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Newspaper Page Text
DOC SMITH'S EVOLUTION
By Harold Carter
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
Little Doc Smith had no patients,
but he eked out a living By the sale
of patent medicines. He was the
only qualified doctor in Rattlesnake,
and should by rights have had prac
tice enough, but Rattlsnakejudged a
man's brains by his brawn, in which
Doc Smith was singularly lacking.
This migjit not have mattered so
much if the little chap hadn't been
a coward. Now nobody expects a
five-foot-sixer to stand up to a six
footer, but there is such a thing as
moral courage, of which Doc Smith
appeared not to have a particle.
It was discovered thus: In the early
days of the doctor's sojourn in town
he got to visiting Miss Lucinda Riley.
Old Riley was a misunderstood man.
He had a heart as soft as a woman's
and he covered it ten inches deep
with concrete. He had a fist as stiff
as the hide of one of his famous
longhorns. And he did not approve
of Doc Smith's visits to his daugh
ter. She was just back west from
boarding school and he had vowed
that she should marry a man who
"showed," as he expressed it.
Now Doc Smith was a whale on
warnings. He was a regular male
"If you folks don't purify your wa
ter supply the typhoid will come
across the border," he used to say,
until he got to be known as "Ty
phoid Smith. Another time, how
ever, he switched off to cholera,
which was to come with the Italians
who were building the new cut. .He
used to regal Miss Lucinda on those
topics -and she seemed to like it"
That was what angered Riley.
On the first day when he found
; ,ijo visiting he just scowled and
o.:t. On the next he muttered
something about "damned jackass
es." On Ihe third, when he discovered
the doc and his daughter seated side. ,
by side on the sofa, he shook his fist
under the doc's nose.
"Get out!" he thundered. "If I see
you here again, you little whipper
snapper, I'll smash your face in,"
Now Riley had said the same
thing tp Big .Fenton and Mills and
Walt Hines .and they had laughed,
and Riley had grinned too and put
up the drinks. That was -just Riley's
way. Only the Joc turned as white
as a ghost and went away.
Now-you can never understand a.
woman's way. To have turned down
tit I I '.. li I I ' A II
'I Inherited His Arms
Big Fenton and Walt in favor of the
little doc was bad enough"; still, pop
ular feeling deferred to her undoubt
ed right of selection. But when the
doc wrote her a letter saying he
wouldn't come around just yet, pub
lic sentiment felt that it had received
a blow in the face. The 'west is a
free country and the doc should have
gone around with a short pitchfork
or a pair of knuckle-dusters, or a foot
Qf lead pipe, and squared himgelf