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Title: Some Famous Women
Author: Creighton, Louise
Language: English
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                           SOME FAMOUS WOMEN



                          _BY THE SAME AUTHOR_


THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF MANDELL CREIGHTON, D.D., Oxon. and Camb.,
  sometime Bishop of London. With Two Frontispieces. 2 vols. 8vo, 10s.
  6d. net.

THE ECONOMICS OF THE HOUSEHOLD: Six Lectures given at the London School
  of Economics. Crown 8vo, 1s. 4d.

A FIRST HISTORY OF ENGLAND. With 40 Illustrations. 16mo, 2s. 6d.

STORIES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY. With 21 Illustrations. 16mo, 3s. 6d.

ENGLAND A CONTINENTAL POWER, from the Conquest to the Great Charter,
  1066-1216. Fcp. 8vo, 9d.

A FIRST HISTORY OF FRANCE. With 33 Illustrations and 5 Coloured Maps.
  Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

HEROES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY. With 43 Illustrations and 7 Maps. Crown 8vo,
  1s. 6d.

SOME FAMOUS WOMEN. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.

THE LIFE OF EDWARD THE BLACK PRINCE. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.

THE LIFE OF SIR WALTER RALEGH. Crown 8vo, 3s.

THE LIFE OF JOHN CHURCHILL, DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH. With Portrait, Maps,
  and Plans. Fcp. 8vo, 3s. 6d.

THE ART OF LIVING, AND OTHER ADDRESSES TO GIRLS. Crown 8vo, 1s. 6d. net.

                        LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.
                 LONDON, NEW YORK, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA

[Illustration: _Victoria R_]



                           SOME FAMOUS WOMEN


                                   BY

                            LOUISE CREIGHTON

                               AUTHOR OF

       “A FIRST HISTORY OF ENGLAND,” “A FIRST HISTORY OF FRANCE,”
                “HEROES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY,” ETC. ETC.


                           WITH ILLUSTRATIONS


                        LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.
                       39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
                     NEW YORK, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA
                                  1909

                          All rights reserved



                                CONTENTS


                                                        PAGE

                  INTRODUCTION                            xi

            CHAP.
               I. ST. HILDA                               15

              II. JOAN, THE FAIR MAID OF KENT             26

             III. JEANNE D’ARC, THE MAID OF FRANCE        37

              IV. MARGARET BEAUFORT                       56

               V. RACHEL, LADY RUSSELL                    71

              VI. ELIZABETH FRY                           85

             VII. MARY SOMERVILLE                         98

            VIII. JULIA SELINA INGLIS                    112

              IX. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE                   126

               X. ISABELLA BIRD, AFTERWARDS MRS. BISHOP  141

              XI. SISTER DORA                            156

             XII. QUEEN VICTORIA                         171



                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


 QUEEN VICTORIA                                           _Frontispiece_

                                                                    PAGE

 WHITBY ABBEY                                                         20

 THE COMPLETION OF THE ARK                                            23

 TOURNAMENT                                                           27

 KNIGHT RECEIVING HIS HELMET FROM LADY                                31

 KNIGHTS JOUSTING                                                     36

 JEANNE IN CHURCH                                                     39

 JEANNE HEARS THE VOICE                                               41

 JEANNE RIDES TO CHINON                                               43

 JEANNE IS WOUNDED BY THE ARROW                                       47

 THE CORONATION OF CHARLES VII.                                       49

 THE BURNING OF JEANNE                                                54

 MARGARET, COUNTESS OF RICHMOND                                       57

 EDWARD IV.                                                           60

 RICHARD III.                                                         62

 HENRY VII.                                                           63

 ELIZABETH OF YORK, QUEEN OF HENRY VII.                               64

 CHRIST’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE                                          69

 TUDOR ROSE (WHITE AND RED)                                           70

 LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL TAKING LEAVE OF HIS CHILDREN                    79
 PREVIOUS TO HIS EXECUTION, 1683

 ELIZABETH FRY                                                        87

 MRS. FRY READING TO THE PRISONERS IN NEWGATE, 1816                   93


 MARY SOMERVILLE                                                      99

 SOMERVILLE COLLEGE, OXFORD                                          109

 THE GATEWAY OF THE RESIDENCY, LUCKNOW, SHOWING MARKS OF             117
 SHOT AND SHELL ON THE BRICKWORK

 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE                                                127

 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE AT SCUTARI—A MISSION OF MERCY                  133

 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE IN ONE OF THE WARDS OF THE                     135
 HOSPITAL AT SCUTARI

 MRS. BISHOP (ISABELLA BIRD)                                         143

 SISTER DORA                                                         157

 THE STATUE AT WALSALL                                               169

 QUEEN VICTORIA AT HER ACCESSION                                     173

 PORTRAIT OF PRINCE ALBERT                                           175

 VISCOUNT MELBOURNE                                                  177

 THE MARRIAGE OF QUEEN VICTORIA TO H.R.H. PRINCE ALBERT              181

 LORD PALMERSTON                                                     184

 WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE                                             185

 THE VICTORIA CROSS                                                  186

 MARRIAGE OF H.R.H. VICTORIA, PRINCESS ROYAL, TO H.R.H.              187
 PRINCE FREDERICK WILLIAM OF PRUSSIA

 BENJAMIN DISRAELI, LORD BEACONSFIELD                                189

 QUEEN VICTORIA’S JUBILEE, 1897                                      191



                              INTRODUCTION


IN this little book I am going to tell you about some of the women who
have been famous in the past. There are perhaps many names more famous
than those I have chosen, but it was not always the best women who were
the most talked about. In the past it was seldom that any woman, who was
not a royal lady or some great aristocrat, became known to the world. In
the early days of Christianity, many women suffered bravely for their
faith, and later in the convents there were studious nuns who became
known for their learning. In the account of St. Hilda you will read of
one of the most famous of these. But most women were busy in keeping
their houses, and had to do many things which no woman would dream of
doing now. Cloth and linen had to be woven at home, simple medicines and
ointments were made by the great ladies, who had often to act as doctors
as well as nurses. Only few women had any book learning, and it was long
before it was thought desirable for a woman to learn to write. When good
schools were started for boys, few people thought it desirable to do
anything for the education of girls. It was not till the nineteenth
century that a change began, and that people as a rule began to think
that, as girls had minds as well as boys, it was as well to give them
the chance of learning. When you read about Mrs. Somerville, you will
see how great was the change in her lifetime. No one troubled to teach
her when she was a child, but before her death the first colleges for
women were founded at Cambridge.

Joan of Kent is an example of the aimless life led by a great lady in
the Middle Ages who was kindly and beloved, but did not know how to make
her life of use to others. Margaret Beaumont was also a great lady and
might have spent her days in pleasure, but the experiences of her life
made her serious, and she used her life and her money in the service of
others. Since their day, there have been many great ladies who have been
like one or other of these two.

The first way in which women who had no great position in the world made
themselves famous was by their care for the poor and the suffering. What
such women could do, and there have been very many of them, is seen in
the lives of Elizabeth Fry, Sister Dora, and Florence Nightingale. Other
women have given their lives to sharing the sorrows and anxieties of
their husbands, and by their love and devotion have been their greatest
help in difficult times. These are seldom known to fame, but we see
examples of them in Lady Rachel Howard and Lady Inglis. But whilst most
women would always choose a quiet home life there are others, of whom
Mrs. Bishop is an example, who are filled with the spirit of adventure,
and like to face difficulties and to see new things. It is not possible
in one small book to give examples of all the different kinds of women
who have lived for the service of others. I should like to have told you
something about the women doctors, the great women teachers, the women
writers and novelists. From all their lives you would learn one lesson
which is set forth clearly in the life of Queen Victoria. Nothing worth
doing is done without a great deal of trouble. The ruler of a great
empire has to work as hard as any girl in a factory, and Queen Victoria
is known as a great queen, not because she had talents above other
women, but simply because she set herself to do her duty in the position
in which God had placed her. In that we can all imitate her.

But what shall I say about the one woman in our book who is not English,
the Maid of France? She seems to me to stand apart from all other women,
like a beautiful vision for our delight and reverence. But she is like
all other good women in this that she did the thing that lay before her.
Without fear, in perfect simplicity, she took up the task to which she
felt she was called, and went straight on without looking back, even to
death.

We do not know what work may be asked from women in the future, but the
same spirit will still be needed—the capacity to take trouble, the
readiness to do difficult things when duty calls, and the gentle spirit
of love which, in spite of all her learning, made Mrs. Somerville a
better wife and mother than most even of those who have devoted
themselves entirely to their domestic duties.



                           SOME FAMOUS WOMEN



                                   I

                               ST. HILDA


AMONGST our forefathers, the wild German tribes who conquered Britain
and made it England, women had always held an honourable place. This
made it possible for them, in the days when the Christian faith was
first preached in England, to do a great deal to help the work of the
Church. They did not have to spend their days in fighting like the men,
and they were eager to listen to the new teaching which showed them many
different ways of serving God and helping their fellow-creatures.
Probably it was the Christian wife of Ethelbert, King of Kent, a French
princess, who helped to make him willing to listen to Augustine, the
missionary sent from Rome by the Pope to convert the English. Kent was
the first of the English kingdoms to become Christian. In the northern
part of England there was a great king called Edwin, who ruled over
Northumbria and had his capital at York. He seems to have heard much in
praise of one of Ethelbert’s daughters, Ethelburga, who was so beloved
in her family that they called her Tata, the darling. Edwin sent
messengers to ask Ethelburga’s brother, Eadbald, who had succeeded his
father as king, to give him his sister in marriage. But Eadbald said
that he could not give his sister to a heathen. Edwin would not be
refused. He sent messengers again, and said that if only he might have
Ethelburga as his wife, he would allow her to worship in her own way,
and would be willing to adopt her faith if, on hearing more about it,
his wise men should decide that it was better than his own. So
Ethelburga was sent to York with Bishop Paulinus as her chaplain. Edwin
was true to his word; he treated Paulinus kindly, and after a while
listened to his teaching, and when he had consulted his wise men, and
they too were willing, he decided to be baptized.

Quickly a little wooden chapel was built on the spot where now stands
the great minster of York, and within its walls Edwin and many others
were taught the Christian faith. On Easter Eve, in the year 627, he was
baptized. Many of his nobles as well as members of his family were
baptized with him. Amongst them was a young girl, his great-niece, the
Princess Hilda, then fourteen years old. We do not know anything about
Hilda’s life as a child nor for some years after her baptism. Her mother
and her sister were also early converts to Christianity. In some way
Hilda must have continued her Christian education, most probably she
lived at a religious settlement in the north, and was busy in some sort
of work for the Church. In those days all girls either married or
entered a convent of some kind. Hilda, a member of a royal family, would
certainly have been sought in marriage had it not been known that she
had in some way given herself to a religious life. Many royal ladies
were founders of convents. They received grants of land from their
fathers or brothers and gathered round them those who wished to live in
peace, away from all the fighting and disturbance of the world. Many
royal ladies retired into convents after their husband’s death, or
sometimes even during their husband’s lifetime. In the convents they
could study, or do beautiful embroidery for the churches, care for the
sick and aged, or teach the children. It was considered the holiest life
that a woman could lead: those men, too, who wished to lead quiet lives
and to spend their days in study rather than in fighting could only do
so by retiring into a convent. If it had not been for the convents in
early times there would have been no books, no learning, no art or
industry. It was by the people who lived in the convents that the land
was drained and cultivated, and that sheep and oxen were reared. France
had become Christian earlier than England, so there were more famous
convents there, and ladies belonging to the English royal families used
to go over to the French convents to be educated, and often retired to
them to end their days.

We are not told that Hilda was sent to a French convent to be educated,
but her sister Hereswitha, who had married the King of East Anglia, went
after his death to a French convent, and Hilda prepared to join her
there. Hilda was by this time thirty-three. All that we know of her life
since her baptism is what the old Northumbrian historian, Bede, tells
us—that she lived very nobly among her family and fellow-citizens.
Somehow her virtues and gifts attracted the notice of Aidan, the holy
Bishop of Lindisfarne, who was working with zeal and devotion to win the
wild people of the north for Christ. He seems to have been Hilda’s
friend and adviser, and he wanted her help in his work. When he heard
that she was thinking of going to join her sister in France, he begged
her to remain among her own people and to help them. Hilda yielded to
his wishes, and she first settled down with a few companions on the
river Wear. But soon afterwards she was called in the year 647, to be
head of a convent in Hartlepool, which had been founded some years
before, and was the first convent for women in that part of England.

Those were very anxious days. There had been Christian kings in
Northumbria who had made it into a great and strong kingdom, and with
the help of Aidan and other holy men had made the people Christian and
brought peace into the land. But the Northumbrian kings were attacked by
Penda, the last great heathen king in England, a fierce and mighty
fighter, and it seemed at times as if he would utterly destroy the power
of the Christian kings. Hilda in her quiet convent must have waited
anxiously for the news that came of the fighting between Oswy, the King
of Northumbria, and Penda, who with his great army of fierce fighters
seemed to rush like a torrent over the country. It was eight years after
she had gone to Hartlepool, that Oswy with a much smaller army, utterly
routed Penda’s great host in a battle in which the fierce old heathen
king was himself killed. Before the battle Oswy had sworn that if he
gained the victory, he would give his infant daughter to God; and he now
sent his little Ælflæd, not yet a year old, to his kinswoman Hilda to
bring up in her convent. With his daughter, he gave also a rich gift of
land, so that Hilda might be able to extend her work. The little Ælflæd
was a great delight to Hilda, and grew up to be her dearest companion
and fellow-worker.

Hilda had done much at Hartlepool. She had learnt all she could from
wise men as to how to order a convent. Aidan and all the religious men
who knew her used to visit her constantly. They were glad to teach her
all they knew, and they loved her dearly because of her wisdom and her
delight in the service of God.

In those days the work that women could do for the Church was highly
esteemed, and the abbesses who ruled over the convents were very
important people. They had to manage large estates as well as to order
all the different kinds of work that were carried on in the convent.
Many of them were very learned women; and we know of Hilda that she was
always eager to learn, and knew well how to teach others what she had
learnt. After she had spent some years at Hartlepool, she decided to
found a new convent on some of the lands that had been granted her by
King Oswy. She chose a beautiful spot on the top of a high cliff
overlooking the sea, at the mouth of the river Esk. This spot was
afterwards called Whitby, and by that name Hilda’s famous abbey is best
known. But though in later times a beautiful abbey church was built
there, the ruins of which are still standing, all that Hilda could build
was a rude little church made of the split trunks of trees, thatched
with rushes. Round the church stood the huts in which Hilda and her nuns
lived, with their kitchen and their dining-hall. Farther off, but still
in the enclosure of the convent, were huts in which monks lived; for in
those early days it often happened that men and women joined together to
found one convent. The monks and the nuns lived apart, but Hilda ruled
over them all alike. Some of the monks tilled the fields belonging to
the convent: and there were barns and farm buildings, as well as rooms
for writing and study. Over all these different men and women Hilda
ruled firmly and wisely. They were all treated alike. There was no one
in her convent who was rich and no one who was poor, for those who came
there gave all their possessions into the common store. Hilda so ruled
that peace and charity prevailed amongst them all. All who knew her
called her Mother, because of her singular piety and grace, and the fame
of her virtues spread far and wide. She loved learning and wished all to
study, and made them give much time to the reading of the Bible. Her own
wisdom and prudence were so well known that many people, and amongst
them even kings and princes, came to her for advice in their
difficulties. Amongst those who studied at Whitby many grew afterwards
to be famous, and five of those who had lived under Hilda’s rule became
bishops of the Church. But, of all the dwellers at Whitby, the most
famous was one who had begun life simply as one of the workers on the
farm, the sweet singer Cædmon.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: Frith & Co._

  WHITBY ABBEY.

  This was the successor of St. Hilda’s building.
]

In those days, at feasts, it was the custom for one after another to be
asked for a song, and the harp was passed round the table, each taking
it in turn and accompanying himself whilst he sang. Cædmon thought that
he could not sing, and when he saw that his turn was coming near, he
used to get up and quietly leave the table and go home. One day he had
left the feast in this way and gone to the stable where it was his duty
that night to take care of the horses. Having done his work he settled
himself to sleep, and in the night one stood by his side, and calling to
him, said, “Cædmon, sing some song to me.” He answered, “I cannot sing,
for that reason I left the feast and withdrew to this place, because I
cannot sing.” But he who stood by his side answered, “However, you shall
sing.” “What shall I sing?” asked Cædmon; and the answer came, “Sing the
beginning of created beings.” Then in his dream he sang in praise of God
the Creator with words which he had never heard before. When he awoke,
he remembered what he had sung, and added more verses to those which had
come to him in his dream. He told the steward who was set over him of
this gift of song that had been granted to him in his sleep, and the
steward took him to the Abbess Hilda. She bade him in the presence of
herself and of several learned men repeat the verses which he had made,
and they all decided that it must be through the grace of God that this
gift had come to him. They explained to him a passage from the Bible and
bade him go away and turn it into verse. Next morning he came back and
recited to them the excellent verses which he had made. Then Hilda bade
him give up his work on the farm and come into the convent and become a
monk, that he might devote himself to cultivating the gift of song which
he had received. She directed some of the brethren to teach him the
sacred history contained in the Bible, that he might turn it into song.
After they had taught him, Cædmon would think over all that he had
heard, turning it over in his mind as the cow chews the cud, till he
brought it out again as harmonious verse, which he would sweetly repeat
to his masters, who now in their turn became his hearers. He sang of the
Creation and of the doings of the people of Israel and of the life and
sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and tried by his poems to lead men
to love virtue and hate vice. Through his sweet singing great fame came
to Hilda’s convent, and after some years he died there in great peace
and holiness.

We are not told whether Hilda was able as time went on to build a more
stately church in place of the rough wooden one which she at first put
up, but it seems most likely, considering the fame of her abbey, that
she must have done so. She probably was friendly with Benedict Biscop,
the Abbot of Wearmouth, which was also in the north of England. Benedict
Biscop had made many journeys to France and Italy, and he first brought
to England glass windows and beautiful vestments for his church, as well
as skilled masons and glass workers from France, who taught their craft
to the Northumbrians. We cannot doubt that Hilda with her energy and her
wisdom got some of these men to come and teach her people also how to
put up beautiful buildings; perhaps Benedict Biscop may have given her
some of the treasures, vestments, pictures, or vessels for the church
services which he had brought back with him. The fame and importance of
the Abbey of Whitby is shown by the fact that it was chosen as the spot
in which to hold a great Council of the Church in 664, when many bishops
met with King Oswy to settle matters of great importance for the whole
Church in England. Hilda had to care for the entertainment of this great
gathering and to take part in their discussions. They had met to decide
whether in certain matters the customs of the Church of Rome or the
customs of the Church in Northumbria should be followed. Hilda was in
favour of the customs of Northumbria, but when King Oswy decided that it
would be better to do as the rest of the Church did, she was wise enough
to give in to his decision, seeing that these were matters which
concerned only the order and not the teaching of the Church.

[Illustration:

  THE COMPLETION OF THE ARK.

  From the Cædmon MS., circa A.D. 1000, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
]

We know that Hilda founded at least one other convent herself, and
several others were founded in different parts of England in imitation
of the great Abbey of Whitby. For many years she ruled her convent with
wisdom and diligence. At the end of her life she was called to bear the
trial of a long illness. For six years she lay ill, but during all that
time whenever possible, she would still teach those under her rule. She
bade them serve God dutifully when they were in perfect health, and
always return thanks to Him even when in trouble or suffering. How to do
this she showed by her own example, for all through her long sickness
she never failed to return thanks to God. When at last she felt death
drawing near, she gathered all the inmates of her convent around her,
and having bidden them to live in peace with one another and with all
others, she joyfully welcomed death who came to take her from her
sufferings to new life. She died in 680 at the age of sixty-six.

Ælflæd, the daughter of King Oswy, who as an infant had been confided to
Hilda’s care, succeeded her as abbess. Hilda was honoured as a saint by
the Church after her death.



                                   II

                      JOAN, THE FAIR MAID OF KENT


ON the 19th March 1329, a great English noble, Edmund, Earl of Kent, was
beheaded outside the walls of Winchester. He was the youngest son of one
of England’s noblest kings, Edward I.; but he was a weak, vain man, and
in the troublous days which followed Edward I.’s death he had been used
first by one party and then by another, until he had made many enemies
and kept few friends. The wicked Queen Isabella, who had allowed her
foolish husband, Edward II., to be murdered, and ruled the country with
her favourite, Mortimer, in the name of her young son, Edward III.,
hated the Earl of Kent. She vowed his ruin and had him convicted of
treason. Men did not love Kent, but it was thought a terrible thing that
the son of Edward I. should perish like a traitor. Though he was
condemned to death, no one dared lift their hand against him, and from
morning till evening the great Earl waited, till a condemned criminal
consented to win his own pardon by cutting off the Earl’s head. Kent’s
youngest child, the little Joan, was then only a year old, and two years
afterwards Philippa, Queen of Edward III., moved with compassion for her
desolate state, took her under her care to bring her up at her court.
Many stories told of Queen Philippa show the kindness of her heart, and
we cannot doubt that the little Joan was happy under her care. She grew
up in the court of Edward III., which after his successful wars in
France became one of the most magnificent in Europe. Life was a
ceaseless round of festivities and gaieties. Rich booty was brought back
from the French wars, and the English ladies copied the extravagant
fashions of the French. We read of the feather beds with gorgeous
hangings which were used, of the rich furs, of the velvet robes
embroidered in silk and pearls, of the trailing dresses which lay in
heaps upon the ground in front as well as behind. Joan grew up to be a
very beautiful girl and to be very fond of fine clothes. She is said to
have been full of charm and to have been clever and brilliant as well.
The king’s eldest son, Edward, afterwards known as the Black Prince, was
two years younger than she, and growing up together, they seem to have
learnt to love one another.

[Illustration: TOURNAMENT.]

It was natural that Joan, who is described as the most beautiful and the
most lovable of all the maidens of England, should have had many
suitors. Her heart was won by Sir Thomas Holland, but whilst he was away
at the wars, the Earl of Salisbury tried to win her as his wife. When
Holland came back he petitioned the Pope to affirm his right to Joan’s
hand, and after both sides had been heard, judgment was given that Joan
was the wife of Holland. She was then just twenty-one, and shortly
afterwards, as both her brothers died, she became her father’s heiress
and Countess of Kent. Her husband was given various appointments in
France, and Joan went there with him several times. She always
surrounded herself with luxury of every kind and spent a great deal of
money on dress. Holland died in 1360 leaving her still beautiful and
charming, with three children. She was at once sought in marriage by
many suitors, but she would listen to none of them. An old writer tells
us that one day the Black Prince visited her and tried to persuade her
to accept one of these suitors, who was a friend of his. She constantly
refused, and at last answered, weeping, that she had given herself to
the most noble knight under heaven, and that for love of him she would
have no other husband as long as she lived, but that she knew that he
could never be hers.

Then the Prince implored her to tell him who this most noble knight was,
and when she would not speak, he went down on his knees saying that if
she would not tell him, he would be her mortal enemy. At last he wrung
from her the confession that it was he himself whom she meant, and when
he heard this, he was filled with love for her, and vowed that he would
never have any other wife so long as he lived. Edward was then thirty
years of age, and had refused many princely offers of marriage. Perhaps
he had never forgotten the beautiful cousin who had grown up with him,
and now when she was free he rejoiced to make her his. It is said that
Edward III. was very displeased when he heard that his son had made a
marriage contract with Joan, but that Queen Philippa, who had always
loved her tenderly, took their part. However this may be, we know that
they were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Windsor, in the
presence of the King, only ten months after the death of Joan’s first
husband. The marriage took place in October, and they went afterwards to
the Prince’s castle at Berkhamsted, where they spent Christmas.

In those days a great part of France was under the rule of the King of
England, and the knights and nobles of the fair Duchy of Aquitaine which
had belonged to the kings of England since the day when it had come to
Henry II. through his wife Eleanor, asked Edward III. to send his son to
rule over them. The Black Prince was famous for his courage and for the
great victories he had won in battle against the King of France. Edward
III. thought it only right that his son should have a distinguished
position, and he appointed him Prince of Aquitaine. Then the Black
Prince and Joan made great preparations for their departure, for they
were determined to have a magnificent court in Aquitaine and to take
with them many English knights and nobles. The English Parliament found
it difficult to provide the large sums of money needed for the luxurious
lives of Edward III. and his sons. It was hoped that Aquitaine would be
able to provide for the needs of the Black Prince and his wife. But they
spent so much before their departure in entertaining the King and court
for Christmas at their castle, and in supplying themselves with clothes
and furniture and all things needed for their journey, that they left
England deeply in debt.

Early in the year 1363, they landed at La Rochelle and were received by
a great company of knights and gentlemen who welcomed them with much
joy. Four days were spent at La Rochelle in feastings and merriment, and
then they set out on their journey to Bordeaux. At every town through
which they passed, they were received by all the nobles of the
neighbourhood, who crowded to do homage to the Prince.

Aquitaine was a rich and flourishing country, covered with vineyards,
and carried on a vigorous wine trade with England. The Prince set up his
court at Bordeaux, and it soon became the most brilliant court in
Europe. Both the Prince and Princess were alike in being very
extravagant and in loving fine clothes and merry-making. Those were the
days of chivalry, when the knights were brave and courteous to one
another, and loved jousts and tournaments in which they fought together
in the presence of noble ladies, and the winner received the prize for
his valour from the hand of a fair lady. But in their pursuit of
pleasure, the princes and nobles forgot their duties as wise rulers. As
long as they could win fame for themselves, and get enough money for
their wars and their luxuries, they cared very little for the well-being
of the people. In the Black Prince’s court at Bordeaux, the pride and
magnificence and neglect of the needs of the people which were the
weakness of chivalry showed themselves most clearly.

The Black Prince was a noble host; he made every one around him happy.
Eighty knights and four times as many squires feasted every day at his
table. The princess never showed herself except surrounded by many
ladies and fair maidens. The luxury of their dress, the strange new
fashions in which their clothes were cut and their wonderful
head-dresses embroidered with pearls shocked the people, who had been
accustomed to simpler and severer manners. The princess seems never to
have remembered that the money to pay for all these luxuries had to be
wrung by taxation from the people. In other ways she ever showed herself
warm-hearted and generous, and herself on one occasion pleaded with one
of the nobles to diminish the ransom due to him from a prisoner taken in
war.

[Illustration: KNIGHT RECEIVING HIS HELMET FROM LADY.]

The joyous life at Bordeaux was crowned by the birth of a son. Soon
afterwards there began to be talk of war with Spain, and it was decided
that the Black Prince should lead an expedition there. Great was the
despair of the princess when she heard that he was to go. The old
chronicler tells us that she lamented bitterly, saying, “Alas! what will
happen to me if I shall lose the true flower of gentleness, the flower
of magnanimity—him who in the world has no equal for courage? I have no
heart, no blood, no veins, but every member fails me when I think of his
departure.” But when the prince heard her lamentations, he comforted her
and said, “Lady, cease your lament and be not dismayed, for God is able
to do all things.” He took his leave of her very tenderly and said,
lovingly, “Lady, we shall meet again in such case that we shall have joy
both we and all our friends; for my heart tells me this.” Then they
embraced with many tears, and all the dames and damsels of the court
wept also, some weeping for their lovers, some for their husbands.

Shortly before the prince’s departure, Joan had given birth to a second
son, Richard, called Richard of Bordeaux, from the place of his birth,
who afterwards became King Richard II. The Black Prince was away in
Spain for a year. He was victorious in the war and on his return he was
magnificently welcomed at Bordeaux. A solemn procession of priests
bearing crosses came out to meet him, followed by the princess with her
elder son then three years old, surrounded by her ladies and her
knights. They were full of joy at their meeting, and after tenderly
embracing they walked hand in hand to their palace.

For the moment all seemed happy, but it soon appeared that the prince
had come back tired and worn out. He had succeeded in Spain, but the
cause for which he had fought was not a just one. The people of
Aquitaine were discontented because of the heavy taxes they had to pay
to keep up his luxurious court. It seemed to his enemies a good moment
to attack him, and the King of France, anxious to win back some of the
lands that he had lost, declared war against the English.

When the war began, the Black Prince was helpless with illness. He was
so furious with the French that he had himself carried in a litter to
attack them, and, for the first time, he showed himself cruel to the
people he conquered. Everything seemed to go wrong. Their eldest son
died, to the great grief of the prince and princess, and at last the
prince was so ill that he had to give up the command of his army to his
brother, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and return to England. It was
a sad coming home, very different from their joyous setting out for
France. In England, too, things were going badly; the king was old, and
the people were discontented because of the extravagance of the court
and the nobles. The Black Prince and his wife retired to their castle at
Berkhamsted. He was afflicted with a grievous malady and suffered
terribly, but he interested himself in the affairs of the country and
supported the Parliament, which was trying to remedy some of the abuses
of the government. In order to do this, he moved up to London to the
royal palace at Westminster. It was there that he died after four years
of illness and suffering. He commended his wife and his little son
Richard to the care of his father and brothers, and begged his followers
that as they had served him, so they would serve his little son. The
princess was broken-hearted at her husband’s death and bewailed herself
with bitter tears and lamentations. She was named guardian of her little
son Richard, who was then ten years old; he was made Prince of Wales and
declared heir to the throne, and only a year passed before, at his
grandfather’s death, he became King of England.

Those were anxious days in England. The country was worn out with the
expenses of long wars and of an extravagant court. The people had
suffered from a terrible pestilence called the Black Death. Everywhere
there was want and scarcity, which led to bitter discontent. The boy
king was surrounded by his uncles, ambitious men, who each wished to be
the chief power in the country. His mother, the Princess Joan, does not
seem to have had any ambition to take part in public affairs; we do not
hear of her mixing herself up in any of the intrigues that went on round
the little king; only once or twice she seems to have come forward to
make peace. She is said to have been interested in the teaching of John
Wiclif, a learned clergyman. Disgusted with the corruption of many of
the clergy, he was trying to teach a purer faith, and he had translated
the Bible into English so that even the unlearned might read it. But we
hear so little about Joan that it is clear that she must have lived very
quietly during these troubled days.

The discontent of the people at last led the peasants to rise in revolt
in many different parts of the country, and to march on London in order
to get redress for their wrongs. Princess Joan had been on a pilgrimage
to Canterbury, where the Black Prince lay buried, when, on her way back,
she fell in on crossing Blackheath with a crowd of the rebels. The rough
men surrounded her, but the charm and beauty which she still possessed
won their respect and the protection of their leaders. It is said that,
after asking her for some kisses, they allowed her to pass on her way
unharmed. She went to join her son in the Tower. Richard, then a boy of
fifteen, was not frightened by the rebels, who swarmed round the Tower
and asked that the king should come out and hear their grievances. He
rode out with one or two followers and went to meet the rebels at Mile
End, where he promised all that they asked him. But whilst he was away,
another band of rebels broke into the Tower. They forced their way into
the princess’s room and treated her with rough familiarity and rudeness.
They plunged daggers into her bed to see if anything was hidden there,
and terrified her so much that she fainted. Then her ladies carried her
away, and conveyed her in an open boat across the river to a house
belonging to the king called the Wardrobe, and there Richard joined her.
Meanwhile the rebels had seized and murdered the Archbishop, the chief
minister of the king. In the end the rebels were put down after much
bloodshed.

Richard II. seems to have had the charm and beauty of his mother, and as
a boy at least, the courage of his father, but he did not grow up to be
a wise king. He quarrelled with his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke
of Lancaster, who was suspected of wishing to make himself king, and
John, angry with his nephew, shut himself up in his castle at
Pontefract. The Princess Joan was ill and had grown so stout that
travelling was very difficult for her, but in spite of her sufferings
she made several journeys to Pontefract to see John of Gaunt and at last
succeeded in reconciling him with Richard. Richard treated her with
great respect, and when he went away to make war in Scotland, he
appointed five noble gentlemen to stay with her for her protection,
wherever she chose to live. But she could not always persuade him to do
as she wished. Her son by her first marriage, John Holland, had a
quarrel with another gentleman and slew him treacherously. Richard to
punish him seized his lands, and when Joan implored his pardon refused
to listen to her. This so grieved her that she fell ill and died whilst
Richard was still away in Scotland. In her will she asked to be buried
near her first husband in the church at Stamford; and there on Richard’s
return her funeral took place. The quarrels between her son and his
uncles which she had tried to heal grew worse after her death, till they
ended in the deposition of Richard, and the choice of John of Gaunt’s
son, Henry, as king.

Joan was not in any way a great woman, but we feel that there must have
been something uncommon about her beauty and her charm for the memory of
it to have lasted as it did. It was some time after her death that the
name of the Fair Maid of Kent was given her. She is an example of the
great lady of those days, kindly, generous, loving brave men, trying to
promote peace and kindliness, but extravagant and pleasure-seeking. No
evil is told of her, and she seems to have loved both her husbands
dearly and to have won their love in return.

[Illustration: KNIGHTS JOUSTING.]



                                  III

                    JEANNE D’ARC, THE MAID OF FRANCE


ON January 6, probably in the year 1412, Jeanne d’Arc was born in
Domremy, a little village in Lorraine, the great duchy which lies on the
eastern frontier of France. Jeanne’s father was a hard-working peasant.
He owned horses and cattle and was one of the most respected inhabitants
of his village. There were no village schools in those days and Jeanne
never learnt to read and write. Her mother taught her the creed and her
prayers, as well as sewing and the work about the house. Like other
peasant girls she ploughed and worked in the fields and took care of the
cattle. She played with the other children, and used to dance and weave
garlands with them. Best of all she loved to go into the little church
and pray, so that sometimes the other children laughed at her for her
piety. She used to nurse the sick, and would even lie all night upon the
hearth in order to give up her bed to some poor person.

France was at that time in a very troubled state. The whole land was
divided into two parties, the Burgundians and the Armagnacs. The
Burgundians had made friends with the English, who under Henry V. had
conquered great part of France. Henry V. was dead, but his little son,
Henry VI., had been crowned King of France, and his uncle, the Duke of
Bedford, held Paris and many other towns in the north of France for him.
The true King of France, Charles VII., had not been crowned yet, and
many people still called him the Dauphin, the name by which the eldest
son of the King of France used to be called. He was quite young, of a
slow and lazy disposition, and had lost heart, and did not know how to
meet the difficulties which surrounded him. News of the sad state of
France must often have reached Domremy, brought by travellers of all
kinds, pedlars, pilgrims, and wandering friars, who carried the news in
those days as the newspapers do now.

When Jeanne was about thirteen, at noon one summer’s day, she was in her
father’s garden, when she suddenly saw a strange light and heard a voice
speaking to her. She was filled with fear and wondered what this could
mean. But she believed that it was the voice of God that she heard, and
after hearing it thrice, she knew it to be the voice of an angel. Twice
or thrice a week she used to hear the voice. It told her to be good and
to go often to church, and it also told her that she must go into
France. Sometimes there were several voices, and she thought they were
the voices of the Archangel Michael and of the Saints Margaret and
Catherine. Sometimes she saw their visible shapes, Michael in armour,
the Saints crowned with fair crowns. Their voices were beautiful,
gentle, and sweet, and a delicate fragrance accompanied them. We cannot
explain these visions. Jeanne herself believed that she saw and heard
the Saints, and that they guided her in all she had to do. After she had
seen them, she grew still more devout in her prayers, but though again
and again the voices told her to go into France, she waited from three
to four years wondering what this could mean, and speaking to no one of
the voices. In 1428, they told her to go to the governor of the
neighbouring town, Vaucouleurs, and ask him for an armed escort into
France, that she might save the town of Orleans, which was besieged by
the English. She answered, “I am a poor girl, who cannot ride or be a
leader in war.” But at last the day came when she felt that she could
not resist the voices any more. She did not tell her father and mother,
but she asked permission to visit a married cousin who lived near
Vaucouleurs. Then she persuaded her cousin’s husband to take her to see
the governor. The governor was a blunt, rough soldier, not at all likely
to believe in Jeanne’s mission. He could not be expected to think that
an ignorant girl of sixteen could save France, and he seems only to have
laughed at her. She went home not discouraged but quite clear in her
mind that next year she would save the Dauphin, and take him to be
crowned at Rheims, the city where the French kings had always been
crowned.

[Illustration: JEANNE IN CHURCH.]

In 1429 once more she went to Vaucouleurs. It was long before she could
get the governor to listen, but her determination never wavered. She
said, “I must be with the king by mid-lent if I wear my legs down to the
knees.” We do not know what at last prevailed upon the governor to let
her go, but she found two men who believed in her mission who undertook
to lead her to the king, and with them and their two servants she was
allowed to start. By the advice of one of these friends, she decided to
travel in a man’s dress. She wore a tunic, with breeches and boots, and
a page’s cap. The people of Vaucouleurs gave her a horse. Her friends
gathered to see her off, begging her not to go, and urging the dangers
of the journey. But she answered, “The way is made clear before me. I
have my Lord who makes the path smooth to the gentle Dauphin, for to do
this deed I was born.”

[Illustration: JEANNE HEARS THE VOICE.]

Jeanne met with no difficulties on her journey right across France to
Chinon, where the king was. At first he would not see her, but at last
she was brought into his presence, where he sat surrounded by fifty
knights in a hall blazing with fifty torches. No one told her which was
the king, but she knew neither fear nor doubt. One who was there says
that she came forward with great humility and simplicity, and spoke to
the king: “Most noble Lord Dauphin, I come from God to help you and your
realm.” The king drew her apart and spoke to her for a long time. She
told him that she would drive away the English from before Orleans, and
that she would lead him to be crowned, and she told him other things
which were kept secret between him and her; what they were she would
never tell.

The king seemed to those who were watching to rejoice at what he heard,
but he was always slow to move. He had to wait and consult many people
and test the Maid in many ways to find out whether he might trust her,
before he would let her do as she wished. In vain Jeanne prayed and
wept, longing to be allowed to bring help to the people of Orleans. She
was taken to the city of Poitiers and questioned by learned men. She was
so bothered by their many questions that when one asked, “Do you believe
in God?” she answered, “More firmly than you do.” It was six weeks
before it was decided that she might be trusted, and allowed to go to
Orleans. Then a suit of steel armour was made for her. She wished to
wear a special sword which she said that her voices had told her would
be found behind the altar at a little church near Tours. It was found as
she had said, covered with rust, which however came off easily when they
began to clean it. The people of Tours gave her two splendid sheaths,
one of red velvet and one of cloth of gold for the sword. In her hand
she carried her standard, which was white, with angels painted on it and
the motto “Jesus Maria.” She never used her sword and never killed any
one herself. Several men were chosen as her attendants and her two
brothers joined her.

[Illustration: JEANNE RIDES TO CHINON.]

When Jeanne was with the army, twice every day she gathered the priests
who were there round her banner, and they prayed and sang hymns; men
learnt to behave better for her presence. As she neared Orleans, Dunois
one of the chief men in the French army, came out to meet her, and said
that he was right glad of her coming. With him she made her way into
Orleans past the English army. She entered the city by night lest the
crowd should be too great; but many bearing torches came to meet her,
and men, women, and children pressed lovingly around her. Her business
now was to attack the forts which the English had built outside the
town. But before she would allow this to be done, she insisted that the
English should thrice be summoned to depart in peace. In her clear young
voice (she was only seventeen) she cried to them across the river, and
they shouted back insulting words saying they would burn her if they
caught her. But just as Jeanne’s coming had filled the French soldiers
with new hope and courage, so it had terrified the English. They did not
dare attack that slim figure in shining armour. At last the French from
the other side began to attack the English forts. Jeanne, worn out, was
resting on her bed, she did not know that the fighting had begun. But
suddenly she woke with a cry saying that she must go against the
English. Quickly her armour was buckled on, she sprang on her horse and
was off. On the next five days there was fighting with the English,
except on Ascension day, when Jeanne would not allow any one to go out.
On the last day, the chief of the English forts was attacked and Jeanne
led the attack. At noon as she mounted the first scaling ladder set
against the wall, an arrow struck her shoulder, piercing her armour. She
shrank and wept, but she barely paused to have her wound stanched, and
went back to the front. When the sun was sinking and men doubted whether
the fort could be taken, her voice was heard crying, “Doubt not, the
place is ours.” Her faithful followers rallied round her, and one seized
her standard and dashed forwards. “Watch,” Jeanne said, “till the tail
of my standard touches the wall.” When it did she said, “Then enter: all
is yours.” The last terrible assault carried all before it, and the fort
was won. When Jeanne saw close at hand the terrors of war, she knelt
weeping and praying for the souls of her enemies. Her first act was to
go to the church and give thanks, after that she had her wound dressed.

A few days after this glorious victory, Jeanne went with Dunois to visit
the Dauphin. Her good sense, which was one of the causes of her
wonderful success, made her wish to press on to Rheims; besides her
voices had told her that she would only have one year in which to do her
work, and she was eager to get on. But the Dauphin hesitated and
listened to other advice. “Noble Dauphin,” Jeanne pleaded, “hold not
such long and wordy councils, but come at once to Rheims and be worthily
crowned.” She could not persuade him to make haste, and the next month
she spent in taking other places from the English. A young noble saw her
at that time and wrote to his mother: “To see her and hear her speak,
she seems a thing wholly divine.”

At last her persistence was rewarded, and the Dauphin agreed to march to
Rheims. The towns on their way yielded to him, or rather to Jeanne; it
was she who ever filled her friends with courage and her foes with fear.
Rheims opened its gates to them, and preparations were at once made for
the coronation. When Charles was crowned in the great cathedral, the
Maid stood next him with her standard in her hand, and when all was over
she knelt, embracing his knees and weeping for joy, saying, “Gentle
King, now is accomplished the will of God, who decreed that I should
raise the siege of Orleans and bring you to this city of Rheims to
receive your solemn sacring, thereby showing that you are the true king,
and that France should be yours.” In less than three months she had
accomplished what she had set out from her village to do.

[Illustration: JEANNE IS WOUNDED BY THE ARROW.]

Jeanne had hoped that the day after the coronation, the king would set
out for Paris, which was in the hands of his enemies. But again there
were delays; Charles consented to make a truce of fifteen days with his
enemies. Jeanne’s good sense showed her what a mistake this was. Weary
of the struggle, she longed that it might be God’s pleasure for her to
lay down her arms and return to keep her father and mother’s sheep. But
she would not leave her task. It was nearly six weeks before she was
allowed to go against Paris, and she was so badly supported, that in
spite of her great courage the attack failed. Once she stood all day in
the ditch under the wall in the heat of the fire calling on the enemy to
yield, till she was shot in the leg. Then when her men carried her under
cover, though she could not move for her wound, she kept on crying out
to them to charge, and telling them that the place was theirs if they
would. But it was of no avail. Three days after the king decided to
retreat and go back to the Loire. During most of the following winter
there was little fighting, but in the spring once more Jeanne began to
advance on Paris. It was then, one day in Easter week, that her voices
told her that she would be captured before Midsummer day, adding that
she must take all things well for God would help her. So they warned her
every day, but never told her the hour of her captivity. Yet with this
terrible fate before her, she rode on; she knew no turning back. A few
weeks afterwards she was at Compiegne and led her men out against the
enemy. They were surprised by an unexpected attack as they rode. Thrice
Jeanne charged, and drove back the enemy, but more and more soldiers
came up; most of Jeanne’s men fled, only a few faithful ones stayed with
her. The enemy surrounded them and Jeanne was forced from her horse, and
carried off. Great was the joy of the English and their French friend,
the Duke of Burgundy, when they heard that Jeanne was a prisoner. She
was in the hands of a French noble of the English party, and was treated
as a prisoner of war, but her enemies planned to sell her to the
English, who had always said they would burn her if they could get her.
Meanwhile she was kept in the castle of Beaurevoir, and kindly treated
by the ladies of the castle. They wished her to lay aside her man’s
dress, but she refused, saying that she had not yet had leave from God.
She did not feel that her mission was ended. She was much distressed by
the stories that she heard of the sufferings of the people of Compiegne,
the town which she was trying to relieve when she was taken prisoner.
She longed to go and help them. She knew, too, that she was to be sold
to the English and she dreaded falling into their hands. So one night
she tried to escape by leaping from the tower, a height of sixty feet.
She was found lying insensible in the ditch, but with no bones broken.
She said afterwards that her voices had bidden her not to leap and had
told her that Compiegne would be saved. Now the voices comforted her,
bidding her beg God’s pardon for having leaped.

[Illustration: THE CORONATION OF CHARLES VII.]

Jeanne soon recovered from her injuries, and Compiegne was indeed
relieved, but the Maid was sold to the English after she had been some
four months a prisoner. She was carried to several different places, and
at last to Rouen, where she was imprisoned in the castle with rough,
rude men to guard her. No woman was allowed to come near her; she was
kept in chains, and night and day had to endure the company of the
soldiers. It was because she still hoped that some way of escape might
be shown her, that she would not give her promise not to try to escape.
Had she done so, she might have been more kindly treated; but her great
courage made her ready to bear anything, rather than give up the chance
of going back to her task.

Jeanne was to be tried by the Church, because the plan of the English
was to treat her as a witch inspired by devils. A French bishop,
belonging to the English party, was the chief of her judges, and with
him sat forty-three learned lawyers and clergy to judge the peasant girl
of eighteen, before whom the English army had shrunk in terror. The Maid
had already been nine months a prisoner when she was brought to trial.
She appeared dressed in a black suit like a page, strong in her
confidence in the guidance of God, and trusting in her voices to tell
her what to answer. The judges could not make her swear to answer
truthfully all their questions. She swore to speak the truth on certain
subjects, but on others, chiefly on her private communications to the
king, she said she would say nothing. First, for six long days she was
questioned in the public court, the ignorant peasant girl alone amongst
her enemies. She never faltered, her answers came quick and ready,
though often her judges wearied her by going again and again over the
same points. When they asked if she often heard her voices, she said
that there was no day when she did not hear them, and she had great need
of them. She described once how the voice had awakened her, and she had
risen and sat on her bed with folded hands to listen and to give thanks
for its coming. Always she showed that all that she had done had been
done at the bidding of God. “I would rather have been torn in pieces by
four horses than have come into France without God’s command,” she said.
She stated confidently her belief that her king would gain the kingdom
of France, adding that it was this revelation that comforted her every
day. She never complained, and said that since it had pleased God to
allow it, she believed that it was best that she should have been taken.
She said that her voices encouraged her to bear her martyrdom patiently,
for she would at last come to the heavenly kingdom. When she was asked
what she meant by speaking of her martyrdom, she answered that she meant
the pains she suffered in prison, and that she thought it probable she
would have pains still greater to bear.

For six days she was publicly examined in court, and later, on nine
other days, she was secretly examined in prison. During all this time,
in spite of her constant entreaties, she was not allowed to hear Mass.
On her way to the court she passed in front of a little chapel and she
used to kneel to pray at the entrance till even this was forbidden. When
at last her examination was finished, a long statement was drawn up in
which Jeanne was declared to be a witch and a heretic and accused of
many evil deeds. These accusations were sent to many learned men for
their opinion, and all declared that Jeanne’s voices were either
inventions or the work of the devil, and that she was a liar. Meanwhile
her judges visited her in prison and exhorted her to submit and own that
she had been deceived. It was nearly two months since the beginning of
her trial. Long sermons were preached at her; she was confused by many
questions, difficult for an ignorant girl to answer, and told that it
was her duty to submit to the Church. Again and again she answered
simply, “I submit to God my Creator.” She was ill and worn out with
suffering and anxiety. But as she lay upon her bed in prison, she still
answered bravely through her weariness, “Come what may, I will do or say
no other thing.” For a week she lay in her chains, the rude soldiers
always with her. Then again others visited her urging her to confess,
but she said, “If I saw the fire lit, if I were in the flames, I would
say no other thing.”

To the last she had hoped that deliverance would come somehow, but now
it seemed to her that she was altogether deserted. On the 24th of May
she was taken out to the stake in the market-place at Rouen, amongst a
shouting crowd of hostile people. There a statement of the accusations
against her was read out, and she said that she was willing to do as the
Church ordered, and that since the doctors of the Church had decided
that her visions and voices were not to be believed in, she would not
defend them. She was bidden to sign a paper to this effect, and told
that if she did so her life would be spared. We do not know what the
paper was that at last Jeanne in her fear and weariness, consented to
sign with her mark, and we do not know whether she understood what she
signed. But a few days afterwards she said, “My voices have told me
since that I greatly sinned in that deed, in confessing that I had done
ill. What I said, I said in fear of fire.”

Jeanne was now handed over to the Church to spend her life in prison.
She cried, “Here, some of you church folk, take me to your prisons, and
out of the hands of the English.” But her judge sent her back to the
same horrible prison with the English soldiers. A woman’s dress was
brought her and she was bidden to wear it. For three days she lay in
prison with her legs in irons and chained to a wooden beam. We do not
know exactly what happened, but on the third day, it was announced that
Jeanne was again wearing the man’s dress which she had sworn to her
judges that she would not wear again. News was at once taken to the
judges that she had relapsed, and they hurried to ask her the reason.
She pleaded that it was more convenient to wear men’s dress among men,
and said, “I would rather die than remain in irons. If you will release
me, and let me go to Mass and lie in gentle prison, I will be good and
do what the Church desires.” But there was no pity for her. It was
decided that she must be given up by the Church to the English to be
burnt. It is said that Jeanne cried piteously and tore her hair when she
was told her fate. If so, she soon regained her courage. Her last desire
was granted her; she was allowed to receive the sacrament. Then she was
led out to the market-place, weeping as she went, so that she so moved
the hearts of those who were with her and they also wept. She had to
wait in the sight of a great crowd whilst a sermon was preached at her.
When it was over, she humbly asked forgiveness of all and said that she
forgave the evil that had been done her. Some who watched were moved to
tears, but others were impatient to get away to dinner; so the bailiff
said “Away with her.” Then Jeanne was led to the scaffold piled with
faggots. She climbed it bravely, but asked for a cross to hold as she
burnt. There was none for her, till an English soldier broke his staff
and made a little cross and gave it her. She kissed it and cried to her
Saviour for help. To the last she affirmed that she was sure that her
voices had come from God and had not deceived her. As she was being
chained to the stake, she said, “Ah, Rouen, I fear greatly that thou
mayst have to suffer for my death.” Then as the smoke rose round her,
she cried upon the Saints who had befriended her, and with a last strong
cry “Jesus,” her head sank and she was free from her pain.

[Illustration: THE BURNING OF JEANNE.]

The story of Jeanne, the Maid of France, seems too wonderful to be true;
but all that we know about her is taken from the words of those who knew
and saw her, and from her own words at her trial, recorded not by her
friends but by her enemies. It is by her own words that we know her
best, and they show us her pure nature, her marvellous courage, her
perfect devotion to the task given to her. We cannot explain what her
voices were, but we know that she believed she heard them, and that
somehow this simple peasant maid was taught how to save her king. She
accomplished her task. It was she who gave the French courage in their
hour of despair, and in the end the English were driven out of the land
and Charles VII. became king of the whole of France.



                                   IV

                           MARGARET BEAUFORT


IT was in the beginning of the troubled times of the Wars of the Roses
that Margaret Beaufort was born. Her father, the Duke of Somerset, was
one of the great nobles on the Lancastrian side. He was the grandson of
John of Gaunt, son of Edward III., and Duke of Lancaster, who had
married a rich and noble heiress. Margaret was born in 1441 in her
mother’s manor of Bletsoe in Bedfordshire. Only three years after her
birth her father died, and the little girl, his only child, was left
heiress to vast estates and riches. She passed the early years of her
life at Bletsoe with her mother. Great care seems to have been given to
Margaret’s education. It was not common in those days for girls even to
be taught to write, but Margaret was bred in studious habits. She knew
French perfectly, and also some Latin, but in later life regretted that
she had not been able to gain a fuller knowledge of that language. She
was very clever with her needle and is known to have executed beautiful
embroidery. Above all she was well taught in religion and trained in
habits of piety. But the condition of a great heiress was far from
agreeable in those days. It was the custom to give her to some great
noble as his ward, and he then had the right to arrange for her marriage
as he liked. When Margaret was nine years old, the king gave her as ward
to the Duke of Suffolk, one of the most powerful men of the time, and he
had her brought to court, and wished to marry her to his son. But the
king, Henry VI., wanted her to marry his half-brother, Edmund Tudor,
Earl of Richmond. Margaret was puzzled by these different proposals, and
asked the advice of an old lady whom she dearly loved. The old lady bade
her ask St. Nicholas, a saint who was thought to care specially for
young girls, to help her in this difficult matter. Margaret prayed often
to St. Nicholas, and one night, whether she was awake or asleep she did
not know, St. Nicholas in the dress of a bishop appeared before her and
told her to take Edmund Tudor as her husband. This dream seems to have
decided the choice of her mother, and as shortly afterwards the Duke of
Suffolk fell into disgrace, it came about that Margaret was allowed to
marry Edmund Tudor, when she was not quite fifteen years old. After her
marriage she went with her husband to live at his castle of Pembroke in
Wales, his native country. Only a year afterwards he died, and a few
weeks after his death her son Henry was born. At the age of sixteen,
only a child herself, she was left a widow, with a child to take care
of.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: Emery Walker._

  MARGARET, COUNTESS OF RICHMOND.
]

The baby was small and weakly and to it Margaret gave all her care. It
was an anxious time for the members of the Lancastrian family. Their
rivals the Yorkists were beginning to rise into power, and the little
Henry, both on account of his great possessions and because through his
descent from John of Gaunt he was so nearly related to King Henry VI.,
was not likely to find them friendly to him and his mother. Margaret was
glad to stay in quiet seclusion at Pembroke Castle under the protection
of Jasper Tudor, her husband’s brother, now owner of the castle.

Even had he wished, Henry VI. could not have befriended her. He was
powerless, sometimes in the hands of those who called themselves his
friends, sometimes flying before his enemies, whilst the country was
distracted with the struggles of the Yorkists and the Lancastrians.
Margaret thought it best to seek a protector for herself and her son by
marrying Lord Henry Stafford. When Henry VI. was in power she and her
son were able to visit the court, but at other times she was only safe
in her castle in Wales. At last Edward of York became king as Edward IV.
and Henry VI. was cast as a prisoner into the Tower. Edward IV. seized
the lands belonging to the little Henry, and his mother feared lest even
his life might not be safe, so she was willing that he should escape to
France under the care of his uncle Jasper.

Henry was then fourteen. Margaret had watched anxiously over his
delicate childhood, moving him about to different places in Wales for
the good of his health. He was an intelligent boy, and once when his
uncle Jasper had taken him to court to see Henry VI., the king is
reported to have said, when he looked at him, “Surely this is he to whom
both we and our adversaries shall hereafter give place.” His tutor said
that he had never seen a boy of so much quickness in learning. But now
the poor boy had to leave his mother and his country. The wind drove him
and Jasper to land on the coast of Brittany, and when the Duke of
Brittany heard of their arrival, he ordered them to be brought to his
castle at Vannes. There he kept Henry as a sort of prisoner, but refused
to give him up to Edward IV., and though not allowed to leave Vannes, he
was at least safe.

[Illustration:

  EDWARD IV.

  From an original painting belonging to the Society of Antiquaries.
]

For fourteen years Henry was obliged to remain in Brittany, separated
from his mother. The Yorkist king, Edward IV., was on the throne, and
Margaret, separated from her son, lived as quietly as possible on her
estates in the country, anxious to save what she could of her money and
her lands for Henry. She seems to have stayed in different parts of the
country. Wherever she lived, she devoted herself to the care of the poor
and the good of the Church. Staying at one of her houses in Devonshire,
she found that the priest’s house was at some distance from the church
so that he had some way to walk to and fro. She therefore presented to
the church for ever her own manor-house, with the land around it, for
the priest’s use, as it was close to the church. She lived chiefly at
Collyweston in Northamptonshire, where she built herself a fine house.
She was deeply religious, and during these long years she spent much of
her time in prayer. She used to get up at five o’clock and spend the
hours till ten, which was in those days the hour for dinner, in
meditation and prayer. The rest of the day she spent partly in
ministering to the wants of the poor and sick, partly in study. Books in
those days, just before the introduction of printing, were scarce and
precious. Margaret busied herself with translating into English some
books of devotion from the French. Amongst other things she was the
first to translate into English part of that famous book, “The
Imitation,” by Thomas à Kempis, which has helped and comforted so many
people. We know little of her second husband, and do not know how much
he was with her. He died after they had been married twenty-two years,
and in his will he spoke of Margaret with warm love and trust. Shortly
after his death, Margaret married for a third time, Lord Stanley,
himself a widower with a large family, and one of the most powerful
nobles at the court of Edward IV. In those days great people married
more from policy than from love. Margaret probably felt that, now that
it seemed as if the power of the Yorkists was established, it would be
well for her to gain the protection of a powerful noble at court, who
might in time help to make it possible for her son to return to England.
She now left her quiet life and came to live in a great house in London
belonging to her husband. Very shortly afterwards everything was changed
by the unexpected death of Edward IV. When his brother, the Duke of
Gloucester, made himself king as Richard III., and caused his little
nephews to be murdered in the Tower, there was such discontent in
England that it seemed to the friends of the house of Lancaster a good
opportunity to destroy the Yorkist power.

[Illustration:

  RICHARD III.

  From an original painting belonging to the Society of Antiquaries.
]

Margaret’s son Henry, as the descendant of John of Gaunt, was the chief
representative of the house of Lancaster. A plan was made to make him
king and marry him to Elizabeth, the beautiful young daughter of Edward
IV. The Duke of Buckingham, one of the chief nobles of the time and till
now a friend and supporter of Richard III., was one of the chief movers
in this plot. Margaret was travelling one day on the road between
Bridgnorth and Worcester, on her way to visit a special shrine at
Worcester, when she chanced to meet the Duke of Buckingham, journeying
from Tewkesbury. He told her of the proposed plot, and she was naturally
eager to help in anything which might bring back her son to her.
Reginald Bray, a discreet man, who was in Margaret’s service and helped
in looking after her estates, was employed in communicating with Henry.
The young prince found many friends, and a fleet was got together to
bring him to England. But after he had started, a mighty storm arose,
scattered his ships, and drove him back to the coast of France with such
fury that he narrowly escaped with his life. For the moment all seemed
lost. Richard III.’s suspicions were thoroughly aroused. He knew that
Margaret had been communicating with her son, and he was very angry with
her. But he did not dare to anger her powerful husband, Lord Stanley, by
treating her too severely. He bade Stanley keep her safely in some
secret place at home, without any servant or company, so that she might
have no means of communicating with her son. Stanley himself was really
in Henry’s favour, and Richard beginning to suspect him seized his
eldest son and kept him as a hostage for his father.

[Illustration:

  HENRY VII.

  From an original picture in the National Portrait Gallery.
]

Somehow communications with Henry still went on, and in 1485 he landed
in Wales, and all men flocked to join him. Stanley, who pretended to
keep true to Richard to the last, deserted him just before the battle of
Bosworth, where Richard was utterly defeated and killed. His crown was
found hanging in a bush by Reginald Bray and brought to Stanley, who
placed it on the head of Henry crying, “Long live King Henry VII.” It
seems likely that Henry first met his mother at Leicester after the
battle. She had parted from him fifteen years before, when he was a boy
of fourteen, she met him again as King of England. The right that Henry
had to the throne came to him through his mother. She might have claimed
to be queen herself, but she never thought of doing this, nor did she
try to take any part in public affairs. Of course all her lands were
restored to her, and she was called at court “the full noble Princess
Margaret, Countess of Richmond, Mother of our Sovereign Lord the King.”
She now for the most part lived at her manor of Woking in Surrey, coming
to court only on important occasions. Henry married Elizabeth, the tall
golden-haired daughter of Edward IV., a few months after he became king,
and Margaret seems to have been with her on all important occasions.
Perhaps she may have domineered over her a little too much, for the
Spanish envoy reported to his court that Elizabeth “was a very noble
woman and much beloved, but that she was kept in subjection by her
mother-in-law, the Countess of Richmond.” At any rate, Margaret was by
her side on all great occasions. Together they watched from behind a
lattice the coronation of Henry in Westminster Abbey, and the banquet
afterwards in Westminster Hall. Together they went in state in a barge
to Greenwich to see a water fête arranged by the Lord Mayor in honour of
the king’s coronation, where, among other shows, they watched a dragon
which was carried along in a barge and spouted fire into the Thames.

[Illustration:

  ELIZABETH OF YORK, QUEEN OF HENRY VII.

  From an original picture in the National Portrait Gallery.
]

Henry VII. always treated his mother with great consideration. Margaret
seems to have been an authority on matters of etiquette, for before the
birth of his first child, Henry asked her to draw up a set of rules
about the ceremonies to be observed on the occasion. In these rules it
is stated that there were to be two cradles of tree, meaning of wood,
one large for state occasions, to be adorned with paintings and
furnished with cloth of gold and ermine fur and crimson velvet. At its
christening, the child was to carry a little taper in its hand, and 200
torches were to be borne before it to the altar. After the baptism, the
torches and the little taper were to be lit and the child was to present
the taper at the altar. It looks as if the love for grand ceremonies
which distinguished the Tudors had been started by Margaret. Her own
household was beautifully ordered. She had drawn up a set of rules for
the guidance of all the servants and the ladies and gentlemen, who made
up her household, and these rules were read aloud four times a year that
all might know and observe them. She visited in turn all her different
estates, spending some time at each so that she might see that each was
well ordered, and hear the complaints of all those who had any
grievances. She herself would constantly speak loving words of
encouragement to her servants, bidding them all to do well and to live
in peace with one another. She employed a band of minstrels of her own,
who would sometimes wander round the country and perform before the king
and the court. As was the custom in those days, many young gentlemen
were educated in her household. Her care of the sick and suffering never
failed. She would minister to them with her own hands, and twelve poor
folk to whom she gave food and raiment lodged constantly in her house.

Neither did Margaret forget her interest in study. We are told by Bishop
Fisher, who knew her well, that she was of singular wisdom far
surpassing the common rate of women. She collected a great number of
books both English and French, and she was a warm friend to William
Caxton, who first introduced printing into England, and who dedicated a
book to her which he said had been translated from the French at her
request. After Caxton’s death in 1496, his assistant, Wynkyn de Worde,
became the chief printer in London: he was much favoured by Margaret,
and allowed to call himself, “Printer unto the most excellent princess,
my lady the king’s mother.” He published books for Margaret, and amongst
others one which she had herself translated from the French.

Margaret had always been a deeply religious woman, but with growing
years she gave ever more time to her religious observances. Many hours
were spent in prayer and in services in her chapel. She observed
strictly all the fasts ordained by the Church, which were very severe in
those days, and she wore on certain days in each week a hair shirt, or a
hair girdle, next her skin in order to mortify her flesh. In 1497
Margaret appointed a learned Cambridge scholar, John Fisher, whom she
had noticed with favour at court, where he had come on business
connected with his university, to be her confessor. Fisher gained great
influence over her, and he used it for the good of his university, which
was then by no means in a prosperous condition. Margaret was always
generous with her money; Fisher says of her that she hated avarice and
covetousness, and she was glad to use her wealth to promote the cause of
learning. Under Fisher’s guidance she founded professorships at
Cambridge and Oxford, which are still called after her. The college
where Fisher had himself studied, called God’s House, was very poor, and
Margaret refounded it under the name of Christ’s College, and herself
made the statutes under which it was to be governed. She took great
interest in it, and kept some rooms in it for herself, where she might
stay when she came to Cambridge. Once when she was staying there, before
the building of the College was finished, she was looking out of the
window when she saw the dean beating a scholar who had misbehaved. She
did not interfere to stop the punishment, but only called out in Latin,
“Lente, Lente” (gently, gently), wishing that the beating might be less
severe. It was in Cambridge that the famous scholar Erasmus met her on
one of his visits to England, when she was an old lady, and admired her
good memory and her ready wit.

Before the buildings of Christ’s College were finished, Fisher won
Margaret’s interest in the foundation of another college, St. John’s. At
that time, the time which is known as the Renaissance, because art and
learning seemed to be born again, men were eager to improve the teaching
at the universities, and to make it possible for all who wished to gain
knowledge. Fisher was friends with Erasmus and other learned men, and
Margaret was willing to help with her money his plans for the
advancement of learning, just as she had helped Caxton and Wynkyn de
Worde in printing and publishing books. But though, for those days, she
was a learned woman herself, she does not seem to have thought that
other women should be helped to study, and it was only the learning of
men that she aided by her gifts.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: A. E. Walsham._

  CHRIST’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
]

Henry VII. was interested in his mother’s plans and himself visited
Cambridge to see her college. He also thought highly of Fisher, and
named him Bishop of Rochester. There seems to have been a deep affection
between Henry and his mother. Once in writing to her, towards the end of
his life, he says that he “is bounden to her for the great and singular
motherly love and affection” she has always had for him. In writing to
the king, Margaret called him “My own sweet and most dear king and all
my worldly joy,” and often addressed him as “my dear heart.” She had the
sorrow of seeing him die before her, but she did not live many months
after him. She suffered greatly from rheumatic pains in what Bishop
Fisher calls “her merciful and loving hands,” so that her ladies and
servants wept to see her agony. She died at Westminster and was buried
in Henry VII.’s chapel in Westminster Abbey, where a black marble tomb
commemorates her memory. Bishop Fisher preached her funeral sermon, and
said in it “all England for her death had cause of weeping; the poor
creatures that were wont to receive her alms, to whom she was always
piteous and merciful, the students of both universities to whom she was
a mother, all the learned men of England to whom she was a very
patroness, all the good religious men and women, whom she so often was
wont to visit and comfort.” Margaret’s plans for the foundation of St.
John’s College were not finished at her death, and Wolsey, the favourite
of her grandson Henry VIII., tried to get her lands for other purposes.
Fisher’s efforts succeeded in keeping a great deal for St. John’s,
though not so much as Margaret had meant to give. She left all her
jewels, books, vestments, plate, and altar cloths to her two colleges.
She had been specially fond of fine goldsmith’s work, and many beautiful
things had been made for her, adorned with her own emblem, a daisy, or
with the rose and the portcullis, which through her descent from the
Lancaster and Beaufort families became the Tudor emblems. Besides her
colleges, she founded several almshouses, and a school at Wimborne,
where her parents were buried. She used her great possessions as a trust
which she held for the good of the country, and for herself sought no
luxury or display, being, as Bishop Fisher says in his sermon,
“temperate in meats and drinks, eschewing banquets and keeping fast
days.”

[Illustration:

  TUDOR ROSE (WHITE AND RED).

  From the gates of the Chapel of Henry VII.
]



                                   V

                          RACHEL, LADY RUSSELL


RACHEL WRIOTHESLEY was the daughter of the Earl of Southampton and a
French Huguenot lady whom he had married when travelling in France, and
who was renowned for her beauty and virtue. Rachel was born in 1636. She
never knew her mother, who died when she was an infant. Her father
married again, and we know nothing about her relations with her
stepmother, but we know that she dearly loved her sisters, and was very
good friends with her stepsister. England was passing through troublous
times during her childhood on account of the disputes between Charles I.
and his Parliament. Lord Southampton was a sensible, moderate man, and
he could not approve of the king’s doings, but he remained true to him
and took his side when the civil war broke out. When the terrible end
came and Charles I. was beheaded in 1649, Southampton got permission to
watch by the king’s body during the night after the execution. He is
reported to have told a friend that, whilst he was watching, at about
two o’clock in the morning, he heard a step on the stair and a man
entered, muffled in a cloak, and stood by the body. He heard him sigh,
“Cruel necessity,” and knew by the voice that it was Cromwell.

Southampton’s moderation was so well known that, though he had been the
king’s friend, the Parliament did not seize his lands, and he was
suffered to live quietly on one of his estates in Hampshire. Rachel was
then about thirteen years old and must have benefited from the
companionship of her father during these quiet years. We know nothing of
her education, and she does not seem in after life to have possessed any
learning; but no doubt it was from her father she gained the good sense
and the deep religious faith which distinguished her through life. She
was an heiress since her father had no son, and only two of his other
daughters survived him. As was the custom in those days, a suitable
marriage was soon arranged for her. She was only seventeen when she
married Lord Vaughan, who died four years afterwards. All that is known
of their married life is that Lady Rachel behaved so as to win the love
of her husband’s family, who always remained her friends. When her
husband died, she went to live in Hampshire with her sister Elizabeth,
to whom she was deeply attached. Each of the sisters possessed a fine
place in Hampshire, and when Elizabeth died both these places, Tichfield
and Stratton, belonged to Rachel. Her father had lived to see the
restoration of Charles II. and to be one of his first ministers, but he
was now dead and Rachel was completely her own mistress. There was no
one to arrange a marriage for her, and she was able to choose for
herself a man whom she deeply loved. She had known William Russell, the
younger son of the Duke of Bedford, for two years before they were
married. He had shown his devotion to her for some time, but perhaps
because he was a younger son and she was an heiress, he hesitated at
first to ask her to be his wife. They were married at last in 1669, and
fourteen years of perfect happiness began for Rachel. The only real
sorrow that came to her was the death of her sister, whom she described
as “a delicious friend.” Her other sorrows were her brief separations
from her husband when he had to visit his father at Woburn.

William Russell’s elder brother had died, and he was now heir to the
dukedom of Bedford. He was not a brilliant man, but he was a very good
man, devotedly attached to his family and his friends, and very anxious
to do his duty. When they were separated, Lady Russell wrote constantly
to him, telling him all she heard that might interest him. When he had
only been gone a few hours she wrote that she could not “let this first
post night pass, without giving my dear man a little talk.” Once, when
she had gone over to Tunbridge Wells to drink the waters, she wrote:
“After a toilsome day, there is some refreshment to be telling our story
to our best friends. I have seen your girl well laid in bed, and
ourselves have made our suppers upon biscuits, a bottle of white wine,
and another of beer mingled my uncle’s way, with nutmeg and sugar. Beds
and things are all very well here: our want is yourself and good
weather.” They had three children, two girls and a boy, and her letters
are full of allusions to the eldest: “Our little girl is very well, and
extremely merry and often calls Papa. She gets new pretty tricks every
day.” And another time: “Your girls are very well; Miss Rachel has
prattled a long story, but I must omit it. She says Papa has sent for
her to Woburn, and then she gallops and says she has been there, and a
great deal more.”

Lord Russell was in Parliament, but at first he did not take much part
in public affairs; he had no ambition and liked his quiet home life
better than the bustle of public life. For many years he sat silent in
Parliament but his strong love of liberty and of the Protestant religion
at last drove him to be more active. There was much discontent with the
government of Charles II. and with the favour which he showed to the
Roman Catholics. Lord Russell joined himself with a number of others, to
whom the nickname of Whigs was given, who were anxious to maintain the
rights of Parliament, and to prevent the king’s brother James, Duke of
York, who was a Roman Catholic, from being considered the heir to the
throne. Lady Russell was very anxious lest her husband should do or say
anything rash, and even once sent him a little note to the House of
Parliament begging him to be silent. People were then very excited and
very bitter against those who thought differently from them. An
impostor, named Titus Oates, pretended to have discovered a popish plot
to destroy the king, and by his false accusations caused many innocent
men to be put to death. A few years afterwards, others pretended to have
discovered a Whig plot to kill Charles II. and his brother. Lord Russell
had not joined in any of the violent accusations made against those
opposed to him, nor had he been aware of any plot, but he was a man of
great influence, one of the leaders amongst the Whigs, and he too was
anxious to keep James from succeeding to the throne. When people were
angry and alarmed at the supposed Whig plot, the king and his friends
thought it a good opportunity to get rid of some of the Whig leaders.
There was one amongst them, Lord Howard, who was ready to secure his own
safety by betraying the others. Lord Russell knew that he was in danger,
and one day a man was set at his front gate to watch and prevent his
going out. But there was no one at his back gate so that he could easily
have escaped had he wished. This was perhaps what his enemies wanted.
But he felt that to escape would be the same thing as confession of his
guilt. He sent his wife out to ask the opinion of his friends, and they
agreed with him. So he stayed quietly at home, and the next day he was
fetched to appear before the King’s Council, and was afterwards sent as
a close prisoner to the Tower. He knew the fury of his enemies, and said
to his servant that “they would have his life;” and when the servant
answered that he hoped they would not have the power, he said, “Yes, the
devil is loose.”

From that moment, Lord Russell allowed himself no hope. He looked upon
himself as a dying man, and turned his thoughts away from this world to
another world. But his friends, of course, were eager to do everything
to save him. We can imagine what the suffering of his wife must have
been; she who had found it hard to bear a separation of a few days, had
now to face the terrible probability that he would be condemned to death
for high treason. Her first letter to him in the Tower was sent
concealed in a cold chicken. Afterwards she seems to have been able to
communicate with him more easily. Her courage was equal to her love, and
she set to work at once to try to collect evidence in his favour. Her
efforts never ceased during the fortnight which passed before he was
brought to trial, and she got hold of every possible fact that could be
urged in his defence. Moreover, she was brave and self-controlled enough
to determine to be present at his trial. She wrote to ask his leave
saying: “Your friends believing I can do you some service at your trial,
I am extremely willing to try; my resolution will hold out—pray let
yours. But it may be the court will not let me; however, do you let me
try.” When Lord Russell was brought before the Bar at the Old Bailey, he
asked for pen, ink, and paper, and the use of the papers that he had,
and said, “May I have somebody to write to help my memory?” He was told
that he might have one of his servants to write for him, and he
answered, “My wife is here, my lord, to do it.” The Lord Chief Justice
said, “If my lady please to give herself the trouble.” So Lady Russell
was allowed to be at his side to help him. He was accused of conspiring
against the king’s life, and of plotting to raise a rebellion in
England. Both these accusations he firmly denied. The witnesses against
him were men of despicable character and there is no doubt that their
evidence was false; but the jury found him guilty, and he was condemned
to death as a traitor.

There was only a week left before he was to be executed. His wife and
his friends could not give up hope. His father offered the king £50,000
if he would spare his life, and begged him not to bring his grey hairs
in sorrow to the grave. People of all kinds interceded with Charles, but
it was all in vain. Lady Russell never ceased her efforts. It was
suggested that she should try to surprise the king in the park and throw
herself at his feet, but this does not seem to have been possible. At
her earnest entreaty Lord Russell wrote to the king asking his pardon
for having been present at any meetings which may have been unlawful or
provoking to the king. But Charles never hesitated. He seems to have
regarded Lord Russell as a dangerous person. Lord Russell himself was
absolutely resigned to his fate, and only wished to be left in peace to
prepare for his death. Every day he was visited by a clergyman, Dr.
Burnet, who has left an account of his last days, and Lady Russell was
also much with him. She did not distress him by her lamentations, but
showed a greatness of spirit which was an immense comfort to him.
Sometimes when he spoke of her, the tears would come into his eyes and
he would quickly change the subject. Once he said that he wished she
would give up beating every bush for his preservation. But he realised
that it would help her afterwards to think that she had done everything
in her power, just as it helped her during those sad days to have
something to do. He was always cheerful and ready to talk and even joke
with those who came to see him, but he gave his mind chiefly to prayer
and religious thoughts, and to preparing a statement of his opinions
which he wished to be distributed after his death. On the last evening
of his life, he signed this paper and sent it to be printed. Then some
of his friends and his children came to see him, and he was calm and
cheerful with his children as usual. He bade his wife stay to supper
with him, saying, “Stay and sup with me, let us eat our last earthly
food together.” He talked cheerfully during supper on various subjects,
and particularly of his two daughters. When a note was brought to Lady
Russell with some new plan for his deliverance, he turned it into
ridicule, so that those who were with him were amazed. At ten o’clock
Lady Russell had to leave him. He kissed her four or five times, and
she, brave to the last, kept her sorrow so within herself that she gave
him no disturbance by their parting. After she was gone, he said, “Now
the bitterness of death is past,” and he talked long about the blessing
she had been to him, and what a comfort it was that in spite of her
great tenderness she had never wished him to do a base thing in order to
save his life. He said, “What a week should I have passed, if she had
been crying on me to turn informer and be a Lord Howard.” He thanked God
for giving him such a wife, and said that it was a great comfort to him
that he left his children in such a mother’s hands, and that she had
promised to him to take care of herself for their sakes. Then he turned
to think of the great change that was before him, and at last went to
bed and slept soundly. Those who were with him next morning were amazed
at the temper he was in. He thanked God that there was no sort of fear
nor hurry in his thoughts, and so he prayed and waited till they came to
take him in his coach to his execution. He was still cheerful as he
went, singing softly a psalm to himself. As they came near his own house
and then turned from it into another street, he said, “I have often
turned to the other hand with great comfort, and now I turn to this with
greater.” But as he looked towards his house, some tears were seen to
fall from his eyes. So he remained calm and cheerful till he laid his
head on the block and all his troubles were over.

We do not know and we can hardly bear to think how his wife passed those
terrible hours after she had parted from him. Seven years afterwards she
wrote: “There was something so glorious in the object of my biggest
sorrow, I believe, that in some measure kept me from being then
overwhelmed.” She was roused, only a few days after Lord Russell’s
death, to defend his memory, since it was asserted that the paper which
he had written before his death, and which had been printed and widely
read, was not his but had been written by Dr. Burnet. She wrote to the
king describing herself as a woman “amazed with grief,” and begged him
to believe that “he who in all his life was observed to act with the
greatest clearness and sincerity, would not at the point of death do so
false a thing as to deliver for his own what was properly not so.” Still
Dr. Burnet was regarded with such suspicion that he thought it wise to
leave the country for a time.

[Illustration: LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL TAKING LEAVE OF HIS CHILDREN
PREVIOUS TO HIS EXECUTION, 1683. (_After J. Bridges._)]

Lady Russell left London and went with her children to Woburn, the place
of the Duke of Bedford, her father-in-law. She had kind friends to help
her in her sorrow. The Duke of Bedford cherished her and her children
with tender affection, and for long she made her home with him. He
addressed her in his letter as his “dearest daughter,” and signed
himself “your most affectionate father and friend.” A clergyman, Dr.
Fitzwilliam, who had been her father’s chaplain and had known her from
infancy, wrote often to her, and to him she poured out her sorrow, as to
one who had known both her and her husband and had seen their life
together and therefore would be patient with her whilst her “disordered
thoughts” and her “amazed mind” made it difficult for her to speak of
anything but her grief. She had promised her husband that she would live
for her children, and to their care she now devoted herself, determining
to teach them herself, and we do not hear that her daughters ever had
any other teacher. Mr. Hoskins, her lawyer, helped her in the management
of her affairs with most tender sympathy, and tried to persuade her by
degrees to take some interest in them, so that she might not be too
entirely absorbed in her sorrow. He told her that great persons had
great trials, but also had more opportunity than common people to fit
their minds to bear them.

Her children were too young to know what they had lost, and she was
determined to do all in her power for them, and particularly for her
son, that he might not feel, if he grew to be a man, that it would have
been better for him had he had a mother “less ignorant or less
negligent.” She said that she had no choice in any matter for herself,
and could not like one way better than another, so long as what was done
was for the good of those young creatures whose service was all the
business she had in the world. But she hardly realised how dear her
children were to her, till the serious illness of her little boy showed
her what it would cost her to part with him. When he recovered she felt
that she had indeed something still to live for, and that she might be
blessed with some joy and satisfaction through her children. Her little
boy was heir to his grandfather, the Duke of Bedford, and on all matters
connected with his education she consulted the duke. Neither of them
wished to make him begin study too soon, but Lady Russell was anxious
that he should have a French tutor, that he might learn the language.
There were many Huguenots in England, who had fled from the persecutions
in France, and by engaging one of them she was able both to do a charity
and to be of use to her son.

Only two years after Lord Russell’s execution Charles II. had died and
been succeeded by his brother, James II. James II.’s attempt to upset
the authority of Parliament, and to rule by his own will alone, led to
the rebellion which, in 1688, made his daughter, Mary, and her husband,
William of Orange, King and Queen of England. Whilst these stirring
events were passing, Lady Russell was living quietly in the country, her
only fear was lest her children should run any risk. Once things were
settled, she knew that she could count upon the friendship of William
and Mary, and at the Duke of Bedford’s wish, she went with him to
London. She was full of thankfulness for the change, and wrote that it
was difficult to believe that it was more than a dream, yet it was real
and an amazing mercy. Her husband’s friend, Dr. Burnet, came over with
Mary, and was made Bishop of Salisbury. One of the first acts of the new
government was to reverse the sentence passed on Lord Russell, and the
House of Commons decreed that his execution had been a murder.

Lady Russell was now in a position of influence and importance, but she
did not change her quiet way of living. A paper that she wrote about
this time for her children shows her loving anxiety for them. In it,
after bidding them never to forget their prayers morning and evening,
she tells them about her own prayers, and how she always carried with
her a little piece of paper on which she noted her faults, that she
might ask forgiveness for them; in this way she had gained a habit of
constant watchfulness.

One of her anxieties had been to arrange suitable marriages for her
children, and it was a great joy to her when her husband’s closest
friend, the Duke of Devonshire, proposed that his son should marry her
eldest daughter. When this marriage was decided on, Lady Elizabeth was
only fourteen and Lord Cavendish not sixteen. Lady Russell had to go to
London to make the necessary arrangements, and felt it right to go more
into society, though she said that going to parties was hard for one
with a heavy and weary mind. The marriage was delayed by the bride
having an attack of measles, and when it did take place, the young
couple only spent three weeks together under Lady Russell’s care, and
then Lord Cavendish was sent to finish his education by travelling on
the continent for two years. A few years later Lady Russell married her
younger daughter to the eldest son of the Duke of Rutland, the best
match in England. When her son was only fifteen, a seat in Parliament
was offered her for him, but she refused because she thought him too
young. She had, however, already arranged a marriage for him to a girl
in whose education she took the deepest interest. He was married when he
was fifteen, but his wife stayed at home with her mother and he went to
Oxford for a year’s study, during which his mother often visited him. At
seventeen he was sent to travel abroad, as Lady Russell believed that to
“live well in the world, it is for certain necessary to know the world
well.” During his travels he caused her some anxiety for he took to
gambling, and lost so much money that when he came home, she had to ask
his grandfather for money to pay his debts. Shortly afterwards his
grandfather died, and he became Duke of Bedford. Now it seemed as if
Lady Russell’s anxieties were over, since her three children were all
happily married, but sorrow followed her to the last. Her son, in the
fulness of life and health, was seized with smallpox, the haunting
terror of those days before vaccination was discovered. His wife and
children had to fly from the infection, and only his mother, with her
never-failing courage, stayed to soothe his last moments. Shortly
afterwards her younger daughter, the Duchess of Rutland, died. Once
again a demand was made on Lady Russell’s courage. Her only remaining
daughter, the Duchess of Devonshire, had just given birth to a child; it
was feared that, if she heard of the death of her sister, the shock
might be fatal; so her mother stayed with her and did not let her learn
the truth, telling her that she had that day seen her sister out of bed,
by which she really meant that she had seen her in her coffin.

Another trouble of Lady Russell’s later life was the fear of blindness;
but she bore this calamity with patience till an operation restored her
sight. She lived till the age of eighty-eight, when she died after a
short illness, watched over by the loving care of her only remaining
child. During a long life, her courage, her love, her faith had never
failed her in spite of her sore trials. It is interesting to remember
that three of the chief families of England, the houses of Devonshire,
Bedford, and Rutland, look back to this pure, warm-hearted woman and her
murdered husband as their common ancestors.



                                   VI

                             ELIZABETH FRY


IN and round Norwich have gathered for a long time many of the chief
families belonging to the Society of Friends, the religious body whose
members are commonly called Quakers. It was founded by an earnest
Christian preacher in the seventeenth century, who taught men to lead a
true and simple Christian life, to have nothing to do with what he
considered vain pleasures, such as music and dancing, to dress very
simply, to worship in silence without any set prayers or any ordained
minister, waiting for the Spirit to move one of the members to pray or
address the meeting. The Gurneys were one of the chief families
belonging to the Society of Friends; and John Gurney, who lived at
Earlham, a nice country place near Norwich, was the father of seven
daughters and four sons. The third of these daughters, Elizabeth, was
born in 1780, and when she was only twelve years old her mother died,
leaving Catherine, the eldest child, who was not quite seventeen, to
take her place as well as she could. The Gurneys were a very happy,
lively family. They did not follow the Quaker rules strictly; they rode
about the country on their ponies, dressed in scarlet habits, and loved
dancing and singing and gaiety of all kinds. But they were carefully
educated and brought up to take a deep interest in religion. Elizabeth
was delicate, and could not study much; neither did she often go to
Meeting, as the Friends call their religious gathering, partly because
she was not strong, and partly because it bored her. One day, when she
was eighteen, she had gone to Meeting wearing some very smart boots,
which pleased her very much; they were purple, laced with scarlet. She
was restless and sat and looked at her boots. But presently a stranger
began to preach, a visitor from America. She was forced to listen, and
was so moved with what she heard that she began to weep. This was the
beginning of a great change in her; she awoke to the reality of
religion, and began to feel that she must become what was called a plain
Friend, one who followed the rules of the Society in every particular.
But first she wished to know more of the world, and, with her father’s
consent, she paid a visit to London, where she shared in a great deal of
gaiety. Still her determination to give it all up only grew stronger.
Her sisters, though they dearly loved her, did not share her ideas, and
grieved when she would not join their amusements. She found some
satisfaction in teaching poor children in Norwich, for whom there were
no schools in those days. At last many of her difficulties were settled
by her marriage, when she was twenty, with Mr. Joseph Fry, who was also
a plain Friend. His family were so strict that amongst her new relations
Elizabeth found herself the gay one of the family, instead of the strict
one as she had been in her own home.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: Emery Walker._

  ELIZABETH FRY.
]

The Frys lived in London, in the city, as business men then did; later
they lived also at Plasket House in Essex, then a beautiful country
place, but now covered by the crowded population of East Ham. They had a
large family, eleven children in all, and Mrs. Fry was devoted to her
husband and her children, but from the first she did not feel that on
their account she must give up all work for others. She visited the poor
and helped the suffering wherever she could. She was naturally timid and
unwilling to put herself forward. Amongst Friends it is the constant
habit to trust to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show both what
should be done and to gain strength to do it. As a young woman Mrs. Fry
had felt shy even at reading the Bible at family prayers in her own
house. As she grew older she began to feel that it might be her duty to
speak at the Friends’ Meetings. She seemed at last to be driven by the
Holy Spirit to do so, and though frightened beforehand, when once she
had begun all was easy. The Meeting which she attended was pleased with
her speaking and chose her for one of their regular ministers. This was
when she was thirty-one and already the mother of seven children. After
this she was a frequent speaker at Friends’ Meetings all over the
country.

The Friends as a body were always anxious to help suffering and misery
of every kind. Some gentlemen well known to Mrs. Fry, having learnt of
the miserable condition of the women in Newgate, then one of the chief
prisons in London, asked her to visit them one winter to see if she
could not do something to improve their condition. It was a terrible
scene that Mrs. Fry found when, alone with one other lady, she entered
Newgate prison in January 1813. In four rooms were crowded nearly 300
women and with them many children. Those who had been tried, and those
who had not yet been tried, were all herded together, whether guilty of
grave or trifling crimes. There was no woman to take care of them; day
and night they were under the charge of one man and his son. They had no
employment of any kind; they had no clothing supplied but what they had
on when they came. In rags and dirt they slept on the filthy floor
without any bedding, and they cooked, lived, and slept in the same
rooms. When strangers visited them, as seems to have been allowed, they
all started begging, and when they were given any money they at once
bought drink, which could be got in the prison. Their language and their
conduct were alike terrible, and the governor of the prison himself
feared to go amongst them. He begged Mrs. Fry and her companion to
remove the watches which hung at their sides lest they should be
snatched from them by the women, but they paid no heed to his warning.
The two ladies had brought with them a supply of warm garments which
they distributed amongst the wretched prisoners, and before leaving each
said a few words of prayer, which moved some of their listeners to
tears.

Mrs. Fry did not forget what she had seen at Newgate, but it was four
years before she was able to do anything more for the prisoners. She was
much taken up with family affairs, and she was often ill. She had her
own large family, and besides her many brothers and sisters, most of
them with families of their own, who all wished her to share their joys
and troubles. She was devoted in her care of her children, nursed them
when they were ill, and was so gentle and loving in her ways that all
little children loved her; but the cares of a large household were
burdensome to her and she was glad to give over the management of the
house to her daughters as they grew old enough. At Christmas 1816, she
again visited Newgate, and this time she asked to be left alone with the
women for some hours. She read to them out of the Bible and explained
what she had read. The children of the wretched women, half-naked and
pining for want of proper food and exercise, especially called forth her
pity. She spoke to the mothers about the terrible dangers of their
growing up in such a place, and said that if they were willing to help,
she would get permission to start a school for the children. The mothers
agreed with tears of joy. The governor of the prison had not much hope
that anything would come of the experiment, but he agreed to allow an
empty cell to be used as a school. A teacher was found amongst the
prisoners, a young woman, Mary Connor, who was in prison for stealing a
watch. Next day the school was opened, and so many wished to learn that
room could not be found for all in the cell. For fifteen months Mary
Connor taught the prison school with much devotion; then she was given a
free pardon, but died of consumption shortly afterwards. Mrs. Fry and a
little group of ladies, whom she interested in the work, helped her
constantly. One of these described her first visit to the prison by
saying that she felt as if she were going into a den of wild beasts. The
half-naked women begging at the top of their voices, struggled together
to get to the front of the railing which divided the room. The ladies as
they passed through to the school were horrified at the conduct of these
poor women, who spent their time in gambling, betting, swearing,
fighting, singing, and dancing.

At first it seemed as if the only thing that could be done would be to
choose out the least vicious and to try, by keeping them apart, to bring
them to a better life. No one thought it possible to do anything for the
most degraded. But Mrs. Fry, as she talked with them and got to know
them, could not give up hope of being able in some way to be of use to
all. She wanted at least to teach them some sort of work; but the
officers of the prison assured her that they would only destroy or steal
any materials she might give them. Still she was determined to find a
way, and a few weeks afterwards she wrote: “A way has very remarkably
been opened for us, beyond all expectations, to bring into order the
poor prisoners.” She was able to form a small association of ladies for
the “improvement of the female prisoners at Newgate,” and the city
magistrates gave her permission to introduce order and work into the
prison if it could be done. She and her fellow-workers made their plans,
and drew up a set of rules for the life of those prisoners who had been
tried. They then gathered the women together, told them what they
intended to do for them, and read the rules one by one to them, asking
whether they would keep them. All held up their hands in sign of
approval after each rule was read, and in the same way they chose
monitors amongst themselves to see that the rules were kept. Each day,
before work was begun, one of the ladies read the Bible and prayed with
the women. All went on so smoothly and well that every one was amazed.
After six months, the untried prisoners begged that they too might have
work provided for them, which was done.

By degrees, in spite of her desire to keep it quiet, people all over the
country began to hear of the work that Mrs. Fry was doing at Newgate,
and wrote to ask her advice to help them to improve the condition of
other prisons. The House of Commons was led to take interest in the
state of the prisons, and invited Mrs. Fry to tell what she knew about
them to a committee chosen to look into the matter. It was not only the
bad condition of the prisons that troubled her, but the nature of the
law, which then punished with death, not only as at present the crime of
murder, but also forgery and various kinds of stealing. Mrs. Fry saw
many women condemned to death, and was specially troubled by the case of
one young woman who had passed some forged notes at the request of the
man she loved. She tried in vain to obtain her pardon; and her fate
determined her not to rest until the law were changed.

In those days persons guilty of serious crime, who were not condemned to
death, were sent as convicts to some of the distant colonies. They were
taken to the docks through the streets in open waggons, shouting to the
crowd as they passed and behaving with the utmost disorder. This, too,
Mrs. Fry set herself to change. She asked that the women might be taken
in covered carriages, and promised them that if they would behave
quietly she and some of the ladies would come to see them off. Her own
carriage followed the long line of coaches which took the women, 128 in
number, with their children to the docks. When she reached the ship she
was dismayed at the miserable arrangements made for the convicts, who
were herded together with no one to care for them and nothing to do. She
succeeded in dividing them into classes of twelve with a monitor to keep
order over each, and found a corner of the ship where a school could be
arranged for the children, with one of the convicts as teacher. To get
occupation for the women she collected great quantities of scraps of
cloth of all kinds, and set them to make patchwork quilts, which she
heard would easily be sold in the colonies. In this way they were able
to earn a little money to help them when they came to settle in a new
land. She gave Bibles and prayer-books to the monitors for the use of
their classes, and made arrangements for those who wished, to learn to
read. When the day came for the ship to sail, Mrs. Fry was there to say
a last good-bye. She stood at the door of the cabin with her friends and
the captain; the women were gathered in front of her, many of the
sailors had climbed into the rigging so as to see better what was going
on, even the crews in neighbouring ships leant over the sides to watch.
Mrs. Fry opened her Bible and amidst profound silence read some verses
in her beautiful clear voice. Then she paused for a moment, knelt down
on the deck and prayed for God’s blessing, whilst many of the women
wept. After this a boat carried her to the shore, and the women strained
their eyes to see her as long as possible.

[Illustration:

  MRS. FRY READING TO THE PRISONERS IN NEWGATE, 1816.

  (_After the Picture by Jerry Barrett._)
]

Mrs. Fry’s work at Newgate was talked about everywhere. People of all
kinds—bishops, ministers of religion, great nobles, and smart ladies,
even members of the royal family—came to Newgate to hear Mrs. Fry teach
and pray with the prisoners. It became a fashionable amusement, but the
solemn scene could not fail to affect even the most frivolous. As they
listened to Mrs. Fry’s winning voice, with its beautiful silvery tones,
they forgot to think of the prisoners and thought only of the way in
which the words she had spoken touched their own lives. The silence that
followed used to be broken by sobs from prisoners and visitors alike.

Mrs. Fry gave her mind not only to teaching the prisoners and trying to
lessen their sufferings, but to studying the whole question of prison
reform. She wished to see things so changed that prisons might become
places where criminals should not only be punished but helped to become
better. She travelled all over the country, sometimes with her husband,
sometimes with her brothers, who were also zealous workers in prison
reform, visiting the different prisons. Journeys were sometimes
undertaken also to visit Friends’ Meetings and speak at them; but
wherever she went she always tried to inspect the prison, to form
ladies’ committees to visit the prisons, and to persuade the authorities
to improve their arrangements. She tried to be of use to other people
also. There was a great deal of smuggling in those days, and there had
to be many stations of coastguards to watch for smugglers. Mrs. Fry was
sorry for the dull and lonely lives led by many of these men, and with
the help of her friends provided for their use libraries of books at all
the coastguard stations.

She went to Ireland also to visit the prisons with her brother, who was
deeply interested in the same work, and later they visited Jersey.
Whenever she was in London, she paid a weekly visit to Newgate, and she
sometimes visited the men as well as the women. The Prime Minister, Lord
Melbourne, was full of admiration for her work, and helped her to get
improvements made in the care of the women and children on the convict
ships.

Mrs. Fry’s fame had spread over Europe, and when she was already
fifty-nine, with many grandchildren growing up around her, she decided
to visit France and study French prisons. Wherever she went she was
received with much enthusiasm. Some of the prisons that she saw she
admired very much, but in others she noticed much to criticise, and she
always freely expressed her opinions. In some towns in France she was
able to form committees of ladies to visit the prisons. After a second
visit she prepared a long report for the French government about the
prisons she had seen, and the reforms she thought desirable. Repeated
requests came to her to visit new places, and she made a third journey
to the continent with her brother, when they got as far as Berlin. In
Prussia she was treated with much honour by the king and queen, and by
many members of the royal family. The following year the King of Prussia
came to England, and one of the things he was most anxious to do whilst
in London was to be present at one of Mrs. Fry’s visits to Newgate. He
came to the prison accompanied by the Lord Mayor and many gentlemen.
There in one of the wards Mrs. Fry and some of the ladies were gathered
with about sixty of the poor women. She told them that the presence of
such distinguished visitors must not be allowed to distract their
attention, and she read the Bible and prayed with them as usual. The
same day the king drove out to see her at her own house in the country,
and she presented to him her large family, sons and daughters, with
their wives and twenty-five grandchildren. She writes of the day: “Our
meal was handsome and fit for a king, yet not extravagant, everything
most complete and nice. I sat by the king, who appeared to enjoy his
dinner, perfectly at his ease and very happy with us.”

Once more after this Mrs. Fry visited France, but she was growing feeble
and tired out with her many labours. She had to suffer some months of
illness, during which her daughters tended her with the greatest
devotion. She wrote herself that she was much struck in this illness
with the manner in which her children had been raised up as her helpers.
Many sorrows came to her in her last years from the death of her
relations, but suffering and sorrow did not shake her faith. She had the
comfort during the last years of her life, of hearing of all the
improvements that were being made in the prisons, to reform which she
had done so much. To the last she shared all the joys and sorrows of her
children and of the other members of her large family. For about two
years she led more or less the life of an invalid, and died in October
1845, at the age of sixty-five.

It has only been possible to tell a very little of all the work she did
for others during the years of her busy life. But whilst she did all
this public work, and influenced kings and governments in favour of
reforms, and ministered herself to the needs of the sinful and the
suffering, she never forgot her duties as a devoted wife and the mother
of a large family of children, who loved her with the deepest
tenderness. Neither did she neglect her brothers and sisters and their
children. Her public work, though it absorbed much time and thought, did
not take her away from her other duties. She remains an example of what
a woman can do who feels the call to serve others, and who does not
believe that she can refuse to obey that call even though she has a
family and a husband to care for.



                                  VII

                            MARY SOMERVILLE


MARY FAIRFAX, who grew up to be the most learned woman of her day, was
born in Scotland in 1780. Her father was a captain in the navy, and
whilst he was away with his ship, her mother, who was not at all well
off, lived quietly with her children at Burntisland, a small seaport on
the coast of Fife. She did not take much trouble about Mary’s education.
In those days it was not thought necessary that girls should learn much;
Mary was taught to read the Bible and to say her prayers morning and
evening, but otherwise was allowed to grow up a wild creature. As a
little girl of seven or eight she pulled the fruit for preserving,
shelled the peas and beans, fed the poultry, and looked after the dairy.
She did not care for dolls, and had no one to play with her, for her
only brother was some years older; but she was very happy in the garden,
and loved to watch the birds and learnt to know them by their flight.

[Illustration:
  _Photo: Emery Walker._

  MARY SOMERVILLE.
]

When her father came home from sea, he was shocked to find Mary, who was
then nearly nine years old, such a savage. She had not yet been taught
to write, but she used to read the “Arabian Nights,” “Robinson Crusoe,”
and the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He was horrified too at her strong Scotch
accent, and made her read aloud to him that he might correct it. This
she found a great trial, but she delighted in helping her father in the
care of his garden, to which he was devoted. He at last felt that
something more must be done to educate her, and said to her mother:
“Mary must at least know how to write and keep accounts.” So at ten
years old she was sent to a boarding school. The change from her wild,
free life made her wretched, and she spent her days in tears. They were
very particular in those days that a girl’s figure should be straight,
and used strange means to ensure this. Mary was perfectly straight and
well-made, but she was enclosed in stiff stays with a steel busk; bands
were fastened over her frock to make her shoulder-blades meet at the
back, and a sort of steel collar was put under her chin, supported on a
rod which was fastened to the busk in her stays. Under these
uncomfortable conditions, she and the other girls of her age had to do
their lessons. These lessons were far from interesting. The chief thing
she had to do was to learn by heart a page of Johnson’s Dictionary, so
as to be able, not only to spell all the words and give their meaning,
but to repeat the page quickly. She also learnt to write, and was taught
a little French and English grammar.

A year at this school was supposed to finish her education, and it is
not surprising that when she got home again at the age of eleven she
could not write a tidy letter. She was reproached with not having
profited better by the money spent on keeping her at an expensive
school; her mother said that she would have been content had she only
learnt to write well and to keep accounts, as that was all a woman was
expected to know. Mary was delighted to be free again, and felt like a
wild animal escaped out of a cage. She spent hours on the seashore
studying the shells and the stones, and watching the crabs and
jelly-fish. When bad weather kept her indoors, she read every book she
could find, and especially delighted in Shakespeare, but an aunt who
visited them found fault with her mother for letting her spend so much
time in reading, and she was sent to the village school to learn plain
sewing. She soon made a fine linen shirt for her brother so well that
she was taken away from school and given the charge of all the house
linen, which she had to make and to mend. But she was vexed that people
should find fault with her reading, and thought it unjust that women
should have been given a desire for knowledge, if it were wrong for them
to acquire it. Every opportunity for study was used by her, and when a
cousin lent her a French book, she set to work, with the help of a
dictionary and the little grammar she had learnt at school, to make out
the sense of it. There were two small globes in the house, and her
mother allowed the village schoolmaster to come during a few weeks in
the winter evenings to teach her how to use them. She loved to watch the
stars from her bedroom window, and to find out their names on the
celestial globe.

When Mary was thirteen, her mother spent a winter in Edinburgh, and then
at last Mary went to a school where she learnt a little arithmetic and
to write properly. An uncle gave her a piano, and she had lessons in
playing it. When they got back to Burntisland she used to spend four or
five hours daily at her piano. She also began to teach herself Latin,
but did not dare to tell this to any one till she went to stay with an
uncle who was very kind to her. She told him what she was doing, and he
encouraged her by telling her about learned women in the past, and what
was more, read Virgil with her in his study every morning for an hour or
two. Whilst staying with another uncle in Edinburgh, she attended a
dancing school, and learnt to dance minuets and reels. Party politics
were violent in those days, and Mary’s father and uncle were strong
Tories. She heard such bitter abuse of the Liberals that her sense of
justice was revolted, and she adopted Liberal opinions, which she stuck
to all her life.

Mary Fairfax was probably about fifteen when one day a friend showed her
a monthly magazine containing coloured pictures of ladies’ dresses and
puzzles. She was surprised to see strange lines mixed up with letters in
the puzzles in a way that she could not understand, and asked her friend
what they were. She was told that they were a kind of arithmetic called
algebra, but her friend could not tell her what algebra was. On going
home she looked amongst the family books to see if there was one which
would explain algebra. She could only find one about navigation, which
she studied, though she could but dimly understand it. She had no one of
whom she could ask questions, and knew that she would only be laughed at
if she spoke of her desire for knowledge, so that she often felt sad and
forlorn. But she managed to teach herself enough Greek to read Xenophon
and Herodotus. The next winter she spent in Edinburgh again and was sent
to a drawing school, and got on well with drawing; but it was not till
the following summer, when her youngest brother was studying with a
tutor, that she ventured to ask the tutor to get her books about algebra
and Euclid, and she was able to begin the studies which were to make her
famous as a mathematician. She worked very hard, for she had many
household duties to perform, and to spend much time on music and
painting, which were the only studies of which her mother approved. She
could only study mathematics by sitting up late at night, and burnt so
many candles that the servants complained to her mother, and her candle
was ordered to be taken away when she went to bed. Then she used to keep
up her studies by going over in the dark what she had already learnt.

By this time Mary was grown up, and was a remarkably pretty girl, very
small and delicate-looking. She began to go out to parties in Edinburgh,
which she much enjoyed, and where she was much admired; but all the time
she never lost sight of what she felt to be the main object of her life,
the pursuit of her studies. She painted at the art school, she practised
her piano for five hours every day, she made all her own dresses, even
her ball dresses, she spent her evenings working and talking with her
mother. To get time for her other studies, she used to rise at daybreak,
and, after dressing, wrapt herself in a blanket to keep warm, and read
algebra or classics till breakfast time. So amidst difficulties of all
kinds she struggled on with her studies; no one, except her uncle Dr.
Somerville, ever gave her any help or encouragement.

When she was twenty-four, Mary Fairfax married her cousin, Samuel Grieg,
and went to live in London. Her husband was out at his work all day and
she had plenty of time for her studies. But though he did not interfere
with what she did, he gave her no help or encouragement. He knew nothing
of science himself, and did not believe that women were capable of
intellectual work. She struggled on as best she could and took lessons
in French so as to learn to speak it. After three years her husband
died, leaving her with two little boys, one of whom did not live to grow
up. Mary went back to live with her parents; she cared for her children
with the utmost tenderness, but she still devoted herself to her
mathematical studies, and she was able to get advice and help from a
professor in Edinburgh. To get time to study she still rose early, for
during most of the day she was busy with her children, and the evening
she devoted to her father. People thought her queer and foolish, because
she did not go into society; but she did not care for their criticisms,
and made real progress in her studies.

She had several proposals of marriage, but refused them all till, in
1812, she agreed to marry her cousin, Dr. William Somerville, son of the
uncle who had been the only person to help her in her studies when she
was a girl. When her engagement was known, one of Dr. Somerville’s
sisters, who was younger than herself and unmarried, wrote to her saying
she “hoped she would give up her foolish manner of life and studies and
make a respectable and useful wife to her brother.” This made Dr.
Somerville very indignant, and he wrote a severe and angry letter to his
sister. After this none of his family dared to interfere with his wife
again. His father was delighted with his choice, for he understood and
loved his niece. Some of the family were much astonished, when in the
summer after the marriage they were staying together in the lakes, and
one of them fell ill and expressed a wish for currant jelly, to find
that Mrs. Somerville, in spite of her learning, was able at once to make
some excellent jelly.

The marriage was an absolutely happy one. Dr. Somerville loved and
admired his wife and was very proud of her learning. For the first time
she had encouragement to pursue her studies instead of having obstacles
thrown in her way. At first they lived in Edinburgh, but, in 1816, Dr.
Somerville received an appointment in London, and they moved there and
settled in Hanover Square. Many friends gathered round them, and Mrs.
Somerville enjoyed intercourse with other learned people, especially
with Sir William Herschel, the great astronomer. She not only went on
with her scientific studies, but she took lessons in painting. She and
her husband enjoyed making together a collection of minerals. They added
to it on their travels in France and Italy, which were an immense
delight to her. Several children were born to Mrs. Somerville, but only
one son of her first marriage and two daughters of her second marriage
lived to grow up. She was a devoted mother, and gave much time to the
care of her children. She gave her morning hours to domestic duties, and
was determined that her daughters should not suffer as she had done from
want of a good education. She taught them herself all the subjects she
was able to teach, giving three hours to their lessons every morning.
Her house was carefully managed, and she used to read the newspapers
diligently as she was keenly interested in politics; she read, too, all
the most important new books on all kinds of subjects. Science was her
special study, but she loved poetry and read all the great authors in
Latin and Greek as well as in French and Italian. She was very fond of
music and devoted to painting, and was very clever and neat with her
needle, and she also enjoyed society very much. Miss Edgeworth, the
novelist, after meeting her in 1822, described her as small and slight,
with smiling eyes and a charming face, quiet and modest in her ways,
with a very soft voice and a pleasant Scotch accent. She said of her:
“While her head is among the stars her feet are firm upon the earth.”

Mrs. Somerville never herself introduced learned subjects into general
talk, but when others did she spoke of them simply, and naturally
without assuming any superior knowledge. Yet, of course, other learned
people soon found out how much she knew. When she was in Edinburgh, she
had written, at the request of the editor, a learned article on comets
for the _Quarterly Review_, but she had no idea of writing any book
till, in 1827, a letter came from Lord Brougham to Dr. Somerville asking
whether Mrs. Somerville would write, for a series he was interested in,
a book on a very important French work about the stars written by the
famous astronomer, La Place. Mrs. Somerville had met La Place in Paris;
he had said of her that she was the only woman who could understand his
works, and Lord Brougham wrote that she was the only person who could
write the book he wanted, and if she would not write it, it must be left
undone. Mrs. Somerville writes herself that she was surprised beyond
expression by this letter. She thought Lord Brougham must be mistaken as
to her powers, and that it would be very presumptuous in her “to attempt
to write on such a subject or indeed on any other.” However, Lord
Brougham called in person to press his request, and at last she agreed,
on condition that no one should know what she was trying to do, and that
if she failed the manuscript should be put into the fire.

She had now to try to make time for more work in her busy life. This she
did by getting up earlier to see to her household duties, but she was
much disturbed by interruptions. People did not think that a woman was
like a man and could have any real work to do. Frequently friends or
relations would arrive when she was in the midst of a difficult problem
and say, “I have come to spend a few hours with you.” She had no other
room to work in but the drawing-room, and as soon as the bell warned her
of a visitor, she used to cover up her books and papers with a piece of
muslin so that no one should know what she was doing. She learnt by
habit to put up with interruptions, and to go back at once when alone
again, to the point where she had left off. She did her work in the same
room where her children prepared their lessons after she had taught
them, and she was never impatient when they brought their little
difficulties to her, but answered them quickly and quietly and went back
to her own work. She could so abstract her mind that even talking or
practising on the piano did not disturb her.

When the book was finished and sent to be looked at, Mrs. Somerville
felt very nervous as to what might be thought of it. It made her very
happy and proud when the great astronomer, Sir John Herschel, wrote to
say that he had read it with the highest admiration, and added: “Go on
thus and you will leave a memorial of no common kind to posterity; and,
what you will value far more than fame, you will have accomplished a
most useful work.” Her book was received with immense praise. The
scientific societies hastened to show her honour; her bust was ordered
to be executed by the great sculptor, Chantrey, and placed in the hall
of the Royal Society of London, and at the prime minister’s request, the
king granted her a pension of £200 a year. The relations who had found
fault with her ways were now astonished at her success, and were loud in
her praise; but most of all she valued the deep delight of her husband,
who had always encouraged her, and whose pride in her knew no bounds.

After this success other scientific books were written by Mrs.
Somerville. Much of her work was done in Italy, where they went on
account of Dr. Somerville’s health. In Rome, as in London, Mrs.
Somerville never allowed anything to interfere with her morning’s work,
but in the afternoon she enjoyed keenly going about to see the wonderful
sights of the city or making excursions into the country. She wrote to
her son in 1841 that she had undertaken a book more fit for the
combination of a society than for a single hand to accomplish. This was
her book on Physical Geography, with which she was at first so
dissatisfied that she wished to burn it. But her husband begged her to
send it to Sir John Herschel, who advised that it should be published,
and it went through six editions.

In 1860, Mrs. Somerville had the great sorrow of losing her husband, who
died in Florence at the age of eighty-nine. One who knew them well and
had only lately seen them together, spoke of them as giving the most
beautiful instance of united old age. Mrs. Somerville continued to live
in Italy with her two daughters, first in Spezzia and afterwards in
Naples. To the last she worked on, writing a new book, bringing out new
editions of her old books, and working at them so as to include in them
the latest scientific discoveries. She used to study in bed every day
from eight in the morning till twelve or one o’clock. A little bird, a
mountain sparrow, was her constant companion for eight years and would
sit and even go to sleep on her arm whilst she wrote. It was a real
sorrow when one day it disappeared and was found drowned in a water jug.
She still painted, and enjoyed sketching the beautiful view that could
be seen from her windows.

[Illustration: SOMERVILLE COLLEGE, OXFORD.]

In 1869 there was an agitation in England to gain for women the right to
vote in Parliamentary elections. Mrs. Somerville thought decidedly that
women ought to have the vote and signed petitions for it, and she felt
it to be an honour to be put on the General Committee for Woman Suffrage
in London. She thought that in many ways the laws were unjust to women,
and also that there was still a strong prejudice against the higher
education of women. She was much interested in all that was being done
in England to improve girls’ education, remembering well her own
difficulties as a girl, and heard with much delight of the establishment
of the women’s colleges at Cambridge. After her death one of the first
women’s colleges at Oxford was named after her, Somerville College. In
1868 she was much interested in a tremendous eruption of Mount Vesuvius,
the volcano which she could see from her windows on the other side of
the bay of Naples. Day after day she watched with a telescope the
glowing streams of lava and the flame and smoke which burst from the
mountain, carrying with it great rocks into the air. It was a great
pleasure to her to see some distinguished men of science, who came from
England to see the eruption, and who spent an evening with her, during
which she enjoyed much scientific conversation.

Mrs. Somerville lived to a great old age. When she was ninety her
eyesight and the powers of her mind were still perfectly good. She still
studied science and the higher mathematics in the early morning hours,
afterwards she would read Shakespeare or Dante, or Homer in the
original. She regularly read the newspapers, and enjoyed a cheerful
novel in the evening, or a game of bezique with her daughters. It was
for her a constant joy to watch the sunsets over the bay of Naples: the
flowers or seaweeds which her daughters brought in from their walks, or
the tame birds she had in her room, were always a delight. She had ever
been deeply religious, and everything in nature spoke to her of the
great God who had created all things, whilst the laws which were
revealed to her in her scientific studies gave her ever new cause to
love and adore her heavenly Father. Friends from England and Italy came
often to see her, for she was much beloved. Her only infirmity was that
she was very deaf; but no one, young or old, thought it a hardship to
sit by the little, sweet, frail old lady and tell her about the things
that were going on in the world outside in which she still took so keen
an interest. Even when she was ninety-two she would drive out sometimes
for several hours. She often forgot recent events and the names of
people, but she wrote herself at the age of ninety-two: “I am still able
to read books on the higher algebra for four or five hours in the
morning, and even to solve the problems. Sometimes I find them
difficult, but my old obstinacy remains, for if I do not succeed to-day
I attack them again on the morrow. I also enjoy reading about all the
new discoveries and theories in the scientific world and in all branches
of science.” She thought much of the last journey that lay before her,
but wrote that it did not disturb her tranquillity, for though deeply
sensible of her utter unworthiness, she trusted in the infinite mercy of
her Almighty Creator. Tended by the loving care of her daughters, she
was perfectly happy. Her beautiful life ended in perfect peace and her
pure spirit passed away so gently that those around her scarcely
perceived that she had left them. She died in her sleep one morning at
the age of ninety-two.



                                  VIII

                          JULIA SELINA INGLIS


THERE were many brave Englishwomen in India during the terrible days of
the Indian mutiny, many as brave as Mrs. Inglis, but we are able to know
what she went through at the time, because of the diary which she kept
and in which she wrote down what happened day after day, and in reading
about her adventures we can imagine something of what others suffered.
She was the daughter of a great lawyer, who became Lord Chancellor and
the first Lord Chelmsford, and when she was twenty-eight she married
Colonel Inglis, a brave soldier, and went out with him to India. Six
years afterwards the mutiny broke out, caused by the discontent of the
native troops, who turned upon their English officers. Lucknow was in
the heart of the most disaffected district. Lieutenant-Colonel Inglis
had gone there with his regiment, the 32nd, in January 1857; his wife
and their three little boys were with him, and they lived together in a
pleasant little bungalow. Sir Henry Lawrence was the Commissioner, as
the governor of a district of India was called. He was very anxious
about the state of affairs, and as the months passed and news came to
Lucknow of the outbreak of the mutiny in other parts, he daily expected
that the native troops in Lucknow would mutiny also. On the 16th May
they heard that the great city of Delhi was in the hands of the
mutineers. Then Sir Henry Lawrence ordered that the wives and children
of the officers at Lucknow should leave their own houses and come into
the Residency, the place in the centre of the city where the
Commissioner lived, and near which the troops were quartered. This he
thought he could defend against the natives if they should mutiny. He
invited the ladies belonging to the 32nd regiment to stay in his house
that they might be near their husbands.

Mrs. Inglis got herself and her children ready as quickly as possible,
and then rode up and down the road outside her house waiting for the
officer who was to escort them. It was an hour before Colonel Case
arrived with a troop of cavalry. He rode in front and Mrs. Inglis
followed on her pony with the other ladies and the children behind them.
The city was as quiet as if it were asleep, and they reached Sir Henry
Lawrence’s house in safety. Mrs. Inglis writes: “I think it was the
longest day I ever passed, as, of course, we could settle to nothing.
John [her husband] came in the evening and read the service with me; he
told me he did not think we should ever return to our house.” At dinner
she sat next Sir Henry, who was very grave and silent. About 130 English
women and children took refuge in the Residency, and were given rooms in
the different houses and offices there. In Sir Henry Lawrence’s house
there were eleven ladies and fifteen children, and in spite of all he
had to do, he took endless trouble to make them comfortable. Mrs. Inglis
had a small room for herself and her three children. Colonel Inglis had
to stay with his soldiers, and she used to drive with her friend Mrs.
Case to camp that they might spend a little time each day with their
husbands. These visits were a great treat to them, but they had to
return before dusk, and even so, driving through the city was not very
prudent, as there were many ill-looking men about. Mrs. Inglis drove her
pony herself and went at a very good pace. At first she was cheerful
enough and inclined to laugh at the absurd reports that reached them,
till her husband checked her, saying, “It’s no laughing matter, the most
dreadful reports reach us daily.” From that moment she realised the true
seriousness of their position. The very next day she was just going to
bed when a gentleman knocked at her door and bade her bring her children
and come up to the top of the house immediately. She dressed them as
quickly as possible and hurried to the roof and found all the inmates of
the house gathered together looking towards the camp where many tires
were blazing. The chaplain offered prayer, and the men prepared to
defend the position in case they were attacked. At midnight a note came
to Mrs. Inglis from her husband, and every one crowded round her to hear
the news. He said that for the moment the rising was over, and he did
not think that it had been general. Then they all lay down to rest. But
at noon the next day, they heard of a rising all over the city, and
every one was bidden to come to the Residency for safety. There was
terrible confusion and excitement, every one fearing the worst. A few
minutes’ talk with her husband, who came in the evening, was a great
comfort to Mrs. Inglis. She had to share her small room now with her
friend Mrs. Case and her sister. Everything possible was done to
strengthen their position. About 765 native troops had remained
faithful, and they with 927 European troops were quartered in houses all
round the Residency, which were connected by a hastily built wall. Many
native servants were faithful to their masters, and Mrs. Inglis had a
devoted native butler and nurse, who did all they could to help her. Her
husband had a little room in the house, so she could see him sometimes
for a few minutes, but he was terribly busy. Morning and evening the
chaplain read prayers, and every Sunday there were services, which were
a great comfort.

On June 13th, Mrs. Inglis asked her husband if he thought the enemy
would attack them and if they would be able to hold out. He answered
that he believed that they would be attacked, that their position was a
bad one, and they would have a hard struggle. She says she was glad to
know what to expect, as it enabled her to prepare for the worst. She
describes their life as most wearisome. The heat was very great; it was
impossible to read much, but they occupied their time in making clothes
for the refugees, and this employment was a comfort. She always slept
with her children on the roof of the house, and the nights in the open
air were very pleasant. The view of the city and the country around was
very beautiful, and so calm and peaceful that it was impossible to think
it could be the scene of war. Colonel Inglis slept in the garden with
the soldiers. Occasionally he managed to come during the day into his
wife’s room for a few minutes. She never left the house, except once for
a walk with the chaplain to see the fortifications. The church was used
for service for the last time on June 14th, after that it was turned
into a storehouse for grain. Mrs. Inglis herself laid in all the stores
she could get, sugar, arrowroot, beer, wine, and food for the goats who
supplied milk for the children.

About this time Mrs. Inglis began to feel ill, and it was discovered
that she had the smallpox. She wished to be moved to a tent so as not to
expose others to infection, but it was decided that the risk would be
too great; for it was known that a great force of rebels were
approaching the city, and that they would soon be besieged. All the
troops in Lucknow were now brought in from the camp and stationed in and
about the Residency and a fort near by. Then, on June 30th, some of them
were ordered out to meet and drive back the rebels. But the natives with
the guns proved faithless and deserted the English, so that the force
had to retreat. Mrs. Inglis, ill though she was, could not stay in bed,
and posted herself at the window to see the sad sight of the troops
straggling back in twos and threes. She and her friend Mrs. Case were in
terrible anxiety about their husbands. Just then Colonel Inglis came in;
he was crying, and, after kissing his wife, he turned to Mrs. Case and
said, “Poor Case.” Mrs. Inglis writes that never will she forget the
shock of his words, nor the cry of agony from his widow. Colonel Inglis
had to leave them at once. In all the horror of the moment there was no
time for thought. The rebels were firing heavily on the Residency, and
the room was not safe. Hastily collecting a few necessaries, Mrs. Inglis
and her children took refuge with the other ladies in a room below,
which was almost underground; the shot was flying about so quickly that
they could not venture out, and not long after they had left their room
upstairs a shell fell into it. Fortunately her native servants were
faithful, and brought them food during the day.

[Illustration: THE GATEWAY OF THE RESIDENCY, LUCKNOW, SHOWING MARKS OF
SHOT AND SHELL ON THE BRICKWORK.]

At night the firing grew less, and Colonel Inglis came in to take them
over to a room he had prepared for them in a building which had been the
gaol, and which was fairly safe. It was only 12 ft. by 6, and there she
and her children stayed with Mrs. Case and her sister. They were all so
worn out with wretchedness that they slept that night. Next day they did
what they could to make their room comfortable. It had neither doors nor
windows, only open arches, and they hung up curtains to make some sort
of privacy. Though the smallpox was then at its height, Mrs. Inglis
suffered no harm from the anxieties of that terrible day; but she was
alarmed lest her children should catch the disease, as she could not
keep them from her bed. But fortunately they did not take any harm, and
she seems to have recovered quickly. There were two wells in their
courtyard, so that they had a plentiful supply of water, and for the
moment there was plenty of food.

The next day another terrible attack was made by the rebels. As they sat
trembling in the midst of the heavy cannonading, feeling sure that the
enemy must get in, Mrs. Case proposed that they should say the litany,
which they did, she and her sister kneeling by Mrs. Inglis’s bed. Mrs.
Inglis writes that the soothing effect was marvellous; they grew calm in
spite of their alarm. Next morning Sir Henry Lawrence was wounded by a
shell that burst into his room. There was no hope of his recovery, and
after three days of awful suffering, nobly borne, he died, leaving the
entire command to Colonel Inglis. Day after day one or other of the
little garrison or of the women were hit by shells. The chaplain was
shot whilst shaving one morning. Mrs. Inglis watched anxiously over her
children, who grew pale and thin from the confinement and the terrible
heat. July 16th, was her little boy’s birthday, and she thought sadly of
the other children of his father’s regiment who on that day used to have
a dinner and a dance in his honour. She did not know that on that very
day those other poor children were murdered by the rebels at Cawnpore.

Every day the anxiety grew. They had hoped before this to hear of
English troops coming to relieve them, but no news came. There was
nothing to be done but to wait and try to keep back the rebels, whose
attacks were constant. Death was always near. One evening Mrs. Inglis
was standing outside the door with her baby in her arms when she heard
something whiz past her ears. She rushed inside, and afterwards found a
piece of shell buried in the ground just where she had been standing.
Her children were her greatest comfort, and as she had them to amuse and
look after she never had an idle moment. Sometimes she tried to read
aloud, but it was impossible for them to fix their minds on a book. In
their games the children would imitate what was going on around them.
They made balls of earth and threw them against the wall saying that
they were shells bursting. Johnny, the eldest boy, would hear where a
bullet fell and run and pick it up whilst it was still warm. They slept
through all the firing and never seemed frightened.

Sunday services were regularly held, and again and again at the worst
moments prayer was their only support. Mrs. Inglis used to visit the
other ladies as much as she could; and, being of a hopeful nature
herself, managed to raise their spirits. Her own best moment in the day
was in the early morning, when her husband used to come to see her and
sit outside her door drinking his tea. One day a shell burst in their
own courtyard; the children were playing about and for a moment her
anxiety was intense, till she saw that they were all safe. Tales of
hairbreadth escapes were heard daily; one doctor had his pillow under
his head shot without his being hurt. But there were many who did not
escape and the condition of the wounded in the heat and the crowded
hospital left little hope of recovery. Anxiety and constant work turned
Colonel Inglis’s hair grey during the long suspense. Their position was
growing desperate. He knew that General Havelock was trying to fight his
way through the rebels and come to their help, for a native spy carried
letters between the two commanders, written in Greek characters and
rolled up and hidden in a quill. General Havelock wished Colonel Inglis
to be ready to help his approach by an attack from inside, but Colonel
Inglis was obliged to write on August 16th, after more than six weeks of
siege, that this was impossible, owing to the weak condition of his
shattered force. Food was growing scarce, and there was much sickness.
On one evening five babies were buried.

It was not till near the end of September that the sound of distant guns
struck Mrs. Inglis’s ear one day and told her that relief was near. Each
boom seemed to her to say, “We are coming to save you.” Five days
afterwards, on September 25th, at six in the evening, she heard
tremendous cheering and knew that the relief had come. She was standing
outside her door, when a soldier came rushing up to fetch the Colonel’s
sword, which he had not worn since the siege began. A few minutes
afterwards the Colonel himself entered, bringing with him Colonel
Havelock, a short grey-haired man. He had fought his way in with the
relief force. He shook hands with Mrs. Inglis, saying that he feared she
had suffered a great deal. She could hardly speak to answer him, and
only longed to be alone with her husband. Colonel Inglis felt the same,
and after taking Havelock out, returned in a few minutes, and, kissing
her, exclaimed, “Thank God for this.” For a brief moment there was
unmixed happiness. Then the thought rushed into her mind of all the
others whose lot was so different from hers and whose dear ones had
perished in the siege.

A moment later a messenger came asking if they had any cold meat for
starving officers, and very soon Mrs. Inglis learnt how severely those
who had come to their rescue had suffered as they fought their way in
through the narrow streets of the town. She also heard of the wonderful
scene when they at last got in and met the besieged. On all sides were
hand-shakings and warm greetings, the relieving soldiers lifting the
children of the besieged in their arms and kissing them. But little by
little Mrs. Inglis realised that, though relieved, they were not
rescued. The soldiers who had fought their way in under Outram and
Havelock were not enough to drive back the enemy or even to take the
women and children safely out of Lucknow. They were only able to help
them to resist the besiegers, and their presence increased the anxiety
about the supply of food, which was getting very low and had to be used
with the greatest care. The number of wounded was also terribly
increased, and the state of the overcrowded hospital and the want of all
the things needed for the care and comfort of the patients added greatly
to their suffering. The only chance now was to hold out till the coming
of Sir Colin Campbell with more troops, and meanwhile the attacks of the
enemy increased in fury; there was constant firing and no place was
really safe, so that Mrs. Inglis was never easy if her children were out
of her sight.

During the siege, Mrs. Inglis had found a little white hen which used to
stay about their room and be fed by her children. When food grew scarce
they decided to kill and eat it; but that very morning Johnny ran in
exclaiming, “O, mamma, the white hen has laid an egg.” One of the
officers, whose leg had been cut off, was very ill and weak, and Mrs.
Inglis at once took the egg, a great luxury in those days, to him. The
hen laid an egg for him every day till he died and then ceased for the
rest of the siege, but they would not kill it after that.

It was not till the middle of November, seven weeks after the coming of
Havelock, that they knew that Sir Colin Campbell was near. It was
Colonel Inglis’s birthday, and they invited another officer to dinner,
and actually had a fruit tart for dinner, a luxury which Mrs. Inglis
would not have dreamt of had not her hope of relief been high. Little
Johnny ran out to call their guest, screaming at the top of his voice,
“Come to dinner; we’ve got a pudding.”

It was November 17th, a most anxious, exciting day, when Sir Colin
Campbell at last reached Lucknow. He did not come inside the
entrenchments, and when Colonel Inglis arrived very late to dinner it
was with the bad news that they were all to leave the Residency the next
evening. Sir Colin did not think he was strong enough to recapture the
town, and felt that the utmost he could do was to carry off in safety
the garrison and the women and children. It was a bitter blow to Colonel
Inglis to be told that he must leave in the hands of the enemy the place
which he had so long defended at such terrible loss. He offered to stay
and hold it if 1000 men could be left to him and the women and children
removed; but it was not allowed, and there was nothing to do but to
obey. There was a hurried packing of all such things as could be taken
with them. The women and children started, late on the afternoon of
November 19th, to leave the place where they had been closely besieged
for nearly five months. The road by which they were led out of the town
was considered safe, except in three places on which the enemy were
firing at intervals. There an officer carried the children and they all
ran as fast as they could, but Mrs. Inglis did not feel in the least
afraid. In a large garden in the outskirts of the town they found the
other women and children, and the officers of Sir Colin Campbell’s
force, who were all most kind, and feasted them with tea and bread and
butter, which were great luxuries. Sir Colin came and talked to Mrs.
Inglis for some time and was most attentive, but she said that all the
while she knew that he was wishing them very far away, and no wonder,
for without the women and children to take care of, he would have been
free to attack the enemy. It was ten at night before they started on
their journey with an escort of soldiers. Mrs. Inglis with her three
children and three other ladies and another child were squeezed tightly
together in one bullock waggon. She had only just got her baby to sleep
when the word halt was called, silence was ordered, and all lights were
put out. Clearly an attack was feared, and she was terrified lest her
baby should begin crying again and betray where they were. After waiting
in absolute silence for a quarter of an hour, the order was given to
move on, and in two hours they reached a camp where tents had been got
ready for them and food prepared and they could lie down and sleep. Next
morning some of the officers invited Mrs. Inglis and her friends to
breakfast, and she writes that, though she hopes she was not very
greedy, she much appreciated the good things with which their table was
loaded. The next day she had the great joy of receiving the home letters
from her mother and friends in England which had been accumulating for
five months, and she was able to write home herself.

Colonel Inglis had been left behind to bring out the garrison, which he
did at night without the loss of any men. It was an immense relief to
Mrs. Inglis when he reached the camp in safety. The next day they
started on their march, the great procession of carriages and carts with
the women, children, and luggage, guarded by the soldiers. They could
only move very slowly and often had to stop because the carriages and
carts got hemmed together. Several days were spent in this way. Mrs.
Inglis could not see her husband every day, and great was her joy when
he could visit her for a few minutes. She tells how on Sundays, if he
came, they read the service together, and how at another time she could
have a quiet walk and talk with him. They passed through Cawnpore, where
a bright moon shone on the ruined houses, and everything reminded them
of the horrors that had taken place there a few months before, when
their fellow-countrywomen with their children had been cruelly butchered
by the rebels. Eighteen days after leaving Lucknow they reached the
railway. It had been a most trying and fatiguing journey, especially for
the sick and wounded, over rough roads, in crowded, jolting carts. The
train took them to Allahabad, where they were received with enthusiastic
cheering from the crowds gathered to greet them, a reception which Mrs.
Inglis felt most overpowering. At last they were in a safe place and
could rest. By degrees steamers carried them down the Ganges to
Calcutta. Mrs. Inglis was glad to linger amongst the last, for her
husband was at Cawnpore with the troops, and at Allahabad she could hear
daily from him. She begged him to let her stay where she was, instead of
going back to England, but he would not consent. As she travelled down
the Ganges to Calcutta, a wearisome journey of three weeks in an
overcrowded steamer, she heard from her fellow-passengers the stories of
their hardships and losses. It was wonderful to think that she and her
husband and three children were all safe. Strangely enough their dangers
were not over yet, for the steamer that was taking them from Calcutta to
England struck a rock and the passengers had to make their escape in
small boats through the heavy surf. The waves were very high, and seemed
as if they would swamp them, but little Johnny laughed merrily each time
they broke over the boat. Fortunately they were picked up by a passing
ship, and ultimately reached England in safety. Colonel Inglis stayed
for some months in Cawnpore, but then his health broke down, which was
not surprising after the terrible time he had been through. He was
forced to ask for leave and was able to join his wife in England.



                                   IX

                          FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE


FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE, who has done so much to improve the nursing of the
sick, was born on May 12, 1820, at Florence, in Italy, and was named
after her birthplace. Her parents soon went back to live in England,
where her father owned a country-house, called Lea Hurst, in Derbyshire.
They spent their summers in Derbyshire, and in the autumn moved to
Embley Park, in Hampshire, another house belonging to Mr. Nightingale.
Florence grew up loving the country and the country people who lived
round her home. As a little girl she was very fond of dolls, and used to
pretend that they were ill, and nurse them, and bandage their broken
limbs, with the greatest care and skill. She was devoted to animals and
had many pets for whom she cared tenderly. Once, when she was out riding
on her pony, she came upon an old shepherd whose dog had had his leg
hurt by some mischievous boys. The shepherd thought that there was
nothing to be done but to kill the dog to put it out of its misery. But
Florence begged to be allowed to try to cure it. The leg proved not to
be broken, and Florence poulticed it so cleverly that the dog was soon
well again.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: London Stereoscopic Co._

  FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.
]

Florence was educated at home. Her father was very particular about her
studies, and she learnt well and quickly. Even as a child she loved to
visit sick people, and as soon as she was grown up, she spent most of
her time in the cottages and in the village school. The old and the sick
loved her visits, and her gentle, clever ways did much to ease their
suffering. For the children, she invented all kinds of amusements, and
delighted in playing with them. She also held a Bible class for the
elder girls. So far her life had been spent much like that of many other
English girls. She was pretty and charming and known to be very clever;
she had travelled a good deal, and her home-life, with parents who
delighted in her and one sister to whom she was devoted, was absolutely
happy. But every year her interest in nursing the sick grew stronger.
She had been much impressed by meeting Elizabeth Fry, and by hearing
from her of the Institute of Kaiserswerth in Germany, where deaconesses
were trained for nursing the sick poor. In order to find out how the
sick were nursed in her own country, she visited some of the chief
hospitals, and was grieved to find what ignorant, rough women the nurses
were. They had no training, and did little for the comfort of the
patients; the hospitals were dirty and badly kept, and the nurses were
much given to drinking. Miss Nightingale also travelled in France,
Germany, and Italy to visit the hospitals. There she found things on the
whole much better, as the nursing was mostly done by nuns, or Sisters of
Charity, religious women who had given their lives for the service of
their fellow-creatures.

When she was twenty-nine, Miss Nightingale decided to go herself to
Kaiserswerth to study nursing. She spent only a few months there, but
she was delighted with what she saw and learned. Many years afterwards
she wrote: “Never have I met with a higher love, a purer devotion than
there. There was no neglect. The food was poor—no coffee but bean
coffee—no luxury but cleanliness.” She was much loved at Kaiserswerth;
and an English lady who was there eleven years afterwards was told that
many of “the sick remembered much of her teaching, and some died
happily, blessing her for having led them to Jesus.” Miss Nightingale
wrote a little book about Kaiserswerth, in which she urged that women
should be encouraged to work, and should be trained properly for their
work. She herself at first used the knowledge that she had gained in
tending the poor who lived near her own home. After a while, she moved
to London that she might be able to help in other charitable work. She
was interested in a Home that had been started for sick governesses,
which she heard was in a very unsatisfactory condition, and went to live
there herself, shutting herself off from all society that she might care
for the sick women in the Home, and arrange for its proper management.
She was not at all strong, and after a time grew ill from the strain of
too much work and had to go back to the country to rest.

It was about this time that England and France declared war on Russia,
and the Crimean War began. England had not been at war for forty years,
and the army was in no way well prepared. The country rejoiced to hear
of the victory of the Alma won over the Russians, but people learnt with
indignation of the sufferings of the soldiers after the battle. Nothing
was ready for the care of the wounded, even food and clothing were
scarce. Letters from the Crimea told terrible stories of the sufferings
of the men. The French had fifty Sisters of Mercy to tend their sick,
but the English had no female nurses. In the _Times_ newspaper, a long
letter, giving an account of the terrible state of things, was
published, which ended with these words: “Are there no devoted women
amongst us, able and willing to go forth to minister to the sick and
suffering soldiers of the East in the hospitals at Scutari? Are none of
the daughters of England, at this extreme hour of need, ready for such a
work of mercy?” Many were stirred by this appeal and sent in offers of
help to the War Office. Mr. Sidney Herbert, the Minister for War, was
eager to send the needed help, but he felt that to send out women not
trained for such work would be useless. He knew Miss Nightingale
intimately, and it seemed to him that she was the one woman in England
whose character and training fitted her to take the lead in this matter.
He got the permission of the government to ask her to undertake the post
of Superintendent of Nurses for the Crimea. Then he wrote to her to tell
her the state of affairs. A large barrack hospital had been set apart
for the sick and wounded soldiers at Scutari on the Bosphorus. Here the
wounded were brought by ship from the Crimea. Masses of stores were
being sent out, but there were no female nurses, and as women had never
been employed to nurse soldiers, there were no experienced nurses ready
to go, though many devoted women had offered their services. Mr. Herbert
felt that there would be great difficulty in ruling the band of
untrained nurses, and in making the new arrangements work smoothly with
the medical and military authorities. He told Miss Nightingale that, if
she would go, she should have full authority over the nurses, and the
support of the government in all she might wish to do. He said that the
whole success of the plan depended upon her willingness to go, and that
her experience, her knowledge, her place in society gave her the power
to do this work which no one else possessed. In those days it was quite
a new thing to think of a lady being a nurse at all, and quite an
unheard-of thing that a lady should go to nurse soldiers. Mr. Herbert
thought that if this new plan succeeded, it would do an enormous amount
of good both then and afterwards.

Miss Nightingale too, had read the letter in the _Times_, and was
thinking over it in her home in the country. Before Mr. Herbert’s letter
reached her, she wrote to him of her own accord offering her services to
go as nurse to the hospitals at Scutari. The moment had come for which
unconsciously she had been long preparing, and she was ready for the
work which came to her. Her letter crossed Mr. Herbert’s. It was written
on October 15, 1854, and immediately it was announced in the _Times_
that Miss Nightingale had been appointed Superintendent of Nurses at
Scutari. She at once set to work to collect the band of thirty-eight
nurses whom she was to take out with her. There were a few Institutions
in existence for training nurses, and to these Miss Nightingale appealed
for volunteers. Twenty-four of those she took out came from such places.
Six days after she had made her offer to go, she was ready to start with
her band complete. They crossed the Channel to Boulogne, where the
people had heard of their coming; the fishwives turned out to meet them,
and insisted on carrying their bags from the boat to the train. They,
too, were interested in the war where English and French soldiers were
fighting side by side, and as they walked with them they begged the
nurses to take care of any of their dear ones should they meet them.
With tears and warm shakes of the hand they bade farewell to them,
crying, “Long live the sisters,” as the train carried them away.

On November 4th, Miss Nightingale and her nurses reached Scutari, where
the poor men in hospital had heard of their coming, but could not
believe the good news. One man cried when he saw them, exclaiming, “I
can’t help it when I see them. Only think of English women coming out
here to nurse us! It seems so homelike and comfortable.” It was a
terrible state of things that Miss Nightingale found in the hospitals.
The filth, misery, and disorder were indescribable. In the long
corridors the wounded men lay crowded together; many of them had not
even had their wounds dressed, nor their broken limbs set. There were no
vessels for water, no towels or soap, no hospital clothes. The men lay
in their uniforms, stiff with blood. The beds were reeking with
infection, and rats and vermin of every kind swarmed over them. There
was no time to plan reforms or to bring any order into the hospitals
before more wounded from the battle of Inkermann arrived in terrible
numbers, only twenty-four hours after Miss Nightingale had come. Her
courage rose to the occasion, terrible though it was, and inspired her
companions. Whilst they all worked without ceasing to do what they could
to help the worst suffering, she, in the midst of all her labours,
thought out what could be done to bring order into the awful confusion.
She had to see that proper supplies of all the things needed for the
comfort of the soldiers were sent out from England, and to make
arrangements for the distribution of the stores when they arrived. Her
energy and her disregard of some of the rules laid down by the military
authorities about the distribution of the stores made some people very
angry, and there was a good deal of grumbling at what they considered
her unnecessary haste and her interference. But Miss Nightingale cared
for nothing so long as she could do the task for which she had been sent
out. She set up a kitchen where food could be cooked for the sick and
wounded, and a laundry where their clothes could be washed and
disinfected. She wrote to England clear accounts of the state of things
she had found, without any grumbling, but pointed out what had to be
done for the proper care of the men. Opposition to her ways disappeared
as it became clear how admirable were the results of her work. She won
the orderlies to work with the utmost patience and devotion under the
direction of the lady nurses; so that she could say that not one of them
failed her in obedience, thoughtful attention, and considerate delicacy.
They were rough, ignorant men, but in the midst of scenes of loathsome
disease and death they showed to Miss Nightingale and her nurses the
most courteous chivalry and constant gentleness, and she never heard
from them a word that could shock her.

[Illustration:

  FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE AT SCUTARI—A MISSION OF MERCY.

  (_After the Picture by Jerry Barrett._)
]

The gratitude and devotion of the patients to her knew no bounds. At
nights she used to pass through the long corridors, and the endless
wards—there were four miles of wards in the hospital—carrying a little
lamp in her hand, so as to see that all was well, and from this the
patients learnt to call her “the lady of the lamp.” They felt that she
was their good angel, and one of them said afterwards, describing the
comfort it was even to see her pass, “She would speak to one and
another, and nod and smile to many more, but she could not do it to all
for we lay there by hundreds; but we would kiss her shadow as it fell,
and lay our heads on the pillow again content.”

Huddled together in two or three damp rooms in the basement of the
hospital, Miss Nightingale found a great number of poor women, the wives
of the soldiers, with their babies, living in the utmost misery and
discomfort. She did not rest till she had arranged better quarters for
them. Some ladies were found to befriend them. Those whose husbands had
been killed in the war were sent back to England, many were given work
in the laundry which Miss Nightingale had started, and a school was
opened for the children.

[Illustration: FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE IN ONE OF THE WARDS OF THE HOSPITAL
AT SCUTARI.]

When the winter came on, the sufferings of the soldiers increased. The
army was engaged in the siege of Sevastopol, and Miss Nightingale
described the sufferings endured by the soldiers there in a letter to a
friend: “Fancy working five nights out of seven in the trenches! Fancy
being thirty-six hours in them at a stretch, with no food but raw salt
pork sprinkled with sugar, rum, and biscuit; nothing hot ... fancy
through all this the army preserving their courage and patience as they
have done. There is something sublime in the spectacle.” The hospitals
were crowded with men brought in ill from the results of this exposure.
Early in 1855 fifty more trained nurses were sent out from England, and
they came in time to help in a terrible outbreak of cholera which filled
the hospital with new patients, most of whom died after a few hours’
suffering. Frost-bitten men were brought in too from Sevastopol, and of
all these sufferers at least half died in spite of the care of the
nurses. Again and again it was Miss Nightingale who comforted the dying
and received from them the last message to be sent to the dear ones at
home. She wrote down their words and took care of their watches or other
possessions which they wished to send home.

The hearts of people in England were stirred by all they heard of the
sufferings of the soldiers and of the devotion of the nurses. Supplies
of every kind were sent out in great quantities, and all that was needed
was that their use should be wisely organised. Miss Nightingale was much
helped by the arrival of M. Soyer, the famous French cook, who came out
at his own expense to organise the cooking in the hospitals. He
introduced new stoves and many reforms in the kitchens, and was a most
devoted admirer of the Lady-in-Chief, as Miss Nightingale was called.

After six months’ work at Scutari, Miss Nightingale set out to visit the
hospitals in the Crimea itself. M. Soyer and several of her nurses went
with her. She rode to the camp near Balaclava, where she could hear the
thunder of the guns which besieged Sevastopol. As she passed through the
camp, some of the men who had been her patients at Scutari recognised
her, and greeted her with a hearty cheer. The hundreds of sick in the
field hospital were delighted to receive a visit from the lady of whom
they had heard so much. Afterwards she rode right up into the trenches
outside Sevastopol, so that the sentry was alarmed at her daring. Next
day she visited another hospital at Balaclava and left some of her
nurses to work there. She was on board the ship which was to take her
back to Scutari, when she was suddenly seized with a very bad attack of
Crimean fever. The doctors said that she must at once be taken to the
Sanatorium at Balaclava. Laid on a stretcher she was carried by the
soldiers up the mountain side. For a few days it was thought that she
was dying, but presently the joyful news was spread that she was better.
She herself says that the first thing that helped her to recover was her
joy over a bunch of wild flowers that had been brought her. Whilst she
lay ill she was visited by Lord Raglan, the Commander-in-Chief of the
army, who wished to thank her for all that she had done for the troops.
She would not hear of going back to England after her illness as her
friends wished, but as soon as possible returned to Scutari.

In the autumn, Sevastopol fell, and this brought the war to an end. But
Miss Nightingale would not return home as the hospitals were still full
of sick and wounded who could not be moved. She paid another visit to
the hospitals in the Crimea, and travelled from one place to another
over the bad mountain roads, in a carriage which had been specially made
for her. She did much for the comfort of the soldiers, who had to stay
on in the Crimea, and started libraries for them and reading-huts where
they could go to sit and read; lectures and classes were also provided
for them, and arrangements made to enable them to send home easily money
and letters to their families.

Before she left the Crimea, Miss Nightingale set up, at her own cost, a
white marble cross twenty feet high as a monument to the dead. It was
dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who had perished and to the
nurses who had died in tending them, and on it was written in English
and Russian, “Lord, have mercy upon us.”

From all sides she received tributes for her services. The Sultan gave
her a diamond bracelet; Queen Victoria sent her a beautiful jewel
specially designed by Prince Albert. Speaking in the House of Lords,
Lord Ellesmere said: “The hospitals are empty. The angel of mercy still
lingers to the last on the scene of her labours; but her mission is all
but accomplished. Those long arcades of Scutari, in which dying men sat
up to catch the sound of her footstep or the flutter of her dress, and
fell back on the pillows content to have seen her shadow as it passed,
are now comparatively deserted. She may be thinking how to escape, as
best she may, on her return, the demonstration of a nation’s
appreciation of the deeds and motives of Florence Nightingale.” This was
just what Miss Nightingale wished to do. The government offered to bring
her home in a man-of-war, but she travelled quietly back under the name
of Miss Smith, so that her uncommon name might not attract attention to
her. When she got to her own home, she went in by the back door. Crowds
of people used to gather round the park in the following weeks in the
hope of seeing her, but she refused to receive any sort of public
welcome.

As soon as the war came to an end, before Miss Nightingale had returned
home, a movement was started to give her a testimonial from the nation.
Her friends had said that the only testimonial she would accept would be
one which would help on the cause of providing trained nurses for the
hospitals; and a Nightingale Hospital Fund was started to be given to
her on her return to start her work of reform. Public meetings were held
in support of this fund and when Miss Nightingale got back it had
reached £48,000. With the help of friends she considered how best this
money could be used. She was too ill to undertake herself as she had
intended to manage the new institute for training nurses or to do more
than advise from her sick room what had best be done. She had hoped that
rest would completely restore her health, and even wished to go out to
India to nurse when the mutiny broke out in 1857; but this was
impossible. After her return from the Crimea she led almost continuously
an invalid life; but it was not an idle life. She directed all the
arrangements for using the Nightingale Fund, which was chiefly devoted
to starting a school for training nurses at St. Thomas’ Hospital in
London; the Nightingale nurses will always keep alive the memory of her
name. In all other matters connected with nursing she always took an
active interest, especially in the health of the soldiers and in nursing
in the army, and also in starting district nurses to nurse the sick poor
in their own homes. Her advice was constantly sought, and she wrote many
papers about nursing which were most useful, especially a very popular
little book called “Notes on Nursing.” But for more than fifty years
since her wonderful work in the Crimea, she has lived a secluded life as
an invalid, though it has been a life full of work and thought for the
service of others. She is still living (in 1909) but is a complete
invalid. The great lesson of her life is, that she had prepared herself
so well that when the opportunity for doing a great piece of work came
to her, she was able to use it. She had learnt and studied, and when the
need came she was ready.



                                   X

                 ISABELLA BIRD, AFTERWARDS MRS. BISHOP


ISABELLA BIRD, who afterwards became famous as a traveller, was the
daughter of a clergyman. She was born in 1831, and spent her childhood
in a country village in Cheshire of which her father was vicar. She was
a frail, delicate child, and as it was good for her to be as much in the
open air as possible, her father used to put her on a cushion before him
when he rode round his parish. As soon as she was old enough, she rode a
horse of her own, going with her father wherever he went. He made her
notice everything they passed by the way, and questioned her about all
that she saw. In after years she looked back to these early days as
having taught her to be perfectly at home on a horse, to observe
accurately everything that she saw, to love the flowers and the plants
and to know their names and uses, to measure distances with her eye, and
to watch the signs of the seasons. She was educated by her mother, and
said that no one could teach as her mother did, since she made
everything so wonderfully interesting. By the time she was seven,
Isabella was an eager reader of books of all kinds, even of serious
history. When she was eleven, her father moved to a parish in
Birmingham, and there she soon became a keen Sunday school teacher and
worker in the parish; later, her father again had a country living in
Huntingdonshire. Isabella was not strong, and the doctor recommended a
sea-voyage; so when she was twenty-three, she made her first journey,
going to Canada and America. She wrote such interesting letters home
describing all that she saw that her father urged her to make a book out
of them, and soon after she came home her first book, “The Englishwoman
in America” appeared, and it was much praised.

It was a bitter grief to Isabella when her father died in 1858. She
spoke of him as the mainspring and object of her life. Her mother now
settled in Edinburgh, and Isabella paid frequent visits to the Highlands
and the Hebrides, and interested herself much in the condition of the
Highlanders, who were then very poor. She helped many to emigrate, and
worked hard to provide outfits for them. She was often ill, but wrote a
great deal whilst lying on her sofa; she brought out another book about
America, and sent many articles to magazines. Writing was very easy to
her. After some years in Edinburgh, Mrs. Bird died, a crushing sorrow to
her two daughters. Isabella wrote: “She has been my one object for the
eight years of her widowhood.” Isabella sought comfort in working for
the poor people in Edinburgh and tried to do something to get rid of the
miserable slums in that city. She wrote a book about them to rouse
people to a sense of shame. Her hard work was often interrupted by
distressing illness; she suffered a great deal from her spine, but even
when ill, she managed to read and study. The doctors recommended a
voyage for her health, and parting with much sorrow from her sister, she
started in 1872 for New York and went on from there to New Zealand and
then to the Sandwich Islands. She loved the sea and wrote that it was
like living in a new world, it was so free, so fresh, so careless, so
unfettered. The beauty of the Sandwich Islands fascinated her, and the
book she wrote about her visit to them helped others to enjoy what she
had seen.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: Elliott & Fry._

  MRS. BISHOP (ISABELLA BIRD).
]

She went next to America, determined to explore the Rocky Mountains,
which were then much less known than they are now. Her journey amongst
the mountains was made on horseback; her habit of riding since her
childhood and her intimate knowledge of horses enabled her to spend with
real enjoyment long days riding through the mountains, on steep and
difficult paths, and sometimes in wild snowstorms. She rode astride like
a man, in a dress which she had devised for herself, consisting of full
Turkish trousers with frills reaching to her boots, over them a skirt
which came down to her ankles, and a loose jacket. She stayed in log
huts with settlers in the mountains, helping them with their work and
much interested in watching the kind of life they led. The scenery was
magnificent, and the fine air and the free open life suited her, and
made her feel well and strong. She spent some time with some settlers in
a high valley amongst the mountains, sleeping alone in a log hut. She
used to ride out with the men to help them drive in the cattle which had
strayed on the mountains, and managed so well that they called her a
good cattle-man. Towards the end of October she started on a long ride
through the mountains alone. She had luggage for some weeks, including a
black silk dress packed behind her saddle, and felt very independent.
The greater part of her journey was through a white world, for the
mountains were covered with snow and the nights were intensely cold. The
nights she passed generally in log huts with the settlers, who were
always glad to show her hospitality. Some of the men were very wild and
rough, but they always behaved well to her, and she came to trust and
admire many of the men of the mountains and loved to hear their talk
about the wonderful world of nature in which they lived. The newspapers
wrote about the strange English woman and her lonely ride through the
mountains, and often when she reached a new place, she found that the
people had already heard of her.

One man she came across, who was known as Mountain Jim, was leading a
very wild life, but had been a gentleman of good birth and education.
Meeting her and riding about with her brought out all that was good in
him. He gave up his evil habits of drinking, swearing, and fighting, and
became a changed man. He was bitterly grieved at parting from her, but
promised to keep straight, and his letters to her showed that he did.
Unfortunately, not many months afterwards, he was shot by another man in
a fit of passion.

Miss Bird got back to her sister in Edinburgh after nearly two years’
travelling, and set to work to make a book out of her letters home. She
could never stay quiet for long and travelled about in England,
Scotland, and Switzerland, and when in Edinburgh was busy with all kinds
of work for others. Soon she began to dream of another long journey.
This time it was Japan she wished to visit; she dreaded parting from her
sister, but she was always better travelling than when at home, and
hoped that another journey would still more improve her health. She
started for Japan in 1878, when she was forty-seven years old,
determined not to go to the well-known places but to the almost unknown
interior of the country. She was told that the difficulties in the way
of such a journey would be very great, and that no English lady had as
yet travelled through the interior. When she reached Japan many tried to
dissuade her from her plans, but she engaged a Japanese servant and made
her preparations for her journey, in spite of feeling a little nervous.
She was afraid of being afraid. But very soon she could laugh at her
fears and misfortunes, though she had endless discomforts to put up
with. Everywhere there were fleas and mosquitoes, and as strangers were
seldom seen in the interior, she was tormented by the crowds who turned
out to see her and allowed her no privacy. Still she found that the
Japanese crowds were quiet and gentle and did not press rudely upon her.
As she got further inland, the villages became horribly dirty, and the
women were filthy and hardly clothed. Her servant was deeply grieved
that she should see such things, and once sat on a stone with his face
buried in his hands, he was so distressed.

Her journey was made fatiguing by bad horses, and by very bad weather.
Rain fell in torrents, and she was glad to use one of the straw rain
cloaks which the Japanese women wear. But she was not discouraged by the
difficulties of her first journey, and determined to visit Yezo, the
island north of Japan, where live a wild people known as the hairy
Ainos. In order really to study the ways of these people, she spent
three days and two nights in the hut of their chief, sleeping in a sort
of bunk in the wall, with a mat hung in front of her. The men of the
place used this hut as a club, and crowded in at night to sit round the
fire piled up with logs. She wrote: “I never saw such a magnificent
sight as that group of magnificent savages with the fitful firelight on
their faces, and the row of savage women in the background.” They were
very kind and courteous to her; she was treated as an honoured guest in
every house she entered, and she returned their kindness by attending to
the sick. It was with real regret that she left the friendly, gentle
Ainos, after carefully studying their habits and manner of life. She
returned to Tokio, the capital of Japan, and stayed two months with the
British minister, studying Japanese ways and making excursions into the
neighbourhood. From there she sailed to Hong-Kong and then to Canton and
the Malay States, and then turned homewards, stopping at Cairo on the
way, where she fell very ill. Her travels in the East had not suited her
health, but they had filled her with new interests and taught her many
things. Her books about her travels were better written after this, and
attracted much admiration and interest. She was becoming a famous woman.
But all the enjoyment of her success was spoilt to her by the serious
illness of her beloved sister, who died the year after Miss Bird’s
return.

Miss Bird was now alone in the world, but she had a devoted friend in
Dr. Bishop, who had for some years attended her sister and was with her
in her last illness. He had several times asked Miss Bird to marry him,
but she had always said that her heart was given to her sister. Now in
her loneliness, he repeated his request and she at last consented, and
they were married in the spring after her sister’s death. She was fifty,
ten years older than her husband. He promised that when the need of
travel awoke in her, she should go to whatever end of the earth beckoned
to her. He used to say that the only rival he had in her heart was the
high tableland of Central Asia. As it turned out she never left him for
long. He became ill soon after their marriage, and was almost a complete
invalid till he died five years afterwards. Dr. Bishop was a man of
noble character, and Mrs. Bishop was devoted to him and mourned him all
her life. She was now altogether alone except for her friends, and there
was no one to keep her from the long and dangerous journeys in wild
countries which she loved. She, who was always ill when in civilised
countries, often spending weeks on her sofa because of pains in her
back, seemed to be able to endure anything when she was travelling and
leading a wild, free life. One thing that helped her was that she was
able to eat anything. Dr. Bishop said that she had the appetite of a
tiger and the digestion of an ostrich. At first after her husband’s
death, she busied herself with bringing out her books of travel and with
caring for the poor people amongst whom her sister had worked. She also
wished to learn nursing, and spent three months in London in the
surgical wards of a hospital. Dr. Bishop had been much interested in
medical missions, and she decided to found a mission hospital in his
memory. It was nearly three years after his death when she started on
her next long journey, going first to India and on to Kashmere, where
she thought of founding her hospital.

In her early days Mrs. Bishop had felt no interest in missions, indeed
she rather disliked them. She thought it a mistake to interfere with the
ways and beliefs of other people, and on her travels used to try to
avoid mission houses. Dr. Bishop’s influence had changed her opinion by
first giving her an interest in medical missions; what she saw
afterwards in Eastern countries turned her into a warm friend of all
Christian missions. She made great friends with Dr. Neve, the medical
missionary of the Church Missionary Society in Kashmere, and with him
arranged for the building of the John Bishop Memorial Hospital at
Islamabad. It was a great pleasure to her that Dr. Neve had been a
student under her husband. When this was settled, she was glad to escape
from the crowds of Anglo-Indians who haunted Kashmere, and whose hubbub
she found intolerable, for a ride of twenty-eight days through the
Himalayas to Lesser Thibet as far as Leh, travelling alone with native
servants and camping out at night. When she got back to India, she found
it possible to carry out a long cherished plan and make a journey into
Persia. Before she started, she visited several mission stations, and
founded another hospital in memory of her sister, called the Henrietta
Bird Hospital, which also was under the care of an old pupil of her
husband’s.

The journey through Persia began at Bagdad and lasted nearly a year. The
first part lay through wild lonely mountains, where no English lady had
ever been; here she had the companionship of an English officer, who was
travelling for scientific purposes. It was an awful journey, and she
would never have undertaken it had she known the hardships she would
have to face—the long marches, the wretched food, the abominable
accommodation, the brutal barbarism of the people. The weather was
terrible: ceaseless rain, or deep snow in the high mountains. The nights
had to be spent in cold, filthy caravanserais, as the rough inns of the
East are called, mere shelters, which three or four hundred mules and
their drivers often shared with Mrs. Bishop’s party. There was constant
danger from robbers, and everywhere curious crowds surrounded her,
allowing her no rest or peace; they used to feel and pull her hair, to
finger all her things, and examine her clothes when she hung them up at
night. They brought their sick in crowds to her to be healed. One
evening, when she had got a mud hovel to herself and was suffering from
a severe chill, lying down covered with blankets, she heard a noise, and
looking up saw the room thronged with men, women, and children, covered
with sores, and suffering from all kinds of diseases. She had to get up
and listen for two hours to their tales of suffering, interpreted to her
by her servant. It was painful indeed to be able to do but little for
them. The next morning they were all there again. She could only give
them ointments for their sores, lotions for their eyes, or some few
simple medicines, and had to send most of them sadly away. The cold was
so bitter and the storms so terrible in crossing the mountains that it
was a wonder that Mrs. Bishop and her whole party did not perish. She
felt that they would never have got through had it not been for the
splendid Arab horses which carried them with unfailing spirit through
all the difficult places.

Forty-six days brought them to Teheran, one of the chief cities of
Persia, and here she rested in comfort for three weeks in the house of
the English minister, and then they started for another and longer
journey of exploration among the mountains. Again terrible hardships and
dangers were endured. Every day after the fatigues of the journey,
diseased and infirm people crowded her camp, and she did all she could
to help them. One of the chiefs came to her one day for medicine, and as
he lingered, watching her care for the people, he asked her why she took
so much trouble for people unknown to her. She answered by telling him,
through her interpreter, the story of Jesus Christ. When he had heard
what she had to say, he said sadly, “He is the Hakim (doctor) for us,
send us such a one as He was.”

These people are Mahometans, and seeing the little help and comfort
their religion gave to them, and the miserable lives to which it
condemned their women, made Mrs. Bishop still more keen about Christian
missions. In the larger towns she often visited the houses of the
chiefs, and went into the women’s quarters, where the many wives of the
chief and his children lived shut up together. They were never allowed
to go out, and spent their days in quarrelling, eating sweetmeats, and
dressing and dyeing their hair. They asked her for love potions and
charms, and wondered why she did not dye her hair, and for what purpose
she could be travelling.

For the last part of her journey, Mrs. Bishop was quite alone with her
servants, as the English officer had to go elsewhere. Her chief
companion was the Arab horse on which she rode, which she called “Boy,”
and which was as gentle and affectionate as a child. He often slept in
her tent, and would come and rub his nose against her face to attract
her attention. He carried her safely from Burjurid, in the centre of
Persia, to Trebizond, on the shores of the Black Sea, a journey of four
months. In dangers and hardships her courage never failed. She was
robbed of most of her travelling necessaries, and had to do without them
as she could not replace them; she had strange food, and often had to do
without food at all; and yet she got safely through though she was a
small, delicate woman, fifty-nine years of age. In all she had travelled
2500 miles since she started on her journey through Persia. Wherever
there were mission stations, she enjoyed the hospitality of the
missionaries, and she was much impressed by their self-denying work. The
last part of her journey was through Armenia where she saw with much
sympathy the courage and endurance of the Christian Armenians, poor,
ignorant people, who clung to their ancient faith in spite of cruel
persecution. They begged her to send them teachers, for their own
priests were poor and ignorant because they could not afford to go away
to study. One of the priests said to her, “Beseech for a teacher to come
and sit among us and lighten our darkness.” England he thought could
send teachers, for he said, “England is very rich.”

From Trebizond Mrs. Bishop travelled quickly back to England, and was
soon very busy preparing a book with an account of her travels. But she
found time to speak at many missionary meetings, so anxious was she to
plead the cause of the poor people whom she had seen. Her pleasant voice
and way of speaking and all the interesting things she had to tell made
people eager to hear her, and she spoke also to gatherings of learned
men. She was considered one of the greatest of missionary advocates, and
an address, in which she pleaded for the poor secluded women in Eastern
lands, was printed and sent all over the world. She spoke of the
terrible sins of the non-Christian lands in the East and of the
degradation of the women, and said she would give all she had to help
them.

As usual when at home Mrs. Bishop was constantly ill, and only three
years passed before she started on another journey. She longed for the
East and wished to visit China and Japan. Whilst she was at home, she
had taken lessons in photographing, that she might be able to take
better photographs on her travels. She improved immensely, and after
this her books were always illustrated by her own beautiful photographs.
She first went to Korea, the strange country which lies between China
and Japan, and which both those countries desired to possess. At first
she did not like Korea nor its people, but she soon grew to love them,
and especially enjoyed the beautiful, sunny climate. She wrote that she
felt this journey to be more absorbing in its interest than any she had
yet had. During the three years that she now spent in the East, she paid
three visits to Korea, in order that she might thoroughly study the land
and its people. She had a great many hardships to go through in some
parts of her journey. Once after riding for eleven hours under a hot
sun, she found the only night’s lodging she could get was in a filthy
fishing village full of the vilest smells. Her room in the inn was such
an awful black hole, full of vermin and rats, that when her Chinese
servant left her for the night he said, “I hope you won’t die.” In other
places she was annoyed by the crowds who came to stare at her, never
having seen an Englishwoman before. Once her servant had his arm broken
by a fall from his horse, and she was obliged to set it herself. He was
so touched with her care of him that, in spite of his pain, he somehow
managed to do his work just as usual, and said, “The foreign woman
looked so sorry, and touched my arm as if I had been one of her own
people. I shall do my best.”

Between her visits to Korea, Mrs. Bishop went back to Japan, and also
travelled in China. Her first object was to visit the mission stations
in China, and she was much interested in all she saw, especially in the
medical missions, and was full of admiration for the missionaries. On a
second visit to China she made a long journey into the interior, going
up first by boat on the river Yangtze for 300 miles, and then alone 300
more miles into the country in a carrying chair borne by Chinese, the
only way of travelling. Far in the interior, she visited the
missionaries of the China Inland Mission, and there she gave money to
found a hospital to be called the Henrietta Bird Hospital after her
sister. Wherever she went she photographed, undisturbed by the curious
crowds who gathered round her. Once as she was being carried along, the
people got so angry because she would not stop her chair to let them
have a good look at her, that they threw stones at her, and one hit her
a sharp blow on the head from which she suffered for a long time.

In 1897, after an absence of over three years, Mrs. Bishop came back to
London. She had accomplished these long and tiring journeys at the age
of sixty-six. She brought back with her a beautiful collection of
photographs which she had taken, and materials for writing two books,
one on Korea and one on her travels in China. She busied herself with
writing her books, lecturing about her travels, and speaking at
missionary meetings and doing all she could for the cause of missions.
She tried to settle down in a house, and took first one in London and
then one in the country, but never stayed anywhere long, and was as
usual always ill as soon as she tried to live in a civilised country. So
after a while she went off to Morocco, and there at the age of seventy
she travelled through the wild parts of the country, riding astride on a
superb horse and camping out at night. This was her last journey. After
she got back to England she still lectured and spoke for missions, and
studied photography. She began to plan another journey to China, but she
fell ill in Edinburgh. For some months she was confined to bed, but
still saw her friends, and was full of eager interest in everything that
happened. She was not afraid to die, and waited peacefully for the end,
saying that she was going home. She died in March 1904, at the age of
seventy-one. Those who wish to know about her travels and the wonderful
things she saw must read her many books, which are full of life and
adventure and enable us to share her experiences and admire her pluck
and energy.



                                   XI

                              SISTER DORA


DOROTHY PATTISON, who was afterwards known as Sister Dora, was born in
1832 in a little village called Hauxwell, near Richmond, in Yorkshire,
of which her father was the rector. She was the youngest but one of a
family of twelve children, of whom ten were daughters. They grew up in
all the enjoyment of country life. Dorothy was delicate as a child and
not allowed to do regular lessons, but she describes herself as having
all the same been a great romp, as wild and merry as a boy, and good at
all outdoor sports—riding, rowing, shooting, swimming, and skating. But
even as a tiny child she loved to wash and nurse her dolls, and longed
to be able to do the same for real people. When she talked over the
future with her nearest sister she used to say, “I’ll be a nurse or a
lady doctor and do everything for my patients.” When she was twelve, one
of her sisters fell ill, and Dorothy begged, at first in vain, to be
allowed to sit up with her and nurse her, but at last she managed to
slip into the room unnoticed, and once she was there, she was allowed to
stay and helped to nurse her sister till she was well. A couple of years
afterwards a fever broke out in the village, and an old woman whom
Dorothy knew very well took it. She called at the house to ask how she
was and found the old woman left quite alone. In a moment, she made up
her mind, and without thinking of what her parents might say, she hung
up her coat and jacket behind the door and told the old woman she had
come to stay with her. In the evening she sent a message home to say
that she was going to stay all night, and word came back that, as she
had chosen to stay without permission, she must now remain with the old
woman. She washed her and nursed her and read the Bible to her, but she
grew worse and worse, and the next night she died. A kind neighbour came
in and helped to lay her out, but Dorothy, tired out and frightened, was
left to spend the night alone in the cottage. Next morning she sent a
message to the Rectory to say that the poor woman had died, might she
come home. But the answer came back, “Stay where you are till you are
sent for.” She was terrified lest her parents had cast her off and she
should never be allowed to go home. But soon a carriage arrived with her
old nurse to carry her off to spend a month at the seaside, so that she
might be free from all infection before going home. When at last she
returned home she was welcomed as a little heroine, and got rather
puffed up by the praise she received.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: Mrs. Williams, Wolverhampton._

  SISTER DORA.
]

As she got stronger and able to study more, she was inclined to rebel at
the time spent over lessons, and said she did not see why, as she was
going to be a nurse, she should learn languages and music. But she was
told that a nice Christian nurse should learn everything she had time
for; she might some day have French or German patients, and music would
be a pleasure to everybody; it would not do to be one-sided, for she
ought to be able to care for the minds and souls of her patients as well
as for their bodies. So she was persuaded to study gladly, and would
often wonder how the thing she was learning would come in afterwards.
Later she found that there was not a single thing she had learnt which
had not in some way been hallowed in the service of God. She used to say
to others, “Never feel that it is waste of time to get knowledge of any
kind; you can never tell how handy it may come in.”

Dora grew up to be a very handsome woman. By the time she was twenty,
all her delicacy had disappeared and she was tall and strong. She had
very high spirits and was always full of fun and ready to see the funny
side of people and things. Her laughter and her happy voice, singing as
she went about the house, were the delight of her father, who called her
his sunshine. But though she loved her home and her rides and walks on
the moors, she did not find there enough occupation for her active
nature. Her mother died after a long time of ill-health, during which
Dora had been one of her devoted nurses, and now Dora longed for some
real work. Her father did not wish her to leave home, but he did not
forbid it, and at last when she was twenty-nine, Dora went to be
schoolmistress at Woolston, a little village in Buckinghamshire. She
lived there alone in a tiny cottage, loving the children who came to her
school, and making herself the friend of all the poor and sick in the
village. She did not feel, however, that this was her real work; and
after three years she decided to join the Sisterhood of the Good
Samaritans. She had learnt to know these Sisters in Yorkshire, as they
had their chief home at Coatham, which was not very far from her old
home. The Sisters had a Convalescent Home under their care, and many of
them went out from Coatham to work in other towns.

After she joined the Sisterhood, Sister Dora, as she was now called, had
to work very hard. The Sisters did all the work of the house, and Sister
Dora cleaned floors and grates, swept and dusted, and for a time acted
as cook. She sometimes felt it very hard to have to do all this work.
Once when a gentleman whom she knew came into the kitchen where she was
peeling potatoes, she pulled her hood over her face so that he might not
see her. In after life she found the great advantage of having learnt
how to do all the work of a house herself. She thought some of the rules
very strict; but still she was very happy there, and the Sisters loved
her. She was able also to learn more about nursing, as the Sisters had a
Cottage Hospital near Middlesborough, to which she was sent. Sometimes,
too, she was sent to nurse private patients, and sometimes to nurse in
another Cottage Hospital for accidents at Walsall, which was managed by
the Coatham Sisters.

At last Sister Dora settled altogether at Walsall, in charge of the
little hospital there. Walsall is a great manufacturing centre, with
coal pits, blast furnaces, and many kinds of factories. It had then no
large hospital; the little Cottage Hospital was chiefly intended for
accidents, and the patients were for the most part men and boys from the
pits and workshops. There were also a large number of out-patients, men,
women, and children. As most of the cases were accidents, Sister Dora
was particularly anxious to become a good surgical nurse, and the chief
surgeon at the hospital, when he saw how quick and clever she was,
taught her all that he could, so that she could attend to many cases
herself without the help of the doctor. The hospital in which she at
first nursed was very small and inconvenient, with only fourteen beds,
but a few years after Sister Dora settled in Walsall a new hospital was
built on the top of the hill on which the town lies. It had twenty-eight
beds, conveniently arranged in three wards, so that it was just possible
for an active woman like Sister Dora to do all the nursing herself. She
had the help of an old servant of her family, who came to live with her
and who soon learnt to be a very capable nurse herself. Other women were
engaged to sit up at night with the patients, and, later, Sister Dora
used to have lady pupils who learnt nursing under her.

It was a very hard life, full of ceaseless work and responsibility, but
Sister Dora threw her whole heart into it, and loved her work and the
people for whom she worked. Once settled at Walsall, she never wished to
leave it. Speaking to a friend about her work, she said, “I generally
find that the more I have to do the stronger and happier I feel. It is
hard enough sometimes at night, when I have been round to all the
patients and left them comfortable and asleep, and am just going to bed
myself, to be called down by the bell, or perhaps roused by it just as I
am falling asleep. But then I think ‘the Master calleth thee,’ and jump
up and go down, to find perhaps some poor drunken man or woman, and it
is difficult to recognise the Master in such poor degraded creatures as
come to be doctored up.” She had a wonderful power over the men and boys
amongst whom she worked. She sympathised deeply with all their pain and
trouble, and made them feel as if their troubles were her own, but she
tried to make them forget their pain by her bright talk and her laughter
and jokes. She would raise their spirits by her delightful fun, till an
Irishman said once, “Make you laugh! she’d make you laugh when you were
dying.” Whenever she had a spare minute, she would read to them or talk
to them or play games with them. She allowed no bad talk or quarrelling
in the wards, and tried to mend her patients’ morals as well as their
limbs. They each of them knew that they had a real friend in her, and
that she prayed for each and cared deeply what became of them. They
loved to come and see her after they had left the hospital, and were
always sure of a welcome. She tried hard to cure them from their
drinking ways, showing them again and again how hard it was to heal the
wounds of those who drank; and when they were brought in at night
wounded after a drunken brawl, after dressing their wounds with all her
usual gentleness, she would ask them why they did not behave like
respectable members of society, instead of fighting in the streets and
getting her up at unearthly hours of the night to mend their broken
heads.

Sister Dora was devoted to children and they loved her, and she knew how
to get them to bear patiently the dressing of their wounds. Often when a
child was miserable and in pain, she would carry it about with her on
one arm as she went through the wards, saying, “Don’t you cry, Sister’s
got you,” whilst with her other hand she attended to the patients. Many
children suffering from terrible burns used to be brought to the
hospital, and she grew so clever in treating them that the surgeons
trusted them entirely to her care. Once a child was brought in so badly
burnt that it was plain it had only a few hours to live. All pain had
ceased, but the child was terrified. Sister Dora gave up all other work
in order to comfort her. She sat by the bed for some hours talking to
her about Jesus Christ and His love for little children, and about
heaven where she would never feel hunger and pain again. The child grew
peaceful and happy, and her last words were, “When you come to heaven,
Sister, I’ll meet you at the gates with a bunch of flowers.”

Sister Dora felt special sympathy for the men who had been so hurt that
it seemed necessary for them to have an arm or leg cut off. She knew
well how difficult this made it for them to earn a livelihood, and she
devoted all her skill to saving the wounded limb if possible. One night
a fine healthy young man was brought in with his arm torn and twisted by
a machine. The doctor said that nothing could save it, and that he must
cut it off at once. Sister Dora was moved by the despair of the poor
man; she looked long at his arm and at himself, and the man cried out,
“O Sister! save my arm for me; it’s my right arm.” When she turned to
the doctor and asked if she might try to save the arm, he only asked her
if she was mad, and said that the man’s life could not be saved unless
his arm were taken off at once. But she turned to the patient and said,
“Are you willing for me to try to save your arm, my man?” He was
willing, but the surgeon was very angry, and refused to help her,
saying, “Remember, it’s your arm,” and telling her she must take all the
responsibility. Night and day for three weeks she tended him, naturally
feeling terribly anxious as to what would happen. She often said
afterwards, “How I prayed over that arm.” At the end of that time she
asked the surgeon to come and look at her work, and when she unbandaged
the arm and showed it to him, straightened and in a healthy, promising
condition, he exclaimed, “Why you have saved it, and it will be a useful
arm to him for many a long year.” It is not surprising that Sister Dora
wept with joy at her success, nor that the man became one of her most
devoted admirers. He was nicknamed “Sister’s Arm” in the hospital, and
used to come back often to see her after he had left.

Another man himself tells how she had to persuade him to allow his leg
to be taken off as the only way of saving his life. He had grown so thin
and wasted that she used to carry him upstairs in her arms so that he
might join in the prayers she held for the whole hospital. He was eight
months in the hospital, and he says, “I learned to love Sister Dora as a
mother.” He tells how she used in the afternoons to attend to the
out-patients, “dress their wounds, set a broken arm, sew up a cut, or
draw teeth, in fact anything that was required of her she would do, and
always with the tenderest care and the kindest word to all.” She often
amused the men with tales of her doings in the country as a girl, and
told them about her riding and fox-hunting, and this man who watched her
life in the hospital for eight months says, “those patients who were the
most trouble, she seemed the fondest of.” She knew how to get the men to
help her by making them wait upon one another; generally there was some
boy who had to stay a long while in the hospital, who waited upon her as
a devoted slave. After she had been four years at the hospital, to show
their gratitude for all she had done, her patients subscribed fifty
pounds amongst themselves with which they bought a small carriage and
pony for her. She delighted in using it to send convalescents for a
drive, and found it a help in taking her to visit sick people in their
homes. She seldom took a holiday herself, and once was three years at
the hospital without any break, but if she did go away into the country
with friends, she enjoyed everything with all her old energy, bathing or
skating, taking long walks, when she would lead the way in scaling
fences or fording streams. Sometimes she took patients who were
convalescent for expeditions into the country or to visit Lichfield
Cathedral. The old patients specially loved to revisit the hospital on
Sundays, when, after a clergyman had held a short service, Sister Dora
used to speak to them herself, and then lead them in the singing of many
hymns. She always had a small Bible in her pocket, and studied it
whenever she had a spare minute.

In 1875 there was a terrible outbreak of smallpox in Walsall. There was
an isolation hospital on the outskirts of the town, but in those days
people were not compelled by law to send smallpox patients away, and
they refused to go of their own accord, for they said that they would
rather die at home. It was very necessary for the welfare of the town
that they should be persuaded to go to the hospital and not spread the
terrible infection by staying in their own homes. So Sister Dora offered
to leave her hospital and go to take charge of the Smallpox Hospital.
She knew that the people trusted her, and thought that they would come
if she was there. Her offer was gladly accepted; all through the town
the news ran, “Sister is going to the Epidemic Hospital.” Her lady
pupils were left to take charge of the hospital, and she went off to her
lonely work with the surgeon of the hospital to show her the way. It
seemed such a lonely and desolate spot that even her courage failed her
at the door, and she cried out, “Oh take me back, I cannot endure this
dreadful place.” But the surgeon knew her real courage, and only said,
“Come in.” It was an admirably planned little hospital, and she was
delighted with it. There were twenty-eight beds, and she had not been
half-an-hour in the hospital before seven patients arrived, to be
followed by many more. Her only regular helper was the porter, an old
man, who did all he could for her when he was sober, but used sometimes
to go away and get drunk, leaving her alone for the whole night. Two old
women came in from the workhouse to help her in washing the clothes and
bedding, but much of the scrubbing and cleaning she had to do herself,
as well as all the nursing. One of the police who came to see her told
her that the people in the town declared they should not mind having the
smallpox with “Sister” to nurse them. Some few people were brave enough
to visit her in her loneliness, and to bring her books and flowers and
news of her patients at the hospital.

One of the old patients, an engine-stoker, went often to see her after
his day’s work was done. He had been twice in the hospital under her
care, and he said, “I could not tell you all her goodness to me, words
would fail me if I tried.” She was full of courage and joy in her work,
and wrote to a friend: “You must not fret. I rejoice that He has
permitted one so unworthy to work for Him; and oh, if He should think me
fit to lay down my life for Him, rejoice, rejoice, at so great a
privilege.” Even her sense of fun did not leave her, and she wrote a
long letter to her old patients at the Cottage Hospital, calling them
all by their nicknames and sending messages to each. She said of a boy
who was her special slave: “What shall I say to my beloved Sam. I wish I
had my boy here. I send him twenty kisses and hope he has been in church
to-day and in time. He must not sulk all the time I am away. I have two
blessed babies, who alternately keep up music all day and night,
accompanied by an Irishwoman’s tongue, so I am not dull. Have you been
singing to-day? You must sing particularly, ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus’
and think of me. Living or dying, I am His. Oh, my children, you all
love me for the very little I do for you; but oh, if you would only
think what Jesus has done, and is doing for you, your hearts would soon
be full of love for Him, and you would all choose Him for your Master.”

Towards the middle of May, the Smallpox Hospital was empty and she hoped
soon to leave; but before she was ready to go new patients were brought
in, and this happened several times, so that it was not till the middle
of August, after six months’ work at the Smallpox Hospital, that she was
able to close it.

The following October a terrible explosion occurred at the furnace of
some ironworks, and eleven men were covered with streams of molten
metal. In their agony they jumped into a neighbouring canal, and were
with difficulty rescued and taken in cabs to the hospital. Burnt all
over and frightfully disfigured, they were carried in and laid on the
floor till a ward could be cleared for them. It was a terrible scene,
even the doctors could hardly stay in the ward, but Sister Dora never
ceased in her devoted care of the men. Cries came from most of them,
“Sister, come and dress me.” “Do dress me,” “Oh, you don’t know how bad
I am.” She could only answer, “Oh my poor men, I’ll dress you all, if
you’ll give me time.” One poor man, seeing how distracted she was by the
different cries for help, said, “Sister Dora, I want to be dressed very
bad, but if there’s any wants you worse go and do them first.” He was in
terrible pain and died during the night. Of the eleven only two
recovered. Some lingered for as long as ten days, and during that time
Sister Dora never went to bed, and hardly left the ward. One of those
who survived described how she went from bed to bed talking, laughing,
even joking with the men; telling them stories, doing everything she
could to distract them from their pain, and pointing out the way to
heaven to those who were to die. He spoke with delight of her visits to
his bedside at night when he was recovering, saying, “It did you good
only to look at her,” and ending with, “What we felt for her I couldn’t
tell you; my tongue won’t say it.”

One result of this terrible accident was that the ward in which the
burnt men had lain was so poisoned that it could not be used again, and
it was decided to build a new hospital. In the meanwhile, a house was
fitted up as a temporary hospital. It was a tiring life for Sister Dora,
as the temporary hospital was small and not at all convenient, and many
patients had to be nursed in their own homes. It was at this time that
she first began to find it difficult to lift her patients, and after a
while she was compelled to consult a doctor about her health. He
discovered that she had a mortal malady. It was possible that an
operation might do her some good, but it was by no means certain. She
determined to go on as usual, and made him promise to tell no one of her
illness. She worked harder than ever and would not give in. She drove
about in her little pony carriage to visit her patients, and no one was
allowed to know that anything was wrong with her. Then an outbreak of
fever in the temporary hospital made it necessary to close it, and as
the new hospital was not yet ready it was possible for Sister Dora to
leave Walsall. She visited her relations and went to Paris and London to
study improvements in surgical science. All the time her disease was
growing worse, and still she told no one. Her wish was to die at Walsall
amongst her own people, and as the hospital was not ready, a little
house near to it was taken for her. People could not believe that she
was dying. She was surrounded with all the care that love could give
her, and often her visitors were surprised to see her, in spite of pain
and weakness, still her old self, full of fun and jokes. Her interest in
the new hospital was very keen, and she rejoiced that it was finished in
time for her to know of its opening. She listened eagerly to all that
was told her about it, and gave her advice about all the arrangements.
Often she suffered terribly, and when at last she died, on Christmas
eve, 1878, it was with relief that her friends heard that her pain was
over. She was carried to her grave by some of the railway men for whom
she had cared with so much devotion. The Bishop was there and great
numbers of the clergy, and there came, too, hundreds of her patients and
an immense crowd consisting of nearly all the people of the town.

[Illustration: THE STATUE AT WALSALL]

When, later, it was discussed what memorial of her should be placed in
Walsall some suggested a Convalescent Home, as what she herself would
most have desired; but the working men of the town were quite clear that
what they wanted was a statue of Sister Dora. One of them said that of
course they could not forget her, but that they wanted her to be there,
so that when strangers came and saw the statue and asked who it was,
they might answer, “Who’s that? Why that’s our Sister Dora.” So her
statue in her nurse’s dress, as she lived and worked amongst them,
stands in the centre of Walsall to remind the people of her life of
love. The workmen spoke of her as “the most saintly thing that was ever
given us.”



                                  XII

                             QUEEN VICTORIA


IT is impossible in one short chapter to tell about all the things that
made Queen Victoria’s reign famous, and I am only going to tell
something about her own life and to try to show what kind of a woman she
was. Her father was the Duke of Kent, son of King George III., and her
mother was a German princess. The Princess Victoria was their only
child, and she was born in 1819 in Kensington Palace. It was possible
that the little princess might some day be Queen of England, but at her
birth she had three uncles living, older than her father, who would all
have a right to the throne before her. She was only a few months old
when her father and grandfather died and her eldest uncle became king as
George IV. Her mother, a German lady, was very lonely in England. Her
chief adviser was her brother Leopold, then living in England; he made
the Duchess of Kent feel how important her position was as mother of the
child who might be queen some day. He said that she must be brought up
in England; so the duchess consented to live on at Kensington Palace and
devoted herself to the education of her child. In after years the Queen,
writing about her childhood, said that her chief pleasure was visiting
her uncle Leopold, who lived at Claremont, near Esher. She was brought
up very simply and always slept in her mother’s bedroom. When she stayed
at Claremont or by the seaside, where they often went, she did her
lessons in her governess’s bedroom. She was not fond of learning, and
did not know her letters till she was five. George IV. had quarrelled
with her father, and did not like her mother, and took very little
notice of them; but she went as a child to see him at Windsor, and
remembered how he took her by the hand, saying, “Give me your little
paw.” Next day he met her driving in the park and stopped his carriage
and said, “Pop her in,” and she was very pleased to drive by his side in
the carriage with its servants in scarlet liveries.

When she was thirteen her mother gave her a small red morocco book in
which to write her diary, and from that day till a few days before her
death, she used to write down every night the events of the day. As a
little girl she wrote down the hours of her lesson, when she went out
riding, or was taken to the theatre or to hear music, and when she
washed Dash, her pet dog.

The princess’s governess was a German lady, Fräulein Lehzen, whom she
adored, though she was greatly in awe of her; she spoke German before
she learned English, but her mother took care that she should learn
English well. When she was eight a clergyman, Mr. Davys, was appointed
to direct her education. He chose a number of teachers for her, and
himself taught her religion and history. Her life was strict and dull,
and in after years she did not look back to her childhood as a happy
time. George IV. died when she was six and was succeeded by his brother,
William IV., who had no children, so that Princess Victoria was now heir
to the throne. Her mother did not get on with William IV. and did not
like her to go to court, and this made the King very angry, though he
was always very kind to the little princess when she visited him
privately. She was not allowed to go to his coronation, because the King
and her mother could not agree as to the place she should take in the
procession. This was a great disappointment and she wept
bitterly—nothing could console her, not even her dolls.

[Illustration:

  QUEEN VICTORIA AT HER ACCESSION.

  (_Engraved by Thompson after a Portrait by Lane._)
]

It was a great grief to the princess when her uncle Leopold left England
to become King of Belgium. She was devotedly attached to him and he to
her, and she always looked to him for advice and guidance. They wrote to
one another constantly in terms of the deepest affection. He recommended
her books to read and discussed the affairs of Europe with her. As part
of her education her mother used to take her on tours through different
parts of England, when they visited the great nobles and some of the
chief sights and most important cities. She was sometimes a little tired
by all the stiff ceremonies she had to go through, though she liked
seeing people. She was very fond of music and dancing, spent much of her
time in singing, and learnt to play the harp.

[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF PRINCE ALBERT.]

When she was sixteen, she was confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury,
and he spoke to her so seriously about the duties of her position that
she was drowned in tears and frightened to death. One of her uncle
Leopold’s most cherished plans was that the princess should marry her
cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg; and when she was seventeen, he
arranged that Prince Albert, who was a few months younger, should visit
England with his father and elder brother. The visit was a great
success. The princess wrote to her uncle: “They are both very amiable,
very good and kind, and extremely merry, just as young people should be.
Albert is extremely handsome ... they are excessively fond of music,
like me.” A fortnight later she wrote: “I must thank you, my beloved
uncle, for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give
me in the person of dear Albert. Allow me, then, my dearest uncle, to
tell you how delighted I am with him, and how much I like him in every
way. He possesses every quality that could be desired to make me
perfectly happy. He is so sensible, so kind, and so good, and so amiable
too. He has, besides, the most pleasing and delightful exterior and
appearance you can possibly see.” Prince Albert thought his cousin very
amiable and wonderfully self-possessed. Nothing was, however, said about
marriage during this visit and the prince returned to Germany.

Just after the princess was eighteen, her uncle, King William IV., died,
on June 20, 1837. She herself described in her journal what happened
afterwards: “I was awoke at six o’clock by Mama, who told me that the
Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see
me. I got out of bed, and went into my sitting-room (only in my
dressing-gown) and alone, and saw them.” They told her that the King was
dead, and, kneeling to kiss her hand, greeted as Queen the slim young
girl just roused from sleep. A couple of hours later, Lord Melbourne,
the Prime Minister, came to see her, and she wrote: “I saw him in my
room and, of course, quite alone, as I shall always do all my
ministers.” She who had been so carefully guarded by mother and
governess had now to act alone, and it seems, from the way she notes it
in her journal, as if she was glad. She held her first Council that
morning, and again writes that she went to it quite alone. There she
read the speech that Lord Melbourne had prepared for her to the
ministers and privy-councillors. Every one was struck with the way in
which she bore herself. Though she was very short, not five feet tall,
her movements were dignified and graceful. Her voice, which was very
beautiful, was clear and untroubled and thrilled her hearers. The blush
on her cheek added to the interest and charm of her appearance. Lord
Wellington said, “She not merely filled her chair, she filled the room.”
She was quite composed; she wrote in after years that she took things as
they came, as she knew they must be. What she was feeling she wrote that
night in her diary: “Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this
station, I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country; I am
very young, and perhaps in many, though not in all, things
inexperienced, but I am sure that very few have more real good will and
more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have;” she wrote,
too, in large letters, “I AM QUEEN.”

[Illustration:

  VISCOUNT MELBOURNE.

  From a figure in Hayter’s Reformed Parliament in the National Portrait
    Gallery.
]

She was delighted with the kindness of Lord Melbourne, her Prime
Minister, and he from the first felt deeply the charm of the girl-queen,
whose steps he guided like a father. After the quiet, dull life she had
led hitherto, it was an amazing change for her, and she enjoyed it to
the full. She loved meeting people and enjoyed the large dinners at
which she presided. She loved her long rides with the ladies and
gentlemen of her court; she enjoyed the court balls, at which she used
to dance all night. But she was also determined from the first to do her
work as Queen. She felt that the country was hers, that the ministers
were hers, and that the people were her people, whom she had to govern.
From the first she showed that as Queen she was going to be independent
of her mother. The duchess lived with her but she had a separate set of
rooms, and was allowed no share in public business. Long hours were
spent by the Queen with Lord Melbourne, talking over public affairs,
that she might learn to understand them. He constantly dined with her,
and when he did always sat next her, and often talked to her of books
and of people whom he had known. She wrote in her diary: “He has such
stores of knowledge, such a wonderful memory; he knows about everybody
and everything, and he imparts all his knowledge in such a kind and
agreeable manner.”

Another friend and adviser was Baron Stockmar, a German friend of the
Queen’s uncle, Leopold, whom he had sent to England to help her to
understand politics. He was a wise man, of great knowledge, and taught
the Queen how she must keep out of party politics, and what were the
limits of her power. It was difficult to know exactly what was the power
of the sovereign in England. The monarchy was not popular when Victoria
became Queen. Neither George IV. nor William IV. had been much
respected, and they had had little influence on affairs. Victoria had a
high idea of her position as well as of her duties as Queen, but she had
to learn exactly how much she was able to do. Sometimes she was deeply
vexed when she could not get her own way, and she made some mistakes at
first. But her strong sense of duty kept her in the right way, and
showed her the kind of influence she could use. Her ministers might
change, but she was always there, and as she took the greatest trouble
to know all that was going on, and read all the most important
dispatches written by her ministers, she soon got a very wide
understanding of affairs, particularly of foreign politics. It was a
strange life for a girl. All the morning she read dispatches, or signed
her name to papers, or talked to her ministers. Then came her long
rides, her music and singing, a game of battledore and shuttlecock with
some of her ladies, a dinner, followed by dancing, music, cards, or wise
talk with her ministers. She enjoyed it all, the power and the freedom,
and the attention paid to her by the waiting crowds when she rode out.

Shortly after her accession, she went to live at Buckingham Palace. It
had been built in the reign of George IV., but neither he nor William
IV. had lived there; it was not at all a convenient house, and
afterwards the Queen improved it very much. She at first thought Windsor
a very melancholy place, but she learnt to like it when in the summer
her uncle Leopold stayed there with her, and she wrote after his visit:
“I have passed such a pleasant time here, the pleasantest summer I have
ever passed in my life.” She was very hospitable, and invited many
relations and other guests to stay at Windsor, and liked to show them
all over the castle, even into the kitchen.

The Queen’s first public appearance of importance was when, the month
after her accession, she dissolved Parliament, and herself read her
speech from the throne. Her voice was said to be exquisite, and her
manner of speaking quite perfect. Next year came her coronation. She
seems to have enjoyed the great day immensely. As she drove through the
enthusiastic crowds on her way to Westminster Abbey, she felt proud to
be the Queen of such a nation. When she got back to the palace, ten
hours after she had set out, she did not really feel tired, and after
dinner felt much gratified when Lord Melbourne said to her, with tears
in his eyes, “You did it beautifully—every part of it with so much
taste.” Later, from her mother’s balcony, she watched the fireworks.

The idea of her marriage with Prince Albert was still cherished; but she
was in no hurry, and meanwhile was very anxious about his education. She
wrote to her uncle that it was her great desire to see “Albert a very
good and distinguished young man.” In 1839 he again visited England with
his brother, and it was not long before the two young people fell
genuinely in love with one another. It was the Queen who had to make the
proposal. She called him to her room and, feeling it a very nervous
moment, told him of her wish. She wrote to her uncle: “The warm
affection he showed me on learning this gave me great pleasure.... I
love him more than I can say.... I do feel very, very happy.” They were
married the following February, and the Queen found in Prince Albert all
the happiness she had hoped for. In after years when she looked back,
she felt that the years of her reign before their marriage were the
least sensible and satisfactory parts of her whole life, “because of the
constant amusement and flattery and mere politics” in which she had
lived. Now she had the joy of a companion to help her in all her work
and to share her life with her. But at first there were difficulties.
Prince Albert was not popular; he was too German for English people to
understand him. The Queen bitterly resented the attacks made on him. The
ministers did not like him to take any part in affairs, and his position
was very uncomfortable. But in time he showed how much he could help the
Queen, and came to share all her work. They had nine children, and the
Queen was a devoted mother, so it was well that she had the prince’s
help in her public life. Her love and admiration for him were unbounded.
After three years of married life, she wrote to her uncle: “I am
grateful for possessing (really without vanity or flattery or blindness)
the most perfect being as a husband in existence, or who ever did exist;
and I doubt whether anybody ever did love or respect another as I do my
dear angel.”

[Illustration:

  THE MARRIAGE OF QUEEN VICTORIA TO H.R.H. PRINCE ALBERT.

  (_From the Picture by Sir George Hayter at Windsor Castle._)
]

In 1842 they paid their first visit to Scotland, and enjoyed it
immensely. So much did the Queen love the quiet and liberty of her life
in Scotland, that after several visits she rented Balmoral House in
Aberdeenshire that she might have a Scotch home of her own; and after a
while was able to buy the estate and build a new house on it. She did
not like London after her marriage, and wanted a place where she and her
family could live undisturbed by too many officials, so she also bought
a place in the Isle of Wight and built Osborne House there. At both
Osborne and Balmoral life was very simple. The Queen would run in and
out of the house as she liked, and walked about alone, visiting the
cottagers and enjoying her talks with them.

The Queen and Prince Albert gave much attention to the education of
their children. Lady Lyttelton was named royal governess and
superintended the nursery. The children were brought up very simply; the
Queen spent as much time as she could with them, played with them, and
interested herself in their friends and their pets, and they were
encouraged to act little plays and recite poetry to their parents.
Prince Albert, like the Queen, was very musical, and they often sang
together. When the famous composer, Mendelssohn, visited England, he was
invited to Buckingham Palace, and they both sang to his accompaniment.
He said that the Queen sang “really quite faultlessly and with charming
feeling and expression.” They also loved the theatre, and plays were
often acted at Windsor.

Several times the Queen visited Germany with Prince Albert, and they
also went to Ireland. But wherever they were they never failed in their
attention to public business. It was a great grief to the Queen when a
change in the government came, and Lord Melbourne had to resign. But she
always remained friends with him and wrote to him constantly. At first
she dreaded having to do with his successor, Sir Robert Peel, but she
grew to like and admire him very much. With nearly all her ministers her
relations were most cordial; only with Lord Palmerston did she find it
difficult to get on, and she never was quite easy with Gladstone. They
all alike admired her industry and strong sense of duty, and her great
knowledge of public affairs.

[Illustration:

  LORD PALMERSTON.

  From a seated figure in Hayter’s Reformed Parliament in the National
    Portrait Gallery.
]

In 1851 the first International Exhibition was held in London. The idea
of such an exhibition was Prince Albert’s, and at first it met with
great opposition, both at home and abroad. But it turned out a
triumphant success. Many foreign princes came to the opening ceremony.
The Queen described it to her uncle as “the greatest day in our history,
the most beautiful and imposing and touching spectacle ever seen, and
the triumph of my beloved Albert.” People hoped that this great
gathering of all nations would prove a festival of peace. But it was
only a very few years afterwards that the Crimean War broke out. In this
war England took part as the ally of Napoleon III. who had just made
himself Emperor of France. The Queen followed the war with the deepest
anxiety. She felt proud of the conduct of her troops, as she always
called them; she welcomed them on their return, presented them with
medals with her own hands, and did all in her power to show sympathy
with their sufferings. Before the war was over, she paid her first visit
to Paris to show her friendship for the Emperor, whose personal charm at
that time attracted her very much; later she learnt to distrust him. She
was received with immense enthusiasm, and wrote that she was “delighted,
enchanted, amused, and interested, and had never seen anything more
beautiful and gay than Paris.”

[Illustration: WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE.]

When the Crimean War was over, the Queen visited Aldershot, and reviewed
the troops herself. She started a new order, called the Victoria Cross,
to be given to those soldiers who had done some specially brave act, and
gave it herself to fifty-two men at a review in Hyde Park.

In 1856 her eldest daughter was betrothed to the Crown Prince of
Prussia. The Queen was delighted, and showed her high spirits by dancing
vigorously at all the balls given in honour of the betrothal. She even
danced a Scottish reel to the bagpipes. The next year came the great
anxiety of the Indian mutiny. The Queen felt it much more distressing
than the Crimean War, “where there was glory and honourable warfare, and
where the poor women and children were safe.” It was also a sorrow to
part from her eldest daughter when she married, but she rejoiced in her
happiness and visited her in Germany. In 1859, at the age of
thirty-nine, she became a grandmother when her first grandchild, the
present Emperor of Germany, was born. Her family were an ever-growing
joy to her, and life was full or interest and happiness.

[Illustration:

  THE VICTORIA CROSS.

  Instituted in 1856.
]

But in the year 1861 a sudden end came to her happiness. In the spring
her mother died; and she wrote as a broken-hearted child to her uncle,
saying that she could not imagine life without her. A greater blow was
awaiting her. Before the end of the year, Prince Albert fell ill, and,
almost before his illness was known to be serious, he died. The Queen
was utterly crushed. In her first broken-hearted letter to her uncle,
she said: “My life as a happy one is ended, the world is gone for me.”
It was indeed a terrible loss for her. She had absolutely depended on
him and leant on his advice, and she had loved him and looked up to him
as a perfect being. Ten years before, she had written about his
wonderful fitness for business and politics, and added: “I grow daily to
dislike them both, more and more. We women are not made for
governing—and if we are good women, we must dislike these masculine
occupations.” Now she was left to govern alone, bereft of what had been
the joy of her home life. Immense sympathy was shown to her and she was
much touched by it. She determined to take her husband’s example as her
guide, and to give the same minute care as he had given to public
affairs. But she shut herself up in absolute seclusion, seeing no one
but her family and those whom she had to see for business.

[Illustration:

  MARRIAGE OF H.R.H. VICTORIA, PRINCESS ROYAL, TO H.R.H. PRINCE
    FREDERICK WILLIAM OF PRUSSIA.

  (_From the Picture by John Philip at Windsor Castle._)
]

At first, people accepted the Queen’s seclusion as natural and respected
her grief. But as the years passed and she made no change, many
complaints were made of her neglect of the duties of her position. The
newspapers published criticisms of her conduct, which deeply wounded
her. She made no change, and spoke of herself as a cruelly misunderstood
woman. At first, her only public appearances were to unveil statues of
her husband, and occasionally she opened Parliament. She worked as hard
as ever at public business, and was much taken up with family affairs
and with the arrangements for the marriage of her children. She liked
best to be at Balmoral, and felt Windsor a sad and gloomy place. During
these years her seclusion led to her being decidedly unpopular, and it
may rightly be considered the one serious mistake in her life.

The serious illness of the Prince of Wales in 1871 roused much sympathy
and helped to make the Crown again more popular. When Mr. Disraeli
became Prime Minister the Queen began to find public business more
interesting. He was not only clever, but he took much trouble to be
agreeable to her and to amuse her, so that she became really fond of
him. She was delighted with his Indian policy, which ended in her being
proclaimed Empress of India in 1876. She much enjoyed this new honour,
and showed her feeling for India by having Indian servants to attend
upon her, and by beginning to learn Hindustani.

[Illustration: BENJAMIN DISRAELI, LORD BEACONSFIELD.]

As the years passed, many sorrows came to the Queen through the death of
relations and friends; especially she felt the death of her second
daughter, Princess Alice. She continued to exert much influence on
public affairs, and always did all in her power to help to keep the
peace in Europe. In 1879 she visited Italy for the first time, and she
often repeated her visit and travelled also in other countries, always
in a very quiet and simple way.

In 1887 the Queen had been on the throne for fifty years, and she was
persuaded to keep her Jubilee publicly. On the Jubilee Day, June 21,
1887, she went in procession, preceded by thirty-two princes of her own
family, sons, sons-in-law, and grandsons, to a thanksgiving service in
Westminster Abbey. Representatives of all the countries of Europe, of
India, and the colonies followed her. The immense crowds who gathered to
see her pass received her with an enthusiasm which deeply touched her.
She said on her return to Buckingham Palace that she was very tired but
very happy. The same enthusiasm attended other celebrations in
connection with the Jubilee. In her old age the Queen was as popular,
perhaps even more popular, than she had been in her youth. People in all
the wide lands which made up the British Empire felt that she was the
outward sign of the unity of the Empire. They venerated her for her long
and blameless life, devoted to duty. In far distant lands, black and
savage people honoured the great white Queen and trusted in her justice.

[Illustration:

  _Photo: London Stereoscopic Co._

  QUEEN VICTORIA’S JUBILEE, 1897.
]

After the Jubilee, she went about a little more and saw more people; she
visited Berlin, and spent some time in the south of Europe each year.
She received many royal visitors, and once more there were concerts and
dramatic performances at court. In spite of her age she still gave as
much attention as ever to business, and would spend two or three hours a
day going through papers, and signing her name to public documents.

In 1897 when she had reigned sixty years, her second, or diamond,
Jubilee was celebrated. This time a great state procession was made all
through London, and on reaching St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Queen’s
carriage paused at the bottom of the steps for a brief service of
thanksgiving.

Her last years were clouded by the war in South Africa. Amidst all the
gloom that followed on the news of the disasters suffered there by the
English troops, the Queen never despaired of ultimate success. She took
every opportunity of showing her sympathy with her soldiers, and telling
them of her gratitude for their exertions. The war was not over when she
began to show signs of failing health. One of the last things she did
was to receive Lord Roberts to hear from him about the state of things
in Africa. Little more than a week afterwards she died, at the age of
eighty-one.

When we think over her long life and the great position she filled, we
find that she owed her influence more to the strong sense of duty she
always had, and to her constant determination to do what she felt to be
right, than to any special gifts or talents she possessed. She was a
wonderful woman because she was always true to the best that she knew,
and it is this that makes her an example for us all.



                                THE END


                  Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.
                           Edinburgh & London



Transcriber's Note:


When italics were used in the original book, the corresponding text has
been surrounded by _underscores_.

Some presumed printer's errors have been corrected, including
normalizing punctuation. Additionally, a single occurrence of the name
Elflæd was changed to Ælflæd, which was the spelling more frequently
used in this book.





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