There is a story called ‘Laddie,’ that tells of a Scotch mother whose son in early manhood had been allowed to go to London to be brought up by an old physician friend who educated him in his profession.
About the time the son graduated, his father died and the young doctor was unable to go home. A few months later the mother, hungry for love determined to go and live with her son who now had settled down to his profession.
She surprised him and while glad to see her, shadows played over his face at the thought of the little old-fashioned mother settled over his home. What would the aristocratic people think of her? What would his sweetheart, Violet, say to her old-fashioned ways?
Keeping her true identity from his servants he determined to settle her in the suburbs of the great city where he might see her often. That night he suggested to her that the traffic and bustle of the city would be too noisy for her, and it would be better for her to live just outside of the city, where he could run out and visit her. A shadow came over her face. Quickly concealing it, however, after a while she retired saying that they would talk the matter over again in the morning.
The doctor tried to sleep but could not. He rolled and tossed until he heard his door open and he called out: ‘Mother, what is it?’ And she said, ‘Laddie, may I come in and tuck you in just as I used to do when you were a boy?’ ‘Yes, mother,’ he replied. Tucking him in, she stooped over and kissed him and then retired.
That kiss burned into his soul and he resolved that he would keep his mother no matter what happened.
After making this decision, he fell asleep.
He slept longer than usual in the morning. As soon as he was dressed he went to his mother’s room, but she was gone; the place was empty. A little note told him that she did not want to stand in his way, and she was sure that she could find a way to care for herself. He tried to find her but could not; she had slipped out of sight.
He told Violet and she searched with him, but to no avail. Months afterward, when the doctor had visited a patient in the hospital, and was going out through the accident ward, he saw a screen around a cot and he said to the nurse: ‘Some one near death, I see,’ ‘Yes,’ was the reply, ‘ an old woman was run over by an omnibus and she talks in her delirium about her old home and now and then she calls for Laddie.’ Instantly the doctor was around the screen to the cot, and there lay his old mother.
With a cry of ‘Mother,’ that would almost have called one back from the dead he threw himself by her side. She opened her eyes and wearily stroked his head and said: ‘It had been a long way since I left you, Laddie.’
Violet came and the two stood by her cot as her life went out with the going down of the sun. And she gave them her parting blessing and the doctor discovered a mother’s love that did not want to stand in the way of her son’s success.