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“Why, Roger,” cried Florence, “what has become of Cap? I never saw you try to care for the sheep without him before.”
“Indeed, Miss Florence,” replied the man, “I'd not be doing without him now if I could help it, but I am afraid I shall have to do without him always, for he must be killed to-night.”
“Oh, Roger,” cried the child, “what can dear, good Cap have done that he should have to die?"
“Nothing, indeed, Miss, but he is of no use to me now, for some bad boys have broken his leg with stones, and I cannot afford to keep him and feed him when he is no help to me."
“But how you will miss him," said Florence. “He has always lived right in the house with you like a person.
There were actually tears in the man's eyes as he nodded in reply to her; and partly because she felt sorry for him, and partly because she could not bear the thought of the faithful old dog suffering and being killed, she besought the vicar to go with her to Roger's house to see whether something could not be done for Cap.
“I really don't believe,” said the vicar on the way, “that Cap's leg can be broken. It would have to be a very big stone and a very strong boy that could break the leg of a great dog like Cap.”
Sure enough, when they reached the house, they found that the dog's leg was badly swollen, and evidently very painful, but was not broken; and though he had barked furiously at their entrance into the cabin, and at first refused to allow them to come near him, he finally seemed to understand that they wanted to help him, and his brown eyes looked gratefully at Florence as she knelt beside him and stroked his head.
“The first thing to do,” said the vicar, “is to bathe the poor leg with hot water.”
Instantly Florence was up and out of the house, begging at a neighboring hut for something to start a fire with. Returning, she kindled a fire and put the water on to boil, and then she again ran out of doors in search of some flannel to use in bandaging Cap's leg. A child's petticoat was hung out to dry before one of the neighboring huts, and this Florence snatched and tore into strips. For a long time she remained with the dog, wringing the cloths out of the hot water, and applying them to the swollen leg. Roger, when he returned that evening, carrying a cord with which to hang poor Cap, was delighted when he was told that the sacrifice of the dog's life would not be necessary. In the morning Florence returned, bringing with her two petticoats to replace the one which she had torn up, and she again remained with Cap, doing what she could to make him comfortable.
The tendencies which this circumstance showed in the child were noticeable all her life. Not only did she desire to help people and to relieve suffering, but she usually managed to find some way to do it. She was not a sentimentalist who sat and wept over people's illness and miseries; she was a practical person who sought constantly the means of remedying such illness
and miseries. As she grew older, Miss Nightingale became convinced that the “art,” as she called it, of nursing was one which was painfully neglected. She felt that nurses should have as strict and as careful training as should doctors, and that they should be women of intelligence and of good character.
To find out just what conditions were, she made a tour of inspection through many hospitals in England and in France. The latter country she found to be much in advance of England, for in France nursing was almost entirely in the hands of the Catholic Sisters of Mercy, who were carefully trained, and who were, many of them, women of great refinement and intelligence. Why, Miss Nightingale wondered, could there not be schools and hospitals where Protestant women could be trained as were the Sisters of Mercy?
There was, indeed, one such place, which was at this time being much discussed, on the Continent and even in England. This was the institution conducted at Kaiserwerth, in Germany, by Pastor Fliedner, for the training of deaconesses, or district nurses. These nurses, trained and given experience in the hospital at Kaiserwerth, were sent out to care for the sick poor free of charge, and to teach them some of the simplest rules of health. To this institution Miss Nightingale determined to go, and her decision caused a stir among those who knew her in England. It was all right, they declared, for German peasants to be trained as nurses—peasants were expected to wait upon other people; but for an English lady of wealth and refinement to place herself in a position where she might be called upon to serve those below her in station—the thing was not to be thought of. However, Miss Nightingale had been thinking of it long and seriously, and nothing that was said could alter her determination. She went to Kaiserwerth in 1849, causing a flutter