One evening, some time after the great Crimean War of 1854-55, a company of military and naval officers met at dinner in London. They were talking over the war, as soldiers and sailors love to do, and somebody said: "Who, of all the workers in the Crimea, will be longest remembered?" Each guest was asked to give his opinion on this point, and each one wrote a name on a slip of paper. There were many slips, but when they came to be examined there was only one name, for every single man had written "Florence Nightingale." Every English boy and girl knows the beautiful story of Miss Nightingale's life. Indeed, hers is perhaps the best-loved name in England since good Queen Victoria died. It will be a great pleasure to me to tell this story to our own boys and girls in this country; and it shall begin, as all proper stories do, at the beginning. Her father was named William Nightingale. He was an English gentleman, and in the year 1820 was living in Italy with his wife. Their first child was born in Naples, and they named her Parthenope, that being the ancient name of Naples; two years later, when they were living in Florence, another little girl came to them, and they decided to name her also after the city of her birth. When Florence was still a very little child her parents came back to England to live, bringing the two children with them. First they went to a house called Lea Hall, in Derbyshire. It was an old, old house of gray stone, standing on a hill, in meadows full of buttercups and clover. All about were blossoming hedgerows full of wild roses, and great elder-bushes heavy with white blossoms; and on the hillside below it lies the quaint old village of Lea with its curious little stone houses. Lea Hall is a farmhouse now, but it still has its old flag-paved hall and its noble staircase of oak with twisted balustrade, and broad solid steps where little Florence and her sister "Parthe" used to play and creep and tumble. There was another place near by where they loved even better to play; that was the ancient house of Dethick. I ought rather to say the ancient kitchen, for little else remained of the once stately mansion. The rest of the house was comparatively new, but the great kitchen was (and no doubt is) much as it was in the days of Queen Elizabeth. Imagine a great room with heavy timbered roof, ponderous oaken doors, and huge open fireplace over which hung the ancient roasting jack. In the ceiling was a little trap-door, which looked as if it might open on the roof; but in truth it was the entrance to a chamber hidden away under the roof, a good-sized room, big enough for several persons to hide in. Florence and her sister loved to imagine the scenes that had taken place in that old kitchen; strange and thrilling, perhaps terrible scenes; they knew the story of Dethick, and now you shall hear it too. In that old time which Tennyson calls "the spacious days of great Elizabeth," Dethick belonged to a noble family named Babington. It was a fine house then. The oaken door of the old kitchen opened on long corridors and passages, which in turn led to stately halls and noble galleries. There were turrets and balconies overlooking beautiful gardens; and on the stone terraces gay lords and ladies used to walk and laugh and make merry, and little children run and play and dance, and life go on very much as it does now, with work and play, love and laughter and tears.