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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Bessie Brown, M.D.

By Samuel Minturn Peck (1854–1938)

[Born in Tuskaloosa, Ala., 1854. Died, 1938. Cap and Bells. 1880.]

’TWAS April when she came to town;

The birds had come, the bees were swarming.

Her name, she said, was Doctor Brown:

I saw at once that she was charming.

She took a cottage tinted green,

Where dewy roses loved to mingle;

And on the door, next day, was seen

A dainty little shingle.

Her hair was like an amber wreath;

Her hat was darker, to enhance it.

The violet eyes that glowed beneath

Were brighter than her keenest lancet.

The beauties of her glove and gown

The sweetest rhyme would fail to utter.

Ere she had been a day in town

The town was in a flutter.

The gallants viewed her feet and hands,

And swore they never saw such wee things;

The gossips met in purring bands

And tore her piecemeal o’er the tea-things.

The former drank the Doctor’s health

With clinking cups, the gay carousers;

The latter watched her door by stealth,

Just like so many mousers.

But Doctor Bessie went her way

Unmindful of the spiteful cronies,

And drove her buggy every day

Behind a dashing pair of ponies.

Her flower-like face so bright she bore,

I hoped that time might never wilt her.

The way she tripped across the floor

Was better than a philter.

Her patients thronged the village street;

Her snowy slate was always quite full.

Some said her bitters tasted sweet,

And some pronounced her pills delightful.

’Twas strange—I knew not what it meant—

She seemed a nymph from Eldorado;

Where’er she came, where’er she went,

Grief lost its gloomy shadow.

Like all the rest, I too grew ill;

My aching heart there was no quelling.

I tremble at my doctor’s bill,—

And lo! the items still are swelling.

The drugs I’ve drunk you’d weep to hear!

They’ve quite enriched the fair concocter,

And I’m a ruined man, I fear,

Unless—I wed the Doctor!