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

[Continued articles and works],   pp. 66-87 PDF (13.4 MB)

Page 71

JUNE, 1931                                                               7
white basket, exactly like all the other tiny
white baskets, and held him on her lap for ten
o'clock feeding.
"Oh, you precious little angel," she said,
and she kissed the top of his head. "You're
the cunningest baby I ever did see in all my
whole life. And I don't care if Miss Huxley
does catch me. I'm going to love you because
you haven't anybody else to love you."
The baby opened his wise blue eyes and
looked at her. And the little nurse began to
"I can't stand it," she said. "You're so
sweet and so beautiful and I've got to give
you up. And I don't understand this thing."
THAT, as a matter of fact, was why the little
nurse had been tired when she came on duty.
She hadn't slept all night because she was
trying to understand. For the Girl was going
home that day. If she didn't understand
pretty soon it would be too late to understand
at all. That was why her heart was cold, be-
cause she couldn't bear this mystery any
There was the Girl on the bed, so beautiful
and so young. If her eyes had melted, she
would have looked ex-
actly like a painting of
the most beautiful young
mother in the world.
Here was this baby.
The little nurse was prej-
udiced, of course, because
she always thought her
baby was the prettiest one
in the nursery, but this
baby really was. His eyes
were blue, like early vio-
lets. And already there
was a golden sheen to the
soft fuzz on top of his
There was the Girl.
Here was the baby. And
they had never seen each
The little nurse put out
one of her fingers, so that
the small, soft fingers of
the baby could curl about
it. She was thinking
harder than she had ever
thought in all her hard, dangerous life, where
often enough the life of someone else de-
pended on her thinking.
Doctor Ames had called her on the case.
She had arrived at the hospital seven hours
before the baby was born. It took a good deal
to make Nora Maloney, who specialized in
obstetrics, take off her cap to any woman, for
she had seen so many brave women. But
she had taken off her cap to this Girl for her
She had been glad it was a boy, and such a
fine boy, and she wondered where his father
was. She liked showing a fine son-and a first
one surely, since the Girl was so very young-
to a proud and embarrassed young father. It
gave her a thrill and a pang at the same time.
Always then she thought of the boy who had
gone overseas with the Rainbow Division and
whom she never permitted herself to think of
if she could help it.
While she had washed the baby-his very
first bath-she had sung a little tune and then
she whisked out of the nursery with him
wrapped up warm and cosy and sweet in her
arms, to meet Dr. Ames just outside the door.
He had already taken off his gown and washed
up, and his face had a queer look which she
had never seen before, though they had been
through some pretty bad times together.
"Oh, he's a lovely boy, doctor," she said.
"You always bring lovely babies. I'm going
to show him to his mother."
"Just a minute," said Dr. Ames.
The little nurse held the baby very close-
to keep him warm-and waited. But the
doctor seemed to have some difficulty in
"You're not to take him to his mother," he
"Oh," the little nurse gasped. "She isn't
-why, doctor, she came through splendidly
"Miss Maloney, I've had you on a good
many cases. You know me and I know you.
You have a-a-I might say the greatest
asset of a nurse. You understand how vital it
is to follow the doctor's instructions to the
letter. The baby is not to be taken to his
mother now, or at any time while she is in
the hospital. I will leave you instructions
about feeding."
He walked away quickly. His shoulders
sagged as though he were very tired. The
little nurse turned and took her baby back
into the nursery and laid him down in the
severe little white basket. Her eyes were
"Why-why-" she said. Then she
stooped down and kissed the little pink cheek.
The little nurse understood the ethics of her
profession perfectly. The first commandment
that had been drilled into her, until it had
actually become second nature, was obedi-
ence to the orders of the doctor in charge of
the case. So from that time on she never even
mentioned the baby to the Girl who lay in
the bare white room, her eyes fixed on the
ceiling. Often she hoped, sometimes she even
prayed, that the Girl would ask. Surely she
would ask how her baby was. If his food
agreed with him. If he was gaining. How he
liked his bath.
But she never did.
Neither did the man and woman who
were her only visitors.
They were the Girl's
mother and father. They
came every day regularly
at four o'clock and sat be-
side the bed. Of course
the little nurse went out of
the room. But she never
got out quickly enough to
miss the way the Girl
shrank as they bent over
her. Under the folds of a
>able coat the older wo-
man's figure was heavy
and strong. Her face was
heavy and strong, too.
X                   But it was easy to see
where the Girl got her
beauty. Her father was
probably the handsomest
man the little nurse had
ever seen, even if he was
almost fifty. Not even
the general whom she had
adored when she was at
the Walter Reed Hospital
in Washington during the war had carried
himself with such distinction, or had such a
fine, gray head. But his eyes were as frozen-
"frozener" the little nurse said to herself-as
the Girl's. They looked as though they had
been frozen longer.
When she lay tossing sleeplessly at night,
the little nurse tried and tried to remember
where she had seen his face before. Sometimes
it would seem that she was just remembering.
It was his picture she had seen. On the front
page. If only she could remember.
The three of them didn't talk. The man
and the woman sat silently by. The Girl lay
staring at the ceiling. Her hand with the dia-
mond and platinum wedding ring moved rest-
lessly up and down the coverlet. Sometimes
she glanced toward the door or toward the
window, but she never looked at her visitors.
The little nurse always hung about in the
corridor as they were leaving, hoping that
they would ask to see her baby. But they
never did.
"BUT you needn't mind, angel precious," she
told him. "I don't think they'd make a
very nice grandfather and grandmother. Not
half nice enough for you. Why, it would be
just like-like laying you down on a slab of
Sister Mary liked the baby, too. She had a
great way with babies, having been in charge
of-that floor so long.
"He's-he's an awfully nice baby, isn't he,
Sister?" the little nurse said. There was a
question in her eyes.
But Sister Mary Regis only looked down
at the little face so trustingly content on her
arm and shook her head and went out swiftly,
her black habit billowing behind her.
"Whatever it is," said the little nurse,
"Sister Mary Regis knows."
Another thing that bothered Nora Ma-
loney was that there weren't any flowers. Not
one single flower had ever come for Mrs.
That hurt the little nurse very much. That
had always been one of (Turn to page 72)
Continued from page 15
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