In Kay Chronister's short story "The Fifth Gable," the women who live in the four-gabled house are described in an interlude.
Before they had been women who lived in the four-gabled house, they had been:
A maiden aunt.
A minister’s wife.
A washed-up stage actress.
They did not resemble themselves anymore.
I might be wrong, but as I see no other order to this list, I think that the first description ("A maiden aunt") belongs to the woman who makes her bed in the first gable, and the second to the second etc. There is a certain amount of support for this throughout the story; for example, when the women of the house bury Marigold's third child (the one from the woman who makes her bed in the first gable), it would seem appropriate that the minister's wife would suggest a religious activity for the funeral.
“We should sing a hymn,” said the woman who made her bed in the second gable.
“Why?” said the woman who made her bed in the fourth gable.
“It’s conventional. She’d like that.”
It makes sense that the woman who makes her bed in the third gable, whose reproductive process is linked to drama, is the "washed-up stage actress." A stereotypical minister's wife would keep a garden, I suppose, so it makes sense that the woman who made her bed in the second gable would produce botanical offspring.
I just don't understand why a former nurse would be associated with technology, and children made of metal. I guess it's possible that the women's life-creating powers don't relate to their former occupations, but then those don't really need to be mentioned at all, right? (And that also would contradict the pattern I established above.)
Although, to be fair, associating the nurse with the almost-biological process of the woman who made her bed in the
first gable cellar does make a certain amount of sense.
Another possibility is that the order of former vocations does not match the order of gables. I just think it makes sense to make the list follow that order; besides, if I'm right about the actress and the minister's wife, that means that half of the list does follow that order.
But, assuming I'm right in my assumptions about the women and their former jobs, why does the nurse create with metal?