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|The Gentle Grafter||O Henry|
II. Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
|Page 3 of 5||
"'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 off assistance.'
"'I'm deeply obliged,' says he. 'Doc Waugh-hoo, 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 that 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?'
"I picks up my hat and starts for the door.
"'You ain't going, doc?' says the Mayor with a howl. 'You ain't going away and leave me to die with this--superfluity of the clapboards, are you?'
"'Common humanity, Dr. Whoa-ha,' says Mr. Biddle, 'ought to prevent your deserting a fellow-human in distress.'
"'Dr. Waugh-hoo, when you get through plowing,' says I. And then I walks back to the bed and throws back my long hair.
"'Mr. Mayor,' says I, 'there is only one hope for you. Drugs will do you no good. But there is another power higher yet, although drugs are high enough,' says I.
"'And what is that?' says he.
"'Scientific demonstrations,' says I. 'The triumph of mind over sarsaparilla. The belief that there is no pain and sickness except what is produced when we ain't feeling well. Declare yourself in arrears. Demonstrate.'
"'What is this paraphernalia you speak of, Doc?' says the Mayor. 'You ain't a Socialist, are you?'
"'I am speaking,' says I, 'of the great doctrine of psychic financiering--of the enlightened school of long-distance, sub-conscientious treatment of fallacies and meningitis--of that wonderful in-door sport known as personal magnetism.'
"'Can you work it, doc?' asks the Mayor.
"'I'm one of the Sole Sanhedrims and Ostensible Hooplas of the Inner Pulpit,' says I. 'The lame talk and the blind rubber whenever I make a pass at 'em. I am a medium, a coloratura hypnotist and a spirituous control. It was only through me at the recent seances at Ann Arbor that the late president of the Vinegar Bitters Company could revisit the earth to communicate with his sister Jane. You see me peddling medicine on the street,' says I, 'to the poor. I don't practice personal magnetism on them. I do not drag it in the dust,' says I, 'because they haven't got the dust.'
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