Red Book of Heroes - Andrew Lang

The Lady-in-Chief

Everybody nowadays is so used to seeing in the streets nurses wearing long floating cloaks of different colours, blue, brown, grey, and the rest, and to having them with us when we are ill, that it is difficult to imagine a time when there were no such people. In the stories that were written even fifty years ago you will soon find out what sort of women they were who called themselves "nurses." Any kind of person seems to have been thought good enough to look after a sick man; it was not a matter which needed a special talent or teaching, and no girl would have dreamed of nursing anybody outside her own home, still less of giving up her life to looking after the sick. It was merely work, it was thought, for old women, and so, at the moment when the patient needed most urgently some one young and strong and active about him, who could lift him from one side of the bed to the other, or keep awake all night to give him his medicine or to see that his fire did not go out, he was left to a fat, sleepy, often drunken old body, who never cared if he lived or died, so that she was not disturbed.

The woman who was to change all this was born in Florence in the year 1820 and called after that city. Her father, Mr. Nightingale, seems to have been fond of giving his family place-names, for Florence's sister, about a year older than herself, had the old title of Naples tacked on to "Frances," and in after life was always spoken of as "Parthy" or "Parthenope." By and by a young cousin of these little girls would be named "Athena," after the town Athens, and then the fashion grew, and I have heard of twins called "Inkerman" and "Balaclava," and of an "Elsinora," while we all know several "Almas," and may even have met a lady who bears the name of the highest mountain in the world—of course you can all guess what that is?

Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale did not stay very long in Italy after Florence's birth. They grew tired of living abroad, and wanted to get back to their old home among the hills and streams of Derbyshire. Here, at Lea hall, Florence's father could pass whole days happily with his books and the beautiful things he had collected in his travels; but he looked well after the people in the village, and insisted that the children should be sent to a little school, where they learned how to read and write and count for twopence a week. If the poor villagers were ill or unhappy, his wife used to visit them, and help them with advice as well as with money, and we may be quite sure that her little daughters often went with her on her rounds.

So the early years of Florence's childhood passed away amidst the flowery fields and bare hills that overlooked the beautiful river Derwent. The village, built of stone like so many in the North Country, lay far below, and on Sundays the two little girls, dressed in their best tippets and bonnets, used to walk with their father and mother across the meadows to the tiny church at Dethick. Here nearly two hundred and fifty years ago one Anthony Babington knelt in prayer, though his thoughts often wandered to the beautiful Scottish queen, shut up by order of Elizabeth in Wingfield manor, only a few miles away. Of course Parthy and Florence knew all about him, and their greatest treat was a visit to his house, where they could see in the kitchen a trap-door leading to a large secret chamber, in which a conspirator might live for weeks without being found out. A great deal of the house had been pulled down or allowed to fall into decay, but the bailiff, who lived in the rest, was always glad to see them, and would take them to all kinds of delightful places, and up little dark narrow winding stairs, at the end of which you pushed up another trap-door and found yourself in your bedroom. What a fascinating way of getting there, and how very, very silly people are now to have wide staircases and straight passages and stupid doors, which you know will open, instead of never being sure if the trap-door had not stuck, or some enemy had not placed a heavy piece of furniture upon it!

But much as the Nightingales, big and little, loved Lea hall, it was very bare and cold in winter, and Florence's father determined to build a new house in a more sheltered place. Lea Hurst, as it was called, was only a mile from the hall, and, like it, overlooked the Derwent; but here the hills were wooded and kept out the bitter winds which had howled and wailed through the old house. Mr. Nightingale was very careful that all should be done exactly as he wished, therefore it took some time to finish, and then the family could not move in till the paint and plaster were dry, so that Florence was between five and six when at last they took possession.

No doubt the two little girls had much to say about the laying out of the terraced gardens, and insisted on having some beds of their own, to plant with their favourite flowers. They were greatly pleased, too, at discovering a very old chapel in the middle of the new house, and very likely they told each other many stories of what went on there. Then there was a summer-house, where they could have tea, and if you went through the woods in May, and could make up your mind to pass the sheets of blue hyacinths without stopping to pick them till you were too tired to go further, you came out upon a splendid avenue, with a view of the hills for miles round. This was the walk which Florence loved best.

It seems, however, that Mr. Nightingale could not have thought Lea Hurst as pleasant as he expected it to be, for a few months later he bought a place called Embley, near the beautiful abbey of Romsey, in Hampshire. Here they all moved every autumn as soon as the trees at Lea Hurst grew bare; and when the young leaves were showing like a green mist, they began the long drive back again, sometimes stopping in London on the way, to see some pictures and hear some music, and have some talk with many interesting people whom Mr. Nightingale knew. And when they got home at last, how delightful it was to ride round to the old friends in the farms and cottages, and listen to tales of all that had happened during the little girls' absence, and in their turn to tell of the wonderful sights they had witnessed, and the adventures that had befallen them! Best of all were the visits to the families of puppies and kittens which had been born during their absence, for Florence especially loved animals, and was often sent for by the neighbours to cure them when they were ill. The older and uglier they were, the sorrier Florence was for them, and she would often steal out with sugar or apples or carrots in her pocket for some elderly beast which was ending its days quietly in the fields, stopping in the woods on the way to play with a squirrel or a baby rabbit. The game was perhaps a little one-sided, but what did that matter? As the poet Cowper says,

Wild, timid hares were drawn from woods

To share her home caresses,

And looked up to her human eyes

With sylvan tendernesses.

Beasts and birds were Florence's dear friends, but dearest of all were her ponies.

While she was at Embley, the vicar, who was very fond of her, used often to take her out riding when he went on his rounds to see his people. Florence enjoyed this very much; she knew them all well, and never forgot the names of the children or their birthdays. Her mother would often give her something nice to carry to the sick ones, and when the flowers came out, Florence used to gather some for her special favourites, out of her own garden.

One day when she and the vicar were cantering across the downs, they saw an old shepherd, who was a great friend of both of them, attempting to drive his flock without the help of his collie, Cap, who was nowhere to be seen.

"What has become of Cap?" they asked, and the shepherd told them that some cruel boys had broken the dog's leg with a stone, and he was in such pain that his master thought it would be more merciful to put an end to him.

Florence was hot with indignation. "Perhaps I can help him," she said. "At any rate, he will like me to sit with him; he must feel so lonely. Where is he?"

"In my hut out there," answered the shepherd; "but I'm afraid it's little good you or anyone else can do him."

But Florence did not hear, for she was galloping as fast as she could to the place where Cap was lying.

"Poor old fellow, poor old Cap," whispered she, kneeling down and stroking his head, and Cap looked up to thank her.

"Let me examine his leg," said the vicar, who had entered behind her; "he does not hold it as if it were broken. No, I am sure it is not," he added after a close inspection. "Cheer up, we will soon have him well again."

Florence's eyes brightened.

"What can I do?" she asked eagerly.

"Oh, make him a compress. That will take down the swelling," replied the vicar, who was a little of a doctor himself.

"A compress?" repeated Florence, wrinkling her forehead. "But I never heard of one. I don't know how."

"Light a fire and boil some water, and then wring out some cloths in it, and put them on Cap's paw. Here is a boy who will make a fire for you," he added, beckoning to a lad who was passing outside.

While the fire was kindling, Florence looked about to find the cloths. But the shepherd did not seem to have any, and her own little handkerchief would not do any good. Still, cloths she must have, and those who knew Miss Nightingale in after years would tell you that when she wanted things she got them.

"Ah, there is Roger's smock," she exclaimed with delight. "Oh, do tear it up for me; mamma will be sure to give me another for him." So the vicar tore the strong linen into strips, and Florence wrung them out in the boiling water, as he had told her.

"Now, Cap, be a good dog; you know I only want to help you," she cried, and Cap seemed as if he did know; for though a little tremble ran through his body as the hot cloth touched him, he never tried to bite, nor even groaned with the pain, as many children would have done. By and by the lump was certainly smaller, and the look of pain in Cap's eyes began to disappear.

Suddenly she glanced up at the vicar, who had been all this time watching her.

"I can't leave Cap till he is quite better," she said. "Can you get that boy to go to Embley and tell them where I am? Then they won't be frightened." So the boy was sent, and Florence sat on till the setting sun shot long golden darts into the hut.

Then she heard the shepherd fumbling with the latch, as if he could not see to open it; and perhaps he couldn't, for in his hand he held the rope which was to put an end to all Cap's sorrows. But Cap did not know the meaning of the rope and only saw his old master. He gave a little bark of greeting and struggled on to his three sound legs, wagging his tail in welcome.

Roger could hardly believe his eyes, and Florence laughed with delight.

"Just look how much better he is," she said. "The swelling is very nearly gone now. But he wants some more compresses. Come and help me make them."

"I think we can leave Roger to nurse Cap," said the vicar, who had just returned from some of the neighbouring cottages. "Your patient must have some bread and milk to-night, and to-morrow you can come to see how he is."

"Yes, of course I shall," answered Florence, and she knelt down to kiss Cap's nose before the vicar put her up on her pony.

Florence Nightingale


Now, though Florence was so fond of flowers and animals and everything out of doors, she was never dull in the house on a wet day. In the first place, nothing was ever allowed to interfere with her lessons, and though the little girls had a good governess, their father chose the books they were to read and the subjects they were to study. Greek, Latin, and mathematics he taught them himself, and besides he took care that they could read and speak French, German, and Italian. They were fond of poetry, and no doubt some of the earliest poems of young Mr. Tennyson were among their favourites, as well as "Lycidas" and the songs of the cavaliers. Parthy was a better artist and a cleverer musician than Florence, though she could sing and sketch; but both were good needlewomen, and could make samplers as well as do fine work and embroidery. When school-time was over and the rain was still coming down, they would run away to their dolls, who, poor things, were always ill, so that Florence might have the pleasure of curing them. And though before Cap's accident she had never heard of a compress, she could make nice food for them at the nursery fire, and bandage their broken arms and legs while Parthy held the wounded limb steady.

When they grew older, they went abroad now and then with their parents, but Florence liked best being at home with her friends in the village, who were very proud of her wishing to take their pictures with her new photographic camera. If they had only known it, the children in their best clothes standing up very stiff and straight did not look half as pretty as the baskets of kittens with eyes half-innocent, half-wise, or the funny little pups, so round and fat. But the parents thought the portraits of their children the most beautiful things in the world, and had them put into hideous gilt frames and hung on the walls, where Florence could see them on her frequent visits.

Welcome as she was to all, it was the sick people who awaited her coming the most eagerly. She was so quiet in her movements, and knew so exactly what to do without talking or fussing about it, that the invalids grew less restless in her presence, and believed so entirely that she really could cure them that they were half cured already! Then before she left she would read them "a chapter" or a story to make them laugh, or anything else they wished for; and it was always a pleasure to listen to her, for she never stammered, or yawned, or lost her place, or had any of the tricks that often make reading aloud a penance to the victim.

For the young people both in Derbyshire and Hampshire she formed singing classes, and some of her "societies" continue to-day. She was full of interest in other people's lives, and not only was ready to help them but enjoyed doing so, which makes all the difference.

There is much nonsense talked in the world about "born" actors, and "born" artists, and "born" nurses. No doubt some are "born" with greater gifts in these matters than others, but the most famous artists or actors or nurses will all tell you that the only work which is lasting has been wrought by long hours of patient labour. Miss Nightingale knew this as well as anybody, and as soon as she began to think of doing what no modern lady had ever done before her, and devoting her life to the care of the sick, she set about considering how she could best find the training she needed. She tried, to use her own words, "to qualify herself for it as a man does for his work," and to "submit herself to the rules of business as men do."

So she spent some months among the London hospitals, where her quick eye and clever fingers, aided by her cottage experience, made her a welcome help to the doctors. From the first she "began at the beginning," which is the only way to come to a successful end. A sick person cannot get well where the floor is covered with dirt, and the dust makes him cough; therefore his nurse must get rid of both dirt and dust before her treatment can have any effect. After London, Miss Nightingale went to Edinburgh and Dublin, and then to France and Italy, where the nursing was done by nuns; and after that she visited Germany, where at the town of Kaiserswerth, on the Rhine, she found what she wanted.

The hospital of Kaiserswerth, where Miss Nightingale had decided to do her training, had been founded about sixteen years earlier by Pastor Fliedner, who was a wise man, content with very small beginnings. At the time of her arrival it was divided into a number of branches, and there was also a school for the children, who were taught entirely by some of the sisters, or deaconesses, as they were called. On entering, everyone had to go through the same work for a certain number of months, whether they meant to be hospital nurses or school teachers. All must learn to sew, cook, scrub, and read out clearly and pleasantly; but as Miss Nightingale had practised most of these things from the time she was a child, she soon was free to go into the hospital and attend to the sick people. The other nurses were German peasant women, but when they found that she could speak their language, and was ready to work as hard as any of them, they made friends at once. In her spare hours Miss Nightingale would put on her black cloak and small bonnet, and go round to the cottages with Mr. Fliedner, as long ago she had done with the vicar of Embley, and we may be sure any sick people whom she visited were always left clean and comfortable when she said good-bye.

But at Kaiserswerth Miss Nightingale had very little chance of learning any surgery, so she felt that she could not do better than pass some time in Paris with the nursing sisterhood of St. Vincent de Paul, which had been established about two hundred years earlier. Here, too, she went with the sisters on their rounds, both in the hospitals and in the homes of the poor, and learnt how best to help the people without turning them into beggars. Every part of the work interested her, but the long months of hard labour and food which was often scanty and always different from what she had hitherto had, began to tell on her. She fell ill, and in her turn had to be looked after by the sisters, and no doubt in many ways she learned more of sick nursing when she was a patient than she did when she was a nurse.

It was quite clear that it would be necessary for her to have a good rest before she grew strong again, and so she went back to Embley, and afterwards to Lea, and tried to forget that there was any such thing as sickness. But it is not easy for people who are known to be able and willing to have peace anywhere, and soon letters came pouring in to Miss Nightingale begging for her help in all sorts of ways. As far as she could she undertook it all, and often performed the most troublesome of all tasks, that of setting right the mistakes of others. In the end her health broke down again, but not till she had finished what she had set herself to do.

It was in March 1854 that war broke out between England, France, and Turkey on the one side, and Russia on the other. The battle-ground was to be the little peninsula of the Crimea, and soon the Black Sea was crowded with ships carrying eager soldiers, many of them young and quite ignorant of the hardships that lay before them.

At first all seemed going well; the victory of the Alma was won on September 20, 1854, and that of Balaclava on October 25, the anniversary of Agincourt. But while the hearts of all men were still throbbing at the splendid madness of the charge when, owing to a mistaken order, the Light Brigade rode out to take the Russian guns and were mown down by hundreds, the rain began to fall in torrents and a winter of unusual coldness was upon them. Nights as well as days were passed in the trenches that had been dug before the strong fortress of Sebastopol, which the allies were besieging, and the suffering of our English soldiers was far greater than it need have been, owing to the wickedness of many of the contractors who had undertaken to supply the army with boots and stores, and did not hesitate to get these so cheap and bad as to be quite useless, while the rest of the money set aside for the purpose was put into their pockets. The doctors gave themselves no rest, but there were not half enough of them, while of nurses there were none. The men did what they could for one another, but they had their own work to attend to, and besides, try as they would it was impossible for them to fill the place of a trained and skilful woman. So they, as well as their dying comrades lying patiently on the sodden earth, looked longingly at the big white caps of the French sisters, who for their part would gladly have given help and comfort had not the wounded of their own nation taken all their time. One or two of the English officers had been followed to the Crimea by their wives, and these ladies cooked for and tended the sick men who were placed in rows along the passages of the barracks, but even lint for bandages was lacking to them, and after the Alma they wrote letters to their friends in England entreating that no time might be lost in sending out proper aid.

These letters were backed by a strong appeal from the war correspondent of the Times, Dr. W. H. Russell, and from the day that his plain account of the privations and horrors of the suffering army appeared in the paper, the War Office was besieged by women begging to be sent to the Crimea by the first ship. The minister, Mr. Sidney Herbert, did not refuse their offers; though they were without experience and full of excitement, he saw that most of them were deeply in earnest and under a capable head might be put to a good use. But where was such a head to be found? Then suddenly there darted into his mind the thought of Miss Nightingale, his friend for years past.

It was on October 15 that Mr. Sidney Herbert wrote to Miss Nightingale offering her, in the name of the government, the post of Superintendent of the nurses in the East, with absolute authority over her staff; and, curiously enough, on the very same day she had written to him proposing to go out at once to the Black Sea. As no time was to be lost, it was clear that most of the thirty-eight nurses she was to take with her must be women of a certain amount of training and experience. Others might follow when they had learnt a little what nursing really meant, but they were of no use now. So Miss Nightingale went round to some Church of England and Roman Catholic sisterhoods and chose out the strongest and most intelligent of those who were willing to go, the remainder being sent her by friends whose judgment she could trust. Six days after Sidney Herbert had written his letter, the band of nurses started from Charing Cross.

When after a very rough passage they reached the great hospital of Scutari, situated on a hill above the Bosphorus, they heard the news of the fight at Balaclava and learnt that a battle was expected to take place next day at Inkerman. The hospital was an immense building in the form of a square, and was able to hold several thousand men. It had been lent to us by the Turks, but was in a fearfully dirty state and most unfit to receive the wounded men who were continually arriving in ships from the Crimea. Often the vessels were so loaded that the few doctors had not had time to set the broken legs and arms of the men, and many must have died of blood poisoning from the dirt which got into their undressed wounds. Oftener still they had little or no food, and even with help were too weak to walk from the ship to the hospital. And as for rats! why there seemed nearly as many rats as patients.

The first thing to be done was to unpack the stores, to boil water so that the wounds could be washed, to put clean sheets on the beds, and make the men as comfortable as possible. The doctors, overworked and anxious as they were, did not give the nurses a very warm welcome. As far as their own experience went, women in a hospital were always in the way, and instead of helpers became hinderers. But Miss Nightingale took no heed of ungracious words and cold looks. She did her own business quietly and without fuss, and soon brought order out of confusion, and a feeling of confidence where before there had been despair. If an operation had to be performed—and at that time chloroform was so newly invented that the doctors were almost afraid to give it, Miss Nightingale, "the Lady-in-Chief," was present by the side of the wounded man to give him courage to bear the pain and to fill him with hope for the future. And not many days after her arrival, her coming was eagerly watched for by the multitudes of sick and half-starved soldiers who were lying along the walls of the passages because the beds were all full.

It is really hardly possible for us to understand all that the nurses had to do. First the wards must be kept clean, or the invalids would grow worse instead of better. Then proper food must be cooked for them, or they would never grow strong. Those who were most ill needed special care, lest a change for the worse might come unnoticed; and besides all this a laundry was set up, so that a constant supply of fresh linen might be at hand. In a little while, when some of the wounds were healing and the broken heads had ceased to ache, there would come shy petitions from the beds that the nurse would write them a letter home, to say that they had been more fortunate than their comrades and were still alive, and hoped to be back in England some day.

"Well, tell me what you want to say, and I will say it," the nurse would answer, but it is not very easy to dictate a letter if you have never tried, so it soon ended with the remark,

"Oh! nurse, you write it for me! You will say it much better than I can."

Nightingale with a patient


Would you like to know how the nurses passed their days? Well, first they got up very early, made their beds, put their rooms tidy, and went down to the kitchen, where they had some bread, which was mostly sour, and some tea without milk. Then arrowroot and beef tea had to be made for the men, and when the night nurses took their turn to rest, those who were on duty by day went into the wards and stayed there from half-past nine till two, washing and dressing and feeding the men and talking over their illnesses with the doctors, who by this time were thankful for their aid. At two the men were left to rest or sleep while their tired nurses had their dinner, and little as they might like it, they thought it their duty to swallow a plateful of very bad meat and some porter. At three some of them often took a short walk, but that November the rains were constant and very heavy at Scutari as well as in the Crimea, and as Miss Nightingale would allow no risk of catching cold, on these days the nurses all stayed in the hospital, where there was always something to be done or cooked for the patients, who required in their weak state to be constantly fed. At half-past five the nurses left the wards and went to their tea, but that did not take long, and soon they were back again making everything comfortable for the night, which began with the entrance of the night nurses at half-past nine.

It was a hard life, and when one remembers how bad their own food was, it is a marvel that any of them were able to bear it for so long. But, as Shakespeare says, "Nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so," and it is wonderful how far a brave spirit will carry one. Still, heavy though the nurses' work was, that of Miss Nightingale was far more of a strain. It was she on whom everything depended, who had to think and plan and look forward, and write accounts of it all to Mr. Sidney Herbert in London, and lord Raglan, the Commander-in-Chief, at the Crimea. The orderlies of the regiment gave her willing aid, but they needed to be taught what to do, and no doubt the Lady-in-Chief often found that it is far quicker and easier to do things oneself than to spend time in training another person. Luckily she was prompt to see the different uses to which men and women could be put, so that there were no wasted days or weeks, caused by setting them tasks for which they were unfitted, and in a very short while the hospital, which had been a scene of horror on her arrival from England, was a well-arranged and most comfortable place.

But not only were there soldiers to be cared for, there were also their wives and children, who were almost forgotten and huddled together in a corner of the barracks, with few clothes and hardly any food. Miss Nightingale took them under her charge, and placed them in a clean house close by, giving some of the women work in her laundry and finding employment for the rest, with the help of the wife of one of the chaplains. The children were taught for several hours in the day, and thus their mothers were left free to earn money to support them, while the widows were given clothes and money, and as soon as possible sent home.

One morning, as the Lady-in-Chief went her rounds, the men noticed that her face was brighter than usual and looked as if something had pleased her very much. So it had, and in the afternoon, when they were all resting comfortably, they knew what it was. One of the chaplains went from ward to ward reading a letter which Queen Victoria had written to Mr. Sidney Herbert, and this was how it ran:—

Windsor Castle, December 6, 1854.

"Would you tell Mrs. Herbert that I begged she would let me see frequently the accounts she received from Miss Nightingale or Mrs. Bracebridge, as I hear no details of the wounded, though I see so many from officers, &c., about the battlefield, and naturally the former must interest me most.

"Let Mrs. Herbert also know that I wish Miss Nightingale and the ladies would tell those poor noble wounded and sick men that no one takes a warmer interest or feels more for their sufferings or admires their courage and heroism more than their queen. Day and night she thinks of her beloved troops. So does the Prince.


"God save the Queen," said the chaplain when he had finished, and from their hearts the men raised a feeble shout, "God save the Queen."

Soon another detachment of nurses arrived from home and undertook the charge of other hospitals along the shores of the Bosphorus. They were led by Miss Stanley, sister of the famous dean of Westminster, and the band consisted partly of ladies who gave their services and partly of nurses who were paid. Some Irish sisters of mercy also accompanied them, and these were allowed to wear their nun's dress, but the others must have looked very funny in the Government uniform—loose gowns of grey tweed, worsted jackets, short woollen cloaks, and scarves of brown holland with "Scutari Hospital" in red letters across them. They were all made the same size, and "in consequence," adds sister Mary Aloysius, who was thankful that she did not need to present such an odd figure, "the tall ladies appeared to be attired in short dresses, and the short ladies in long."

Clad in these strange clothes they reached their destination and were placed by Miss Nightingale wherever she thought they were most needed. Cholera was now raging and the rain in the Crimea had turned to bitter cold, so that hundreds of men were brought in frost-bitten. Often their garments, generally of thin linen, were frozen so tightly to their bodies that they had first to be softened with oil and then cut off. The stories of their sufferings are too terrible to tell, but scarcely one murmured, and all were grateful for the efforts to ease their pain. If death came, as it often did, Miss Nightingale was there to listen to their last wishes.

All through the spring the cholera raged, and at length some of the nurses, weakened by the strain on mind and body, and the lack of nourishing food, fell victims. One of them was a personal friend of Miss Nightingale's, others were Irish nuns working in Balaclava, and their graves were kept gay with flowers planted by the soldiers. Thus the Lady-in-Chief found them when in May 1855 she set out to inspect the hospitals in the Crimea.

What a rest it must have been to be able to lie on deck and watch the blue waters without feeling that every moment of peace was stolen from some duty. She had several nurses with her; also her friend Mr. Bracebridge, whose wife had taken charge of the stores at Scutari, and a little drummer of twelve, called Thomas, who got amusement out of everything and kept up their spirits when the outlook seemed gloomiest.

The moment she landed Miss Nightingale, accompanied by a train of doctors, went at once to the hospitals, thus missing lord Raglan who came to give her a hearty welcome. Next day, when as in duty bound she returned his visit, she had the pleasure once more of feeling a horse under her, and old memories came back and it seemed as if she was again a child riding with the vicar. As we are told by a Frenchman that she wore a regular riding-dress, she probably borrowed this from one of the four English ladies then in the Crimea, for she is not likely to have had a habit of her own. Her horse was fresh and spirited and nervous, after the manner of horses, and the noise and confusion of the road that led to the camp was too much for his nerves. He plunged and kicked and reared and bucked, and did all that a horse does when he wants to be unpleasant, but Miss Nightingale did not mind at all—in fact she quite enjoyed it.

All day long the Lady-in-Chief went about, visiting the hospitals and even penetrating into the trenches while sharp firing was going on. The weather was intensely hot—for it is the greatest mistake to look on the Crimea, which is as far south as Venice or Genoa, as being always cold—and one day Miss Nightingale was struck down with sudden fever. She was at once taken to the Sanatorium on a stretcher, which was followed by the faithful Thomas, and great was the dismay and sorrow of the whole camp. Fortunately after a fortnight she began to recover, thanks to the care that was taken of her, but she absolutely refused to go home, as the doctors wished her to do, and, weak though she was, returned to Scutari, where soon afterwards she heard of her friend lord Raglan's death, which was a great shock to her. It was some time before she was strong enough to go back to her work, and she spent many hours wandering about the cypress-planted cemetery at Scutari, where so many English soldiers lay buried, and in planning a memorial to them which was afterwards set up.

In September Sebastopol fell and the war was over, but the sick and wounded were still uncured. It was hard for them to hear of their comrades going home proud and happy in the honours they had won, while they were left behind in pain and weariness, but it would have been infinitely harder without the knowledge that Miss Nightingale would bear them company to the end. After all they stood on English ground before she did, as when she was well enough she sailed a second time for the Crimea to finish the work which her illness had caused her to leave undone.

All through the winter of 1855 she stayed there, driving over the snow-covered mountains in a little carriage made for the purpose, which had been given her as a present. Sick soldiers there were in plenty in the hospitals, and for some time there was an army also, to keep order until the peace was signed. In order to give the soldiers occupation and amusement, she begged her friends at home to send out books and magazines to them, and this the queen and her mother, the duchess of Kent, were the first to do. Nothing was too small for the Lady-in-Chief to think of; she arranged some lectures, got up classes for the children and for anyone who wanted to learn; started a cafe, in hopes to save the men from drinking; and kept a money-order office herself, so that the men could, if they wished, send part of their pay home to their families. And when in July 1856 the British army set sail for England, Miss Nightingale stayed behind to see a white marble cross twenty feet high set up on a peak above Balaclava. It was a memorial from her to the thousands who had died at the mountain's foot, in battle or in the trenches.

Honours and gifts showered on Miss Nightingale on all sides, and everybody was eager to show how highly they valued her self-sacrificing labours. If money had been wanted, it would have poured in from all quarters; but when the queen had made inquiries on the subject a year before Miss Nightingale's return, Mr. Sidney Herbert replied that what the Lady-in-Chief desired above everything was the foundation of a hospital in which her own special system of nursing could be carried out. The idea was welcomed with enthusiasm, but none of the sums sent were as dear to Miss Nightingale's heart as the day's pay subscribed by the soldiers and sailors. The fund was applied to founding a home and training school for nurses, attached to St. Thomas' hospital, and Miss Nightingale helped to plan the new buildings opposite the Houses of Parliament, to which the patients were afterwards moved.

Miss Nightingale came home with her aunt, Mrs. Smith, calling herself "Miss Smith" so that she might travel unrecognised, but that disguise could not be kept up when she got back to Lea Hurst. Crowds thronged to see her from the neighbouring towns, and the lodge-keeper had a busy time. However, her father would not allow her to be worried. She needed rest, he said, and she should have it; and if addresses and plate and testimonials should pour in (as they did, in quantities) someone else could write thanks at her dictation. All round Lea Hurst her large Russian dog was an object of reverence, and as for Thomas the drummer-boy—well, if you could not see Miss Nightingale herself, you might spend hours of delight in listening to Thomas, who certainly could tell you far more thrilling tales than his mistress would ever have done.

We should all like to know what became of Thomas.

Miss Nightingale is still living, but the privations and over-work of those terrible months had so broken her down that for the last forty years she has been more or less of an invalid. Still, her interest is as wide as ever in all that could help her fellows, and though she was unable to go among them as of old, she was ready to help and advise, either personally or by letter. If she had given her health and the outdoor pleasures that she loved so much in aid of the sick and suffering, she had won in exchange a position and an influence for good such as no other woman has ever held.

Since this little account was written, the king has conferred on her the highest honour he could bestow on a woman, the Order of Merit, while the lord mayor of London and the corporation have given her the freedom of the City. Thus her life will end in the knowledge that she has gained the only honours worth having, those which have not been sought.