Other People’s Troubles: An Antidote to Your Own [Part 10]

Other People’s Troubles

An Antidote for Your Own [Part 10]

Author of “A Japanese Nightingale,” “Heart of Hyacinth,” “Wisteria,” “Marion,” “Me,” etc., etc.
Synopsis:—“Other People’s Troubles” is the new type of a continued story wherein each episode is a complete story itself, but the whole is connected through the central figure of Dr. Carpenter, a very fine character, who believes that to get interested in other people’s troubles is the best cure for your own. His niece, Laura, was jilted on her wedding day by a man who also ap­propriated her brother’s invention. Felix Holt, a lawyer, accused of killing his wife’s lover, but acquitted on trial, has consented to handle Laura’s court proceedings, although since his own trouble he has lived the life of a recluse, and given up his profession. The doctor’s last patient suffers from insomnia brought on by misunderstanding of his wife’s interest in up-to-date women’s affairs.
1But I’ll lay you a wager all the same that he’s studying the suffrage subject good and hard.”
“He! Dick!”
“Well?”
“I know he isn’t.”
“Take my wager?”
“Dick says I’ve a whole quart of sporting blood in me. He said that when I took my first fish off the line all by myself. It was a darling little flounder too, and I nearly cried because its mouth bled. But anyhow, just to prove it to you, I will make a bet about it.”
“Good. Now if Dick’s not either reading or has been reading certain books or pamphlets or articles on woman’s suffrage, I’m to—er—well give you some sort of a spunk pill to take before that speech of yours. But if he has on the other hand, you are not to deliver it at all, but on the contrary are to gracefully and like the little sport you say you are, accede to your husband’s wishes in the matter, which I don’t doubt will be less harsh by and by.”
“Good!” exclaimed the little lady, smiling for the first time, and extending her fingers to be shaken.
With the frou-frou rustle of her pretty silk skirt, she swept out of the doctor’s office, leaving a faint, delicious fragrance behind her that was as feminine as it was sweet.
The doctor sniffed it audibly, and then:
“It would be a great pity,” he rumin­ated to himself, “if she should replace this with the sour stench of doped tobacco!”

XVI

The doctor had not seen his friend, Holt, for several days. So when the latter turned up unexpectedly on a balmy night in June, he was received with two outstretched hands of wel­come.
“Well, well! Here we are at last. Come right inside. Er-hum! Let me look at you.”
He had adjusted his glasses firmly, and was examining the other through, them thoroughly. Apparently well pleased with his scrutiny, he released the glasses from his nose, and spoke, punctuating his sentences with little movements of his glasses.
“Holt, if I do say it, who shouldn’t, that medicine of mine is a winner, and no mistake. You look ten—no fifteen years younger at least.”
“It’s a case of careful grooming, doctor,” said Holt, smiling gravely. “Did I tell you, my man, Joe Manning is back with me.”
“You ungrateful wretch!” snorted the doctor indignantly, “So you’re giving the credit to Joe. Here pull up, your chair! Dash it all, I don’t believe you’ve an atom of humor in your make-up.”
“I used to have,” said the lawyer, musingly.
“Stuff and nonsense! You haven’t lost a blessed thing you haven’t got to-day. But here—look at this, will you?”
The doctor unrolled the wrappings from about a package which had been delivered during the day, and spread out on the table several new photo­graphs of Laura.
Holt stared at them a moment in silence, and then, still without speaking, he picked them up one by one, and looked long and gravely at the pictured face. He appeared to be in some sort of reverie as he stared at the picture of his client; but when the doctor spoke he started in his seat almost as if he had been struck.
“I had these taken for the newspapers,” said the doctor carelessly.
“For the newspapers!” cried Holt. “What do you mean?”
The doctor regarded his friend in pretended astonishment.
“Well, it’s about time,” said he, “that this thing came out in the papers. It’s bound to, sooner or later, and I insisted to Laura that she have new extra good photographs taken, so she might look her best in the limelight of publicity.”
“She consented?” asked Holt in­cisively. His eyes were fixed upon the doctor’s face almost as if he could barely wait for the answer.
“Why, of course,” answered the doctor, in his most guileless tone. “Laura’s nothing but a girl after all you know.”
Holt threw the pictures down upon the table again. Then he got up and walked over to the window.
“And by the way,” pursued the doctor naturally, as he piled up the photographs in a neat little heap, “how’s the case proceeding?”
Holt turned about abruptly.
“It’s not going to proceed,” he said, between his teeth. “I—won’t go on with it.”
“Oh, indeed? Did you ever begin it?” inquired the doctor mildly.
“No. It was impossible—from the first.”
You “took the case.”
“You forced it upon me.”
“Stuff and nonsense! When I told you the circumstances you were keen for it.”
“I changed my mind.”
“When?”
“Well, from the first. I tell you it was impossible.”
“You mean—your returning to law practice?”
“It was not that.”
He looked at the doctor undecidedly a moment, and then suddenly strode across to him.
“It was on her account, not mine,” he said.
“You mean—Laura’s?”
(To be continued)

Notes

1
No opening quotation mark in original.

Contribute

If you'd like to write a headnote for this text (that would be peer-reviewed before publication), please contact the Project Director Mary Chapman to discuss.

Technical Feedback

If you have noticed a bug, typo, or errors on the site or if you have any other feedback, please contact us.

People Mentioned

Winnifred Eaton

  • Born: August 21, 1875
  • Died: April 08, 1954
See the Biographical Timeline for biographical information on Winnifred Eaton.

Pseudonyms used in this text

Mary Chapman

Mary Chapman is the Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive, a Professor of English, and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at University of British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning monograph Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford UP) and of numerous articles about American literature and women writers. She has also edited Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (McGill-Queen’s UP) and published essays on the Eaton sisters in American Quarterly, MELUS, Legacy, Canadian Literature, and American Periodicals. Her current research project is a microhistory of the Eaton family. For more information, see http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/mchapman/.

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and a Developer at Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). He is a graduate of the M.A. program in English at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in Indigenous and diasporic literature, science and technology studies, and the digital humanities.

Organizations Mentioned