Idella and the White Plague

Idella and the White Plague

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Idella and the White Plague by Joseph Crosby Lincoln

Published:

1906

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Idella and the White Plague

By

4.3333333333333
(3 Reviews)

Book Excerpt

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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Lisa Carr
5
Idella returns to her girlhood home with her husband following a few years away as the housemaid of a doctor. The home is a shack, and her mother and many brothers and sisters are impoverished because of her father's "illness." He pleads incapacity so he can sit at home while his wife takes in laundry.
Idella has some original ideas for curing the White Plague (tuberculosis,) and dyspepsia, and insists on working her cures.
The story is written in what-a-city-author-thinks-country-people-sound-like dialect, which is a bit tedious, but the story is funny and has a good ending.
(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?


3
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.