Una and the Lion
is a commemoration by Florence Nightingale
of the life of Agnes Elizabeth Jones
, who was the first trained nursing superintendent of the Liverpool Workhouse infirmary. The work's title is a reference to the character of Una, in The Faerie Queene
by Edmund Spenser. Jones began her training as a nurse in 1862 at Nightingale's nursing school
, and went on to become an advocate for the plight of the sick and the poor. She died of typhus fever in 1868.
ONE woman has died—a woman attractive and rich, and young and witty; yet a veiled and silent woman, distinguished by no other genius but the divine genius—working hard to train herself, in order to train others to walk in the footsteps of Him who went about doing good. To follow Him, she spent herself in activity; she overworked because others underwork. Shall we let her have died in vain?
She died, as she had lived, at her post, in one of the largest work-house infirmaries in this kingdom—the first in which trained nursing has been introduced. She is the pioneer of work-house nursing. I do not give her name; were she alive, she would beg me not. Of all human beings I have ever known, she was (I was about to say) the most free from desire of the praise of men. But I cannot say most free; for she was perfectly free. She was absolutely without human vanity; she preferred being unknown to all but God; she did not let her right hand know what her left hand did.
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