Ellen Matthews, Mission Nurse

Auburn-haired Ellen had broken her engagement to Dr. Richard Creighton, and she couldn’t see herself remaining on at City Hospital in Chicago, where she would be seeing him every day. Her priest told her of a mission in Africa where Father Clousseau had asked for assistance, and Ellen, who had thought of herself as the missionary type since childhood, was interested at once. The pay was almost nothing, but the job offered a chance to see a little of the world, the priest went on, and, at the same time, she would be contributing something of real value to mankind.

Ellen had almost immediately fallen victim to the indefinable charm of Africa. Dust was everywhere as the big black Mercedes, with its native driver, jolted over the red clay road of Masai Plains, but then something almost incredibly beautiful would happen — like the herd of zebra that crossed the road not a hundred yards ahead of the car. The mission itself — low, rambling, with louvered shutters and acacia trees for shade — was almost exactly as she had imagined it. And Sisters Felicia and Gabrielle and white-haired Father Clousseau — well, Ellen knew right away that she was going to like working with them. Here, too, away from men of eligible age, she would be able to sort out her emotions, find herself. But that was before Ellen met rugged Craig Adams, who caught rare wild animals for zoos, and went on safari with him…

Mr. Hayes’s story of a nurse who went to Africa with a troubled heart and found peace there contains the very essence of the charm of Africa and a primitive civilization.