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CHAPTER X.

Decrease of the numbers in the hospital-Destination

of those wounded in the attack of the 18th of June Regimental and camphospitals—The Superintendent's offer to go to the Crimea-Negatived by Lady Stratford

- Application by the Reverend Mother to Dr. HallDeparture of the Turkish troops stationed in the hospital-Hospital wanted for the Sardinians-The fall of Sebastopol-A soldier's letter relating the event-Rejoicings and illuminations-One sigh for the mourners in the hour of victory- The anniversary of the Alma--Dinner parties on the occasion--An incident.

SINCE June the numbers in the hospital had been gradually decreasing, and the character of the cases had completely changed. Of course, there were exceptions; but as a rule those who came down from the front were nearly convalescent, needing only

150

HOSPITALS IN THE CAMP.

nourishment or change of air, and accordingly after they had been a few weeks in Koulali they were either invalided home or discharged to duty. When the attack of the 18th of June took place we looked for wounded and sick to come down, but not one arrived, and we then found that the medical and other authorities at head-quarters had determined to keep the sick as much as possible in the Crimea, considering the air there best for them, and the voyage down unadvisable.

The number of regimental hospitals had so increased that they were able to accommodate a large number. There was an hospital in the camp besides the General and Castle Hospitals, Balaclava, for the more serious cases. Besides, except from the attack of the 18th of June, the health of the army was far better than had been expected.

From these various causes arose the circumstance that the hospitals on the Bosphorus were more than half empty. Of

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course this was a matter of great thankfulness, but the question arose whether our nursing staff was not too large for our work. As time went on we became certain of this, and the accounts which the invalids and others brought from the Crimea, convinced us that the brunt of the work was passed from our hospitals and lay in the Crimea.

We knew that there were but few nurses there, and we were anxious that some of us should proceed there if required, a point we resolved to ascertain. Lord William Paulet was commandant at the time, and he had requested Lady Stratford de Redcliffe to exercise his authority over the nursing department. Our superintendent told Lady Stratford she was ready to go to the Crimea, but Lady Stratford negatived it at once, and in a decided manner. As no other lady was equal to the task of directing so untried and laborious an undertaking, the idea was relinquished.

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APPLICATIONS FOR WORK.

The reverend Mother soon after this writing to one of the chaplains, a friend of hers in the camp, told him how little we had to do in the hospital, and that she and the Sisters felt an earnest wish to have work such as they came to do. She read this letter to our superintendent, who agreed with its purport. The chaplain wrote in answer, that if she would again write and repeat her statements more formally he would show it to Dr. Hall. The reverend Mother did so, expressing in it how willing she would be either to continue under our present superintendent if it was thought desirable, or to go alone with her Sisters.

So the matter rested, and we lived on in the usual state of uncertainty attending British affairs in the East. None but those who have experienced it could enter completely into this feeling. We hardly ever knew what had happened, or what was going to happen. Rumours of all kinds so con

A WELCOME DEPARTURE.

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tinually buzzed about that, at last, we learned to believe nothing till we saw it in an English newspaper. The fall of Sebastopol we were told every week had taken place. Every imaginable tale was spread about.

The only incident just at this time was one which gave us some pleasure, in the departure of the Turkish troops stationed at the hospital. We were told the room was to be occupied with Sardinian soldiers. A quantity of boats came to fetch the Turks' baggage—there was a fine quantity of rubbish on the quay. The Turkish soldiers were a miserable-looking set, and we were glad to get rid of them; especially as we heard such a high character of the Sardinian soldiers.

Away the Turks went, but days went on and no Sardinians appeared. Then came in another tale. The Sardinians were badly off for room, especially for their sick. Three officers came one day, walked round our hospitals, and said, on seeing the convalescent,

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