Richardson, who had thus far performed his operations upon animals with
a common pocket-knife, a carpenter’s fine saw, and some instruments he
made in the shop of the village blacksmith,–making sleight of hand and
mechanical skill supply the place of suitable tools,–was now able to
purchase a pocket case of surgical instruments, that economized time,
and greatly facilitated his labors. They were also of a better pattern
than those he at times borrowed of the doctor.
Instead of going home in the vacations, he devoted the leisure afforded
by the close of the academy to medical studies and experiments.
“Mr. Richardson,” said the doctor, one day, after they had been enjoying
a sing together, “it seems strange to me that you are not more inclined
to go with me to visit patients. It is the very thing you need,
especially when bones are to be set, or dislocations reduced. It is only
occasionally that you go.”
“Indeed, doctor, I hope you will not feel that I do not appreciate your
kindness in so often inviting me, or that I am not sensible of the
benefit to be thus obtained; but I look at it in this light, which
perhaps is not the right one. I am young enough, and do not intend to
commence practice till thoroughly fitted; and it seems to me there can
be no correct practice without a thorough knowledge of first principles,
and that the practice should be based upon, and grow out of, that
“I have therefore resolved that I would, while here, endeavor to attain
a knowledge of principles; operating, as I go along, on animals; going
with you occasionally; economizing my means; and by and by attend
lectures at Brunswick, or some place where I shall have ample
opportunity for dissection, or go somewhere for hospital practice.”
“I think you are correct there; but still I feel that you might, without
neglecting your studies, obtain a great deal more practical knowledge as
you go along, and that it would be time excellently well spent; for the
human body, and not that of the animal, is the one you will have to deal
with, and all you can learn from the brute will be only an approach,
require to be modified a great deal, and much of it won’t apply in
“I have not the least doubt, doctor, but the course you advise is the
best, but in my circumstances I cannot avail myself of it.
“Perhaps it would come with a better grace from some one else, but the
people in this town have expressed great attachment to me, and estimate
me far above my deserts. Now, if I should go much with you to visit
patients, bleed, and pull teeth, and reduce dislocations, as you would
have me, every academy scholar who wanted a tooth pulled, or a gum-boil
lanced, would be running to me, because they would think I should not
hurt them so much as you.
“People who wanted a sore opened, others, who are personally attached to
me, would come for slight complaints. Many persons who are ashamed to
send for you, because they owe you, would think, ‘Perhaps Mr. Richardson
will do just as well; he’s been studying a good while with the doctor.’
And thus all my time would be frittered away, and nothing to show for
The doctor broke into a hearty laugh, and said, “I will yield the point,
Mr. Richardson. I must acknowledge you have made out a strong case.”
“That is the way I look at it. I am wheeling two wheelbarrows
now,–studying medicine, and teaching,–and I don’t mean to wheel
At the close of a long, hot day, the latter part of May, Clement
Richardson and his brother, wearied with toil, were seated, one on the
anvil, the other on the forge.
Somewhat more than a year had passed since their misfortune. During
that period their condition had very much improved, owing to the
following circumstance. Cast steel had been introduced, but only a few
smiths in the country were able to use it.
More care and judgment were required in working it than the old
material, and the aid of borax was necessary to weld it with iron. The
old smiths around Richardson would have nothing to do with “the
new-fangled stuff,” stuck to blistered steel and a sand weld.
But Clement Richardson belonged to a race ever open to new ideas, and
perceived at a glance the value of the new metal. He had seen his father
use borax to braze the threads of his vice, as also saw plates, and soon
learned to use the steel, and consequently monopolized all the work in
his vicinity. For there is no comparison between blistered and cast
steel for an edge tool.
Their business, however, received a still greater impulse about a month
before the period to which we refer. There had been little improvement
in farming tools in that vicinity; the old iron pitch and manure forks
were everywhere used. Clement Richardson went to Massachusetts to buy
steel and iron, and there saw a patent spring steel pitchfork. He came
home, and made forks with an improvement that did not infringe on the
patent, and the operation proved very profitable.
“Clem,” said Robert, “our year during which we were to have this shop
free will soon be out. What say you for buying the old homestead back?
We can pay a few hundred down, give a mortgage back, and what we should
pay for rent will go towards shrinking the debt.”
“The rent of the shop won’t be much, Robert, and you know we were to
have the rent of the house free from the time of occupancy. Suppose we
wait till then.”
“What if Montague should sell it over our heads?”
“I’ll speak to him, and get the refusal of it.”
When the brothers got home, they found a letter from Rich, containing a
portion of his hard earnings, that he had sent to aid his parents. His
father, however, sent the money back, informing Rich of the success of
the new forks, and telling him they were getting money much faster than
Waiting till his wages for the next term fell due, Rich expended the
whole in the purchase of books more modern than those found in the
collection of his patron, and containing principles the latter would by
no means have approved.
Rich was seated in his room, earnestly engaged in study, when he was
roused by a great rumpus on the stairs. In a moment the door was flung
violently open, and Dan and Frank Merrill rushed into the room.
Dan had evidently been crying, for the tears stood in his eyes then,
and Frank was not far from it.
“Excuse us, Mr. Richardson, for coming in so, but–”
“But you couldn’t help it. What is the matter?”
“O, Mr. Richardson, don’t you think! Frank, and Horace, and me were
going down to the river, to go in swimming, and there was Ned Baker,
Clinton Blanchard, and a whole lot of boys, had got his dog Rover, the
prettiest dog you ever did see, and they’d got a rope round his neck,
and were going to drown him.”
“What were they going to drown him for?”
“Because they were at play with him, and pushed him under a cart; the
wheel went over his hind leg, and ground it all up.”
“You don’t know how pitiful he looked, Mr. Richardson,” said Merrill;
“there they were, dragging him along on three legs, his broken leg
hanging down, and he whining enough to break your heart. I never will
like Clin Blanchard after this, to treat his dog so, that he pretended
to love so much! I think it’s real mean.”
“So we got ’em to give him to us,” said Dan; “and we’ve brought him to
you, Mr. Richardson, for you to doctor him, and make him well. Will you,
Mr. Richardson? Don’t kill him. O, don’t, please don’t. You won’t kill
him; will you?”
And Dan, who was as noble-hearted a boy as the sun ever shone upon,
could hold in no longer, and burst into tears.
“I am not so bloodthirsty as you may suppose,” said Rich, half offended
at the implied distrust.
“I didn’t mean that, Mr. Richardson. We all love you, and know you are
just as kind and good as can be. But–”
“But you know I like to experiment upon animals. Well, I’ll do all I can
for Rover, just as though he was my brother. So don’t cry any more.
Where is he?”
“Horace has got him at the door.”
Rover indeed presented a sorry sight. His tongue was hanging out of his
mouth, the broken leg hung dangling, covered with dust and blood. He
whined piteously when any one even looked at it, appeared frightened,
the water ran from his eyes, and he from time to time looked up
beseechingly in the face of Horace, who held him by the collar.
“Poor fellow! he’s crying,” said Frank; and with his handkerchief he
wiped the tears from his eyes. “I suppose his leg hurts him.”
“Give him some water,” said Rich.
The dog drank eagerly, and seemed revived.
“Now give him something to eat.”
He ate but sparingly, and, evidently feeling assured, wagged his tail in
“See how grateful he is,” said Horace.
“He knows he’s among friends,” replied Rich.
“Better kill him at once,” said Mrs. Clemens, “and put him out of
misery. He will die.”
“Kill him!” howled Dan; “kill him! O, mother, I shouldn’t think you
would talk so. He’s worth forty old cats. We’re going to make him get
well. What’s the use of studying so much to be a doctor, if you can’t
“Well spoken, Dan,” said Rich. “Take him to the barn.”
Rich cut off the leg of one of Dan’s old boots, and drew it over Rover’s
nose, to prevent him from biting them. They placed him on the table, and
strapped him down.
“Boys,” he said, after examination, “this is a compound fracture. The
bones of the foot are all ground up, the skin broken, and the muscles
bruised, and filled with gravel. The limb can’t be set; it will rot off,
this warm weather, before it will heal. The only way to save him is to
amputate below the hock, and save the hock joint. Which would you
prefer, kill him, let him alone to die himself, or amputate, and have a
dog with three legs?”
The boys were a unit in favor of amputation. He therefore, having
previously instructed his young assistants in what manner to hold the
arteries and the limb, took it off, and tied the blood-vessels, sponged
and bound up the wound.
Dan made him a bed by putting some straw in a corner, and covering it
with a horse blanket, and, cutting some wide leather straps from the old
chaise boot, they fastened him in such a manner that he could not move
to his own injury. Rover whined terribly during the operation, but when
it was finished, and the leg bound up in cold water, he became quiet,
licked Dan’s fingers when he took off the muzzle, and wagged his tail,
no doubt sensible that he was handled gently, and that no harm was
Dan got his mother to make a pillow-case. He stuffed it with chaff, and
placed the wounded leg on it to keep it up (as it was shorter than the
other), and make Rover as comfortable as possible. They then patted him,
told him to lie still, and leaving the stable, got their lessons
together in Dan’s house.
When Dan got up the next morning, he found, sitting on the door-step, a
little dog. His eyes were so bright they sparkled; and his back was
black, also his ears and head; there was a ring of white around his
neck, and his breast, legs, and feet were white. The black was jet
black, and the white as white as white could be; his tail was black, and
curled up so crisp over his back that it seemed as though it would lift
him up behind; looking, with his erect, sharp-pointed ears, and fine,
glossy coat, as though he came right out of a bandbox.
Dan recognized him in a moment, and running to Rich, told him “that
Carlo–Ned Baker’s dog, who lived in the next house to Clinton
Blanchard, Rover’s former master–was sitting on the door-step, and he
didn’t believe but he had come to see Rover, for they had been great
friends, always playing together, and there were never two dogs agreed
as well as they.”
When they went to the door, Carlo was scratching and whining at the
stable door, and Rover whining within. They let him into the
harness-room, when Carlo jumped on his friend’s bed, licked his face,
licked the stump of his leg, and smelt him all over. Rover licked
Carlo’s face in return, wagged his tail, and seemed delighted.
The new comer then rolled himself into a ball, and lay down at Rover’s
nose, shutting first one eye, and then the other, as though he would
say, “I have come to spend the day, and I _mean_ to.”
“That is capital,” said Rich. “He has come on a visit of consolation.
The patient will recover a great deal faster for having him here.”
The two dogs took their breakfast together, and great was the surprise
of Horace and Frank when they called, on their way to school, to know
how Rover did, and found Carlo nursing him.
Another boy afterwards told them, “that when he first got up in the
morning, he saw Carlo running along the road, with his nose to the
ground.” It was evident that, missing his companion, he had scented the
track, and followed on till he found him.
About the middle of the afternoon Carlo went home; but at seven o’clock
the next morning he returned, accompanied by three more dogs; one a
great Newfoundland–Neptune. They all went up and smelt of Rover, sat
round a while, and then disappeared, one after another, Carlo remaining,
“I suppose,” said Dan, “he went and saw all these dogs, told them what
had happened to Rover, and so they came to see him.”
The patient recovered rapidly; the stump healed, the ligatures came
away, and it was evident the ends of the bones were well covered. Rich
permitted both the dogs to lick it, which hastened the process of
healing very much. Dr. Ryan came to see it, had a hearty laugh,
congratulated Rich upon his success in this maiden effort, the fine
appearance of the stump, and told him “He ought to give his patient a
Rover was now permitted to get up. The boys washed him with soap suds,
rubbed him dry, and permitted him to walk out every day, and lie in the
sun, on the grass. He was a beautiful dog–a spaniel, with a fine silky
Carlo frisked around, barked, lay on his back, rolled over, and
expressed his joy in every imaginable way.
Rover soon began to run about the yard, and follow Dan round the
premises, going (till he became tired) as well on three legs as four.
One noon, Dan came home from school, and found neither of the dogs at
home. He was greatly disturbed, for Rover had now become very dear to
“I expect,” said Mrs. Clemens, “he has gone back to his old home and
“Mother, I don’t believe Rover is such a fool as that. Go back to the
fellow who was going to murder him! I know he loves me better than
“I guess,” said Rich, “he has gone to return some of the calls that have
been made on him.” So it proved. For when Dan came home at night, both
dogs had returned, bringing two more with them.
Mrs. Clemens gradually became attached to Rover, till at length he
completely won her heart, and filled the void left by the loss of
The boys were apprehensive that other dogs would pick upon Rover, now
that he was disabled, and no longer able to defend himself or make his
escape; but it was just the reverse. He found the warmest sympathy
everywhere. When, in company with other dogs, he became tired and fell
behind, they would stop and wait for him to come up; and if any strange
dog had imposed upon Rover, they would have torn him to pieces in a
Rich made him a wooden leg, carved to match one of his own. At first he
held it up altogether, but after a while would use it to stand upon,
and put it down when he became tired, and walk a little; then hold it
up and run. He soon found that by its aid he could jump up on Dan.
It improved his looks wonderfully, as it prevented his hip from
dropping, and Dan said “that he always wanted it on when they or he had
company.” Rover was a water spaniel, and Dan had to take the leg off
when he went into the water, as it buoyed up his hinder parts, and
interfered with swimming.