Elizabeth Fry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about Elizabeth Fry.
were placed for some time in the largest public hospitals, in order to learn the scientific system of nursing; then, supposing their qualifications and conduct were found to be satisfactory, they were received permanently as Sisters.  These Sisters wore a distinctive dress, received an annual stipend of about twenty guineas, and were provided with a home during the intervals of their engagements.  There was also a “Superannuation Fund” for the relief of those Sisters who should, after long service, fall into indigence or ill-health.  Christian women, of all denominations, were encouraged to join the institution; while the services of the Sisters were equally available in the palace and in the cottage.  No Sister was permitted to receive presents, directly or indirectly, from the patients nursed by her, seeing that all sums received went to a common fund for the benefit of the Society.  These Sisters appear to have worked very much like the modern deaconesses of the Church of England.  They rightly earned the title of “Sisters of Mercy.”

These are but examples of Mrs. Fry’s good works,—­done “all for love, and none for a reward.”

Many other smaller works claimed her thoughts, so that her life was very full of the royal grace of charity.  The list might have been still further extended, but to the ordinary student of her life it is already sufficiently long to prove the reality of her religion and her love.

CHAPTER XIV.

EXPANSION OF THE PRISON ENTERPRISE.—­HONORS.

It is an old adage that “nothing succeeds like success.”  Mrs. Fry and her prison labors had become famous; not only famous, but the subjects of talk, both in society and out of it.  Kings, queens, statesmen, philanthropists, ladies of fashion, devotees of charity, authors and divines were all looking with more or less interest at the experiments made by the apostles of this new crusade against vice, misery, and crime.  Many of them courted acquaintance with the Quakeress who hesitated not to plunge into gloomy prison-cells, nor to penetrate pest-houses decimated with jail fever, in pursuance of her mission.  And while they courted her acquaintance, they fervently wished her “God speed.”  Two or three communications, still in existence, prove that Hannah More and Maria Edgeworth were of the number of good wishers.

In a short note written from Barley Wood, in 1826, Hannah More thus expressed her appreciation of Mrs. Fry’s character:—­

Any request of yours, if within my very limited power, cannot fail to be immediately complied with.  In your kind note, I wish you had mentioned something of your own health and that of your family.  I look back with no small pleasure to the too short visits with which you once indulged me; a repetition of it would be no little gratification to me.  Whether Divine Providence may grant it or not, I trust through Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us, that we may hereafter meet in that blessed country where there is neither sin, sorrow, nor separation.

Many years previous to this, Hannah More had presented Mrs. Fry with a copy of her Practical Piety, writing this inscription on the fly-leaf:—­

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Elizabeth Fry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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