Was kindly welcomed, slept in my narrow bed with two other room-mates, and on the morrow began my new life by seeing a poor man die at dawn, and sitting all day between a boy with pneumonia and a man shot through the lungs. One, I visited, armed with a dressing tray, full of rollers, plasters, and pins; another, with books, flowers, games, and gossip; a third, with teapots, lullabies, consolation, and sometimes, a shroud. Twenty dollars more from Redpath on account. A few wise females seized this favorable moment to better their seats, well knowing that few men can face the wooden stare with which they regard the former possessors of the places they have invaded. Some of our fellows cut like time; but I warn't a-goin' to run for nobody; and, fust thing I knew, a shell bust, right in front of us, and I keeled over, feelin' as if I was blowed higher'n a kite. I found Louisa May Alcott her short-lived experiences as a nurse in a makeshift Yankee hospital to convey her thoughts and feelings as well as some of her patients' travails.
It was agreed to bring out the book immediately, and Mrs. Next day I was most as black as that darkey yonder, lickin' plates on the sly. Also received a letter from the Philadelphia managers asking contributions for the paper to be printed at their Fair. He advised sending copies to several of the best London papers. I didn't want the glory or the pay; I wanted the right thing done, and people kept saying the men who were in earnest ought to fight.
Not as many people knew she also went to war. But I'd like a drink of water, if you aint too busy. Long trains of army wagons kept up a perpetual rumble from morning till night; ambulances rattled to and fro with busy surgeons, nurses taking an airing, or convalescents going in parties to be fitted to artificial limbs. So I put it back on the shelf, and set about my other work. The amputations were reserved till the morrow, and the merciful magic of ether was not thought necessary that day, so the poor souls had to bear their pains as best they might. I suspect that of all the wrong places I had blundered into, this was the most so.
The notes on the items sent to the commission are so compassionate also; each one in its own unique way, sharing the common bond of giving for the greater good of the soldiers. He answered very civilly, but evidently hadn't been used to being addressed by strange women in public conveyances; and Mrs. Pass near the spot where the riot took place, and feel as if I should enjoy throwing a stone at somebody, hard. Had no time to write one; but will by and by, if the thing is good. She could not have portrayed such men: but who could? Having heard complaints of the absurd way in which American women become images of petrified propriety, if addressed by strangers, when traveling alone, the inborn perversity of my nature causes me to assume an entirely opposite style of deportment; and, finding my companion hails from Little Athens, is acquainted with several of my three hundred and sixty-five cousins, and in every way a respectable and respectful member of society, I put my bashfulness in my pocket, and plunge into a long conversation on the war, the weather, music, Carlyle, skating, genius, hoops, and the immortality of the soul. Had a jolly time boating, driving, charading, dancing, and picnicking.
She haunted the cars, the depot, the office and baggage-room, with her bed, her tumbler, and her tongue, till the train started; and a sense of fervent gratitude filled my soul, when I found that she and her unknown invalid were not to share our car. I chanced to light on a withered old Irishman, wounded in the head, which caused that portion of his frame to be tastefully laid out like a garden, the bandages being the walks, his hair the shrubbery. Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist movement. She did not see children shot on the road in cold blood, she did not see officers give their men permission to rape any woman who disrespected them. The rest of the sketches are about her time at a facility she calls Hurly-burly House or the Hurly-burly Hotel, a chaotic, badly managed place where it seems like a miracle anyone actually got better at, especially with medicine being what it was in the 1860s. He referred me to the Governor at the State House, and I backed out, leaving him no doubt to regret that such mild maniacs were left at large.
Feel too miserable to care much what becomes of me. It is unfortunately too short I knew Ms. Considering that the Civil war is in progress, hospital is full of wounded soldiers from battle field who constantly die in dirt and bad hygiene, and narrator girlie constantly weep and preach about working conditions and about dirt and crowded space. Although Louisa had never been very ill up to that time, and thought herself exceptionally strong, yet she had not the rugged constitution fit to bear the labors and exposures of such a position; and the healthful habits of outdoor life and simple food to which she had always been accustomed made the conditions of the crowded, ill-ventilated hospital peculiarly perilous to her. As no two persons see the same thing with the same eyes, my view of hospital life must be taken through my glass, and held for what it is worth.
I can call my pinafore to testify to my good will in the work, for in ten minutes it was reduced to a perambulating bill of fare, presenting samples of all the refreshments going or gone. The unexpected favor with which the little book was greeted, and the desire for a new edition, increase the author's regret that it be not more worthy of such a kind reception, L. Very soon after leaving the care of my ward, I discovered that I had no appetite, and cut the bread and butter interests almost entirely, trying the exercise and sun cure instead. The more intricate the wound, the better he liked it. I sung out, and the boys come back for me, double quick; but the way they chucked me over them fences was a caution, I tell you. Public suspicion was down upon him at once. I'm so strong it don't seem possible for such a little wound to kill me.
Union Hotel Hospital, Georgetown, D. At the first alarm I firmly attach myself to the plump lady, and cling to her through fire and water; for I feel that my old enemy, the cramp, will seize me by the foot, if I attempt to swim; and, though I can hardly expect to reach Jersey City with myself and my baggage in as good condition as I hoped, I might manage to get picked up by holding to my fat friend; if not it will be a comfort to feel that I've made an effort and shall die in good society. Went to Readville, and saw the 54th Colored Regiment, both there and next day in town as they left for the South. There is something about Alcott's style. While her military hospital nursing tenure lasted just shy of a month, her letters home detailed her significant patient-care involvements and interactions.
She had a rich imagination and often her stories became melodramas that she and her sisters would act out for friends. Pass fine buildings, but don't know what they are. At first sight not a foot of it appeared, but that didn't matter, for the Periwinkles are a hopeful race; their crest is an anchor, with three cock-a-doodles crowing atop. He won't last more than a day or two, at furthest. I think not, unless they wish; for the patient is under the effects of ether, and needs no care but such as the surgeons can best give. Hearing from Louisa May Alcott in her own words is a privilege to be able to read, including her conversations with the injured men.
Finally, fasten them on the seat before me, and keep one eye steadily upon the yellow torments, till I forget all about them, in chat with the gentleman who shares my seat. Shall I ever see that dear old face again? The first thing I met was a regiment of the vilest odors that ever assaulted the human nose, and took it by storm. You ask if nurses are obliged to witness amputations and such matters, as a part of their duty? Military washes flapped and fluttered on the fences; pots were steaming in the open air; all sorts of tableaux seen through the openings of tents, and everywhere the boys threw up their caps and cut capers as we passed. They liked the book very much, and said they would consult about publishing it, though their hands were full. Marching boldly up the steps, I found that no form was necessary, for the men fell back, the guard touched their caps, a boy opened the door, and, as it closed behind me, I felt that I was fairly started, and Nurse Periwinkle's Mission was begun. As eloquently written as any other of Alcott's work, this is an insightful glimpse into the war from an unlikely perspective. A camp whitens one hill-side, and a cavalry training school, or whatever it should be called, is a very interesting sight, with quantities of horses and riders galloping, marching, leaping, and skirmishing, over all manner of break-neck places.