Left destitute by the death of her young husband, Ethel Wynne lives with her old nurse, Hester O'Brien, a laundress. During the day Ethel works as a clerk in a toy store, leaving her babies in the care of Hester, and in the evenings, helps out by doing ironing and housework. One day, while she is at the store, Harley Clarke, a wealthy bachelor, comes in with a group of boys and lets them select whatever toys they fancy. It is his birthday, and. seeing the children hungrily eyeing the window display, he has decided to celebrate the day by treating them. Ethel is very much impressed by Mr. Clarke's evident kindliness, and after he has left the shop, she gets his name and address from Mayme, the girl who waits on him. When she arrives home, she finds Hester very sick and is obliged to call a doctor, who has her taken to the hospital. Ethel is now in a sorry plight. She has no one to take care of the baby while she is away at work, and no means of supporting herself at home. Having just paid Hester her week's board, she has no money whatever, and is in despair. Noticing a batch of curtains addressed to Harley Clarke, who is one of Hester's customers. Ethel decides to place the baby in with them, thinking that such a kind-hearted man will surely look after the little child. She does this and the bundle is accepted at the house without question. The next day, while looking through the paper, Ethel notices an advertisement for a nurse, inserted by Clarke. She answers it and gets the place, thus becoming foster-mother to her own baby. All goes smoothly in the Clarke household until the suspicions of Sarah, Clarke's housekeeper, are aroused, and she goes with the tale to her master. Clarke does not believe the story, but goes straight to Ethel and asks her for the truth. Ethel, who has fallen deeply in love with Clarke, fears that her disclosure will separate her from her baby, but none the less she tells him everything. Her pitiful tale touches the heart of Clarke, already strongly drawn to her, and he will not let her go away. He insists that the baby now belongs to him, she shall belong to him also, and become his wife and mistress of his household.
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