Florence Nightingale

At Home on South Street

There is one constant in FN's life: almost never is there a mention of servants. She had quite a staff of servants. Her South Street home was four levels and she saw a constant stream of approved visitors: co-workers, students from the Nightingale School of Nursing, royalty and dignitaries. The lower level was where most people came and a servant delivered hand written messages from FN to and from the visitor from her bedroom upstairs which she spent a great deal of time in working. She had a personal secretary who was a servant who went up and down those stairs. Her archives are filled with hundreds of notes.

She also instructed her cook to prepare special foods for whomever was coming to "see" her at South Street. Also the house keeper was instructed as to flower arrangements in the apartment. From her bed she corresponded with dozens of graduates from the Nightingale School for Nurses sometimes writing as many as 100 letters a year to a single graduate. This is in addition to all her other correspondance.

A picture from Edward Cook (vol II) shows a very old FN in her bed in her bedroom and her gnarled hand is quite easy to make out. Cook contends that she did more writing by hand than any other person in history. One must rememember that she used a pen that was dipped into an ink well. In the Crimea and Turkey the weather was so cold the the ink froze in the ink well. Her father WEN refused to use those new fangled "metal ink pens" and used only a quill pen. Her hand writing remained clear, readable and beautiful to see all her life. Except for her early childhood when lead poisoning gave her a "weakness of her wrists" she used cursive. In her early childhood up to about 12 years she printed.

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