Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

Then there was a shout at Charlie’s expense, and I resumed my work, grave as an owl.  That furnished amusement until it grew stale, when Charlie came to ask me my name, and I told him it was Mrs. Snooks.

“Mrs. Snooks?” repeated a dozen men, who looked sadly disappointed, and Charlie most of all, as I added: 

“Yes; Mrs. Timothy Snooks, of Snooksville, Minnesota.”

This was worse and worse.  It was evident no one liked the name, but all, save one, were too polite to say so, and he roared out: 

“I don’t believe a word of it!”

I sat at some distance with my back to him, dressing a wound; and, without turning, said,

“Why?  What is the matter with you?”

“I don’t believe that such a looking woman as you are ever married a fellow by the name of Snooks:” 

“That is because you are not acquainted with the Snooks’ family:  brother Peter’s wife is a much better looking woman than I am!”

“Good lookin’!” he sneered; “call yourself good lookin’, do you?”

“Well, I think you intimated as much, did he not boys?”

They all said he had, and the laugh was turned on him; but he exclaimed doggedly,

“I don’t care!  I’m not goin’ to call you Snooks!”

“And what do you propose to call me?”

“I’ll call you Mary.”

“But Mary is not my name.”

“I don’t care!  It’s the name of all the nice girls I know!”

“Very good!  I too shall probably be a nice girl if I live to grow up, but just now it seems as if I should die in infancy—­am too good to live.”

“You’re the greatest torment ever any man saw.”

The last pin was in that bandage; I arose, turned, and the thought flashed through my brain, “a tiger.”  His eyes literally blazed, and I went to him, looking straight into them, just as I had done into Tom’s more than once.  A minnie rifle ball had passed through his right ankle, and when I saw him first the flesh around the wound was purple and the entire limb swollen almost to bursting.  The ward master told me he had been given up three days before, and was only waiting his turn to be carried to the dead house.  Next morning the surgeon confirmed the account, said he had been on the amputation table and sent away in hope the foot might be saved, adding: 

“I think we were influenced by the splendor of the man’s form.  It seemed sacrilege to mangle such a leg then, before we knew it was too late.”

I thought the inflammation might be removed.  He said if that were done they could amputate and save him, and the conversation ended in the surgeon giving the man to me to experiment on my theory.  This seemed to be generally known, and the case was watched with great interest.  No one interfered with my treatment of him, and nurses designated him to me as “your man.”

He was a cross between a Hercules and Apollo—­grey-eyed, brown-haired, the finest specimen of physical manhood I have ever seen, and now his frail hold on life was endangered by the rage into which I had unwittingly thrown him.  So I sat bathing and soothing him, looking ever and anon steadily into his eyes, and said: 

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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