The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 32
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
boarding tent, I washed my face and hands and gave my eyes
a good rubbing. They had given me hardly any pain until then,
but that rubbing seemed to set them on fire. It must have irri-
tated them slightly so that the sulphur could get at them better.
At any rate, they grew rapidly worse. Supper was presently
announced, and I went to the table. I should have been raven-
ously hungry, but the pain in my eyes drove away all desire
for food. I ate a few bites in a perfunctory sort of way, then
got up from the table, and went to bed. That was as miserable
a night as I ever spent. I remembered back in mythology that
some god or demigod dug out with a stake the eyes of Poly-
phemus, and in my heightened imagination, I reckoned that he
suffered no worse than I was suffering right then.
When morning came, the men of the place looked at me, and
they said that I had as bad a case of gassed eyes -as they had
ever seen. Indeed, they must have been a sight, swollen and
red and strutted like those of a crawfish, and with tears running
out of them like rain.
I lay in bed all day. If from necessity I had to open my eyes
for something, it would be only for the fraction of a second,
so painful was the light. I continued to lie there another day,
practically as blind as a bat. Then, toward morning of the third
day, the affliction left me. Not a great deal the worse from the
experience, I was able to get up and go about my business.
That much for the struggle of men against natural forces.
Other things went on there of a more personal kind and of fully
as much interest. One of the most prominent of these was
work: the strenuous work, the work in the gas, the work in
the heat, the work in the danger, this last especially. How
many men in the hurry, scurry, and irresponsible management
in the field were taken out maimed, mashed, struck dead, will
never be known. To get the oil out of the earth and get it
converted into money was the sole thought of acreage owners;
and those engaged in other forms of business were moved by
like motives. They halted at no obstacles. Employers paid
good wages for what they had done, and slam, bang, clang,
they had to have results. Hence firemen with eyes so badly
gassed they could hardly see the steam gauges worked around
boilers; hence well crews worked with old rattletrap outfits
that were liable any minute to fly to pieces and knock them to
kingdom come; hence men worked in the top of derricks, hang-
ing on with one hand, straining with the other to the limit of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/48/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.