My sister-in-law rushed past me to the telephone.
“The very thing!” She threw the words over her shoulder as she took down the receiver. “Thank you so much.” Then, as she received her connection, she spoke rapidly, enthusiastically.
“Edwin, I have such good news for you. Dicky’s wife thinks that little Miss Sonnot who nursed mother could go tomorrow. She said while she was here that she wanted to enter the hospital service. Yes. I thought you’d want her. All right. I’ll see to it right away and telephone you. By the way, Edwin, if she can go, you won’t need me this forenoon, will you? That’s good. I can stay with mother, then. Take care of yourself, dear. Good-by.”
She hung up the receiver and turned to me.
“Can you reach her by ’phone right away, and if she can go tell her to go to the Clinton at once and ask for Dr. Braithwaite?”
I paid a mental tribute to my sister-in-law’s energy as I in my turn took down the telephone receiver. I realized how much wear and tear she must save her big husband.
“Miss Sonnot!” I could not help being a bit dramatic in my news. “Can you sail for France tomorrow? One of Dr. Braithwaite’s nurses is ill, and you may have her place, if you wish.”
There was a long minute of silence, and then the little nurse’s voice sounded in my ears. It was filled with awe and incredulity.
“If I wish!” and then, after a pregnant pause, “Surely, I can go. Where do I learn the details?”
I gave her full directions and hung up the receiver with a sigh.
She came to see me before she sailed, and after she had left me, I went into my bedroom, locked the door, and let the tears come which I had been forcing back. I did not know what was the matter with me. I felt a little as I did once long before when a cherished doll of my childhood had been broken beyond all possibility of mending. Unreasonable as the feeling was, it was as if a curtain had dropped between me and any part of my life that lay behind me.
LIFE’S JOG-TROT AND A QUARREL
Life went at a jog-trot with me for a long time after the departure for France of the Braithwaites and Miss Sonnot.
My mother-in-law missed her daughter, Mrs. Braithwaite, sorely. I believe if it had not been for her pride in her brilliant daughter and her famous son-in-law she would have become actually ill with fretting. I found my hands full in devising ways to divert her mind and planning dishes to tempt her delicate appetite.
Because of her frailty and consequent inability to do much sightseeing, or, indeed, to go far from the house, Dicky and I spent a very quiet winter.
Our evenings away from home together did not average one a week. And Dicky very rarely went anywhere without me.
“What a Darby and Joan we are getting to be!” he remarked one night as we sat one on each side of the library table, reading. His mother, as was her custom, had gone to bed early in the evening.