Friday, June 13, 2008

Truthful Tourists


Note: The word "drummer" means a salesman.


An Account of the Tennessee Man's New Pair of Eyes Starts Them — Two of Them Relate Incidents About Severed Limbs That One Will Take With a Sack of Salt.

"Well," said a drummer to a group of his colleagues sitting around the lobby at the Continental hotel, "here's a great yarn. Have you read about the remarkable cure of blindness?"

"No; let's hear it," was the responsive echo.

The first speaker cast his eyes upon his newspaper and read as follows:

CHICKAMAUGA, Tenn. — A wonderful case that has greatly puzzled local doctors has just been published. About ten years ago Thomas Jingle, a well to do farmer, was suddenly smitten with blindness. His eyes were in such a horrible condition that a surgeon removed them, leaving a stump of each optic nerve in the socket. The poor farmer was disconsolate at first, but finally became reconciled to his affliction. One day last month he told his wife that he thought he could distinguish the glare of the lamp. Investigation proved that new eyes were gradually forming around the old nerve remnants. Since then his eyesight has gradually improved as his second set of orbs have developed, and the physicians who have investigated the case have no doubt whatever that he will be able to see as perfectly as before.

"This is a great country," said a drummer at the conclusion of the reading. "A glorious country! The effete monarchies of Europe couldn't begin to show such a marvelous case."

"I don't believe a word of it," said another. "It is nothing but a newspaper fake."

"Not so sure about that," said a commercial tourist from Chicago, "for I know of a case somewhat similar, the truth of which I can guarantee. An uncle of mine was crossing Wabash avenue some five years ago when he fell right under a cable car, and before you could say 'Jack Robinson' his right leg was cut off three inches below the knee. He lay for three months in the hospital, and when he was able to hobble about on a wooden peg he sued the railway company for $5,000 damages. The company paid the amount after considerable litigation. One day my uncle determined to get a new and improved artificial leg, but when he went to remove the old pin, which had served him as a temporary makeshift, he found it had grown tight to the bone. In fact, the flesh of the stump was beginning to grow over the wood, and the doctors said it would have to be amputated above the knee to remove it. He refused to submit to the operation. To his surprise he found that the flesh was gradually growing downward, assuming the shape of the original leg. In the course of a year his limb was entirely restored, the wooden stump taking the place of the original bones. The foot began to form, a little club footed, 'tis true, but perfect enough to kick with, and he now goes about as gracefully as you or I."

"That is really marvelous," said one of his audience.

"Yes," said The veracious narrator from Chicago, "the strange part of it is that the railroad company sued him for the recovery of the $5,000, claiming that, as the leg was restored, they were not liable to damages."

Great indignation was expressed at such smallness, after which a gentleman from Rochester took the floor. Said he:
"I can tell you a stranger tale than that, which I know to be absolutely true. Sam Revere, a friend of mine, was bitten in the arm right above the wrist by a rattlesnake last summer in the Rocky mountains. With great presence of mind he fastened a strap above the wound, and by pulling hard managed to stop the circulation of the poisoned blood. Then he jumped on his burro and galloped to town to see a doctor. It was high time! The hand and wrist were swollen to twice their natural size and were almost black. The doctor reached for his knife and instantly amputated the arm at the elbow. It was the only way of saving Sam's life. I felt sorry for the poor fellow, as he was engaged to be married, and that was the arm he did most of his hugging with. Well, Sam recovered, but though his lower arm was gone he complained of feeling an uncomfortable sensation where his wrist should have been. A month passed and still this impression clung to him. He felt a terrible pressure between the elbow and wrist of the missing arm, and at times the pain was so acute that he could not sleep. One day he determined to go back to the Rocky mountains and see the doctor who had performed the amputation.

" 'By Jove,' said the surgeon, 'I think I know what ails you!' They went out into the yard, where the doctor dug into the earth and after a short hunt brought up the amputated limb. The strap was still tightly closed over the flesh above the wound. The doctor made haste to unfasten it. 'Now,' he said, 'you can go home in peace. The pressure will not trouble you again.' Sam went home satisfied and has never felt the slightest inconvenience since."

"How do you account for that?" asked a drummer from Boston.

"I don't know. Spiritualists say that the spirit takes the exact form of the human body, limbs and everything, and it is possible that when a limb is cut off the spiritual counterpart remains with the bulk of the body, but still retains a certain consciousness of what is happening to the severed member." — Philadelphia Times.

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