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Newspaper Page Text
OLD MAN COLLEY
By Harold Carter
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
The news that Winfield was to
have a hospital excited the town
deeply. It was 50 miles to Fralington,
where the nearest hospital was, and
many persons had had their suffer
ings prolonged by the long train
journey. When it was known that
the unknown donor had provided for
a hospital on the most modern plan,
enthusiasm was aroused.
Some thought the giver was John
B. Allingham, on the hill, but al
though he had done much for the
town, he admitted with regret that
this was beyond his means.
"I guess it's Old Man Colley," said
one of the town wits, and everybody
Old Man Colley was the dirtiest
and most miserly old fellow in Win
field, and the pity was that he ought
to have been rich enough to have
lived decently. He owned 200 acres
of the best corn land in the state.
But he occupied a wretched hovel
that was falling to pieces, he had
worn the same suit and the same hat
within living memory. Colley was
the disgrace of the neighborhood.
Old Man Colley distinguished him
self in a singular way soon after the
foundations of the new hospital were
in position. He stopped to look and
suddenly burst out:
"Now the poor and richwill have
a fair chance. No more dying from
typhoid germs and filthy milk cans!"
The workmen shooed him away.
Some threw clods of earth at him.
Old Man Colley, apparently ashamed
of his outburst, limped homeward.
Then people began to recall the
fact that in his young days the old
man had been pretty much like
everybody else. He had married a
sweet girl from the neighborhood,
and they had had a child a boy. The
mother and son died within a day of
each other, of typhoid. After that,
01 Man Colley's mind seemed to give
way. " He became morose, withdrew
into his shell and spoke to nobody.
He grew avaricious and dirty. He
withdrew his subscription to the
church. Old Man Colley became the
town leper. And all that had begun
40 years before.
Week by week the new building
went up, until at length the hospital
stood complete. And the donor re-
Apparently Ashamed of His Out
burst, Limped Homeward
mained unknown. t Even the Board
of Guardians was unaware of him.
It was strictly run on the most-modern
lines, the physicians were the
first in the state, and soon it acquired
a reputation in the country. The-'
opening was marked with a town
gathering. There was a band, and
all the best people in Winfield at
tended. The mayor made a speech
in honor of their "munificent bene-
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