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Tomaso's Fortune and Other Stories   By: (1862-1903)

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TOMASO'S FORTUNE and other stories by HENRY SETON MERRIMAN.

"The common problem, yours, mine, every one's, Is not to fancy what were fair in life Provided it could be, but, finding first What may be, then find how to make it fair . . ."

CONTENTS.

SISTER. A SMALL WORLD. IN A CROOKED WAY. THE TALE OF A SCORPION. ON THE ROCKS. "GOLOSSA A L". THE MULE. IN LOVE AND WAR. TOMASO'S FORTUNE. STRANDED. PUTTING THINGS RIGHT. FOR JUANITA'S SAKE. AT THE FRONT. THE END OF THE "MOOROO". IN A CARAVAN. IN THE TRACK OF THE WANDERING JEW. THROUGH THE GATE OF TEARS. A PARIAH. THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.

SISTER

It does not matter where it was. I do not want other people that is to say, those who were around us to recognize Sister or myself. It is not likely that she will see this, and I am not sure that she knows my name. Of course, some one may draw her attention to this paper, and she may remember that the name affixed to it is that which I signed at the foot of a document we made out together namely, a return of deaths. At the foot of this paper our names stood one beneath the other stand there still, perhaps, in some forgotten bundle of papers at the War Office.

I only hope that she will not see this, for she might consider it a breach of professional etiquette; and I attach great importance to the opinion of this woman, whom I have only seen once in my whole life. Moreover, on that occasion she was subordinate to me more or less in the position of a servant.

Suffice it to say, therefore, that it was war time, and our trade was what the commercial papers call brisk. A war better remembered of the young than of the old, because it was, comparatively speaking, recent. The old fellows seem to remember the old fights better those fights that were fought when their blood was still young and the vessels thereof unclogged.

It was, by the way, my first campaign, but I was not new to the business of blood; for I am no soldier only a doctor. My only uniform my full parade dress is a red cross on the arm of an old blue serge jacket such jacket being much stained with certain dull patches which are better not investigated.

All who have taken part in war doing the damage or repairing it know that things are not done in quite the same way when ball cartridge is served out instead of blank. The correspondents are very fond of reporting that the behaviour of the men suggested a parade which simile, it is to be presumed, was borne in upon their fantastic brains by its utter inapplicability. The parade may be suggested before the real work begins when it is a question of marching away from the landing stage; but after the work our work has begun, there is remarkably little resemblance to a review.

We are served with many official papers which we never fill in, because, on the spur of the moment, it is apt to suggest itself that men's lives are more important. We misapply a vast majority of our surgical supplies, because the most important item is usually left behind at headquarters or at the seaport depot. In fact, we do many things that we should leave undone, and omit to do more which we are expected (officially) to do.

For some reason presumably the absence of better men I was sent up to the front before we had been three days at work. Our hospital by the river was not full when I received orders to follow the flying column with two assistants and the appliances of a field hospital.

Out of this little nucleus sprang the largest depot for sick and wounded that was formed during the campaign. We were within easy reach of headquarters, and I was fortunately allowed a free hand. Thus our establishment in the desert grew daily more important, and finally superseded the hospital at headquarters.

We had a busy time, for the main column had now closed up with the first expeditionary force, and our troops were in touch with the enemy not forty miles away from me... Continue reading book >>




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