VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of Informational Site Network Informational
   Home - Science Fiction Stories - Western Stories

Farewell To Beauty And The Beast

From: Doctor Jones' Picnic

The royal patient slept soundly until eight o'clock the following
morning, or six consecutive hours. This was so entirely new and
different from anything she had experienced for a very long time, that
nothing could exceed her own and the astonishment of everyone who was
acquainted with the facts. Long and painful had been her nights,
sleepless and full of misery, unless under the influence of a narcotic.
And, as we said before, she had reached a point where her system would
endure no more of crude drugging. She always awoke unrefreshed and
miserable from these unnatural, forced sleeps. So when she awoke this
morning, refreshed and rested, her gratitude was boundless.

Dr. Jones received her grateful expressions with the simple, modest
dignity that is characteristic of the good and intelligent the world
over. He made now a critical examination of the heart, and found it
incurably affected. And there were complications of the digestive
organs, etc., that we need not stop to mention. He acquainted the Prince
with the conditions he had found, and showed him why she could not be
cured. But he assured his royal patron, that she might be kept
comfortable, and her life indefinitely prolonged by treating her case
symptomatically as occasion should require.

He remained at the castle several days. In two weeks the royal lady who
had been devoted to immediate death by that school of medicine which
arrogates unto itself the terms, "Liberal," "Regular," and "Scientific,"
walked in her garden!

The effect upon the Count was past our powers of description. "Doctor
Jones," he cried, "I am converted not only to your system, but to God! I
realized, as I witnessed the astounding power of the infinitesimal dose
in this remarkable case, the wisdom and goodness of our Heavenly
Father. And I now say to you, that I am devoted to your cause, and I
shall never rest until your school of medicine shall have free course
throughout all Russia. And you can rest assured that the Prince's
influence, conjoined with my own, will have sufficient weight at court
to break down all barriers and opposition to the propagandism of your
blessed system of medicine. This shall be my life work, and I only wish
that you were going to stay with me. But I will not urge that point, as
I know that you are pledged to prosecute your effort to reach the North
Pole. You will succeed in that enterprise, and the world will ring with
your praise. But far grander than all this is your simple, sublime faith
in God, and in the beautiful law by which you are guided in the
selection of the remedy in the treatment of the sick. I am a far better
man, physically, morally, and spiritually for having met you."

"If my visit to Russia shall effect the recognition of my school by your
Government, I shall forever thank God for sending me here. This is
probably the entering wedge that shall open Europe to us, and induce the
inquiry and investigation that we crave. Let our system stand or fall
upon its merits."

And so the friends conversed and laid their plans for the introduction
of the new medical system into Europe. The Prince also joined them in
their plans, and his enthusiasm quite equaled that of the Count. Among
other items, the two noble converts made arrangements to purchase a
complete stock of books and drugs. Dr. Jones daily taught them the art
of "taking a case," as he called it; or the examination of a patient and
writing down the symptoms.

The three months had expired and Feodora's condition was far above the
danger mark. She was beautiful, rosy, and blushing, romping about with
Mattie, like a great school-girl. So now the morning of their departure
was set. The news was heralded far and wide that the great air-ship
would sail upon a certain day if the wind were favorable.

The morning had arrived, the wind was blowing within a point or two of
north, and every preparation had been made for hoisting anchors. A vast
concourse of people had assembled to witness their departure. The many
friends of the voyagers were present in force, and they loaded them
with presents, many of them very costly. Dr. Jones' practice had been
lucrative beyond anything he had ever dreamed of. He found himself
suddenly made a wealthy man. The gratitude of the people was boundless;
and the simple-hearted man scarcely knew what to do with all the money
that poured in upon him. So he caused a considerable portion of it to be
distributed among the poor peasantry in the vicinity of the castle. He
felt a great sense of sorrow as he looked upon the many faces that he
had learned to love. But all was ready and he must away.

"I have spent some of the happiest hours of my life with yourself and
daughter, my dear Count, and truly hope to visit you again and enjoy
your hospitality. Good-bye, and God bless you all."

He had shaken hands with all those immediately about him, among whom
were the Prince and Princess, and stepped with Mrs. Jones into the cage.
It shot up to the engine-room, the anchors and cables were cast off, and
the splendid globe, so long bound in chains to the earth, arose
majestically into the blue vault above. Loud and mighty were the cheers
that followed them. Silver Cloud, as if impatient at the long delay in
Russia, rapidly ascended three thousand feet, and flew northward at
tremendous speed.

"Could deliverance have come to your house and mine more appropriately
than from the skies, and in yonder silver chariot?" asked the Count of
his two royal friends, while they stood watching the rapidly
disappearing Silver Cloud.

"The deliverance has not come to us alone, but to the suffering millions
of Russia, Count Icanovich. And all through the faithfulness and
earnestness of that modest, yet wonderful little man, Doctor Jones. But
as he said over and over again, 'Let us give God all the glory,'"
replied the Prince.

The company, meanwhile, though much regretting the parting with their
new found friends, yet were exhilarated with the idea that they were
again rapidly rushing toward the object of their expedition. Their
supplies of food, fuel, clothing, etc., had been fully replenished so
far as was necessary, and nothing should now prevent their reaching the
Pole at an exceedingly early date. This they were the more anxious to
do, as the season was getting well advanced, and they desired to be out
of the Arctic region before winter should set in. This was not a matter
of so much concern to them, however, as it had been to all previous
explorers of these frigid regions. The navigators of Silver Cloud had no
frozen seas nor icebergs to contend with, and could soar above all
clouds and storms. And the matter of temperature was of little
consequence to them; for, as Will had said, the cabin was so constructed
that frost could never penetrate its beautiful aluminum walls.

So they were jubilant and happy. Even Sing--whom, by the way, we have
shamefully neglected during the past three months--joined in the general
hilarity, and treated them to many Russian dishes that he had picked up
in the kitchen of the castle, where he had spent his time during their
stay there.

The wind continued all day from the south, so that by evening they
sighted the city of Archangel away to their left. All night they sped at
express train speed toward their destination. When they looked out in
the morning from the balcony, the northern coast of Russia was
indistinctly seen in the southern horizon, and they were again floating
over the floes and bergs of Arctic seas.

"We have crossed the 70th degree of latitude," said the Professor at
breakfast. "We are heading directly for Franz Joseph Land. We should
sight that island by noon at our present rate of speed."

All expressed themselves as delighted at the marvelous performance of
Silver Cloud, and Denison declared that he should never be contented to
settle down to slow going terrestrial life again.

"I move that we set out for the South Pole as soon as we get back to
Washington," said he.

"I second the motion!" cried Mattie.

"I don't know whether women have the elective franchise in this country
or not," laughingly replied Dr. Jones. "At all events, let's get back to
Washington before we plan any more expeditions. I do not doubt that the
South Pole will be our next objective point."

"Just imagine the American flag flying at the two poles of the earth!"
cried Professor Gray. "What could be more appropriate and grander! I
believe Denison's motion to be strictly in order. As to Mattie's
second, I am for female suffrage, here and everywhere upon earth.
Without it woman is but a slave, and can be but what her lord and
master, man, permits her to be."

"Hear! hear!" cried the ladies, clapping their hands.

"What an old Bluebeard of a husband you have, haven't you?" said the
Doctor to Mrs. Jones.

"Oh! you are fishing for compliments," she returned archly, "But I tell
you, sir, that I have my eye upon you. Did you all notice how the
Princess, Feodora, and a lot more of those Russian ladies cried over him
when we were parting from them?" and she shook her finger at him from
the lower end of the table, and tried so hard to look jealous and mad,
and made so dismal a failure of it, that they all laughed heartily.

And so they merrily chatted through the meal. The men then resorted to
the smoking-room, and when all had lighted their cigars or pipes, Fred

"Which of the battles of the war of the great Rebellion do you consider
to have been the hardest fought, Doctor Jones?"

"Chickamauga is conceded by the majority of our historians to have been
the most savagely contested of the great battles of the war. Something
near forty per cent of the men engaged were killed, wounded, or taken

"Were you in that battle, Doctor?"

"I was."

"I would be glad if you would tell us about it; that is, I mean, your
own personal experiences."

"Well," returned Dr. Jones, taking a look out of the window by which he
sat, "we are spinning along at a rattling gait toward Franz Joseph Land,
and I don't know that we can do any better than tell war stories to pass
away time.

"I believe I told you that I was fifteen years old when I enlisted. The
battle of Chickamauga occurred September 19, and 20, 1863, one year
after my enlistment, so that I was a lad of sixteen at the time of the
battle. You cannot presume that a boy would have seen much that would be
of historical value, where all was horrible roar of musketry, booming
of cannon, confusion, and blood-curdling yells of charging battalions.

"The morning of September 19, 1863, dawned upon us beautiful and bright.
I shall never forget that lovely morning. Throughout the rank and file
of our army there was a feeling that we were upon the eve of a great
battle; but we did not dream that the armies of Bragg and Longstreet had
combined, and we were opposing from fifty-five thousand to seventy-five
thousand men. But our confidence in our commander, General Rosecranz,
was so great that we would have fought them just the same if we had
known of the great odds against us.

"Heavy skirmishing began quite early in the morning along the picket
lines. This gradually swelled into the incessant roar of pitched battle.
At about nine o'clock we were ordered to the front at a double-quick. We
crossed a field, then into a wood where we met the fire of the enemy.
Being a musician I was counted a noncombatant, and my duties during
battle consisted in helping the wounded back to hastily extemporized

"So on we charged into the woods, already densely filled with smoke.
Then the bullets flew swiftly about us, and men began falling along the
line. I set to work helping the wounded to the rear. I had just been to
the hospital with a poor fellow from my company, and hastened back to
where I had last seen the regiment. They had made a flank movement to
the left, but I, supposing that they had advanced and were driving the
enemy like chaff before them, traveled straight on through the woods,
and out into an open field. What a sight was there! Dead and wounded
Confederates lay thickly strewn in every direction. I was really in what
had just been the Confederate lines, and was in imminent peril of being
shot or captured.

"Several of the wounded spoke to me, 'O Yank! for God's sake, give me a
drink of water,' I felt alarmed at my position, but I could not resist
the appeals of these poor fellows. So I gave water to many from the
canteens that I found scattered about the field. I spread blankets for
others who asked me; dragged some of them into the shade, for the sun
was very hot. And so I spent a considerable time among them, doing such
little offices as I could. For these services they were very grateful,
some of them calling down the blessings of heaven upon my head. I have
always been glad that I incurred this risk of life and liberty for these
dying men. But at last I felt that I dared not stop longer, and started
to retrace my steps to the woods, when I heard a terrible wailing and
moaning a few yards to my right. I rushed to the spot and saw a poor
Confederate boy, about my own age, at the foot of a great poplar tree,
in the midst of a brush heap, trying to spread his blanket. I did not at
first see what the cause of his terrible outcry was. 'What is the
matter, Johnnie?' I asked. He lifted his face to me, and I shall never
forget the awful sight! A bullet had shot away the anterior part of each
eye and the bridge of the nose, and in this sightless condition he was
trying in the midst of the brush heap to spread his blanket and lie down
to die! As he moved about upon his hands and knees the ends of the dry
twigs, stiff and merciless as so many wires, would jag his bleeding and
sightless eyeballs. I could not leave him in this condition, and so
helped him from the brush heap to a smooth, shady place, spread his
blanket for him, put a canteen of water by him, and then ran for the
Union lines, not a moment too soon.

"All day the battle raged with terrible fury until long after the shades
of night had fallen. Indeed, the heaviest musketry I ever heard occurred
some time after pitch darkness had completely enveloped us. My supper
that night was a very plain one. A piece of corn bread, or hoe cake,
that I had abstracted from the haversack of a dead Southerner, and a
canteen of cold water constituted that simple meal. I really felt a
sense of gratitude toward the poor Confederate, who had undoubtedly
baked the corn bread that morning, little thinking that it was destined
to be eaten by a miserable Yankee drummer boy. But such is the fate of

"It had been very hot during the day, but the night was bitterly cold.
There was a heavy frost that night, and under a thick blanket upon the
bare ground, I slept by fitful snatches. Let me tell you, friends, that
the most terrible place upon earth is a battlefield at night. The groans
of the wounded men and horses are awful beyond anything I ever heard.
All night I could hear their heartrending cries, but in the pitch
darkness could do nothing to help them. How many times I thought of my
far away northern home during that awful night. Should I live through
the morrow? for the battle would certainly be resumed with the return of
daylight. Should I ever see mother, brothers and sisters, home and
friends again?"

Here the Doctor sang softly and slowly part of the pathetic old war

"Comrades brave around me lying,
Filled with thoughts of home and God;
For well they know that on the morrow
Some must sleep beneath the sod."

The little party were deeply impressed, for the Doctor was a good story
teller, and was himself much affected at this point.

"The much longed for, yet dreaded, daylight dawned at last. It was
Sunday morning. For some reason hostilities were not immediately
resumed. The sun rose in beauty and splendor, warming our chilled bones
and blood in a way that was exceedingly grateful to us. For a little
time all was so quiet and still that it only lacked the sweet tones of
church bells, calling us to the house of God, to have made us forget
that we were enemies, and have induced us to rest from our fearful,
uncanny works for this holy Sabbath at least. But no! soon the battle
was on again with greater vigor, if possible, than ever. Before noon our
flanks were completely routed; and, but for that magnificent man, the
peer of any soldier of any nation or age, General George H. Thomas, it
is doubtful whether I should be here now, telling my little story. While
Rosecranz, whipped and beaten, fled to Chattanooga and telegraphed to
Washington that everything was lost, and the Cumberland army a thing of
the past, General Thomas, with a few thousand men, checked and held at
bay this great Southern army, flushed with victory though it was. How
the mighty host rolled and surged against this single army corps, but
could not break nor beat them back. While Crittenden's and McCook's
corps were completely routed and disorganized, Thomas with his 14th
corps thus stood the brunt of battle, and saved the Army of the
Cumberland from total annihilation. Well may we call him the Rock of

"My father was quartermaster-sergeant of the regiment and I saw him for
the first time during the battle on Sunday morning. We were trudging
along with the rout--for it could not be called army that Sunday
afternoon--toward Chattanooga. We knew that we had sustained defeat, but
we did not realize how desperate the situation was. A brigadier-general
was passing us, when a private rushed up to him and asked, 'O General!
where is the 87th Indiana?"--I think that was the regiment he mentioned.
'There is no 87th Indiana. All is lost! Get to Chattanooga!' he
shouted, and galloped toward the city, unattended by any of his staff.

"'Did you hear that, John?' asked my father.

"'I did,' I replied.

"'Well, if you expect to ever see your mother again, you must do some
good traveling now.'

"As we had an intense desire to see her again we started down the road
at a good pace. We distinctly heard the Confederate cavalrymen crying,
'Stop, you blankety blanked Yankees!' But we felt that our business in
Chattanooga, demanded immediate attention, and we had no time to spare

"Passing a certain place, I saw General Thomas standing upon the brow of
Snodgrass Hill, or Horseshoe Ridge, field glass in hand, intently
watching the movements of the troops. I distinctly remember his
full-bearded, leonine face, and little did we know that the fate of the
Cumberland Army, or possibly of the Nation, rested upon that single man
that terrible Sunday afternoon. What a mighty responsibility! But there
he stood, a tower of strength, the Rock of Chickamauga indeed! With but
a single line he repelled charge after charge of Longstreet's
consolidated ranks.

"And so we fought the most sanguinary battle of modern times, yet
utterly bootless so far as immediate results were concerned. One hundred
and thirty thousand men were engaged with a loss of nearly fifty
thousand, or a little less than forty per cent. This battle should never
have been fought. Rosecranz here lost his military prestige that he had
so splendidly won at Stone's River. Thomas alone achieved on this field
immortal glory, and was the one great hero of the occasion. The
Confederates claimed it as a victory, but they should daily thereafter
have asked a kind Providence to keep them from any more such victories.

"The next day Thomas followed us into Chattanooga, and Bragg and
Longstreet perched with their armies upon Lookout Mountain and
Missionary Ridge. From these elevations they watched us with Argus eyes.
Our supplies were completely cut off and we were soon reduced to the
point of star--But here, you fellows are getting tired, and so am I. I
will tell you about the siege of Chattanooga and battle of Missionary
Ridge some other time."

Next: Woman Locates The North Pole

Previous: The Count Steps Over The Line

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 205