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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 118, No. 6 (June, 1931)

St. Johns, Adela Rogers
Babe in arms,   p. 15 PDF (739.0 KB)


Page 15

JUNE, 1931 )
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7, -7,
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30
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Two people walked into the
room and shut the door.
The nurse tried to forget
Nhat happened after that
Once in a while a story comes along
in which its author reaches new heights
of sympathy and understanding. This is
such a story-by a widely popularwriter
T HE little nurse was very tired when she came on
duty at seven o'clock. As she hung her small brown
hat and her small brown coat in the closet her heart
sank a little with dread of the day to come. Which
was a very unusual thing, as anybody on the obstetrical
floor of the Notre Dame Hospital could have told you.
For the little nurse was a favorite with the coldly efficient
Miss Huxley; and Sister Mary Regis often called her their
little ray of sunshine.
Even the little prayer which she whispered as she ad-
justed her cap, glancing sideways at the picture of the
Blessed Mother which hung at the foot of her patient's
bed, failed to cheer her. And she had to adjust her nurse's
smile as seriously and as ceremoniously as though she
were putting on a mask before she turned to greet her
patient with a rather quavery, "Good morning, Mrs.
Rolland. I can see you slept well, just by looking at you."
The Girl on the bed turned her head slowly and her
blue eyes that were as cold and as chilly as a frozen lake,
looked into the warm dark eyes of the little nurse.
"I'm quite all right, thank you," she said. And if her
eyes were frozen her voice was more than a match for
them.
"For all she's like some-some Ice Maiden or some-
thing," the little nurse said to herself as she went noise-
lessly down the.corridor after the breakfast tray, "she's
beautiful. No one as beautiful as that should be so-so
mean."
Her heart was quite hot within her as she shifted the
I
ADELA
B AB E
N
ROGER S
dishes to a more attractive arrangement. Hot with envy.
"If I was as beautiful as that," she said aloud, "and had
a baby like that-if I had a baby like that  "
Sister Mary Regis, standing in the door, her hands in
the voluminous sleeves of her habit, heard her;
"You'll have a baby like that some day, my child," she
said.
"No, I shan't," said the little nurse rebelliously. "I
never shall. Something always happens. The men I like
don't like me, or they get killed, or they haven't got
enough to get married. I shall just go on forever taking
care of other women's babies-women that don't even
want them, half the time."
The nun's eyes softened miraculously. "It isn't always
happiness to have a baby, Nora," she said.
"Yes, it is," said the little nurse. "Do you think I'm
afraid? Pooh. I've helped bring hundreds of babies. I
wouldn't care. I wouldn't care for anything. But I'll
never have one, though I ought to. I'd be a wonderful
mother." Her little, triangular chin went up defiantly.
"Yet, child," said Sister Mary, Regis, "look at the
babies you take care of, the mothers you help . . ."
But the little nurse had picked up her breakfast tray
and gone down the hall so swiftly that all the dishes and
spoons jumped about like popcorn on a hot skillet.
"CO YOU'RE going home today," she said, while she
bathed the Girl on her high, white bed.
The little nurse had bathed many girls in the eleven
AR M
S
ST. JOHNS
Illustrated         by   Osc.4R      110   .AR!)
years since they. gave her a brand new cap and sent her
forth to soothe the pain of the world. But she had never
bathed anyone so beautiful. The Girl's skin was like some
luscious satin, and her rounded arms and the exquisite
curves of her young body, even beneath the disfiguring
binders, were reminiscent of things the little nurse had
seen at the art museums.
"I guess you'll be glad. Everyone is always glad when
they leave a hospital."
But the Girl on the bed did not answer. She only
stared with frozen blue eyes. Then, quite unexpectedly,
she smiled. But it was an insolent, bitter smile and it
made her young face look strangely old, almost ugly.
When she had finished the bath and changed the bed
and wrapped the Girl in a nightgown of pale pink chiffon
and a negligee of real lace and soft white fur, which must
have cost more than the little nurse earned in many,
many weeks, she went down the corridor to the nursery.
Of course you weren't supposed to hold babies on your
lap while you gave them their bottles, not in a hospital
nursery. You weren't supposed to hold them close and
whisper all sorts of things in their small ears. But the
little nurse usually did it. As a "special," she had plenty
of time. Besides, as the famous obstetrician for whom she
usually worked used to say when he had a baby whose life
fluttered like a faint candle flame in the gust of a raw
world, "Get little Maloney. She'll love it through, if any-
body can."
So she took her baby out of his tiny (Turn to page 71)
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