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CHAPTER XI.

Expectations of more patients—The General Hospital

given up to the Sardinians—The Sisters of Mercy sent for to the General Hospital, Balaclava-Catholic chaplains in the camp—A busy time—Various accounts of Balaclava-Departure of the Sisters for Balaclava - Farewells — Departure of the senior Church of England chaplain-Closing of the General Hospital, Koulali—Universal admiration felt for the Sisters of Mercy-Proposed diminution of the Nursing Staff-Dr. Humphrey and the diet roll-Reasonableness of his return to routine-Resignation of five of the lady-volunteers.

IMMEDIATELY after Sebastopol fell we were told 500 sick, either Russian or British, most likely the former, would arrive. This caused a great commotion_beds were prepared, the new wards looked to, and it was proposed to

MORE SICK EXPECTED.

163

dismantle the church ward to make roomfortunately it was decided to wait till the sick came before this was done. Every day we looked out for them, and yet they came not; and at last we found it was only a report, and it began to appear very evident that the hospitals on the Bosphorus would never, in all human likelihood, be filled again (for if the fall of Sebastopol did not bring sick and wounded nothing else would); and the work in the trenches being now at an end the coming winter was not likely to produce the miseries of the last.

Next came the news that General Storks

had decided upon giving up the General Hospital to the Sardinians. It was a blow to lose our pretty model hospital just as it was perfect_kitchen stores and wards, each a pattern in its way and all working so well. Still we felt our regret was rather selfish. There were not fifty patients in this hospital, and for these there was abundance of room in

164 THE SISTERS WANTED AT BALACLAVA.

the Barrack Hospital, while our gallant allies, it was said, were in distress.

Next came a letter from Dr. Hall to the reverend Mother, asking her and her sisters to come and take the nursing at the General Hospital, Balaclava, which had been under Miss Nightingale's superintendence, and had been attended through the summer by one lady and three or four nurses belonging to Miss Nightingale's staff; but Dr. Hall's letter said that Miss Nightingale had just resigned the charge of General Hospital, Balaclava, into his hands, informing him that her nurses would be withdrawn by the 1st of October. Dr. Hall, therefore, wished the Sisters to come as soon as possible after that day.

He wrote at the same time to our principal medical officer requesting him to make the necessary arrangements for their departure, and apply for passages.

The reverend Mother asked our superin

CATHOLIC CHAPLAINS IN THE CAMP.

166

tendent if she could spare her, and though Miss Hutton's regret at losing the Sisters was very great, she said she could not conscientiously hinder them and gave her permission for their departure, and aided in their preparations.

A Catholic chaplain from the camp, Mr. Woolett, came down to escort the Sisters to Balaclava. Mr. Woolett had visited Koulali several times previously. He had been on board the same vessel which brought the ladies and nurses in April, and was therefore welcomed as a friend ; his name was also familiar to us being so often mentioned by the patients coming down sick from the camp who spoke with gratitude of the attention he rendered them. He was indeed one of the many excellent chaplains who distinguished themselves by their devotion to their sacred duties in the camp. An interesting history the deeds they have wrought would make but most of them are unknown to the world.

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In the early spring the number of Catholic chaplains fell far short of that allowed by Government, and the work became very heavy. Mr. Woolett had toiled day and almost night that none should suffer from the deficiency in number. Passages were taken in the “Ottawar," and preparations were made for the departure of the Sisters. The first week in October was a very busy one, for the General Hospital was to be given over to the Sardinians. Two days before the Sisters left, the patients were moved into Upper Stable Ward (one of the new wards of the Barrack Hospital), stores and furniture were packed up and sent to the purveyor, and numerous packages prepared for the Sisters.

It was necessary they should take a number of things with them, for the accounts from Balaclava were

so various. Some said nothing could be had there without paying an enormous price. Mr. Woolett said it was not so, but he had an unusual affection for the

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