The next fourteen years of Florence’s life was wrought with trials and bitter conflict. About the time that the Nightingales returned to England, a terrible out break of illness and disease had consumed the poverty ridden of, not only London, but also the small villages in the country. The Nightingales decided to spend the spring in London as the renovations on their home would not be done until June.
While in London, Florence became good friends with her cousin, Marianne. In turn, Marianne’s older brother, Henry, became very fond of Florence. Though she did not love Henry, she encouraged his advances so as to remain close to Marianne.
As the years went on, Florence became an intellectual icon in society, or, as iconic as a woman could be at such a time. It was at this time, in the early 1840s that disease started to take its toll on the population of England. Seeing the suffering of the diseased, she discovered that certain parishes had institutions where young women could learn how to care for the sick.
The first attempt to broach this subject on the matter to her parents did not go well, in fact, it was down right a disaster.
To be continued in the May edition...