Idella and the White Plague

Published: 1906
Language: English
Wordcount: 4,874 / 14 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 84.7
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 481
Added to site: 2010.01.11 26277
Genres: Short Story, Humor

Burke rose, squared his mighty shoulders, and advanced toward his father-in-law. He looked as if he rather enjoyed the situation.

"Betsy," shrieked Mr. Sparrow, dodging into a corner, "be you in this? Do you want to see me murdered?"

Mrs. Sparrow was troubled. She had implicit confidence in her daughter, but she sympathized with her husband's infirmities.

"Idella," she protested, "seems to me I wouldn't-- Remember them nervous attacks he's' subject to."·

"Nerves," declared Idella, "come from the stomach. I'll 'tend to them later. We must cure his lungs first. Bill, fetch him along."

Mr. Burke's hand settled firmly on the back of the invalid's neck. "Trot along, dad," he commanded. Mr. Sparrow fought and hung back. The other hand descended and seized him by the waist-band. He moved toward the door, "walking, Spanish" like a small boy in the school-yard.

Idella opened the door. "Nobody can say," she remarked with emphasis, "that I let my father die of co


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Average Rating of 4 from 2 reviews: ****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1906) Humor - Taken from "McClure's Magazine," Volume 27, May - October, 1906

Plot bullets

  • The White Plague? (AKA: Consumption,Tuberculosis )

  • Their is of course nothing funny about such a disease.

  • What presents a funny situation, is how one man uses the symptoms of this disease, as well as those of other non-existent ailments, to keep from working.

  • Idella is fresh from the job of housekeeper for a doctor, and thus seems to have credentials enough to prescribe a remedy.

  • Idella has some ideas, about the disease and the man, her father.

  • Her remedies are extreme. But what are they meant to cure?


An episode from Lincoln's novel "Mr. Pratt", reworked in the short form. It stands well enough on its own, but I would recommend enjoying the story in the proper context, as it is much more fun.

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