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The white linen nurse


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Title:TheWhiteLinenNurse
Author:EleanorHallowellAbbott
ReleaseDate:December29,2004[EBook#14506]
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEWHITELINEN
NURSE***

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TheWhiteLinenNurse
ByEleanorHallowellAbbott
Authorof"MollyMake-Believe,""TheSick-a-BedLady,"etc.,etc.



1913


TOMAURICEHOWERICHARDSON
WHOLOVEDROMANCEALMOSTASMUCHASHELOVEDSURGERY,THISLITTLE
STORYISAFFECTIONATELYDEDICATEDINTOKENOFTWOPERSONS'UNFADING
MEMORIES


THEWHITELINENNURSE


CHAPTERI
TheWhiteLinenNursewassotiredthathernobleexpressionached.
Incidentallyherheadachedandhershouldersachedandherlungsachedandthe
ankle-bonesofbothfeetachedquiteexcruciatingly.Butnothingofherfelt
permanentlyincapacitatedexcepthernobleexpression.Likeastripoflipcoloredleadsuspendedfromherpoorlittlenosebytwotuggingwire-gray
wrinklesherpersistentlyconscientioussickroomsmileseemedtobewhanging
aimlesslyagainstherfrontteeth.Thesensationcertainlywasveryunpleasant.
Lookingbackthusonthethreespine-curving,chest-cramping,foot-twinging,
ether-scentedyearsofherhospitaltraining,itdawnedontheWhiteLinenNurse
verysuddenlythatnothingofhereverhadfeltpermanentlyincapacitatedexcept
hernobleexpression!
Impulsivelyshesprangfortheprimwhitemirrorthatcappedherprimwhite
bureauandstoodstaringupintoherownentrancing,bright-coloredNovia
Scotianreflectionwithtenseandunwontedinterest.
Exceptfortheunmistakablesmirkwhichfatiguehadclawedintoherplastic
youngmouth-linestherewascertainlynothingspecialthematterwithwhatshe
saw.
"Perfectlygoodface!"sheattestedjudiciallywithnomorethancommon
courtesytoherprogenitors."Perfectlygoodandtidylookingface!Ifonly—if
only—"herbreathcaughtatrifle."Ifonly—itdidn'tlooksodisgustinglynoble
and—hygienic—anddollish!"
Allalongthebackofhernecklittlesharppricklypainsbegansuddenlytosting
andburn.


"Silly—simpering—pinkandwhitepuppet!"shescoldedsquintingly,
"I'llteachyouhowtolooklikearealgirl!"
Verythreateninglysheraisedherselftohertiptoesandthrustherglowing,


corporealfacerightupintothemoulten,elusive,quick-silverfaceinthemirror.
Pinkforpink,blueforblue,goldforgold,dollishsmirkfordollishsmirk,the
mirrormockedherseethinginnerfretfulness.
"Why—darnyou!"shegasped."Why—darnyou!Why,youlookedmorehuman
thanthatwhenyoulefttheAnnapolisValleythreeyearsago!Therewereatleast
—tearsinyourfacethen,and—cinders,and—yourmother'sbestadvice,andthe
worryaboutthemortgage,and—and—theblushofJoeHazeltine'skiss!"
Furtivelywiththetipofherindex-fingershestartedtosearchherimperturbable
pinkcheekforthespotwhereJoeHazeltine'skisshadformerlyflamed.
"Myhandsareallright,anyway!"sheacknowledgedwithinfiniterelief.
Triumphantlysheraisedbothstrong,stub-fingered,exaggeratedlyexecutive
handstothelevelofherchildishblueeyesandstoodsurveyingthemirrored
effectwithineffablesatisfaction."Whymyhandsare—dandy!"shegloated.
"Whythey'reperfectly—dandy!Whythey'rewonderful!Whythey're—."Then
suddenlyandfearfullyshegaveashrilllittlescream."Buttheydon'tgowithmy
sillydoll-face!"shecried."Why,theydon't!Theydon't!TheygowiththeSenior
Surgeon'sscowlingHeidelbergeyes!TheygowiththeSeniorSurgeon'sgrim
grayjaw!Theygowiththe—!Oh!whatshallIdo?WhatshallIdo?"
Dizzily,withherstubbyfinger-tipsproddeddeepintoeveryjadedfacialmuscle
thatshecouldcompass,shestaggeredtowardstheair,anddroppingdowninto
thefirstfriendlychairthatbumpedagainstherknees,satstaringblanklyout
acrossthemonotonouscityroofsthatflankedheropenwindow,—tryingvery,
veryhardforthefirsttimeinherlife,toconsidertheGeneral-Phenomenon-ofBeing-a-Trained-Nurse.
Allaroundandabouther,inexorableasanesthesia,horridasthehushoftombor
publiclibrary,lurkedthepainfullyunmistakablesenseofinstitutionalrestraint.
Mournfullytoherearfromsomeremotekitchenyregionofpotsandpansa
browsingspoontinkledforthfromtimetotimewithsoft-muffledresonance.Up
anddowneveryclammywhitecorridorinnumerableyoungfeet,borntoprance
andstamp,werecreepingstealthilytoandfroinrubber-heeledwhispers.Along


thesomberfire-escapejustbelowherwindowsill,likeacoveyofsnubbeddoves,
sixoreightofherclassmateswerecooingandcrooningtogetherwithexcessive
cautionconcerningtheimminentgraduationexercisesthatweretotakeplaceat
eighto'clockthatveryevening.Beyondherdreariestkenofmuffledvoices,
beyondherdingiestvistaofslateandbrick,onafarfainthillside,afarfaint
streakofAprilgreenwentroamingjocundlyskyward.Altogethersluggishly,as
thoughhernostrilswerepluggedwithwarmvelvet,thesmellofspringandether
andscorchedmutton-chopsfilteredinandout,inandout,inandout,ofher
abnormallyjadedsenses.
Takenallinallitwasnotapropitiousafternoonforanygirlastiredandaspretty
astheWhiteLinenNursetobeconsideringthegeneralphenomenonofanything
—exceptApril!
Intherealcountry,theytellme,wheretheYoungSpringrunswildandbareasa
nymphthrougheverydullbrownwoodandhay-graymeadow,theblaséfarmerladwillnotevenlifthiseyesfromtheplowtowatchthepinknessofherpassing.
Buthereintheprudishbrick-mindedcitywheretheYoungSpringatherfriskiest
isnothingmoreaudaciousthanasweltering,winter-swathedmadcap,whohas
impishlyessayedsomefinemorningtotiptoedownstreetinhersoft,sloozily,
green,silk-stockingedfeet,thewholehob-nailedpopulationreelsbackaghast
andagrinbeforethemostinnocentflashoftherogue'sgreen-veiledtoes.And
then,suddenlysnatchingoffitsowncumbersomewinterfoot-habits,goes
chasingmadlyafterher,initsownprankish,vari-coloredsocks.
NowtheWhiteLinenNurse'ssockswereblack,andcottonatthat,a
combinationincontestablysedate.AndtheWhiteLinenNursehadwaded
barefootthroughtoomanyposiedcountrypasturestoexperienceanyordinary
citythrilloverthesightofasinglebladeofgrasspushingscarilythroughacrack
inthepavement,orpuny,concrete-strangledmapletreeflushingwanlytothe
smokysky.Indeedforthreehustling,square-toed,rubber-heeledcityyearsthe
WhiteLinenNursehadneverevenstoppedtonoticewhethertheseasonwas
flavoredwithfrostorthunder.Butnow,unexplainably,justattheendofitall,
sittinginnocentlythereatherownprimlittlebed-roomwindow,staring
innocentlyoutacrossindomitableroof-tops,—withthecrackleofgloryand
diplomasalreadyringinginherears,—sheheard,instead,forthefirsttimeinher
life,thegailydare-devilvoiceofthespring,ahoydenishchallengeflungbackat
her,leaf-green,fromthecrestofawinter-scarredhill.


"Hello,WhiteLinenNurse!"screamedthesaucycityspring."Hello,White
LinenNurse!Takeoffyourhomelystarchedcollar!Oryoursillycandy-boxcap!
Oranyotherthingthatfeelsmaddeninglyartificial!Andcomeout!Andbevery
wild!"
Likeapuppydogcockingitsheadtowardssomestrange,unfamiliarsound,the
WhiteLinenNursecockedherheadtowardsthelureofthegreen-crestedhill.
StillwrestlingconscientiouslywiththeGeneral-Phenomenon-of-Being-aTrained-Nurseshefoundhercollarsuddenlyverytight,thetinycap
inexpressiblyheavyandvexatious.Timidlysheremovedthecollar—andfound
thattheremovaldidnotrestherintheslightest.Equallytimidlysheremovedthe
cap—andfoundthateventhatremovaldidnotrestherintheslightest.Then
very,veryslowly,butvery,verypermeatinglyandcompletely,itdawnedonthe
WhiteLinenNursethatneverwhileeyeswereblue,andhairgold,andlipsred,
wouldsheeverfindrestagainuntilshehadremovedhernobleexpression!
Withajerkthatstartedthepulsesinhertemplesthrobbingliketwotoothaches
shestraightenedupinherchair.Allalongthebackofherneckthelittleblonde
curlsbegantocrispveryticklinglyattheirroots.
Stillstaringworriedlyoutovertheoldcity'sslate-grayheadtothatinciting
pranceofgreenacrossthefarthesthorizonshefeltherwholebeingkindletoan
indescribablepassionofrevoltagainstallHushedPlaces.Seethingwithfatigue,
smolderingwithennui,sheexperiencedsuddenlyawild,almostincontrollable
impulsetosing,toshout,toscreamfromthehousetops,tomocksomebody,to
defyeverybody,tobreaklaws,dishes,heads,—anythinginfactthatwouldbreak
withacrash!Andthenatlast,overthehillsandfaraway,withalltheoutraged
worldatherheels,torun!Andrun!Andrun!Andrun!Andrun!Andlaugh!Till
herfeetraveledout!Andherlungsburst!Andtherewasnothingmoreleftofher
atall,—ever—ever—anymore!
Discordantlyintothisrapturouslypaganvisionofpranksandposiesbrokeone
ofherroom-matesallawhiffwithether,awhirrwithstarch.
Instantlywiththefirstcreakofthedoor-handletheWhiteLinenNursewason
herfeet,breathless,resentful,grotesquelydefiant.
"Getoutofhere,ZillahForsyth!"shecriedfuriously."Getoutofhere—quick!—
andleavemealone!Iwanttothink!"


Perfectlyserenelythenewcomeradvancedintotheroom.Withherpale,ivorytintedcheeks,hergreatlimpidbrowneyes,hersoftdarkhairpartedmadonnalikeacrossherbeautifulbrow,herwholefacewaslikesomeexquisite,
compositepictureofallthesaintsofhistory.Hervoicealsowasamazingly
tranquil.
"Oh,Fudge!"shedrawled."What'seatingyou,RaeMalgregor?Iwon'teitherget
out!It'smyroomjustasmuchasitisyours!AndHelene'sjustasmuchasitis
ours!Andbesides,"sheaddedmorebriskly,"it'sfouro'clocknow,andwith
graduationateightandthedanceafterwards,ifwedon'tgetourstuffpackedup
now,wheninthundershallwegetitdone?"Quiteirrelevantlyshebeganto
laugh.Herlaughwasperceptiblyshrillerthanherspeakingvoice."Say,Rae!"
sheconfided."ThatministerInursedthroughpneumonialastwinterwantsmeto
poseas'Sanctity'forastained-glasswindowinhisnewchurch!Isn'thethe
softie?"
"Shall—you—do—it?"quizzedRaeMalgregoratrifletensely.
"ShallIdoit?"mockedthenewcomer."Well,youjustwatchme!Fourmornings
aweekinJune—atfullweek'swages?FreshEasterlilieseveryday?Whitesilk
angel-robes?Allthehigh-soulsandhigh-paintskowtowingaroundme?Whyit
wouldbemorefunthanaboxofmonkeys!SureI'lldoit!"
Expeditiouslyasshespokethenewcomerreachedupfortheframedmottoover
herownamplemirrorandyankingitdownwithonesingletugbegantobusy
herselfadroitlywithasnarlinthepicture-cord.Likeawitheofwillowyearning
overabrookherslenderfigurecurvedtothetask.Veryscintillatinglythe
afternoonlightseemedtobrightensuddenlyacrossherlap.You'llBeaLong
TimeDead!glintedthemottothroughitssun-dazzledglass.
Stillpantingwithexcitement,stillbristlingwithresentment,RaeMalgregor
stoodsurveyingtheintrusionandtheintruder.Adozenimpertinentspeeches
wereriotinginhermind.Twicehermouthopenedandshutbeforeshefinally
achievedtheparticularopprobriumthatcompletelysatisfiedher.
"Bah!Youlooklikea—TrainedNurse!"sheblurtedforthatlastwithhysterical
triumph.
"Sodoyou!"saidthenewcomeramiably.


WithalittlegaspofdismayRaeMalgregorsprangsuddenlyforward.Hereyes
werefloodedwithtears.
"Why,that'sjustexactlywhat'sthematterwithme!"shecried."Myfaceisall
wornouttryingtolooklikeaTrainedNurse!Oh,Zillah,howdoyouknowyou
weremeanttobeaTrainedNurse?Howdoesanybodyknow?Oh,Zillah!Save
me!Saveme!"
LanguorouslyZillahForsythlookedupfromherwork,andlaughed.Herlaugh
wasliketheaccidentaltinkleofsleighbellsinmid-summer,vaguelydisquieting,
ashiveroffrostacrossthefaceofalily.
"Saveyoufromwhat,yougreatbigovergrown,tow-headeddoll-baby?"she
questionedblandly."ForHeaven'ssake,theonlythingyouneedistogobackto
whatevertoy-shopyoucamefromandgetanewhead.WhatinCreation'sthe
matterwithyoulately,anyway?Oh,ofcourse,you'vehadrottenluckthispast
month,butwhatofit?That'sthetroublewithyoucountrygirls.Youhaven'tgot
anystamina."
Withslow,shuffling-footedastonishmentRaeMalgregorsteppedoutintothe
centeroftheroom."Countrygirls,"sherepeatedblankly."Why,you'reacountry
girlyourself!"
"Iamnot!"snappedZillahForsyth."I'llhaveyouunderstandthattherearenine
thousandpeopleinthetownIcomefrom—andnotarubeamongthem.WhyI
tendedsodafountainintheswellestdrug-storethereawholeyearbeforeIeven
thoughtoftakingupnursing.AndIwasn'tasgreen—whenIwassixmonthsold
—asyouarenow!"
Slowlywithasoft-snugglingsighofcontentmentsheraisedherslimwhite
fingerstocoaxherduskyhairalittlelooser,alittlefartherdown,alittlemore
madonna-likeacrosshersweet,mildforehead,thensnatchingoutabruptlyata
convenientshirt-waistbeganwithextraordinaryskilltoapplyitsdanglylace
sleevesasaprotectivebandageforthedelicateglass-facedmottostillinherlap,
placedthecompletedparcelwithinordinatescientificprecisionintheexact
cornerofherpacking-box,andthenwentonverydiligently,veryzealously,to
stripthemen'sphotographsfromthemirroronherbureau.Thereweretwentysevenphotographsinall,andforeachoneshehadalreadycutandprepareda
smallsquareofperfectlyfresh,perfectlyimmaculatewhitetissuewrapping-


paper.Noonesotranscendentlyfastidious,soexquisitelyneat,inallher
personalhabitshadevertrainedinthatparticularhospitalbefore.
Verysoberlythedoll-facedgirlstoodwatchingthemen'spleasantpaper
countenancessmoothawayonebyoneintotheirchastewhiteveilings,untilat
lastquitewithoutwarningshepokedanaccusing,inquisitivefingerdirectly
acrossZillahForsyth'sshoulder.
"Zillah!"shedemandedperemptorily."AlltheyearI'vewantedtoknow!Allthe
yeareveryothergirlinourclasshaswantedtoknow!Wheredidyoueverget
thatpictureoftheSeniorSurgeon?Henevergaveittoyouintheworld!He
didn't!Hedidn't!He'snotthatkind!"
DeeplyintoZillahForsyth'spale,asceticcheekdawnedamostamazingdimple.
"Sortofjarredyougirlssome,didn'tit,"shequeried,"toseemestruttinground
withaphotooftheSeniorSurgeon?"Thelittlecleftinherchinshowedsuddenly
withalmoststartlingdistinctness."Well,seeingit'syou,"shegrinned,"andthe
year'sallover,andthere'snobodyleftthatIcanworryaboutitanymore,Idon't
mindtellingyouintheleastthatI—boughtitoutofaphotographer'sshow-case!
There!Areyousatisfiednow?"
Witheasynonchalanceshepickedupthepictureinquestionandscrutinizedit
shrewdly.
"Lord!Whataface!"sheattested."Nothingbutgranite!Hackhimwithaknife
andhewouldn'tbleedbutjustchipoffintopebbles!"Withexaggeratedcontempt
sheshruggedhersuppleshoulders."Bah!HowIhateamanlikethat!There'sno
funinhim!"AlittleabruptlysheturnedandthrustthephotographintoRae
Malgregor'shand."Youcanhaveitifyouwantto,"shesaid."I'lltradeittoyou
forthatlacecorset-coverofyours!"
LikewaterdrippingthroughasievethephotographslidthroughRaeMalgregor's
frightenedfingers.Withnervousapologyshestoopedandpickeditupagainand
helditgingerlybyoneremotestcorner.Hereyeswerequitewidewithhorror.
"Oh,ofcourseI'dlikethe—picture,wellenough,"shestammered."Butit
wouldn'tseem—exactlyrespectfulto—totradeitforacorset-cover."
"Oh,verywell,"drawledZillahForsyth."Tearitupthen!"


Expeditiouslywithfrank,non-sentimentalfingersRaeMalgregortorethetough
cardboardacross,andagainacross,andonceagainacross,andthrewthe
conglomeratefragmentsintothewaste-basket.Andherexpressionallthetime
wasnomore,noless,thantheexpressionofapersonwhowouldinfinitelyrather
executehisownpetdogorcatthanriskthepossiblebunglingofanoutsider.
Thenlikeasmallchildtrottingwithinfiniterelieftoitsowndoll-houseshe
trottedovertoherbureau,extractedthelacecorset-cover,andcamebackwithit
inherhandtoleanacrossZillahForsyth'sshoulderagainandwatchthemen's
facesgoslippingoffintooblivion.Onceagain,abruptlywithoutwarning,she
haltedtheprocesswithabreathlessexclamation.
"Oh,ofcoursethiswaististheonlyoneI'vegotwithribbonsinit,"sheasserted
irrelevantly."ButI'mperfectlywillingtotradeitforthatpicture!"shepointed
outwithunmistakablyexplicitfinger-tip.
ChucklinglyZillahForsythwithdrewthespecialphotographfromitshalfcompletedwrappings.
"Oh!Him?"shesaid."Oh,that'sachapImetonthetrainlastsummer.
He'sabrakemanorsomething.He'sa—"
PerfectlyunreluctantlyRaeMalgregordroppedthefluffoflaceandribbonsinto
Zillah'slapandreachedoutwithcheerfulvoraciousnesstoannextheyoung
man'spicturetohersomewhatbleakpossessions."Oh,Idon'tcarearapwhohe
is,"sheinterruptedbriskly."Buthe'ssortofcute-looking,andI'vegotanempty
frameathomejustthatoddsize,andMother'scrazyforanewpicturetostickup
overthekitchenmantelpiece.Shegetssotiredofseeingnothingbutthefacesof
peoplesheknowsallabout."
SharplyZillahForsythturnedandstaredupintotheyoungergirl'sface,and
foundnoguiletowhetherstareagainst.
"Wellofalltheridiculous—unmitigatedgreenhorns!"shebegan."Well—isthat
allyouwantedhimfor?Why,Isupposedyouwantedtowritetohim!Why,I
supposed—"
Forthefirsttimeanexpressionnotaltogetherdollishdarkenedacross
RaeMalgregor'sgarishlyjuvenileblondeness.
"MaybeI'mnotquiteasgreenasyouthinkIam!"sheflaredupstormily.With


thissharpflaring-upeverysingleindividualpulseinherbodyseemedtojerk
itselfsuddenlyintoconsciousactivityagainlikethesoft,plushypound-poundpoundofawholestocking-footedregimentofpaindescendingsinglefileupon
herforherhystericalundoing."MaybeI'vehadagooddealmoreexperience
thanyougivemecreditfor!"shehastenedexcitedlytoexplain."Itellyou—Itell
youI'vebeenengaged!"sheblurtedforthwithabittersortoftriumph.
WithapalpableflickerofinterestZillahForsythlookedbackacrossher
shoulder."Engaged?Howmanytimes?"sheaskedquitebluntly.
Asthoughthewholemonogamousgroundworkofcivilizationwasthreatenedby
thequestion,RaeMalgregor'shandswentclutchingatherbreast."Why,once!"
shegasped."Why,once!"
ConvulsivelyZillahForsythbegantorockherselftoandfro."OhLordy!"she
chuckled."OhLordy,Lordy!WhyI'vebeenengagedfourtimesjustthispast
year!"Inasuddenpassionoffastidiousnessshebentdownovertheparticular
photographinherhandandsnatchingatahandkerchiefbegantorubdiligently
atasmallsmouchofdustinonecornerofthecardboard.Somethingintheeffort
ofrubbingseemedtojerkhersmallroundchinintoalmostangularprominence.
"AndbeforeI'mthrough,"sheadded,atleasttwonotesbelowherusualalto
tones,"AndbeforeI'mthrough—I'mgoingtogetengagedto—everyprofession
thatthereisonthesurfaceoftheglobe!"Quitehelplesslythethinpaperskinof
thephotographpeeledoffincompanywiththesmouchofdust."AndwhenI
marry,"sheejaculatedfiercely,"andwhenImarry—I'mgoingtomarryaman
whowilltakemetoeveryplacethatthereis—onthesurfaceoftheglobe!And
afterthat—!"
"Afterwhat?"interrogatedabrandnewvoicefromthedoorway.


CHAPTERII
Itwastheotherroom-matethistime.Theonlyrealaristocratinthewhole
graduatingclass,high-browed,high-cheekboned,—eyeslikesomefar-sighted
youngprophet,—mouthevenyetfaintlyarrogantwiththeineradicable
consciousnessofcaste,—aplain,eager,stripped-for-a-long-journeytypeofface,
—thiswasHeleneChurchill.Therewascertainlynoinnocuousbloomof
countryhillsandpasturesinthisgirl'sface,noranyseethingsmall-townpassion
poundingindiscriminatelyatallthedoorsofexperience.Themenandwomen
whohadbredHeleneChurchillhadbeenthebreedersalsoofbrickandgranite
citiessincetheworldwasnew.
LikeoneinfinitelymoreaccustomedtotreadingonPersiancarpetsthanon
paintedfloorsshecameforwardintotheroom.
"Hello,children!"shesaidcasually,andbeganatoncewithoutfurtherparleying
totakedownthemottothatgracedherownbureau-top.
Itwastheerawhenalmosteverybodyintheworldhadamottooverhisbureau.
HeleneChurchill'smottowas:InasmuchAsYeHaveDoneItUntoOneOfThe
LeastOfTheseYeHaveDoneItUntoMe.Onascrollofalmostpriceless
parchmentthetextwasilluminatedwithinimitableFlorentineskillandcolor.A
littlecarelessly,afterthemannerofpeoplequiteaccustomedtopricelessthings,
sheproceedednowtorolltheparchmentintoitssmallestpossible
circumference,hummingexclusivelytoherselfallthewhileanintricatelittleair
fromanItalianopera.
Sothethreefacesfoiledeachother,sobercitygirl,perttowngirl,bucolic
countrygirl,—ahundredfundamentaldifferencesrampantbetweenthem,yet
eachfervid,adolescentyoungmouthtamedtothesamemonotonous,drolly
exaggeratedexpressionofcomplacencythatcharacterizesthefacesofallpeople
who,inadistinctiveuniform,forareasonablysatisfactorylivingwage,makean


actualprofessionofrighteousdeeds.
Indeedamongallthethirtyormorevarietiesofnobleexpressionwhichan
indomitableSuperintendenthadfinallysucceededininculcatingintoher
graduatingclass,nootherphysiognomieshadrespondedmoreplastically
perhapsthanthesethreetothemercilessimprintofthegreathospitalmachine
which,inpursuanceofitsonerepetitivedesign,discipline,hadcoaxedZillah
Forsythintothesemblanceofalady,snubbedHeleneChurchillintothe
substanceofplainwomanhood,and,stilluncertainjustwhattodowithRae
Malgregor'srollickingruralimmaturity,hadfrozenherfacetemporarilyintothe
smuglydimpledlikenessofafancyFrenchdollriggedoutasanurseforsome
gilt-edgedhospitalfair.
Withcharacteristicdesiretokeepupineverywaywithhermoremature,better
educatedclassmates,todoeverything,infact,sofast,sowell,thatnooneshould
possiblyguessthatshehadn'tyetfiguredoutjustwhyshewasdoingitatall,
RaeMalgregornowwithquicklyreadjustedcapandcollarbegantohurlherself
intothetaskofherownpacking.Fromheropenbureaudrawer,withasudden
impishimpulsetowardsworldlywisdom,sheextractedfirstofallthe
photographoftheyoungbrakeman.
"See,Helene!Mynewbeau!"shegiggledexperimentally.
Inmild-eyedsurpriseHeleneChurchillglancedupfromherwork."Yourbeau?"
shecorrected."Why,that'sZillah'spicture."
"Well,it'sminenow!"snappedRaeMalgregorwithunexpectededginess."It's
minenowallright.ZillahsaidIcouldhavehim!ZillahsaidIcould—writeto
him—ifIwantedto!"shefinishedabitbreathlessly.
WiderandwiderHeleneChurchill'seyesdilated."Writetoaman—whomyou
don'tknow?"shegasped."Why,Rae!Why,itisn'teven—verynice—tohavea
pictureofamanyoudon'tknow!"
MockinglytotheedgeofherstrongwhiteteethRaeMalgregor'stonguecrept
outinpinkderision."Bah!"shetaunted."What's'nice'?That'sthewholematter
withyou,HeleneChurchill!Youneverstoptoconsiderwhetheranything'sfun
ornot;allyoucareiswhetherit's'nice'!"Excitedlysheturnedtomeetthecheap
littlewinkfromZillah'ssaintedeyes."Bah!What's'nice'?"shepersistedalittle
lamely.Thensuddenlyallthepertnesswithinhercrumbledintonothingness.


"That's—the—wholetroublewithyou,ZillahForsyth!"shestammered."You
nevergiveahangwhetheranything'sniceornot;allyoucareiswhetherit's
fun!"Quitehelplesslyshebegantowringherhands."Oh,howdoIknowwhich
oneofyougirlstofollow?"shedemandedwildly."HowdoIknowanything?
Howdoesanybodyknowanything?"
Likeasmolderingfusetheramblingquerycreptbackintotheinnerrecessesof
herbrainandfiredoncemoretheonegreatquestionthatlaydormantthere.
ImpetuouslysheranforwardandstaredintoHeleneChurchill'sface."Howdo
youknowyouweremeanttobeaTrainedNurse,HeleneChurchill?"shebegan
alloveragain."Howdoesanybodyknowshewasreallymeanttobeone?How
cananybody,Imean,beperfectlysure?"Likeadrowningmanclutchingoutat
theproverbialstraw,sheclutchedattheparchmentinHeleneChurchill'shand."I
mean—wheredidyougetyourmotto,HeleneChurchill?"shepersistedwith
increasingirritability."If—youdon'ttellme—I'lltearthewholethingtopieces!"
WithastartledfrownHeleneChurchilljerkedbackoutofreach."What'sthe
matterwithyou,Rae?"shequizzedsharply,andthenturningroundquite
casuallytoherbook-casebegantodrawfromtheshelvesonebyoneherbeloved
MarcusAurelius,Wordsworth,RobertBrowning."Oh,Ididsowanttogoto
China,"sheconfidedirrelevantly."Butmyfamilyhavejustwrittenmethatthey
won'tstandforit.SoIsupposeI'llhavetogointotenementworkhereinthecity
instead."Withavisibleeffortshejerkedhermindbackagaintothefeverish
questioninRaeMalgregor'seyes."Oh,youwanttoknowwhereIgotmy
motto?"sheasked.Aflashofintuitionbrightenedsuddenlyacrossherabsentmindedness."Oh!"shesmiled,"youmeanyouwanttoknow—justwhatthe
incidentwasthatfirstmademedecideto—devotemylifeto—tohumanity?"
"Yes!"snappedRaeMalgregor.
AlittleshylyHeleneChurchillpickeduphercopyofMarcusAureliusand
cuddledhercheekagainstitstenderMoroccocover."Really?"shequestioned
withpalpablehesitation."Reallyyouwanttoknow?Why,why—it'srathera—
sacredlittlestorytome.Iwouldn'texactlywanttohaveanybody—laughabout
it."
"I'lllaughifIwantto!"attestedZillahForsythforciblyfromtheothersideofthe
room.


Likeapugnaciousboy,RaeMalgregor'sfluentfingersdoubledupintotwofirm
fists.
"I'llpunchherifsheevenlooksasthoughshewantedto!"shesignaled
surreptitiouslytoHelene.
Shrewdlyforaninstantthecitygirl'snarrowingeyeschallengedandappraised
thecountrygirl'sdesperatesincerity.Thenquiteabruptlyshebeganherlittle
story.
"Why,itwasonanEasterSunday—Oh,agesandagesago,"shefaltered."Why,
Icouldn'thavebeenmorethannineyearsoldatthetime."AtrifleselfconsciouslysheturnedherfaceawayfromZillahForsyth'ssupercilioussmile.
"AndIwascominghomefromaSundayschoolfestivalinmybestwhitemuslin
dresswithabigpotofpurplepansiesinmyhand,"shehastenedsomewhat
nervouslytoexplain."Andjustattheedgeoftheguttertherewasadreadful
drunkenmanlyinginthemudwithagreatcrowdofcruelpeopleteasingand
tormentinghim.And,because—becauseIcouldn'tthinkofanythingelsetodo
aboutit,I—Iwalkedrightuptothepooroldcreature,—scaredasIcouldbe—
and—andIpresentedhimwithmypotofpurplepansies.Andeverybodyof
coursebegantolaugh,toscream,Imean,andshoutwithamusement.AndI,of
course,begantocry.Andtheolddrunkenmanstraightenedupveryoddlyforan
instant,withhisbatteredhatinonehandandthepotofpansiesintheother,—
andheraisedthepotofpansiesveryhigh,asthoughithadbeenaglassofrarest
wine—andbowedtomeas—reverentlyasthoughhehadbeentoastingmeatmy
father'stableatsomeverygranddinner.And'Inasmuch!'hesaid.Justthat,
—'Inasmuch!'Sothat'showIhappenedtogointonursing!"shefinishedas
abruptlyasshehadbegun.Likesomewonderfulphosphorescentmanifestation
herwholeshiningsoulseemedtoflareforthsuddenlythroughherplainface.
WithhonestperplexityZillahForsythlookedupfromherwork.
"Sothat's—howyouhappenedtogointonursing?"shequizzedimpatiently.Her
long,straightnosewasallpuckeredtightwithinterrogation.Herdove-likeeyes
werefairlydilatedwithslow-dawningastonishment."You—don't—mean?"she
gasped."Youdon'tmeanthat—justforthat—?"Incredulouslyshejumpedtoher
feetandstoodstaringblanklyintothecitygirl'sstrangelyilluminatedfeatures.
"Well,ifIwereaswell—likeyou!"shescoffed,"itwouldtakeaheapsightmore


thanadrunkenmanmunchingpansiesandrumandBible-textsto—tojoltme
outofmylimousinesandsteamyachtsandAdirondackbungalows!"
QuiteagainstallintentionHeleneChurchilllaughed.Shedidnotoftenlaugh.
JustforaninstanthereyesandZillahForsyth'sclashedtogetherinthe
irremediableantagonismofcaste,—thePlebeian'sscornfulimpatiencewiththe
Aristocrat,equaledonlybytheAristocrat'scondescendingpatiencewiththe
Plebeian.
ItwasnomorethanrightthattheAristocratshouldrecoverherself-possession
first."Nevermindaboutyourunderstanding.Zillahdear,"shesaidsoftly."Your
hairisthemostbeautifulthingIeversawinmylife!"
AlongZillahForsyth'sivorycheekanincongruouslittleflushofredbeganto
show.Withmuchmorenonchalancethanwasreallynecessaryshepointed
towardsherhalf-packedtrunk.
"Itwasn't—Sundayschool—Iwascominghomefrom—whenIgotmymotto!"
sheremarkeddryly,withawinkatnooneinparticular."And,sofarasIknow,"
sheproceededwithincreasingsarcasm,"themanwhoinspiredmynoblelifewas
notinanyway—particularlyaddictedtotheuseofalcoholicbeverages!"As
thoughhercollarwassuddenlytootightsherammedherfingerdownbetween
herstiffwhiteneck-bandandhersoftwhitethroat."Hewasa—NewYork
doctor!"shehastenedsomewhatairilytoexplain."Gee!Buthewasaswell!And
hewasspendinghissummerholidayupinthesameMainetownwhereIwas
tendingsodafountain.Andheusedtodropintothedrug-store,nights,after
cigarsandthings.Andheusedtotellmestoriesaboutthedrugsandthings,
sittingupthereonthecounterswinginghislegsandpointingoutthisandthat,—
quinine,ipecac,opium,hasheesh,—allthesillypatentmedicines,everysloppy
soothingsyrup!Lordy!Heknew'emasthoughtheywerepeople!Wherethey
comefrom!Wherethey'regoingto!Yarnsaboutthetropicsthatwouldkinkthe
hairalongthenapeofyourneck!Jokesaboutyourowntown'ssoup-kettle
pharmacologythatwouldmakeyouyellforjoy!Gee!Butthethingsthatman
hadseenandknown!Gee!Butthethingsthatmancouldmakeyouseeand
know!Andhehadanautomobile,"sheconfidedproudly."Itwasoneofthose
billiondollarFrenchcars.AndIlivedjustroundthecornerfromthedrug-store.
Butweusedtoridehomebywayof—NewHampshire!"
Almostimperceptiblyherbreathbegantoquicken."Gee!Thosenights!"she


muttered."Rainorshine,moonorthunder,—tearingdownthosecountryroadsat
fortymilesanhour,singing,hollering,whispering!Itwashimthattaughtmeto
domyhairlikethis—insteadofallthecheapratsandpompadourseveryother
kidintownwaswearing,"sheasserted,quiteirrelevantly;thenstoppedwitha
quick,furtiveglanceofsuspiciontowardsbothherlistenersandmouthedher
waydelicatelybacktothebeginningofhersentenceagain."Itwashethattaught
metodomyhairlikethis,"sherepeatedwiththefaintestpossiblesuggestionof
hauteur.
Foronereasonoranotheralongtheexquisitelychastecurveofhercheeka
narrowstreakofredbegantoshowagain.
"Andhewentawayverysuddenatthelast,"shefinishedhurriedly."Itseemshe
wasmarriedallthetime."Blandlysheturnedherwonderfulfacetothecaressing
light."And—IhopehegoestoHell!"sheaddedperfectlysimply.
Withalittlegaspofastonishment,shock,suspicion,distaste,Helene
Churchillreachedoutanimmediateconscientioushandtoher.
"Oh,Zillah!"shebegan."Oh,poorZillahdear!I'mso—sorry!I'mso—"
Absolutelyserenely,throughamaskofinsolenceandice,Zillah
Forsythignoredtheprofferedhand.
"Idon'tknowwhatparticularcallyou'vegottobesorryforme,Helene
Churchill,"shedrawledlanguidly."I'vegotmycharacter,sameasyou'vegot
yours.Andjustaboutninetimesasmanygoodlooks.Andwhenitcomesto
nursing—"Likeanaltosongpiercedsuddenlybyoneshrilltreblenote,thegirl's
immobilefacesharpenedtransientlywithasinglejaggedflashofemotion."And
whenitcomestonursing?Ha!HeleneChurchill!Youcanleadyourclassallyou
wanttowithyoursilk-linedmannersandyourfuddy-duddybook-talk!Butwhen
genteelpeoplelikeyouaremopingroundallreadytofoldyourpatients'hands
ontheirbreastsandmurmur'Thywillbedone,'—why,that'sthetimethatlittle
'yourstruly'isjustbeginningtorolluphersleevesandgettowork!"
Withrealpassionherslenderfingerswentclutchingagainatherharshlinen
collar."Itisn'tyou,HeleneChurchill,"shetaunted,"that'severbeentothe
Superintendentonyourbendedkneesandbeggedfortherabiescases—andthe
small-pox!Gee!Youlikenursingbecauseyouthinkit'spioustolikeit!ButI
likeit—becauseIlikeit!"Frombrowtochinasthoughfairlystrickenwith


sincerityherwholeblandfacefurrowedstartlinglywithcrudeexpressiveness.
"Thesmellofether!"shestammered."It'slikewinetome!Theclangofthe
ambulancegong?I'dratherhearitthanfire-engines!I'dcrawlonmyhandsand
kneesahundredmilestowatchamajoroperation!Iwishtherewasawar!I'd
givemylifetoseeacholeraepidemic!"
Abruptlyasitcamethepassionfadedfromherface,leavingeveryfeature
tranquilagain,demure,exaggeratedlyinnocent.Withsaccharinesweetnessshe
turnedtoRaeMalgregor.
"Now,LittleOne,"shemocked,"tellusthestoryofyourlovelylife.Having
heardmecoylyconfessthatIwentintonursingbecauseIhadsuchacrushon
thisworld,—andHeleneherebrazenlyaffirmthatshewentintonursingbecause
shehadsuchacrushontheworldtocome,—it'suptoyounowtoconfidetous
justhowyouhappenedtotakeupsonobleanendeavor!Hadyouseensomeof
theyounghousedoctors'beautiful,smilingfacesdepictedinthehospital
catalogue?OrwasitforthesakeoftheSeniorSurgeon'sgrim,graymugthat
youjiltedyourpoorplow-boyloverwayupintheAnnapolisValley?"
"Why,Zillah!"gaspedthecountrygirl."Why,Ithinkyou'reperfectlyawful!
Why,ZillahForsyth!Don'tyoueversayathinglikethatagain!Youcanjokeall
youwanttoabouttheflirtyyoungInternes.They'renothingbutfellows.Butit
isn't—itisn'trespectful—foryoutotalklikethatabouttheSeniorSurgeon.He's
too—tooterrifying!"shefinishedinanutterpanicofconsternation.
"Oh,nowIknowitwastheSeniorSurgeonthatmadeyoujiltyourcountry
beau!"tauntedZillahForsythwithsoftaltosarcasm.
"Ididn't,either,jiltJoeHazeltine!"stormedRaeMalgregorexplosively.Backed
upagainstherbureau,eyesflaming,breastheaving,littlecandy-boxcapall
tossedaskewoverherleftear,shestooddefyinghertormentor."Ididn't,either,
jiltJoeHazeltine!"shereassertedpassionately."ItwasJoeHazeltinethatjilted
me!Andwe'dbeengoingtogethersincewewerekids!Andnowhe'smarried
thedominie'sdaughterandthey'vegotakidoftheirownmostasoldasheandI
werewhenwefirstbegancourtingeachother.Andit'sallbecauseIinsistedon
beingatrainednurse,"shefinishedshrilly.
WithanexpressionofrealshockHeleneChurchillpeeredupfromherlowlyseat
onthefloor.


"Youmean?"sheaskedabitbreathlessly."Youmeanthathedidn'twantyouto
beatrainednurse?Youmeanthathewasn'tbigenough,—wasn'tfineenoughto
appreciatethenobilityoftheprofession?"
"Nobilitynothing!"snappedRaeMalgregor."Itwasmescrubbingstrangemen
withalcoholthathecouldn'tstandfor!AndIdon'tknowasIexactlyblame
him,"sheaddedhuskily."Itcertainlyisagooddealofalibertywhenyoustopto
thinkaboutit."
Quiteincongruouslyherbig,childish,blueeyesnarrowedsuddenlyintotwo
dark,calculatingslits."It'scomic,"shemused,"howthereisn'tamaninthe
worldwhowouldstandlettinghiswifeordaughterorsisterhaveamalenurse.
Butlookatthejobswegirlsgetsentouton!It'sveryconfusing!"
WithsincereappealsheturnedtoZillahForsyth."Andyet—andyet,"she
stammered."Andyet—wheneverythingscarythat'sinyouhasoncebeenscared
outofyou,—why,there'snothingleftinyoutobescaredwithanymore,is
there?"
"What?What?"pleadedHeleneChurchill."Sayitagain!What?"
"That'swhatJoeandIquarreledaboutmyfirstvacationhome!"persistedRae
Malgregor."Itwasatravelingsalesman'sthigh.Itwasbrokenbad.Somebody
hadtotakecareofit.SoIdid!Joethoughtitwasn'tmodesttobesowilling."
Withaperplexedsortofdefiancesheraisedhersquarelittlechin."ButyouseeI
waswilling!"shesaid."Iwasperfectlywilling.Justonesinglesolitaryyearof
hospitaltraininghadmademeperfectlywilling.Andyoucan'tun-willinga
willing—eventopleaseyourbeau,nomatterhowhardyoutry!"Withadroll
admixtureofshynessanddisdainshetossedhercurlyblondeheadatriflehigher.
"Shucks!"sheattested."What'satravelingsalesman'sthigh?"
"Shucksyourself!"scoffedZillahForsyth."What'sasillybeauortwoupin
NovaScotiatoagirlwithlookslikeyou?Youcouldhavemarriedthattyphoid
caseadozentimeslastwinterifyou'dcrookedyourlittlefinger!Why,thefellow
wascrazyaboutyou.AndhewasricherthanCroesus.Whatqueeredit?"she
demandedbluntly."Didhismotherhateyou?"
LikeonefairlycrampedwithastonishmentRaeMalgregordoubledupvery
suddenlyatthewaist-line,andthrustingherneckoddlyforwardafterthemanner
ofastartledcrane,stoodpeeringsharplyroundthecorneroftherocking-chairat


ZillahForsyth.
"Didhismotherhateme?"shegasped."Did—his—mother—hate—me?Well,
whatdoyouthink?WithmewhoneverevensawplumbingtillIcamedown
here,settingouttoexplaintoherwithtwentytiledbathroomshowtobe
hygienicthoughrich?Didhismotherhateme?Well,whatdoyouthink?With
herwhoborehim,herwhoborehim,mindyou,keptwaitingdownstairsinthe
hospitalante-room—halfanhoureveryday—ontherawedgeofarattanchair—
waiting—worrying—alloldandgrayandscared—whilelittleyoung,perky,pink
andwhitemeisupstairs—brushingherownson'shairandwashingherown
son'sface—andaltogethergettingherownsonreadytoseehisownmother!
Andthenmeobligedtoturnheroutagainintenminutes,flipasyouplease,for
fearshe'dstayedtoolong,—whileIstayontherestofthenight?Didhismother
hateme!"
Stealthilyasanassassinshecreptaroundthecorneroftherocking-chairand
grabbedZillahForsythbyherastonishedlinenshoulder.
"Didhismotherhateme?"shepersistedmockingly."Didhismotherhateme?
Wellrather!IsthereanywomanfromheretoKamchatkawhodoesn'thateus?Is
thereanywomanfromheretoKamchatkawhodoesn'tlookuponatrainednurse
ashernaturalbornenemy?Idon'tblame'em!"sheaddedchokingly."Lookat
theimpudentjobswegetsentouton!Quarantinedupstairsforweeksatatime
withtheirinflammable,diphtheriticbridegrooms—whiletheysitdownstairs—
broodingovertheirweddingteaspoons!HikedoffindefinitelytoAtlanticCity
withtheirgoutybacheloruncles!Hearingtheirowninnocentlittlesisters'bloodcurdlingdeathbeddeliriums!Snatchingtheirownnew-bornbabiesawayfrom
theirbreastsandshowingthem,virgin-handed,howtonursethembetter!The
impudenceofit,Isay!Thedisgusting,confoundedimpudence!Doingthings
perfectly—flippantly—right—fortwenty-fivedollarsaweek—andwashing—
thatalltheachin'loveintheworlddon'tknowhowtodoright—justforlove!"
Furiouslyshebegantojerkhervictim'sshoulder."Itellyouit'sawful,Zillah
Forsyth!"sheinsisted."ItellyouIjustwon'tstandit!"
WithmuscleslikesteelwireZillahForsythscrambledtoherfeet,andpushed
RaeMalgregorbackagainstthebureau.
"ForHeaven'ssake,Rae,shutup!"shesaid."WhatinCreation'sthematterwith


youto-day?Ineversawyouactsobefore!"Withrealconcernshestaredintothe
girl'sturbideyes."Ifyoufeellikethataboutit,whatinthunderdidyougointo
nursingfor?"shedemandednotunkindly.
VeryslowlyHeleneChurchillrosefromherlowlyseatbyherprecious
book-caseandcameroundandlookedatRaeMalgregorratheroddly.
"Yes,"falteredHeleneChurchill."Whatdidyougointonursingfor?"
Thefaintestpossibletaintofasperitywasinhervoice.
QuitedumblyforaninstantRaeMalgregor'snaturaltimiditystoodbattlingthe
almostfanaticprofessionalfervorinHeleneChurchill'sfranklyopenface,the
raw,scientificpassion,ofverydifferentcaliber,butnolessintensity,hiddenso
craftilybehindZillahForsyth'splasticfeatures.Thensuddenlyherownhands
wentclutchingbackatthebureauforsupport,andalltheflaming,ragingred
wentebbingoutofhercheeks,leavingherlipswithhardlybloodenoughleftto
workthem.
"Iwentintonursing,"shemumbled,"andit'sGod'sowntruth,—Iwentinto
nursingbecause—becauseIthoughttheuniformsweresocute."
Furiously,theinstantthewordsweregonefromhermouth,sheturnedand
snarledatZillah'shootinglaughter.
"Well,Ihadtodosomething!"sheattested.Thedefensewaslikeaflatblade
slappingtheair.
DesperatelysheturnedtoHeleneChurchill'sgoading,faintlysupercilioussmile,
andhervoiceedgedsuddenlylikeatwistedsword."Well,theuniformsare
cute!"sheparried."Theyare!Theyare!Ibetyouthere'smorethanonegirl
standinghighinthegraduatingclassto-daywhoneverwouldhavestuckouther
firstyear'sbossin'andslopsandworryanddeath—ifshe'dhadtostickitoutin
theunimportantlookingclothesshecamefromhomein!Evenyou,Helene
Churchill,withallyourpioustalk,—thedaytheyputyourcoachman'ssoninas
newInterneandyougotcalleddownfromtheofficeforfailingtostandwhen
Mr.YoungCoachmancameintotheroom,youbawledallnight,—youdid,—and
sworeyou'dchuckyourwholejobandgohomethenextday—ifitwasn'tthat
you'djusthadalife-sizephototakeninfullnursingcostumetosendtoyour
brother'schumatYale!Sothere!"
WithagaspofineffablesatisfactionsheturnedfromHeleneChurchill.


"Suretheuniformsarecute!"sheslashedbackatZillahForsyth."That'sthe
wholetroublewith'em.They'resoawfully—masqueradishly—cute!Sure,I
couldhavegotengagedtotheTyphoidBoy.Itwouldhavebeenaseasyas
robbingababe!Butlotsofgirls,Inotice,getengagedintheiruniforms,feeding
apatientperfectlyscientificallyoutofhisownsilverspoon,whodon'tseemto
stayengagedsoespeciallylongintheirownstreetclothes,bunglingjustplain
naturallywiththeirownknivesandforks!Evenyou,ZillahForsyth,"she
hacked,"evenyouwhotrotroundliketheLord'sAnointedinyourpurewhite
togs,you'rejustasDutchylookingasanybodyelse,cometoputyouinaredhat
andatancoatandablueskirt!"
Mechanicallysheraisedherhandstoherheadasthoughwithsomesillythought
ofkeepingthehorridpaininhertemplesfromslippingtoherthroat,herbreast,
herfeet.
"Suretheuniformsarecute,"shepersistedabitthickly."SuretheTyphoidBoy
wascrazyaboutme!Hecalledmehis'HolyChorusGirl,'Iheardhim—ravingin
hissleep.Lordsaveus!Whatarewetoanymanbutjustthat?"shequestioned
hotlywithrenewedvenom."Parson,actor,youngsinner,oldsaint—Iaskyou
frankly,girls,onyourwordofhonor,wasthereevermorethanonemaninten
wentthroughyourhandswhodidn'tturnoutsoftsomewherebeforeyouwere
throughwithhim?Mawkingaboutyour'sweeteyes'whileyou'rewreckingyour
opticnervestryingtodecipherthedoseonapoisonbottle!Mooningoveryour
wonderfullikenesstothelovelyyoungsisterthey—neverhad!Tryingtokiss
yourfingertipswhenyou'restrugglingtobrushtheirteeth!Teasin'youtosmoke
cigaretteswith'em—whentheyknowitwouldcostyouyourjob!"
Impishly,withoutanywarning,shecrookedherkneeandpointedatonehomely
square-toedshoeinamincydancingstep.Hoydenishlyshethrewoutherarms
andtriedtogatherHeleneandZillahbothintotheircompass.
"Oh,youHolyChorusGirls!"shechuckledwithmaniacaldelight.
"Everybody,alltogether,now!Kickyourlittlekicks!Smileyourlittle
smiles!Tinkleyourlittlethermometers!Steady,—there!
One—two—three—One—two—three!"
LaughinglyZillahForsythslippedfromthegrasp."Don'tyoudare'holy'me!"
shethreatened.


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