A Trip to Egypt
39 letters written to her family- on her return her sister Parthenope insisted on putting her letters into print- Florence refused – Never the less Parthe persisted and if it had not been for Parthe – these letters would have been lost to us.
In one of her letters to her father Florence tells him that she is desperate to escape the bitterness and pain of women-
“Why cannot a woman follow abstractions like a man? Has she less imagination, less intellect, less self devotion, less religion than a man? I think not.”
Perhaps no one in the world ever understood Florence Nightingale better than her father. When in 1861 the deaths of Sidney Herbert reduced her to the blackest despair, he wrote –
“My hand and heart misgive at the thought of approaching within the shadow of such grief as yours. Perhaps it is better to magnify it not to try to soften.”
Feb 19, 1855
Florence wrote to Sidney Herbert-
“The last few days have made a marked improvement in the health of the patients’ – whereas in the first days of February we buried 506 from the Hospitals at Scutari alone, on the ninth day 72 – during the last 24 hours we have lost only 10 (out of twenty one hundred in this [i.e. Barrack hospital]) only thirty (out of the whole of Hospitals of the Bosphorus). It is not much more than ½ percent.
Nightingale strongly believed that the Army needed reforms – both in peace and in war – She requested the Queen to give her a royal commission to look into the state of the army. This was finally granted-
John Sutherland wrote to Florence Nightingale:
“I am led to believe that there must be a foundation of truth under the old myth about the Amazon women somewhere in the East of Scutari. All I can say is that if you had been queen of that respectable body in old days, Alexander the Great, would have had rather a bad chance.” (John Sutherland Commissioner Royal Commission)
“I do not think his death awful for him, he was the purest mind and I think the most single heart I have ever known. It is his New Year; he was quite ready to part with his life. He always wished to go out of the world quietly”
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