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Neighbour Rosicky
by [?]


When Doctor Burleigh told neighbour Rosicky he had a bad heart, Rosicky protested.

“So? No, I guess my heart was always pretty good. I got a little asthma, maybe. Just a awful short breath when I was pitchin’ hay last summer, dat’s all.”

“Well, now, Rosicky, if you know more about it than I do, what did you come to me for? It’s your heart that makes you short of breath, I tell you. You’re sixty-five years old, and you’ve always worked hard, and your heart’s tired. You’ve got to be careful from now on, and you can’t do heavy work any more. You’ve got five boys at home to do it for you.”

The old farmer looked up at the Doctor with a gleam of amusement in his queer triangular-shaped eyes. His eyes were large and lively, but the lids were caught up in the middle in a curious way, so that they formed a triangle. He did not look like a sick man. His brown face was creased but not wrinkled, he had a ruddy colour in his smooth-shaven cheeks and in his lips, under his long brown moustache. His hair was thin and ragged around his ears, but very little grey. His forehead, naturally high and crossed by deep parallel lines, now ran all the way up to his pointed crown. Rosicky’s face had the habit of looking interested,-suggested a contented disposition and a reflective quality that was gay rather than grave. This gave him a certain detachment, the easy manner of an onlooker and observer.

“Well, I guess you ain’t got no pills fur a bad heart, Doctor Ed. I guess the only thing is fur me to git me a new one.”

Doctor Burleigh swung round in his desk-chair and frowned at the old farmer.

“I think if I were you I’d take a little care of the old one, Rosicky.”

Rosicky shrugged.”Maybe I don’t know how. I expect you mean fur me not to drink my coffee no more.”

“I wouldn’t, in your place. But you’ll do as you choose about that. I’ve never yet been able to separate a Bohemian from his coffee or his pipe. I’ve quit trying. But the sure thing is you’ve got to cut out farm work. You can feed the stock and do chores about the barn, but you can’t do anything in the fields that makes you short of breath.”

“How about shelling corn?”

“Of course not!”

Rosicky considered with puckered brows.

“I can’t make my heart go no longer’n it wants to, can I, Doctor Ed?”

“I think it’s good for five or six years yet, maybe more, if you’ll take the strain off it. Sit around the house and help Mary. If I had a good wife like yours, I’d want to stay around the house.”

His patient chuckled.”It ain’t no place fur a man. I don’t like no old man hanging round the kitchen too much. An’ my wife, she’s a awful hard worker her own self.”

“That’s it; you can help her a little. My Lord, Rosicky, you are one of the few men I know who has a family he can get some comfort out of; happy dispositions, never quarrel among themselves, and they treat you right. I want to see you live a few years and enjoy them.”

“Oh, they’re good kids, all right,” Rosicky, assented.

The Doctor wrote him a prescription and asked him how his oldest son, Rudolph, who had married in the spring, was getting on. Rudolph had struck out for himself, on rented land.”And how’s Polly? I was afraid Mary mightn’t like an American daughter-in-law, but it seems to be working out all right.”