True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 127
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 127
merchants, because it put a stop to all business, of course, The
old citizens, "yellow fever nurses," they styled themselves, took
about as much dish in an investigation of the kind that we
were making as the doctors themselves. Dr. Howard was contending
that the case was a genuine one, but one of the doctors,
who had a vast amount of book knowledge about yellow
fever and no practical knowledge at all, was contending that
there was a doubt. That led to the fight, finally, but before
it started a funny thing occurred.
One of the old and eminently respected citizens butted right
in the sick man's room and reappeared in a few moments
with his head thrown back, "sniffing" briskly. "That's no yellow
fever," he declared, positively. "The hell you say," said
Dr. Howard. "How can you tell so easily?'
"Why, by the smell, of course. Come in here and take a sniff
and you can tell it yourself."
"I'm no hound dog to go round sniffing for yellow fever," the
doctor retorted, hotly.
They had some words, and the doctor ended by telling him
he not only knew nothing about the case, but that he doubted
if he had sense enough to give a sick man a glass of water.
"Why, doctor, you are certainly not in earnest in making such
a statement as that," said the gentleman. The doctor told him
that he certainly was and asked him how he would do it.
"I would get a clean goblet, go to the cistern, pump the water
a long time until it was cool, then I would place my left hand
under the man's pillow, raise his head gently and give him the
Here the doctor broke in: "I knew you would do some fool
thing like that when I asked you. Your goblet, with its long
stem and broad base, would spill all the water out of the glass
before a drop of it reached the patient's mouth."
Then Dr. Howard turned his back on the citizen and renewed
the discussion that ended in the fight. I may say here
that the patient was on Dr. Howard's side, for soon he began
to throw up black vomit and after his death the autopsy 'revealed
a genuine case of yellow fever.
The doctor was loyalty itself and would wade through fire
in the interest of a friend. He, Dr. W. D. Robinson, Dr. L. A.
Bryan, Dr. George McDonnel and I, am proud to add, myself
were very intimate friends. We all had offices, of course, but
Conlief's drug store was headquarters and a general loafing
place. Conlief had a number of slates with our names painted
on them hung on the wall near the front door. Any one wanting
one of us would leave his order on the slates. One hot ummmer
day Dr. Bryan and I were sitting near the door when Dr. Howard
drove up in his buggy. He called to Dr. Bryan and asked
him to look and see if there was anything on his slate. Dr.
Bryan did look and then answered in the affirmative. Dr. Howard
commenced getting out of the bugy to come in and read it,
when it occurred to him that Dr. Bryan could do it for him. He
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/127/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .