Prisoner in her Room

Autograph letter signed to Mr. Finch, London, 11 June 1870

“In reply to yours of June 7, “Nightingale writes, “I beg to say that, being entirely a prisoner to my room from illness, I have not been able to see your Porcelain Baths & Porcelain Sinks in use – but that, from the careful reports which I have received of them, I have advised their adoption as the best Baths & Sinks for Hospital use. Pray excuse the delay of my answer, caused by business & illness.” She has signed, “Florence Nightingale.” III and exhausted upon her return from the Crimea, Florene Nightingale remained “a prisoner to [her] room” for many years. Whether her illness was entirely physical or partly psychological is debatable, but her mental powers remained strong, and she conducted more business through her copious letters and reports written from her chaise lounge than many bureaucrats achieved from a lifetime at their desks. That work was soon to include the giving of advice for military hospital in the Franco-Prussian war, which broke out shortly after this letter was written. Her first task was an appeal for funds for the National Society for the Aid to the Sick and Wounded, an organization eventually renamed the British Red Cross.