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Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about The White Linen Nurse.

Clamping down his brakes with a wrench that almost tore the insides out of his engine the Senior Surgeon brought the great car to a staggering standstill.

“What is it?” he cried in real terror.  “What is it?”

Limply the Little Girl stretched down from the White Linen Nurse’s lap till she could nick her toe against the shiniest woodwork in sight.  Altogether aimlessly her small chin began to burrow deeper and deeper into her big fur collar.

“For Heaven’s sake, what do you want?” demanded the Senior Surgeon.  Even yet along his spine the little nerves crinkled with shock and apprehension.  “For Heaven’s sake what do you want?”

Helplessly the child lifted her turbid eyes to his.  With unmistakable appeal her tiny hand went clutching out at one of the big buttons on his coat.  Desperately for an instant she rummaged through her brain for some remotely adequate answer to this most thunderous question,—­and then retreated precipitously as usual to the sacristy of her own imagination.

“All the birds were there, Father!” she confided guilelessly.  “All the birds were there,—­with yellow feathers instead of hair!  And bumblebees—­crocheted in the trees.  And—­”

Short of complete annihilation there was no satisfying vengeance whatsoever that the Senior Surgeon’s exploding passion could wreak upon his offspring.  Complete annihilation being unfeasible at the moment he merely climbed laboriously out of the car, re-cranked the engine, climbed laboriously back into his place and started on his way once more.  All the red blustering rage was stripped completely from him.  Startlingly rigid, startlingly white, his face was like the death-mask of a pirate.

Pleasantly excited by she-didn’t-know-exactly-what, the Little Girl resumed her beloved falsetto chant, rhythmically all the while with her puny iron-braced legs beating the tune into the White Linen Nurse’s tender flesh.

All the birds were there
With yellow feathers instead of hair,
And bumblebees crocheted in the trees
And—­and—­all the birds were there,
With yellow feathers instead of hair,
And—­

Frenziedly as a runaway horse trying to escape from its own pursuing harness and carriage the Senior Surgeon poured increasing speed into both his own pace and the pace of his tormentor.  Up hill,—­down dale,—­screeching through rocky echoes,—­swishing through blue-green spruce-lands,—­dodging indomitable boulders,—­grazing lax, treacherous embankments,—­the great car scuttled homeward.  Huddled behind his steering wheel like a warrior behind his shield, every body-muscle taut with strain, every facial muscle diabolically calm, the Senior Surgeon met and parried successively each fresh onslaught of yard, rod, mile.

Then suddenly in the first precipitous descent of a mighty hill the whole earth seemed to drop out from under the car.  Down-down-down with incredible swiftness and smoothness the great machine went diving towards abysmal space!  Up-up-up with incredible bumps and bouncings, trees, bushes, stonewalls went rushing to the sky!

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