Peters as A Personal Magnet
Jeef Peters has been engaged in as many schemes for making money as there are recipes for cooking rice in Charleston, S.C.
Best of all I like to hear him tell of his earlier days when he sold liniments and cough cures on street corners, living hand to mouth, heart to heart, with the people, throwing heads or tails with fortune for his last coin.
I struck Fisher Hill, Arkansaw, said he, in a buckskin suit, moccasins, long hair and a thirty-carat diamond ring that I got from an actor in Texarkana. I dont know what he ever did with the pocket-knife I swapped him for it.
I was Dr. Waugh-hoo, the celebrated Indian medicine man. I carried only one best bet just then, and that was Resurrection Bitters. It was made of life-giving plants and herbs accidentally discovered by Ta- qua-la, the beautiful wife of the chief of the Choctaw Nation, while gathering truck to garnish a platter of boiled dog for the annual corn dance.
Business hadnt been good at the last town, so I only had five dollars. I went to the Fisher Hill druggist and he credited me for half a gross of eight-ounce bottles and corks. I had the labels and ingredients in my valise, left over from the last town. Life began to look rosy again after I got in my hotel room with the water running from the tap, and the Resurrection Bitters lining up on the table by the dozen.
Fake? No, sir. There was two dollars worth of fluid extract of cinchona and a dimes worth of aniline in that half-gross of bitters. Ive gone through towns years afterwards and had folks ask for em again.
I hired a wagon that night and commenced selling the bitters on Main Street. Fisher Hill was a low, malarial town; and a compound hypothetical pneumocardiac anti-scorbutic tonic was just what I diagnosed the crowd as needing. The bitters started off like sweetbreads-on-toast at a vegetarian dinner. I had sold two dozen at fifty cents apiece when I felt somebody pull my coat tail. I knew what that meant; so I climbed down and sneaked a five-dollar bill into the hand of a man with a German silver star on his lapel.
Constable, says I, its a fine night.
Have you got a city licence, he asks, to sell this illegitimate essence of spooju that you flatter by the name of medicine?
I have not, says I. I didnt know you had a city. If I can find it to-morrow Ill take one out if its necessary.
Ill have to close you up till you do, says the constable.
I quit selling and went back to the hotel. I was talking to the landlord about it.
Oh, you wont stand no show in Fisher Hill, says he. Dr. Hoskins, the only doctor here, is a brother- in-law of the Mayor, and they wont allow no fake doctor to practise in town.
I dont practise medicine, says I, Ive got a State pedlars licence, and I take out a city one wherever they demand it.
I went to the Mayors office the next morning and they told me he hadnt showed up yet. They didnt know when hed be down. So Doc Waughhoo hunches down again in a hotel chair and lights a jimpson- weed regalia, and waits.
By and by a young man in a blue neck-tie slips into the chair next to me and asks the time.
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