“But there can be no harm in trying the forty-first;” and as I said it I took from my vest pocket and held out in the palm of my hand some pills:
“Here, madame, are some pills made from a simple blossom, which cannot possibly harm you, and which, I am sure, will do you a great deal of good.”
“O, Mary!” she exclaimed to her niece, who was in attendance upon her, “this is my dream! I dreamed last night that my father appeared to me and told me that a stranger would come with a blossom in his hand; that he would offer it to me, and that if I would take it I should recover. Go and get a glass of water and I will take these pills at once.”
“Surely,” said Mary, “you are not going to take this stranger’s medicine without knowing anything about it, or him?”
“I am indeed; go and get the water.”
She took the medicine and then told me that her father, who had died two years ago, was a physician, and had carefully attended to her case as long as he lived; but that she had a will of her own, and had sent far and near for other doctors, though with no good result.
“You have come to me,” she continued, “and although I am not superstitious, your coming with a blossom in your hand, figuratively speaking, is so exactly in accordance with my dream, that I am going to put myself under your care.”
She then asked me if I lived in the neighborhood, and I told her no; that I had merely come up from Boston with two friends to try a few days’ fishing through the ice on the lake.
“You can fish to better purpose here, I think,” she said; “you can get plenty of practice in the villages and farm houses about here: at any rate, stay for the present and undertake my case, and I will pay you liberally.”
I went back to Meredith Bridge-I believe it is now called Laconia-and had another day’s fishing with my friends. When they were ready to pack up and return to Boston, I astonished them by informing them that I should stay where I was for the present, perhaps for months, and that I believed I could find a good practice in Meredith and adjoining places. So they left me and I went to Lake Village, and made that pleasant place my headquarters.
The weeks wore on, and if Mrs. Blaisdell was a hogshead, as the Meredith landlord said, when I first saw her, she soon became a barrel under my treatment, and in four months she was entirely cured, and was as sound as any woman in the State. I had as much other business too as I could attend to, and was very busy and happy all the time.
In May I went to Exeter, alternating between there and Portsmouth, and finding enough to do till the end of July. While I was in Portsmouth on one of my last visits to that place, I received a call from a sea-captain by the name of Brown, who told me that he had heard of my success in dropsical cases, and that I must go to Newark, N. J., and see his daughter. “Pay,” he said, “was no object; I must go.” I told him that I had early finished my business in that vicinity, and that when I went to New York, as I proposed to do shortly, I would go over to Newark and see his daughter. A few days afterward, when I had settled my business and collected my bills in Portsmouth and Exeter, I went to New York, and from there to Newark.