She made her first friendly overture of many days to Sidney the following
day. They met in the locker-room in the basement where the street clothing
for the ward patients was kept. Here, rolled in bundles and ticketed, side
by side lay the heterogeneous garments in which the patients had met
accident or illness. Rags and tidiness, filth and cleanliness, lay almost
Far away on the other side of the white-washed basement, men were unloading
gleaming cans of milk. Floods of sunlight came down the cellar-way,
touching their white coats and turning the cans to silver. Everywhere was
the religion of the hospital, which is order.
Sidney, harking back from recent slights to the staircase conversation of
her night duty, smiled at Carlotta cheerfully.
"A miracle is happening," she said. "Grace Irving is going out to-day.
When one remembers how ill she was and how we thought she could not live,
it's rather a triumph, isn't it?"
"Are those her clothes?"
Sidney examined with some dismay the elaborate negligee garments in her
"She can't go out in those; I shall have to lend her something." A little
of the light died out of her face. "She's had a hard fight, and she has
won," she said. "But when I think of what she's probably going back to--"
Carlotta shrugged her shoulders.
"It's all in the day's work," she observed indifferently. "You can take
them up into the kitchen and give them steady work paring potatoes, or put
them in the laundry ironing. In the end it's the same thing. They all go
She drew a package from the locker and looked at it ruefully.
"Well, what do you know about this? Here's a woman who came in in a
nightgown and pair of slippers. And now she wants to go out in half an
She turned, on her way out of the locker-room, and shot a quick glance at
"I happened to be on your street the other night," she said. "You live
across the street from Wilsons', don't you?"
"I thought so; I had heard you speak of the house. Your--your brother was
standing on the steps."
"I have no brother. That's a roomer, a Mr. Le Moyne. It isn't really
right to call him a roomer; he's one of the family now."
He had even taken another name. It had hit him hard, for sure.
K.'s name had struck an always responsive chord in Sidney. The two girls
went toward the elevator together. With a very little encouragement,
Sidney talked of K. She was pleased at Miss Harrison's friendly tone, glad
that things were all right between them again. At her floor, she put a
timid hand on the girl's arm.