• 2017/3/30

I like that name best


Certainly. Call me Nurse Dorothy. I am called that by the children at St. Joseph's."

"Very well. I am sure you will be a blessing here; but a great deal of tact must be used. The position of affairs is extremely difficult."

"I will do my best," replied the nurse. The doctor gave her another look of complete satisfaction, and32 they entered the room where the little patient lay between life and death.

A small cot had been drawn almost into the center of the room, the blinds were down, there was a sense of desolation, and a heavy smell in the air.

"Who has shut these windows?" said the doctor in a voice of disapproval.

He went straight across the room, drew up one of the blinds, and opened the window two or three inches. A fresh current of air immediately improved the close atmosphere.

When he spoke, and when he and Nurse Fraser came into the room, a fair-haired young woman, who was on her knees by the side of the cot, started up suddenly, and gazed at them out of a pair of wide blue eyes. Her cheeks were deeply flushed, her lips were parched and dry.

"Oh, doctor," she said, staggering toward Dr. Staunton, "you have come back. What a blessing! She is asleep now; perhaps she is better."

The doctor went over and looked at the child. She was a little creature of not more than five years of age. In health she may have been pretty, she probably was; but now, the shadowy little face, the emaciated hands, the hot, dry, cracked lips, were the reverse of beautiful. They were all that was pathetic, however; and Dorothy's heart went straight out to the baby who lay there in such suffering and weakness.

The doctor looked at her, and gave a significant glance toward Mrs. Harvey.

Dorothy took her cue at once.

"I have come to nurse your dear little girl, madam," she said. "Dr. Staunton has brought me. I have a great deal of experience, as I am superintendent of one of the children's wards at St. Joseph's33 Hospital. I think you may trust your little girl to me; but first of all, let me take you to your room and put you to bed."

"Put me to bed!" said Mrs. Harvey, with a laugh which jarred on everyone's nerves. "I have not been in bed for nights. I could not sleep. When the doctor tells me that Freda is out of danger, then I may be able to sleep, but not before—not before."

"Whether you sleep or not," continued Dorothy, "you must come and lie down. You are completely worn out, and can do no good whatever to the child in your present condition. While she sleeps it is surely right that you should sleep too. Come, I will promise to call you if you are wanted."

"Yes, dear madam, let me entreat of you to go to bed," said the doctor.

The door was opened at this moment, and the Squire came in.

"Now Elfreda," he said, coming up to his wife, "you will go and take some rest, won't you?"

She looked from him to the nurse, and from the nurse to the doctor, and then her tired, bright eyes fell upon the little parched face lying on the pillow.

"I know she is going to die!" she said, with a kind of broken sob. "I cannot leave her. How can anyone dare to ask me to leave my little child just now?" Her agitation became more terrible each moment. She was evidently on the verge of hysterics.

Dorothy walked straight from the nursery to a sort of dressing-room which lay beyond. There was a small bed there, which was sometimes occupied by the under-nurse. A scared-looking, tired young woman was standing in this room. Dorothy gave her quick directions. "Get clean sheets, and make this bed up immediately," she said.34

The girl started, but looked relieved at having anything explicit to do. She ran off to obey, and Dorothy came back to the sickroom.

"Hush!" she said, going up to Mrs. Harvey, who was standing shaking from head to foot with dry sobs. "You must not give way like this; it is very wrong. Remember you have not only yourself to think of." She bent forward and whispered a word in the young mother's ear. Mrs. Harvey started, and with a violent effort controlled herself.

"I see that you must not be separated from your child," continued Dorothy—"at least, not at present. I am having a bed made up for you in the dressing-room, where you will be within call."

"Ah, yes, that's better," said the poor lady—"that's much better."



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