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Two Renegades
by [?]

“After I got the fever hard enough to kill a Port-au-Prince nigger, I had a relapse in the shape of Doc Millikin.

“There was a doctor to attend a sick man! If Doc Millikin had your case, he made the terrors of death seem like an invitation to a donkey-party. He had the bedside manners of a Piute medicine-man and the soothing presence of a dray loaded with iron bridge-girders. When he laid his hand on your fevered brow you felt like Cap John Smith just before Pocahontas went his bail.

“Well, this old medical outrage floated down to my shack when I sent for him. He was build like a shad, and his eyebrows was black, and his white whiskers trickled down from his chin like milk coming out of a sprinkling-pot. He had a nigger boy along carrying an old tomato-can full of calomel, and a saw.

“Doc felt my pulse, and then he began to mess up some calomel with an agricultural implement that belonged to the trowel class.

“‘I don’t want any death-mask made yet, Doc,’ I says, ‘nor my liver put in a plaster-of-Paris cast. I’m sick; and it’s medicine I need, not frescoing.’

“‘You’re a blame Yankee, ain’t you?’ asked Doc, going on mixing up his Portland cement.

“‘I’m from the North,’ says I, ‘but I’m a plain man, and don’t care for mural decorations. When you get the Isthmus all asphalted over with that boll-weevil prescription, would you mind giving me a dose of pain-killer, or a little strychnine on toast to ease up this feeling of unhealthiness that I have got?”

“‘They was all sassy, just like you,’ says old Doc, ‘but we lowered their temperature considerable. Yes, sir, I reckon we sent a good many of ye over to old /mortuis nisi bonum/. Look at Antietam and Bull Run and Seven Pines and around Nashville! There never was a battle where we didn’t lick ye unless you was ten to our one. I knew you were a blame Yankee the minute I laid eyes on you.’

“‘Don’t reopen the chasm, Doc,’ I begs him. ‘Any Yankeeness I may have is geographical; and, as far as I am concerned, a Southerner is as good as a Filipino any day. I’m feeling to bad too argue. Let’s have secession without misrepresentation, if you say so; but what I need is more laudanum and less Lundy’s Lane. If you’re mixing that compound gefloxide of gefloxicum for me, please fill my ears with it before you get around to the battle of Gettysburg, for there is a subject full of talk.’

“By this time Doc Millikin had thrown up a line of fortifications on square pieces of paper; and he says to me: ‘Yank, take one of these powders every two hours. They won’t kill you. I’ll be around again about sundown to see if you’re alive.’

“Old Doc’s powders knocked the chagres. I stayed in San Juan, and got to knowing him better. He was from Mississippi, and the red-hottest Southerner that ever smelled mint. He made Stonewall Jackson and R. E. Lee look like Abolitionists. He had a family somewhere down near Yazoo City; but he stayed away from the States on account of an uncontrollable liking he had for the absence of a Yankee government. Him and me got as thick personally as the Emperor of Russia and the dove of peace, but sectionally we didn’t amalgamate.

“‘Twas a beautiful system of medical practice introduced by old Doc into that isthmus of land. He’d take that bracket-saw and the mild chloride and his hypodermic, and treat anything from yellow fever to a personal friend.

“Besides his other liabilities Doc could play a flute for a minute or two. He was guilty of two tunes–‘Dixie’ and another one that was mighty close to the ‘Suwanee River’–you might say one of its tributaries. He used to come down and sit with me while I was getting well, and aggrieve his flute and say unreconstructed things about the North. You’d have thought that the smoke from the first gun at Fort Sumter was still floating around in the air.