Old Dr. Green (you knowed him, in course--everybody knowed him) lived
on Digby Neck. He was reckoned a skilful man, and was known to be a
regular rotated doctor; but he drank like a fish (and it's actilly
astonishing how many country doctors have taken to drink), and, of
course, he warn't always a very safe man in cases where a cool head and
a steady hand was needed (though folks did say he knowed a plaguey
even when he was drunk, than one-half of them do when they
are sober). Well, one day old Jim Reid, who was a pot-companion of his,
sent him a note to come into town immediately, without the loss of one
moment of time, and bring his amputating instruments with him, for
there was a most shocking accident had happened to his house. So in
come the doctor as hard as he could drive, looking as sorry, all the
time, as if he didn't live by misfortunes and accidents, the old
"My dear friend," said he solemnly, to Reid, and a-taking of him by the
hand, and giving it a doleful shake--"My dear friend, what is the
matter?--who is hurt? And what the devil is to pay now? How thankful we
all ought to be that the accident hasn't occurred to one whom we all
respect so much as you!"
And then he unpacked his instruments, off with his coat, and up with
his sleeves; and, with one hand, pulls a hair out of his head, and,
with the other, takes his knife and cuts it in two, to prove the edge
was all right. Then he began to whistle while he examined his saw, for
nothing puts these chaps in such good humour as cutting and slashing
away at legs and arms--operating, as they call it--and, when all was
ready, says he--
"Reid," says he, a-tapping him on the shoulder, "where is the patient?"
Well, Reid opened the door of another room, and there was a black boy
a-holding of a duck on the table that had broke his leg!
"There is a case for amputation, doctor!" said he; "but, first of all,
take a glass of brandy and water to steady your nerves. He knows you,"
says he; "hear him how he calls out Quack, quack! after you, as if he
was afraid to let you perform on him."
Well, the doctor entered into the joke as good-natured as possible,
laughed like anything, whipped down the grog, whipped off the leg, and
whipped up the knives and saws in no time.
"You must stay to dine, doctor," said Reid (for the joke was only
intended to get him into town to drink along with him); and he stayed
to dine, and stayed to sup, and, being awful drunk, stayed to bed, too.
Well, every time Reid saw him arter that in town, he asked him to come
in and see his patient, which meant to come in and drink; and so he did
as long as the cask of rael, particular Jamaikey lasted.
Some time after that the old fellow sent in a bill for operating,
making a wooden leg, medical attendance, and advice, per order, for
twenty-five pounds; and, what's more, when Reid wouldn't pay it, the
doctor sued him for it to court, and gained his cause. Fact, I assure