As a nurse Miss Fraser was accustomed to unexpected disturbances. She opened her eyes now and gazed at Effie for a bewildered moment, then she sat up in bed and .
"Why, Effie," she exclaimed, "what do you want? I fancied I was back at St. Joseph's and that one of the nurses had got into trouble and had come to me, but I find I am at home for the holidays. Surely it is not time to get up yet?"
"It is only five o'clock," said Effie. "It is not the usual time to get up; but, Dorothy, father wants you. There is a bad case of illness at The Grange—very bad indeed, and father is nearly distracted, and he wants to know if you will help him just for a bit."
"Why, of course," cried Dorothy. "I shall be delighted."
"I knew you would; I knew you were just that splendid sort of a girl."
Miss Fraser knit her brows in some perplexity "Don't, Effie," she said. "I wish you would not go into such ecstasies over me; I am only just a nurse. A nurse is, and ought to be, at the beck and call of everyone who is in trouble. Now run away, dear; I won't be any time in getting dressed. I will join you and your father in a minute."
"Father will see you in the street," said Effie. "The fact is——"
"Oh, do run away," exclaimed Dorothy. "I cannot23 dress while you stand here talking. Whatever it is, I will be with your father in two or three minutes."
Effie ran downstairs again. Mrs. Fraser, who had let her in, had gone back to bed. Effie shut the Frasers' hall door as quietly as she could. She then went across the sunlit and empty street to where her father stood on the steps at his own door. The groom who had driven the doctor over was standing by the horse's head at a little distance.
"Well," said Dr. Staunton, "she has fought shy of it, has she?"
"No; she is dressing," said Effie. "She will be down in a minute or two."
"Good girl!" said Dr. Staunton. "You didn't happen to mention the nature of the case?"
"No, no," answered Effie; "but the nature of the case won't make any difference to her."
The doctor pursed up his mouth as if he meant to whistle; he restrained himself, however, and stood looking down the street. After a time he turned and glanced at his daughter.
"Now, Effie," he said, "you must do all you can for your mother. Don't let her get anxious. There is nothing to be frightened about as far as I am concerned. If mortal man can pull the child through, I will do it, but I must have no home cares as well. You will take up that burden—eh, little woman?"
"I will try, father," said Effie.
Just then Dorothy appeared. She had dressed herself in her nurse's costume—gray dress, gray cloak, gray bonnet. The dress suited her earnest and reposeful face. She crossed the road with a firm step, carrying a little bag in her hand.