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Dr. Jex's Predicament

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It was the funniest thing that I ever saw in niy life. Gruikshank weukl have gloricd in it. I wish I had hun horo to illustrate tbat scène with the spirited vigor that only his dancing pencil gives. . , It was in Kentucky hat it happened- Ihc picasant land of blue grass and tobáceo, and fine stock, and white-teethed girls. Mabel niy sisier, uu uiumw Dick Hucklestone, and they had begmi lifo in ereat contcntment, and a little three roomed house scarcelybig enough to hoW the bridal presents. But tnev were happy, hcarty, healthy. Ihey had two cows.ioe cream every day.a charmLag baby, and Uncle Brimmer. Who shallsay that their cup was not fulli Indeed, they thought itfull before Uncle Brimraer addedhimself a ver y ponderous rose leaf. He was on e of Sur old family servants, who fondly beHpvpH that Miss Mabel and herhusband would never be able to get on without him Ho walked all the way from Mississippito Kentucky, with his thinptied up in a nieal sack, and presented himselfbefore Mabel, announcingaffably thathe had come to -'stay on.' "But I haven' t any place for yon Uncle Brimmer," said Mabel, divided between hospitality and enibarrassnient, "Lor', honey, you kin jes tuek me aroun' anywhár. I don't take up no 1OMabellooked thoughtfully upon the bio-, brow, gray-whiskered oíd negro, whose proportions were thoso of a Hercules, and shook her head. ';You not Toni Thumb, Uncle Brimmer. "No ma'am," said he submissively, 'but I've got his sperit. Couldn t 1 leep in the kitehen, honey?" he went on, with insinuaticg svveetncss. "No indeed," cried the yonnghouse1 keeper; "I put my foot downan anybody sleeping in the kitehen. Aunt Patsey, the cook, stood by, balftnoing a pan "of ilour on her head, one fat hand on her hip. I suspected hei of a personal interest in the matt(;r,an'. indeed slie atterwaru s " =" thouo-ht Uncle Brinimer's coming would provo a 'blessin'to hor feet." Those feet of hers had been saved niany steps throuo-li the service of her ten-ycars-old daugbter, Nancy Palmira Kate, called Nanfcy Pal tor short. But of late Nanky's services had been ealled into recquisition as a nurse, and Aunt Patsey, who was fat and scant of breath thought she had too much to do; and so she viewed with evident deliht the stal wart proportlons of our good-natured giant from the South. "Dar's de lof, Miss Mable," she suggested. , "lt is too small, and is cluttcred up with things already. ■ ' "Oh, sho, chile, dar ain't nothin id Hnt. lof'' the taters, an' dö dried pies, and some strings o' terbacker, de broken plongh, an' some odds and ends o' tho chillen's. an' Lucy Crittenden s pups. Lor' dar ain't nothin' ter speak of inde lof." , . "He can't get in at the windovv, saul Mabel, shifting her ground. "Lemme try," 3aid Únele Brimnier. The kitchen was a small log cabiu, some distancu from 1 he house- "ingood hollerin' reach," to quote Aunt Patsey. Above it was a low room.or loft.crowdod with the miscellaneous articles enumerated. The only way of getting into it was from the outside. A ladder against the side of the cabiu admitted one, through a litóle window, no larger, I am sure, than that of a rail way coach, into this storehouse of treasures. Nankv Pal, who was slim as a snake, was usually selected to fetch and carry through the small. But Únele Briinmcr? "l'm pretty sho I kin do it,': he said, squintiDg up one eye, as he took off his coat and preparel to tiy. We stood in the doorway as be cautiously wentup the ladder; and after an exciüng moment, he pushed himself thrcugh the window, and, turning, smiled triuruphantlj'. ïhis settled the matter. A cot bed was proeured for Uncle Brimnier, and he :oon becanie one of the fainily. (Jheerfully avoiding all the work pos8:ble;indifferently as an ostrich, eating all hfl eould find in cup-boards or highways; grinily playing hobgoblins for baby; gayly twanging his banjo on moonliqht nights- nieuiory reealls thee with a smile. Únelo Briinmer! I ean close my eyes now and recall bina, big, shapeless, indistmct in the semi-darkness as he sat under the mulberry tree sinsring: "Wish I was lu Tennessoe, A eettin' in my cheer. Jug o'whisky by my side, An' arms aroun' mv dear!" 'lliis was liis favorite. Who sliall doubt that it expressied to hira all the poelry, romaneo, passion, of life? After a time Únele Brimmer fell ill, and we sent for a doctor. Dr. Trattles Jex was the medical man oí ourcounty. Helived in Middleburn, geven miles away, and he eame trettiog over on a gray horse, with a pair of saddle-bags hanging like Gilpin's bottles, one on each side. He looked as diminutivo as a monkey perehed on the tall horso's back, and indeed he was "a wee bit pawky body," as was said of Tommy Moore. But, bless me! he was as pompons and self important as thuugíi he had found the place to stand on, and could move the world with his little lever. A red handkerehief care fully pinned across his chest showed that he liad lungs and a mother; his boots werc polishcd to the last degrec. His pink and beardless face betrayed bis youth; and his voice, what a treasure ir would have been could we have let it out tomasqueraders! Whether it was just ehangiug from Ihat of youth to that of man, or whether, like readina1 and writinsr, "it came by ture," I can't teil. One instant it was deep and bass, the next, squaking and soprano. No even tenor about that voice. He held out ins hand, with "goodraorning, Mrs. Hucklestone. I hope the baby has not had an attack." 1 popped into the dining-room to gigtrle, but little well-bred Mabel did not oven sruile. Oh, no," shccried; "its Uncle Brimmer." The doctor offered to sec him at onco. Mabel gotupto lead the way. Up to tliis moment I warrant it had not struck her as anything out of the way that she niiist invite Dr. ,Tn to elimb a ladder and crawl through a window to get at the big patiënt. But as ahe looked at him speckless, spotless, gloved, scented, curled, then at the ladder leaning against the wall íd a disreputable, rickety sort of a way, a sense of incongruity seenied borne in on her soul. To add to her distress and my hilarity we saw that Uncle Brinimer had hung out the window dome mysterious under-rigging that he wore. Long, red, and ragged it "flaunted in the breeze" as picturesquoly as the American llag on a Fourth of July. "I am afraid, doctor, it will be a little awkward," faltered Mabel; "Uncle Brinimer igup there." and she waved her lily hand. "Au' you'll havo ter clime de ladder," put in Ñanky Pal, witli a disrespectful chuckle. I thought the little doctor gaspcd ; but he recovcrcd himself gailanll y, and in í (1 "Ás a boy I have cliunbed trees, and think I can ascend a ladder as a man, and he smiled heroically. We watched liim. He was encunibered bv the saddle-bags, but he manaeed very well, and had nearly reached the top when suddenly Uncle Bnmïner's heal and shoulders protruded giving him the look of a snail halfout of its shell . , "Here's my pulse, doctor, he enea, blandly extending bis bared arm. " Tain't no place for you up here. An here's my tongue." Then out went his tongue for Dr. Jex's inspection. The doctor settled himself on a rung OÍ the ladder, quite willing to bo met half way Professional inquines began, when "Adcepsoundlikearisingkucll!" "Good gracious!" exclainied Mabel; "what is that?'1 Nanky Pal sprang up, with distemiecl eves, almost letting the baby fall. ' Again. "Nearer.clcarcr.deadlier t.. More." -Sakes alive Miss Mabel," oried Nankey, "ole Mr. Simmons' buil done broko ïoose. She was right. A moment more, and in rnshed tne splended angry beast, bellowinir, pawing tho ground shaking his evil, lowered üead, as if the devil wcre contradicting him. Dr. Jex turned a seared face. Alslord, bnll caught sigbt of t.e fluttering red rags, and charged the sidc of the house. Aud I give you my word, the next instant the ladder was knocked trom unuer ine uoeior b ieui, nuu i was clingingfrantically round the nock of Uncle Brimmer. Fearful moment. "Pull him in Uncle Brimmev- pull him in," shrieked Mabel, dancing about. 'I cairt honey- I can't," grasped tbc choking giant; "I'm stuck." ■Ilold me up," eried the doctor; "send for help." Uncle Brimmer seized him by the arm pits. The saddle-baga went ciattering down, and about tho head of Master Buil a cloud of qninine,calomel, Dover's and divers oiher powders and pills, broke in blinding confusión. "Aunt Patsy, go tor Mr. HueklestOBü at once," called Mabol. Aunt Patsey looked cantiously out f rom the kitchen door. "Yer don't ketck me in de yard wid old Simmons" buil,' she said.withalarniingindependence. "Then I shall seud Nauky Pal,'1 "If Nanky Pal goes outen dat house l'il break every bone in her body." Then Mabel began to beg: "Aunt Patsey, let her go, please; I'll give you a whole bagfull of quiït pieces, and my ruby red polonaise that you begged me for yesterday." Aunt Patsey's head came out a little further. "Au' what olse?" "And a runied pillo w sham," said Mabel, almost in r.ears, "and some white EUffar, and I'll mako you a hat- and that s all. Now." '■I reckon dat's about as much as de chile is wuth," said the philosophic moiher. "Let her go." "Fly!fly!" cried Mabel. "I áin't skeered," said Nanky. "I ain't dat sort. Mamniy ain't nuther. She was jes waitiu ter sec how much you'd give." "Nanny's bare legs scudded swiftly across the yard. The buil look no notice of her. He was still stamping and beliovving under that window. Uncle Brimmer and the doctor clung together, and only a convulsive kick now and then testified to the littlc man's agony. ■'Suppose Uncle Brimmer shoukl let go?" I suggested in a hollow whisper. Oh, hush!" cried Mabol. 'Tüe doclor's blood would be on our heads." "Or the bull's horns." It was not far to the tobáceo lield, and in au incredible short time Brother John came riding in, followed by half a dozen stout nesroes. Witli some delightful play that gave ono q'iite an idea of a Spanish bull-fiifht his lordship was captured, and our little doctor was assisted to the house. Gone was the glory of Dr. Trailles Jex. His coat was torn, nis kueos grimy, his hands scratched, and he looked- yes - as if he had been crying. "Can you ever forgivo us?" said Mabel, piteously. She hovered about him like a mother. She made him drink two glasses of wine: she mended his coat; she asked him if he wonld not like to kiss the baby. And íinally n wan smile shone in the countenance of Dr. Jex. For me, I feit my face purpling, and leaving him to Mabel, I fled with Brother John to the smoke-house, where we roared. Uncle Brimmer got wel!, and wentin to see the doctor. He returned with a new cravat, a cañe, and several small articles of attire.from which weinfurred that in those trying nioments when he supported the suspended doctor, that liltle gentleman had oflered many inducements for him to hold fast. When questioned, he responded chiefly with a cavernous and mysterious smile, only saying: "Master Dr. Jex is a gentleman; starch in or starch out, he's de gentleman straight." And Brother John, who is somewhat acqiiainted with slang, s;iid, with a grcat laugh, "Well, old man, you had a bully chance to iudge, so you must be right.7'


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Ann Arbor Democrat