Ella Ruth's mother has arranged a consultation for Ella Ruth with a physician at the new soldier's hospital to investigate the cause of her persistent headaches. Unfortunately, Momma delayed telling Ella Ruth about the appointment until the day she was to appear.
Of course, this has resulted in "words" being exchanged between the two women.
|Mended by Moonlight|
"The cold air, you mean."
"Bracing air. You've been indoors too much, my dear."
"All right. I'll go, if Thomas may drive me. There's no need for you to put yourself out to accompany me," Ella Ruth said, and went to get her heavy cloak without waiting for her mother's agreement.
During the buggy trip, Ella Ruth sat stiffly beside the elderly servant, glad for the lap robe that prevented him from seeing how tightly her hands were clasped together. Where are my steady nerves? Did they leave me when Ben died? So far today, her head had not tormented her. She hoped the physician would conclude that if she were allowed to mourn in peace, the headaches would disappear.
When Thomas turned the horse into the drive to the hospital, Ella Ruth saw that a comfortable sum of money had been expended to construct the buildings. Where did they get the money? she wondered. Surely the Union is as bankrupt as we are from the expenses of the war.
Thomas drove up to the largest building, halted the horse, and carefully alighted from the seat to help Ella Ruth down from the buggy. She told Thomas to stay with the horse, took a deep breath to steel herself, and walked through the front door.
Inside, light played on white walls of a small, empty vestibule. She pulled a bit of paper from her reticule and pushed through another door to encounter a hallway where a young man with no arm to fill his pinned-up left sleeve strolled past the door.
"Excuse me," she said, embarrassed to hear how timid her voice sounded.
The young man turned toward her and inclined his head slightly. "Yes, ma'am?"
"Might you inform me where Doctor . . ." She consulted the paper in her hand. "Where I might find Dr. Marshall?"
"Are you the new Matron?"
"Um, I-- I have a consultation arranged with the doctor." She twisted the paper between her hands, disconcerted by the man's direct gaze.
"Ah. He'll be in the wards this time of day." He gestured toward a set of double doors on the right. "It would be more proper if you waited in his office. That's down the other way, the last door on the left."
"Thank you, you're most kind," she said to the first Yankee soldier she'd seen since Ben died. "I'll wait."
She turned away and fled down the corridor. She badly needed to sit.
I hope everything will go well at the consultation for Ella Ruth. Do you think the doctor will be able to discover the cause of the headaches?
|The Zion Trail|
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