OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 13, 1916, LAST EDITION, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-04-13/ed-1/seq-19/

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Ohl" said the doctor, and with
drew.
Miss Nan sat down. These inter
views were always painful ones. Her
heart was beating like a watch a
loud-ticking one. She filled out the
charts and went around the room,
hanging them up upon the beds.
Then she took out the babies, one by
one, made them ready for the night
and replaced them. All the while
Charlie Abbott's photograph hung in
a prominent place upon the wall of
her memory, the consequence being
that she walked around the room the
opposite way when she replaced the
babies.
Miss Matthews, the probationer,
came in a little later.
"Am I to take the babies to their
mothers now, Miss Keller?" she in
quired. Miss Nan looked aj the clock. "It
isn't six yet, Miss Matthews," she an
swered, "but I guess it will be by the
time you are half through. Yes! Take
Mrs. Molson's baby in. He's in cot
No. 1."
The probationer went to cot No. 1
and took up the tiny atom of human'
life. She gazed at it with a puzzled
expression.
"Mrs. Molson, did you say?" she
inquired.
"Yes," said Nan irritably.
"But but this isn't Mrs. Molson's
baby," protested the probationer.
"Mrs. Molson's baby has red hair.
Mrs. Molson is a white woman, Miss
Keller."
Nurse Nan cast a horrified, glance
at the baby in the arms of the proba
tioner. It was wejl, not a black
baby, because babies are not born
as dark as they become, but it was
unmistakably a mulatto baby.
She had gotten the babies mixed.
She looked hopelessly about the
ward. She did not in the least re
member whose baby was which, nor
where she had placed them. She
stared with horror into the probation
er's face. Miss Matthews was watch
ing her in a puzzled sort Qt way.
Nurse Nan tried to remember what
she had done, but she could only see,
in her mind's eye, the features of
Charlie "Abbott, and they seemed to
wear a sarcastic smile." She, who had
snubbed him, she, the competent and
self-contained one, bad mixed the ba
bies. She thought of the mothers, doom
ed to go through life with the wrong
babies. She thought of pauper ba
bies growing up to be millionaires,
and heirs to vast estates doomed to
life in the slums. She pictured the
colored baby growing up among puz
zled white folk, and a white baby
fondled in a negro cabin by a proud
foster father.
Nurse Nan dashed from the room.
She did not know where she was
going, but it was to be somewhere
miles away from the hospital, which
she would never see again and she
meant to get there in a very short
time.
As luck would have it Charlie Ab
bott was at the head of the stairs. He
saw the flying vision, the wild look in
the fugitive's eyes.
Why, Miss Keller," he began.
With a sob she sprang past him and
made for the hall. She was outside,
rushing toward the hospital gates.
Charlie Abbott lingered one instant
to take to the situation from the pro
bationer. Then:
"Let the mothers wait!" he com
manded curtly, and started after the
fugitive. She had a long start of him,
but love put speed into Charlie's legs,
Besides, it was the first time that he
had seen Nan Keller display any hu
man emotion whatever. He caught
her at the gate, grasped her about
the waist and pulled her into the
shade of a lilac tree.
"It's, all right It's all right, now,"
he expostulated.
"No, it isn't all right!" exclaimed
Nan tragically. "Let me go! Let me
eo. I've mixed the babies."
He held her like a struggling bind.
"Listen! Listen! Come back! I know
every baby by sight in the darken 1
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