Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/806

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

cold-hearted and arrogant persons one is apt to meet, even among trained nurses, must discourage the admission of any but the very best. These will apply. The calling is an honorable one, it promises a competence, it corresponds with the innermost nature of woman. It is not true that the Church alone could raise the enthusiasm for hard work, the performance of arduous duties, and self-sacrifice. One of the first nurses I had in my division in Bellevue Hospital, many years ago, was an accomplished girl, the daughter of a rich man in the far West. After a year and a half it took all the influence and begging of her family to take her away from us and her hard work among the poorest of the poor. The large number of ladies, wealthy and accomplished, who work assiduously and regularly under Felix Adler, and in other places, under our very eyes, prove that the very best class of society can be prevailed upon to do the hardest and most beneficent kind of work. And the fact that the elite of the women of the city are willing and anxious to undertake the arduous task of founding and supporting training-schools, in the face of all sorts of difficulties, proves also that the work is in accordance with the requirements of both woman's nature and humanity. There will be many trained nurses who will work for humanity's sake, as centuries ago they claimed to serve for God's sake. Many a woman who would have buried herself in a monastery centuries ago, driven from the face of the living earth by misunderstood and unsatisfied longing, I believe, would nowadays become a nurse, knowing and enthusiastic.

Ladies of the graduating class: The remarks I was expected to make have extended into a lecture. You have been used to lectures, however; if you had not enjoyed them, and profited by them, you would not be here to-night, the most honored and most conspicuous of this assembly. Thus I thought I might be permitted to speak, instead of to you, of you, and your chosen calling and its history. From nothing can any profession derive so much advantage as from the history of its development. It is certainly an interesting spectacle to see how your profession depended intimately on the changing conditions of thought and feeling among mankind. You are happy enough to live and work in a time when, while following individual tastes and having individual motives, your labors are given to the suffering for no outside reason, no church command, but from the free choice of free women in the interest of humanity. I had also to allude to several subjects which may to some appear a little outside the legitimate domain of your ambition and duties. You know better. An intelligent woman will not spend two of her young years in acquiring a certain knowledge without enlarging her horizon in general. You have chosen a profession as noble and as deserving as any there is in existence. You will be the interpreter's and right hands of the physician, and the connecting link between the physician and not only the single patient, but also the public at large. My opinion