Who Was… Florence Nightingale

by Charlotte Moore

  • Published: 01 Apr 2004
  • Price: £4.99
  • Format: Paperback
  • Extent: 84p
  • ISBN: 9781904095836
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The Lady with the Lamp

Florence knew she did not want a life of fancy clothes and parties, like other girls. She was going to do something different – and important. But what?

In 1854, she shocked everyone. Florence set out for the Crimea to nurse soldiers injured in the war. Nothing could have prepared her for the horror of the army hospital, the filth and dirt, and the rats scuttling round the dying soldiers on the bloodstained floor.

The doctors didn’t approve of women and plotted to send her away. But Florence was not to be beaten. She was going to change nursing forever.

‘At night she patrolled the wards, carrying her lamp […] A hand reached out to touch the hem of her dress. Florence, stooping to listen, observed the receding gums and flaking skin of scurvy. ”Miss Nightingale,” whispered the soldier, ”It is a comfort to see you pass, even. I never thought you’d stop and speak to me.”

Florence reached into her pocket and brought out an orange. Vitamins had yet to be discovered, but she knew that citrus fruit was the best remedy against scurvy. ”Here,” she said, ”This will do you good. Let me peel it for you.”

”No, no ma’m. There’s nowt wrong with my hands, You see to the next fellow that needs you.”

Florence moved on. The soldier pushed the orange out of sight […] he had no intention of eating it. The orange was a sacred relic; Miss Nightingale’s hand had touched it. The orange – black and shrivelled – still survives today, in the Nightingale family collection…’

About Charlotte Moore

Charlotte Moore is the author of three novels: Promises Past, Ark and My Sister, Victoria, and one book for children, WHO WAS...Florence Nightingale. Her most recent book was George and Sam: Autism in the Family.