K (Chapter 7, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 7

Carlotta Harrison pleaded a headache, and was excused from the
operating-room and from prayers.

"I'm sorry about the vacation," Miss Gregg said kindly, "but in a day or
two I can let you off. Go out now and get a little air."

The girl managed to dissemble the triumph in her eyes.

"Thank you," she said languidly, and turned away. Then: "About the
vacation, I am not in a hurry. If Miss Simpson needs a few days to
straighten things out, I can stay on with Dr. Wilson."

Young women on the eve of a vacation were not usually so reasonable. Miss
Gregg was grateful.

"She will probably need a week. Thank you. I wish more of the girls were
as thoughtful, with the house full and operations all day and every day."

Outside the door of the anaesthetizing-room Miss Harrison's languor
vanished. She sped along corridors and up the stairs, not waiting for the
deliberate elevator. Inside of her room, she closed and bolted the door,
and, standing before her mirror, gazed long at her dark eyes and bright
hair. Then she proceeded briskly with her dressing.

Carlotta Harrison was not a child. Though she was only three years older
than Sidney, her experience of life was as of three to Sidney's one. The
product of a curious marriage,--when Tommy Harrison of Harrison's
Minstrels, touring Spain with his troupe, had met the pretty daughter of a
Spanish shopkeeper and eloped with her,--she had certain qualities of both,
a Yankee shrewdness and capacity that made her a capable nurse, complicated
by occasional outcroppings of southern Europe, furious bursts of temper,
slow and smouldering vindictiveness. A passionate creature, in reality,
smothered under hereditary Massachusetts caution.

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