| Florence Nightingale|
|by Laura E. Richards|
|Inspiring story of Florence Nightingale from her earliest days as privileged daughter of an English squire to her role as Angel of the Crimea. Even as a young girl her nursing talents were evident as she doctored her dolls and ministered to sickly animals. With the training she received at hospitals on the Continent, she was ready when the call to the Crimea came. Facing unspeakable filth and disorganization, she and her staff of nurses cared for thousands of sick and wounded soldiers, earning their undying gratitude. Focuses on her preparation, her heroic and patriotic service during the Crimean war, and her life of service thereafter. Ages 11-14 |
WAITING FOR THE CALL
ISS NIGHTINGALE spent two periods
of training at Kaiserswerth. When she
left it finally, good Pastor Fliedner laid
his hands on her head and gave her his
blessing in simple and earnest words; and she
carried with her the love and good wishes of all the
pious and benevolent community.
I wish we had a picture of her in her deaconess
costume. The blue cotton gown, white apron and
wide collar, and white muslin cap tied under the
chin with a large bow, must have set off her pensive
beauty very sweetly. She always kept a tender
recollection of Kaiserswerth, and says in a letter
"Never have I met with a higher love and a purer
devotion than there."
On her way home, Miss Nightingale spent some
time with the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul in
Paris. Here she saw what was probably the best
 nursing in the world at that time; and she studied
the methods in her usual careful way, not only in
the hospitals, but in the homes of the poor and
suffering, where the good sisters came and went like
ministering angels. She had still another
opportunity, and this an unsought one, of learning what
they had to teach, for she fell ill herself, and was
tenderly cared for and restored to health by these
skillful and devoted women.
Returning to England, she spent some time in
the quiet of home, and as her strength returned, took
up her old work of visiting among the sick and poor
of the neighborhood. But this could not keep her
long. It was not that she did not love it, and did
not love her home dearly, but there were other
benevolent ladies who could do this work. She
realized this, and realized too, though perhaps
unconsciously, that she could do harder work than this,
and that there was plenty of hard work waiting to
be done. She soon found it. A call came asking
her to be superintendent of a Home for Sick
Governesses in London, and she accepted it at once.
Did you ever think how hard governesses have
to work? Did you ever think how tired they must
 often be, and how their heads must ache—and
perhaps their hearts, too—when they are trying to teach
you the lessons that you—perhaps again—are not
always willing to learn? Well, try to remember,
those of you who have your lessons in this way!
Remember that you can make the teaching a pain
or a pleasure, just as you choose; and that, after
all, the teacher is trying to help you, and to give
you knowledge that some day you would be very
sorry not to have.
In the days of which we are speaking, governesses
had a much harder time than nowadays, I think.
For one thing, there were not so many different
ways in which women could earn their bread. When
a girl had to make her own living she went out as
a governess almost as a matter of course, whether
she had any love for teaching or not, simply be
cause there was nothing else to do. So the teaching
was often mere drudgery, and often, too, was not
well done; and that meant discontent and
unhappiness, and very likely broken health to follow.
The Harley Street Home, as it was then called,
was founded to help poor gentlewomen who had lost
their health in this kind of life. When Miss
Night-  ingale came to it, things were in a bad condition,
owing to lack of means and good management. The
friends of the institution were discouraged; but
discouragement, was a word not to be found in Miss
Nightingale's dictionary. There was no money?
Well, there must be money! She went quietly to
work, interested her own friends to subscribe, then
talked with the discouraged people, restoring their
confidence and inducing them to renew their
subscriptions; and soon, with no fuss or flourish of
trumpets, the money was in hand.
Then she proceeded, just as quietly, to reorganize
the whole institution; engaged competent nurses,
arranged the daily life of the inmates, planned and
wrote and worked, every day and all day, till she
had brought order out of chaos, and made the home,
instead of a place of disorder and discontent, one of
comfort, peace, and cheerfulness.
You must not think that this was light or pleasant
work. Sick and nervous and broken-down women
are not easy to deal with; a hospital (for this is
what the home really was) is not an easy thing to
organize and superintend. It meant, as I have said,
hard and vexatious work every day and all day; and
 I dare say that often and often, when night came,
Florence Nightingale lay down to rest more weary
than any of her patients.
At length her health gave way under the strain;
she broke down, and was forced to give up the work
and go home to Embley for a long rest.
It was here, in her own home, amid her own
beautiful fields and gardens, that the call came which
summoned her to the great work of her life.
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