received in them; and all the utensils, including knives, forks, spoons, cans and towels, were supplied by Miss Nightingale.
This remarkable woman was in truth performing the function of an administrative chief. How had this come about? Was she not in reality merely a nurse? Was it not her duty simply to tend the sick? And indeed, was it not as a ministering angel, a gentle "lady with a lamp" that she actually impressed the minds of her contemporaries? No doubt that was so; and yet it is no less certain that, as she herself said, the specificx) business of nursing was "the least important of the functions into which she had been forced." It was clear that in the state of disorganisation into which the hospitals at Scutari had fallen the most pressing, the really vital, need was for something more than nursing; it was for the necessary elements of civilised life — the commonest material objects, the most ordinary cleanliness, the rudimentary habits of order and authority. "Oh, dear Miss Nightingale," said one of her party as they were approaching Constantinople, "when we land, let there be no delays, lét us get straight to nursing the poor f ellows!" "The strongest will be wanted at the washtub," was Miss Nightingale's answer. And it was upon the washtub, and all that the washtub stood for, that she expended her greatest energies. Yet to say that is perhaps to say too much. For to those who watched her at work among the sick, moving day and night from bed to bed, with that unflinching2) courage, with that indefatigable vigilance, it seemed as if the concentrated force of an undivided and unparalleled devotion could hardly suffice for that portion of her task alone. Wherever, in those vast
1. specific [spe'sifïk]: peculiar. Thus the specific business of a nurse is to look after a patiënt, but cooking or washing is occasionally necessary.
2. to flinch: to draw back (from something unpleasant, e. g. an unpleasant duty).