Image from page 192 of "Florence Nightingale : a biography" (1913)
Authors: Matheson, Annie, 1853-
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e, and gave way tomurmurs of gratitude. When conversing in thissoftened mood with the lady appointed to nursehim, the soldier used often to speak as thoughthe worship he owed her and the worship heowed to Heaven were blending into one senti-ment ; and sometimes, indeed, he disclosed a wildfaith in the ministering angel that strained be-yond the grave. Oh ! said one to the ladyhe saw bending over his pallet, * you are takingme on the way to heaven; dont forsake menow! When a man was under delirium, itsmagic force almost always transported him tothe home of his childhood, and made him indeeda child—a child crying, Mother ! mother !Amongst the men generally, notwithstandingtheir moments of fitful piety, there still gloweda savage desire for the fall of Sebastopol. Morethan once—wafted up from Constantinople—the sound of great guns was believed to announcea victory, and sometimes there came into thewards fresh tidings of combat brought downfrom our army in front of the long-besieged
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FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. 177 stronghold. When this happened, almost all ofthe sufferers who had not yet lost their conscious-ness used to show that, however disabled, theywere still soldiers—true soldiers. At such times,on many a pallet, the dying man used to raisehimself by unwonted effort, and seem to yearnafter the strife, as though he would answer oncemore the appeal of the bugles and drums. Kinglake*s touching description of whatwomanly tenderness could do for our soldiers,and of the worship it called forth, is followedby these words:— But great would be the mistake of anychronicler fancying that the advantage ourcountrv derived from womanly aid was only anaccession of nurses; for, if gifted with thepower to comfort and soothe, woman also—astill higher gift — can impel, can disturb, candestroy pernicious content; and when she cameto the rescue in an hour of gloom and adversity,she brought to her self-imposed task that fore-thought, that agile brain power, that organizing and
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