There is the whole story. Details there are, of course. But Meissonier’s style never did appeal to me. After peering into, and probing, all known and unknown parts of the Mortal Man, they found that the heart in one part changed its polarity,—turned over, by George, or tried to,—hence the Devil’s clutch. But why did it do this vaudevillian act? Bugs, bugs, of course. But where? So they chased them to their lair in that wicked, nasty-named and most vulgar organ known as the gall-bladder. Damn the gall-bladder! Out it must come! On with the knifing! But soft, not so swift. Suppose the heart should try to play its funny stunt in the midst of the operation? Or suppose again in this icy weather, pneumonia should ensue and the naughty heart should take to turning? Eh, what then, my brave Bucko? “No,” they said, “We are experts in eliminating this same appropriately named organ from the system—eight thousand times have we done it. It is a twenty-five minute job, A mere turn of the wrist and out the viper comes. And it never comes back! This is positively its last appearance, save as a memento for the morbid-minded in a bottle of alcohol. But hearts that do somersaults and lungs that choke up, fill us with fear. So out with the tonsils where bugs accumulate and men decay, and then off with you to California where bugs degenerate and men rejuvenate. Then come back when the sun shines and the trees begin to burgeon and the trick will be done. Hold yourself where you are, grow better if you can, and we’ll have to take the risk of the tumbling heart, but the pneumonia risk will be gone.”
Thus saith the Prophets! And this day, therefore, will be spent with the Master of the mysterious fluoroscope, who reverses Edward Everett Hale and looks “in and not out,” and with the dentist who must fill a pesky tooth, and then with the surgeon who tears out tonsils. Rather a full day, eh? And after two days in hospital, or three, over the hills to 8 Chester Place, Los Angeles,—by no means a poor-house,—but alas! carrying the malevolent bugs and their nesting place with me. Then I shall rest, “and faith I shall need it, lie down for an aeon or two, till the Master of all good workmen shall put me to work anew.”
I am disappointed. I would take the risk if it were left to me. But I shall go West—why did those soldier boys ever use that phrase with such sinister meaning, or did it signify a better land to them? I shall go West in good hope that I shall return, and meantime will try to develop a strong propaganda in favor of race suicide in the land of the bothering bacteria, Adios.
F. K. L.
To John G. Gehring
Rochester, Minnesota, January 13, 
My dear padre,—I wrote you an impressionistic sketch of what the politicians call the “local situation,” a couple of days since. ... It is subject to attack on every possible ground as to details, for no man can know from it what these doctors found. But it is a perfect picture from the artist’s standpoint, because it produces the result on the viewer or reader that is truth, and that result is a large, purple befuddlement. I am whole, but I have a pain. ...