“ ‘Half-past ten,’ says I, ‘and you are Andy Tucker. I’ve seen you work. Wasn’t it you that put up the Great Cupid Combination package on the Southern States? Let’s see, it was a Chilian diamond engagement ring, a wedding-ring, a potato masher, a bottle of soothing syrup and Dorothy Vernon—all for fifty cents.’

“Andy was pleased to hear that I remembered him. He was a good street man; and he was more than that—he respected his profession, and he was satisfied with 300 per cent. profit. He had plenty of offers to go into the illegitimate drug and garden seed business; but he was never to be tempted off of the straight path.

“I wanted a partner; so Andy and me agreed to go out together. I told him about the situation in Fisher Hill and how finances was low on account of the local mixture of politics and jalap. Andy had just got in on the train that morning. He was pretty low himself, and was going to canvass the town for a few dollars to build a new battleship by popular subscription at Eureka Springs. So we went out and sat on the porch and talked it over.

“The next morning at eleven o’clock, when I was sitting there alone, an Uncle Tom shuffles into the hotel and asked for the doctor to come and see Judge Banks, who, it seems, was the mayor and a mighty sick man.

“ ‘I’m no doctor,’ says I. ‘Why don’t you go and get the doctor?’

“ ‘Boss,’ says he, ‘Doc Hoskins am done gone twenty miles in de country to see some sick persons. He’s de only doctor in de town, and Massa Banks am powerful bad off. He sent me to ax you to please, suh, come.’

“ ‘As man to man,’ says I, ‘I’ll go and look him over.’ So I put a bottle of Resurrection Bitters in my pocket and goes up on the hill to the Mayor’s mansion, the finest house in town, with a mansard roof and two cast-iron dogs on the lawn.

“This Mayor Banks was in bed all but his whiskers and feet. He was making internal noises that would have had everybody in San Francisco hiking for the parks. A young man was standing by the bed holding a cup of water.

“ ‘Doc,’ says the Mayor, ‘I’m awful sick. I’m about to die. Can’t you do nothing for me?’

“ ‘Mr. Mayor,’ says I, ‘I’m not a regular preordained disciple of S. Q. Lapius. I never took a course in a medical college,’ says I, ‘I’ve just come as a fellow-man to see if I could be of assistance.’

“ ‘I’m deeply obliged,’ says he. ‘Doc Waughhoo, this is my nephew, Mr. Biddle. He has tried to alleviate my distress, but without success. Oh, Lordy! Ow-ow-ow!!’ he sings out.

“I nods at Mr. Biddle and sets down by the bed and feels the Mayor’s pulse. ‘Let me see your liver—your tongue, I mean,’ says I. Then I turns up the lids of his eyes and looks close at the pupils of ’em.

“ ‘How long have you been sick?’ I asked.

“I was taken down—ow-ouch—last night,’ says the Mayor. ‘Gimme something for it, doc, won’t you?’

“ ‘Mr. Fiddle,’ says I, ‘raise the window shade a bit, will you?’

“ ‘Biddle,’ says the young man. ‘Do you feel like you could eat some ham and eggs, Uncle James?’

“ ‘Mr. Mayor,’ says I, after laying my ear to his right shoulder-blade and listening, ‘you’ve got a bad attack of super-inflammation of the right clavicle of the harpsichord!’

“ ‘Good Lord!’ says he, with a groan. ‘Can’t you rub something on it, or set it or anything?’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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