Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
The Ballad of Doc Pluff
By Holman Francis Day (1865–1935)
 
From “Pine Tree Ballads”

DOCTOR PLUFF, who lived in Cornville, he was hearty, brisk, and bluff,
Didn’t have much extry knowledge, but in some ways knowed enough;
Knowed enough to doctor hosses, cows an’ dogs an’ hens an’ sheep;
When he come to doctor humans, wal, he wasn’t quite so deep.
Still, he kind o’ got ambitious, an’ he went an’ stubbed his toe        5
When he tried to tackle subjects that he really didn’t know.
 
Doc he started out the fust-off as a vet’rinary doc,
An’ he made a reputation jest as solid as a rock.
Doct’rin’ hosses’ throats, or such like, why, there warn’t a man in town
Who could take a cone of paper, poof the sulphur furder down.        10
He could handle pips an’ garget in a brisk an’ thorough style,
An’ there warn’t a cow ’twould hook him when he give her castor ile.
 
As V. S. he had us solid, but he loosened up his hold
When he doctored Uncle Peaslee for his reg’lar April cold.
Uncle Peaslee allus caught it when he took his flannels off;        15
For a week or two he’d wheezle, sniff an’ sneezle, bark an’ cough;
An’ at last, in desperation, when the thing became so tough,
He adopted some suggestions that were made by Doctor Pluff.
 
Fust o’ March he started early, an’ he reg’lar ev’ry day
From his heavy winter woolens tore a little strip away;        20
For the doc he had insisted that the change could thus be made,
’Cause the system wouldn’t notice such an easy, steady grade.
Wal, sir, ’bout the last of April, Uncle Peaslee he had on
Jest the wris’ban’s an’ the collar—all the rest of it was gone.
 
Then—with Doctor Pluff advisin’—on a mild an’ pleasant day        25
He took off the collar’n wris’ban’s, and he throwed the things away;
An’ in less’n thutty hours he was sudden tooken down
With the wust case of pneumony that we ever knowed in town.
An’ he dropped away in no time. It was awful kind of rough,
An’ we had our fust misgivin’s ’bout the skill of old Doc Pluff.        30
 
Reckoned that ’ere scrape would down him an’ he’d stick to hens an’ cows,
But he’d got to be ambitious, an’ he tackled Iral Howes.
Uncle Iral’s kind o’ feeble, but was bound to wean a ca’f;
Went to pull him off from suckin’ when the critter’d had his ha’f.
Ca’f he turned around an’ bunted—made him’s mad’s a tyke, ye see—        35
An’ old Iral’s leg was broken, little ways above the knee.
T’other doctor couldn’t git there ’cause the goin’ was so rough,
So they had to run their chances, an’ they called on Doctor Pluff.
 
Doc he found old Iral groanin’ where they’d laid him on the bed,
An’ he took his old black finger, rolled up Iral’s lip, an’ said,        40
“Hay-teeth worn; can’t chaw his vittles! Vittles therefore disagree;
It’s as tough a case of colic as I think I ever see.”
Some one started then to tell him, but the doc he had the floor,
An’ he snapped ’em up so spiteful that they didn’t say no more.
 
Then he wrinkled up his eyebrows, pursed his lips as tight’s a bung,        45
Pried apart old Iral’s grinders, an’ says he, “Le’s see your tongue.”
“Why,” says he, “I see the trouble—you’ve got garget of the blood,
An’ if symptoms hain’t deceivin’, you have also lost your cud.”
“Blame yer soul!” groaned Uncle Iral, “can’t ye see what’s ailin’ me?
That ’ere leg is broke!” “Oh, sartin,” says the doc, “I see! I see!”        50
 
Then he pulled off Iral’s trousers, an’ he spit upon his fist,
Grabbed that leg in good old earnest an’ commenced to twist an’ twist.
Iral howled an’ yowled an’ fainted, then come to an’ howled some more,
He an’ doc they fit an’ wrassled on the bed an’ on the floor.
Doc, though, held him to the wickin’—let old Iral howl an’ beg,        55
Said he’d got to do his duty, straight’nin’ out his blamed old leg.
 
When the splints come off, though, later, wal, sir, Iral was provoked;
Hain’t surprised it made him ugly, for he sartainly was soaked.
Doc had set it so the knee-joint comes behind, jest like a cow’s,
An’ ’twould make ye die a-laughin’, would that gait of Iral Howes’.        60
If that case of Uncle Peaslee wasn’t damagin’ enough,
Bet your life that job on Iral made us shy of old Doc Pluff.
 
 
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