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CHAPTER XVIII._A Girl in Ten Thousand

 Effie saw very little of Dorothy Fraser, but on the following day, to her great surprise and pleasure, as she was leaving the dining-hall, Dorothy came up and spoke to her.

"You have a minute to spare," she said; "just come out on this balcony and talk to me."

Effie obeyed her.

"What do you want with me, Dorothy?" she asked.

"I wish to know why you look so pale and worried—you seem to have displeased Sister Kate, too."

Effie very nearly burst into tears, but she restrained herself.

"I'll tell you what it is," she said. "It is the most unjust thing!"

She then mentioned in as few words as possible the circumstance of Lawson having spoken to her—of her great anxiety about George—and of her having walked back with the young medical student from her home on the previous evening.

Dorothy looked very grave while Effie was speaking.

"It is unfortunate," she said. "This is just the sort of thing that injures a girl at the commencement of her hospital life."

"But it is so ridiculous and unjust," said Effie. "What in the world can Mr. Lawson be to me?"

"Oh, nothing, of course, my dear," replied Dorothy. "But still the rules cannot be too strict on this point. You know I am not a prude, but all girls are not like you, Effie; and, in short, Sister137 Kate is in the right. Someone must have seen you walking back with Mr. Lawson, and must have told her, or hinted, at least, at the state of the case. Nothing else would have induced her to question you."

"She had no right to speak to me about acquaintances that I meet out of the hospital."

"Strictly speaking, she has no right; that's why I say she must have got a hint."

"Oh, well, never mind her," said Effie. "I won't speak to Mr. Lawson again, unless I meet him out of doors, where I can, and shall, whatever Sister Kate may say."

"Effie, you must be careful."

"I don't want to think of myself at all. Can't you see how miserable I am about my mother and about George?"

"Yes; it is a most wretched business. I am more sorry for you than I can say."

"Oh, I wish something could be done," said Effie. "I feel tired and fettered here—I feel almost wild. I cannot devote myself to my necessary duties."

"Poor child," said Dorothy in her caressing voice. "Let me think: I must help you in some way. Suppose I go to-day to see your mother? I had a chance of having the whole afternoon to myself, but, as I had nowhere in particular to go, was determining not to avail myself of it, but now I can be of use to you."

"Oh, Dorothy! would you really go to see mother? It will be of the greatest possible use. You have such tact—you can say things that no one else would venture to say; and then if only you could see George!"

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