Twenty Years of Hus'ling - novelonlinefull.com
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I a.s.sured them that their wives had actually purchased an article superior to anything they could produce. They said it didn't matter--it had all come from their store, if they didn't know how to make it.
MY CO-PARTNERSHIP WITH A CLAIRVOYANT DOCTOR--OUR LIVELY TRIP FROM YPSILANTI TO PONTIAC, MICHIGAN--POOR SUCCESS--THE DOCTOR AND HIS IRISH PATIENT--MY PRESCRIPTION FOR THE DEAF WOMAN--COLLAPSED, AND IN DEBT FOR BOARD.
I remained at this town about a fortnight, when I received a letter from an old acquaintance then in Toledo, Ohio, but who had formerly practiced medicine in Bronson, Michigan.
He urged me to join him at once, to take an interest in the most gigantic scheme ever conceived.
The Doctor was a veritable Colonel Sellers.
His hair and moustache were snowy white.
He wore a pair of gold spectacles, and carried a gold-headed cane; and altogether, was quite a distinguished-looking individual.
He was of a nervous temperament--quick in action and speech; and would swear like a pirate, and spin around like a jumping-jack when agitated in the least.
I took the first train for Toledo, and was soon ushered into the Doctor's private room at the hotel. Without any preliminaries he said to me:
"Well sir, Johnston, I'm a Clairvoyant--a Clairvoyant, sir. By laying my hands on the table, in this manner, I can tell a lady just how old she is, how long she has been married, how many children she has, and if she is ailing I can tell just what her complaint is, and how long she has been sick, and all about her."
"Can't you tell as much about a man as you can about a woman?"
"Well, ---- it, I s'pose I can, all but the children part of it."
He wanted me to act as his agent, and I should have half the profits.
We decided to go through Michigan. I wrote up a circular, and sent a notice to a couple of towns to be printed in their local papers.
The Doctor said he would pay all expenses till we got started; consequently I sent what money I had to my wife.
We visited several towns, meeting with no success and constantly running behind--princ.i.p.ally on account of the Doctor's lack of proficiency as a Clairvoyant.
I was anxious to return to my furniture polish, but the Doctor would have nothing of the kind. He declared himself a gentleman of too much refinement and dignity to allow a man in his company to descend to peddling from house to house.
I concluded to stay with him till his money gave out.
At Ypsilanti our business, as usual, was a total failure. The Doctor said he knew of a town where we would be sure to meet with the grandest success. The name of the town was Pontiac.
I at once sent notices to the papers there, and some circulars to the landlord of one of the hotels, announcing the early arrival of the celebrated Clairvoyant physician, Doctor ----.
The Doctor was so very sanguine of success in this particular town, that we built our hopes on making a small fortune in a very short time.
Consequently we talked about it a great deal.
Whenever it became necessary to speak of Pontiac, I found it almost impossible to remember the name; but the name Pocahontas would invariably come to my mind in its stead.
This caused me so much annoyance that I proposed to the doctor that we call it thus. This he agreed to, and thereafter Pontiac was dead to us, and Pocahontas arose from its ashes. We very soon became so accustomed to the change as to be unable to think of the right name when necessary to do so.
When we were ready to leave Ypsilanti we walked to the depot, not, of course, because it expensive to ride, but just for exercise, "you know."
On our way, the Doctor happened to think that we must leave orders at the post office to have our mail forwarded.
I accompanied him there. He stepped up to the delivery window and said:
"My name is Doctor ----. If any mail comes for me here, please forward it to Pocahontas."
"Pocahontas?" the clerk queried.
"Yes sir, Pocahontas, Michigan."
"I guess you're mistaken, Doctor,--at least I----"
"Not by a dang sight! I guess I know where I am going," was the Doctor's answer.
I began laughing, and started to leave, when the Doctor saw his blunder and said, excitedly:
"No, no! My mistake; my mistake, Mr. clerk. I mean--I mean--dang it!--Dod blast it! what do I mean?--Where am I going? Where the devil is it? Why you know, don't you? Dang it! where is it? Johnston, you devilish fool! come and tell this man the name of that cussed town. Why it's Poca--no, no; here, Johnston, I knew you would make consummate fools of us. I knew it all the time."
By this time several people had gathered about, and were interested listeners, while the clerk gazed through the window with a look of sympathy for the man he no doubt thought insane.
I couldn't, to save me, think of the right name, and immediately started towards the depot, leaving the Doctor to settle the mail matter.
Directly he came tearing down the street, up to where I stood.
I was laughing immoderately at his blunder. He threw down his old valise, and said:
"You are a ---- smart man, you are! Just see what a cussed fool you made of yourself and----"
"Well," I interrupted, "never mind me, Doctor, how did it happen that you didn't make a fool of _yourself_?"
"I did; I did, sir, until I explained what an infernal fool you were."
"Did you finally think of the right name?"
"Think of it? No! Of course I didn't think of it, you idiot. I have no idea of ever getting it right again."
We had to go to Detroit, and there change cars for our destination. On our way there the Doctor took matters very seriously, and said I was just one of that kind that was always doing something to make an everlasting fool of myself and every one else.
When we arrived at Detroit he handed me the money for our fare.
We walked to the ticket office, and I laid down the money and said: "Two tickets to Pocahontas."
"Poca--what?" said the agent, "Where in the deuce is that?"