! The Snow Baby
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March 2010
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The Snow Baby

The Ogleby Place was one of those old fashioned grand estates. It is fenced about with an ornate cast iron fence. The driveway winds through a woods and then flows past lawns and gardens. The mansion is in the Georgian style and must have required an army of servants. These days Harold and Maureen lived alone there in the midst of empty splendor.

One winter's day, many years ago, I got a call that Harold wasn't feeling well. This was back in the days when we doctors still made house calls. My schedule was light that day and I felt like a drive, so I told them, yes, I would be out there.

I admired the snow filled woods as I drove past them. There was little to notice in the gardens other than that they were drifted full of snow. The area in front of the grand entrance had been cleared. I parked and made my way up the steps. Just as I was about to enter I noticed a child's scarf laying on the steps. I picked it up and rang.

Maureen answered the door. She murmured her welcome and thanked me for coming. She said she was really quite worried about Harold. I made the usual remarks about being happy to help, and then mentioned the scarf. Maureen said that it was the baby's. I was surprised; I hadn't even known that she had a child.

Harold was waiting in one of the receiving parlors. He did not look good. He had a slight fever, his lungs rattled, and his pulse was irregular. I told him that the best thing he could do right now was to go to bed and stay there. I told Maureen that if he didn't get better in a day or two that she should bring him into my office. He should come in anyway for some tests. I really was concerned about his heart

Then told Maureen That as long as I was there I wanted to take a look at her and the baby. She looked alarmed. She said that the baby was sleeping in the nursery and was not to be disturbed. As for herself, she was fine.

Nonsense, I said. It never hurts to get checked. Sometimes people think that all is well when it is not. She demurred, but I overbore her, and she consented to a brief examination.

I was quite surprised. She was very pale, her skin was cold, almost icy, and her temperature was 94. I told her that she was suffering from hypothermia. She said no, this was normal for her. I didn't believe her, but I accepted her word. Her heart and lungs sounded good. I asked if she was nursing. She said that she was and that her milk was good.

I told them that they both were alright for now, but that they should come in soon for a full examination. They said that they would and Maureen showed me to the door.

There was an incident on the trip back. As I was driving through the woods a fawn burst out of the trees and hit my car. There wasn't much damage to the car but the fawn was killed. There was little I could do so I drove on back to my office.

I never saw the Oglebys again.


This page was last updated March 1, 2010.
Copyright © 2010 by Richard Harter

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