Pasture Gossip: The Doctor's Wild Ride
by Mary Waddell
Gypsy and Barney had just been turned into the pasture and were trotting across the field to join Gray. "Barney!" said Gypsy, "what makes you breathe like a wheezy old engine whenever you trot a little bit? I should think you would break yourself of such a habit."
"The young often express their opinions too freely!" replied Barney. "Had you been older you would have known there is no cure for a wind-broken horse. I did a lot of hard pulling in my younger days which brought on this trouble. My life has been much easier since the Doctor bought me. Only once has he overtaxed my strength. I almost had the thumps that day."
"Why, I didn't know he ever treated a horse that way. I am disappointed in the Doctor!" said Gypsy indignantly.
"There you go again, Gypsy. Wait till you hear all of my tale before you criticize him."
By this time they had reached Gray, who pricked up her ears when she found Barney had something to tell. "Let"s have the story!" said she. After waiting a moment, he began.
"One day the Doctor was just starting to put the buggy harness on me, when his wife came running out to tell him there was a telephone message for him to go down to Mr. Addison's as quickly as he could, for a little girl had been badly hurt near there. The Doctor didn't wait to hear more. Dropping the harness on the ground, he grabbed a saddle, swiftly fastened it on my back and away we flew up hill and down hill, leaving a cloud of dust behind us/ Soon after passing through the covered bridge we came in sight of Addison's. Hearing a woman screaming, the Doctor urge me to go faster if possible."
"Was the woman hurt too?" interrupted Gypsy.
"No, it was the child's mother who was afraid her little girl would die before the Doctor came."
"Did she die? What hurt her?"
Barney stamped his foot impatiently. "If you will just give me time, Gypsy, I'll tell you." Gypsy tossed her head and flitted her tail, but said no more. "We found the poor little thing moaning pitifully!" continued Barney. "The Doctor did all he could to make her comfortable, and then turning to the crowd that had gathered he began: "If you had all helped PUT INTO OFFICE men who would ENFORCE THE LAW AGAINST DRINK, this little girl would not have been hurt. I said to myself as I came, I just bet that bootlegger, Dick Garnes, is at the bottom of this trouble."
"Did the bootlegger hurt the child?" asked Gray.
"No, but he persuaded Morris Eno to buy whiskey for him and of course he got drunk. Then he went tearing down the road in a big wagon, whipping his horses unmercifully. They were so excited they did not see the little girl coming up the road, and Morris drove right over her. He is a kind-hearted fellow, but alcohol made him crazy. When he was sober again he felt very badly about it. The little girl did not die, but her face is badly scarred. Morris just feels terrible every time he sees her."
"I suppose he learned a lesson and never drank again!" remarked Gray.
"He vowed he'd never drink another drop!" replied Barney, "but Dick did not intend to let him keep his vow."
"You don't mean to say he allowed that man to sell him more whisky?" Gray's eyes were flashing.
"Don't get excited, Gray. You ought to know what bootleggers are like. He didn't mind being put in jail, for the officers of the law were easy with him and he was soon out again ready for more meanness. The sly old sneak kept quiet for a while after the accident, but when the excitement died down he was ready for business again. One day Morris took a load of wheat to town. Just before he started home the money for the wheat in his pocket, Dick, who had been watching him, stole up where his team was standing while Morris was in the mill, and from a small bottle he carries in his pocket SMEARED WHISKY ON THE DRIVING LINES. When the boy started home the scent of the whisky so stirred his appetite, he was just crazy for a drink. About a mile out of town, Dick, who had driven on ahead and turned around, met him. "Hello, Morris" he called as he held out a bottle. "Don't you want a drink?" The temptation was too great. As soon as he tasted it he lost all control and drank till his reason was gone. Hitching his horses to the fence he went down a byroad with Dick and treated a company of boys the bootlegger had waiting there. Later his father found him beside the road in a drunken sleep with most of his money gone.
"Did Morris continue to drink after this?" inquired Gypsy.
"No, he went to live with his grandfather, out of the reach of Dick Garnes,until he learned to control his appetite. Before coming back HE BECAME A CHRISTIAN and lived as he should ever since."
"Well" said Gypsy as she proudly pranced around. "I am glad I am not a man. I"m not afraid of bootleggers."
"I am truly glad you are a horse!" Gray answered, "for with your high-strung disposition no doubt you would be the first to fall if under the influence of a bootlegger."
Gypsy gave a disdainful toss of her head and TROTTED TO THE CREEK FOR A DRINK, while Gray and Barney sought the shade and entered a contest to see who could keep off the most flies.
Published by the Lincoln-Lee Legion, Westerville Ohio
Copyright, 1921. The American Issue Publishing Co.
A hard copy of this story can be found at the Anti-Saloon League Museum: Pasture Gossip: The Doctor's Wild Ride.
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