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The Balaclava Hospitals

Source: The Illustrated London News, Nov. 17, p.594

Miss Nightingale lately visited the General Hospital, and the hospitals at the Castle and Monastery. The General Hospital has suffered an irreparable loss in the removal of Miss Weare, the lady superintendent of the nurses, from Balaclava to the Monastery. I cannot possibly speak too highly of this lady's indefatigable attention and kind­ness. Many a poor invalid who would otherwise have sunk in the last stage of fever and cholera has to thank her for restoration to health and life. At the latest hours of night and the earliest hours of morn she was to be found at the bedsides of the "worst cases," that is, cases of a contagious character or otherwise revolting, which even the hospital orderlies, stout men, avoided as much as possible. She takes with her the blessings of thousands of patients, officers and privates, who have been fed during the past twelve months by her hand; whose pillows have been soothed by her tender sympathy. For many weeks past Miss Weare has been entirely without assistance. Of her staff of nurses some died, and others were laid aside by sickness and accident. Miss Weare has been succeeded by sixteen nuns, principally Irish ladies, who, having received instruction, from Miss Nightingale, appear to be very attentive to their charge, and eminently deserving of the name they bear, "Sisters of Mercy." They are attired from head to foot in the deepest black; even their heads are carefully hooded. The only relief to this sombre attire is the double string of large beads hanging from the girdle. I was quite startled on my first introduction to one of these ladies ; I had not even heard of their arrival, and, having a patient in a very critical state in one of the hospital huts, I went down about midnight to pay him a visit. On opening the door I beheld, by the light of a wretched little lamp, just such a phantom as Bulwer has drawn in "Lucretia"—Darkness in every corner of the room, and a tall figure draped and hooded, blacker even than the night, gliding from bed to bed. I am sorry to say that one of the sisters, two days after her arrival, was seized with cholera, and died the same evening.—W. C.—Letter from the Camp.