Read CHAPTER XXI of Twenty Years of Hus'ling , free online book, by J. P. Johnston, on


One day while I was up-town, marketing, the Doctor traded his old English gold watch and chain to a professional horse-trader, for another watch with all modern improvements. Immediately on my return he called me up-stairs, and said:

“Johnston, I have made enough on a single trade to pay me a good month’s salary.” And handing me the watch, said: “Look and see what an elegant thing it is. It cost the infernal fool three hundred and fifty dollars, and I got it even-up for my old-fashioned gold watch and chain.”

I asked him what he valued his old watch and chain at. He said the chain would bring sixty dollars for old gold, and he didn’t know what value to put on the watch. After examining it, I said:

“Well, Doctor, you made a big hit.”

“Well, that’s what I think,” he shouted, as he hopped about in his usual frisky manner.

I again remarked:

“Yes sir, you did well. I once traded a horse and watch for a twin brother to this very watch, and mighty soon discovered that the auction price on them was three dollars and fifty cents each!”

He then flew into a rage, and cussed me and my judgment. I prevailed on him to accompany me to a jeweler, who placed the retail price at five dollars, and said it was a brass watch.

The Doctor declared he would have the fellow arrested; but I urged that the best way was to keep still, and not even let him know that he was sick of his bargain. He agreed to this, provided I would help him to get even with him in some way.

I promised I would.

The horse-trader didn’t come near the hotel for a few days, and not until the Doctor had met him and treated him very nicely, thus entirely disarming him of suspicion.

One day a circus came to town, and with it a street-salesman carrying a stock of the very cheapest jewelry manufactured. He was unable to procure a license, and made no sales there. I bought from him twenty-five cents’ worth of his goods. The Doctor took about half of my purchase, and wrapping them in tissue paper, put them carefully in his valise; and we awaited the arrival of our friend Sam, the horse-trader.

One evening we saw him hitching his horse outside, and made ready for him by beginning a very heated discussion concerning a deal we had been having in jewelry. As he entered we were in the hottest of it. The Doctor abused me, and I accused him of not living up to his agreement, and peremptorily demanded one hundred and sixty dollars in cash, or the return of the jewelry.

The Doctor said he couldn’t pay the money under ten days, and refused to return the jewelry. Then I declared there would be a fight, unless he did one thing or the other on the spot. The Doctor then said he wouldn’t disgrace himself by fighting, if he had to turn all the jewelry over to me, and got his valise at once and produced it, and my original bill to him. Sam stepped forward to examine it as I was taking a careful inventory to make sure it was all there.

I then casually remarked that I was going to see a certain man the next day, and trade it for a horse and buggy. Sam said:

“I’ll trade you a nice horse and buggy for it.”

“Where is your rig?” I asked.

“Outside here.”

I stepped out, and after looking the horse and wagon over, said:

“I think that whole rig is worth one hundred and fifty dollars, and I’ll trade for ten dollars boot.”

Sam said he would look the jewelry over again, which he did. He then offered to trade even.

I refused to do that, but told him I would trade, if he would let me keep two of the rings. He offered to let me keep one ring. The trade hung for a few moments, and at last, seeing his determination, we consummated the trade and I drove the outfit to the barn.

The Doctor didn’t sleep a wink that night, and the next morning wanted me to sell out at once, and divide the money.

But, seeing a chance to tantalize him, I said:

“Doctor, who do you want me to divide with?”

“With me,” he shouted. “Whom do you suppose?”

“Well, thunderation! Doctor; it was my property we traded off. Why should I give you half the profits?”

“Great Heavens!” he screamed. “Think of it! One shilling’s worth of property!”

Then he sizzled around for awhile, and said I was worse than Sam, the horse-shark; because Sam didn’t practice beating his friends, and I did, according to that deal.

I offered the harness to the Doctor as his share of the deal. He refused, and abused me roundly, till I took him in as full partner on the whole thing.

The next day Sam came in the hotel, and handing me one of the rings that had turned perfectly black, asked me if that was one I traded him. I told him it looked like it in shape, but not in color. He asked if I had any more like it, but assured me that he was no squealer, and would never “kick” if I had traded him brass jewelry for his farm, only he simply wanted to know how badly he had been “done up.” I showed him what I had, and gave them to him. He said he would take better care of that lot than he did the first, and would try and get even in some way.

A day or two later he came in, and asked what I had to trade. I told him I had a note of one hundred and forty-two dollars, past due, against a young man in Battle Creek, Michigan, which I had traded patent rights for, and I would trade it for a horse. He looked it over, and said he would think of it. A few days later he came in again and asked how I would trade the note for his horse standing outside. After looking the animal over, I offered to trade for twenty-five dollars. He said he would trade even, and a few minutes later we made the deal, and I took the animal to the stable.

The Doctor was more pleased over this trade than I was, and so much so that I began to think he expected a half interest in it, and asked him if he did.

He said he did not; but it pleased him to see me get the best of Sam, the horse-shark.

About ten days later, as the Doctor and I were going into the post office together, we met Sam just as he had opened a letter from Battle Creek, containing a draft for the full amount of the note with interest, all amounting to something near one hundred and fifty dollars. Sam said he had written to a banker there before he traded for the note, and ascertained it was all right.

The Doctor turned ghastly pale, and I came near fainting. To think that I had traded such a note for an old plug of a horse was sickening, especially when considering our circumstances.

One day a gentleman stopped at the hotel selling wire stove-pipe brackets. They were so constructed as to fasten around the pipe of the cook-stove, and make a very convenient shelf to set the cooking utensils on.

The Doctor took a particular liking to the man selling them, and lost no opportunity to speak a good word for the invention. One day he ventured the assertion that he could sell six dozen a day to the housekeepers of that town. I suggested that he start out at once.

He was insulted, and said he was in other business. I said a poor excuse was better than none and offered to wager the price of a new hat that he couldn’t sell one in a week. He then offered to bet the cigars for the crowd that he could sell one to his washerwoman.

“Yes,” I replied, “I suppose she would be glad to take cats and dogs for what you owe her.”

That settled it, and he raked me right and left. He said I needn’t judge him from my shirtless experience at Fort Wayne (which I had related to him), and that he always paid his wash bill. He then reminded me that only for him and his money a few weeks before, I would have gone without laundered shirts many a day.

“Yes,” said I, “and only for me where would you be eating now?”

“Great !” he ejaculated. “You cussed, impudent Arab! Who got you this job?”

“You did,” I replied; “but only for your beautiful figure and winning ways catching the eye of the land

“Shut up! shut up!” he yelled. “Don’t you open your infernal head again.”

Then I apologized, and said:

“Well, Doctor, you have satisfied me that you don’t owe your washerwoman, so I’ll take the bet you offered to make. And,” I added, “I’ll bet another cigar she won’t let you in the house unless you have a bundle of washing along, and show her that you have a legitimate right to call on her.”

This exasperated him again, and made him more determined than ever to show us what he could do.

He selected a bracket, and started for the washerwoman, who lived directly back of the hotel, on another street. It fifteen minutes to twelve o’clock when he started.

About noon one of the kitchen girls came running to the office, and called me to come quick to the back door. I hastened, and to my astonishment found the Doctor, under the greatest excitement. No spectacles on, his hat gone, a large piece torn from his fine swallow-tailed coat, and to all appearances he had just emerged from the sewer.

“Great Heavens! Doctor; what is up?” I asked.

“Don’t say a word! don’t say a word!” he cried. “Get me to my room, quick, before any one sees me.”

“Where is your hat?” I asked.

“Over to the washerwoman’s,” he gasped.

“And your cane what has become

“Great Heavens! sure enough,” he interrupted. “I forgot that. It’s on her table. And my spectacles the Lord knows where they are! But get me out of this, quick; and hurry over there and fix it.”

“Fix what?” I asked. “What did she say, Doctor?”

“Good! all I heard her say was: ’What will my poor Mike do for his dinner?’ and then she never mind what she said, but hurry up.”

I then said to him:

“Doctor, you go right through the dining room and on up-stairs to your room, and I’ll go over and see if I can find what there is left of you.”

He asked if there were no back stairs. I said yes, but they were very dark. I then led him to the back stair-way, and offered to accompany him to his room. But he said I should hurry over there and fix things. So, after explaining to him the back-stair route to his room, I was about to close the door on him, when he placed his hand on his head and said:

“My! just feel of this bunch. And I guess my hat is ruined, Hurry over and see about it, quick.”

I closed the stair-way door and started across the back yard. When not more than six or eight rods away, I heard a noise at the house that startled me. One of the girls came running out, and screamed for me to come back, quick.

By the time I arrived there they had succeeded in hauling the Doctor out from the entrance to the stair-way, and he was completely deluged with slops.

He began swearing and cursing the chambermaid, and cursed me for hiring a Dutchman to do the work.

He then explained that after getting about two-thirds up the stairs, he had concluded to give it up and go the front way; and while descending he had come on the opposite side from that which he had ascended, and had stepped on a bucket filled with slops; and as a result he had landed at the very bottom of the stairs, with the contents all over him.

“Well, Doctor,” said I, leading him to his room, “you are the most horrible-looking sight I ever beheld. It will be terrible, if the landlady comes home on the noon train.”

“Good !” he faltered, “do you expect her home on this train? Here, let me go alone. You hurry over there. that lazy Dutchman! Why didn’t he empty the slops?”

I then made a fresh start for the Doctor’s washerwoman. On the way I found his spectacles in a ditch, which had no water in, but plenty of mud. He had gotten out of the regular path, and in his excitement had waded into the ditch.

Upon reaching the house, I found the old lady under a high pressure of exasperation and excitement. When I asked if Doctor had been there,

“Howly Moses!” she shrieked, “I shud think he had been here, wid his dommed old stove-pipe demolisher. Be jabbers! he got a good whack over the head wid me mop-stick to pay for his flabbergasted stubbornness. And I think he’ll have to sell more nor wan of thim pesky wire flumadoodles before he can replace the ould plug hat, which yez’ll foind layin’ theer in the wud-box.”

I asked for an explanation.

She showed me how the Doctor had come in without any authority, and insisted on putting “wan of thim dom things on her stove-poipe.” After fastening it on and explaining its purpose, he asked her to set her kettle of boiled dinner on, and see how stout and strong it was. This she refused to do, not believing it to be safe.

But the Doctor, “wid his dom jackass stubbornness,” as she termed it, had forcibly taken the kettle from her hands and lifted it to the bracket.

No sooner was it done than the whole thing, bracket, stove-pipe, and kettle of dinner went crashing to the floor; and without further ceremony she grabbed the nearest weapon to her, which happened to be the mop-stick, and assailed the intruder. She first struck his hat, knocking it off and bruising it badly, and next gave him a good whack over the head.

I asked how he tore his coat. She said, as he passed out on the jump his coat caught on a nail, but it didn’t lessen his speed one bit.

I returned to the hotel with the Doctor’s hat, cane, spectacles, and the wire bracket, which the irate woman declared she wouldn’t give house-room to.

The Doctor was in quite a critical condition. His head was badly swollen, several bruises were on his body from the fall down stairs, and a high fever had set in, compelling him to take to his bed.

His first question, when I entered his room, was: “What did she say?” and the second was: “Did the landlady come on the train?”

I answered both, and gave him all the aid and consolation in my power. Among other things, I promised if he ever recovered we would have his favorite pie and coffee every meal for two weeks. This pleased him greatly, for his appetite for apple pie and Java coffee was seldom if ever satisfied.

He recovered in a few days, and said he was glad the landlady didn’t return in the midst of that fracas.

A few days later he came rushing into the hotel from up town, and said:

“I just met an old friend and former patron, who used to live in the southern part of the State. He now lives five miles from here, and they are going to have a dance at his house next Friday night. He wants me to come out, and bring you with me, as I told him all about you, and whose daughter you married. He has always known John Higgins, your father-in-law. I told him we would be there, so you must make calculations to go.”

“All right, Doctor; we’ll drive our horse out.”

“That’s what we’ll do, that’s what we’ll do,” he laughingly remarked.

If there was any one thing the Doctor prided himself in more than another, it was his gracefulness in “tripping the light fantastic toe.”

He talked of nothing else from that time till Friday, and made more preparations for the occasion than the average person would for his own wedding.

When the hostler drove our rig to the front door, the Doctor with his highly polished boots, his heavy-checked skin-tight pants (then the height of fashion), his swallow-tailed coat renovated and mended for the occasion, his low-cut vest, and his immaculate shirt-front with a large flaming red neck-tie, his face cleanly shaven, his ivory-white moustache waxed and twisted, his gold-headed cane and gold spectacles, and lastly, his newly ironed hat standing there, as described, he certainly made a very striking appearance.

On our way out he became very impatient to make faster time, and declared that we got cheated when we traded the jewelry for such an infernal horse, and wanted to sell his half to me. I told him I would buy him out if he would take his pay in board. He became excited at once, and said he would be an idiot to do that, as it was just the same as understood that I was to board him, if I got the hotel to run.

“But suppose I should remain here for five years,” said I, “what then?”

“What then?” he quickly ejaculated, “why then I suppose you’d find me here to the end of that time. I started out with you, and I intend to stay with you.”

We were royally received at the farmer’s residence, and the Doctor at once became the center of attraction for those already assembled, and continued so during the evening. He told his latest stories, and I told one occasionally, bringing in “Pocahontas,” “Stove-pipe bracket,” “Irish patient,” “Brass watches,” etc., etc., any one of which had the tendency to keep the Doctor “riled up,” and in constant fear lest I should dwell on facts or go into particulars.

At last he called me out on the porch, and said:

“Now sir you, I am among aristocratic friends, who have always honored and respected me; and you have come about as near telling some of your cussed miserable stories about me as I want you to to-night. So now be guarded, sir. Remember I am among my friends, and not yours; so I warn you to be careful.”

I assured him that I meant no reflection on him, and would be guarded.

Directly the musicians came, and all was ready to begin. The Doctor was one of the first to lead out, with the hostess for a partner.

Everything went on smoothly. Hard cider flowed freely, and the Doctor indulged often. The gentlemen all kept their hats on, including the Doctor and myself, as etiquette didn’t seem to require their removal.

More cider, plenty of music and constant dancing, warmed up everybody; and very soon the gentlemen removed their coats, the Doctor and myself following suit. The more we danced, the more we wanted to dance; and the Doctor never missed a single set.

We were both introduced to the belles of the neighborhood. The Doctor was a general favorite with them, which fact caused considerable jealousy among not a few of the young gentlemen present.

Taking in the situation, I took special pains to say to all the boys that the Doctor was a nice old fellow, and meant no harm.

Finally, about ten o’clock, the Simon-pure aristocracy appeared on the scene. This was a young lady who had a very handsome face and a beautiful figure. But she was very cross-eyed. In spite of this defect she was very attractive, and being a graceful dancer, had no lack of offers to dance. I received an introduction to her, and soon after, the Doctor was introduced as per his request.

He became much infatuated with her, and she didn’t seem to dislike him very much. At any rate, they danced nearly every set together. When supper was announced he waited upon her. It so happened that the Doctor sat at the end of the table, she to his left at the side of the table, and I to his right, opposite her.

The first thing I said was:

“All I care for is pie and coffee.”

The Doctor looked sober and enraged.

After all were nicely seated, I told one or two old chestnuts, when the Doctor ventured on one of his latest. Then I said:

“Doctor, we are all alike. It simply shows our ‘impecuniosity’ to sit here and tell stories, when we ought to finish our meal and make room for others.”

Nobody laughed, so I told another. It was about an old gentleman going out to sell stove-pipe brackets. Everybody laughed but the Doctor. I then said:

“Doctor, let’s hear from you, now.”

He was too full for utterance, and as I very well knew, would have given considerable for a chance to express himself.

After supper he called me out on the porch and said he just expected every minute that I was going to mention his name in connection with that peddling story, and it was well I didn’t.

“Well, Doctor, I didn’t mean you at all.”

“The dl you didn’t! I wonder who you meant, if not me.”

I then said:

“I see you are having a nice time. Nice girl, you have taken a fancy to; but I was introduced to her before you were.”

“Well, it doesn’t make any difference about that,” he answered. “She will have nothing to do with you.”

“Why not?”

“Because I told her you were a married man, and that settled it.”

“Oh, ho! I see, Doctor. I see you were afraid I would out-shine you, weren’t you?”

“Not much, sir; not much. I know what she thinks of me, and just how well I stand in her estimation. She is a rich man’s daugh“.

“Yes,” I interrupted, “and she will never speak to you, after to-night.”

“She will, unless you tell some of your infernal yarns and connect me with them; and if you do, I’ll I’ll

“But, Doctor,” I said, hastily, “what will the landlady say, when she gets home and sees how things are going?”

“Oh, you cussed idiot!” he screamed. “Do you think she has a string tied to me? What do you s’pose I care for her? Is she any comparison to this young lady?”

“No, I suppose not; but, Doctor, you are fooled in this girl; and I’ll bet you didn’t tell her about my being married till after supper.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Well, I noticed that she kept looking at me all the time we were eating.”

“No such a thing. I know she was looking at me. I know she was. And another thing I know

“Yes,” I put in, “and another thing I know.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, sir, while we were at the table she kept her feet pressing against my feet all the time.”

“Oh, you idiot! Those were my feet that were pressing against yours.”

“Then if you knew they were mine, why did you keep pushing yours against them all the time?”

Under much excitement he answered:

“Because because, sir, I I I thought I would have a little fun with you. That’s why.”

“Yes; because you thought they were the girl’s feet. That’s why.”

Then assuming his usual dramatic attitude, and striking his breast with his clinched fist, he cried out:

“Johnston, if you cast any imputation against the character of this young lady, you will have to answer to me, sir. Now remember what I tell you.”

“Well, Doctor, you had better go in and resume dancing. You are losing lots of fun.”

“Yes,” he quickly answered. “I know I am; I know I am. This is what I get for introducing you into society.”

We then returned to the dancing room, and the Doctor found no difficulty in getting the attention of the cross-eyed belle.

By this time the boys were jealous, anyway, and would have nothing to do with her.

About two o’clock in the morning the Doctor came to me and said:

“Johnston, I am going to take this young lady home.”

“How far does she reside from here?”

“About six miles.”

“Have you ordered a livery team?”

“Not by a dang sight. Why should I? Can’t I use our horse and buggy?”

I replied that I thought not.

“I think I can, I know I can, and I know I will. The half of that rig belongs to me. I have agreed to take her, and I must do it.”

“Well, I should think you had better be starting, if you are going with our horse, and expect to return before morning.”

“We will not start till the dance breaks up, Mr. Johnston,” was his defiant answer.

“Where am I to stay?” I asked, “What am I going to do while you are traveling six miles and back, with that old plug of a horse, after everybody has gone home?”

“That, sir, is a matter of no concern to me; but that young lady must be taken home by me to-night, and no disappointment.”

Then he and the cross-eyed girl took their places for another quadrille.

By this time I was not in the best of humor myself, and began to feel that the Doctor was getting the best of me.

My first thought was to hitch up and drive home, leaving him in the lurch. But while considering the matter, my opportunity came; and I was not slow to take advantage of it.

During the progress of the dance, when “Gents to the right and balance” was called, the Doctor left his cross-eyed partner to make the round of the set. I rushed up to her immediately and said as quickly as possible:

“My dear Miss, you must not dance the Doctor so hard. He has fits, and is liable to fall over in one at any moment. Why, in driving along in a carriage he is liable to drop right out in the middle of the road, leaving the horse to go to destruction.”

“Thank you, thank you,” she said.

I then stepped back to await results.

While talking with her, I noticed the Doctor eying me with suspicion, but my interview was so very short that he appeared relieved on my leaving her.

By this time he came balancing around, with his plug hat on the back of his head, his spectacles hanging over his nose, and grasping his gold-headed cane about the center with his left hand, and still retaining in his right hand a soiled napkin which he had brought from the table and mistaken for his handkerchief, he came balancing up to his partner with a regular Highland-fling step, a most fascinating and bewitching smile on his countenance, and looked her straight in the face.

She looked completely dumbfounded, seemed to have instantly lost interest in all worldly affairs, and stood stock still, staring cross-eyed at the Doctor, as if expecting to see him frothing and foaming at the mouth.

He then seized her about the waist, fairly lifting her from the floor; after swinging her two or three times around, again stood her up where he found her, when he seemed to suddenly comprehend that something was wrong, and instantly changed countenance.

The young lady then turned to him and said very reluctantly:

“Doctor, I wish to ask you to excuse me from our engagement this evening.”

Suddenly remembering my interview with her, he said:

“What did that red-headed hyena say to you? What did he say? What did he say? Tell me; tell me, quick! What did he say? I must know I must know.”

“Oh, nothing much, Doctor.”

“I demand to know immediately. Tell me tell me now.”

“Well, Doctor, he says you have fits.”

“Fits? fits? What! I have fits? Gracious Heavens!
What when how where is he? Where is the infernal red-headed liar?
Bring him to me and let me paralyze him.”

While saying this he was plunging and spinning around in his usual jumping-jack manner, swinging his cane in one hand and slamming his plug hat on the floor with the other.

The floor-manager stepped up and asked what the matter was. The Doctor shrieked out:

“Good ! do I look like a man who has fits? Would you think, to look at me, that I ever had fits?”

The floor-manager placed his hands on his shoulders, and said, sympathetically:

“Never mind, Doctor, you are not going to have a fit. Keep cool, Doctor. Keep perfectly quiet. You will soon get over it. Step outside into the cool air, and you will soon get over it.”

“Get over what?” said the exasperated man. “You infernal fool, what are you talking about? Do you think I don’t know enough to take care of myself?”

About a second later I stepped into an adjoining room, and there met the cross-eyed girl with her things on ready to leave. She said she didn’t know how she would get home, as her friends had gone and left her, expecting the Doctor to act as her escort.

I confessed that I was only joking, and we had better fix it up and let the Doctor take her home.

She nearly went into spasms when I suggested it, and said she wouldn’t dare ride a rod with such a man.

The Doctor’s farmer friend, our host, came to me and said I had better take the young lady home, and let the Doctor remain with them all night, and he would take him to town the next afternoon. This was satisfactory to the young miss, so we immediately slipped away, without consulting the Doctor, or even bidding him good night.

On our way, I asked her if she would be willing to consent to a meeting with the Doctor, or open a correspondence with him. She refused emphatically to do either, despite the fact that I declared the whole thing a joke.

She said his actions at the last were enough to convince her that it was no joking affair. I was anxious to do something in the Doctor’s behalf to atone for the injury to his feelings that I was the cause of, but the matter had gone too far.

I certainly had every reason to regret that things had turned out as they had, for the seventeen miles of travel in taking the girl home and returning to town proved too much for the old nag, and I did not reach my hotel until after nine o’clock that morning. I was at a loss to know how to fix things with the Doctor so as to make matters smooth, and have him cherish no hard feelings.

I had decided that my moustache was a failure, and had concluded to have it cut off. A plan came into my mind by which I felt certain I could manage to please the Doctor so well as to be able to bring about a feeling of harmony.

I arranged with my clerk that when we saw the Doctor coming I would lean back in one of the office chairs, apparently asleep, and when he came in the clerk should pick up a pair of shears from the window-sill and suggest that he (the Doctor) should clip one side of my moustache off, and let me run around during the evening a laughing-stock to every one.

It worked to a charm. The Doctor jumped at the chance, and cut one side close to my lip, after which I was routed up, and was received by him with much coolness.

The clerk had posted every one to say nothing to me; and as I appeared as ridiculous as possible, and everybody laughed heartily, the Doctor felt that he had perpetrated a huge joke on me.

He was more than pleased when I happened to glance in the mirror, and discovered my predicament, as he was sitting in the office.

The cross-eyed girl was not referred to for several days; and when I did mention her, the Doctor changed color, and immediately became dejected. Everything moved along smoothly for several days thereafter.

The Doctor, as before stated, was very fond of pie and coffee, especially apple pie, and generally preferred them the first thing before his regular meal, instead of waiting to have them served as a dessert.

Becoming dissatisfied with my dining-room and kitchen help, I had discharged them and hired an entire new force. When giving them instructions I gave the dining-room girls a description of the Doctor, and pointed out the seat he usually occupied; and cautioned them in particular not under any circumstances to give him pie or coffee.

They seemed curious to know the reason, and I explained that he was crazy, and the very moment he drank a swallow of coffee or ate a mouthful of pie he became raving at once, and would be liable to murder the whole lot of them; and the doctors had given strict orders never to let him have either.

That day we had apple pie for dinner, and I managed to have one of the boarders, who always sat at the same table with the Doctor, get into the dining room a little ahead of him, and to have some apple pie and a cup of coffee by his plate. The Doctor entered as usual, and after looking over the table, said:

“Bring me some apple pie and coffee.”

“We have no pie or coffee, Doctor,” was the girl’s weak and trembling reply.

“Do you claim you have none at all?” was his quick inquiry.

“None at all, Doctor,” she answered.

“And haven’t you had any for dinner?” was his next question.

“No, sir,” she replied.

“The dl you say! What’s that over there?” he asked, pointing to his neighbor’s plate. The girl stammered a moment, and said:

“Doctor, we are instructed not to give you pie or coffee.”

“Who the dl gave you such instructions?” demanded he.

“Well,” said she, evidently wishing not to compromise me, “the doctor says you mustn’t have either.”

“Great ! what doctor said so? Who told you the doctor said so? Why did he say I should not have pie or coffee?” he shouted.

“Because he says you are crazy,” she hesitatingly answered.

“Great Heavens! girl; it’s you that’s crazy!” and slamming his fist on the table, and jumping to his feet, he demanded an explanation instantly.

The girl ran to the kitchen, and the Doctor after her. The rest fled for their lives, screaming at the top of their voices and scattering in all directions. Some ran into the yard, some up stairs, and the poor frightened girl who had attempted to take his order took refuge in the cellar, the Doctor after her, yelling at the top of his voice, still demanding an explanation. He barricaded the cellar-way by swinging his cane and banging it against a tin wash-boiler near the entrance, and declared that the girl never should see daylight again unless she revealed the source of her information.

It was now about one o’clock, and the landlady had arrived on the noon train; and, after locating her newly painted hotel, came in just in time to catch us in the heat of the excitement, and the Doctor in the cellar in the midst of his controversy.

She demanded an explanation, and became very nervous when the cook excitedly told her that the Doctor had gone raving crazy, and had driven one of the girls down cellar.

She asked me why I didn’t go down after him. I told her I didn’t dare to.

Directly he came stamping up the stairs, swearing at the top of his voice, and said he just expected it was the work of that cussed red-headed dl.

As he emerged from the cellar-way, with his wild defiant look and an oath on his lips, and saw the landlady standing in the doorway, he looked the picture of despair.

He faltered for a moment, during which time there was another general stampede. I was the first to start on the run, with the old lady following after, leaving the Doctor by himself. He tried to find some one to listen to him, but the moment he would venture near any one about the house, they would fly away at lightning speed.

The landlady asked how long he had been so and suggested calling a physician, or having him sent to an asylum.

After the matter had gone as far as I thought it should, and farther than I had any idea it ever would go, I began to explain that it was only a joke. But again the thing had gone too far. My dining-room girls immediately quit work, declaring that I couldn’t fool them, as they had seen enough.

With considerable difficulty I satisfied the landlady that it was only a joke.

It then became necessary to satisfy her that the extensive improvements on the house had been a good investment. While up stairs showing her the changes I had made, I noticed the Doctor’s door was opened, and that he was inside.

Suddenly we came to a room directly opposite his, which I had had papered and re-furnished, and she remarked that it suited her exactly, and that it showed good taste. I said, in a loud tone:

“Well, landlady, the Doctor suggested this, and I have depended largely on his taste and judgment.”

We then stepped to the Doctor’s door, and were invited in. She aided me as much as possible in keeping up a conversation, and complimented the Doctor on his exquisite taste.

He was immensely pleased, and after she left I remained with him a few moments.

He jumped up and closed the door, and was about to give me a tongue-lashing, when I anticipated him by saying:

“Doctor, don’t it beat thunder about that girl? Great Heavens! Had I known she was just out of the Asylum I never would have hired her. And isn’t it strange that she twits every one else of being crazy? I wouldn’t have her around ten days for the price of the hotel. But you will not be bothered any more, Doctor, for she is gone.”

He gave me a very searching look, and said:

“Johnston, was it she or I that was considered crazy?”

“Well Doctor, I understand that she was crazy and you followed her down cellar to prevent her from committing suicide. At least that is the way the matter has been represented to the landlady and me.”

“Well, I understood,” said he seeming much relieved, “that they considered me crazy.”

“O, my! Doctor! the landlady considers you one of the bravest and most courageous men she ever saw, to follow a raving maniac down cellar the way you did.”

He said he was really surprised to learn that such was the case, as he had gotten quite a different idea.

A few days later my wife and boy arrived, as I had sent for them some days before.

The Doctor and I sold off our personal property and things moved on very harmoniously.

One day a lady called to consult him professionally and paid him five dollars in cash. This gave him renewed courage and he declared his intention of locating there permanently, as he not only believed it to be a good point, but he was rapidly becoming known and could very soon establish himself in a lucrative practice.

The business of the hotel increased, and to the landlady’s astonishment, was making money. She could not understand how it had cleared so much, till I explained to her that I had raised the rates from one dollar to one dollar fifty and two dollars per day. She became much frightened and declared I would ruin her business.

I declared it would be run on those terms, or not at all if I run it. She became reconciled, and in a few weeks found a responsible party who paid her a good rental for the house and furniture, and leased it for a term of years.