He was called to one house and found a girl who seemed feverish. She was sitting up in a chair, dressed nicely, but he saw at once that the fatal flush was on her cheek, and her eyes looked peculiar. He felt of her pulse, and it was beating at the rate of two hundred a minute. He asked her to run out her tongue, and she run out eight or nine inches of the lower end of it. It was covered with a black coating, and he shook his head and looked sad. She had never been married any before, and supposed that it was necessary for a Justice who was going to marry a couple to know all about their physical condition, so she kept quiet and answered questions.
She did not tell him that she had been eating huckleberry pie, so he laid the coating on her tongue to some disease that was undermining her constitution. He put his ear on her chest and listened to the beating of her heart, and shook his head again. He asked her if she had been exposed to any contagious disease. She didn’t know what a contagious disease was, but on the hypothesis that he had reference to sparking, she blushed and said she had, but only two evenings, because John had only just got back from the woods where he had been chopping, and she had to sit up with him.
The doctor got out his pill bags and made some quinine powders, and gave her some medicine in two tumblers, to be taken alternately, and told her to soak her feet and go to bed, and put a hot mustard plaster on her chest, and some onions around her neck.
She was mad, and flared right up, and said she wasn’t very well posted, and lived in the country, but if she knew her own heart she would not play such a trick as that on a new husband.
The doctor got mad, and asked her if she thought he didn’t understand his business; and he was about to go and let her die, when the bridegroom came in and told him to go ahead with the marrying. The doc. said that altered the case. He said next time he came he should know what to bring, and then she blushed, and told him he was an old fool anyway, but he pronounced them man and wife, and said the prescription would be five dollars, the same as though there had been somebody sick.
But the doc. had cheek. Just as he was leaving he asked the bridegroom if he didn’t want to ride up to Ashland with him, it was only eighteen miles, and the ride would be lonesome, but the bride said not if the court knew herself, and the bridegroom said now he was there he guessed he would stay. He said he didn’t care much about going to Ashland anyway.
If a farmer’s wheat is killed by rain, he is consoled by the fact that rain is just what his corn needs. If his cattle die of disease, his consolation lies in the hope that pork will bring a good price. If boys steal his watermelons, he knows by experience that they will have the cholera morbus. So everything that is unpleasant has its compensation.