A Man's Woman HTML version

Chapter III.
As Lloyd Searight turned into Calumet Square on her way from the bookseller's,
with her purchases under her arm, she was surprised to notice a drop of rain
upon the back of one of her white gloves. She looked up quickly; the sun was
gone. On the east side of the square, under the trees, the houses that at this
hour of the afternoon should have been overlaid with golden light were in
shadow. The heat that had been palpitating through all the City's streets since
early morning was swiftly giving place to a certain cool and odorous dampness.
There was even a breeze beginning to stir in the tops of the higher elms. As the
drops began to thicken upon the warm, sun-baked asphalt under foot Lloyd
sharply quickened her pace. But the summer storm was coming up rapidly. By
the time she reached the great granite-built agency on the opposite side of the
square she was all but running, and as she put her key in the door the rain swept
down with a prolonged and muffled roar.
She let herself into the spacious, airy hallway of the agency, shutting the door by
leaning against it, and stood there for an instant to get her breath. Rownie, the
young mulatto girl, one of the servants of the house, who was going upstairs with
an armful of clean towels, turned about at the closing of the door and called:
"Jus' in time, Miss Lloyd; jus' in time. I reckon Miss Wakeley and Miss Esther
Thielman going to get for sure wet. They ain't neither one of 'em took ary
"Did Miss Wakeley and Miss Thielman both go out?" demanded Lloyd quickly.
"Did they both go on a call?"
"Yes, Miss Lloyd," answered Rownie. "I don't know because why Miss Wakeley
went, but Miss Esther Thielman got a typhoid call—another one. That's three
f'om this house come next Sunday week. I reckon Miss Wakeley going out meks
you next on call, Miss Lloyd."
While Rownie had been speaking Lloyd had crossed the hall to where the roster
of the nurses' names, in little movable slides, hung against the wall. As often as a
nurse was called out she removed her name from the top of this list and slid it
into place at the bottom, so that whoever found her name at the top of the roster
knew that she was "next on call" and prepared herself accordingly.
Lloyd's name was now at the top of the list. She had not been gone five minutes
from the agency, and it was rare for two nurses to be called out in so short a
"Is it your tu'n?" asked Rownie as Lloyd faced quickly about.