots, 
comparing the relative weights and warming capacities of 
blankets and buffalo robes. "I have been working just 
as I did in the times of Sidney Herbert," she told Harriet 
Martineau, and, "the Horse Guards were so terrified at the 
idea of the national indignation if they lost another army 
that they have consented to everything." But her advice 
on this occasion was, most happily, not put to the test 
of war. 

She was also consulted on behalf of the American Gov- 

"Did I tell you," she wrote to Dr. Farr" (8 October 1861) 
"that I had forwarded to the War Secretary at Washington, 
upon application, all our War Office Forms and Reports, 
statistical and other, taking the occasion to tell them that 
as the U. S. had adopted our Registrar-General's nomencla- 
ture, it would be easier for them to adopt our Army Statis- 
tics Forms? ... I also took occasion to tell them of our 
Chinese success in reducing the Army mortality to one- 
tenth of what it was, and the Constantly Sick to one- 
seventh of what they were during the first winter of the 
Crimean War, due to my dear master." 

When the Civil War broke out, the Crimean example 
at once took effect. A "Woman's Central Association of 
Relief" was formed in New York. In co-operation with 
other bodies, they petitioned the Secretary of War to ap- 
point a Sanitary Commission, and after some delay this was 
done. Camps were inspected, women nurses were sent to 
the hospitals, improved cookery was instituted, and, in 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 239 

short, much of Miss Nightingale's Crimean work was repro- 

As one who had had experience of war and had worked 
for the Army, she wrote in 1861 a stirring letter on the 
Volunteer movement which Sidney Herbert had organised 
in 1859. Displayed in large print on a card, it must have 
attracted many recruits. "The nation can never go back 
which is capable of such a movement as this : not the spirit 
of an hour." She upheld the voluntary spirit, and also 
the supreme importance of training. "Garibaldi's Volun- 
teers did excellently in guerilla movements; they failed 
before a fourth-rate regular army." 

The Army Medical School was still in need of Miss 
Nightingale's good offices in many difficulties, and during 
1862-63 there is a long series of letters from her to the 
War Office in which she persistently pleaded for improve- 
ments in the status and emoluments of the Army doctors. 
From first to last, she was the most efficient friend that 
the Army Medical Service ever had. "In re Medical War- 
rant," she writes to Captain Galton (24 December 1863), 
"I am meek and humble, but 'I cut up rough.' I am the 
animal of whom Buffon spoke, 'Cet animal feroce mord 
tous ceux qui veulent le tuer.' You must do something for 
these doctors, or they will do for you, simply by not 
coming to you." There is a series of letters to Sir James 
Clark (1864): 

April 6. I have written threatening letters both to Lord de 
Grey and to Captain Galton about the [Medical Officers'] 
Warrant; and after pointing out that both restoration of 
Warrant and increase of pay are now necessary, I have 
shown how, when we are exacting duties from the Medical 
Officer, such as sanitary recommendations to his Command- 

' An account of the work of the Commission is dedicated to Miss Night- 
ingale. "All that is herein chronicled," says the author, "you have a right 
to claim as the result of your own work" — A Woman's Example and a 
Nation's Work: A Tribute to Florence Nightingale. London. W. Ridg- 
way. 1864. 

240 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

ing Officer, which essentially require him to have the stand- 
ing of a gentleman with his Commanding Officer — we are 
doing things, such as dismounting him at parade, depriving 
him of presidency at Boards, etc., which in military life, to a 
degree we have no idea of in civil life, deprive him of the 
weight of a gentleman among gentlemen. 

April 7. The W. 0. seem now willing to listen to some 
kind of terms. They are frightened. They sent me your 
letter. It was very good, very firm. Don't be conciliatory. 

April 11. What is wanted is to put a muzzle on the 
Duke of Cambridge, and to tell him that he must not alter 
a Royal Warrant. 

April 15. You may think I am not wise in being so 
angry. But I assure you, when I write civilly, I have a 
civil answer — and nothing is done. When I write furiously, 
I have a rude letter — and something is done (not even then 
always, but only then). 

And to Galton : "I send you my protest about the Med- 
ical School. Make what use of it you like. But if we fail, 
I shall refer it to Lord Palmerston, who, as you know, 
befriended us on a former occasion (after Hawes' death)" — 
a home thrust, as that was the occasion of Galton's own 

A very congenial piece of work fell to her that year. 
The International Red Cross, now so familiar in war, was 
initiated by a Swiss doctor, M. Henri Dunant. He had 
witnessed the horrors of the bloody battlefield of Solferino, 
and from that time he devoted his life to founding and 
extending the Geneva Convention. In a paper on the 
movement read in London in 1872 he generously gave the 
honour of the Convention to an Englishwoman: "What 
inspired me to go to Italy during the war of 1859 was the 
work of Miss Florence Nightingale in the Crimea." In the 
work of the International Congress which framed the Con- 
vention in August 1864, she had a more direct share. The 
British delegates were her friend Dr. Longmore, of the 
Army Medical Department, and Dr. Rutherford; and their 
Instructions were drafted by her. 

Miss Nightingale Remains at Her Post 241 

Societies formed under the Red Cross were soon organ- 
ized throughout Europe, and the movement led to a great 
development of volunteer nursing in war." 

^'The English society was not formed till the outbreak of the Franco- 
Prussian War. See below, p. 301. 



Another large undertaking, begun earlier, was running 
concurrently with this work for the War Office. In 1859 
Miss Nightingale, in the thick of the work of the Sub- 
Commissions, and in very weak health, had begun laying 
plans for the health of the Indian Army. "I must tell you 
a secret," she wrote to Harriet Martineau, "because I think 
it will please you. For eight long months I have been 
'importunate widowing' my 'unjust judge,' viz., Lord Stan- 
ley, to give us a Royal Sanitary Commission to do exactly 
the same thing for the Armies in India which the last did 
for the Armies at home. We have just won it. The Queen 
has signed the Warrant. So it is safe. Mr. Sidney Herbert 
is chairman, of course. Drs. Sutherland, Martin, Farr and 
Alexander, whose names will be known to you, and Sir R. 
Vivian and Sir P. Cautley of the India Council are on it." 

Lord Stanley had been introduced to her by Monckton 
Milnes in 1857 as likely to prove a useful friend. Already 
an enthusiast for Miss Nightingale and her work, he had 
begged, on making her personal acquaintance, to be allowed 
to receive "future instructions" from her, and had already 
done some services for her, such as asking questions in the 
House of Commons. His move from the Colonial to the 
India Office gave Miss Nightingale her chance. He agreed 
at once to her suggestion of the Commission, but the mem- 
bership and the terms of reference took months of cor- 
respondence and scheming on the part of Miss Nightingale 
and Mr. Herbert. Before the Commission was appointed 
Miss Nightingale was already at work with Dr. Sutherland 


The Armies in India 243 

and Dr. Farr issuing forms of enquiry, collecting statistics, 
and getting written evidence from authorities in India. 
The Commission began to take oral evidence in November 
1859, and Miss Nightingale, as with its predecessor, sup- 
plied questions to be put and saw some of the witnesses 
before they gave their evidence. One of these visitors was 
Sir John Lawrence. 

When Mr. Herbert became Secretary for War, Lord Stan- 
ley, who in turn went out of office, succeeded him as chair- 
man of the Indian Commission. Miss Nightingale thus 
still had her channel, and it was towards this Commission 
she turned when the death of Sidney Herbert seemed to 
close the chapter of War Office reorganisation. The Com- 
mission was her main interest in 1862, and gave her an 
enormous amount of work in that and the next year. Lord 
Stanley, as Mr. Herbert had done in the earlier Commis- 
sion, relied chiefly on her, on Dr. Sutherland and Dr. Farr. 
But of the three, Miss Nightingale did the lion's share of 
the work. 

The Report of the Indian Sanitary Commission consists 
of two formidable Bluebooks of over 2,000 pages in all, 
mostly in small print; and of this mountainous mass the 
greater part in one way or another bears her impress. She 
and Dr. Sutherland, in their analysis of the replies to her 
questions, put together the most complete picture of British 
and native life that had yet been recorded. There were 
vanloads of these replies, she said, which cost her £4.10 
to move whenever she changed houses. The twenty-three 
pnges of "Observations by Miss Nightingale" on the reports, 
written at the formal request of the Commission, are among 
her best works. They are extremely readable and are en- 
livened by woodcuts illustrating Indian hospitals and bar- 
racks, and native customs as to water supply and drainage. 
The Treasury objected to the cost of the illustrations, and 
Miss Nightingale, paying for them herself and for the 
printing, too, seized the opportunity to get a number of 

244 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

copies struck off for private use in Royal, professional and 
other distinguished quarters. The paper, Dr. Farr wrote 
to Dr. Sutherland, was ''a masterpiece, in her best style; 
and will rile the enemy very considerable — all for his good, 
poor creature." Sir Bartle Frere, when asked later how 
the sanitary crusade was set going, and what gave Miss 
Nightingale her influence in India, said that it was not 
done by the big Bluebook, which nobody read, but by 
"a certain little red book" — "which made some of us very 
savage at the time, but did us all immense good." This 
little red book was a reprint of the "Observations." Sir 
John Lawrence, among many others, studied it closely and 
corresponded with her about it. 

The "Observations" are a synopsis of the whole sub- 
ject, including every aspect of the soldiers' lives, and such 
kindred subjects as Native Towns, Soldiers' Wives, and 
Statistics. The language often has a racy character un- 
usual in Bluebooks. The prevailing diseases, she showed 
from the Stational Reports, were camp diseases, such as 
she had seen in the war, largely due to the choice of unsuit- 
able sites. Other causes were Bad Water, Bad Drainage, 
Filthy Bazaars, Want of Ventilation, Overcrowding in Bar- 
rack Huts and in Sick Wards. The diet was uniform, with 
no adaptation to season or climate. The neglect of ele- 
mentary precautions was such as is almost incredible now. 
"Where tests have been used, the composition of the water 
reads like a very intricate prescription," including "quanti- 
ties of animal and vegetable matter, which the reports ap- 
parently consider nutritive." She ventures to doubt if cess- 
pits are desirable adjuncts to kitchens. She overhauls the 
returns of sickness due to drink, and discusses the results 
of "Want of Occupation and Exercise." Idleness and drink 
were almost the worst features of the barrack life. Apart 
from drill, the - soldiers had nothing to do. Unsuitably 
dressed for the climate, they had little temptation to go out, 
and spent most of their spare time lolling on their beds. 

The Ai'mies in India 245 

If they did go out, nothing offered except drink and vice. 
The soldier was supposed to be a drunken animal by nature. 
The only question was whether he should get drunk on 
canteen spirits or on bazaar spirits; and liver disease from 
drink was then regarded as almost the natural end of 
Europeans in India, even in classes far better placed for 
health than the private soldiers. 

Besides holding up defects to shame. Miss Nightingale 
picked out better opinions and hopeful experunents, and 
on all these matters she made constructive proposals; and 
she constantly insisted on the importance of an Indian 
sanitary service to carry out the reforms. 

Of the Report itself, the introductory first page or two 
was written by Lord Stanley. He entrusted the statistical 
part of the body of the Report to Dr. Farr and the rest to 
Miss Nightingale and Dr. Sutherland. The Recommenda- 
tions may be described as a Sanitary Charter for the Army 
in India — a charter which in succeeding years was grad- 
ually put into force. In 1850 it was shown that the aver- 
age annual death rate of British soldiers in India from 
the year 1817 had been 69 per 1,000. ''Besides deaths from 
natural causes (9 per 1,000) 60 head per 1,000 of our troops 
perish annually in India. It is at that expense that we 
have held dominion there for a century; a company out 
of every regiment has been sacrificed every twenty months. 
These companies fade away in the prime of life; leave 
few children; and have to be replaced, at great cost, by 
successive shiploads of recruits." 

As in England, new machinery was necessary to carry 
out the reforms, and for this she had a stiff fight on the 
Commission. The Commissioners were agreed on a Sani- 
tary Commission for each Indian Presidency, but a main- 
spring was required at home if a high standard was to be 
kept up. Miss Nightingale proposed the formation of a 
Sanitary Department at the India Office. This she failed 
to carry, but after much labour in the shape of discussion, 

246 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

interviews and correspondence, she succeeded in a second 
best scheme — the reinforcement of the standing Army Sani- 
tary Committee at the War Office by two Indian officials, 
and for a third, her Crimean friend, Mr. Rawlinson, the 
leading English sanitary engineer. The body thus formed 
was to act as a standing Sanitary Commission for India. 

"I cannot help telling you, in the joy of my heart," Miss 
Nightingale wrote to Harriet Martineau (May 19), "that 
the final meeting of the India Sanitary Commission was 
held today — that the Report was signed — and that after a 
very tough battle, lasting three days, to convince these 
people that a Report is not self-executive, our Working 
Commission was carried. . . . This is the dawn of a new 
day for India in sanitary things, not only as regards our 
Army, but as regards the native population." 

But this was not the end. The support of public opinion 
had to be secured. Miss Nightingale's arts as a manip- 
ulator of the press were at once brought to bear for popu- 
larising the findings. By Lord Stanley's authority, and the 
good offices of Mr. Spottiswoode, the Queen's printer, she 
got some of the earliest copies of the Report, sent them to 
friendly writers and influential people, and arranged for 
reviews in newspapers and magazines in Edinburgh and 
Dublin as well as in London. It appeared, however, that 
the full Report was not to be accessible to the public. A 
shorter version had been officially prepared, leaving out 
the reports from the stations and Miss Nightingale's "Ob- 
servations." If this was done designedly to suppress the 
facts, and not, as alleged, in "mistake," it failed in its 
object; for Dr. Sutherland and Dr. Farr at once arranged 
with a publisher to reprint the "Observations," which had 
a large sale ; and Miss Nightingale, by prompting her many 
acquaintances to apply for the original volumes, created 
quite a run upon them. She was resolved, too, that the 
essential parts of the Report should be available to every 
officer or official in India who could further the cause. 

The Armies in India 247 

"Done in some way or other I am determined it shall be," 
she wrote to a War Office friend. And she got Lord de 
Grey's consent to issue a fresh abbreviated edition of the 
Report, prepared by herself, for circulation among com- 
manding, engineering and medical officers in India, and per- 
suaded the Secretary for War to write a preface to it. 
"Surely Sir Charles Wood will be very grateful to you for 
remedying his mistake." She put on pressure in another 
way by offering to bear the cost if the Treasury objected; 
in one way or another, she said, she had spent £700 in 
connection with the report of the Royal Commission on 
the British Army, and the cost for India would be less. 
This shorter report in turn had its press campaign — a series 
of articles in the Times — for Miss Nightingale knew a friend 
of Delano's. 

The next step was to induce the departments to carry 
out the recommendations of the Commission. In some ways 
the position was more difficult than it had been in the case 
of the Commission on the British Army. There was now 
not only the War Office to deal with, but the India Office 
and the Government of India. On the other hand, sanitary 
ideas had now taken root in the public mind, as Lord Stan- 
ley said, and could not be treated as visionary. Directly 
the report was signed. Miss Nightingale was urgent with 
hei^ chairman to be up and doing. But, though friendly, 
he was not of an enthusiastic temperament, and he pre- 
ferred to wait. Help could not be offered to the depart- 
ments by "an outsider" he considered (July 10, 1863), but 
if Sir C. Wood desired assistance in giving effect to the 
sanitary projects, he would not refuse it. Accordingly it 
became Miss Nightingale's business to see that Sir C. Wood 
did desire assistance. Beginning at the further end of the 
chain, she saw Lord de Grey (W.O.), Lord de Grey saw 
Sir Charles Wood (I.O.), and Sir Charles Wood saw Lord 
Stanley and was induced to declare himself ready to act 
on the recommendations of the Commission. He did in 

248 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

fact send a dispatch proposing the formation of Sanitary 
Commissions, and Miss Nightingale was asked to draft a 
code of sanitary suggestions for India. But there was trou- 
ble with the military element in the India Office. The 
work came to a standstill, and Miss Nightingale had to 
''urge and bait" Lord Stanley (as she put it) to come up 
from the country, and set it going again. He came up in 
November, and went to Miss Nightingale before seeing Sir 
Charles Wood. 

At this moment came a change in the Government of 
India. Lord Elgin died and was succeeded by Sir John 
Lawrence. Miss Nightingale had perhaps a deeper admira- 
tion for Lawrence than for any other of the many states- 
men with whom she came in contact. He was a hero in 
action, rarely disinterested, devoted to his own high stan- 
dard of duty, wise, yet simple, in life and character and in 
unaffected piety. She had had an opportunity for put- 
ting in her fervent word for his appointment. Sir Charles 
Wood had consulted Lord Stanley, his predecessor at the 
India Ofl5ce, who in turn had talked it over with her. Law- 
rence was to start for India unmediately, and Lord Stanley 
suggested and even urged that Miss Nightingale should 
see him. 

Lord Stanley to Miss Nightingale, December 1 [1863] 

Sir J. Lawrence's appointment is a great step gained. 
He knows what is wanted and has no prejudices in favour 
of the existing military administration. I shall see him 
tonight and shall probably be able to have some talk with 
him on the subject [of sanitation]. But why should he 
not see you? The plans are in the main yours; no one can 
explain them better. You have been in frequent cor- 
respondence with him. . . . Let me repeat — you must 
manage to see Sir John Lawrence. He does not go till 
the 10th. Your position in respect of this whole subject 
is so peculiar that advice from you will come with greater 
weight than from anyone else. 

The Armies in India 249 

Lord Stanley took pains to satisfy himself that the inter- 
view was arranged. "How kind it was of Lord Stanley," 
wrote Miss Nightingale in a reminiscence thirty years later. 
"He came like a footman to my door, and without giving 
his name, sent up to ask whether Sir John Lawrence was 
coming. The interview was one never to be forgotten." 
Lawrence was the first of a succession of high Indian ojE- 
cials who made a point of coming to Miss Nightingale 
before leaving for their posts. 

"I have had the great joy," she wrote to Dr. Farr (De- 
cember 10), "of being in constant communication with 
Sir John Lawrence, and of receiving his commands to do 
what I had almost lost the hope of being allowed to do — • 
viz., of sending out full statements and schemes of what 
we want the Presidency Commissions to do. I should be 
glad to submit to you copies of papers of mine which he 
desired me to write and which he took out with him. . . . 
And with Sir John Lawrence's command, we feel ourselves 
empowered to begin the Home Commission ^ and to further 
our plans upon it. Sir John Lawrence, so far from con- 
sidering our Report exaggerated, considers it under the 

Within a month of his arrival, Lawrence had set up 
Sanitary Commissions for the Presidencies and was writing 
to Miss Nightingale for "codes, rules and plans" in use at 
home, that might be adapted to Indian needs. She had 
already prepared, with her advisers' help, "Suggestions in 
Regard to Sanitary Works Required for the Improvement 
of Indian Stations" at his urgent request, and she had also 
at Lord de Grey's request drafted an explanatory letter for 
the India Office to send to the War Office. But then came 
a deadlock. Days, weeks and months passed and nothing 
happened. The Viceroy continued to ask for Miss Night- 
ingale's suggestions and Miss Nightingale to urge the War 

^The original Barrack and Hospital Commission, reinforced by India 
Office representatives, as already described (p. 209). It was afterwards 
called the Army Sanitary Commission. 

250 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Office on, but the Departments had ceased to function. 
No work was referred to the Sanitary Committee at home, 
no suggestions reached the Sanitary Commissions in India. 
It turned out to be a matter of departmental dignity. The 
India Office did not like being advised by the War Office, 
and the War Office complained that it had been "snubbed" 
and was sulking. And another difficulty was that though 
many of the recommendations of the Royal Commission 
could be carried out by administrative order, it could not 
always be ascertained with what authority the power or 
the responsibility of making the order lay. The tangle of 
responsibilities and spheres was almost Crimean, and Miss 
Nightingale declared that 'T.O., W.O., Horse Guards at 
home, Commander-in-Chief in India are as little defined 
in their respective powers and duties as if India were the 
Sandwich Islands." She was preparing to threaten the 
War Office with the House of Commons when the "out- 
sider," Lord Stanley, reappeared on the scene. He was 
now a prominent member of the Opposition, and his prom- 
ise of support for India Office sanitary measures oiled the 
official wheels effectively. Miss Nightingale's Suggestions 
at last came before the Army Sanitary Commission, and 
were adopted with slight alterations. 

The title page of the Bluebook states that the Sug- 
gestions were prepared by the said Commission "in accord- 
ance with Letters from the Secretary of State for India in 
Council." The fact was that they were prepared by Miss 
Nightingale in accordance with the wishes of Sir John 

When the Suggestions had thus been passed officially, 
Miss Nightingale had no need to wait for the War Office. 

"I beg to inform you," she wrote to Captain Galton at 
the War Office (August 8), "that by the first mail after sig- 
nature I sent off by H.M.'s book post, at an enormous ex- 
pense (I have a good mind to charge it to you!), to Sir 
John Lawrence direct no end of copies of Suggestions (also 

The Armies in India 251 

to the Presidency Commissions) ; and that as he is always 
more ready to hear than you to pray (you sinners!) I 
have not the least doubt that they will have been put in 
execution long before the India Office has even begun to 
send them." 

She may have remembered that some of the recommen- 
dations of the Royal Commission had been put in force 
before the Government of India had officially received 
copies of the Report. And in fact six or seven weeks passed 
before the Suggestions officially reached India. 

In India advance was now rapid, and Miss Nightingale 
was informed of every step by Sir John Lawrence, his sec- 
retary Dr. Hathaway, the Presidents of the Commissions 
and others. To Sir John Lawrence she wrote with admir- 
ing reverence. There was no need here for irksome "bait- 
ing" and "bullying." "What work it is!" she writes of the 
Bengal Sanitary Commission (September 26, 1864). "All 
we have in Europe is mere child's play to it. Health is 
the product of civilisation, i.e., of real civilisation. In 
Europe we have a kind of civilisation to proceed upon. In 
India your work represents, not only diminished mortality 
as with us, but increase of energy, increase of power of the 
populations. I always feel as if God had said: Mankind 
is to create mankind. In this sense you are the greatest 
creator of mankind in modern history." Her thoughts were 
busy not only with the soldiers but with the Indian popula- 
tions. She draws Lawrence's attention to the Police and 
other hospitals in Calcutta, to the condition of the Indian 
Jails and Lunatic Asylums, to the need of Sailors' Homes 
at the Indian ports. The Commissions themselves, besides 
their strictly military work, were charged with the sanitary 
improvement of towns in proximity to Military Stations. 
"I sing for joy every day," she wrote, "at Sir John Law- 
rence's Government." 

Sir Hugh Rose, Commander-in-Chief in India, was hardly 
less helpful. He introduced regimental workshops and sol- 

252 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

diers' gardens in cantonments. In a preface to a paper 
giving a resume of the Royal Commission's report ^ she told 
how the soldiers were being given workshops and trades, 
gymnasia, savings banks, games, libraries, gardens; how 
drink and disease were diminishing by regulation and 
through the provision of healthy work and pleasure; and 
what remained to be done in such ways. 

The main direct causes of disease among the men were, 
however, want of drainage, want of good water, want of 
proper barracks and hospitals. In these respects, too, she 
set going a work which has since been continuous, and in 
which she played a part for many years as consultant and 
sometimes as inspirer. The co-operation between Florence 
Nightingale and Sir John Lawrence did as much for the 
British Army in India as that between her and Sidney 
Herbert did for the Army in England. The death rate from 
disease in the Indian Army has sunk far below the figure 
(10 per 1,000) which the Royal Commission named as a 
counsel of perfection. 

It is impossible here to give a full account of Miss Night- 
ingale's many-sided work for Indian sanitation and hy- 
giene. In England Lord Stanley was her constant cor- 
respondent and acted for her in matters where it was nec- 
essary to treat with Sir Charles Wood. She found him "a 
splendid worker," and one of his letters at this time gives 
his view of her position. 

Lord Stanley to Miss Nightingale, St. James's Square, 
July 25 [1864] 
I don't wonder that the delays of the "savage tribe" 
should try your patience; and I admire the more the care 
and success with which you keep outward show of annoy- 
ance to yourself. I had rather be criticised by anyone 
than you! I am only passing through town today . . . but 
shall be again in this place on Thursday and ready to wait 
upon you if any matters want settling. If not, I can only 

^ It was a reprint of a paper read at the Social Science Congress (October 
1863) entitled "How People May Live and Not Die in India." 

The Armies in India 253 

wish you health — success is sure to come — and beg that 
you will remember the value of your own public service 
and not by overwork endanger its continuance. Pray ex- 
cuse a caution which I am sure I am not the first to give. 
Every day convinces me more of two things : first, the vast 
influence on the public mind of the Sanitary Commissions 
of the last few years — I mean in the way of spreading ideas 
which otherwise would have been confined to a few persons ; 
and next, that all this has been due to you, and to you 
almost alone. 





Though fate had led Miss Nightingale first to military 
hospitals and to work for the health of soldiers, she had 
never lost sight of the greater matter — the condition of 
civil hospitals, and the health of the people. She had no 
sort of 'Vested interest" in hospitals, either as means of 
health or as a specialty that she might be supposed to have 
made her own. Hospitals, she knew, were only a necessary 
evil. Beyond them came district nursing, health in the 
home, all the life conditions of the people.' She was the 
missionary of health far more than of nursing. 

In the years following the Crimean War, her authority 
on hospital hygiene and hospital construction ruled para- 
mount. The name she had won during the war was backed 
by an experience probably unique. "Have you," she 
was asked by the Royal Commission of 1857, "devoted 
attention to the organisation of civil and military hos- 
pitals?" "Yes," she replied, "for thirteen years. I have 
visited all the hospitals in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh, 
many county hospitals, some of the naval and military hos- 
pitals in England; all the hospitals in Paris, and studied 
with the 'Soeurs de la charite'; the Institution of Protestant 
Deaconesses at Kaiserswerth, on the Rhine, where I was 
twice in training as a nurse; the hospitals at Berlin, and 
many others in Germany, at Lyons, Rome, Alexandria, Con- 
stantinople, Brussels; also the war hospitals of the French 
and Sardinians." 

*When she was past new work herself, she liked to hear about factory 
legislation and the regulation of dangerous and unhealthy trades. 


258 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Her defeat over the Netley plans had shown her the 
need of informing public opinion on Hospital Construction, 
and in 1858 she wrote two papers for the Social Science 
Congress at Liverpool. These she republished, with addi- 
tional matter, as a book — Notes on Hospitals (1859) — 
which in its day opened a new era in hospital construction 
and fitting. The high death rates in hospitals, the diseases 
described as "hospital gangrene," "hospital fever," "hos- 
pital pyaemia," and so forth were traced in the Notes 
to their true causes in defects of site and construction, 
overcrowding of the sick, want of air and light, insanitary 
flooring and furniture, insanitary and unsuitable kitchens 
and laundries. 

Miss Nightingale was not the one and only discoverer 
of the principles she laid down, but authorities disagreed, 
and the average opinion of the time was unenlightened. In 
many quarters her ideas were revolutionary. Fresh air, for 
instance, had been heard of before, but in practice windows 
were shut for warmth. She quotes the case of a well- 
known London physician who, whenever he entered a sick 
room, took care to have the bed turned away from the 
light; and of a barrack, the south windows of which were 
boarded up in such a way that it had the forbidding appear- 
ance of a penitentiary of that time. She was a pioneer 
in the consistent emphasis she gave to the supreme neces- 
sity of fresh air, and to the importance of "direct sunlight, 
not only daylight." 

On the construction of military hospitals Miss Nightin- 
gale was constantly consulted, and as a matter of course. 
Captain Galton and Mr. Herbert took her advice; medical 
ofl&cers and military governors sought leave to quote her 
approval of their hospitals, and even where she was not 
directly consulted the new standard had an effect. Copious 
requests for advice about civil hospitals and infirmaries 
came from all parts of the country. No trouble was too 
much for her to take in answering. She had decided views 

Hospital Construction and Statistics 259 

of her own, but in particular cases often consulted experts. 
Dr. Sutherland was one of the leading authorities. Cap- 
tain Galton she frequently referred to; and she sometimes 
engaged Sir Robert Rawlinson professionally to prepare 
plans and specifications. He on his part often consulted 
her about hospitals and infirmaries on which he was ad- 
vising. Among the institutions on which she advised in 
1860 and the years immediately following are the Birken- 
head Hospital, the Bucks County Infirmary (Aylesbury), 
the Chorlton Union Dispensary, the Coventry Hospital, the 
Surrey County Hospital (Guildford), the Leeds Infirmary, 
the Malta (Incurables) Hospital, the Putney Royal Hos- 
pital for Incurables, the North Staffordshire Infirmary, and 
the Swansea Infirmary. The King of Portugal was advised 
about a children's hospital, and correspondence from other 
countries, from British colonies, and India added to her 
mass of letters, plans, specifications and memoranda on 
such matters. 

There is a specially voluminous and characteristic cor- 
respondence about the County Hospital at Winchester, in 
which she took a particular interest, as her father's house, 
Embley, was a few miles from Winchester. The first idea 
was to alter the old hospital, but Miss Nightingale, having 
studied its death rate and Sir R. Rawlinson's report, told 
the Committee that they were proposing to patch up a 
"pesthouse, where a number of people are exposed to the 
risk of fatal illness by a special hospital disease." Was 
Hampshire anxious, she asked, to emulate the evil fame 
of Scutari? Then she attacked the financial problem, com- 
paring the estimated cost of adaptation with that of 
building a new hospital on a better site. She submitted 
plans and details of her estimate. She promised the advice 
of Dr. Sutherland in the choice of a new site. "I under- 
stand," she wrote, "that Lord Ashburton will give £1,000 
towards a new hospital if built upon a new site; if not, 
nothing." As Lady Ashburton was one of her dearest 

260 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

friends, the condition was probably not unprompted. On 
the same condition, she promised contributions from her- 
self and her father. She collected and sent in opinions of 
eminent experts — civil engineers and medical officers. She 
prodded friends who had local influence. "Would you 
please," she wrote to Captain Galton, "devote the first day 
of every week till further notice in driving nails into Jack 
Bonham Carter, M.P. [for Winchester], about the Win- 
chester Infirmary?" The correspondence extended over sev- 
eral years. In the end she carried her point, and the hos- 
pital was rebuilt on a higher and healthier site. 

A like campaign had to be undertaken for St. Thomas' 
Hospital, then on its old site in the Borough and threat- 
ened by the extension of the South Eastern Railway from 
London Bridge to Charing Cross. Mr. Whitfield, the Resi- 
dent Medical Officer, thought that the Railway Company 
should be made to take all or none of the Hospital's land, 
and, if it took all, the Hospital should be rebuilt on a 
healthier site and on an improved plan. Others were in 
favour of a partial sale and some rebuilding on or near 
the old site. Mr. Whitfield opened the case to Miss Night- 
ingale in February 1859, and she sent a careful memo- 
randum to the Prince Consort, who was a Governor of the 
Hospital. The Prince went into the case with his usual 
thoroughness, and ultimately concurred in her views and 
let his opinion be known among his colleagues on the Board. 
There was still a strong party which held that the Hospital 
should be "in the midst of the people whom it served" 
rather than on a healthier but more distant site. This is 
a controversy which continually recurs. Miss Nightingale 
took immense pains to meet the argument. She analysed 
the place of origin of all the cases received, tabulated the 
percentages in the various radii, and showed that removal 
of the hospital would affect far fewer patients than was 
commonly supposed. She even set out a proportion — so 
much of inconvenience and conceivable danger in making 

Hospital Construction and Statistics 261 

the few take a little longer on their way to the Hospital, 
against the greater convenience and larger chance of recov- 
ery for all. At the critical moment, when eviction was 
near, it was still uncertain how the voting would go, and 
IVIiss Nightingale had to appeal again for the Prince Con- 
sort's help with the Governors. "You will find in the 
Prince's letter," she was told by a correspondent behind the 
scenes, "your own arguments and sometimes your own words 
embodied." Ultimately the decision to move was taken. 
The Railway Company, given no option, bought the whole 
of the land, and St. Thomas's Hospital was removed to 
temporary buildings in the old Surrey Gardens. It remained 
there till the present Hospital was finished in 1871. Built 
on the "pavilion" system and spreading its chain of mon- 
strosities over one of the finest sites in central London, the 
new St. Thomas's is a characteristic monument of the nine- 
teenth century, an offence tO' the eye, but memorable in 
its novel insistence that nothing is too good for the sick 

In the case of the Manchester Royal Infirmary Migs 
Nightingale was beaten. It was decided to patch the old 
building instead of rebuilding on a site outside the city. 
She took no public part in this controversy, but supplied 
material for it through a large correspondence with Mr. 
Joseph Adshead, one of the leading advocates of removal. 
In a letter to her uncle a year later, she writes her thoughts 
on hearing of Mr. Adshead's death : 

Burlington, February 25 (1861). 
Dear Uncle Sam : 

Adshead of Manchester is dead — my best pupil. . . . 
How often I have called him my "dear old Addle-head," 
and now he is dead. He was a man who could hardly write 
or speak the Queen's English; I believe he raised himself, 
and was now a kind of manufacturer's agent in Manchester. 
He was a man of very ordinary abilities and commonplace 
appearance — vulgar, but never unbusinesslike, which is, I 
think, the worst kind of vulgarity. Having made "a com- 

262 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

patency," he did not give up business, but devoted himself 
to good works for Manchester. And there is scarcely a 
good thing in Manchester of which he has not been the 
mainstay or the source — schools, infirmary, paving and 
draining, water supply, etc., etc. At 60, he takes up an 
entirely new subject, Hospital Construction, fired by my 
book, and determines to master it. This is what I think is 
peculiarly Anglo-Saxon. He writes to me whether I will 
teach him (this is about 18 months ago), and composes 
some plans for a Convalescent Hospital out of Manchester, 
to become their main Hospital if the wind is favourable. 
He comes up to London to see me about these. The work- 
ing plans passed eight times thro' my hands and gave me 
more trouble than anything I ever did. Because Adshead 
would not employ a proper builder, but would do them 
himself — which is part of the same character, I believe. The 
plans are now quite ready, but nothing more. He meant to 
beg in person all over Lancashire, and had already some 
promises of large sums. He had been ailing for about a 
year, but never intermitted anything. I don't know whether 
you remember that I had a three months' correspondence 
with him (and oh! the immense trouble he took) about 
the transplantation of the Spitalfields and Coventry weavers 
to Manchester, Preston, Burnley, etc. ... It never came 
to anything. . . . He was 61 when he died. This is the 
character which I believe is quite peculiar to our race — a 
man, a common tradesman, who, instead of "retiring from 
the world" to ''make his salvation," or giving hunself up 
to science or to his family in his old age, or founding an 
Order, or building a house, will patiently (at 60) learn 
new dodges and new-fangled ideas in order to benefit his 
native city. . . . How I do feel that it is the strength of 
our country and worth all the R. Catholic ''Orders" put 
together. I hate an "Order," and am so glad I was never 
"let in" to form one. ... 

Miss Nightingale in her investigations of London hos- 
pitals had looked into their statistical records. These were 
not as unsatisfactory as the records at Scutari, where three 
different departments kept three separate death rolls, none 
of which agreed with the other two. But each hospital 
went its own way, and there was a complete lack of uni- 

Hospital Construction and Statistics 263 

formity and co-ordination. With the advice of Dr. Farr 
as to statistics and of some friendly doctors on the medical 
side, she drew up a standard classification of diseases and 
a set of model forms for Uniform Hospital Statistics. She 
wrote a paper on the subject for the International Statistical 
Congress which met in London in 1860, and took some pains 
to make the scheme known by distributing the forms. The 
programme for the Statistical Section of the Congress was 
drawn up by her and Dr. Farr. 

She took a keen interest in the proceedings and gave a 
series of breakfast parties, presided over by her cousin 
Hilary, to the delegates, some of whom she afterwards saw 
upstairs. Miss Bonham Carter received sundry instructions 
as to the conduct of these hospitalities by note from above: 
"Take care that the cream for breakfast is not turned." 
'Tut back Dr. X.'s big book where he can see it while 
drinking his tea." 

In the statistical plan Sir James Paget gave his help at 
St. Bartholomew's, and several of the great London hos- 
pitals adopted the forms, but the scheme took no perma- 
nent hold. The hospital population seemed at the time 
to give the most promising opportunity for initiating a 
system of sickness and mortality statistics, but the project 
was too big and the business of recording too laborious to 
be carried out by voluntary institutions as a labour of 

Miss Nightingale also made the suggestion that through 
uniform hospital statistics one hospital might be compared 
with another, and systems of treatment and methods of 
operation be put to the proof. But this part of the plan, 
so far as any public and general statistics are concerned, 
has gone no further. 

Miss Nightingale made another valiant attempt to get 
statistics of sickness: she proposed that in the Census of 
1861 an enumeration should be made of persons suffering 
from sickness and infirmity on the Census day. And at 

264 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

the same time she suggested the addition of questions which 
would bring in full information about housing accommo- 
dation. The Home Secretary, Sir George Lewis, replied 
that both her points had been considered before the Census 
Bill was introduced, but the question of health or sickness 
was considered "too indeterminate." With regard to an 
enumeration of houses, it was thought that this was "not 
a proper subject to be included in a census of population," 
and he did not see how the result of such an enumeration 
could be "peculiarly instructive." 

Aliss Nightingale to Mr. Robert Lowe, Old Burlington St., 
10 May [1860] 

I cannot forbear thanking you for your letter and for 
your exertions in our favour. Sir George Lewis's letter, 

being interpreted, means: "Mr. W does not choose to 

take the trouble." It is a letter such as I have scores of in 
my possession from Airey, Filder, and alas! from Lord 
Raglan, from Sir John Hall (the Doctor) and from Andrew 
Smith. It is a true "Horse Guards" letter. 

They are the very same arguments that Lord John used 
against the feasibility of registering the "cause of death" 
in '37 — which has now been the law of the land for 23 
years. ... It is mere child's play to tell us that what 
every man of the millions who belong to Friendly Societies 
does every day of his life, as to registering himself sick or 
well, cannot be done in the Census. It is mere childishness 
to tell us that it is not important to know what houses the 
people live in. The French census does it. The Irish census 
tells us of the great diminution of mud cabins between 
'41 and '51. The connection between the health and the 
dwellings of the population is one of the most important 
that exists. The "diseases" can be obtained approximately 
also. In all the more important — such as small-pox, fevers, 
measles, heart disease, etc. — all those which affect the 
national health, there will be very little error. (About 
ladies' nervous diseases there will be a great deal.) Where 
there is error in these things, the error is uniform, as is 
proved by the Friendly Societies; and corrects itself. . . . 

Hospital Construction and Statistics 265 

As far as death statistics are concerned, Dr. Farr s suc- 
cessors at the statistical branch of the Registrar General's 
Office have carried on investigations such as Miss Night- 
ingale hoped for, into the mortality from particular causes, 
at particular ages, in particular social classes and particular 
districts in their Quinquennial Reports, based on the Regis- 
trar's returns of deaths. As to general statistics of sickness, 
we have not yet come up to the standard of Miss Nightin- 
gale's desire. Here, too, the material is coming from other 
sources than the hospitals, and as the result of laws passed 
with other than statistical objects. The compulsory notifi- 
cation of certain diseases and the medical inspection of 
schools have given some definite data, and the Insurance 
system has given a mass, and an opportunity, of informa- 
tion of which full use has not yet been made. 



Nursing is at least as old as Christianity and for centuries 
the religious orders had sent cultivated women into hos- 
pitals. The very name of Sister, now applied to a rank 
in the nursing profession, recalls its historical origin in 
religious enthusiasm. Sisters had already accompanied 
armies into the field, though never the British army. And 
the idea, at least, of trained nursing was not new. Pastor 
Fliedner had shown the way in Germany, and in England, 
Mrs. Fry's Institute of Nursing was established in 1840 
and St. John's House in 1848. Nevertheless, though not 
the founder of nursing, Florence Nightingale was the 
founder of modern nursing. Through the experience and 
opportunities gained in the war, and through the power 
to communicate devotion, and through the elaboration of 
an exquisite technique she was able to give to nursing 
a vast impetus and to lift it out of the ruck of unskilled 
and menial employments to the level where public service 
is habitually recognised as a prevailing motive. "Where is 
the woman," Southey had asked,' "who shall be the Clara 
or the Teresa of Protestant England, labouring for the cer- 
tain benefit of her sex with their ardour but without their 
delusion?" Miss Nightingale was the Clara or Teresa of the 
new order, but it was an order organised on a secular and sci- 
entific basis. Science was in the air. Medicine and surgery 
were on the eve of great developments. Sanitary science was 
making advance. At the time when Florence Nightingale 
was at Kaiserswerth, Joseph Lister, the inventor of anti- 

"^ Colloquies, 1829. 


The Spirit of Good Nursing 267 

septic surgery, was a student at University College. Cohn, 
the founder of bacteriology, was only eight years her junior. 
Parkes, one of the founders of modern hygiene, was almost 
exactly her contemporary, and she became herself the centre 
of a group of earnest and devoted men who were giving 
their lives to sanitary science. She had had nothing that 
could be called a scientific training, but she was deeply 
imbued with the scientific spirit, influenced by her liberal 
education and reading, and perhaps in this respect more by 
Mill than by any other writer; by the natural bent, too, of 
a mind attracted by the logical aspect of things. And on 
yet another side her work was characteristic of the age. 
The women's movement was hardly yet conscious, nor in 
any sense organised; but such women as Mrs. Fry, Mrs. 
Chisholm, Mrs. Somerville, Mary Carpenter, Harriet Mar- 
tineau were her contemporaries or seniors. We can now 
see these solitary lights as the precursors of the dawn of 
women's emancipation. 

The nurse's occupation may seem to a later generation 
rather to be an ordinary profession than the ''high calling," 
inspired by religious motives, which Miss Nightingale 
sought to make it. Skilled technique may seem to have 
gained the upper hand. But the change is perhaps not 
that nurses have fallen away from a high ideal, but that, 
for one thing, the ideal expresses itself in other language 
or is shyer of expressing itself in words at all; and, for 
another, that it has become to some extent common prop- 
erty. Women's capacity for steady and conscientious work 
and their sense of public duty, far from falling off, have 
immensely increased since her active days, as education and 
opportunities have opened to them — a change of which 
some part no doubt is due to that profession or calling in 
which the example first was set. Nurses no longer stand out 
as they did in the early days of the Nightingale school as 
the only women receiving a regular technical training apart 
from industrial apprenticeship, and to whose ranks disin- 

268 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

terested and public-spirited women could be attracted. A 
large number of gifted and highly qualified women have 
since done, and are doing, as a matter of course, distin- 
guished and devoted public service of various kinds. The 
first women factory inspectors and (especially during the 
war) women doctors may be mentioned among many. It 
requires an effort of imagination to realise an England to 
which the very idea of such service by women was aston- 
ishing and strange. It was strange to women themselves: 
and that is why a great part of Miss Nightingale's work 
of training women nurses was training them to be con- 
scientious and single-minded. The picture Miss Nightin- 
gale herself draws of women, or, to be exact, of "ladies," 
may seem exaggerated now, but at the time there was a 
great deal of truth in it. She writes to her old confidant 
Mme. Mohl (13 December 1861) of the contrast between 
men's work and women's 

"I have read half your book thro' [Madame Recamier], 
and am immensely charmed by it. But some things I dis- 
agree with and more I do not understand. This does not 
apply to the characters, but to your conclusions, e.g., you 
say 'women are more sympathetic than men.' Now if I 
were to write a book out of my experience I should begin 
Women have no sympathy. Yours is the tradition. Mine 
is the conviction of experience. I have never found one 
woman who has altered her life by one iota for me or my 
opinions. Now look at my experience of men. A states- 
man, past middle age, absorbed in politics for a quarter of 
a century, out of sympathy with me remodels his whole 
life and policy — learns a science, the driest, the most tech- 
nical, the most difficult, that of administration, as far as 
it concerns the lives of men — not as I learnt it, in the 
field from stirring experience, but by writing dry regula- 
tions in a London room by my sofa with me. This is what 
I call real sympathy. Another (Alexander, whom I made 
Director-General) does very nearly the same thing. He is 
dead too. Clough, a poet born if ever there was one, takes 
to nursing administration in the same way for me. I 
only mention three whose whole lives were remodelled by 

The Spirit of Good Nursing 269 

sympathy for me. But I could mention very many others 
— Farr, McNeill, Tulloch, Storks, Martin, who in a lesser 
degree have altered their work by my opinions. And, the 
most wonderful of all, a man born without a soul, like 
Undine — all these elderly men. 

"Now just look at the degree in which women have sym- 
pathy — as far as my experience is concerned. And my 
experience of women is almost as large as Europe. And 
it is so intimate, too, I have lived and slept in the same 
bed with English Countesses and Prussian Bauerinnen. 
No Roman Catholic Superieure has ever had charge of 
women of the different creeds that I have had. No woman 
has excited 'passions' among women more than I have. 
Yet I leave no school behind me. My doctrines have taken 
no hold among women. Not one of my Crimean following 
learnt anything from me, or gave herself for one moment 
after she came home to carry out the lesson of that war 
or of those hospitals. . . . 

"No woman that I know has ever appris a apprendre, 
and I attribute this to want of sympathy. You say some- 
where that women have no attention. Yes, and I attrib- 
ute this to want of sympathy. Nothing makes me so im- 
patient as people complaining of their want of memory. 
How can you remember what you have never heard? . . . 
It makes me mad, the Women's Rights talk about 'the 
want of a field' for them — when I know that I would gladly 
give £500 a year for a Woman Secretary. And two English 
Lady Superintendents have told me the same thing. And 
we can't get one. . . . They don't know the names of the 
Cabinet Ministers. They don't know the ofiices at the 
Horse Guards. They don't know who of the men of the 
day is dead and who is alive. They don't know which of 
the Churches has Bishops and which not. Now I am sure 
I did not know these things. When I went to the Crimea 
I did not know a Colonel from a Corporal. But there are 
such things as Army Lists and Almanacs. Yet I never could 
find a woman who, out of sympathy, would consult one — for 
my work. The only woman I ever influenced by sympathy 
was one of those Lady Superintendents I have named," 
yet she is, like me, overwhelmed with her own business. . . . 
In one sense I do believe I am 'like a man/ as Parthe says. 

"Probably Miss Mary Jones. 

270 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

But how? In having sympathy. I am sure I have nothing 
else. I am sure I have no genius. I am sure that my 
contemporaries, Parthe, Hilary, Marianne, Lady Dunsany, 
were all cleverer than I was, and several of them more un- 
selfish. But not one had a bit of sympathy. Now Sidney 
Herbert's wife just did the Secretary's work for her husband 
(which I have had to do without) out of pure sympathy. 
She did not understand his policy, yet she could write his 
letters for him 'like a man.' . . . Women crave jor being 
loved, not for loving. They scream out at you for 
sympathy all day long, they are incapable of giving 
a7iy in return, for they cannot remember your affairs long 
enough to do so. . . . They cannot state a fact accurately 
to another, nor can that other attend to it accurately enough 
for it to become information. Now is not all this the result 
of want of sympathy? . . . You say of Mme. Recamier that 
her existence was 'empty but brilliant.' But you attribute 
it to want of family. Oh, dear friend, don't give in to that 
sort of tradition. People often say to me, 'You don't know 
what a wife and mother feels. No, I say, I don't and 
I'm very glad I don't. And they don't know what / jeel. 
... I am sick with indignation at what wives and mothers 
will do out of the most egregious selfishness. And people call 
it all maternal or conjugal affection, and think it pretty to 
say so. No, no, let each person tell the truth from his own 
experience. Ezekiel went running about naked 'for a sign.' 
I can't run about naked because it is not the custom of 
the country. But I would mount three widows' caps on 
my head 'for a sign.' And I would cry. This is for Sidney 
Herbert, This is for Arthur Clough, and This, the big- 
gest widow's cap of all, is for the loss of all sympathy on 
the part of my dearest and nearest." ' 

By sympathy Miss Nightingale did not mean personal 
affection or personal devotion. She meant devotion to a 
cause, to the cause of mankind, the cause of the work of 

^ Her aunt "Mai." Mrs. Smith had been accustomed after Miss Night- 
ingale's return from the Crimea to stay with her frequently and to give her 
much motherly help and some assistance in letter writing. After Mr, 
Clough's death this ceased. Mrs. Smith was sixty-three, and other claims 
were now stronger. But affectionate letters on old recollections and on 
the religious subjects they had often discussed were exchanged in later 

The Spirit of Good Nursing 271 

those women Superintendents and of her own work. For 
any such pubHc work, women had to be taught to care. 
They had to be trained, she knew, but still more they had 
to catch the infection, the enthusiasm of unselfish work — 
they had to be taught "sympathy." ''I read some of Mme. 
Roland's Memoires," she wrote to Mme. Mohl (May 20, 
1865), "but, do you know, I was so disappointed to find out 
that her patriotism was inspired by a lover. Not that I care 
much about virtue: I do think Virtue' by itself is a very 
second-rate virtue. But because I did hope that here was 
one woman who cared for res publica as alone, or as chief, 
among her cares," In the years when she was seeking the 
means of training w^omen and hoping to do the practical 
training herself, she was seeking how to teach not only a 
method but a motive. Sometimes she sees what she wants 
in the professional motive. There is a passage in a letter 
to a correspondent who had asked whether nursing could 
be successfully followed out without "higher motives." She 
thinks the "natural motive" is indispensable, "the love of 
nursing the sick, which may entirely conquer (as I know 
by personal experience) a physical loathing and fainting 
at the sight of operations, etc." 

"The professional motive," she says, "is the desire and 
perpetual effort to do the thing as well as it can be done, 
which exists just as much in the Nurse as in the Astronomer 
in search of a new star, or in the Artist completing a pic- 
ture. These may be thought fine words. I can only say 
that I have seen this professional ambition in the nurse 
who could hardly read or write, but who aimed just as 
much at perfection in her care and dressings as the surgeon 
did in his operation. The 'professional' who does this has 
the higher motive; the 'religious' who thinks she can serve 
God 'anyhow' has not." 

In a letter to Jowett, discussing mystical religion and its 
outward forms, she suggests that a form of work is the 
right "religious form." 

272 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"The two thoughts which God has given me all my whole 
life have been: First, to mfuse the mystical religion into 
the forms of others (always thinking they would show it 
forth much better than I), especially among women, to 
make them the 'handmaids of the Lord.' Secondly, to 
give them an organisation for their activity in which they 
could be trained to be the 'handmaids of the Lord.' (Train- 
ing for women was then unknown, unwished for, and is the 
discovery of the last thirty years. One could have taken 
up the school education of the poor, but one was specially 
called then 'to hospitals and nursing — both sanitation and 
nursing proper.) This then was the 'organisation' which 
we had to begin with, to attract respectable women and 
to give religious women a 'form' for their activity. . . . 
When very many years ago I planned a future, my one 
idea was not organising a Hospital, but organising a 

What mattered was not the particular form of service, 
but that the work, whatever it was, should be done with 
faithful purpose. The "professional," she seems to say, 
might do this by a native devotion which was truly, but 
not consciously, religious. "But I do entirely and constantly 
believe that the religious motive is essential for the highest 
kind of nurse. There are such disappointments, such sick- 
enings of the heart that they can only be borne by the feeling 
that one is called to the work by God, that it is a part of 
His work, that one is a fellow-worker with God. 'I do not 
ask for success,' said dear Agnes Jones, even while she was 
taking every human means to ensure success, 'but that 
the will of God may be done in me and by me.' " 

Thus Miss Nightingale believed much in individual qual- 
ities and gifts, in individual influence, and little in the 
machinery of an organised institution. 

"For my part I think that people should always be 
Founders. And this is the main argument against Endow- 
ments. While the Founder is there, his or her work will 
be done, not afterwards. The Founder cannot foresee the 
evils which will arise when he is no longer there. Therefore 

The Spirit of Good Nursing 273 

let him not try to establish an Order. This has been most 
astonishingly true with the Order of the Jesuits, as founded 
by S. Ignatius Loyola, and with S. Vincent de Paul's Soeurs 
de la Charite. It is quite immeasurable, the breadth and 
length which now separates the spirit of those Orders from 
the spirit of their Founders. But it is no less true with far 
less ambitious Societies." 

Many of Miss Nightingale's pupils became Founders in 
their turn, and the best of them were most conscious, like 
her, of their shortcomings. 



During the busy years of army reform Miss Nightingale 
could not give her attention to the Fund which had been 
collected to enable her to establish a school of nursing. 
She had written from Scutari, accepting the Council's 
proposal, on the understanding of great uncertainty as 
to when she could carry it out. Again in March 1858 
she asked to be allowed to hand over responsibility to the 
Council, as she could see no early prospect of having time 
or strength for its administration. They begged her to 
put off the decision; the contributors, her Council thought, 
wished her "mind and intention to animate the work." 
And in the following year, that fortunate year in which 
Sidney Herbert became Minister for War, she made a be- 
ginning. A sub-committee of the Council was formed, con- 
sisting of Mr. Herbert, Sir John McNeill, Sir James Clark, 
Dr. Bowman, and Sir Joshua Jebb, with Mr. Clough as 
secretary. After much consideration, St. Thomas's Hos- 
pital was chosen as the scene of the main experiment in 
nurse training. 

The experiment was greatly favoured by the warm in- 
terest Florence Nightingale had attached to the very name 
of nursing. The thrill which the story of her Crimean 
work excited throughout the country, the intensity of sym- 
pathetic imagination that went out towards her, had left 
a strong impression. Everyone had heard of her. Books 
of the time, reminiscences of Nightingale nurses and recol- 


The Nightingale School 275 

lections of people still or lately living show how many- 
women and young girls had been inspired and influenced 
by her example. No woman perhaps has excited more of 
passionate and affectionate admiration among her sex. 
Those who became acquainted with her were not disap- 
pointed in the reality behind the "gentle and heroic" figure 
of their fancy. "She is far more delightful in herself than 
in one's imagination," wrote the great singer Clara Novello. 
To nurses already at work she was an inspiration. Miss 
Mary Jones, matron at King's College Hospital, addressed 
her as "My beloved friend and mistress." "I look upon a 
visit to you," says one of Miss Jones' letters, "as my one 
indulgence and greatest pleasure." When in 1859 her 
little book Notes on Nursing was published, it came to 
many minds as a kind of resurrection of the popular hero- 
ine, who had vanished from the public eye during those 
years immediately after the war when she was in fact doing 
some of her greatest work. 

Notes on Nursing is not now up to date, of course; it 
contains a good many questionable assertions by the way. 
But in its main drift it still stands the test of time, and 
when it appeared it was, within its range, epoch making. 
It was instantly recognised by the leaders in medical and 
sanitary science and by others, too, as a work of the first 
importance. "This," wrote Harriet Martineau, "is a work 
of genius if ever I saw one; and it will operate accord- 
ingly. It is so real and so intense, that it will, I doubt not, 
create an Order of Nurses before it has finished its work." 
There were little touches of personal experience in the book 
that excited warm interest by reviving its readers' mem- 
ories of the story of Scutari and Balaclava. The book was 
not cheap at first: the price was 5/ — . But 15,000 copies 
were sold in a month, and a 2/ — edition which followed 
had a very large circulation. It is her best-known and in 
some respects her best book. The little volume made no 
pretence to be a manual of nursing: it was "meant simply 

276 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

to give hints for thought to women who have personal 
charge of the health of others," and the hints were on 
"sanitary nursing," not on "nursing as a handicraft," which 
"can only be thoroughly learnt in the wards of a hospital," 
nor on the organisation of nursing, of which the confidential 
Subsidiary Notes had treated. 

"I use the word nursing for want of a better. It has been 
limited to signify little more than the administration of 
medicines and the application of poultices. It ought to 
signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanli- 
ness, quiet, and the proper choosing and giving of diet — 
all at the least expense of vital power to the patient." It 
ought to include, she insists, "nursing the well," — in other 
words, the practice of domestic hygiene. In all this the 
book had more originality than can be easily perceived 
today. The homes of the poor were those depicted, with 
little exaggeration, by Dickens and Cruickshank. Elemen- 
tarj'' schools as we know them, with their immense influence 
by social example, by their buildings and their teaching, did 
not exist. And the richer classes, too, suffered from the 
want of what are now common precautions for health. The 
very word hygiene was new. Miss Nightingale sometimes 
writes hygiene. 

Intended for popular reading — a later cheap edition was 
"for the labouring classes" — it was written in a witty and 
original style, graphic, sometimes eloquent, and without 
a trace of the dull jargon so common in "improving" books. 
Beside the strictly sanitary matters there are many wise 
hints about the patient's mind. The nurse must understand 
her patient. She must observe him quietly and intelli- 
gently and not only for medical purposes, "A nurse must 
be something more than a lift or a broom." "A sick person 
intensely enjoys hearing of any material good, any positive 
or practical success of the right. Do, instead of advising 
him with advice he has heard at least fifty times before, 
tell him of one benevolent act which has really succeeded 

The Nightingale School 277 

practically — it is like a day's health to him." The nurse 
must remember how the nerves of the sick suffer from see- 
ing the same walls, the same ceiling, the same surroundings 
during a long confinement in one or two rooms. 

"The effect in sickness of beautiful objects, of variety 
of objects and especially of brilliancy of colour, is hardly 
at all appreciated. ... I have seen, in fevers (and felt, 
when I was a fever patient myself), the most acute suffer- 
ing produced from the patient (in a hut) not being able 
to see out of the window, and the knots in the wood being 
the only view. I shall never forget the rapture of fever 
patients over a bunch of bright-coloured flowers. . . . Peo- 
ple say the effect is only in the jnind. It is no such thing. 
The effect is on the body, too. Little as we know about 
the way in which we are affected by form, by colour, and 
by light, we do know this, thatthey have an actual bodily 
effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the 
objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery. 
But it must be slow variety. . . . Painful ideas are far 
better dismissed by amusing the invalid, or by showing 
him something pretty than by arguing with him. I have 
mentioned the cruelty of letting him stare at a dead wall. 
In many diseases, especially in recovery from fever, that 
wall will appear to make all sorts of faces at him; now 
flowers never do this. A patient can just as much move 
his leg after it is broken as change his thoughts when no 
help from variety is given him. "Nurses" vary their own 
employments many times a day; and while nursing (!) 
some bedridden sufferer, they let him lie there with no 
view at all but the flies on the ceiling. ... A man received 
an injury to the spine from an accident. ... he was a 
workman, — he didn't care about "nature," he said — ^but he 
was desperate "to see once more out of window." His nurse, 
who was the woman of the house where he lodged, actually 
got him on her back, and managed to perch him at the 
window for an instant "to see out." The consequence to 
the poor woman w^as serious illness, which nearly proved 
fatal. . . . The craving for variety in the starving eye is 
just as desperate as that for food in the starving stomach 
and tempts the famishing creature in either case to steal 
for its satisfaction. No other word will express it but 

278 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"desperation." And it is just as stupid not to provide the 
sick bed with a "view" or with variety of some kind as if 
you did not provide the house with a kitchen. 

In 1861, a popular seven-penny edition was issued, with 
a fresh chapter on "Minding Baby." 

The book was read, not only by all sorts and conditions 
of people in palaces, cottages, factories, and schools in Eng- 
land, but abroad. It was instantly reprinted in America, 
and it was translated into German, French and most of 
the other European languages. It was a valuable fore- 
runner to the training experiment. 

St. Thomas's Hospital, the scene of the experiment, was 
large, rich and well-managed. The Resident Medical Offi- 
cer, Mr. A. G. Whitfield, was sympathetic and the Matron 
was Mrs. Wardroper, whose acquaintance Miss Nightingale 
had made in 1854, when seeking nurses for the war.^ Mrs. 
Wardroper, who had been left a widow at forty-two, with 
a young family, had been for nine months matron of the 
great hospital when they first met. "I saw her next after 
the conclusion of the Crimean war," wrote Miss Nightin- 
gale in a character sketch. "She had already made her 
mark. She had weeded out the inefficient, morally and tech- 
nically; she had obtained better women as nurses; she had 
put her finger on some of the most flagrant blots, such as 
the night nursing, and where she laid her finger the blot 
was diminished as far as possible, but no training had yet 
been thought of. . . . She had never had any training 
in hospital life. There was none to be had." 

Mrs. Wardroper was a remarkable woman. Very unpre- 
tentious and spontaneous, intuitive in judgment, with a 

* The Senior Surgeon, Mr. South, was strongly and even bitterly opposed 
to the Nightingale Fund and to the training of nurses. "These are in 
much the same position as housemaids and require little teaching but 
that of poultice making.' (.Facts Relating to Hospital Nurses, etc., 1857.) 
The book is typical of the opposition to Miss Nightingale's reforms. The 
author says that only 5 hospital doctors had subscribed to the Fund. 

The Nightingale School 279 

prepossessing gaiety and charm of manner, she yet had 
force of character and a gift for organisation and discipline. 
*'She was straightforward, true, upright. . . . Her whole 
heart and mind, her whole life and strength, were in the 
work. . . . She took such an intense interest in everything, 
even in things matrons do not generally consider their busi- 
ness, that she never tired." This was the woman who till 
1887 was to be head and friend of the Nightingale pro- 
bationers and nurses in St. Thomas's. 

After much consultation with Mrs. Wardroper and Mr. 
Whitfield, with Sir John McNeill and others, Miss Night- 
ingale formulated a scheme, and an agreement for the foun- 
dation of the Nightingale school was made between the 
Committee and the Hospital Governors, who were to pro- 
vide facilities for training, while the Fund paid the cost, 
including the nurses' salaries. In May 1860 candidates for 
admission were invited by advertisement, and on June 24 
the first probationers, fifteen in number, were admitted for 
a year's training. 

Miss Nightingale had laid it down that in addition to 
training in hospitals specially organised for the purpose, 
nurses "should live in a home fit to form their moral life 
and discipline." The upper floor of a new wing of the 
Hospital was accordingly fitted up as a home for the pupils, 
with separate bedrooms, a common sitting room, and two 
rooms for the Sister in charge. Besides lodging, the pupils' 
board, washing and uniform, with £10 for personal ex- 
penses, were provided by the Fund. The Chaplain addressed 
them twice a week. The matron's discipline upheld the 
strictest standard of propriety of the mid- Victorian young 
woman. The least flightiness was reprimanded, and any 
pronounced flirtation was visited with the last penalty. 
Mrs. Gamp had to be swept away, in part by Mrs. Grundy. 
The repute of nurses had been a by-word. The school 
had to raise it to a different distinction. 

After training, the nurses were expected to serve in hos- 

280 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

pitals or institutions. It was not intended that they should 
enter upon private nursing. Miss Nightingale had it in 
mind from the first that the Training School should be the 
source of training elsewhere. In fact, at the end of her first 
year, six of the thirteen who completed their training were 
admitted as nurses at St. Thomas's, two were appointed 
as nurses in Poor Law Infirmaries, and applications were 
under consideration for others. Miss Nightingale was too 
ill and too busy to visit the Hospital, but she thought out 
every detail. She took constant counsel of Miss Mary 
Jones, of King's College Hospital. In addition to the 
monthly report, there were private reports from Mrs. Ward- 
roper, and the nurses were encouraged to keep diaries. Miss 
Nightingale sent books, prints, maps and flowers for the 
nurses' quarters. Friends, such as Mrs. Bracebridge and 
Sir William Bowman, gave her their observations. "As far 
as a cursory inspection could go," wrote Sir William (August 
25, 1860) everything seemed perfect as to order, cleanli- 
ness and propriety of demeanour. Your costume I partic- 
ularly liked — I suppose I must not say admired. Two or 
three of your probationers whom I spoke to impressed me 
favourably. They seemed earnest and simple minded, in- 
telligent and nice mannered. Altogether the experiment 
seemed to be working well, considering the difficulties. ..." 
"The nurses wore a brown dress," says Mrs. S. C. Hall in 
a glowing account of the school in the St. James' Magazine. 
"Their snowy caps and aprons looked like bits of extra 
light as they moved cheerfully and noiselessly from bed 
to bed." 

The pupils served as assistant nurses in the wards, re- 
ceiving instruction from the Sisters and the Resident Med- 
ical Officer. Other members of the Medical staff gave them 
lectures; and there was a formidable "Monthly Sheet of 
Personal Character and Acquirements" to be filled up by 
the matron for each nurse. The Moral Record was under 
five heads: punctuality, quietness, trustworthiness, per- 

The Nightingale School 281 

sonal neatness and cleanliness, and ward management 
(or order). The Technical Record was under fourteen main 
heads, some of them with as many as ten or twelve sub- 
heads. "Observation of the sick" was especially detailed. 
Under each head, moral or technical, the record was marked 
as Excellent, Good, Moderate, Imperfect or 0. At the end 
of the year's course, the names of nurses who had done 
satisfactorily were entered on the hospital register of nurses, 
and those who served creditably in a hospital for a further 
complete year were awarded gratuities of £3 to £5 accord- 
ing to two classes of efficiency. Equally thorough were 
the Medical Officer's General Directions 'Tor the Training 
of 'Probationer Nurses m taking Notes of the Medical and 
Surgical Cases in Hospitals." 

The movement started and extended by the Nightingale 
School has been appraised by a great authority on the life 
of the people. Mr. Charles Booth has given his opinion 
that "the value of Hospitals as schools of surgery and 
medicine is hardly greater than is their usefulness as a 
training for nurses, and the field is no less large. It is an 
employment suited to women. There has been an aston- 
ishing change in this matter since Miss Nightingale volun- 
teered." "This change," he goes on to say, "is perhaps 
the best fruit the past half century has to show." '' 

^"Life and Labour of the People in London," by Charles Booth. Final 
volume 1903, p. 154. 


"medical women" and their craft 

Soon after the opening of the Nursing School at St. 
Thomas's, a part of the Nightingale Fund was applied to 
establishing a Lying-in Ward at King's College Hospital 
in which to train midwives for service among the country 
poor. The matron of this hospital was Miss Mary Jones, 
who in 1856 had been appointed to the position which had 
been proposed to Miss Nightingale just before her mission 
to the war. The nurses were supplied by St. John's House. 
Women of good health and character between twenty-six 
and thirty-five years of age were to be given a midwifery 
training of not less than six months. The hospital being 
very poor, they were asked to pay between eight and nine 
shillings a week — the cost price of their board. 

"They are supposed to return to their parishes and con- 
tinue their avocations there. . . . The women will be 
taught their business by the Physician Accoucheurs them- 
selves, who have most generously entered heart and soul 
into the plan, at the bedside of the Lying-in patients in 
this ward, the entrance to which is forbidden to the men 
students, and they will also deliver poor women at their 
own homes, out patients of the hospital. The Head Nurse 
of the Ward, who is paid by us, will be an experienced 
midwife, so that the pupil nurses will never be left to their 
own devices. They will be entirely under the Lady Super- 
intendent — certainly the best moral trainer of women I 
know." ' 

After six years' successful working, the scheme at King's 
College Hospital was given up, owing to an epidemic of 

* Letter to Harriet Martineau, 24 September 1861. 


"Medical Women" and their Craft 283 

puerperal fever in the wards. The collapse of the experi- 
ment set Miss Nightingale to work on the mortality figures, 
and she found that there were no trustworthy statistics of 
deaths in childbed. She searched for them throughout the 
country and from foreign hospitals and doctors, and dis- 
covered that in lying-in wards everywhere the death rate 
was many times higher than where births took place in 
the patients' homes. There was a school of medical opin- 
ion which held that the high mortality in these institutions 
was in the nature of things, but the facts suggested to 
Miss Nightingale an extreme danger of infection. She col- 
lected an immense mass of information, calling in the assist- 
ance of sanitary engineers and other authorities, and mean- 
time, through her War Ofl5ce connections, an experiment 
under very strict conditions of sanitation was set going 
for the benefit of soldiers' wives. 

"I think we have succeeded in producing a perfectly 
healthy and successful Lying-in Cottage by means of great 
subdivision and incessant cleanliness and ventilation, which 
includes the not having any ward constantly occupied. In 
one of these Huts we have had 600 Lyings-in consecutively 
without a single death or case of puerperal disease or casu- 
alty of any kind. (This experience is, I believe, without a 
fellow, but will, I trust, have many fellows before long.) " 

. . . Hitherto Lying-in Hospitals have been not to cure, 
but to kill." 

The development of antiseptic and aseptic methods has 
made precaution much more surely effective since that 
time. But the book which Miss Nightingale, with Dr. 
Sutherland's help, at length found time to put together: — 
Introductory Notes on Lying-in Institutions (1871) — did 
in its day something of the same service which Notes on 
Hospitals had done in the general sphere. She showed 
from statistics that many lying-in wards and institutions 
were pesthouses; pointed out the importance of isolation 

"Letter to the Crown Princess of Prussia, 21 December 1868. 

284 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

and extreme cleanliness; and furnished rules, plans and 
specifications for model lying-in hospitals. She urged the 
need of training schools for midwives; described the ideal 
of an institution of the kind; and pleaded for "Midwifery 
as a Career for Educated Women." 

It was a time of agitation for the admission of women 
to the medical profession. Miss Nightingale, in a letter 
addressed "Dear Sisters," suggested that "there is a better 
thing for women to be than 'medical men' and that is 
'medical women.' " Dr. Sutherland sending his last sug- 
gestions ("Don't swear but read the reasons on the accom- 
panying paper") thought it was a good thing she was at 
Lea Hurst, or the Dear Sisters "would infallibly break your 

It was many years before the period of midwifery train- 
ing qualifying a woman for practice reached the six months 
laid down by Miss Nightingale. 



In the middle of the last century the sick poor, outside^ 
the more fortunate number who were treated in the volun- 
tary hospitals, underwent in the workhouse sick ward or 
the workhouse infirmary the "deterrent" treatment which 
had been devised to keep able-bodied men and women off 
the rates. It was a principle of treatment tragically inap- 
propriate to the sick. The sick wards of the London work- 
houses, according to the report of the Poor Law Board in 
1866, were for the most part insanitary and overcrowded. 
Uncleanliness, want of proper equipment, bad cookery and 
dietary, insufficient medical attendance, were general. The 
nursing of the sick was done by other workhouse inmates 
• — women ignorant, incompetent, and inadequately super- 
vised, sometimes disreputable and thievish. The natural 
consequence was that the sick were neglected or ill cared 
for, even robbed and roughly treated. 

The dawn of a better day came with the passing of the 
Metropolitan Poor Act of 1867, and in this legislation Miss 
Nightingale was a prime mover.^ 

The initiative in experiment, too, was taken in Liver- 
pool by Mr. William Rathbone in concert with Miss Night- 
ingale. He used to speak of her as his "beloved chief," 
and she, when he died, sent a wreath, "in remembrance and 

^ Many persons contributed to the reform. The first public notice 
was in a paper read by Miss Louisa Twining at the Social Science Congress 
at Birmingham in 1852, and her writings and workhouse visiting did a 
good deal to make the facts known. A "commission" instituted by the 
Lancet under Mr. Ernest Hart effectively roused interest in the state of 
the London workhouses. 


286 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

humblest love of one of God's best and greatest men." 
They had already worked together in the establishing of 
his nursing school and district nursing, and Miss Night- 
ingale had then given as close and constant consideration 
to his plans "as if she were going to be herself the matron." ' 

The so-called nurses of the workhouse infirmary of the 
great seaport were of an especially low and vicious class, 
little qualified to bring order and comfort to a miscel- 
laneous mass of the sick poor. All night a policeman pa- 
trolled some of the wards to keep order, while others in 
which the patients were too weak to be riotous were locked 
up and left unvisited till morning. 

On 31 January, 1864, Mr. Rathbone wrote to Miss Night- 
ingale, propounding a plan for introducing a staff of trained 
nurses and promising to guarantee the cost for a term of 
years if she would help with counsel and by finding a suit- 
able Lady Superintendent. He asked for two letters, "one 
for influence" to be shown to the Vestry,' the other for his 
private advice. She and Dr. Sutherland drew up these 
documents. She arranged that twelve nurses should be 
sent from St. Thomas's Hospital and she selected the Lady 
Superintendent — a choice on which, both she and Mr. 
Rathbone felt, everything would depend. The nurses did 
not begin work till May 16. "There has been as much 
diplomacy and as many treaties," wrote Miss Nightingale," 
"and as much of people working against each other, as if 
we had been going to occupy a kingdom instead of a Work- 
house." The experiment was at first limited to the male 

The Lady Superintendent was Miss Agnes Jones, daugh- 

^Rathbone's Organisation of Nursing in a Large Town, p. 30. Miss 
Nightingale, on being consulted as to trained nurses, recommended that 
Liverpool should train its own in its principal hospital, the Royal In- 
firmary. Mr. Rathbone built a Training School, which provided nurses 
both for the Infirmary and for the sick poor in their own homes, 

'The local authority of the time. 

*To the Rev. Mother of the Bermondsey Convent. 

The Workhouse and the Poor Law 287 

ter of Col. Jones, of Fahan, Londonderry, and niece of 
Lord Lawrence — a charming girl, attractive, beautiful, 
witty, intensely religious, and devoted to her work. She 
was one of the many young women who had been thrilled 
by Miss Nightingale's volunteering for the Crimean War. 
"That honoured name," she wrote, ''is associated with my 
first thought of hospital life. In the winter of 1854, when I 
had those first longings for work . . . how I wished I were 
competent to join the Nightingale band when they started 
for the Crimea! I listened to the animadversions of many 
but I almost worshipped her who braved them all." In 
1860 Miss Jones went for training to Kaiserswerth. In 
1862 she introduced herself to Miss Nightingale, and on 
her advice went to St. Thomas's for a year's training. "Hith- 
erto," the matron reported to Miss Nightingale, "I have 
had no lady probationer equal at all points to Miss Jones." 
She was serving as a nurse in the Great Northern Hospital 
when the invitation to Liverpool came. Miss Jones was 
diffident at first, but after an interview with Miss Night- 
ingale, became convinced that it was "God's call" and must 
be obeyed in trust and hope. 

Miss Jones had much kindly encouragement from out- 
side friends, such as Mr. Rathbone and Mr. C. W. Cropper, 
but hers was a formidable task. The foul language of the 
wards, the drunkenness, the vicious habits, the bodily and 
mental degradation on all sides appalled her. "Una and the 
Lion" was the title Miss Nightingale gave to her account 
of Agnes Jones and her paupers "far more untameable 
than lions." She had the twelve nurses, devoted alike to 
her and their work, but there were 1,200 patients, and of 
the other "nurses" some were probationers of an indifferent 
class and some "pauper nurses" of whom she had in the 
first few months to dismiss thirty-five for drunkenness. 
The men, she found, wore the same shirts for seven weeks; 
bedclothes were sometimes not washed for months; many 
of the patients had to sleep two in a bed for lack of beds; 

288 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

the diet was wretchedly meagre. It was "Scutari over 
again," Miss Nightingale wrote. She was constant in ad- 
vice and encouragement to her disciple, whose letters show 
how welcome and sustaining was her help. "I could never 
pull through without you," "God bless you for all your 
kindness." There were disputes of every kind, such as ac- 
company new experhnents, and all were referred to Miss 
Nightingale by Mr. Rathbone, Miss Jones or both. At 
critical moments Mr. Rathbone would come up to see Miss 
Nightingale, on less serious occasions he would write. And 
then Miss Nightingale and Dr. Sutherland would sit as a 
kind of Conciliation Board. It became obvious to this 
Board that the powers of the Lady Superintendent must 
be better defined, obvious too that the worthless proba- 
tioners and drunken "pauper nurses" must be cleared out. 
But that was just one of the things that the experiinent 
was meant to prove. Meanwhile it was enough to drive 
in the thin end of the wedge. So well did Miss Jones do 
that soon there was a demand for the thicker end. The 
doctors went to Miss Jones and asked eagerly when she 
and more Nightingale nurses were to be given charge of 
the female wards. The Liverpool Vestry began to wonder 
whether the cost of the now popular experiment, hitherto 
borne by Mr. Rathbone, should not be thrown upon the 
rates. The decision to take these two steps was made in 
March 1867. The work had gone ahead with ever-increas- 
ing success. But when the strain of extension was at its 
height, Agnes Jones fell ill; and on the 19 February 1868 
she died — of typhus. 

To Good Words in the following June, Miss Nightingale 
contributed a touching paper in memory of her friend and 

"She died as she had lived, at her post in one of the 
largest workhouse infirmaries in the Kingdom. She lived 
the life, and died the death, of the saints and martyrs; 
though the greatest sinner would not have been more sur- 

The Workhouse and the Poor Law 289 

prised than she to have heard this said of herself. In less 
than three years she had reduced one of the most disorderly- 
hospital populations in the world to something like Chris- 
tian discipline, such as the police themselves wondered at. 
She had converted a vestry to the conviction of the economy 
as well as humanity of nursing pauper sick by trained 
nurses. She had converted the Poor Law Board — a body, 
perhaps, not usually given to much enthusiasm. She had 
disarmed all opposition, all sectarian zealotism; so that 
Roman Catholic and Unitarian, High Church and Low 
Church, all literally rose up and called her 'blessed.' All, 
of all shades of religious creed, seemed to have merged 
their differences in her, seeing in her the one true essential 
thing, compared with which they acknowledged their dif- 
ferences to be as nothing. And aged paupers made verses 
in her honour after her death. In less than three years — 
the time generally given to the ministry on earth of that 
Saviour whom she so earnestly strove closely to follow — 
she did all this. 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 asceticism, or 'mortification' for mortification's sake 
which characterised His work, and any real work in the 
present day as in His day. And how did she do all this? 
She was not, when a girl, of any conspicuous ability, except 
that she had cultivated in herself to the utmost a power 
of getting through business in a short time, without slur- 
ring it over and without fid-fadding at it; — real business — 
her Father's business. She was always filled with the 
thought that she must be about her 'Father's business.' 
How can any undervalue business habits? As if anything 
could be done without them. She could do, and she did do, 
more of her Father's business in six hours than ordinary 
women do in six months, or than most of even the best 
women do in six days. . . . What she went through during 
her workhouse life is scarcely known but to God and to one 
or two. Yet she said that she had 'never been so happy 
in all her life.' All the last winter she had under her 
charge above 50 nurses and probationers, above 150 pauper 
scourers, from 1,290 to 1,350 patients, being from two to 
three hundred more than the number of beds. All this she 
had to provide for and arrange for, often receiving an influx 
of patients without a moment's warning. She had to man- 

290 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

age and persuade the patients to sleep three and four in 
two beds; sometimes six, or even eight children, had to 
be put in one bed; and being asked on one occasion whether 
they did not kick one another, they answered, *0h, no, 
ma'am, we're so comfor'ble.' Poor little things, they 
scarcely remembered ever to have slept in a bed before. 
But this is not the usual run of workhouse life. And, if 
anyone would know what are the lowest depths of human 
vice and misery, would see the festering mass of decay of 
living human bodies and human souls, and then would 
try what one loving soul, filled with the spirit of her God, 
can do to let the light of God into this hideous well 
(worse than the well of Cawnpore), to bind up the wounds, 
to heal the broken-hearted, to bring release to the captives 
— let her study the ways, and follow in the steps of this 
one young, frail woman, who has died to show us the way — 
blessed in her death as in her life." 

The loss of Agnes Jones was a heavy one in all ways. 
Miss Nightingale's first concern was for the nurses who 
had lost their chief and who rallied ''splendidly" to their 
work. She had to find a successor, and, in addition, as she 
wrote to Mme. Mohl, "they expect me to manage the 
Workhouse at Liverpool from my bedroom." There was 
an immense increase in her correspondence. The Liverpool 
experiment, rendered successful by the devotion of Agnes 
Jones, rapidly made its mark. In ten years the pauper 
inmates employed as nurses in sick asylums and separate 
infirmaries had been entirely superseded by paid nurses. 
The employment of pauper nurses in any workhouse was 
forbidden in 1897, and the training of the paid nurses- has 
been much improved. 

But before Agnes Jones had been a year at work. Miss 
Nightingale had carried the fight to London. A news- 
paper scandal about a workhouse death gave her the op- 
portunity. She wrote in cautiously moderate tone to Mr. 
Villiers, then President of the Poor Law Board,' confining 

*The predecessor of the Local Government Board and the later Minis- 
try of Health. 

The Workhouse and the Poor Law 291 

herself chiefly to her acknowledged metier of nursing and 
to the Liverpool experiment. The letter went straight to 
its mark. It led to a long series of interviews and to cor- 
respondence with Mr. Villiers during the next few years. 
His right-hand man, Mr. H. B. Farnall, soon became for 
Poor Law purposes the chief of Miss Nightingale's staff. 
Mr. Farnall was a keen reformer and her ideas were on 
lines which he too had considered. 'Troni the first," he 
said, "I had a sort of fixed faith that Florence Nightingale 
could do anything, and that faith is still fresh in me; and so 
it came to pass that the instant that name entered the lists 
I felt the fight was virtually won, and I feel this still." 
Powder and shot was provided by a schedule of enquiries 
drawn up by Miss Nightingale to be filled in for the sick 
wards and infirmaries of London. But though Mr. Villiers 
was willing to be convinced, he was an aging man ; there was 
opposition from officials and doctors; and with the public 
the question was not "ripe." 

Miss Nightingale herself knew that the improvement in 
nursing must come as part of a large reform including 
administration and finance. She set to work with Mr. 
Farnall and Dr. Sutherland on the sketch of a scheme, 
and a memorandum was finally submitted to Mr. Villiers. 
Her essential points were three — the separation, with mod- 
ern humane and curative treatment, of the different classes 
of afflicted people, — "sick, insane, 'incurable,' etc." — from 
each other and from those in health, and the placing of 
all children in schools; a central administration, both for 
efficiency and economy; and a general metropolitan rate. 

"So long as a sick man, woman or child is considered 
administratively to be a pauper to be repressed and not a 
fellow creature to be nursed into health, so long will these 
most shameful disclosures have to be made. The care and 
government of the sick poor is a thing totally different from 
the government of paupers. Why do we have hospitals 
in order to cure^ and Workhouse Infirmaries in order not 

292 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

to cure? Taken solely from the point of view of preventing 
pauperism, what a stupidity and anomaly this is! The 
past system of mixing up all kinds of poor in workhouses 
will never be submitted to in future. The very first thing 
wanted is classification and separation." 

But to provide suitable establishments for the different 
classes of persons, consolidation and a general rate were 

To give differentiated treatment in each Workhouse would 
involve an expenditure which even London could not bear. 
"The entire Medical Relief of London should be under one 
central management, which would know where vacant beds 
were to be found and be able so to distribute the Sick, 
etc., as to use all the establishments in the most economical 

Hospitals, nursing, and the other heads were treated 
in detail. The cardinal point was what Mr. Farnall called 
in writing to her "your Hospital and Asylum Rate." Mr. 
Villiers, he was able to report in December, "has decided 
on adopting your scheme. ... I shall tomorrow com- 
mence a list of facts for you on which those who are to 
support your plan in print will be able to hang a consid- 
erable amount of flesh, for I shall furnish a very nice 
skeleton." Miss Nightingale had interested the Editor of 
the Times in the subject and he had seen Mr. Villiers. 
The Association for the Improvement of the Infirmaries of 
London Workhouses, an outcome of the Lancet articles, 
sent a deputation to the Poor Law Board. Mr. Villiers 
in reply foreshadowed legislation on Miss Nightingale's 
lines, and he appointed Mr. Farnall and another of her 
friends, Dr. Angus Smith, to visit all infirmaries. Their 
report is the authority for the horrible state of these 
places, and though the tottering condition and finally 
the fall of the Ministry destroyed the hope of an immediate 
Bill, the case was too strong to be neglected. The new 
Minister was Mr. Gathorne Hardy. Miss Nightingale wrote 

The Workhouse and the Poor Law 293 

at once to him, procured an introduction for Mr. Farnall 
to Lord Derby (her old friend Lord Stanley) and backed 
up Mr. Villiers in his Parliamentary attempts to harry his 
successor. In the autumn (1866) Mr. Hardy appointed a 
Conunittee, mainly of doctors, to report upon certain mat- 
ters relating to workhouses and workhouse infirmaries. 
Nursing was one of these matters, and this the Committee 
referred to Miss Nightingale. In the memorandum she 
sent in she took full advantage of the chance, pointing out 
that the question of nursing could not, either in logic or 
in effective practice, be separated from that of adminis- 
tration. What must the Paris Assistance Puhlique think 
of the system or no system reigning here? "I allude to the 
heaping up of aged infirm, sick, able-bodied, lunatics, and 
sometimes children in the same building instead of having, 
as in every other Christian country, your asylum for aged, 
your hospital for sick, your lunatic asylum, your union 
school, etc., etc., each under its proper administration, and 
your able-bodied quite apart from any of these categories. 
This point is of such vital importance to the introduction 
and successful working of an efficient nursing system that I 
shall illustrate it. . . ." And so forth. 

As usual. Miss Nightingale had copies of her paper struck 
off and sent to influential people, 

Mr. Hardy made no sign, and, as the session drew near, 
Miss Nightingale grew anxious and poured in letters and 
memoranda upon him. On February 8, 1867, he introduced 
a Bill, a tentative and largely permissive measure, but, in 
spite of all that could be said against it by the reformers, 
a step in the right direction. The whole of the unions and 
parishes of London were united into the "Metropolitan 
Asylum District" for the treatment of insane, fever and 
smallpox cases, hitherto kept in the workhouses. Separate 
infirmaries were formed for the non-infectious sick with a 
greatly enlarged cubic space per inmate. Above all, the 
Metropolitan Common Poor Fund (the "Hospital and Asy- 

294 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

lum, Rate" of Miss Nightingale's memorandum) was estab- 
lished to maintain the institutions, including separate 
schools for pauper children. The bill did nothing directly 
to improve workhouse nursing, and the separation of the 
sick and the children was not complete. Miss Nightingale 
had at first pronounced it a ''humbug," but in counting up 
the gains she concluded that this was a beginning. They 
would get more in time. And so it has proved, though 
some of Miss Nightingale's reforms are still to make. 

She continued her workhouse campaign in an article 
in Eraser's Magazine for March 1869. The paper is rather 
disconnected in style and slight in treatment, and suf- 
fered from patching, as she had for once admitted the 
collaboration of friends. "I have adopted all your cor- 
rections," she laments to Dr. Sutherland, "and all Parthe's 
and all Sir Harry's; and they have taken out all my 
bon mots and left unfinished sentences on every page." 
But the "Note on Pauperism" is full of far-reaching sug- 
gestions, some on her old lines, some novel. She insists 
on the separation of the sick and incapable from the work- 
house. She argues that the thing to do is "not to punish 
the hungry for being hungry, but to teach the hungry to 
feed themselves." She attacks the school of laissez jaire, 
"which being interpreted means 'Let bad alone.' " She even 
thinks that the State should try to facilitate the organisa- 
tion of labour. The Times had talked about "the con- 
venience in the possession of a vast industrial army ready 
for any work and chargeable on the public when its work 
is no longer wanted." Such talk was both false and wicked. 
Where work was in one place and labour in another, the 
State should bring them together. There should be State- 
aided colonisation. Education should be more manual and 
less literary. Pauper children should be boarded out and 
sent to industrial schools. The condition of the dwellings 
of the poor was at the root of much pauperism, and the 
State should remedy it. 

The Workliouse and the Poor Law 295 

The article attracted much attention. Carlyle spoke 
warmly of it to Mr. Rawlinson, and it produced a large 
bundle of correspondence. It was very expensive to her, 
for she gave away the editor's fee many times over in con- 
tributions to emigration societies and other bodies interested 
in the ideas she had propounded. She accumulated a good 
deal of material about colonisation which she was never 
able to use in a connected shape, and she made more at- 
tempts to interest official persons. The subject took much 
of her time in 1869, and led to a long discussion with Mr. 
Goschen, the President of the Poor Law Board. ''He is a 
man of considerable mind," she wrote, "great power of get- 
ting up statistical information and political economy, but 
with no practical insight or strength of character. It is an 
awkward mind — like a pudding in lumps. He is like a man 
who has been senior wrangler and never anything after- 
wards." She thought he saw too many objections to every 
course to be likely to take action, and his economic doctrines 
paid too little regard to facts. "You must sometimes 
trample on the toes of Political Econoixdsts, just to make 
them feel whether they are standing on firm ground." * 

The present Highgate infirmary, built under the Act of 
1867, was the scene of an important extension of the new 
nursing. The plans of the building were submitted to 
Miss Nightingale by Mr. William Wyatt, the leader of a 
reform party in St. Pancras, and approved by her. Miss 
Torrance, whom she thought "the most capable Superin- 
tendent they had yet trained," was appointed matron with 
nine nurses under her. The experiment was soon extended, 
and a training school for nurses established. "I have never 
seen such nurses," wrote the Medical Superintendent; "they 
are so thoroughly conversant with disease that one feels 
quite on one's mettle in practice. What strikes one most 
is the real interest they take in the work, and this is the 

* Letter to Mme. Mohl, 26 March 1869. 

296 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

secret of their success." Among other reforms, Miss Tor- 
rance introduced useful work for the inmates. The men's 
suits were made by three tailors she discovered in the 
wards. The matron, whose letters show her a canny, capable, 
devoted woman, taking her work quietly without fussiness 
or self-importance, wrote to Miss Nightingale about a hun- 
dred times a year, reporting progress or difficulties, and 
approved nurses came in batches to South Street. They 
and their matron alike considered these visits a high priv- 

Miss Torrance presently fell from grace in Miss Night- 
ingale's eyes by becoming engaged to be married. At a 
critical period of the engagement, she failed to keep some 
appointments at South Street, and Miss Nightingale re- 
called to herself a saying of Mr. Clough's: "Persons in that 
case should be treated as if they had the scarlet fever." 

In 1871 Miss Nightingale drew up a Code for Infirmary 
Nursing which was accepted by Mr. Stansfeld, President 
of the newly instituted Local Government Board. 

As time went on, the extension of trained nursing in the 
workhouse infirmaries called for the services of more and 
more of her pupils. "Yesterday," she wrote to Mme. Mohl 
(June 30, 1881), "We opened the new Marylebone Infirm- 
ary (760 beds). We nurse it with our trained nurses, thank 



From all parts of the country, from British lands over- 
seas and from some foreign countries, plans of General 
Hospitals, Cottage Hospitals, Convalescent Homes were 
laid before Miss Nightingale. When consulted at an early- 
stage she often submitted plans of her own. She had begun 
as reformer of Military Hospitals, but the standard of these 
was now so high that she often went to them as models. 
The improvement of buildings and nursing went on to- 
gether. The suggestion of one naturally brought the other 
to mind, or Miss Nightingale took care that it should. In 
the years between 1868 and 1872 there was a great exten- 
sion of nurses' training schools, and of the introduction of 
trained nurses into institutions of various kinds, and many 
questions arose as to the relation between, the medical and 
nursing staffs. She printed a code of suggestions on such 
subjects in 1868. Hundreds of girls who thought of becom- 
ing nurses applied to her, and she generally answered their 
letters. But the supply of nurses barely kept up with the 
demand and there was a great lack of suitable applicants for 
the higher positions. She wrote often to friends in various 
parts of the country begging them to enlist promising 

Among those who asked her advice were Queens and 
Princesses. As an invalid Miss Nightingale had a great 
advantage in dealing with Royalties. She could pick and 
choose by feeling a little stronger or a little weaker, and 
two rules were communicated to friends who negotiated 
the interviews. She would not be well enough to see any 


298 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Queen or Princess who did not take a personal and prac- 
tical interest in hospitals and nursing; nor would she ever 
be well enough to receive any who did not come unattended 
by ladies or lords in waiting. An interview must be devoid 
of ceremonial; it must be simply between one woman inter- 
ested in nursing and another. These rules did not prevent 
Miss Nightingale from writing to her royal correspondents 
in the strain considered appropriate to their exalted posi- 
tion. In such matters she was a woman of the world. 

The royal lady who made the greatest impression on her 
was Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia, afterwards the 
Empress Frederick, and their acquaintance led to nursing 
and sanitary reforms in Prussia and Germany. For the 
war of 1866, Miss Nightingale had been consulted by all 
three combatants as well as an English society for helping 
the wounded. The two sisters of the English Royal house 
were on different sides, for Hesse-Darmstadt had thrown in 
its lot with Austria. Both the Crown Princess and Princess 
Alice asked for advice on hospital and nursing arrange- 
ments, and there was an application from a Florence Com- 
mittee for helping the Italian sick and wounded, all which 
requests busily engaged Miss Nightingale. A long cor- 
respondence followed with the Crown Princess, and Miss 
Nightingale was able to congratulate her on the good work 
of the Prussian surgeons, the well-managed hospital service 
and the Venetian "liberation brought about by Prussian 
arms." The Princess was in England in 1868, and was full 
of schemes for a new Hospital at Berlin, for maternity 
hospitals and for a training school for nurses. She sent 
her architect's plans in advance and had two long inter- 
views with Miss Nightingale, who had a very busy fort- 
night in collecting statistics of maternity hospitals and pre- 
paring model plans with the help of the Army Medical 
Department and the War Office Sanitary Committee. "She 
has a quick intelligence," Miss Nightingale wrote to Sir 
John McNeill (December 25, 1868), "and is cultivating 

The Head Centre 299 

herself in knowledge of sanitary (and female) administra- 
tion for her future great career. She comes alone like a 
girl, pulls off her hat and jacket like a five-year-old, drags 
about a great portfolio of plans, and kneels by my bedside 
correcting them. She gives a great deal of trouble. But 
I believe it will bear fruit." The thoroughness both of the 
instructress and of the pupil appears from the correspond- 

To the Crown Princess of Prussia, 35 Park St., Dec. 21 

Madam : 

In grateful obedience to your Royal Highness's command, 
directing me to forward to Osborne before the 24th the com- 
missions with which you favoured me. I send (1) the Port- 
folio of plans for the Hospital near the Plotzen See, and, 
in this envelope, the criticism upon the plans. Also in 
another envelope (2) a sketch of the Nursing ''hierarchy" 
required to nurse this Hospital (with a Training School 
attached), even to ages desirable — as desired by your Royal 
Highness. Also (3) the methods of continuous examina- 
tion in use (with full-sized copies of the Forms) to test 
the progress of the Probationers (Probe-Sch western). Also 
(4) lists of the clothing and underclothing (even to changes 
of linen) we give to and require from our Probationers and 
Nurses, and of the changes of sheets. Your Royal Highness 
having directed me to send patterns "in paper" of our 
Probationers' dress, I have thought it better to have a 
complete uniform dress such as our Probationers wear, for 
indoors and outdoors, made for your Royal Highness's in- 
spection, even to bonnet, cap and collar, which will arrive 
by this messenger in a small box and parcel. I am afraid 
that the aspect of these papers will be quite alarming from 
their bulk. But I can only testify to my gratitude for your 
Royal Highness's great kindness by fulfilling as closely as I 
can the spirit of your gracious will. I am sorry to say that 
I have not yet done encumbering your Royal Highness. 
The plans for Lying-in cottages had to be completed at the 
War Office and are not quite ready. But they shall be for- 
warded "before the 24th." . . . May I beg always to be 
considered, Madam, the most faithful, ready and devoted 
of your Royal Highness's servants. 

300 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

In spite of constant work in other fields Miss Nightingale 
never lost general control and supervision of her Training 
School for Nurses. With Mrs. Wardroper there was a 
voluminous and intimate correspondence year after year. 
She often saw her brother-in-law, Sir Harry Verney, who 
had become Chairman of the Nightingale Fund, and with 
her cousin, Mr. Henry Bonham Carter,* the Secretary of 
the Fund, there was a great mass of correspondence ex- 
tending over forty years and more, sometimes through the 
post, sometimes by written question and answer at her 

Her principal lieutenants who went out on important 
service and many members of the rank and file kept up a 
constant correspondence with her — sending direct reports, 
consulting her in difficulties, looking to her, and never in 
vain, for counsel and encouragement. "We are your sol- 
diers and we look for the approval of our Chief," wrote 
Agnes Jones. Miss Nightingale took especial pains to help 
the Lady Superintendents who went from St. Thomas's in 
command of nursing parties. Among her earlier papers 
containing thoughts about her future work, there is more 
than one reference to "Richelieu's self-multiplication," and 
she always bore in mind the aim of creating lieutenants 
who should spread the work beyond her personal scope in 
enlarging circles. 

A correspondence with Sir Henry Parkes about nursing 
for the Sydney Infirmary led to the despatch of Miss Osburn 
as Lady Superintendent with five nurses. All went well at 
first, with not more than the usual difficulties to be 
smoothed away; but in a few years' time all the five had 
either married or received good appointments outside the 
Infirmary and Miss Osburn had to recruit her staff from 

^ Mr. Bonham Carter was the friend and adviser on whom she most 
leaned in her later years. She listened to his advice not to burn her 
papers, and bequeathed them to her executors, of whom he was the senior. 

The Head Centre 301 

the Colony. Miss Nightmgale thought the expedition had 
thus "failed," but the diffusion of the party did much 
towards the extension of trained nursing in New South 

In November 1869 Mrs. Deeble and a staff of six Ward 
Sisters were setting out from St, Thomas's for the great 
emprise of taking charge of the War Office Hospital at 
Netley, and Miss Nightingale saw them all, gave them 
presents and spoke words of encouragement. "I trust," 
wrote one of the Sisters, "that I shall never forget some of 
the things you said to me, and that 'looking up' I may be 
enabled to show by my future life that your great kind- 
ness has not been thrown away." "I have been preaching 
to them four hours a day," wrote Miss Nightingale to M. 
Mohl, "expounding Regulations. Some of them are very 
nice women. One was out with Dr. Livingstone and Bishop 
Mackenzie on the Zambesi Mission. One, a woman who 
would be distinguished in any society, accidentally read my 
little article on 'Una,' and wrote off to us the same night 
offering to go through our training (which she did) and 
join us." 

The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War brought a 
great addition to Miss Nightingale's work. English philan- 
thropy was taken unprepared. The British Government 
had been a party to the Geneva Convention, but nothing 
had been done to organise a Society under its rules until 
a letter to the Times of July 22, 1870, from Colonel Loyd 
Lindsay (Lord Wantage) led to the formation of the 
National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded, which 
afterwards became the British Red Cross Aid Society. One 
of the first acts of the Committee was to consult Miss Night- 
ingale, and a letter from her was read at the public meeting 
at which the Society was constituted. The words of stir- 
ring appeal were received with loud cheers. If she had not 
been confined to a sick bed, she said, she would have volun- 

302 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

leered to go out as a nurse. As it was she must leave that 
work to others, and she gave the volunteers a characteristic 
caution : 

"Those who undertake such work must not be sentimental 
enthusiasts, but downright lovers of hard work. If there 
is any work which is simple stern necessity it is that of 
waiting upon the sick and wounded after a battle — serving 
in war hospitals, attending to and managing the thousand- 
and-one hard, dry, practical details which nevertheless 
mainly determine the question as to whether your sick and 
wounded shall live or die. If there is any nonsense in 
people's ideas of what hospital nursing is, one day of real 
duty will root it out. There are things to be done and seen 
which at once separate the true metal from the tinkling 
brass both among men and women." 

She was closely connected with the Red Cross work 
throughout the war. Relatives and friends of hers were 
on the Committee. Her allies. Captain Galton and Mr. 
Henry Bonham Carter, were sent early in the war to visit 
the hospitals of France and Germany; and when the war 
was over, the task of reporting on the correspondence of 
the Society's agents and of the English doctors was com- 
mitted to Dr. Sutherland. Miss Nightingale herself was 
diligent in collecting money and gifts, in writing letters 
and memoranda of advice, and answering applications from 
doctors and nurses. 

She thought the promoters of the Society showed a lack 
of vigour at the start. Why, she wanted to know, did not 
the Society advertise itself more? "If it had been sick 
and wounded itself, what could it have done less?" "It 
makes me mad to see advertisements only of the 'Voysey 
Defence Fund,' and the 'Derby Memorial Fund.' What 
does it matter whether Voysey is defended or not, and 
whether Lord Derby has a memorial or not?" The Com- 
mittee, in reply, hoped to do more presently; as it did. 
It collected nearly £300,000 and rendered a great deal of 
aid both in France and Germany. 

The Head Centre 303 

From the moment that war was seen to be inevitable 
Miss Nightingale had been deluged with correspondence 
both from home and from all sorts and conditions of people 
in France and Germany. The French applied to her for 
plans of temporary field hospitals; the Crown Princess of 
Prussia wrote for assistance and advice of all sorts. ''The 
dreaded letter has come," Miss Nightingale wrote to Dr. 
Sutherland, "what am I to answer; how to express sym- 
pathy with Prussia without alienating France?" Her per- 
sonal sympathies were rather with the French, but she was 
consistently impartial in rendering aid to good work on 
both sides and advice to both nursing services. 'T think," 
she wrote (December 20), "that if the conduct of the 
French for the last three months had been shown by any 
other nation, it would have been called, as it is, sublime. 
The uncomplaining endurance, the sad and severe self- 
restraint of Paris under a siege now of three months, would 
have rendered immortal a city of ancient Rome. The Army 
of the Loire fighting seven days out of nine barefoot, cold 
and frozen, yet unsubdued, is worthy of Henry V and Agin- 
court. And all for what? To save Alsace and Lorraine, 
of which Paris scarcely knows." In writing to the Crown 
Princess on hospital matters she put in a plea for clemency 
in the hour of final victory in words full of later meanings. 
"Prussia would remember," she was sure, "the future wars 
and misery always brought about by trampling too vio- 
lently on a fallen foe, and Germany will show to an aston- 
ished Europe that moderation of which victorious nations 
have hitherto shown themselves incapable." Miss Nightin- 
gale here hoped more of human perfectibility than she was 
to find. 

Later the Crown Princess came again to South Street. 
"She let me tell her," wrote Miss Nightingale, "a good deal 
of behind the scenes of Prussian ambulance work. I do 
like her so very much, and twice as much now that she is 
really worn and ripened by genuine hard work and anxiety." 

304 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

This visit produced large results. In answer to the Crown 
Princess's request, Miss Nightingale had sent Miss Flor- 
ence Lees (Mrs. Dacre Craven), an able Nightingale nurse, 
to serve in Germany, and this lady had been put in charge 
of the Crown Princess's War Hospital at Hamburg and 
employed to visit and report on war hospitals elsewhere. 
From her reports and from many other sources of informa- 
tion Miss Nightingale had formed a poor opinion of the 
Prussian nursing, medical and ambulance services." ''The 
abnormally bad among the Crimean hospitals," she told 
Dr. Sutherland, "were luxurious compared with the normal 
Prussian hospitals." "The only Prussian hospitals up to 
the present standard of sanitary experience are those of 
the Princess herself, and in those it was H.R.H. who taught 
the doctors and not the doctors who taught her." She spoke 
freely to the Princess, as she had been requested to do, 
and provided her with papers. In 1872 the Princess drafted 
a report on hospital organisation, and a Home and Nursing 
School, named after her, was established in Berlin. The 
superintendent was Fraulein Fuhrmann, whom the Crown 
Princess had sent for training to the Nightingale School 
at the time of her first acquaintance with the founder. The 
"Victoria Nurses," following the lead of the Nightingale 
nurses, also undertook the nursing in municipal hospitals, 
and the success of the Victoria Training School led to the 
establishment of similar institutions throughout Germany. 

^ Private reports sent to her contained a mass of information about 
the treatment of the sick and wounded, of which she said that it far 
surpassed in horror, as of course it vastly exceeded in scale, anything that 
she had seen in the Crimean War. 




The end of Sir John Lawrence's term as Viceroy was 
coming near, and the question of a sanitary organisation 
for India had still to be settled. To Miss Nightingale it 
was as if there were impending a second catastrophe such 
as the death of Sidney Herbert had brought upon the unfin- 
ished work at the War Office. It was an anxious time at 
home, too — an unusually trying example of the ups and 
downs of Miss Nightingale's semi-official life. Lord Rus- 
sell's Government and with it the position of Mr. Villiers 
and the Poor Law reforms and of her "own peculiar mas- 
ters," Lord de Grey and Lord Stanley, were, in the spring 
of 1866, tottering towards a fall. Negotiations with Sir 
John Lawrence's government were hung up from a curious 
cause — the non-appearance in London of a dispatch of 
which she had received notice in a letter from him. After 
much vain enquiry and search at the India Office, it turned 
out that the document had been fastened to papers belong- 
ing to another department, and thus had "escaped atten- 
tion." It was only discovered after four months by the 
perseverance of Lord de Grey, who hunted among the India 
Office files himself." As soon as he could find leisure from 
the troubles of the Government, he asked Miss Nightingale 
for a draft which he could submit to the India Council as 
his reply to the dispatch. He wanted a practical scheme of 
sanitary organisation, or at least a description of require- 
ments, or both. It was a large order; Miss Nightingale 

*Sir Charles "Wood had resigned in February 1868, and Lord de Grey- 
succeeded him as Secretary of State for India. 


808 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

was ill, and Dr. Sutherland was away. It took her eight 
days to produce the draft and she sent it in on the 19th 
June. But on the 18th the Government had been defeated 
and she had lost the chance, as she lamented to Harriet 
Martineau, "by 24 hours ! ! owing to Lord de Grey's going 
out." Lord de Grey, however, had time before he departed 
to leave at the India Office a minute closely following her 
memorandum. Lord Stanley, too, helped to bridge the 
void: he said he would talk sanitation to Lord Cranborne, 
the new Secretary for India,^ "and also say that I have 
advised you to write to him as you have always done to 
me, to my great advantage." Miss Nightingale's first letter 
to Lord Cranborne was one of those cautious, businesslike 
and apologetic letters with which she was accustomed to 
feel her way with a new "master," Lord Cranborne sent 
a friendly answer, but his stay at the India Office was short. 
He resigned when Disraeli introduced the Franchise Bill, 
and was succeeded by Sir Stafford Northcote, whom Miss 
Nightingale did not know. Captain Galton, however, sug- 
gested the possibility of another ally: Sir Bartle Frere had 
just returned from the Governorship of Bombay and had 
been given a seat on the India Council. Miss Nightingale 
and he met and had "a great talk" (June 1867). "He 
impressed me wonderfully," she wrote to Galton, "more 
than any Indian whom I have seen except Sir John Law- 
rence, and I seemed to learn more in an hour from him upon 
Indian administration and the way it is going than I did 
from Ellis in six months, or from Strachey in two days, or 
from Indian Councils (Secretaries of State and Royal Com- 
missions and all) in six years." He became a constant vis- 
itor and correspondent. Considerably more than 100 let- 
ters on each side passed between them in the next six 
years. "I will make 35 South Street the India Office," he 
said, "while this affair is pending." "If only," she wrote 

^Better known as the seventh Marquis of Salisbury. 

The Administrative Machine 300 

to Captain Galton, "we could get a Public Health Depart- 
ment in the India Office to ourselves with Sir Bartle Frere 
at the head of it, our fortunes would be made." Encour- 
aged by Sir Bartle Frere's sympathy, she set to work afresh 
on the Viceroy and the India Office. 

The Sanitary Commission for each Indian Presidency 
recommended by the Royal Conunission of 1863 had indeed 
been set up by Lawrence, but on the ground of expense they 
had later been reduced to two officers each; and as a fur- 
ther economy it was proposed that the Inspector General of 
Prisons in each Government should take over the duties, 
and that an Inspector of Prisons should hold the office of 
Sanitary Commissioner with the Government of India. 
At the India Office in London, the compromise of creating 
an Indian sanitary authority by adding Indian experts to 
the War Office Sanitary Committee had not answered well. 
Miss Nightmgale had accepted it as a second-best expedient, 
not giving the clear-cut authority and responsibility that 
were needed; and the resulting friction between the two 
Offices had justified her view. 

She had a clear policy of organisation in her mind, and 
in the campaign which followed she secured most of her 
points with a speed and completeness which make the 
achievement one of her most brilliant successes. She wanted 
(1) an executive sanitary authority in India, (2) an expert, 
controlling (and incidentally an inspiring) authority in 
London, and (3) publicity through an annual report. On 
the first point she was doomed to some disappointment. 
On the others she was completely successful. 

As to the India Office there was a preliminary difficulty. 
"Dr. Sutherland is so very etiquettish," she wrote to Cap- 
tain Galton, "that he says, 'But how are you to have seen 
these papers?' I don't know. It seems to me that the 
cat has been out of the bag so long that it is no use tying 
the strings now. I will say, if you like, that Broadhead 
of Sheffield [author of "rattening" outrages] gave me 

310 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

£15 to steal them and to blow you up. I am going ahead 
anyhow." Captain Galton would not admit the doubt: 
it had been the established practice for years, as every 
official person knew, to send Indian sanitary papers to 
Miss Nightingale, and he would take the responsibility. 
Accordingly a letter, carried by Sir Bartle Frere, went from 
Miss Nightingale to the Secretary of State. It is an ad- 
mirable document, closely reasoned, with pleasant pungency 
of expression here and there and a touch of emotion kept 
well in reserve. She begged the Minister to go back to the 
point at which the matter had been left when Lord de Grey 
went out, and "to put the Indian Health Service once for 
all on a satisfactory footing. This would indeed be a noble 
service for a Secretary of State to render to India." Sir 
Stafford Northcote answered, gave an opening for further 
letters, asked for "a little conversation," and had an hour's 
talk on the subject. 

Miss Nightingale to Captain Galton, 22 August, 1867 
"I saw Sir S. Northcote on Tuesday. He came of his 
own accord — which I think I partly owe to you. The 
result is (that is, if he does as he says) that there will be a 
Controlling Committee at the India Office for sanitary 
things with Sir B. Frere at the head and Sir H. Anderson 
at the tail, and your War Office Commission as the con- 
sulting body. As to the Public Health Service, I told him 
that we want the Executive Machinery in India to do it, 
and the Controlling Machinery at the I. 0. to know that 
it is being done. The work of the Controlling Committee 
will really be introducing the elements of civilisation 
into India. ... (I wish I could choose the members as I 
did in Sidney Herbert's time.) But I have the greatest 
faith in Sir B. Frere and he asked me to let him bring 
Sir H. Anderson here; so we shall have the Chairman and 
the Secretary on our side. . . . But my principal reason for 
writing to you now is this: I went as fully as I could with 
Sir S. N. into this, that no time should be lost in sending 
R. Engineers intended for service in India to examine and 

The Administrative Machine 311 

make themselves acquainted with improvements in sewer- 
age, drainage, water supply of towns, and in application of 
sewage to agriculture, and with improvements in Barrack 
and Hospital construction, etc., as carried out here. Now, 
there is no one but you who can properly advise Sir S. N. 
in this way. Pray do so." 

She kept Sir Stafford Northcote's attention alive, and 
two months later he asked for another interview. 

He told her that he had definitely decided to appoint a 
Sanitary Committee at the India Office, and read out the 
list of names with the promised Chairman and Secretary. 
He then asked her advice as to the delicate question of 
the relation between the new body and the old — the War 
Office Sanitary Committee. Miss Nightingale recommended 
that the India Office Committee should be the controlling 
and responsible body, and the other consultative only. The 
body with which she had been so intimately associated was 
thus to have no direct responsibility forlndia. ''But I shall 
be much surprised," she wrote to Captain Galton, ''if Sir 
Bartle Frere does not refer many more matters to you than 
has previously been the case." She had thus won her second 

Sir Stafford Northcote then produced a dispatch from 
the Government of India, suggesting the appointment of 
medical officers as full-time advisory Health Officers for each 
Local Government in India. Miss Nightingale had already 
heard of this from Sir John Lawrence, but was doubtless 
too discreet to say so. Sir Stafford asked her to write him 
her views on the subject, and to suggest the answer, if she 
cared to do so. The officers proposed would not have the 
executive authority she wanted; but the plan was a step 
in the right direction. 

She had now a spell of very hard work. At the end of 
it she had sent to Sir Stafford Northcote (1) a draft for 
immediate reply to the Indian Government, approving the 

312 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

appointment of the Health Officers. This was sent to India 
on November 29th; (2) a digest of the Indian sanitary 
question from 1859 to 1867. This was printed in a Blue 
Book issued by the Secretary of State in 1868; (3) thirdly, 
a memorandum on the whole subject full of suggestions and 
advice. This was sent out to the Indian Government and 
printed anonymously in the same Blue Book; ^ (4) fourthly 
and principally, the heads of a dispatch on the whole sub- 
ject which she suggested might be sent to the Government 
of India. "Of course I cannot say," she wrote, "how 
far these heads may meet with your concurrence." They 
were all adopted, and for the most part in her own lan- 

The suggestions of this dispatch are one of Miss Night- 
ingale's best services to the cause of public health in India. 
It begins with calling for a Report on Sanitary Progress. 
It draws attention in detail to the "Suggestions" of 1864, 
and asks for reports on any progress made in carrying them 
out. It al«o includes the proposal that Engineer Officers 
should be sent to England to study sanitary methods. The 
dispatch is altogether an excellent example of the method 
of suggestion, advice and stimulation from headquarters as 
the means of raising the standard, the executive authority 
remaining with the Government of India. The reports 
asked for were duly forwarded and printed with the 
dispatch and other papers in the Blue Book already men- 
tioned. This Blue Book was the first of an annual series 
of Indian Sanitary Reports — Miss Nightingale's third 

The Government of India somewhat resented the process 
of hustling by the India Office in London. But Miss Night- 
ingale kept her faith in Sir John Lawrence when Dr. Suth- 
erland, greatly daring, ventured to call him "ou^:' worst 

" It contains tell-tale phrases, such as "The result will be the civilisation 
of India." 

The Administrative Machine 313 

enemy;" * and Sir Bartle Frere was hopeful. He urged Miss 
Nightingale to write again to the Viceroy as to the need 
of an Executive Sanitary Department. There had been 
frequent and friendly correspondence between them, in 
spite of some trials to her faith. She wrote but did not 

"It may seem to you," wrote Lawrence (25 October 1868), 
"with your great earnestness and singleness of mind, that 
we are doing very little, and yet in truth I already see great 
improvement, more particularly in our military canton- 
ments, and doubtless we shall from year to year do better. 
But the extension of sanitation throughout the country and 
among the people must be a matter of time, especially if 
we wish to carry them with us. . . . (November 23). I think 
that we have done all we can do at present in further- 
ance of sanitary improvement, and that the best plan is 
to leave the Local Governments to themselves to work out 
their own arrangements. If we take this course we shall 
keep them in a good humour. If we try more, we shall 
have trouble. ..." 

He enclosed a letter from Mr. Strachey, the member of 
Council in charge of the Indian Home Department, to 
which sanitary matters had been transferred. Mr, Strachey 
wrote indignantly about the memorandum: there might be 
grave dangers in forcing sanitary reform on an unwilling 
people. "The nastiest pill we have had," said Miss Night- 
ingale to Dr. Sutherland, "but we have swallowed a good 
many and are not poisoned yet." They sent an answer 
which Sir Bartle Frere thought "admirable." "My letter 

* A minor controversy was on the question of Doors v. Windows as a 
means of ventilation for Indian Hospitals. Miss Nightingale and the 
Army Sanitary Committee were for Windows, the Government of India 
for Doors. Miss Nightingale's main object was to show the futility of 
the administrative machinery. The papers about Doors and Windows were 
referred backwards and forvvards between medical, military and district 
authorities, local and central governments, and she objected to "sanitary 
administration by universal suffrage." 

314 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

to Sir J. L. to bless and curse," Miss Nightingale entered 
in her Diary. 

When Sir John Lawrence returned to London one of 
the first things he did was to call at South Street and leave 
with a little note, "a small shawl of the fine hair of the 
Thibet goat." He did not presume, he said, to ask to see 
her without an appointment, but would call another day 
if she cared to give him one. Three days later he came and 
his conversation roused all Miss Nightingale's admiration 
afresh. The talk, of which she made a long note, ranged 
over the whole field of Indian government. On the subject 
of public health she recorded with pleasure his saying: 
"You initiated the reform which initiated Public Opinion, 
which made things possible, and now there is not a station 
in India where there is not something doing." But "in the 
first place," she wrote, "when I see him again I see that there 
is nobody like him. He is Rameses II of Egypt. All the 
ministers are rats and weasels by his side." "He has left 
his mark on India," she wrote to Mme. Mohl; "wherever 
superstition or ignorance or starvation or dirt or fever or 
famine or the wild, bold lawlessness of brave races, or the 
cringing slavishness of clever, feeble races was to be found, 
there he has left his mark. He has set India on a new 
track which — ^may his successors follow!" 



Miss Nightingale's main work during the following year 
may be called that of a Health Missionary for India. 
Through "her own little department," the new Sanitary 
Committee at the India Office, she did a large amount of 
official work in collaboration with Sir Bar tie Frere. She 
also saw and corresponded with Indian officials of many 
ranks from Viceroys to local officers of health, and made 
acquaintance with leading men of Indian birth. 

On October 28, 1868, Dr. Sutherland was summoned to 
South Street. He was in a hurry and hoped there was 
"nothing much on today." The message came down: 

"There is a 'something' which most people would think a 
very big thing indeed. And that is seeing the Viceroy or 
Sacred Animal of India. I made him go to Shoeburyness 
yesterday and come to me this afternoon because I could 
not see him unless you give me some kind of general idea 
what to state." 

The Sacred Animal, who was Lord Mayo, asked for a 
memorandum of guidance, and this she prepared with the 
advice of Sir Bartle Frere and Dr. Sutherland. It covered 
the whole ground of sanitary improvement, dwelling much 
on irrigation and agricultural development as aids. His 
policy, Miss Nightingale said, in an autobiographical note 
on her relations with successive Viceroys, was in accord with 
the lines Sir Bartle Frere and she desired. In his time there 
was some improvement of sanitary conditions, and irriga- 
tion works were extended. 


316 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"I say nothing," she adds, "of his splendid services in 
foreign policy, in his Feudatory States and Native Chiefs 
policy, in which doubtless Sir B. Frere helped hun. I saw 
him more than once before he started, and he corresponded 
with me all the time of his too brief Viceroyalty. I think 
he was the most open man, except Sidney Herbert, I ever 
knew. I think it was Lord Stanley who said of him, 'He 
did things not from calculation, but from the nature of 
his mind.' " 

But Miss Nightingale's greatest ally in India at this time 
was Lord Napier, Governor of Madras.^ During his six 
years' Government he gave his most particular attention 
to public health, and wrote to her often to report progress. 
"I remember Scutari," he wrote, "and I am one of the few 
original faithful left, and I think I am attached to you, 
irrespective of sanitation." In Madras he carried through 
a scheme of female nursing, and he sent, on her advice, 
one of his engineer officers home to study sanitary works. 
Both these were points in which she had failed with Law- 
rence.* He wished to be "a humble but devoted member of 
the sanitary band, of your band, I might more properly say. 
Do you know," he continues, 

"that I was sent by Lord Stratford to salute and wel- 
come you on your first arrival at Scutari, and that I 
found you stretched on the sofa where I believe you never 
lay down again? I thought then that it would be a great 
happiness to serve you, and if the Eltchi would have given 
me to you, I would have done so with all my heart and 
learned many things that would have been useful to me 
now. . . . But if I can do something now, it will be a late 
compensation. ..." (Report on various sanitary measures 
then in hand.) "I have read the beautiful account of 
'Una' last evening driving along the melancholy shore. I 

* Afterwards Lord Napier and Ettrick. 

'Lawrence had asked her to draw up a scheme of female nursing, but 
failed to carry out the experiment, in a single hospital, which she sug- 
gested. His advisefs greatly enlarged the scheme, which then appeared 

The Machine and the Missionary 317 

send it to Lady Napier, who is in the Hills. I will write 
again soon, as you permit and even desire it, and am ever 
your faithful, grateful and devoted servant, 


In December 1S69 IMiss Nightingale made a new friend, 
another Lord Napier — of IVIagdala — who was soon to be- 
come Commander-in-Chief in India. He spent some hours 
with her before going out, and she was full of admiration for 
his character, and especially for his belief in the British 
soldier and his great concern for the moral and physical 
health of the Army. 

"'^Tien I look at these three men (tho' strangely different) 
— Lord Lawrence, Lord Napier of Magdala, and Sir Bartle 
Frere — for practical ability, for statesmanlike perception of 
where the truth lies and what is to be done and who is to 
do it, for high aim, for noble disinterestedness, I feel that 
there is not a Minister we have in England fit to tie their 
shoes — since Sidney Herbert. There is simplicity, a large- 
ness of view and character about these three men, as about 
Sidney Herbert, that does not exist in the present Ministers. 
They are party men; these three are Statesmen. S. Her- 
bert made enemies by not being a party man ; it gave him 
such an advantage over them." 

To prepare the way for the Commander-in-Chief it was 
arranged that Miss Nightingale should send a memoran- 
dum on sanitation and especially army sanitation to the 
Viceroy. Lord Napier himself begged her to do so, and 
the result was a careful memorandum on the Indian sani- 
tary question at large. One outcome of this was a sug- 
gestion by Sir Bartle Frere that she should write a letter 
on sanitation for Indian Village Elders. Such a letter was 
accordingly written for the Bengal Social Science Asso- 
ciation (June 1870), who had it translated into Bengali. 
Sir Bartle Frere had it translated into other Indian lan- 
guages, and it was the most widely distributed of all Miss 
Nightingale's Indian writings. 

318 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Meantime she continued to advise the Sanitary De- 
partment of the India Office through Sir Bartle Frere, and 
during the years 1869-74 put an immense amount of work 
into the preparation of the Annual Sanitary Report, of 
which Dr. Sutherland was supposed to be the real author. 
The editor was instructed by Sir Bartle Frere to submit all 
reports to her, and her will seems to have been law. She 
criticised the abstracts of the local reports, and wrote or 
suggested the introductory memorandum. The report for 
1874 included a long and important paper from her, after- 
wards read to the Social Science Congress of 1863 — "How 
Some People Have Lived and Not Died in India." It was 
a popular summary of ten years' progress. 

The Army death rate had been brought down from 69 
per 1,000 to 18. Only 18 men died where 69 died before, 
and £285,000 was thus saved on recruits in a single year. 
The soldier, as Miss Nightingale was never tired of pointing 
out to opponents of "sentiment," is a very expensive article. 
No such definite test could be applied to the civil popula- 
tion. There was no census till 1872, But many and im- 
portant cases of improvement had been created, in military 
stations and their neighbourhood, by expert committees and 
officers and village authorities; in fairs and pilgrimages by 
sanitary regulation; in institutions, and to some extent in 
the great cities, in respect of water supply, drainage, and 
sanitation. The condition of the vast country districts 
was another matter. The teaching of the Sanitary Com- 
missioners had had some effect here and there, enough to 
show by examples that the old bogey "the hopeless Indian 
climate" could in certain respects be kept within bounds 
by the accepted sanitary measures. But research into the 
propagation of tropical diseases had not then been far ad- 
vanced. Varieties of "fever" were not differentiated, nor 
were the preventive measures proper to each yet known. 
The connection between standing water, mosquitoes and 

The Machine and the Missionary 319 

malarial fever in particular was not understood.' But Miss 
Nightingale's scavenging, such as cleaning wells, removing 
refuse, and providing other harbourage for sewage than the 
drinking tanks, was in accord with lasting principles. It 
was, like her campaign of army sanitation, on the right lines 
of attack against typhoid, dysentery and cholera. 

She had used the ravages of cholera among the troops 
in the North West Provinces as an argument with Sir 
Stafford Northcote for an improved public health serv- 
ice, and in accordance with her usual method she tried 
during Lord Mayo's Viceroyalty to obtain an exhaustive 
enquiry into the facts of the incidence of cholera as a 
groundwork for remedy. Sir Bartle Frere warmly supported 
the proposal and an elaborate questionyiaire was drawn up 
for her by Dr. Sutherland and sent to India by the Army 
Sanitary Committee with a dispatch from the Secretary 
of State. Miss Nightingale followed this up by letters to 
Lord Mayo and Lord Napier of Madras. The enquiry 
furnished much material for successive Blue Books and for 
scientific discussion of theories of origin among the Indian 
Medical Officers. She sometimes feared that these dis- 
putations led to a neglect of the essence of the matter, 
namely, that the one protection against cholera is a con- 
stant attention to sanitary precautions. 

' Practical results of bacteriolo^iy were not fully established in scientific 
orthodoxy till late in Miss Nightingale's life, and she regarded that branch 
of research as rather a nuisance. It was apt to distract doctors from what 
she thought the more urgent work of saving life by sanitation and hygiene. 




In the later sixties, Miss Nightingale's connection with 
the War Office was slackening. Lord de Grey ceased to 
be Secretary for War in 1866, Sir Douglas Galton retired 
from the War Office at the end of 1869, and thus she no 
longer had an ally within the department/ This could 
have been remedied, for her old friend Sir Henry Storks 
had received a high appointment in the War Office. It was 
a more serious obstacle that Mr. Gladstone's advent to 
power was indirectly unfavourable to her work. The strength 
of his Government was thrown into political reform, not 
into administration. The administration of the depart- 
ments, as she was not alone in thinking, was defective, and 
what she cared for, and was fitted for, she said to herself, 
was only administration. In previous years she had not 
only written reports, she had been able to organise the 
mechanism for carrying them out, and to speed the carrying 
out. Now that administration was, as she thought, going 
to the dogs, it was time for her to be departing. For 1872 
there is a summary entry in her diary: This year I go out 
of office. 

There were still occasional calls. In 1868 the Army 
Sanitary Commission had to be saved. Mr. Gladstone was 
cutting down the Army Estimates; the medical service was 
believed to be marked for retrenchment and the Sanitary 
Commission for destruction. Miss Nightingale moved Lord 
de Grey to intercede, and both were spared. Lord de Grey 

*Miss Nightingale intervened to secure his continuance on the Army- 
Sanitary Committee. 

. 323 

324 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

asked for a memorandum to justify the work of the threat- 
ened institutions. 

"I am all in the arithmetical line now," she wrote to M. 
Mohl (21 November 1869). ''Lately I have been making 
up our Returns in a popular form for one of the Cabinet 
Ministers (we are obliged to be very 'popular' for them — 
but hush! my abject respect for (!!abinet Ministers pre- 
vails). I find that every year, taken upon the last four 
years for which we have returns (1864-7), there are in the 
Home Army, 729 men alive every year who would have 
been dead but for Sidney Herbert's measures, and 5,184 
men always on active duty who would have been 'con- 
stantly sick' in bed. In India the difference is still more 

There was still the Indian work, and the incessant labour 
of advising on hospitals and nursing ; and the strain of these 
was enough to take all her strength. The death of Agnes 
Jones in 1868, and the anxieties it entailed, told greatly on 
her health and spirits. Mr. Jowett, after seeing her early in 
July, was seriously alarmed at her physical weakness and 
mental despondency. A month's cure at Malvern had done 
no good. He persuaded Mrs. Nightingale to arrange a 
visit to Lea Hurst, so that Florence could combine a coun- 
try rest with a stay with her mother, now eighty years old. 
They were together for three months at the old home, and 
for a week Mr. Jowett was there with them. The mother 
and daughter had seldom been on such affectionate and 
understanding terms. They talked of the past, and the 
mother was ready to blame herself. "You would have 
done nothing in life if you had not resisted me." Such 
visits to her parents' country homes were repeated in the 
years that followed. Something may have been due to 
Mr. Jowett's counsels. Continuous drudgery, he said, was 
not good for body or soul. They were supposed to have 
entered into a compact not to overwork, and he called on her 
to do her part in it. At any rate, though the post brought 
quantities of papers, there was at this time more of the 

Changes and Sorrows 325 

country in her life, more intervals for reading and medi- 
tation. Mr. Jowett was often a visitor for a few days at 
a time. He continued to urge her to undertake some sus- 
tained writing, and the first fruits of the attempt were 
the "Note on Pauperism." But business would break in. 
There was always India. There was the work on maternity 
statistics. There was the Franco-Prussian War. 

Country air in this state of things brought no better 
health. There is evidence of sleepless nights in many let- 
ters dated in the small hours of the morning. During 1870 
and 1871 especially her letters and diaries speak of great 
weakness. She was able to do as much as she did only 
by the devotion of Dr. Sutherland, to whom she was obliged 
to refer for almost everything at this time, letters to a few 
intimate friends excepted. He helped her with constant 
loyalty and kindness. Her letters were often impatient 
and references to her weakness were frequent. She some- 
times called herself a "vampyre," and she was certainly 
exacting both to herself and to her faithful friend and 
assistant. Overstrain still continued, and though she was 
no longer, it seems, expected to die of her past exertions, 
she was still supposed to be a hopeless invalid. She had 
always resorted to self-examination and self-criticism, 
whenever her full life had given time for thought. The 
will was strong but the spirit very sensitive, and now self- 
reproach and the sense of failure in the height and purity 
of motive wore upon the overwrought nerves and tended 
to morbidity of mind, and sometimes to self-pity. She 
lived with pen and pencil at her side. The lack of close 
human affections was in some sort filled by spiritual medi- 
tations, and it may be that setting them down served to 
relieve her mind. Those who sought counsel and help, 
and the friends who occasionally saw her, were little aware 
of the deep sadness and discouragement which pervaded 
most of her many private notes at this time of her life. 

In February 1872 Lord Mayo was murdered — "a great 

326 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

blow" to Miss Nightingale's cause. Lord Northbrook was 
appointed to succeed him, and the new Viceroy left for 
India without coming to see Miss Nightingale. He after- 
wards answered a request from her in a friendly way and 
invited further suggestions, but she did not take the open- 
ing. His omission to consult with her seemed to be a sign 
that she ought to go "out of office." 

In this time of uncertainty she saw before her no dis- 
tinct call, "no consecutive path growing out of one's own 
deed, but only a succession of disjointed lives and uncon- 
nected events." It was the penalty of her free position. 
Mr. Jowett tried to encourage her. "I am glad," he says, 
"that you have given up drudgery for public offices. . . . 
The position which you held was always precarious because 
dependent on 'temples of friendship' and the good will of 
the Minister." He continued to urge her to write. "The 
way of influencing mankind by ideas is the more excellent 
way" — a surprising advice to be given to so confirmed a 
"man of action." 

Mill, too, had urged her to come into the open. He 
regretted "the very general preference among women for 
moving the hidden springs rather than letting their work 
be known to the world." He thought that there was a 
duty to speak out — that everyone should stand by the truth 
taught by his own experience and intelligence. She could 
have given a good answer at the time. As adviser to 
Ministers and Governors General she had no possible public 
status. But that objection could not apply to philosoph- 
ical and religious topics. She was not happiest in writing. 
"I am sure if anybody in the world is most unsuited for 
writing and official work, it is I. And yet I have done 
nothing for seven years but write regulations," she said in 
1864." But if the work had to be done she would do it. 
"What nonsense people do talk, to be sure, about people 

'Letter to Julius Mohl. 

Changes and Sorrows 327 

finding themselves in suitable positions, and looking out 
for congenial work." 

The blank was filled in several ways. She overhauled 
her school of nursing and threw herself more energetically 
and more closely into improving its work and keeping her 
hand on its pupils and heads. This gave her, as Jowett 
said, "a straightforward work to do in which you are de- 
pendent on yourself." She remained a general adviser 
on hospitals and nursing, and, as far as the Indian work 
was concerned, the idea, or the fear, of being "out of office" 
was too hasty, for she continued for many years in close 
touch with Indian officials and reformers. 

She took Mill's and Jowett's advice so far as to set to 
work on an attempt to re-state the gist of the abandoned 
Suggestions for Thought. Two articles in Fraser's Maga- 
zine and a third, never published, were the result. God 
as the God of Law is the subject of the first. The general 
idea of the second and more discursive is that the purifi- 
cation of religion is not to be attained by destructive criti- 
cism, but by reconstruction in the shape of a re-ordering 
of modern life on the lines of social service. Both were 
widely read and brought many letters, sympathetic or crit- 
ical. The third article, in the main a plea for what is 
now called social reform, was disapproved on the score of 
arrangement by Froude, who had read and admired the 
first two, and it was never published. Other essays on 
the same tack were undertaken at Jowett's suggestion, but 
they failed to come up to his standard and were laid aside. 
She could only give to such writing the odd hours of an 
already overfull life and the failure was not surprising. But 
it weighed heavily on her spirits. 

There was a lighter and happier task for her in helping 
Jowett to revise his Plato, the first edition of which had ap- 
peared in 1871. Her Greek had grown a little rusty, but her 
interest in Plato's religious ideas was intense, and her volu- 

328 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

minous notes arnd suggestions took effect in many a page 
of the revised work. 

As in former years, she continued, too, to send Mr. Jowett 
suggestions for sermons. When he became Master of Bal- 
liol he projected a special form of service for the College 
Chapel, and she suggested a selection of passages from 
the Psalms; but Jowett had to report that ''the Bishop 
has disallowed our versicles and some other things on legal 
grounds," and the plan was given up. Another scheme was 
carried out — a selection from the Bible: "The School and 
Children's Bible." The name of the Rev. W. Rogers ap- 
pears on the title page, but the selection was in fact made 
for the most part by Mr. Jowett, with the help of friends. 
Swinburne was one of these; the other principal collab- 
orator was Florence Nightingale. Swinburne wished to add 
more of the prophetic and poetic element. Miss Night- 
ingale suggested both omissions and additions. She wanted 
a clear plan of the space to be given to: 

"(a) Matters of universal importance, moral and spiritual 
— e.g., the finest parts of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 
New Testament; (b) matters of historical importance — e.g., 
which embrace the history of great nations, Egypt, Assyria, 
Babylon. The petty wars of the petty tribes seem to take 
up a quite disproportionate space; (c) matters of local 
importance which have acquired a universal moral signifi- 
cance — e.g., Jonah is entirely left out: yet Jonah has a 
moral and spiritual, meaning, while Samson, Balaam and 
Bathsheba have none; (d) matters of merely local impor- 
tance, with no significance but an immoral one — e.g., the 
stories about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, almost all Joshua 
and Judges, and very much of Samuel and Kings. The 
story of Achilles and his horses is far more fit for children 
than that of Balaam and his ass, which is only fit to be 
told to asses. The stories of Samson and Jephtha are only 
fit to be told to bulldogs; and the story of Bathsheba to 
be told to Bathshebas. Yet we give all these stories to 
children as 'Holy Writ.' There are some things in Homer 
we might better call 'Holy' writ — many, many in Sopho- 
cles and ^schylus. The stories about Andromache and An- 

Changes and Sorrows 329 

tigone are worth all the women in the Old Testament put 
together; nay, ahnost all the women in the Bible." 

"I blessed you every time I took the papers up, espe- 
cially in the Prophets," Jowett wrote. "I have adopted 
your selection almost entirely, with a slight abridgement." 

Miss Nightingale was fond of reading the books of Cath- 
olic devotion which the Rev. Mother of the Bermondsey 
Convent used to send her; and study of Plato and the Bible 
increased her interest in Christian mysticism. The Fourth 
Gospel was the work of a mystic, and there were curious 
analogies, as she pointed out to Mr. Jowett, between Plato 
and the mediaeval mystics. The famous myth of the puri- 
fied soul, for instance, recalled a passage in the Fioretti 
of St. Francis. The closing prayer in the Phaedrus — "Give 
me beauty in the inward soul, and may the outward and 
inward man be at one" — was, she thought, unequalled by 
any collect in the Prayer Book. Concurrently with her 
work for the revised Plato she gave much time during 1873 
and 1874 (with additions later) to transcribing or trans- 
lating and arranging passages from devotional writers of 
the Middle Ages. This study was not at variance with her 
outward life of activity, nor was it a refuge from weariness. 
She read the mystics not for the sake of reposing in con- 
templative ecstasy, but that she might learn to give more 
perfect service. She makes some notes from St. Catherine 
of Siena: 

It is not the occupation but the spirit which makes the 
difference. The election of a bishop may be a most secular 
thing. The election of a representative may be a religious 
thing. It is not the preluding such an election with public 
prayer that would make it a religious act. It is religious 
so far as each man discharges his part as a duty and a 
solemn responsibility. The question is not whether a thing 
is done for the State or the Church, but whether it is done 
with God or without God. 

330 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Miss Nightingale's symbolical heading to this passage 
was ''Drains." 

"These old Mystics whom we call superstitious," she said, 
in a passage of one of her drafts for the Preface, "were 
far before us in their ideas of God and of prayer (that is, of 
our communion with God). Trayer,' says a mystic of the 
16th Century, 'is to ask not what we wish of God, but 
what God wishes of us.' 'Master who hast made and formed 
the vessel of the body of Thy creature, and hast put within 
so great a treasure, the Soul, which bears the image of 
Thee:' so begins a dying prayer of the 14th Century. In 
it and in the other prayers of the Mystics there is scarcely 
a petition. There is never a word of the theory that God's 
dealings with us are to show his 'power'; still less of the 
theory that 'of His Own good pleasure' He has 'predestined' 
any souls to eternal damnation. There is little mention of 
heaven for self; of desire of happiness for self, none. It is 
singular how little mention there is either of 'intercession' 
or of 'atonement by another's merits.' True it is that we 
can only create a heaven for ourselves and others 'by the 
merits of another,' since it is only by working in accordance 
with God's laws that we can do anything. But there is 
nothing at all in these prayers as if God's anger had to 
be bought off, as if He had to be bribed into giving us 
heaven by sufferings merely 'to satisfy God's justice.' In 
the dying prayers, there is nothing of the 'egotism of death.' 
It is the reformation of God's Church — that is, God's chil- 
dren, for whom the self would give itself, that occupies the 
dying thoughts. There is not often a desire to be released 
from trouble and suffering. On the contrary there is often 
a desire to suffer the greatest suffering, and to offer the 
greatest offering, with even greater pain, if so any work 
can be done. And still this, and all, is ascribed to God's 
goodness. The offering is not to buy anything by suffering, 
but — If only the suppliant can do anything for God's chil- 

"These suppliants did not live to see the 'reformation' of 
God's children. No more will any who now offer these 
prayers. But at least we can all work towards such prac- 
tical 'reformation.' The way to live with God is to live 
with Ideas — not merely to think about ideals, but to do 
and suffer for them. Those who have to work as men and 

Changes and Sorrows 331 

women must above all things have their Spiritual Ideal, 
their purpose, ever present. The 'mystical' state is the 
essence of common sense." 

The selections were never finished. This and all other 
literary work was interrupted in the beginning of 1874 by 
the sudden death of her beloved father, with whom, in the 
reflective side of his character, she had so much in common. 
The death of her old friend, Mrs. Bracebridge, quickly fol- 
lowed. Mr. Bracebridge had died eighteen months before. 

"He and she have been the creators of my life," she 
had said. 'Tt is people like these," M. Mohl wrote in 
answer, "in whom lies the glory of England and the strength 
of the country. They were so genuine, so ready to help 
and to impoverish themselves for public purposes, and to 
do it unostentatiously and without fishing for popularity." 

Her father's death involved Miss Nightingale in much 
distracting business. His land and the two houses passed 
under the entail to his sister, "Aunt Mai," and her hus- 
band, other property to Miss Nightingale and Lady Verney, 
and there was much to arrange, many people of different 
views to consult and reason with. Mrs. Nightingale's move- 
ments and future mode of life had to be settled. She was 
eighty-six, and Florence felt deeply the responsibility of pro- 
viding for her mother's old age.' 1874 and 1875 were years 
of anxiety and worry, especially painful in the unavoidable 
interruption to her work. "Oh, God," she exclaimed in the 
bitterness of her heart, "let me not sink in these perplex- 
ities, but give me a great cause to do and die for." And 
again: "What makes the difference between man and 
woman? Quetelet did his work and I am so disturbed by 
my family that I can't do mine." Quetelet, too, "the founder 
of the most important science in the whole world" — that of 
social statistics — ^had died a short time before. 

"From 1876 till her death, Mrs. Nightingale lived in London with her 
nephew W. Shore Smith and his family, spending the autumn with them 
and with Miss Nightingale at Lea Hurst. 

332 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

From 1872 onwards, and with increased intensity after 
her father's death, Miss Nightingale's mood, in all com- 
munings with herself, was one of deep dejection and utter 
humbleness. The notes are often heartrending in their 
impression of loneliness, of craving for sympathy which she 
could not find, of bitter self-reproach. Such times must 
come in the history of sensitive hearts, and with most they 
remain unknown. Perhaps it was her way of relief to set 
down on paper the record of sad, sleepless hours of night 
and early morning. But with her, reflections of despondency 
and failure were inseparable from religious strivings. Miss 
Nightingale was masterful and eager; she had often been 
able to impress her will upon men and upon events. She 
had been interrupted, suddenly and painfully, in a long 
career of almost unceasing action. The pause, the painful 
sense of disappointment and vacancy, was a fresh call upon 
her spiritual faculties. It brought fresh consciousness of 
the difficulty of sustaining in active life that absolute purity 
of motive which makes light even of success or failure. 
She strove to attain and tried to teach others to ensue, 
passivity in action — to do the utmost and leave the rest 
to God : she reproached herself for censoriousness, rebellion, 
impatience. She knew indeed that some of all this and 
much of her dejection were morbid, and she would warn 
others against the like weakness. She knew that laugh- 
ter and the "hard good sense of others" were in some things 
better than dwelling on one thought or feeling in solitude. 
But there was too little of such outside helps. At times 
faith grew faint. 

"Oh, my Creator, art Thou leading every man of us to 
perfection? Or is this only a metaphysical idea for which 
there is no evidence? Is man only a constant repetition 
of himself? Thou knowest that through all these 20 hor- 
rible years I have been supported by the belief (I think I 
must believe it still or I am sure I could not work) that I 
was working with Thee Who wert bringing every one of 
us, even our poor nurses, to perfection." 

Changes and Sorrows 333 

She marked many a passage from devotional writers such 
as this from Thomas a Kempis: 

"Oh, Lord my God, patience is very necessary for me, for 
I perceive that many things in this life do fall out as we 
would not. ... It is so, my son. But my will is that 
thou seek not that peace which is void of temptations, or 
which suffereth nothing contrary; but rather think that 
thou hast found peace when thou art exercised with sundry 
tribulations and tried in many adversities." 

The middle path of perfection between acquiescence and 
impatience was hard to find. "0 Lord, even now I am 
trying to snatch the management of Thy world of Thy 
hands." "Too little have I looked for something higher 
and better than my own work — the work of supreme Wis- 
dom, which uses us whether we know it or not." 

Among her papers was a creed which expresses the faith 
by which she tried to guide her life: 

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven 
and Earth. And in Jesus Christ, His best Son, our Master, 
Who was born to shew us the way through suffering to be 
also His sons and His daughters, His handmen and His 
handmaidens, Who lived in the same spirit with the Father, 
that we may also live in that Holy Spirit whose meat was 
to do his Father's will and to finish His work, who suffered 
and died saying 'That the world may love the Father.' 
And I believe in the Father Ahiiighty's love and friend- 
ship, in the service of man being the service of God, the 
growing into a likeness with Him by love, the being one 
with Him in will at last, which is Heaven. I believe in the 
plan of Almighty Perfection to make us all perfect. And 
thus I believe in the Life Everlasting." 



In 1871, St. Thomas's Hospital was moved from its tem- 
porary quarters to the present site. Queen Victoria both 
laid the foundation stone and opened the completed build- 
ing. The number of beds was greatly increased and with 
it the number of nurses and probationers. The new con- 
ditions called for fresh care and thought. Dr. Sutherland 
inspected the new buildings for Miss Nightingale, and con- 
sidered all the arrangements from the point of view of an 
expert sanitarian; and she examined and cross-examined 
Sisters and Nurses. Here as elsewhere there was a difficulty 
in finding suitable women for responsible positions. She 
thought the technical standard was not so high as it should 
be, and feared that the moral standard also fell short. She 
determined to throw herself into a sustained effort for rais- 
ing the level, and directly and indirectly carried out sweep- 
ing reforms. A four-page printed document headed "Pri- 
vate and Confidential" bears the characteristic title, "Notes 
on the New St. Thomas's Hospital. [Being simply Notes 
on those things which should be avoided.]" 

Experience had shown that it was impossible to make 
good nurses, skilled in practice, without including in the 
course a good deal of theory and written work. The courses 
were improved and increased, and the examinations made 
more regular and searching. An assistant to Mrs. Ward- 
roper was appointed with the title of Home Sister, who 
undertook class teaching. The Resident Medical Officer, 
who was medical instructor of the Probationers, submitted 
his syllabus to Miss Nightingale, and at her request drew 


The Spread of Trained Nursing 335 

up a course of reading for them. The Probationers' an- 
swers to examinations and their notes on lectures were 
sent to her from time to time, and the Home Sister and 
the Matron wrote constantly to her of the technical and 
also of the moral and spiritual side of the School — the con- 
duct, the general reading, the Bible and Confirmation 
classes. The Home Sister's duty was to make a home. 
She was to give interests which would keep the nurses 
"above the mere scramble for a remunerative place." The 
Training School was to" be, in Miss Nightingale's words, "a 
Home — a place of moral, religious and practical training — 
a place of training of character, habits, intelligence, as well 
as of acquiring knowledge." And so it became. Those who 
saw the Nightingale nurses in these years were struck by 
the bright, kindly and pleasant spirit which pervaded them, 
and could well understand that the Institution was really 
a home as well as a school. 

Miss Nightingale now made a point of seeing regularly 
when she was in London, all the Sisters, Nurses and Pro- 
bationers. She had resolved when Agnes Jones died "to 
give herself up to finding more Agnes Joneses." She was 
still untiring in her efforts to find promising raw material. 
When applications for trained nurses came from provincial 
towns, she used to tell them how Pastor Fliedner would say 
in such a case: "Have you sent me any probationers? I 
can't stamp raw material out of the ground." From 1872 
onward the raw material all passed under her own eye. 

As soon as a Sister or Nurse took leave of her after an 
interview. Miss Nightingale wrote down a memorandum 
of the visitor's attainments, knowledge and character. The 
character sketches are terse and vivid, often racily 

Miss A. Seems a woman of good feeling and bad sense; 
much under the meridian of anybody who will try to per- 
suade her. I think her praises have been sung exagger- 
atedly. She wants a very steady hand over her. Such 

336 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

long-winded stories. . . . Had I not been intent on per- 
suading her, I should have been out of all patience. 

Miss B. As self-comfortable a jackass (or Joan-ass) as 
ever I saw. 

Nurse C. A most capable little woman, no education, but 
one can't find it in one's heart to regret it; she seems as good 
as can be. 

Sometimes she would write a note of advice after an 
interview, as to Miss Z.: 

A wise man says that true knowledge of anything whether 
in heaven or earth can only be gained by a true love of 
the Ideal in it — that is, 0/ the best that we can do in it. 
Forgive me, dear Miss Z,, do you think that you have the 
true love of the best in nursing? This is a question I ask 
myself daily in all that I do. Do not think me governess- 
ing. It is a question which each one of us can only ask 
of, and answer to, herself. 

The close hand she kept on the School, its personnel 
and its work, from South Street or from Lea Hurst, was 
extraordinary, but it was done at great expense to herself. 
'Tt takes a great deal out of me," she wrote to a friend. 
'T have never been used to influence people except by 
leading in work; and to have to influence them by talking 
and writing is hard. A more dreadful thing than being cut 
short by death is being cut short by life in a paralysed 
state." She had to "write 100 letters to do one little thing" 
instead of doing it directly. "God meant me for a reformer 
and I have turned out a detective," she laments in a pri- 
vate note. 

When a Sister passed out of the hospital to new work, 
Miss Nightingale's care followed with her. 

"I am immersed," she wrote (June 1873), "in such a tor- 
rent of my trained matrons and nurses, going and coming to 
and from Edinburgh and Dublin, to and from watering 
places for their health, dining, teaing, sleeping — sleeping by 
day as well as by night." 

"Her attitude to her lieutenants," says one of them, "was 

The Spread of Trained Nursing 337 

that of a mother to daughters. Yet they were not Hving 
with her in an enclosure, but were out in the open, encoun- 
tering the experiences of their individual lives, often under 
very difficult conditions. When they confided their trials 
to her, she advised them in the spirit of her own high aims, 
wrestling with them or encouraging them as the case might 
be, with a fullness of attention, which might lead each one 
of us hi turn to think that she had no other care." 

Her papers and correspondence bore this out to an as- 
tonishing degree. During several years, her nursing cor- 
respondence could be counted in thousands. 

Hospitals and workhouse infirmaries in London and else- 
where looked to the Nightingale School for Superinten- 
dents, and sometimes Miss Nightingale used her influence 
to secure the election of one of her candidates to an adver- 
tised position. There were few important posts that were 
not filled in these and the following years by pupils of the 
Nightingale School. To a number of institutions, a large 
contingent of nurses, amounting in some cases to a com- 
plete nursing staff, was provided from the School. More- 
over, other Hospitals and Institutions had followed the 
lead of Miss Nightingale and established Training Schools, 
and several of these were again superintended by her pupils.* 
These Schools in their turn sent out Lady Superintendents, 
Matrons, and Nurses to other institutions."* The result of 
all this w^as the gradual introduction into British Hospitals 
of an organised system of trained nursing. 

The movement was not confined to Great Britain. 
"Nightingale Nurses" became Matrons or Superintendents 
in many Colonies {e.g., Canada and Ceylon), in India, in 

^For instance at Edinburgh (under Miss Pringle), at St. Mary's (Miss 
Williams), the Marylebone Infirmary (Miss Vincent), and the Westminster 
(Miss Pyne). 

^"Let us hail the successes of other Training Schools, sprung up, thank 
God, so fast and well in latter years. . . . All can win the prize. One 
training school is not lowered if others win. On the contrary, all are 
lowered if others fail." — Miss Nightingale's address to her Probationers, 

338 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Sweden, in Germany and the United States. "Miss Alice 
Fisher, who regenerated Bleckley Hospital (Philadelphia), 
was a Nightingale nurse, and Miss Linda Richards, the 
pioneer nurse of the United States, enjoyed the advantage 
of post-graduate work in St. Thomas's and of Miss Night- 
ingale's personal kindly interest and encouragement." ' 
Miss Machin (afterwards first matron at St, Bartholo- 
mew's) went in 1875 from St. Thomas's with a staff of 
nurses to the General Hospital at Montreal. In France, in 
Austria and other countries the training of nurses similarly 
followed Miss Nightingale's lead. 

Miss Nightingale's close acquaintance with her pupils in 
the School and their dossiers helped her to choose the best 
woman available for a position to be filled. There was a 
Triumvirate, she used to say, Mr. Bonham Carter, Mrs. 
Wardroper and herself (now, as in the Crimea, the "Lady 
in Chief") with Dr. Sutherland sometimes as court of ap- 
peal. When a Sister was to be promoted, Miss Nightin- 
gale would make her more intimate acquaintance and pre- 
pare her for the work. The help and care and advice which 
followed such a one into the new sphere were extraor- 
dinarily thorough. Holidays, often in the shape of a visit 
to Miss Nightingale in town or country, were provided or 
seen to. Books, technical and other, were generously given. 
A Sister on a journey would be seen off by the old soldier 
who was a part of Miss Nightingale's household under the 
style of "Messenger" — with a luncheon basket. Her notes 
to those who were working in London Hospitals or In- 
firmaries were often accompanied by country eggs, game or 
flowers. Embley evergreens decorated the wards. At one 
or two of the London Infirmaries there is a Matron's garden, 
planted with Embley rhododendrons. 

It was an occasion for tact, not without plain speaking, 
when one of the flock had to be persuaded to an exchange. 
To a favourite pupil in such a case she writes: 
' The History of Nursing, by M. A. Nutting and L. L. Dock, l'907. 

The Spread of Trained Nursing 339 

"... We thought that this arrangement was what would 
approve itself best to your best judgment. But as I am 
well aware that my dear Goddess-baby has — well, a baby- 
side, I shall not be surprised at any outburst — though I 
know full well that in the dear Pearl's terrible distress you 
will do everything and more than everything possible to 
drag her through and to spare her and to keep her up and 
the place going. Only don't break yourself down, my dear 
child. . . . Alas, I would so fain relieve you of your 'bit- 
terness.' You say you are 'bitter'; and indeed you are, 
... I would not have written thus much, unless urged by 
seeing my Goddess-baby suffering from delusions. And how 
can a woman be a Superintendent unless she has learnt to 
superintend herself?" 

With an erring sister she would take infinite pains. She 
was firm to save the good name of the School, but firm- 
ness went hand in hand with infinite pity for the indi- 
vidual, and in such cases her own sensitive spirit suffered 
far more pain than she inflicted. 

In 1872 and for many succeeding years, Miss Nightingale 
wrote an anniversary address or letter to the probationer 
nurses of the School. Of the first address, the best of the 
series. Dr. Sutherland said: "It is just what it ought to 
be, written as the thoughts come up. This is the only 
writing which goes like an arrow to its mark. It is full of 
gentle wisdom. . . ." The addresses were written for young 
women, many of whom, especially in the earlier years of 
the School, had had a poor general education, and all of 
whom were beginners in training. There is a strong religious 
tone in all of them. They read like school sermons of an 
unusual gentle originality of style. The gist of them is 
that nursing requires a special call, that it needs, more than 
most occupations a religious basis; that it is an art, in 
which constant progress is the law of life; and that the 
nurse, whether she wills or not, has of necessity a moral 
influence. Self-suflaciency, which it seems was a failing 
of the early Nightingale Nurses, is constantly chastised. 

340 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

There are little discourses on the uses and limits of school 
friendships, on the right use of dress, on the art of exercising 
authority, with wise sayings quoted — without the name — 
from Plato and others. There are stories of Rorke's Drifts 
of Tel-el-Kebir, of Gordon at Khartoum. More rarely she 
referred to incidents in her own life, but only to say that 
any success or repute she had attained was by attention 
to the smallest details. 

One of the most important of many responsible appoint- 
ments over which Miss Nightingale took infinite pains was 
that of Miss Florence Lees (Mrs. Dacre Craven) to the 
Metropolitan District Nursing Association. The foremost 
promoter of the movement for District Nursing in London 
was Mr. William Rathbone, who had already, with Miss 
Nightingale's co-operation, introduced District Nursing in 
Liverpool. He at once came to consult her. 

The movement for District Nursing was always very 
near to Miss Nightingale's heart. She now reproached 
herself that though she had resolved some years before to 
give herself to District Nursing, "now that District Nursing 
comes it is too late for me to help." The promoters, how- 
ever, acted on her advice; she had not long before printed 
a paper of "Suggestions" on various subjects connected with 
nursing and hospital management, among which was a dis- 
cussion of the best methods for training nurses for the sick 
poor, and this was taken as the scheme for the new project. 
Her letter to the Times, too, reprinted as a pamphlet, first 
made the Metropolitan Association well known to the pub- 
lic. Miss Lees filled the post of Superintendent General 
most eflSciently for some years, and throughout her work 
was in consultation with Miss Nightingale. The nurses 
employed were largely supplied by the original School, and 
considerable grants to the support of the scheme were made 
from the Nightingale Fund. 



Though "out of office," Miss Nightingale remained within 
hail of the War Office as expert in war nursing. In 1878, 
Sir William Muir, the Director General of the Army Med- 
ical Department, came to consult with her about a female 
nursing establishment for an expected war with Russia. 
In 1880, she was asked by General Gordon to help in im- 
proving the training of hospital orderlies, of whose ineffi- 
ciency his cousin, Mrs. Hawthorn, wife of a Colonel of 
Engineers, had had experience in South Africa. Miss Night- 
ingale submitted the case to the Secretary for War, Mr. 
Childers, who thereupon called for a report. The depart- 
mental answer was forwarded to her, "I have seen such 
answers," she wrote, ''at the Crimean war time: 'The 
patient has died of neglect and want of proper attendance ; 
but by Regulations should not have died; therefore the 
allegation that he is dead is disposed of.' " The Egyptian 
campaign of 1882 and the fighting in South Africa put to 
the test a re-organisation of the Army Medical and Hospital 
Service which had taken place since Miss Nightingale was 
"in office" with Sydney Herbert. She was in close touch 
with the Hospital arrangements both in Natal and in Egypt 
through Mrs. Hawthorn and other friends among the Sis- 
ters and lady visitors, and again sent in a memorandum. 

Mr. Childers appointed a Court of Inquiry presided 
over by Sir Evelyn Wood. "All the independent evidence 
went to shew," wrote Sir R. Loyd Lindsay (Lord Wantage), 
"that the orderlies were often drunk and riotous, that they 
ate the rations of the sick, and left the nursing of the 


342 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

patients to the convalescents." An enlarged enquiry, with 
the Earl of Morley as Chairman, was carried into the whole 
question of hospital management and nursing in the field. 
Miss Nightingale, in close alliance with Lord Wantage, 
took up her old role, suggesting witnesses, drawing up briefs 
for their examination, and writing successive papers of sug- 
gestions for the Report. The evidence, she considered, 
had justified her old forebodings of the undoing of Sidney 
Herbert's work. The later changes in organisation had not 
been thought out in all the details or in terms of war. Ac- 
cepting the changes, she threw herself into an effort towards 
improvement, and was consulted on revised regulations for 
various branches of the medical service, in which she was 
helped by her old friends Sir Douglas Galton and Dr. 
Sutherland. In 1884, Lord Wantage sent her a statement 
from the War Office "showing how far the recommenda- 
tions of Lord Morley's Committee had been carried out." 
There was one feature of the Hospital Service upon 
which these inquiries threw nothing but praise, and that 
was the "female" nursing. 

"I have always thought," Lord Wolseley said, "that the 
presence of lady nurses in our military hospitals was a 
matter of the first consequence. . . . Apart from the in- 
calculable boon which the care and kindness of such ladies 
confers upon the sick or wounded soldier, I regard their 
presence in all our hospitals as a most wholesome check 
upon the whole personnel in them. I am sure that the 
patients in a ward where there was a lady nurse would 
always receive the wine, food, etc., ordered them by the doc- 
tor, and the irregularities of the orderlies, such as those 
complained of by Mrs. Hawthorn, could not take place. . . . 
I think it would be desirable to call attention in the Queen's 
Regulations to the great advantage of procuring the aid of 
lady nurses at all stations, both in peace and war." 

Later experience in Egypt confirmed his view, and he 
was even more emphatic in his evidence before Lord Mor- 
ley's Committee. 

An Old Campaigner 343 

When 'The Gordon ReHef Expedition" was organised 
in 1884 Miss Nightingale was again deeply concerned. She 
admired Gordon as the Christian hero, and to take part 
in this expedition was a great occasion for the nurses. The 
Superintendent of the nurses sent out by the Government 
for Wady Haifa was one of her dearest pupils, Miss Rachel 
Williams. Miss Williams stayed at South Street while 
arrangements were pending, and there is a pleasant account 
by Sister Philippa Large, another of the expedition, of 
Miss Nightingale's prompt summons of the party of seven 
who were to go out with Miss Williams in the Navarino, 
her affectionate hospitality and instructions, and the cor- 
diality with which, on their return, she put her house at 
their disposal. She was living her Scutari life over again 
in the lives of her pupils. 

To Miss Williams at Suez, 3 July, 1885 
. . . The orderlies are not hopeless, but untrained. Gov- 
ernment are now doing all they can. In my day they were 
hopeless. They place them now under the Sisters. The 
great business of the Sisters is to train them. It is the 
more aggravating when there are so few Sisters that they 
can't give time to train these men who are essential in the 
Field. . . . Would that I could help you to nurse the 
Typhoids! I am sure you are doing great good among 
the Orderlies, even though you do not know it. The very 
fact that they see you think neglect a crime does good. 
How well I know their fatal neglects with Typhoid cases! 
But 30 years ago, women Nurses were just as bad. See the 
difference now. There is a Miss Williams. Cheer up: 
fight the good fight of faith. I need not say this to my 
dear, for she is fighting it. God bless her! When I am 
gone, she will see the fruit of her labours. Three cheers 
for her! A Dieu. To God I commend you. Would I 
were His servant as you are. I wonder whether you have 
had my letters. I have written by every mail. 

She had indeed, and more. Miss Williams received sixty- 
five letters from her during the campaign. 

With thankfulness that she had been able to show the 

344" A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

way to others, there was mingled something of the wistful 
regret of old age. There was much in the administrative 
conduct of the nursing service at the front which she could 
have ordered better. A newspaper paragraph about the 
attractions of "afternoon tea in the nurses' tents" pained 
her, though they were not, it seems, her own nurses. En- 
couraging, cheery, helpful to others, she was herself sad 
and almost sombre. The note which she struck in her 
next address to probationers was all of humility. Old 
friends and comrades were dying, Mme. Mohl in 1882, 
Dr. Farr, her old associate, and one of the founders of statis- 
tical science in England, Sir Bartle Frere. In 1883 died 
one of her oldest friends and wisest counsellors. Sir John 
McNeill. He had sent her the last thing he wrote — a 
reply to Kinglake's belated account of the Chelsea Board 
affair. Her answer sent "with the deepest affection and 
veneration" was in a sombre vein. How little progress had 
been made! She only, she began to feel, was left; and she 
so unworthy. What opportunities she had been given! 
How little use she had been able to make of them! But 
some years of life would perhaps still be granted to her. 
She would consecrate them the more devotedly to higher 
service. "Today," she wrote (Christmas Day 1885), "let 
me dedicate this poor old crumbling woman to Thee. Behold 
the handmaid of the Lord. I was Thy handmaid as a girl. 
How have I backslidden!" 

Miss Nightingale continued to maintain the closest touch 
with her nursing school. She was consulted by Sir James 
Paget in 1887 as to the administration of the "Women's 
Jubilee Gift," devoted by the Queen to home nursing of 
the poor. The lines of the MetropoHtan District Nursing 
Association were adopted by the "Jubilee Institute for 
Nurses," and the Association became affiliated to the Insti- 
tute. Mr. Rathbone wrote a book on these matters, with 
a preface by Miss Nightingale. 

"The tendency," she wrote, "is now to make a formula 

An Old Campaigner 345 

of nursing; a sort of literary expression. Now no living 
thing can less lend itself to a formula than nursing. Nurs- 
ing has to nurse living bodies and spirits. It must be sym- 
pathetic. It cannot be tested by public examinations, 
though it may be tested by current supervision." 

She gives here in few words the view which was now 
to involve her in a long controversy. For seven years ( 1886- 
1893) the nursing world was rent in twain by the dispute 
whether or not there should be a Register of trained 
nurses. In 1886 the Hospitals Association appointed a Com- 
mittee to inquire into the possibility of establishing a Gen- 
eral Register of Nurses, and Miss Nightingale naturally 
became the leader of those who opposed registration. 

You cannot select the good from the inferior by any test 
or system of examination. But most of all, and first of all, 
must their moral qualifications be made to stand pre-emi- 
nent in estimation. All this can only be secured by the cur- 
rent supervision, tests or examination which they receive 
in their training school or hospital, not by any examination 
from a foreign body like that proposed by the British 
Nurses' Association. 

The only real and sufficient guarantee in the case of an 
art in which the training, both technical and moral, is a 
continuous process, was, she held, that the public should 
be able to get a recent recommendation of the nurse, who 
was to be passed on from one doctor, hospital or super- 
intendent to another with something of the same elab- 
orate record of work and character which she herself re- 
quired in the case of the Nightingale Probationers and 

The controversy took many shapes, and petitions, me- 
morials, pamphlets, letters abounded. There was a cam- 
paign for a Royal Charter, in which the figurehead was 
Princess Christian. There was an application to the Board 
of Trade for the registration of a public Company, whose 
foremost object was to be a register of trained nurses. There 

346 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

was an enquiry by the House of Lords on the London 
Hospitals, into which the vexed question entered. In the 
intermediate steps victory fell to the laborious efforts of 
Miss Nightingale and her associates. In the final result a 
Charter was granted to the British Nurses' Association, but 
on such terms that though the Association could keep its 
list of "persons who may have applied to have their names 
entered therein as nurses," no authoritative or exclusive 
right to "register" was vested in them." 

It may seem now that Mr. Jowett was right in thinking 
that the question of registration was "a comparative trifle" 
in comparison with Miss Nightingale's other preoccupa- 
tions. A nurse who has taken a three years' course at a rec- 
ognized training school has long been described as "fully 
trained," and such a standard, like a doctor's degree, is a 
useful one for what it is worth. To be entered on a general 
register as fully trained may seem only another step and a 
simple one. But it takes very little experience of nurses to 
show that "moral qualifications" are all-important. A 
registered nurse may be worse than useless, if she is not 
kindly, wise, refined, conscientious, and willing to be helpful 
in matters which are not always strictly within her province. 
Nursing on the technical side is not an occupation requir- 
ing uncommon intellectual powers and attainments. But 
on the side of character, it is a most exacting calling. A 
perfect nurse is as rare as a saint. And as for the very 
imperfect, the unreformed nurse, it was still not far to look 
back to the women who had been a by-word for drink and 
immorality. To set up a qualification which should be 
merely one of technical training was to leave out of account 
all the rarer and higher essentials of good nursing, and to 
give a wrong direction to the public demand. "You have 
to educate public opinion up to wanting a good article." 
Hence the fervour Miss Nightingale put into her fight 
against Registration. 

* The existing system of registration dates from some years after Florence 
Nightingale's death. 



The passion of Miss Nightingale's later life was the re- 
dress of the sufferings and grievances of the Indian people, 
and from 1874 onward she did an immense amount of work 
to that end. Her energy and resource, her capacity for lay- 
ing out a scheme, and her mastery of detail were during a 
great part of this time as great as ever, in spite of increas- 
ing age. She corresponded with successive Secretaries of 
State and Viceroys, and was in close touch for many years 
with the Permanent Under-Secretary, Sir Louis Mallet, 
who, though he did not always agree with her conclusions, 
was entirely sympathetic with her general aims and gave 
her facilities for pursuing her researches. There was 
voluminous correspondence with Lord Napier and Ettrick, 
Sir Bartle Frere, Sir George Campbell and Sir Richard 
Temple. Colonel Yule, who succeeded Sir Bartle Frere in 
the charge of sanitary affairs, was in frequent communica- 
tion with her. On irrigation she was coached by the lead- 
ing authorities. On education, she advised with Mr. A. W. 
Croft, the Director of Public Instruction. She had a net- 
work of correspondents in India among Sanitary Commis- 
sioners, doctors, engineers, irrigation officers, who wrote to 
her sometimes more freely than in official reports. 

But in several ways circumstances were against her. The 
conjunction of events which gave her much immediate 
power in the earlier stages of Indian reform was no longer 
operative, and with less direct leverage, there was dispro- 
portion between effort and result. She could not, as in 
earlier campaigns, rely so largely on her own personal ex- 


348 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

perience, though indeed many a Minister is forced to depend 
more than she did on other people's observation, experience 
and technical knowledge. Her work suffered from some 
incompatibility of its methods. Her official connections 
gave her some good information, but they hampered her 
as a writer, and her published writings made her distrusted 
in official circles. 

The positive and statistical bent of her mind inclined 
her to the conviction that for every acknowledged evil 
there must be a definite remedy. She wanted a positive 
policy, clearly laid down and promptly carried out. The 
attitude of Secretaries of State and Governments of India 
was different. Lord Salisbury in a characteristic state paper 
— it was about the land question in Madras — once wrote a 
philosophic defence of the policy of drift: 

"We must be content to contribute our mite towards a 
gradual change. . . . Sir George Campbell appears to dread 
this gentle mode of progression which he denounces under 
the name of drifting. I cannot accept the metaphor in its 
entirety, for I believe that there is still left some, though 
not a very important, influence for the helm. But with 
this reservation, I see no terror in the prospect of 'drifting.' 
On the contrary, I believe that all the enduring institu- 
tions which human societies have attained have been 
reached, not of the set* design and forethought of some 
group of statesmen, but by that unbidden and unconscious 
convergence of many thoughts and wills in successive gen- 
erations, to which, as it obeys no single guiding hand, we 
may give the name of 'drifting.' It is assuredly only in 
this way that a permanent solution of these difficult ques- 
tions will be given to the vast communities of India. The 
vacillation of purpose, the chaos of opinion we are now 
deploring, only indicate that the requisite convergence has 
not yet been attained." 

To Miss Nightingale, however, Lord Salisbury did not 
write complacently of vacillation of purpose. A real ob- 
stacle to sanitary progress was the malaria microbe, whose 
habits were yet unknown, though its disturbing influence, 

Larger Cares for India 349 

like that of an undiscovered planet, had become perceptible. 
There was also the inelastic character of the Indian rev- 
enue, and the perpetual controversy between the advocates 
of retrenchment and those of wealth-producing expendi- 

Lord SaJtshury to Miss Nightingale, 4 November 1874 
It is perfectly true that if the remedies were as certain 
of their effect as the existence of the evils is certain and 
serious, we might obviate the difficulty of the money by 
borrowing without stint. But the consideration that with- 
holds the Indian Government from such a course is the very 
fact that the remedies are not absolutely certain. [A great 
expenditure was producing little result in Peshawur.] I 
heard Sir George Clark the other day state in Council that 
one of the new stations in Rajpootana . . . had become 
decidedly more unhealthy since remedial measures recom- 
mended by the sanitary authorities had been adopted. 
There may be something of prejudice and something of 
timidity in these apprehensions. I do not wish to give 
to them more weight than they deserve. But it is obvious 
that in sanitary action we are still groping our way, and 
that we are far from having arrived at that point of cer- 
tainty at which it would be safe, on account of any par- 
ticular series of undertakings, very heavily to pledge the 
future industry of the Indian people. 

Miss Nightingale herself was no longer satisfied by a 
purely sanitary policy. Recurrent famines gave a new turn 
to her thoughts. In India, sanitation for the people almost 
seemed to be premature. What was the good of trying to 
keep them in health if they could not be kept alive? They 
were being "done to death" by floods, by drought, by the 
rent system, by money-lenders. She was drawn on into 
irrigation questions, into the land question, the question 
of usury and debt, even to some extent into political ques- 

Her work in this period was not without useful results. 
Her reforms, if not all-sufficient — as she would never have 
claimed — cannot now be called visionary. The principal 

350 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

irrigation works in the advocacy of which she took a vig- 
orous part have been carried out with success and to the 
great benefit of the country. Even in her own lifetime 
there was a very large increase in the area irrigated by 
"productive" canals; a consistent policy of "preventive" 
irrigation was adopted in 1901; a reform of the Bengal 
Land System projected by Lord Ripon was carried out by 
Lord Dufferin, and others have succeeded it. Opportuni- 
ties of agricultural education have since been so widely 
extended that it can now be said that a knowledge of 
scientific agriculture has been brought within reach not in- 
deed of the cultivators but of the land owners and of the 
class employed in revenue collecting; and the colleges are 
well attended. Representation and the admission of persons 
of Indian birth more largely to administrative and judicial 
positions have passed through many phases and are still 
controversial. In earlier stages of these matters and in 
specific cases of sanitary reform, Miss Nightingale had 
some influence through letters and personal interviews, and 
through her published writings in newspapers and maga- 

In her own life the significance of her later Indian work 
lies not so much in what she accomplished as in the ex- 
traordinary deference with which her letters and sugges- 
tions were received by statesmen and officials — a deference 
which could not now wholly be due to the name she had won 
twenty or thirty years before. Without official position, she 
had to make a new reputation with every fresh statesman 
whom friends and fellow workers introduced to her. The 
attention she commanded, the effect produced by her inter- 
ventions, were extraordinary. Her knowledge and her per- 
sonal weight were felt. She had to be answered even where 
there was not a consensus of experts in favour of her policy. 

On the substance of a letter from her which Lord Salis- 
bury had forwarded and to which he himself replied at 
length. Lord Northbrook, then Viceroy, writes six sheets 

Larger Cares for India 351 

of quarto paper to show that he is doing his best in army 
sanitary matters. He agrees with Miss Nightingale's prin- 
ciples as to the relative importance of different sorts of 
work, and says that she is not far out in her detailed lists 
of what should be done. He pleads hindrances, such as 
local scarcities of labour, and runs on with justifications, 
achievements, hopes. 

"I have written on (he ends) as the subject is one in 
which I have for a long time taken a personal interest, and 
Miss Nightingale may be glad to know that I have not 
neglected it Here. I can promise you that, so far as our 
funds will permit, every attention shall be paid to the 
health of the British and the Native Army in India." 

Lord Salisbury, who was not the man to listen to what 
Miss Nightingale had once called Chattering Advices," writes 
to her at length in his characteristic philosophising vein, 
taking up her suggestions and carefully giving them their 
due. He was her principal correspondent in a long series 
of letters and papers about the drainage of Madras, which, 
in spite of differences of experts and want of money, was 
at last accomplished with a more than Oriental leisureliness. 
He submits her irrigation figures to the India Office, directs 
them to send her papers, and promises to get fuller returns. 
He argues at length against her suggestion of a Committee 
of experts (1 November 1875). "Do not for a moment 
imagine," he says in a long letter (27 February 1876), "that 
I have forgotten the question. . . . When I am able to 
get a little light, I will let you know; but as long as my 
oracles flatly contradict each other, I am not likely to get 
nearer certainty than I am now." Again he calls for returns 
at her suggestion. When she writes in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury (October 1878) on "The People of India," the Secretary 
of State, Lord Cranbrook, writes to the Viceroy about the 
article. He thinks Miss Nightingale generalises too much, 
but he will be truly glad if Lord Lytton's legislation can 

^In Notes on Nursing. 

352 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

find a remedy. The article, a friend tells her, was described 
by disturbed officials as "a shriek," and "the question was 
whether something could be done to counteract the im- 
pression." The India Office gave li/4 million as the num- 
ber of deaths in the famine. Miss Nightingale's figure was 
5/6 millions. "I begin to think now," writes Sir Louis Mal- 
let, a little later, "that your 'Shriek' was a better expres- 
sion of the truth than any other utterance." 

In the winter of 1879 comes a correspondence with Glad- 
stone on Indian Afi"airs, which had some part in his general 
campaign against Lord Beaconsfield's policy; and he visits 
her in May for an Indian talk. Lord Lawrence, in one of his 
last letters to her, discusses fully many of the points she 
raises in the draft of a work on Indian Irrigation and Land 
Tenure." When Lord Ripon — her old ally as Lord de Grey 
— becomes Viceroy and his Indian policy is disclosed, a 
cordial and confidential correspondence begins. Advocacy 
of his reforms becomes one of her absorbing interests. He 
sends her a long letter of explanation, almost of apology, 
when she thinks his resignation is a desertion of the Empire. 
His successor, Lord Dufferin, in turn comes to be coached. 

"We went over many things," she writes to Dr. Suther- 
land (6 November 1884), "Sanitation, Land Tenure, Agri- 
culture, Civil Service, etc., etc., and I am to send him a note 
of each. But about sanitary things he says he is perfectly 
ignorant, especially of Indian sanitary things. But he says : 
'Give me your instructions and I will obey them. I will 
study them on my way out. Send me what you think. Sup- 
ply the powder and I will fire the shot.' Give me quickly 
what instructions you think I should send him." 

This letter arrived on a Friday, and the Doctor was 
commanded to send in his notes "before Monday." But, 
as ill luck had it, the old man — now nearly 80 — ^was busy 

''This book, "The Zemindar, the Sun and the Watering Pot as Affecting 
Life and Death in India," was never put into satisfactory shape and has 
not been published, but it served her as a quarry for naany articles, papers 
and private letters. 

Larger Cares for India 353 

"in working at the cholera bacillus with a beautiful Vienna 
microscope purchased with this object." That would oc- 
cupy him on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday was Sun- 
day; so "the Viceroy must wait." Miss Nightingale's wrath 
and entreaties may be imagined. Notes and telegrams fol- 
lowed fast upon each other. "I did not know the bacillus 
was of more consequence than a Viceroy." "If you did a 
little on Sunday, the Recording Angel would drop not a 
tear, but a smile." It turned out that Lord Dufferin was 
not leaving so soon as she had thought, and there was time 
for his indoctrination. 

In 1885 Lord Reay calls upon her before going out as 
Governor of Bombay, and Lord Roberts before going out 
as Commander-in-Chief. Miss Nightingale took great pains 
with this interview, and Lord Roberts' command was fruit- 
ful of some reforms in which she had been a pioneer. He 
established a club or institute in every British regiment 
and battery in India, and took temperance measures. In 
1887 he was able to tell her that the Government of India 
had sanctioned the employment of female nurses in the 
Military Hospitals. A beginning was to be made at Um- 
balla and Rawul Pindi, and eighteen nurses, with Lady Su- 
perintendents, were to be sent out. Miss Nightingale had 
several interviews with the Surgeon General to whom the 
choice of nurses was entrusted ; she saw the Superintendents 
before they went out, and letters from them were added 
to her large nursing correspondence throughout the world. 

In 1887, though conscious of failing strength, she inter- 
venes to save the Indian sanitary services, endangered by 
retrenchment. She sends a long statement to Lord Duf- 
ferin, who writes that he has read it to the head of the 
Finance Committee and undertakes to have the question 
thoroughly discussed in Council. That is not enough. She 
even, thinking the times propitious for a new move, brings 
up again her old plan of a central sanitary department in 
India with executive powers, and collaborates with two offi- 

354 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

cial friends to produce a draft dispatch in this sense, which 
gets as far as being circulated in the India OflSce by the 
Secretary of State. This Secretary of State is a new friend, 
Lord Cross. He is invoked to save the Army Sanitary 
Commission, threatened with disintegration by the ap- 
proaching retirement of Dr. Sutherland. He is most will- 
ing to hearken, but disappears after the thunderclap of 
Lord Randolph Churchill's resignation. "We are unlucky," 
complains Miss Nightingale to Sir Douglas Galton. "As 
soon as we seem to have got hold of two Secretaries of 
State, this Randolph goes out. The Cabinet will have to 
be remodelled and perhaps we shall lose our men." Mr. 
Stanhope, however, succeeds Lord Cross, and he, too, comes 
to Miss Nightingale. After interviews with her (June 1890) 
he reconstitutes the Army Sanitary Commission. The sec- 
ond Secretary of State here mentioned is W. H. Smith, who 
was for a short time a much appreciated ally of Miss 
Nightingale at the War Office.' 

Lord Lansdowne, the next Viceroy, introduced by Mr. 
Jowett, visits Miss Nightingale twice (1888) before going 
out to India, and they correspond frequently on sanitary 
affairs. From Lord Cross he receives an influentially signed 
memorandum on the financing of village sanitation — got 
up by Miss Nightingale. He forwards it to Lord Lans- 
downe, by whom it is circulated among the local Govern- 
ments.* This, for village sanitation, was Miss Nightingale's 
last Indian campaign. 

Her strong interest in agricultural development in India 
led to many consultations with the Master of Balliol, 
whom she had long before proselytised to the cause, on 

' He was apt and industrious in administrative detail and cared sincerely 
for the soldiers' welfare. These characteristics suited Miss Nightingale 
and she paid him a high compliment: he reminded her in some respects 
of Sidney Herbert. Superficially no two men could be more different. 

* Miss Nightingale put a great deal of work into the advocacy of Health 
Visitors ("Health Missioners") for Indian villages. She was also a pioneer 
of health visiting in England; in 1892 she helped to set going a scheme 
under the North Buckinghamshire Technical Committee. 

Larger Cares for India 355 

improving the course for Oxford candidates for the Indian 
Civil Service. Successful candidates had been given the 
option of a year's study at the University before going out, 
and at Balliol Mr. Arnold Toynbee was appointed a lec- 
turer to them. He came to see Miss Nightingale, and to 
him she writes (October 1882) to ask if some instruction 
could not be given in various branches of scientific agri- 
culture and forestry, in such a way as to direct the students' 
attention to the needs of India. She induced Sir George 
Campbell to lecture at Oxford on agrarian conditions in 

"I want to prove to you," Jowett writes (14 October 
1887), "that your words do sometimes affect my flighty 
or stony heart and are not altogether cast to the winds. 
Therefore I send you the last report of the Indian Students, 
in which you will perceive that agricultural chemistry has 
become a reality; and that, owing to YOU (though I fear 
that, like so many other of your good deeds, this will never 
be known to men), Indian students are reading about agri- 
culture and that therefore Indian Ryots may have a chance 
of being somewhat better fed than hitherto." 



After leaving the Burlington Hotel in 1861 Miss Night- 
ingale lived for some years in hired houses in London or 
at Hampstead. In 1865 she settled finally. Her father 
bought for her a lease of No. 35 South Street, Park Lane, 
afterwards re-numbered 10, and this was her home till her 
death. It was a pleasant small house with large rooms, but 
of course did not possess the labour-saving arrangements its 
tenant had initiated for hospitals. Indeed it was rather a 
tower than a house ; it had four floors (besides basement and 
attic) containing on each one big room facing south, with 
large windows, and one small north room. On the ground 
floor was a plain and serious Victorian dining room with a 
large bookcase of Blue Books. The drawing room with its 
balconies and large French windows was sunny and pleas- 
ant. There was space near the fire or the window for Miss 
Nightingale's sofa, her visitors and their adjuncts of tea 
tables, but elsewhere the habitable space was built in with 
tall bookcases of Blue Books and reports. Bookcases again 
and boxes of papers almost blocked the little back drawing 
room, and the under cupboards of all the bookcases were 
filled with parcels of paper and letters, for nothing had been 
destroyed for many years. Miss Nightingale's bedroom up- 
stairs was very bright and peaceful. Here the books were 
kept down and there was a view of Dorchester House and 
the Park. Only in her last years did the noise of Park Lane 
become insistent. The bedroom — it was rather a sitting 
room with a bed — ^had white walls. There were no blinds or 


From a photograph by Miss E. F. Bosanquet, 1906. 

Friends and Farewells 357 

curtains, and the room, as fresh and sweet smelling as a 
country room, seemed full of light and flowers. It was very 
simple in an old-fashioned way, and had the chief charm of 
a room in being pleasantly arranged for habitation, not for 
show. The guest room above was sometimes occupied by 
the Mohls or other visitors — a cousin or one of her nursing 

The visitors by day were, almost all, those who came 
for work, and, like all busy people, she only saw them by 
appointment. Her habit was to see only one person at a 
time. Nobody, even if staying in the house, ever came into 
her room by chance, and no outside visitor appeared unex- 
pectedly. She never had the relief, or the enlightenment, of 
hearing two other people talk, or of witnessing for a moment 
two other personalities in contact. So much was sacrificed 
to work. "I am obliged (by my ill-health) to make Life 
an Art, to be always thinking of it," she wrote to Mme. 
Mohl. "Because otherwise I should do nothing. (I have 
so little life and strength.)" 

Mrs. Bracebridge, Lady Ashburton, Lady Herbert 
with a few other friends of old times, continued to 
come. Miss Nightingale always wrote to Lady Herbert 
on the anniversary of her husband's death. The event of 
1866 was a visit to Embley from the middle of August to 
the end of November — the first holiday for ten years, and 
only a partial holiday. Beyond later visits to Embley, Lea 
Hurst and Claydon (Lady Verney's home), a stay at Lady 
Ashburton's house at Seaton, and one or two stays at sea- 
side hotels, there is little of incident to record. Her last 
stay at Embley was in 189 L The friendships which had 
arisen from association in work were many and in the later 
years of a long life there were many farewell letters from 
or to the distinguished men with whom Miss Nightingale 
worked and whom she outlived. They are friendships that 
throw much light on her character. Pages might be filled 
with words of admiring affection used towards her by these 

358 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

fellow workers. Some have already been given. There are 
touching letters from Dr. E. A. Parkes, the sanitarian, and 
from Colonel Sir Henry Yule, whom she had known first 
as the Indian Council member in charge of sanitary affairs. 
Both wrote to her shortly before death thanking and bless- 
ing her for her help — for the privilege of having known her. 
One of her oldest friends and wisest counsellors was Sir 
John McNeill. As a fellow worker in her campaigns of 
reform, and as the recipient of many of her impetuous and 
warlike letters, he knew her well; and she regarded him, as 
one of her messages says, "with the deepest affection and 
veneration." She had rejoiced with Lady Tulloch over a 
rehabilitation ^ of the McNeill-Tulloch report — that report 
which she said had been "the salvation of the Army in the 
Crimea"; and Lady Tulloch had sent a copy of her letter 
to Sir John. 

"There is no one, dead or alive," he answered, "whose 
testimony I could value so highly with regard to the mat- 
ters in question as I do Miss Florence Nightingale's. Her 
favourable opinion is very precious to me, not only because 
she knew more, and was intellectually more capable of 
forming a correct judgment than anyone else who visited 
that strange scene, but because my regard and affection 
for her is such as would make it very painful to me to find 
that she had reason to think in any degree less favourably 
of our services than she did formerly. Her letter is very 
characteristic, and therefore to me very precious." 

Another of these friends was Dr. Sutherland — her as- 
sistant and fellow worker for thirty years. He was a man 
of marked ability in his profession, cultivated, sweet tem- 
pered and kindly in disposition, with a gentle, almost femi- 
nine grace of appearance and an expression that, even in 
slight portraits, seems ready to break into a smile of whim- 
sical humour. He had been an inspector under the first 

*In the fifth edition of the Prince Consort's Life. 

Friends and Farewells 359 

Board of Health, and was employed by the Government on 
many special enquiries before he went on his sanitary 
mission to the East as a middle-aged man — he was nearly 
twenty years older than Miss Nightingale. Co-operation 
with her opened great opportunities to him. He was in 
many ways the ideal private secretary, and she owed much 
to his technical knowledge and experience, skill in drafting, 
and careful work. He served on almost every Commission 
or Committee with which she had anything to do, and if 
he was not nominated in the first instance, she would insist 
on his inclusion. Much of his work as paid member of the 
Army Sanitary Commission was her work also, and at some 
period of their co-operation, a regular arrangement was 
made between them by which he gave Miss Nightingale part 
of his time for her Army and Indian Sanitary work, and, 
as the years went on, for her other interests. Partly be- 
cause he was deaf, and partly no doubt because Miss Night- 
ingale was often too unwell to dress, or to give her best in 
an interview, it became her habit to discuss business with 
him, as with others, by an exchange of notes.* She would 
pick up any odd piece of paper, somebody's letter, or the 
blotting paper, and write her mind or her repartee in pencil 
to be carried downstairs: "Well, you know I have already 
said that to Lord Stanley, I can't do more." "Yes, you 
must." "Oh, Lord bless you. No." "You want me to 
decide in order that you may do the reverse." "Can you 
answer a plain question?" "You have forgotten all we 
talked about." "You told me positively there was nothing 
to be done. There is everything to be done." "Why did 
you tell me that tremendous banger? Was it to prevent my 
worrying you?" Sometimes he went on strike. One scrap 
had a drawing of a dry pump with a handle marked "F. N." : 

^Most business, such as the making of appointments, could be done 
by one or two exchanges. Captain Galton's business was done in inter- 
views, as he did not like the system of notes. Consequently Dr. Sutherland 
was the chief recipient of the scraps of paper. 

360 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

"Your pump is dry. India to stand over." He would 
receive business visitors for her, or entertain them in her 
behalf at luncheon or dinner. "These two people have 
come. Will you see them for me? I have explained who 
you are." "Was the luncheon good? Did he eat? Did he 
walk?" "Yes." "Then he's a liar; he told me he couldn't 
move." In 1865-6 the Sutherlands moved to Norwood. 
Miss Nightingale complained of this remoteness. Dr. Suth- 
erland dated his letters from "The Gulf." Sometimes he 
complained of being unwell and did not come up when busi- 
ness was pressing. Miss Nightingale did not take this easily, 
and Dr. Sutherland would "answer back" in letters begin- 
ning "Respected Enemy" or "Dear Howling Epileptic 
Friend." Mrs. Sutherland, an active and vivacious woman 
of the world, was a warm friend and adherent of Miss 
Nightingale, and often helped her in finding houses and 

Dr. Sutherland lived till 1891. At the end he was in great 
weakness and could hardly read or speak. His wife re- 
ceived a letter from Miss Nightingale with messages to him. 
She spoke of it, and to her surprise he roused himself once 
more, read the letter through, and said, "Give her my love 
and blessing." They were almost his last words. 

Her long friendship with Mr. Jowett was of a different 
character from the working friendship with men engaged 
in her own administrative business. He did not belong 
to the type which she most respected — the simple and 
"open" men of action; but he was devoted to his College 
and his University, where he was "making mankind," and 
in religious matters there was much, though not everything 
in common. The next world was a subject of difference. 
Would it be a state of peace or of immense activity? Need- 
less to say which of the friends prognosticated which. Mr. 
Jowett was seldom if ever in London without paying her an 
afternoon visit : he used to give her the Sacrament, in which 
Mrs. Bracebridge or some of her family would share. 

Friends and Farewells 361 

Her letters to him were burnt at her request,' but his let- 
ters show that from 1862 onwards she gave him much of 
her intimate confidence. He treated her as an equal, while 
many of the dearest of her other friends paid her 
an ahnost adoring worship, and some who were estranged 
by what they thought excessive sacrifices to work 
offered only unsympathetic criticism. It was Mr. Jowett 
alone who wrote with an affectionate plainness of speech, 
begging her to rise above her too great anxieties and per- 
turbations, as he thought them, persuading her to rest more, 
to "venture and to see more of the sights and sounds of 
nature." She would take such criticisms and advices from 
him, as she would take a no from Sir John Lawrence, be- 
cause she recognised in both a purpose in life like her own. 

Jowett was not afraid to criticise her writing. "The style 
is too jerky and impulsive," runs one comment, "though 
I think it is logical and effective. You must avoid faults 
of taste and exaggeration." But he did not succeed in 
raising Miss Nightingale's style to his own level of unim- 
peachable propriety. 

His friendship was evidently a true solace to her in 
anxious years of middle life. There came times, though she 
never let hun know, when it lost some of its helpfulness. 
Those private notes which were unseen till after her death 
show that sometimes she felt his demands for sympathy too 
heavy. "He talks to me as if I were someone else," says 
one note. Jowett's delicately inanimate manner may well 
have been wearisome sometimes, but it was a faithful 
friendship and these little secret impatiences were transient. 

He always sent her a New Year's letter. In one written 
on the last day of 1879, he says: 

"It is about 17 years since we first became friends. How 
can I thank you properly for all your kindness and sym- 

' She commonly asked her correspondents — not, apparently, the Mohls — 
to destroy her letters. But a good many letters which contained this 
request survived. 

362 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

pathy — never failing — when you had so many other things 
to occupy your mind? I have not been able to do so much 
as you expected of me, and probably never shall be, though 
I do not give up ambition. But I have been too much 
distracted by many things; and not strong enough for the 
place. I shall go on as quietly and industriously as I can. 
If I ever do much more, it will be chiefly owing to you: 
your friendship has strengthened and helped me, and never 
been a source of the least pain or regret. Farewell. May 
the later years of your life be clearer and happier and more 
useful than the earlier! If you will believe it, this may 
be so. 

"I think no day passes," he says elsewhere, "in which I 
do not think of you and your work with pride and affec- 
tion." "How greatly am I indebted to you for all your 
affection," says his last note, a few days before he died. 
"How large a part has your life been of my life." And yet 
in Jowett's Life, there is but one casual mention of Florence 
Nightingale, so strictly did she always avoid or suppress 
any public notice of herself. 

In 1879 she wrote to Gladstone, of whom she then had 
hopes as to Indian matters, a long letter of her thoughts 
on Lord Lawrence. 

Miss Nightingale to Mr. Gladstone, July 6, 1879 
"I see you were at Lord Lawrence's funeral yesterday, and 
you may care to hear the story of his last days from one who 
has been privileged to know and serve with two such 
men as Sidney Herbert and John Lawrence — very different, 
but alike in the "one thing needful" — the serving with all 
their souls and minds and without a thought of self their 
high ideal of right. Lord Lawrence's last years were spent 
in work: he did not read, he studied; though almost blind, 
he waded with the help of a Private Secretary (who was a 
lady) thro' piles of Blue Books — chiefly, but not wholly, 
Indian — ^bringing the weight of his unrivalled experience 
to bear upon them. Up to Tuesday night, tho' very ill 
(he died on Friday) he worked. On the Thursday before, 
he had spoken in the House of Lords on the Indian Finance 
question. ... I received a letter from him the day after 

Friends and Farewells 363 

his death — dictated, but signed by himself, sending me some 
recent Indian Reports — private papers — which he had read 
and wished me to read — all marked and the page turned 
down where he had left off. This was his legacy. that 
I could do something for India for which he lived and died! 
The simplicity of the man could not be surpassed — the un- 
selfishness, the firmness. It was always ''Is it right?" If 
it was, it was done. It was the same thing; its being right 
and its being done. . . . All India will feel his loss. No 
one now living knows what he did there — in private, I mean, 
as well as in public — the raising of the people by individuals 
as well as by Institutions — the letters and messages from 
Sikhs to him, the Indian gentlemen who used to come to 
see him here and treated him as their father. . . . Lady 
Lawrence wished to give every one something which had 
belonged to his personal use. But it was found he had 
nothing. There were some old clothes, and a great many 
boots, patched; but nothing else, not even a pin, except 
his watch, twenty years old, and his walking-stick, which 
she kept. The lady who served as his secretary after his 
blindnecs had his old shoe horn, and told me this story with 
an infinite relish of its beauty. It was so characteristic of 

One of the dearest friends who survived to her later years 
was Paulina Irby, a cultivated and entirely unworldly 
woman, a friend after her own heart, whose life was devoted 
to the education of Christian girls and boys for school- 
masters and mistresses in Bosnia under the Turks and later 
under Austria. During the war of 1876 she relieved a 
multitude of refugees and orphans, and Miss Nightingale 
and others gave her work some help from London. 

The best-loved among her pupils were two nursing super- 
intendents. Miss Pringle and Miss Rachel Williams (Mrs. 
Daniel Morris). These two, who were devoted friends, 
were sometimes to be met at South Street. There was a 
great contrast in their looks — the little, neat, dark-eyed 
Miss Pringle, with all the air of a mistress of circumstances, 
and the tall, impetuous Miss Williams, a sweet-tempered, 
expressive woman who appears as "the Goddess" in Miss 

364 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Nightingale's letters. Miss Williams was for many years 
matron of St. Mary's Hospital, and head of its training 
school for nurses, and she was Lady Superintendent of 
nurses during the Egyptian campaign of 1884-5. Miss 
Pringle ("the Pearl") was nursing head of the Edinburgh 
Royal Infirmary and of its Training School, and afterwards 
(1887) succeeded Miss Wardroper at the original school at 
St. Thomas's. The great grief of Miss Nightingale's nursing 
life was Miss Pringle's conversion to Roman Catholicism, 
on which she was obliged by the hospital rules to resign 
the matronship, after a short tenure. Again and again in 
the anxious time of unsettlement and the distress of parting 
Miss Nightingale wrote down lines from Clough's Qua 
Cursum Ventus, with its parable of the two ships, steering 
one course, parted by wind and tide. "One port, methought, 
alike they sought, One purpose hold, where'er they fare." 
The friendship was too true for the sorrow to leave any 
abiding division. Miss Pringle often called at South Street 
in Miss Nightingale's last days. Mrs. Williams had died 
earlier; in her case not even marriage diminished Miss 
Nightingale's affection. 

Lady Verney's London home was a few doors from her 
sister's in South Street and there was a good deal of com- 
merce between the houses. There was some sharing of 
friends, such as the Mohls, and the Verneys were often 
hospitable to Miss Nightingale's nurse visitors. In the 
earlier eighties Miss Nightingale's better health allowed 
her to drive in Sir Harry Verney's carriage and sometimes 
to walk in the Park, and she went with him to the opening 
of the new Law Courts (1882), where she was recognised 
in the distance by Queen Victoria's observant eyes. In the 
same year (January 27, 1882) she paid her first and only 
visit to St. Thomas's Hospital, and saw the Nurses' Home 
(the Training School quarters) and Alexandra Ward. She 
even, with Sir Harry, saw the arrival of the Grenadier 
Guards at Victoria from the Egyptian campaign, and at 



Friends and Farewells 365 

Mr. Gladstone's invitation watched a review of the returned 
troops in the Horse Guards Parade from the garden of 
10 Downing Street. 

The family of "Uncle Sam" and "Aunt Mai" were her 
nearest relations after Lady Verney.* In Miss Nightingale's 
girlhood, their little son ("Shore") was often at Embley. 
She used to tell how he was put into her arms as a baby 
when she was a girl of eleven. "Flo" gave the little boy 
an almost motherly love and much care for body and soul; 
but in later life they could see less of one another. To 
the younger generation of this family (including Mr. 
Clough's children) of the Bonham Carters and of others of 
her cousins, she was most kind, entering, when she saw 
them, into their doings, readings and thoughts with as much 
concern as if they had been the people of India. One or 
two of many letters will give some little idea of her way 
with young people. The first is to a cousin who had turned 

10 South Street, November 8 (1887). 

Dearest, I send you two "vegetables" in their shells. We 
shall have some more fresh ones tomorrow. A new potato 
is, I assure you, not a vegetable. It is a mare's egg, laid by 
her, you know, in a "mare's nest." No vegetarian would 
eat it. I send you some Egyptian lentils. I have them 
every night for supper, done in milk, which I am not very 
fond of. The delicious thing is lentil soup, as made every 
day by an Arab cook in Egypt, over a handful of fire not 
big enough to roast a mosquito. . . . Ever your loving 

Aunt Florence. 

To Louis H. Shore Nightingale, 10 South Street, December 

23 (1898) 

I send a small contribution to your journey. I approve 

of Switzerland, but wish you could prick on to Italy. I 

always do. If you make a bother about this bit of paper, 

you will find that, in the words of the immortal Shake- 

■*Lady Vemey had no children, and there are no living descendants of 
Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale. 

366 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

speare/ "Ravens shall pick out your eyes and eagles eat 
the same." I have the Doctor coming this afternoon, whom 
I dare not put off, from considerations of the same nature. 
If you are so good as to come, please come at 5 — for only 
half-an-hour, that is till 5:30. 

Mr. Karl Pearson gives in the Life of Francis Gallon, 
"the master builder of the modern theory of statistics," 
a letter which he thinks "one of the finest that Florence 
Nightingale ever wrote." * It is that in which she writes to 
Galton in February 1891 to consult him as to a Statistical 
Professorship or Readership which she was hoping to estab- 
lish at the University of Oxford by contributions from her- 
self and from Jowett. Galton proposed the endowment of 
a Professorship at the Royal Institution and a yearly course 
of lectures. He also wished for a scheme of prizes to essay- 
ists and an advisory committee. "There is small doubt," 
says Mr. Pearson, "that Florence Nightingale's plan of a 
professorship round which a school of young enthusiasts 
might be developed was the wiser, if less showy policy." 
At the time, Galton preferred his own scheme. The dis- 
cussion got no further than a proposal by him that prizes 
should be offered for essays on three subjects proposed 
by her, and the plan dropped, partly because Miss Night- 
ingale's advisers thought her unable to contribute as largely 
as she had hoped. The correspondence may in Mr. Pear- 
son's opinion have had some influence on Mr. Galton's 
mind in his decision to link up the Galton Eugenics Lab- 
oratory, which he founded later, with a school of statistical 

In 1898 she saw the Aga Khan, head of an Indian re- 

• Viz : Dr. Watts. 

^Life and Letters of Francis Galton, vol. ii, pp. 416-418. The letter is 
given below in Appendix C. Mr. Pearson considers that it is "almost as 
true today as it was thirty years ago." "Were I a man of wealth," he says, 
"I would see that Florence Nightingale was commemorated not only by 
the activities symbolised by 'the Lady with the Lamp,' but by the activi- 
ties of the 'Passionate Statistician.' I would found a Nightingale Chair 
of Applied Statistics. ..." Life of Francis Galton, vol. ii, p. 416. 

Friends and Farewells 367 

ligious community, and her note on his visit shows her capa- 
city for still, at the age of 78, receiving a new impression: 
"A most interesting man, but you could never teach him 
sanitation. I never understood before how really impos- 
sible it is for an Eastern to care for material things. I 
told him as well as I could all the differences both in town 
and in country during my life. Do you think you are im- 
proving? he asked. By improving he meant Believing 
more in God. To him sanitation is unreal and supersti- 
tious; religion, spirituality, is the only real thing." 

After her mother's death Miss Nightingale did not go 
to Lea Hurst again, but for some years she made an annual 
stay at Claydon in Buckinghamshire, with her sister, now 
an invalid, and after Lady Verney's death until 1895 with 
Sir Harry. She had a great regard for his daughter-in-law, 
Margaret, Lady Verney; and his son, Mr. Frederick Verney, 
was a useful friend. Both at Claydon, where parties of 
nurses were sometimes held, and at Lea Hurst, where nurse 
visitors were also entertained, she took a generous and most 
detailed interest in local good works and personal charities. 

She continued even up to 1896-7 to carry on a very large 
nursing correspondence, to look over the papers relating 
to the training school work, and to receive visits from 
nurses. Her health was excellent ; until at length the time 
came when old age made it necessary to call in a nurse 
for her own needs. Even then she would often reverse the 
parts, and when the nurse had tucked her up for the 
night, would get out of bed and go into the next room 
to tuck up the nurse. One of her last public actions was 
to try to get into the press a good appreciation of Sir 
Douglas Galton's services after his death in 1899. Pri- 
vately she wrote that he was "the first Royal Engineer 
who put any sanitary work into R. Engineering. The head 
of these men at the War Office, the R. Engineers, him- 
self said to me: 'Our business is to make roads and to 
build bridges — we have nothing to do with health and that 

368 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

kind of Doctor's work,' or words to that effect. Sir D. 
G. opened his own ears and his heart and his mind, and 
put all his powers into saving life while working in his 

In the last years from 1900 onwards there was a gradual 
cessation of activity and loss of powers, though charm and 
sweetness, the strong and beautiful voice, and occasional 
vivacity long remained. On August 13, 1910, she fell asleep 
at noon and did not wake again. 

The offer of burial in Westminster Abbey was declined, 
for she had left directions that her burial should be of the 
simplest. The coffin was carried by six sergeants of the 
Guards, She was buried beside her father and mother in the 
little country churchyard near Embley, and on their monu- 
ment was put the inscription she wished — the letters F. N. 
and the dates of birth and death. 


Miss Nightingale's life was her work. It might almost 
be said she had no private life, except that religious and 
spiritual background of her work of which few knew very- 
much in her lifetime, and that more deeply hidden mood of 
depression and self-reproach which so troubled her in youth 
and in later life. Her many-sided personal character, if it 
could be conveyed, would more fully explain how her work 
was possible. Those who knew her as a fellow worker, a 
leader, an adviser or a friend quickly felt the spell of an 
iixmiensely attractive personality. Great people delight us 
with the variety of their qualities, often of opposite qual- 
ities, and it was so with Miss Nightingale. She refreshed 
and strengthened her friends. The English wholesomeness, 
the power, the pleasantness and often the gaiety were the 
first impression. There was a great receptivity and sym- 
pathy; she entered eagerly or with quiet attention into 
what her interlocutor said. She absorbed and compre- 
hended, and gave back. The subject lived and gained in 
interest. Sometimes she was searching and then it was as 
Colonel Yule said: "In the most gracious and charming 
manner, she unmediately finds out all I don't know." 

There was great earnestness: not an earnestness of the 
heavy and dull kind, but a character of the soul finding 
an unforced and natural expression in the tone of the 
beautiful voice. She would speak seriously in a quiet, 
natural way, without the attempt to impress you. But the 
impression was all the greater. 

It would be impossible to read her life without seeing 
how imaginative she was — not with the poetic, but the sym- 


370 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

pathetic imagination — and how her imagination guided 
her longing for work. When debarred from action in youth, 
she was obsessed by dreams of action, and the suffering and 
sorrow of the world oppressed her almost to distraction. 
It was sympathetic imagination which showed her how to 
nurse — Notes on Nursing is full of it — and which made it 
an agony to rest idle while soldiers were dying in the 
English barracks and hospitals. The imaginative sense of 
her country's (and her own) responsibility for the relief 
of Indian wrongs and sufferings haunted her later years. 
And it reacted on a very sensitive temperament. 

If this is understood, it becomes possible to account 
for her strange, retired way of living, — compulsory for many 
years on account of physical suffering. When it was too 
late to resume the active work she preferred, retirement was 
prolonged, it may be, in some degree from habit, but per- 
haps rather as a necessary protection from the batterings 
of nerves and spirit and wasting of time which we fool- 
ishly allow ourselves to undergo in everyday life. The 
high, quiet, sunny drawing-room at South Street or the 
peaceful bedroom, flooded with light and air, were places 
where continuous work could be carried on in strengthen- 
ing influences of calm. 

A passage in Suggestions for Thought seems to refer to 
her own youth and her work: 

Some have an attention like a battering ram, which, 
slowly brought to bear, can work upon a subject for any 
length of time. They can work ten hours just as well as 
two upon the same thing. But this age would have men 
like the musket, which you can load so fast that nothing 
but its heating in the process puts any limit to the number 
and frequency of times of firing, and at as many different 
objects as you please. 

So, later in life, people cannot use their battering ram. 
Their attention, like society's, goes off in a thousand differ- 
ent directions. They are an hour before they can fix it; 
and by the time it is fixed the leisure is gone. . . . 

Conclusion 371 

WTiat these suffer — even physically — from the want of 
such work no one can tell. The accumulation of nervous 
energy, which has had nothing to do during the day, makes 
them feel every night, when they go to bed, as if they were 
going mad; and they are obliged to lie in bed in the morn- 
ing to let it evaporate and keep it down. 

At last they suffer at once from disgust of the one and 
incapacity for the other — from loathing for conventional 
idleness and powerlessness to do work when they have it. 
"Now go, you have several hours," say people, "you have 
all the afternoon to yourself." When they are all frit- 
tered away, they are to begin to work. When they are 
broken up into little bits, they are to hew away. 

Monckton Milnes said at the meeting to form the Night- 
ingale Fund that too much had been made of her sacrifice 
of position and luxury. "God knows," he said, "that the 
luxury of one good action must to a mind such as hers 
be more than equivalent for the loss of all the pomps and 
vanities of life." "The luxury of a good action" is a Vic- 
torian way of putting it. But Miss Nightingale did indeed 
enjoy her work — her active work. "The Catholic Orders," 
she said, "say that they are leaving the 'pleasures of the 
world' when they are serving the sick. No; they are find- 
ing the 'pleasures of the world.' " And, though less fully, 
she enjoyed the work done from her sick room. 

No one can now fail to realize the force of character 
that accomplished so much. Rather than what is called 
"force of will" — a phrase which suggests a barren obsti- 
nacy — it was the impulsion of her entire personality filled 
with the thmg that had to be done. What has been called 
the "violent" language of some of her letters may easily 
give a false impression of the sources of her power. Forcible 
expression came naturally to her pen. Less ardent persons 
sometimes forget that a "violent" word may be nearest 
the truth. But she did not like the indispensable 
"baitmg and bullying"— "a petty kind of warfare, 
very unpleasant." When she allowed herself an explosive 

872 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

word it was for a purpose; it was by no means the expres- 
sion of an uncontrollable temper. This is not to say that 
it was invariably well calculated or well deserved; but in 
general it was a most useful natural weapon, and one that 
she took care to keep bright. "You may think I am not 
wise in being so angry. But I assure you when I write 
civilly, I have a civil answer, and nothing is done. When 
I write furiously, I have a rude letter — and something is 
done (not even then always, but only then)." Her hard 
words made Blue Books readable and startled official cor- 
respondents out of their official calm. There is an exag- 
geration not uncommon with forcible and sensitive people 
in many of her private letters; but the "Passionate Statis- 
tician," * though not abstaining from picturesque expres- 
sions, was scrupulously careful for a backing of exactitude 
in all her work, and showed great sobriety in her corre- 
spondence with willing colleagues. Nobody could be more 

" 'She is extremely modest,' said the Prince Consort and 
"Queen Victoria when they met her,^ and she made the 
"same impression on all who came in contact with her, 
"whether in the region of public affairs or in that of nurs- 
"ing. She had a consistent and a perfectly sincere shrinking 
"from every form of popular glare and glory. There are 
"passages, however, in letters to her intimate friends which 
"leave, on a first reading, a somewhat different impression. 
"She craved for a full and understanding sympathy with 
"her mission and her work. She was fully conscious, it 
"would seem, of her great powers; she did not always care 
"in private letters to hide or to under-rate the extent 
"of her influence upon men and affairs. She objected, in 
"one letter to a friend, that Kinglake's chapter was intol- 
"erable, because it posed her as 'a Tragedy Queen'; but 
"there are other letters in which she dramatises herself 

^So Sir Edward Cook called her (Life, vol. i, p. 428). "I remember," 
he says, "hearing the first Lord Goschen make a speech in Whitechapel 
many years ago, in which he avowed that for his part he was 'a passionate 
statistician.' " 

^I am quoting the Life, vol. ii, p. 431. 

Conclusion 37B 

"somewhat; there is self-pity in them, and there is other 
"self-consciousness. All this, which on a superficial glance 
"may seem to present some difiicult inconsistency, admits, 
"I think, of easy explanation when the conditions of her 
"life are remembered. She was intensely conscious of a 
"special destiny, and the tenacity with which, in the face 
"of many obstacles, she clung to her sense of a vocation 
"enabled her to fulfil it. The sphere of women's work and 
"opportunities has been so much widened in the present 
"day that readers of a generation later than Florence Night- 
"ingale's may require, perhaps, to make some effort of sym- 
"pathetic imagination in order to realise how much of a 
"pioneer she was. In her earlier years it was a daring nov- 
"elty for a young woman to put her hand to any solid work 
"in political administration or other organising business. 
"She knew all this by hard experience, and it emphasised 
"her sense of special destiny. The manner of her life 
"threw her at the same time, at each stage, though in dif- 
"ferent ways, in upon herself." 

Though she deeply disliked and avoided ignorant ap- 
plause and the worship of "noodledom," she had, I think, a 
natural share of the human liking to be liked and desire 
to be loved — by people she could respect. She often re- 
proached herself for "the desire to live in other people's 
imaginations." One wonders whether her uncompromising 
religion served her well in this. Mill says somewhere that 
"where there is life, there is egotism." Such an acknowl- 
edgment, that entire "purity of purpose" is unattainable, 
may appear to some minds as the best help towards humil- 
ity and realisation. It may be thought that a soul which 
knows its aspiration to be social and sympathetic in origin 
may through that knowledge approach more nearly to com- 
plete disinterestedness than by attempting to root out every 
trace of desire to please mankind. She was more human 
than her creed. But she never had the common oppor- 
tunity of correcting motives by those close and long inti- 
macies to which the last little personal importances will 
yield more easily than to a more abstract purity of motive 

374 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

enforced by self-communings. The saints, or even the sin- 
ners, may in such ways be more helpful than the attempt 
at direct communion with Perfection. In one of her pri- 
vate notes she said that she had "never had the discipline 
of family life." She was capable of deep and passionate 
affection. But on this side her life and her nature were 
never fulfilled. She had many and warm friendships, but 
none at once close enough, long enough and congenial 
enough to play any great part in influencing her own char- 
acter. It was thus, I think, that there remained (as noted 
by Sir Edward Cook in the passage just quoted) some youth- 
ful crudities of mind and expression which intercourse 
brushes off in more ordinary lives. In any general esti- 
mate of her, they remain very unimportant. It was part 
of her charm that she remained youthful. 

Strong as she was, her way with disciples was never crude 
compulsion; consistently and consciously it was to try to 
inspire a good motive. She placed a high value on the 
power to take responsibility, and in her search for recruits 
was constantly anxious to find women who could stand 
alone and "superintend themselves" and others. Lawrence, 
who was completely independent and incompellable, was, I 
think, the fellow worker she most admired. In the case 
of young friends in her own family, she was almost too 
scrupulous in abstaining from influence and from suggesting 
except very indirectly, what they might do.' In talking of 
religion she guarded most tenderly the freedom of young 
souls, and the tone of authority in speaking of her own be- 
liefs was entirely absent. "I write positively, but I do not 
think positively," she said once ; and she did not talk posi- 
tively, though there might be, as a nurse says, "flashes of 
maternal authority" in her serious manner when speaking 

'A young man once said, "She has asked me if I can get her some 
statistics of what happens to boys after they leave reformatories." It was 
obvious what this meant, as she was not working on reformatories. 

Conclusion 375 

of conduct she disapproved. Such flashes were serious but 
never overbearing in manner. 

Miss Nightingale's religious beliefs may seem unsatisfy- 
ing both to adherents of the churches and to modern philo- 
sophical thinkers. It must be remembered that they were 
formed in 1852 or earlier. They may be summed up by 
saying that she sought God, or at least the will of God for 
mankind, in what are often called the laws of nature — 
by her the laws of God — and not in divine interferences 
with those laws. Very characteristic is her desire for the 
statistical investigation of those laws. "God is definite," 
she wrote. "Truth is not what one troweth," she would 
say. As Mr. Karl Pearson says: "She held that the uni- 
verse — including human communities — was evolving in ac- 
cordance with a divine plan; that it was man's business 
to endeavour to understand this plan and guide his actions 
in sympathy with it. But to understand God's thoughts, 
she held we must study statistics, for these are the measure 
of his purpose." * 

Mr. Pearson makes an interesting comparison of her 
religious beliefs with Francis Galton's. 'Tor Galton the 
world was developing; at present under stern forces a 
mentally and physically superior human type was being 
evolved, and it was the religious duty of man to assist 
these changes; but for effective action we must study the 
laws of evolution, we must know and statistically know 
before the pace could be hastened." . . . 

Beside this let us place a passage from Suggestions for 
Thought: "It is one of the distinctive attributes of man 
that he is capable of improving his own nature. But, alas! 
methinks he has less improved his own nature than he has 
improved natures which can be serviceable to his material 
wants. We hear discussions on the improvements in ani- 
mals — improvements which cannot be doubted. But is the 

*Life and Letters of Francis Galton, vol. ii, p. 415. 

376 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

human being improved? Some races are so far above other 
races that we cannot doubt man's capability for improve- 
ment. But is there any race or any individual in this 
century (what century shall we call it since man began to 
inhabit this earth?) decidedly above any former race or 
individual? So long as we know not the nature or pur- 
pose in consequence of which we live, ... so long man 
will make no real and steady advance in the improvement 
of his nature, the fulfilment of its destination." 

A few are still living who knew Florence Nightingale 
and loved her on this side idolatry. Is it possible for 
others to form for themselves some image of the play of 
the active mind, the ever-helpful and gracious strength, the 
warmth and gaiety of heart, the profusely generous kind- 
ness? If the record cannot convey these, or cannot compose 
them into the picture of a living woman, it can at least tell 
what she achieved by her resolve, her power of seeing and 
putting forth the truth and her "faculty of conquering 
dominion" over men's minds. Her greatness of character 
may be forgotten, even as "the light shone and was spent." 
But her work is not spent. She has made the world different 
for us. She opened many paths of escape from "incivilisa- 
tion" that are still too little used. She set an example of 
intensity of purpose in the service of the people which has 
never been excelled, perhaps never equalled. As a figure in 
history she must be judged and her virtues and failings 
appraised by the standards applied to the man of action, the 
public servant, the statesman. 



Mr. Lytton Strachey's Florence Nightingale 

A substantial part of Mr. Lytton Strachey's popular and 
entertaining volume, Eminent Victorians, is occupied by a cari- 
cature of Florence Nightingale, the materials for which were 
inevitably taken from Sir Edward Cook's Lije. It is unfor- 
tunate that for the great majority of readers this travestied 
and upon the whole unfriendly abridgement has been the 
principal source of enlightenment concerning Florence Night- 
ingale's life and character. Mr. Strachey had the intelligence to 
perceive two things: First, that Sir Edward Cook had demol- 
ished the loose popular theory that Miss Nightingale was nothing 
but a soft-hearted person gushing with indiscriminate benevo- 
lence, and had proved her to be a woman whose resolution, force 
of character, and power of laborious achievement amounted to 
genius of the first order; and secondly, that owing to the pro- 
fusion, solidity and elaborate detail of Sir Edward's work, these 
facts could never become known at first hand to more than a 
very small proportion of the fairly intelligent reading public, 
but could reach the much larger number of superficial and 
not specially industrious readers only through the inter- 
pretation of a more compendious and lively commentary. He, 
Mr. Strachey, had the opportunity of conveying to a compara- 
tively large audience important information of genuine interest, 
and was practically free to make his communication as pic- 
turesque and entertaining as he could. What more piquant 
contrast could he devise than the conversion of the indefinitely 
amiable Sister of Mercy of tradition into a harsh, domineering, 
relentless and terrible old woman? 

The art of caricature is threefold. Some of the facts about 
the person or work selected as its subject are hopelessly incon- 
sistent with the general design of the caricaturist; these must 
be suppressed. Some of them it is desired to emphasize by 
the method of exaggeration, and these must be distorted. Yet 
other facts, from the point of view of the artist, ought to exist, 
but do not. These must be invented. Mr. Strachey laboured 


380 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

conscientiously in all three departments of his industry. Three 
or four examples will sufficiently indicate Mr. Strachey's com- 
mand of his craft. 

Sir Edward Cook had written: "There was always a note 
of calm authority in her voice. A Crimean veteran recalled 
her passing his bed with some doctors who were saying, "It can't 
be done," and her replying quietly, "It must be done." For the 
purpose of travesty this becomes: 

Once when she had given some direction, a doctor ventured 
to remark that the thing could not be done. "But it must be 
done," said Miss Nightingale. A chance bystander who heard 
the words never forgot all his life the irresistible authority of 
them. And they were spoken quietly — very quietly indeed. 

Of Miss Nightingale's illness in the Crimea, Sir Edward 
Cook wrote: "The attack of fever was sharp, and she was, 
as she afterwards admitted to her friends, 'very near to death.' 
There are scraps of manuscript among her papers (for even in 
illness she could not be kept from the use of her pen) which 
show a wandering mind." Had he known that his work would 
achieve the distinction of being burlesqued, he might have ex- 
plained that these fragments were two in number, one the begin- 
ning of a letter to her colleague Mr. Bracebridge, and the other 
a mere scrap with a few words shakily written upon it in pencil. 
If by not taking this precaution he invited inflation, he certainly 
got it. Mr. Strachey's version runs: 

She was attacked by fever, and for a moment came very near 
to death. Yet she worked on; if she could not move she could 
at least write; and write she did until her mind had left her; and 
after it had left her, in what seemed the delirious trance of death 
itself, she still wrote. 

Sir Edward Cook, when his story was approaching the death 
of Sidney Herbert in 1861, used, by way of commentary on his 
own part, a quotation from Prospice. Mr. Strachey, hastily 
concluding that this, in Miss Nightingale's mouth, would add tc 
the spiciness of his narrative, informs us that she said "One fight 
more, the best and the last." But he should have waited to look 
up his dates, for Browning's poem was not published till 1864. 
An equally enlivening passage is Mr. Strachey's account of the 
visitors "ushered trembling into the shaded chamber" of the 
advocate of fresh air and sun, whose room, as Sir Edward Cook 
says, was "full of light," being "without blinds or curtains." 

Appendix A 381 

Three years before her death, King Edward VII created Miss 
Nightingale a member of the Order of Merit. According to Sir 
Edward Cook, who was accurately informed, "Sir Douglas Daw- 
son, on the King's behalf, brought the Order — then for the 
first time bestowed upon a woman — to South Street. Miss Night- 
ingale understood that some kindness had been done to her, 
but hardly more. 'Too kind, too kind,' she said." 

Mr. Strachey decided to conclude his sketch with this episode, 
and his final sentences are: 

The Order of Merit was brought to South Street and there 
was a little ceremony of presentation. Sir Douglas Dawson, 
after a short speech, stepped forward and handed the insignia 
of the Order to Miss Nightingale. Propped up by pillows, she 
dimly recognized that some compliment was being paid to her. 
''Too kind — too kind," she murmured; and she was not ironical. 

There was no little ceremony. Sir Douglas Dawson did not 
make a speech, short or long, did not step forward, and did not 
hand the insignia of the Order to Miss Nightingale. On the 
contrary, he stayed downstairs with members of Miss Nightin- 
gale's family, while the Order was taken to her by one of her 
cousins and her private secretary in the room in which she was 
confined to her bed. 

Mr. Strachey's narrative has the essential merit of being easy 
and entertaining to read. His bright presentment of Florence 
Nightingale to his readers is perhaps, in an opposite direction, 
as far from the truth as the insipid image of meek benevolence 
which had been based on the ignorance of the public and demol- 
ished by Sir Edward Cook. 


By H. W. Longfellow 

Whene'er a noble deed is wrought, 
Whene'er is spoken ^ noble thought, 

Our hearts in glad surprise, 

To higher levels rise. 

The tidal wave of deeper souls 
Into our inmost being rolls, 

And lifts us unawares 

Out of all meaner cares. 

Honour to those whose words or deeds 
Thus help us in our daily needs, 
And by their overflow 
Raise us from what is low! 

Thus thought I, as by night I read 
Of the great army of the dead, 
The trenches cold and damp, 
The starved and frozen camp, — 

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. 


Appendix B (Verse) 383 

As if a door in heaven should be 
Opened and then closed suddenly, 

The vision came and went, 

The light shone and was spent. 

On England's annals, through the long 
Hereafter of her speech and song, 

That light its rays shall cast 

From portals of the past. 

A Lady with a Lamp shall stand 
In the great history of the land, 

A noble type of good 

Heroic womanhood. 

Nor even shall be wanting here 
The palm, the lily and the spear, 

The symbols that of yore 

Saint Filomena bore. 


{To the tune of "The Cottage and Water Mill") 

On a dark, lonely night on the Crimea's dread shore. 
There had been bloodshed and strife on the morning before, 
The dead and the dying lay bleeding around, 
Some crying for help — there was none to be found. 
Now God in His mercy He pitied their cries, 
And the soldiers so cheerful in the morning do arise. 
So forward, my lads, may your hearts never fail, 
You are cheered by the presence of a sweet Nightingale. 

Now God sent this woman to succour the brave; 
Some thousands she saved from an untimely grave. 
Her eyes beam with pleasure, she's beauteous and good. 
The wants of the wounded are by her understood. 
With fever some brought in, with life almost gone, 
Some with dismantled limbs, some to fragments are torn. 
But they keep up their spirits, their hearts never fail. 
They are cheered by the presence of a sweet Nightingale. 

384 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

Her heart it means good, for no bounty she'll take, 
She'd lay down her life for the poor soldier's sake; 
She prays for the dying, she gives peace to the brave, 
She feels that the soldier has a soul to be saved. 
The wounded they love her as it has been seen. 
She's the soldier's preserver, they call her their Queen. 
May God give her strength, and her heart never fail, 
One of Heaven's best gifts is Miss Nightingale. 

The wives of the wounded, how thankful are theyl 

Their husbands are cared for by night and by day. 

Whatever her country, this gift God has given. 

And the soldiers they say she's an Angel from Heaven. 

All praise to this woman, and deny it who can, 

That woman was sent as a comfort to man. 

Let's hope that no more against them you'll rail, 

Treat them well, and they'll prove like Miss Nightingale. 

[This is the best and most popular of the wartime songs about Miss 
Nightingale. It was sung to great effect on Christmas day, 1870, at a treat 
arranged by the nurses of St. Thomas's Hospital, then in the Surrey Gar- 
dens. The children had sung hymns and older patients had contributed 
songs, when a patient in the accident ward, a coal heaver with a broken leg, 
volunteered. The words of the refrain caught the ears of the Nightingale 
nurses. "We dropped all work," says one of them, "and listened intently 
till the song was over, all enthusiasm for our Chief." The singer was an 
old soldier who had been nursed by Miss Nightingale in the General 
Hospital, Balaclava.] 


"They are not here!" No, not beneath that sod, 

And yet not far away. 
For they can mingle their new life from God 

With living souls, not clay. 

And they, "the heroic dead," will softly pour 

Into thy spirit's ear 
A music human still, but sad no more, 

To tell that they are near — 

Appendix B (Verse) 385 

Near thee with higher ministering aid 

Thy heart- work to return, 
So that each sacrifice that love has made 

A victory shall earn. 

[Believed to be by R. M. Milnes. The words "they are not here" and 
"the heroic dead" are from a letter from Florence Nightingale to her 
sister, describing her walks on the shore near the soldiers' graves during 
her convalescence from the Crimean fever. It was the time when she 
vowed to "fight the cause" of the "murdered men."] 




10 South Street, Park Lane, February 7, 1891. 
Scheme of Social Physics Teaching 
Dear Sir: 

Sir Douglas Galton has given me your most kind message, 
saying that if I will explain in writing to you what I think needs 
doing, you will be so good as to give it the experienced attention 
without which it would be worthless. By your kind leave it 
is this: 

A scheme from someone of high authority as to what should 
be the work and subjects in teaching Social Physics and their 
practical application in the event of our being able to obtain a 
Statistical Professorship or Readership at the University of 

I am not thinking so much of Hygiene and Sanitary Work, 
because these and their statistics have been more closely studied 
in England than probably any other branch of statistics, though 
much remains to be desired: as e.g., the result of the food and 
cooking of the poor as seen in the children of the Infant Schools 
and those of somewhat higher ages. But I would — subject always 
to your criticism and only for the sake of illustration — mention 
a few of the other branches in which we appear hardly to know 
anything, e.g.: 

A. — The results of Forster's Act, now 20 years old. We sweep 
annually into our Elementary Schools hundreds of thousands of 
children, spending millions of money. Do we know: 

(1) What proportion of children forget their whole education 
after leaving school; whether all they have been taught is 
waste? The almost accidental statistics of Guards' recruits would 
point to a large proportion. 

(2) What are the- results upon the lives and conduct of chil- 
dren in after life who don't forget all they have been taught? 


Appendix C 387 

(3) What are the methods and what are the results, for ex- 
ample in Night Schools and Secondary Schools, in preventing 
primary education from being a waste? If we know not what 
are the effects upon our national life of Forster's Act, is not 
this a strange gap in reasonable England's knowledge? 

B. — (1) The results of legal punishments — i.e., the deterrent 
or encouraging effects upon crime of being in gaol. Some excel- 
lent and hardworking reformers tell us: Whatever you do, keep 
a boy out of gaol — ^work the First Offenders' Act — once in gaol, 
always in gaol — gaol is the cradle of crime. Other equally zeal- 
ous and active reformers say — a boy must be in gaol once at 
least to learn its hardships before he can be rescued. Is it again 
not strange in practical England that we know no more about 

(2) Is the career of a criminal from his first committal — and 
for what action — to his last, whether (a) to the gallows, or 
(b) to rehabilitation, recorded? It is stated by trustworthy 
persons that no such statistics exist, and that we can only learn 
the criminal's career from himself in friendly conference — what 
it has been from being in gaol, say for stealing a turnip for a 
boys' feast, or for breaking his schoolroom window in a temper 
because he has been turned out of school for making a noise — ^to 
murder or to morality. 

In how many cases must all our legislation be experiment, not 
experience! Any experience must be thrown away. 

(3) What effect has education on crime? (a) Some people 
answer unhesitatingly: As education increases, crime decreases, 
(b) Others as unhesitatingly: Education only teaches to escape 
conviction, or to steal better when released, (c) Others again: 
Education has nothing to do with it either way. 

C. — ^We spend millions in rates in putting people into work- 
houses, and millions in charity in taking them out. What is 
the proportion of names which from generation to generation 
appear the same in workhouse records? What is the proportion 
of children depauperised or pauperised by the workhouse? Does 
the large Union School, or the small, or "boarding-out," return 
more pauper children to honest independent life? On girls, what 
is the result of the training of the large Union Schools in fitting 
them for honest little domestic places — and what proportion of 
them falling into vice have to return to the workhouse? Upon all 
such subjects how should the use of statistics be taught? 

388 A Short Life of Florence Nightingale 

D. — India with its 250 millions — 200 millions being our fellow- 
subjects, I suppose — enters so little into practical English public 
life that many scarcely know where this small country is. It 
forms scarcely an element in our calculations, though we have 
piles of Indian statistics. As to India the problems are: 

(1) Whether the peoples there are growing richer or poorer, 
better or worse fed and clothed? 

(2) Whether their physical powers are deteriorating or not? 

(3) Whether fever not only kills less or more, but whether 
it incapacitates from labour for fewer or more months in the 

(4) What are the native manufactures and productions needed 
by the greatest customer in the world, the Government of India, 
which could be had as good and cheap in India, as those to be 
had from England? 

(5) Whether the native trades and handicrafts are being 
ruined or being encouraged under our rule? 

(6) What is the result of Sir C. Wood's (1853) Education Act 
in India? 

These are only a very few of the Indian things which — I will 
not say are hotly contested, for few care either in the House 
of Commons or out, but — have their opposites asserted with 
equal positiveness. 

I have no time to make my letter any shorter, although these 
are but a very few instances. What is wanted is that so high 
an authority as Mr. Francis Galton should jot down other great 
branches upon which he would wish for statistics, and for some 
teaching how to use these statistics in order to legislate for and 
to administer our national life with more precision and ex- 

One authority was consulted and he answered: "That we 
have statistics and that Government must do it." Surely the 
answering question is: The Government does not use the statis- 
tics which it has in administering and legislating — except indeed 
to "deal damnation" across the floor of the H. of C. at the Oppo- 
sion and vice versa. Why? Because though the great majority 
of Cabinet Ministers, of the Army, of the Executive, of both 
Houses of Parliament have received a university education, 
what has that university education taught them of the practical 
application of statistics? Many of the Government offices have 
splendid statistics. What use do they make of them? One of 
the last words Dr. Farr of the General Register Office said to 

Appendix C 389 

me was: "Yes, you must get an Oxford Professorship; don't let 
it drop." 

M. Quetelet gave me his Physique Sociale and his Anthro- 
pometrie. He said almost like Sir Isaac Newton: "These are only 
a few pebbles picked up on the vast seashore of the ocean to be 
explored. Let the explorations be carried out." 

You know how Quetelet reduced the most apparently acci- 
dental carelessness to ever recurring facts, so that as long as 
the same conditions exist, the same "accidents" will recur with 
absolutely unfailing regularity. 

You remember what Quetelet wrote — and Sir J. Herschel en- 
forced the advice — "Put down what you expect from such and 

such legislation ; after years see where it has given you what 

you expected, and where it has failed. But you change your 
laws and your administering of them so fast, and without inquiry 
after results past or present, that it is all experiment, see-saw, 
doctrinaire, a shuttlecock between two battledores." 

Might I ask from your kindness — if not deterred by this long 
scrawl — for your answer in writing as to heads of subjects for 
the scheme? Then to give me some little time, and that you 
would then make an appointment some afternoon, as you kindly 
proposed, to talk it over, to teach and to advise me? Pray 
believe me, 

Yours most faithfully, 

Florence Nightingale. 


How TO Make a Nightingale 

This little garment is the strip of flannel used as an emergency 
bed-jacket by Florence Nightingale. Four safety pins are re- 

The length of the strip should be 1% yards, or 2 or 3 inches 
more, the exact length depending on the width of the patient's 
back and the reach of his arm when stretched out for the reason- 
able movements of a person sitting up in bed. For the width 
of the flannel, 28 inches is good. In the centre of the length, 
at one edge, cut, at right angles to the length, a slit from 4 to 7 
inches long (according to the size of the person's neck and its 
flatness or humpiness at the back). This is the whole of the 
making. To adjust the jacket, turn down the two points, made 
by the slit, in the form of two revers. The base of the triangle 
formed by each of the revers should be made long enough to 
form the half of a roomy collar. Put the garment on like a 
shawl, with the middle of the two revers (constituting the collar) 
at the back of the neck. Bringing the strip round the patient's 
shoulders like a shawl, you find the top edge (that in which you 
have made the collar) hangs down as the fronts of a jacket. 
Pin together the collar in front, and pin the fronts together at 
the chest. Place the comer of the bottom edge on the back 
of the patient's hand; turn the corner back to form a pointed 
cuff. Pin together at the front of the wrist the ends of the little 
revers which forms the cuff. The same for the other hand. 

You can of course put strings at the wrists and front, instead 
of pinning. It is better not to sew the points down, on account 
of washing. The edge can be bound with ribbon, but with flannel 
this is not a necessity. 




Aberdeen, Lord, 120 

Abjurations, 32 

Administrative machine, 307 

Adshead, Joseph, 261 

Advices, chattering, 351 

Advisory Council to War Office, 236 

A.F.S., the, 61 

Aga Khan, 366 

Airey, Sir R., 209 

Aitken, Dr., 214 

Albert, Prince Consort, 175, 211, 

260, 372 
Aldershot, 188, 210 
Alexander, Dr., 208, 242 
Alice, Princess, 298 
Allen, Fanny, 11 
Aloysius, Sister Mary, 108 
American Civil War, 238 
American Government, 238 
Among the Experts, 186 
Anniversary addresses, 339 
Annual Sanitary Report, 318 
Army, death rate in, 318 

female nursing in, 75, 342 

food in, 209 

health in, 182, 207 

in India, 242 

Notes on health of, 182 
Army Hospital Corps, 217 
Army Hospital Service, 341 
Army Hospitals, reform of, 207 
Army Medical College, professors 

for, 208 
Army Medical Department, 193, 216 
Army Medical School, 176, 213, 214, 

215, 239 
Army Medical Service, 239, 341 
Army Medical Statistics, 213 
Army Sanitary Commission, 249, 

323, 354, 359 
Army Sanitary Committee, 319 
Army Sanitary Officers, need of, 

Ashburton, Lord, and Lady, 259, 

Association for Improvement of 
Infirmaries of London Work- 
houses, 292 

Aunt Mai, see Smith, Mrs. Samuel 

Austria, Nightingale nurses in, 338 

Babbage, 10 

Bacteriology, 319 

Balaclava, 117 

Balfour, Dr. T. G., 177, 192, 212 

Balmoral, 174, 175 

Barrack and Hospital Commission, 

233, 249 
Barrack Hospital, 95, 103, 104, 128, 

at Scutari, 86 

cholera at, 155 

death rate in, 142 
Barracks, model, 202 

reform of, 207 
Bathurst, Caroline, 42 
Beche, Sir H. de la, 47 
Bedding in Scutari, 97 
Belief in future life, 53 
Belief in God, 51 
Beliefs, religious, 375 
Bence-Jones, Dr., 149 
Benefactions, 405 
Bengal Land System, 350 
Bengal Sanitary Commission, 251 
Bengal Social Science Association, 

Bentinck, General, 138 
"Bison," the, 176, 177, 188, 208 

bullying the, 179 
Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, 18 
Blackwood, Dr., and Lady, 97 
Blockley Hospital, 338 
Blue Books, 250, 312, 319 
Bonham Carter, H., 14, 17, 59, 205, 
260, 300, 302, 338, 365 




Bonham Carter, H., letter to from 
Florence Nightingale, 18 

Bonham Carter, Miss, 59, 263 

Booth, Charles, 281 

Bowman, Dr. William, 64, 280 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 89 

Bracebridge, Mr., and Mrs., 26, 30, 
31, 42, 58, 64, 77, 92, 114, 118, 
280, 331, 357 

Bridgeman, Mrs., 116, 157 

British Army, Contribution to San- 
itary history of, 212 
Notes on health of, 182 

British nurses, supposed character 
of, 20, 129 

British Nurses' Association, 345, 346 

British soldiers, supposed character 
of, 129, 218 

British Red Cross Aid Society, 

Broadhead, W., and rattening, 309 

Brougham, Lord, 10 

Brown, Sir George, 94 

Browning, Mrs., 47 

Bruce, Lady Augusta, 59 

"Brutes, spoiling the", 128 

Bunsens, the, 24, 42 

Byron, Lady, 42 

"Cabal," 197, 230 
"Cabinet," 197 

Campbell, Sir George, 347, 348, 355 
Canada, Nightingale Nurses, in, 337 
Canadian conditions, 238 
Canning, Lady, 79 
Canteens, 188 
rival to, 129 
Caravanserai, the, 99 
Cardwell, Edward, 234 
Carlyle, Thomas, 295 
Carpenter, Mary, 267 
Castle Hospital, 151 
Catholic devotion, books of, 329 
Cautley, Sir P., 242 
Cavour, 221 

Cemetery, at Scutari, 136 
Census, 263 

Ceylon, Nightingale JSTurses in, 337 
Chadwick, Sir Edwin, 50, 190 
Changes and sorrows, 323 
Chaplains, 91 

Character sketches, 335 

Chattering advices, 351 

Chaumont, F. de, 210 

Chelsea Board, 179 

Chelsea Military Hospital, 188 

Childers, H. C. E., 341 

China, troops to, 189 

Chisholm, Mrs., 58, 267 

Chloroform, not much used in 
Crimea, 90 

Cholera, 65, 155, 319 

Christian, Prince, 345 

Christie, Miss, 49 

Christison, Dr., 190, 200 

Church of England, 49 

Civil War, in United States, 238 

Clarendon, Lord, 71 

Clark, Sir George, 349 

Clark, Sir James, 174, 175, 189, 214, 

Clarke, Mary, 9, 11, 13 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 11 

Claydon, 367 

Clothing, 122 

Clough, A. H., 50, 65, 184, 204, 228 

Code for Infirmary Nursing, 296 

Codrington, General, 156 

Cohn, F., 267 

Colonial prisons, 237 

Commander-in-Chief, 211 

Commissions, 105, 133, 171, 178, 192, 
207, 209, 236, 251 

Committee to reorganise Army Hos- 
pital Corps, 217 

Committees, management of, 62 

Contagion, indifference to, 138, 146 

Contrast, a, 159 

Contribution to the Sanitary His- 
tory of the British Army, 212 

Cook, Sir Edward, Life of Florence 
Nightingale, v, vi, vii, viii, 372, 
374, 379 

Cooking, at Scutari, 97 

Cookery, 209, 210 

Correspondence, 142 

Court of Inquiry, 341 

Coutts, Miss Burdett, 72 

"Coxcombs," 189 

Cranbourne, Lord, 308 

Cranbrook, Lord, 351 

Creed, 333 



Crimea, 144 

administrative scandal in, 94, 95 

difficulties in, 92 

hospitals in, 151 

in winter, 151 

last days in, 164 

nurses in, 151 

religion of, 80 

neglect of wounded in, 69 

position of Florence Nightingale 
in, 144 
Crimean fever, 146 
Crimean War, 67 
Crimean work, reproduced in U. S. A., 

Croft, A. W., 347 
Cropper, C. W., 287 
Cross, Lord, 354 

Crown Princess of Prussia, 298, 299, 
303, 304 

letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 299 
Cullen, Dr., 116 
Custom House, Turkish, 121 

Dawes, Dr. Richard, 17 
Deaconesses, Institution for, 43 
Death rates, 106, 142, 174, 189, 195, 

218, 245, 252, 265, 318, 324 
Deeble, Mrs, 301 
De Grey, Lord, 230, 231, 232, 233, 

234, 235, 237, 247, 297, 308, 323, 

350, 352 
Delane, J. T., 79 
Derby, Lord, 207, 293 
Disappointments, 152 
Discipline, 107, 110 
Difficulties in Crimea, 92 
District nursing, in Liverpool, 340 

in London, 340 
Dock, Lavinia L., see Nutting 
Doctors, management of, 62 
Doors V. windows, 313 
"Drains," 330 
Drake, Elizabeth, 141 
Drift, policy of, 348 
Drifting, 348 
Drunkenness, among nurses, 20, 129 

in army, 128, 129, 218 
Dufferin, Lord, 350, 352, 353 
Dunant, Henri, 240 
Duncannon, Lord, 10 

Eastlake, Lady, 16 

Ebrington, Lord, 207 

Edinburgh, Nightingale nurses at, 

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, 364 

Education, agricultural, for Indian 
Civil Servants, 355 

Egypt, condition of people in, 37 
visit to, 37 

Egyptian campaign, 341 

Elgin, Lord, 248 

Eliot, George, 47 

EUesmere, Lord, 166 

Embley, 7, 10, 11, 14, 357 

Eminent Victorians, 379 

England, lesson for, 169 

England and her soldiers, 211 

English Kaiserswerth, 149 

Enthusiasm for Florence Nightin- 
gale, 148 

Establishment for Gentlewomen 
during Illness, 58, 60 

Evans, Aunt, 59 

Expert, at War Office, 236, 341 
in war nursing, 341 

Experts, among the, 186 

"Extra Diet," 87, 125 

Facts relating to Hospital Nurses, 

Famines, in India, 349 
Farewells, and Friends, 356 
Farnall, H. B., 291, 292 
Farr, Dr., 176, 186, 189, 213, 227, 

242, 245, 263, 344, 388 
F. A. S., the, 61 
Fauriel, 11 

Female nurses, in Army, 75, 342 
in military hospitals, 185, 353 
in naval hospitals, 188 
Fevers, 318 
First Annual Statistical Report on 

the Health of the Army, 213 
Fisher, Alice, 338 
Fitzgerald, 155 

Fliedner, Pastor, 24, 43, 45, 266, 335 
Florence Nightingale: a Force in 

Medicine, 183 
Florence Nightingale Hospital for 

Gentlewomen, 60 
Food, in army, 209 
in Scutari, 87, 97 



Forester, Lady Maria, 71, 73, 74 

Forster's Act, 388 

Fowler, Dr. Richard, 17, 18 

Fox, Caroline, 47 

France, Nightingale Nurses in, 338 

Franco-Prussian War, 301 

Fraser's Magazine, 294, 327 

Frederick, Empress, 298 

Frere, Sir Bartle, 244, 308, 310, 313, 

315, 317, 318, 319, 344, 347 
Friends, and Farewells, 356 
Froude, J. A., 327 
Fry, Mrs. Elizabeth, 43, 58, 267 
Fry's Institute of Nursing, 266 
Fuhrmann, Fraulein, 304 
Future life, belief in, 53 

Galton, Captain Sir Douglas, 209, 
217, 222, 231, 232, 233, 239, 240, 
258, 259, 302, 308, 309, 310, 323, 
342, 354, 359, 367 
letter to, from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 250, 310 
Galton, Francis, 366, 375 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 38o 
Gamp, Mrs., the original, 21 
Garcia, Pauline, 10 
Gaskell, Mrs., 16, 185, 218 

letter of, 64 
Gavin, Dr. Hector, 104 
General Hospital, at Balaclava, 151 
at Montreal, Nightingale nurses 

in, 338 
at Scutari, 86 
General Military Hospital, at Wool- 
wich, 222 
Geneva Convention, 240, 301 
Gentlewomen, Establishment for, 
during illness, 58, 60 
Florence Nightingale Hospital for, 
Germany, Nightingale nurses in, 

Gladstone, W. E., 214, 323, 352 
letter to, from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 362 
God as God of Law, 327 
God, belief in, 51 
character of, 52 
laws of, 52 
God's Revenge upon Murder, 207 

Gordon, General, 341, 343 

Gordon Relief Expedition, 343 

Goschen, 295 

Great Northern Hospital, 287 

Greece, visit to, 38 

Guizot, 17 

Hall, Sir John, 144, 154, 155, 157, 

161, 164, 208, 212 
Hall, S. C, 150 

Hall, ?,:rs. S. C, 280 

Hampstead, 356 

Hardy, Gathorne, 292, 293 

Harley Street, 64, 77 

Harris, Sir Charles, 236 

Hart, Ernest, 285 

Haslar Hospital, 188 

Hathaway, Dr., 251 

Hawes, Sir Benjamin, 220, 221, 231 

Hawthorn, Mrs., 341, 342 

Head centre, 297 

Headquarters, attitude of, 154 

Health Missionary for India, 315 

Health Missioners, 354 

Health of Army, 182, 207 

Health of Army, Annual Statistical 
Report on, 213 

Health of British Army, Notes on, 

Health of Indian Army, 242 

Health of Soldiers, 216 

Health Officers, Indian, 311, 312 

Health Visitors, 354 

Herbert, Sidney, 30, 42, 71, 76, 80, 
95, 96, 113, 114, 120, 121, 132, 
144, 145, 150, 155, 176, 180, 183, 
187, 188, 193, 194, 199, 207, 208, 
209, 210, 213, 214, 216, 219, 224, 
227, 232, 242, 258, 307, 316, 317, 
letter of to Florence Nightingale, 

72, 77, 213, 221 
letter to, from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 102, 159, 164 

Herbert, Lady, 357 

Herbert Commission, 182 

Herbert Reforms, 182 

Heroic Dead, the, 384 

Heroine, popular, 148 

Herschel, Sir J., 389 

Highgate Infirmary, 295 

Hill, Mr. and Mrs., 38 



Holyoake, G. J., 49 
Hornby, Lady, 162, 165 
Hospital and Asylum Rate, 291, 293 
Hospital Associations, 345 
Hospital Constructiou and Statis- 
tics, 257 
Hospital Management and Nursing, 

in the field, 342 
Hospital Nurses, jacts relating to, 

Hospital Orderlies, regimental, 217 
Hospital Sergeants, 123 
Hospital Statistics, 257 

uniform, 263 
Hospitals, character of, 20 

in Crimea, 151 

of Land Transport Corps, 151 

reform of, 207 

study of, 257 
Hour and the Woman, 69 
How People may Live and not Die 

in India, 252, 318 
Howe, Dr. and Mrs., 16, 17 
Hume, Rev. Mr., 73 
Hurd, Dr. H. M., 183 
Hygeists, 188 
Hygiene, 276 

Illness of Florence Nightingale, 143, 
146, 148, 325 

Incivilisation, escape from, 376 

India, 388 

armies in, 242 
civilisation for, 305, 312 
famine in, 349 
health missionary for, 315 
larger cares for, 347 
military hospitals in, 353 
Nightingale nurses in, 337 
Sanitary Commission for, 246 
Sanitary Organisation for, 307 
Sanitary Suggestions for, 248 

India Office, 250 

Sanitary Committee at, 315 
Sanitary Department at, 245, 318 

Indian Army, health of, 242 
Sanitary charter for, 245 

Indian Civil Service, 355 

Indian health officers, 311, 312 

Indian hospitals, 313 

Indian Irrigation and Land Tenure, 

Indian Sanitary Commission, 242, 

Indian sanitary question, 317 
Indian Sanitary Reports, 312 
Indian Village Elders, sanitation 

for, 317 
Influence of Florence Nightingale, 

130, 131 
Inglis, Lady, 42 
Inkerman Cafe, 129 
Institute of Nursing, Mrs. Fry's, 266 
Institution for Deaconesses, 43 
International Congress, 240 
International Red Cross, 240 
International Statistical Congress, 

Interviews, 297 

Introductory Notes on Lying-in In- 
stitutions, 283 
Irby, Pauline, 363 
Irrigation, in India, 350, 352 

Jebb, Sir J., 190 
Johnson, Dr., 199 
Jones, Agnes, 286, 288, 300, 335 
Jones, Mary, 269, 275, 280 
Jowett, B., 50, 51, 225, 324, 325, 326, 
327, 328, 346, 354, 360 
letter of to Florence Nightin- 
gale, 361 
Jubilee Institute for Nurses, 344 

Kaiserswerth, 24, 32, 37, 39, 40, 41, 

42, 43, 45, 47, 49 
English, 149 
Karani, 165 

Kempis, Thomas a, 333 
Kinglake, A. W., 132, 137, 140, 183, 

344, 372 
King's College Hospital, 64, 275, 

lying-in ward at, 282 
Ivirkland, Sir John, 78 
Kontaxaki, Elizabeth, 38 
Ivoulali hospitals, 117 
Kynsham Court, 7 

"Lady with the Lamp," 137, 139, 

366, 382 
Laisser faire, 294 
Lancet Commission, 285 
Land Tenure, Indian, 352 



Land Transport Corps, hospitals of, 

Lansdowne, Lord, 354 
Large, Sister Philippa, 343 
Last days in Crimea, 164 
Lawrence, Sir John, 243, 244, 248, 
249, 251, 252, 307, 308, 311, 312, 
313, 314, 316, 317, 352, 362 
Lea Hurst, 3, 4, 7, 11, 14, 60, 324 
Leadership ,gifts of, 141 
Lees, Miss Florence, 304, 340 
Lefevre, Shaw, 10 
Lefroy, Colonel, 174, 175, 176, 188, 

189, 217 
Leisure of soldiers, 217 
Letters, civil and rude, 240 
Letter writing, 371 
Lewis, Sir George, 230, 231, 232, 264 
Liddell, Sir John, 188 
Lind, Jennie, 161 
Lindsay, General, 301, 341 
Lister, Lord, 266 

Liverpool, district nursing in, 340 
Training School, 286 
Vestry, 288 
Livingstone, Dr., 301 
Lodging houses, model, 202 
London, 11, 356 
approval in, 159 
character of hospitals and nurses 

in, 20 
district nursing in, 340 
workhouses, 285 
Longfellow's poem, 139, 382 
Longmore, Dr., 215, 240 
Love, 270 

Lovelace, Lady, poem by, 39 
Lowe, Robert, 188 
letter to, from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 264 
Lying-in Hospital in Scutari, 97 
ward at King's College Hospital, 
Lying-in Institutions, Introductory 
Notes on, 283 

Macdonald, Mr., 79, 96, 139 
McGrigor, Dr., 103, 104, 126 

Machin, Miss, 338 
Machine, administrative,- 307 

and missionary, 315 
Mackenzie, Bishop, 301 

Mackenzie, Miss Louisa Stewart, 17 
McLachlan, Dr., 188 
McMurdo, Colonel, 151 
McNeill, Sir John, 146, 174, 179, 
180, 183, 190, 194, 196, 207, 217, 
220, 221, 228, 229, 279, 298, 344, 
McNeill, Lady, 204 
McNeill-Tulloch Report, 358 
Macready, 11 

Madre Sta. Colomba, 27, 28 
Malaria, 348 

Mallet, Sir Louis, 347, 352 
Malvern, 199, 204, 324 
Management of committees and 

doctors, 62 
Manchester Royal Infirmary, 261 
Manning, Cardinal, 29, 30, 49, 59, 
71, 114 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 203 
Martin, 242 

Martineau, Harriet, 101, 110, 111, 
211, 238, 242, 246, 267, 275 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 224, 282 
Marylebone Infirmary, 296 

Nightingale nurses at, 337 
Maternal authority, 374 
Mayo, Earl of, 315, 319, 325 
Medical chiefs, attitude of, 154 
Medical men, at Scutari, 90 
Medical Staff Corps, Royal War- 
rant for Reorganizing, 126 
Medical women, 284 

and their craft, 282 
Menzies, Dr., 78 
letter of to Florence Nightingale, 
Metropolitan Asylum District, 293 
Metropolitan Common Poor Fund, 

Metropolitan District Nursing As- 
sociation, 340, 344 
Metropolitan Poor Act, 285 
Michael Angelo, 26 
Middlesex Hospital, 65 
Midwifery as a career for educated 

women, 284 
Military Hospitals, 183, 222, 353 
Military Transport, Commission on, 



Mill, John Stuart, 50, 51, 56, 327, 
328, 373 

Milnes, R. Monckton, 17, 64, 79, 
141, 230, 371, 385 

Missionary and machine, 315 

Missioners, health, 354 

Model barracks, 202 

Model lodging houses, 202 

Mohl, Julius, and Madame, 9, 17, 
24, 29, 30, 32, 45, 50, 59, 60, 
271, 295, 296, 314, 326, 331, 344, 
357, 361 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 10, 62, 268, 324 

Money matters, private, 205 

Money order offices, 129 

Montreal, Nightingale nurses in, 

Moore, Mother, 117, 118 

Moore, Mrs. Willoughby, 86 

Morley, Earl, 342 

Mortality of the British Army, 207 

Motives, 271, 272 

"Muff," the, 231 
reign of, 228, 230 

Muir, Sir William, 341 

Munster, Friederike, 43 

Murchison, Sir Roderick, 16 

Mystics, 330 

Napier and Ettrick, Lord, 316, 347 
letter from to Florence Nightin- 
gale, 316 
Napier of Magdala, Lord, 317, 319 
National Society for Aid to Sick 

and Wounded, 301 
Naval Hospital at Woolwich, 188 
Neglect of wounded in Crimea, 

Netley Hospital, 176, 187, 210, 301 

Army Medical School at, 215 
New nurses and new nuns, 113 
Newcastle, Duke of, 76, 77, 135 

Commission of, 100 
Newton, Sir Isaac, 389 
Nicholson, Mrs. G., 11 
Nicholson, Hannah, 14, 19, 32 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 63 
Nightingale, Florence, 
Advisory Council to War Office, 

Nightingale, Florence, 
allowance, 84, 206 
among the experts, 186 
and marriage, 33, 36 
and society, 10 
approval of in London, 159 
as administrator, 94 
as builder, 103 
as Superintendent of Nursing in 

Turkey, 77 
at home, 1 
birth, 7 

belief in God, 51 
burial, 368 
correspondence, 142 
death, 368 

description of, 64, 134 
difficulties in way of, 20 
disappointments, 152 
earnestness of, 369 
education of, 8 
enthusiasm for, 148 
e.xpert, at War Office, 236, 341 
founder of modern nursing, 266 
heroine, popular, 148 
illness of, 143, 146, 148, 325 
in Crimea, 144, 164 
indifference to contagion, 138, 146 
influence of, 130, 131 
interviews, 297 
knowledge of, 47 
last days in Crimea, 164 
leadership, gifts of, 141 
letters from, 141, 365 

to Bonham Carter, 18 

to Bowman, 89 

to Clarke, 11 

to Crown Princess of Prussia, 

to her father, 52, 223, 231 

to Galton, 250, 310, 386 

to Gladstone, 362 

to Sidney Herbert, 71, 102, 159, 

to Lowe, 264 

to Manning, 203 

to Martineau, 224, 282 

to Mohl, 10, 62, 268, 324 

to Nicholson, 63 

to Sutherland, 200 

to her uncle, 261 

to Williams, 343 



Nightingale, Florence, 
letters to, 
from Herbert, 72, 77, 213, 221 
from Jowett, 361 
from Menzies, 100 
from Napier, 316 
from Queen Victoria, 161 
from Salisbury, 349 
from Stanley, 248, 252 
management of committees and 

doctors, 62 
maternal authority, 374 
money matters, private, 205 
popularity of, 137, 148, 149 
portraits of, 16 
position of in Crimea, 144 
rank as Brigadier General, 90 
religious beliefs, 375 
remains at post, 227 
Scharf's drawing of, 198 
soldiers' song of, 383 
training of, 45 
travel, 9 
verse on, 382 

visits Egypt and Greece, 37 
Paris, 59 
Rome, 26 
work, 369 
Nightingale Fund, 159, 160, 171, 202, 

228, 278 
Nightingale Hospital for Gentle- 
women, 60 
Nightingale Nurses, 337, 345 
Nightingale Probationers, 345 
Nightingale School, 274, 279 
Nightingale, to make a, 390 
Nightingale, Frances Parthenope, 6, 

8, 9, and See Verney, Lady 
Nightingale, Louis H. Shore, letter 
to from Florence Nightingale, 365 
Nightingale, Peter, 3 
Nightingale, William Edward, 6, 20 
Nightingales, 3 
Nineteenth Century, 351 
"Noodledom," 373 
North Buckinghamshire Technical 

Committee, 354 
Northbrook, Lord, 326, 350 
Northcote, Stafford, 310, 311, 319 
Note on Pauperism, 294," 325 
Notes, 187, 190 
Notes on the Army, 172 

Notes on the British Army, 107, 182, 

184, 185 
Notes on the Health of the British 

Army, 211 
Notes on Hospitals, 210, 258 
Notes on the New St. Thomas's 

Hospital, 334 
Notes on Nursing, 275, 351, 370 
Novello, Clara, 275 
Nuns as nurses, 113, 115 
Nurses, and ward management, 197 

character of, 20, 129 

facts relating to, 278 

in Crimea, 151 

religion of, 80 

in London, 20 

in Paris, 20 

Jubilee Institute for, 344 

Nightingale, 337, 345 

nuns as, 113, 115 

of Workhouse Infirmary, 286 

Probationers as, 345 

Quarters, siege of, 153 

Register of, 345 

Rules and Regulations for, 109 

training of, 345 

Training Schools for, 159, 297 

women, in army, 75, 342 
in Crimea, 151 
in naval hospitals, 188 
Nursing, a calling, 267 

Association, Metropolitan, 340, 

in army, 342 

in the field, 342 

Institute of, 266 

meaning of term, 276 

Metropolitan District Association, 

Notes on, 275, 351, 370 

profession, 23, 24 

reform of, 110 

spirit of good, 266 

trained, spread of, 334 
Nutting and Dock's History of 
Nursing, 21, 338 

Observations, 243, 244, 246 
Old campaigner, an, 341 
Opposition, 153, 154 
Order of Merit, 381 
Orderlies, 110, 123, 217, 341 



Orderly system, inefficiency of, 123 

Orders, 262 

Osborne, Sidney Godolphin, 114, 

133, 138 
Osburn, Miss, 300 
"Out of Office," 321 
Overstrain, 199 
Owenite socialists, 49 

Paget, Sir James, 263, 344 

Palace Hospital at Scutari, 86 

Palmerston, Lord, 71, 105, 120, 187, 
207, 235 

Panmure, Lord, 104, 120, 121, 129, 
156, 174, 175, 176, 180, 182, 187, 
192, 196, 208, 210, 234 

Paris, visit to, 59 

Parkes, Dr. E. A., 87, 214, 267, 358 

Parkes, Sir Henry, 300 

Parthe, 12, 13 

Passionate Statistician, 366, 372 

Pastors, 29 

Pauperism, Note on, 294, 325 

Pavilion system, 187 

Pearson, Karl, 366, 375 

Peel, General, 208, 210, 236 

Peel, Sir Robert, 70 

Personality and Vocation, 16 

Phillips, Sir T., 178 

Pio Nono, 31 

Plain speech, 133 

Plato, 327, 329 

Plunkett, Mr. and Mrs., 17, 42 

Policy of drift, 348 

Poor Law, and Workhouse, 285 

Poor Law Board, 290 

Popularity, 137, 148, 149 

Portrait, taken from life, 39 

Post mortem examinations, 126 

Prayer, 51 

Preventive irrigation, 350 

Prince Consort, see Albert 

Pringle, Miss, 363, 364 

Prisons, colonial, 237 

Probationers, Nightingale, 345 

Profession, nursing, 23, 24 

Proselytism, 78, 117 

Protestant Rhine, 37 

Protestantism, compared with Ro- 
man Catholicism, 27, 28, 49 

Prussian Hospitals, 304 

Pseudo-angina, 203 

Public health and public opinion, 

Purification of Religion, 327 
Purveying, 124 
Purveyors, 100, 124 

Quetelet, 331, 389 
Quinet, 50 

Raglan, Lord, 92, 105, 124, 145 147 

R. A. M. C, 217 

Rathbone, William, 285, 286, 287 

340, 344 
Rattening, 309 
Rawlinson, Sir Robert, 105, 106, 189 

190, 246, 259, 295 
Rawul Pindi, 353 
Reading huts, 128 
Reading rooms for soldiers, 218 
Reay, Lord, 353 
Red Cross, 240, 241 
Reeve, Henry, 79 
Reform, 186 

of Barracks and Army Hospitals, 

of nursing, 110 
Reforms of system, 120 
Regimental Hospital Orderlies, 217 
Register of Nurses, 345 
Registration, 346 
Religion, for use, 47 

of nurses in Crimea, 80 

purification of, 327 
Religious beliefs of Florence Night- 
ingale, 375 
Repairs at Scutari, 103 
Report of Royal Commission, 187 
Report on Sanitary Progress, 312 
Rhine, protestant, 37 
Rice, Spring, 10 
Rich, Mr., 42 
Richards, Linda, 338 
Richlieu's "self-multiplication," 300 
Ripon, Marquis of, see de Grey 
Roberts, Lord, 353 
Roberts, Mrs., 119, 146 
Robertson, Dr., 161 
Robinson, Robert, 144 
Roebuck Committee, 96, 120 
Rogers, Rev. W., 328 
Roman Catholics, 115 



Roman Catholicism, compared with 
Protestantism, 27, 28, 49 
studies in, 27 

Rome and her merit, 26 

Rome, visit to, 26 

Rose, Sir Hugh, 251 

Royal Alexandra Military Hospi- 
tal, 215 

Royal Army Medical College, 215 

Royal Commission, 171,187,192,207 

Royal Warrant for reorganizing 
Medical Staff Corps, 126 

Rules and Regulations jor Nurses, 

Russell, Lord John, 307 

Russell, W. H., 69, 70 

Rutherford, Dr., 240 

Ryots, 355 

Sabin, Rev. Mr., 188 

St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 21, 263, 

St. Catherine of Siena, 329 
St. Francis, 329 
St. John's House, 266 
St. Mary's Hospital, 364 

Nightingale Nurses in, 337 
St. Thomas's Hospital, 21, 260, 261, 
274, 278, 334, 384 
Nurses' Home, 364 
Salisbury, Lord, 308, 348, 350, 351 
letter from to Florence Nightin- 
gale, 349 
Salisbury Infirmary, 17, 18 
Sanitary Charter for Indian Army, 

Sanitary Commission, Bengal, 251 

Indian, 242, 243, 246, 249, 309 
Sanitary Committee, India, 311 
India Office, 315 
War Office, 311 
Sanitary Department, India Office, 

245, 318 
Sanitary History of British Army, 

Sanitary Organization, India, 307 
Sanitary Question, India, 317 
Sanitary Reports, India, 312 
Sanitary Suggestions, India, 248 
Sanitation, for Indian Village Eld- 
ers, 317 
"Santa Filomena," 382 

Scharf's, Sir George, drawing of 

Florence Nightingale, 198 
School and Children's Bible, 328 
School of Practical Cookery at 

Aldershot, 210 
Screens, introduction of, 91 
Scutari, 69, 72, 73, 74, 78, 95, 102, 
131, 147, 166 
accommodations at, 87 
and its Hospitals, 134 
arrival at, 84, 89 
bedding in, 97 
cemetery at, 136 
cookery in, 97 
death rate in, 106 
extra diet kitchen in, 87 
food in, 87, 97 

hospitals in, 86, 88, 96, 97, 134 
lying-in hospital in, 97 
medical men in, 90 
repairs at, 103 
strike at, 103 
Scutari and its HospitalSj 134 
Sebastopol, 121, 172 
Secretary of State on Florence 

Nightingale's position, 157 
Self-sacrifice, 139 
Sergeants, hospital, 123 
Setting to work, 86 
Shaftesbury, Lord, 33, 104, 105 
Shore, Mary, 4, and see Smith, Mrs. 

Samuel, 50 
Shore, William, 4 
Shore, William Edward, 4, and see 

Nightingale, W. E. 
Sick people not to be viewed as 

paupers, 291 
Siddons, Mrs., 6 
Sisters, 70, 266 
Smith, Dr. Andrew, 71, 73, 98, 178, 

187, 192, 196, 208 
Smith, Angus, 293 
Smith, Samuel and Mrs., 17, 42, 50, 

58, 76, 82, 160, 204, 205, 270 
Smith, William, 456 
Smith, W. H., 354 
Smith, W. Shore, 331 
Smyth, W. Warrington, 47 
Social Science Congress, 318 
Social Statistics, letter on from 
Florence Nightingale to F. Gal- 
ton, 386 



Socialists, Owenite, 49 

Soldiers, character of, 129 
health of, 216 
leisure of, 217 
pack for, 121 
reading room for, 218 

Soldiers' Song of Florence Nightin- 
gale, 383 

Sorrows and changes, 323 

South, J. F., 21, 278 

South African War, 341 

Southey, 266 

Soyer, Alexis, 98, 209 

Spielberg, 52 

Spirit of good nursing, 266 

"Spoiling the brutes," 128 

Spottiswoode, W., 246 

Spread of Trained Nursing, 334 

Stafford, Augustus, 140 

Stanhope, E., 354 

Stanley, Dean, 28 

Stanley, Lord, 171, 186, 208, 242, 245, 
246, 248, 252, 307, 308 
letter of to Florence Nightingale, 
248, 252 

Stanley, Miss Mary, 71, 80, 86, 113, 
114, 115, 155 
letter from, 138 

Stansfield, J., 296 

Statement to Subscribers, 185 

Statistics, 366 

uniform hospital, 263 

Statistical Congress, International, 

Statistical Department, need of, 184 

"Statistician, Passionate," 366, 372 

Stephen, Sir James, 5 

Sterling, Sir Anthony, 92, 104 

Stewards, 123 

Stewart, Miss Shaw, 119, 165, 216, 

Storks, Sir Henry, 129, 167, 176, 187, 

Strachey, Sir John, 313 

Strachey's, Lytton, "Florence Night- 
ingale," 379 

Stratford, Lord and Lady, 71, 103 

Strutt, E., 10 

Subcommissions, 196 

Subjection of Women, 56 

Subsidiary Notes, 23, 24, 98, 150, 
185, 276 

Suggestions for Thought, 11, 30, 34, 
48, 50, 250, 312, 327, 340, 370, 

Superintendent of Nursing in Tur- 
key, appointment of, 77 

Supplies, 120 

Sutherland, Dr. John, 105, 106, 176, 
187, 189, 193, 196, 199, 200, 201, 
209, 217, 222, 237, 242, 245, 259, 
286, 291, 302, 304, 309, 312, 315, 
318, 319, 325, 334, 338, 339, 342, 
354, 358, 359, 360 

Sweden, Nightingale Nurses in, 338 

Swinburne, 328 

Sydney Infirmary, 300 

Sympathy, 35, 268, 270 

System, reforms of, 120 

Taylor, Dr., 164 
Temple, Richard, 347 
Times, 294, 340 
Torrance, Miss, 295 
Toynbee, Arnold, 355 
"Tragedy Queen," 372 
Trained Nursing, spread of, 334 
Training, 346 

of Florence Nightingale, 45 

of nurses, 345 
Training schools for nurses, 159, 297, 

Transport, Commission on, 236 

difficulties of, 102 
Tremenheere, Mr., 42 
Trenches, visit to, 145 
Trevelyan, Sir Charles, 79, 232 
Tribute to Florence Nightingale, 239 
Troops, death rate in, 174 
Truelove, Mr. and Mrs., 49 
Tulloch, Colonel, 174, 179, 180, 213, 

Turkey, Superintendent of Nursing 

in, 77 
Turkish Custom House, 121 
Turner, J., 6 

Twining, Miss Louisa, 285 
Typhoid, 343 

Umballa, 353 
Uniform, 108 

Uniform Hospital Statistics, 263 
United States, Civil War in, 238 
Crimean work reproduced in, 239 



United States, Nightingale Nurses 
in, 338 
Washington, 238 

Ventilation, 313 

Verney, Sir Harry and Lady, 204, 
234, 300, 364, 367 

Verse on Florence Nightingale, 382 

Victoria, Queen, 135, 175, 372 
letter from to Florence Nightin- 
gale, 161 

Victoria Nurses, 304 

Victoria Training School, 304 

Villiers, Mr, 290, 291, 292, 307 

Visitors, Health, 354 

Vivian, Sir R, 242 

Vocation and Personality, 16 

Volunteer movement, 239 

Vyse, Mr., 38 

Wantage, Lord, 342 
War Office, 155, 173, 187, 233, 234, 

Advisory Council to, 236 

expert at, 236, 341 

hospital, at Netley, 301 

methods at, 236 

obstruction at, 208 

Sanitary Committee, 311 
Ward management, and nurses, 107 
Ward Masters, 123 
Wardroper, Mrs, 278, 279, 300, 338 
Washington, U. S. A, 238 
Westminster Hospital, Nightingale 

nurses at, 337 
Wheatstone, 16 

Whitfield, A. G, 260, 278, 279 
Wilbraham, Colonel, 222 
Williams, Mrs. Margaret, 138 
Williams, Miss Rachel, 343, 363, 

Williams, Miss Rachel, 
letter to from Florence Nightin- 
gale, 343 
Willis's Rooms, meeting at, 159 
Winchester Coimty Hospital, 259 

Infirmary, 260 
Winkworth, Catherine, letter to 

from Mrs. Gaskell, 64 
"Wiping" commission and subcom- 

mission, 216 
Wolseley, Lord, 342 
Woman, Women, auL ^ove, 270 
and sympathy, 35, 2u. 270 
medical, 282, 284 
midwifery as a career for, 284 
movement, 267 
nurses in Crimea, 151 
nurses in Army, 342 
Woman's Example and a Nation's 
Work: A Tribute to Florence 
Nightingale, 239 
Woman's Central Association of Rev 

lief in New York, 238 
Women's Jubilee Gift, 344 
Women's Rights, 269 
Wood, Sir Charles, 247, 248, 252, 307 
Wood, Sir Evelyn, 341 
Wood's Education Act, 388 
Woolwich, Military Hospital at, 222 

Naval Hospital at, 188 
Workhouse, and the Poor Law, 285 
Workhouse Infirmary, nurses of, 286 
Workhouses in London, 285 
Wreford, Mr., 124 
Wright, Justice, 237 
Wyatt, William, 295 

Young, "Ubiquity," 10 
Yule, Colonel, 347, 358, 369 

Zemindar, 352