Excerpt from

"But Daddy, I don't want to be a lady. I want to be a nurse."
"Now see here, young lady. We'll have no such talk in this house. Why nurses are.. are the trash of the country.

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Florence Nightingale- Nurse- 1

A Character story about compassion.

"I see that our daughter is again not at the table," Mr. Nightingale said gravely, turning to his wife. "Why is she late this time?"
"I'm not sure, Dear, but I imagine she is at the neighbor's again. Their cat is ill and she insists on nursing it back to health. And have you seen her dolls? They are all bandaged. I don't know what to do with her."
"Indeed. This is hardly becoming for a girl of her social stature, I would say," Mr. Nightingale grunted. "She does not seem to grasp what is proper etiquette for those in our financial bracket." Just then the maid served the main dish and nothing more was said until later.
That night, however, Mr. Nightingale had a serious conversation with his daughter. "My dear, I think it is lovely that you care that the little animals are hurting. However, do you realize that the Baxters are not in our station in society? If you are to learn to be a proper lady, you must spend your time with the right kind of people, not just common trash."
"But Daddy, I don't want to be a lady. I want to be a nurse."
"Now see here, young lady. We'll have no such talk in this house. Why nurses are.. are the trash of the country. That is no fit occupation for any daughter of mine." And, indeed, Mr. Nightingale was right. For in England at this time, nursing was considered to be a disgraceful work. But this daughter of William and Frances Nightingale was to change all that before her death at the age of 90!
William had inherited a number of properties, including a lead mine when he was but 9 years old. Then, with proper management, he was able to increase his wealth. For their honeymoon, the couple traveled throughout Europe for two years! During this time, the oldest girl was born, Frances Parthenope, affectionately called Parthe, and named after the Greek city where she was born. Can you guess where they were when Florence was born on May 12th, 1820? That's right. It was Florence, Italy.
By the time Florence was 6, the family had two large mansions. The first was Lea Hurst. But the weather was too cold for William in the winter, so he built another home, Embley, in a warmer part of England. Florence got the very best of training and excelled in them all: music, drawing, embroidery, and modern languages, and eventually Greek and Latin as well. She also studied mathematics, geology, and constitutional history. Sound boring? Perhaps, but whatever Florence began, she worked hard to master. But all this did not bring contentment to her. "I feel that God's hand is on me," she told her sister once. "I want to do something special for the world, not just travel around to all these dull parties and make small talk. I want to show others that nursing can be a noble profession for a woman."
As a young girl Florence accepted the Lord Jesus as her personal Saviour. When she told her father of his need for the Saviour, he replied, "What is this? I am as good a church goer as any of those others. What do you want me to be, some fanatic?"
Of course, for such a rich family, Florence's training must also include proper social etiquette. By her mid teens, she was moving from party to party, and from one social function to another, impressing those of high society with her knowledge of vast variety of subjects.
"My dear," her father said to Florence one day in 1837, "you have done well in your studies and training. I am very proud of you. You have given the name of Nightingale a continued good reputation. It is time for the finishing polish to this training for both you and Parthe. In September, we will be traveling into Europe to give you the experiences that will complete your education. You will be able to meet some of the noblest of gentlemen and ladies and will be able to demonstrate the fine training you have received." But to his wife William also confided that he hoped the trip would once and for all rid his daughter of the notion that she wanted to be, of all things, a nurse! And Mrs. Nightingale whole-heartedly agreed.
Indeed, the trip took them to many countries and lasted well over a year! Florence kept a detailed diary of this time and from this we can learn of the changes in her thinking. When they returned, Florence was truly an elegant lady. She felt at home with those of high society. She 'played the circuit,' spending her days traveling to social functions that were fitting of their financial rank. But what of her longing to become a nurse? Alas, it seemed to have been lost in Europe.