In a Class of Their Own

In a Class of Their Own by Millie Gray Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: In a Class of Their Own by Millie Gray Read Free Book Online
Authors: Millie Gray
looking straight at Sam, “And don’t you do anything you shouldn’t do while I’m out.”
    Carrie, Hannah and Sam all nodded. Rachel turned to go but halted again. “You do all understand, don’t you, how important it is that nobody knows I’ve left you alone?”
    “But how’ll anybody ever find oot?” Carrie bleated. “Most people don’t even ken Daddy’s left us.”
    Rachel shook her head in annoyance. “Look, I’ve enough to worry me this night without you reminding me about your blooming useless deserting father.”
    Hannah opened the door further and, as quietly as possible, Rachel wheeled the pram into the street where she had to face the ferocity of the stormy night. She bent her head towards the relentless gale that buffeted and shrieked all around her. For a moment she felt quite astonished that nature could be so cruel.

    Midnight was chiming when Rachel reached Leith Hospital. Inconsequentially she recalled that it had been built as a memorial to the gallant men of Leith who had laid down their lives in the First World War. Her late arrival was due in part to the furious wind that had repeatedly driven her back one step for every two she’d taken. Sheer exhaustion was beginning to overtake her when she was greeted by the hospital porter as she pushed open the door.
    “Needin’ ony help, Rachel?” he asked, taking the pram from her.
    “No me, Tam, but my youngest is,” Rachel said as she blew hard into her hands in an effort to put life back into her frozen fingers.
    Then her words were drowned out by Alice’s racking coughing.
    “Here,” Tam blurted out. “Never you never mind sittin’ in that queue. Just get the bairn out of the pram and follow me.”
    Stiff with cold, Rachel awkwardly lifted Alice and staggered forward, almost letting her fall. Tam grabbed Alice from her and raced ahead up the stairs into the consulting room.
    The Night Sister, in charge of admissions, looked up. “Is there a problem, Tom?” she enquired icily.
    “This bairn’s in real bother, Sister,” Tam replied.
    “Maybe so, but careering around is hardly going to help. Decorum, Tom! Decorum at all times is what we must have in this hospital!”
    With pursed lips Sister rose and took Alice from Tam. She was about to lay Alice down on a trolley when Rachel entered. “You are the mother?” Sister asked in her clipped tones.
    Rachel nodded, controlling the urge to take Alice back into her arms.
    “Well, I’m just going to put her on the trolley here so that I can examine her,” said Sister, sensing Rachel’s panic and melting her tone somewhat.
    One look at Alice had Sister recognising that Alice needed medical help urgently. Without displaying emotion, she called to one of the staff nurses to help her. It was then that Alice began to cough, whoop and choke.
    Swiftly Sister lifted Alice, laid her on both knees and gently yet firmly patted her back. Then she turned the child over and placed one finger in her mouth. Rachel flinched and gasped. The Sister was hooking out three times as much phlegm as she had ever been able to do.
    “Isolation Ward for this one, Nurse,” Sister announced, placing Alice into a nurse’s waiting arms.
    “Isolation?” gasped Rachel as she grabbed hold of the Sister.
    Before answering, Sister removed Rachel’s hand from her arm. “Yes,” she nodded. “Your child has whooping cough, possibly with severe complications. First thing in the morning she’ll be transferred to the City Hospital. All infectious diseases have to go there.”
    Rachel shook her head in disbelief once she realised that Alice was to be transferred to isolation. “Please, could I see her once more before you take her?” she pleaded urgently.
    “No,” replied Sister firmly. “But this is her number: five, one, three. Now do you know you can either consult the Edinburgh Evening News or listen into the BBC six o’clock bulletin on the radio?”
    Rachel looked blank.
    “Look, when you hear you

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