Business and Romance
Miss Ellen Gardner was one of the first friends that I met soon after coming to Marlin. She could always be depended on to furnish listening ears for my burdened soul. When I wanted to get away from business, take a ride in the country, enjoy the scenery, and talk about my joys, my troubles, and my ambitions, I could phone her, and she would be ready in five minutes. And away we would go. She is still living, and her life is one of worthy deeds. She and Tom McQueen were engaged when I arrived in Marlin, but she always had time for her friends. The details of her romance as it developed in a few years will now be given.
She went to Colorado for the summer with Mrs. T. A. Cheeves. When she returned she had developed a severe cough. The wedding date was set, and her trousseau bought, yet the cough persisted. She consulted specialists who pronounced her cough that of pulmonary tuberculosis, so she went to West Texas for a change and rest. Later she returned to Marlin improved, but soon began growing deaf.
As the years went by, Miss Ellen's tuberculosis healed, and she became fairly well and strong. She was always full of life and happiness and ready to smile at others, and to cheer them with words of comfort and encouragement. With common sense, however, she insisted that matrimony was not the thing for herself, and Tom; that they should remain loyal sweethearts, writing to each other frequently when apart, and meeting each other in friendship and love. Tom never faltered in his devotion. Finally she became deaf and had to use a hearing aid to hear at all, but this never broke her dauntless spirit. In spite of her handicap she remained happy and cheerful.
A few years later Tom began to lose strength and show symptoms of an incurable disease, but his brave heart never failed him. He hoped on until the very last after several months of terrible suffering. He had an unusual spirit of optimism, of hope, and of devotion to his friends, and to Miss Ellen.
Our Doctor Howard O. Smith was his physician, and gave him every attention and all the comfort that was known to medical science. Finally, he bravely passed on, but his will showed that he had not forgotten his sweetheart of many years.
He gave to the Marlin schools eight thousand and five hundred dollars to buy a football park. He gave to Miss Ellen a good amount of four per cent bonds and several thousand dollars in cash. Thus ended a romance as loyal as that of "Romeo and Juliet"; as devoted and persistent as that of "Parnell and Kitty O'Shea." Miss Ellen lives on with joy and happiness in her soul, her heart warmed by the sweet memories of a long and rare courtship and devotion.
Another romance is connected with this one, and that is Mr. E. B. Holloway, who was for many years the bosom friend of Mr. Tom McQueen. They were inseparable - both of them old bachelors with the same ideals and the same experiences, and they lived along together.
When Tom became sick Elbert stayed with him almost all the time-much of the time, at least, and was a constant comfort and companion. Their friendship was equal to that of Damon and Pythias, or any of the other couples that have been famed in the past.
Tom passed on, and then Elbert, of course, was lost. He felt lonely, and started back visiting with Madeline Bartlett Oltorf, the former boyhood sweetheart of his. Soon they were married, and they are now living in the old Bartlett home that has been so far famed these many years, as the place visited by so many prominent people in the Colonial days on down to the present time.
Madeline's son, Frank Calvert Oltorf, has returned from the service, and is running for the Legislature, and we expect him to be a prominent politician in Texas in the future.
During this period, at the turn of the century, most of my time was spent in looking after the bath house and doing what I could for our visitors. I did not dance; neither did I enjoy playing games, so I attended parties very little. Of course, being of a poetic and sentimental nature, I had an eye on every young lady as a prospective sweetheart or friend. All young men must have girl friends, you know, and one in particular to whom he can tell his troubles and get inspiration for accomplishing his ambitions.
Some of the young ladies were kind enough to listen to my rhymes, jokes, and the recounting of my plans for the future. Among these were Miss Patsie Foster, Miss Susie Battle, Miss Dollie Powell, and Miss Bess Spencer. The last named beauty had black eyes and red hair, an intriguing combination. However, she would marry Wood, a doctor in Mississippi, and moved away. I have not seen her in many years. All the others in time married and reared families.
But later there came along a very charming lady whose musical talent, and ability to entertain, attracted my attention. She was Mrs. Johnnie King Brooks of Bryan, and had come to Marlin for the baths, a rest, and change of scenery. She played the piano, was accompanist for an orchestra, and was otherwise talented. She painted some very life-like pictures, the flowers looking so natural that the bees would fly up to them and try to suck the honey. I asked Mrs. Brooks if she were a widow and she said, "No, I have a perfectly good husband at home in Bryan - a nice tall one."
"Well," I commented, "if you have any kinsfolk that are half as accomplished and attractive as you are, I'd like to know them."
"Indeed I do have," she laughed. "My sister, Nannie King, who lives in Caldwell, is a very fine musician. She received medals both for instrumental and for vocal music while she was attending the Methodist Female College in Waco."
"I'd surely like to make her acquaintance," I replied, with just the right degree of enthusiasm.
During the summer months Miss Nannie came
to Marlin to visit her cousins, Judge and Mrs. Moore, and I did meet her. Soon
I was courting her ardently, with poetry and humor and everything my mind could
conjure up that might help to influence the young lady. She was indeed
beautiful and talented. She charmed me with her music. Every day she sang,
"Flee as a Bird to Your Mountain," but I couldn't - and I wouldn't
-flee. I stayed close by, and all her songs found their way deeper and deeper
into my heart. Her instrumental music was likewise enthralling. To give vent to
my pent-up emotions I broke out in rhyme:
Just as you tap the ivory keys, adept in music's art,
So you can play, just when you please, upon the strings of my heart.
As the passing breeze, in the sighing trees,
Sings for its home like the shell from the sea,
So does my heart, when we are apart,
Still longingly, piningly, sing on for thee.
In Shakespeare's plays, great event are often accompanied by storms. When Cromwell died a great storm was raging in London. And the night I successfully finished my courtship of Miss Nannie King in Caldwell, Texas, and gained her promise to become my wife, the great Galveston flood was raging - the flood in which, on September 8, 1900, more than 10,000 people perished.
Miss Nannie had been in a storm, too. I had deluged her with rhymes, with stories of rheumatic patients who had recovered rapidly under my tender care, with touching tales of hopeless cases sent home to die, and with extravagant plans for a great institution using physical and hydropathic therapy in creating an American spa greater than any in Europe. It would help chronic cases get well, and teach them how to stay well.
We were married in the Methodist Church in Caldwell on December 26, 1900, and returned to Marlin that night to begin a new epoch in our lives. We boarded at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Foster. Mr. Foster was a friendly old fellow who relished and related jokes - and even wrote rhymes between jokes. Mrs. Foster was one of the most skillful hostesses and culinary artists I have ever known. She never left anything undone, from kitchen to bedroom, for the comfort and happiness of her guests. Peace be unto her soul.
Our stay with the Foster family, however, was brief but very pleasant. Miss Pattie Foster had been one of my first girl acquaintances when I came to Marlin and really needed friends. She had a quiet, philosophical humor that was al- ways entertaining to me. She and Miss Ellen Gardner took turn about breathing the cool, dusty evening breezes of our country roads, behind my restless steed. Miss Pattie married Mr. Arthur Threadgill, a jeweler - but she never was extravagant with his diamonds.
Mrs. Threadgill's charming daughter, Lois, married one of our staff members, Dr. Milton Davison, a prominent gynecologist and pediatrician who is the author of an article on vaccines and serums in preventing and treating children's diseases. They have two fine boys who served in the recent World War.
The Fosters sold their home to a wealthy, aristocratic lady, Mrs. Billingsley, who bore a striking resemblance to the late Queen Victoria. She knew the Bible and could quote it better than anyone I have known in Marlin.
I had joined the Methodist Church soon after coming to Marlin, and in 1903 I was elected a steward, the youngest member of the Board. J. W. Hoke was elected at the same time, as the next youngest member. We were close friends all down the years, the only living members of that early group until the recent death of Mr. Hoke. I was elected chairman of the Board in 1905 and am serving my fortieth year (1945) in that capacity.
My wife and I moved from the Foster home to that of Mr. and Mrs. Kavanaugh, who had been friends of mine for three years. Mrs. Kavanaugh and Mrs. Torbett had been fellow students in the same college at Waco. She was a beautiful woman and a highly accomplished musician, with a striking personality and much strength of character. Mr. Kavanaugh also was a delightful friend, a very polite and genial man. He died a few years later of a heart-block. Their daughter Bess is a charming lady with an outstanding personality. She is now a widow, Mrs. Allday, with two children, and has shown much practical common sense and business ability.
The following September we took our delayed honeymoon trip by going to the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, New York. On the train at Indianapolis, the newspaper headlines announced that President McKinley had been shot. We arrived in Buffalo that night. The next morning, September 15, we went to the Temple of Music, where the President was shot. His blood was still on the floor.
When we took this trip there was a popular song called "Put Me Off at Buffalo." We did riot sing it, but we were put off there anyhow. Most newlyweds were at that time. As we stood gazing at the Falls, my wife remarked, "Oh, isn't it wonderful to see that great stream of water jumping off that high precipice?"
An old Irishman standing by commented, "Lady, it isn't half so wonderful as it would be if that great stream of water were going the other way!"
We enjoyed the Fair at Buffalo for three days. The spectacular lighting effects were marvelous to us. The lights would come on in the evening very slowly, then gradually increase, illuminating Sousa's Band and other attractions in varying brilliance until the Electric Tower was flooded with light that shone through the two giant sprays with the dazzling hues of the rainbow. There were displays from all over the United States and from Pan-American countries. The Temple of Music, the Fountain of Abundance, and the Electric Tower were dreams of beauty that will not soon be forgotten.
While in Buffalo, I became a member of the American Electro-Therapeutic Association, and was chairman of the Section of Dietetics for fourteen years. I was elected president at the meeting given us by the Battle Creek Sanitarium in September, 1914, when Dr. George Phaler of Philadelphia was president. Many prominent physicians from allover the United States were members, but only Dr. Ed Titus of New York and Dr. Phaler and I are living now. The organization was absorbed later into the American Congress of Physical Therapy, of which I am a life member.
We went on down to New York and were there when President McKinley died a week later, at which time all moving vehicles stopped for five minutes. I had been in New York before this, and knew my way around. We visited many points of interest, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw all the outstanding plays that were being shown at that time. Among other interesting displays was the Eden Museum, famous for its wax figures of various characters.
The World's Fair in St. Louis also was of supreme interest. Lack of space forbids a detailed description of this great event. However, it was almost like a trip around the world, for nearly all the nations of the earth were represented there, with buildings and exhibits, and their own native people. Alaska, with its splendid representation, demonstrated the possibilities of that great country.
Later we moved to the Maybell Inn, the most popular boarding house in Marlin, conducted by Mrs. Fanny Chambers. The Inn was named for her only daughter, Maybell. It was managed most efficiently by Mrs. Chambers, who was a clubwoman with an intelligent mind and an attractive personality. She made her guests acquainted with each other, and everybody felt at home. While there we met many well known people from all parts of the State, many of whom have been our friends up to the present time.
One of the gentlemen who came to Marlin for his health and who stayed at the Maybell Inn was W. S. Wall of Houston. Eventually his friendship with Mrs. Chambers ripened into love and they were married in October, 1906. I have noticed, and still do, that when our patients cease being rheumatic they get romantic. Mrs. Wall sold her business to Tom Elisberry, Sr., and went to Houston to live. She took good care of her husband and was a helpful and faithful companion to him until he died five years later.
Years before, while Mrs. Chambers-Wall was still Miss Sypert, she and her second cousin, Tom Padgitt, who was related to her father, S. G. Sypert, were good friends. But Miss Fanny refused to marry him because he was a widower. However, they finally were married in Houston in 1914. "I got you after all," he used to boast, by way of teasing his romantic but erstwhile reluctant wife. They lived in Waco, where she was happy and useful, giving light and cheer to all about her and making her husband very happy until he died in 1926. She outlived him by two years.
And so closes this chapter on "Business and Romance, "principally the latter. Pause for meditation. . .
* * *
MATINEE MUSICAL CLUB
The Wednesday Matinee Musical Club was organized at Marlin in 1899, through the interest and enthusiasm of Miss Susie Battle and Miss Annie Fink, who recently had returned from college with honors in vocal and instrumental music. The charter members were: Ellen Gardner, Mildred Frank, Lillie Frank, Mabel Battle, Jackie Linthicum, Annie and Louise Clarkson, Blanche Horne, Mrs. Guy Collard, Lucy Conoly, Beulah Powers, Ximinia Watson and Maria Goodrich. Later, when I acquired a wife, Mrs. Torbett became a member of the club.
The Club has kept up its interest and cultural values through all these years by studying the worthwhile classics, operas and symphonies as food for the mind and soul, thus keeping available a liberal supply of spiritual vitamins and calories.
The writer, for several years, has been honored with an invitation to present a program once annually on "Famous Violins" and "Famous Violinists," or other musical subjects.
Mrs. Basil Curry, a versatile and charming artist in music and interpretations, assisted me on my last program, and wrote it up in splendid form for the Marlin daily Democrat. The clipping has become a part of my ever-increasing scrapbook:
"Dr. J. W. Torbett, Sr., was guest leader for the afternoon and opened his program on 'Poetry, the Language of Beauty and Song,' with some original lines written especially for the occasion."
The entire program cannot be recounted, for lack of space, but four Texas poets, Lilith Lorraine, Helen Truax, Grace Noll Crowell and Lexie Dean Robertson were mentioned as having sent poetic contributions for the occasion, which were read.
Responding to the invitation from the Matinee Musical Club, at that time the only federated club in town, the Fourth District Federation of Women's Clubs met in Marlin for a three-day session April 18, 1904.
This was a gala occasion, because the cream of the intellectual women of Texas was in attendance. Delegates from this district, and many State officers and visitors, were present.
In those days, the laity was very skeptical of the aims and ambitions of clubwomen, thinking it was only a dress parade that would result in a general exodus from their homes. Their speeches on this occasion convinced the public that they were striving to make this world a better place in which to live and to rear their children.
The most unpopular aspiration at that period was "Women's Rights," frowned upon as meaning that women wanted to wear the pants. Mrs. Sims of Bryan said she advocated "Women's Rights" when it was considered a disgrace even to talk about it above a whisper. Through persistent effort, however, the goal ultimately was reached.
At this session, in April, 1904, Mrs. Tom Connally and my wife sang a duet for the entertainment of the guests. Attorney Tom Connally and I were invited to make speeches.
Tom, with his matchless voice, gave the audience an eloquent address.
Dr. Dixie Tucker had the subject, "The New Man." I was given the topic, "The New Woman," which I reproduce to show the change in fashions and in sentiment:
April 18, 1904
What a beautiful subject, with so many living illustrations before us. Of course, I would not have the effrontery to presume that any of the fair ladies here tonight are old. The New Woman has long been the mark for sarcastic jeers of dyspeptic husbands who married for money and failed to get it, as well as from old, disappointed bachelors who failed to get the money or the woman. The new woman has been charged, unjustly I think, with usurping man's authority, with shifting the responsibility of the home and the nursery upon his shoulders and even assuming a portion of his time - honored wearing apparel. But in their defense I would gladly say that I have never missed any of my clothes, except at the hands of the washerwoman, who even gets all of my oId suits and hats; and I have never had to sit on the back porch and rock a cradle and sing a lullaby while awaiting my club wife's return, simultaneously with the setting of the sun. No, I have been fortunate. I even wrote this tribute to 'Man's Better Half':
Some years ago, before I
I thought clubs were made for men;
Of women then I boldly said,
To join clubs was a sin.
I said New Woman called herself
The 'Better Half' of man,
And always gets the better half
Of everything she can.
She always gets the better half
Of all with which we part,
And never fails to get the whole
Of our confiding heart.
And tho' she first brought woe to man.
And hence she got her name,
Deny the fact whoever can,
The devil was to blame.
And thus you see the reason why
She's ever prone to call
Her husband by old Satan's name
In every family brawl.
But, ah, God bless their loving hearts,
We let them have their way,
Provided it shall correspond
With what we do any say.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I have had a change of heart, a change of life, since writing the above lines. I have long since learned that 'Though some can't get along with her, but say mean things about her, still all the world, both great and small, can't get along without her.'
As tact is taught in
Each lady here doth show it;
They've learned the art of ruling men,
But never let them know it.
As fashions have changed again and again, so have the duties and customs of both men and women varied with the passing years. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers - they were the women of the old styles who from necessity, and not from choice, spent the long-drawn evenings with cards (not the modern kind) making rolls of cotton into the ultimate product of thread. The inventive genius of man has removed that necessity, and now the new clubwoman deftly deals the flinch and euchre cards and passes away those same evening hours more pleasantly.
The old-time woman sat by the pine-knot fire knitting socks for the soldiers, while the New Woman sits by the glowing grate with a copy of 'Shattucks Rules of Order' before her, and solemnly knits her brow solving the great civic and social problems of modern clubdom.
The woman of days gone by kept up the busy buzz of the spinning wheel and, with the monotonous click of the loom, made cottonades, while the New Woman spins a fancy cord of ownership around our necks and looms up before our admiring eyes with a $20 hat, and a new silk dress.
Although woman was created after man, ever since her creation man has always been after her. Although he leads her to the altar, ever since that time she has led him captive at her will, queen of his heart and home. And when she chooses to club him with such a beautiful club occasion as this - and not with the fire poker or the rolling pin, as some of our newspapers would have us believe is done in other states - we cannot do otherwise than bubble over with admiration and exclaim with fervor, 'Where she leads us, we will follow!'
It is to her matchless foresight and thoughtfulness that we owe our greatest joys in both public and private life.
In union there is strength. Concerted
club action accomplishes much, while individual and divided efforts bring
discord and defeat. So here's to the health of the New Woman:
Long may she live, and never grow old;
Be always a sunbeam and never a scold;
With kindly advice, and wholesome good cheer,
Such as you have given while you have been here. -J.W.T.
When I had finished my oratorical effort, Miss Kate Friend of Waco arose with majestic dignity and in her best Shakespearian voice said, "Dr. Torbett, we appreciate your professed change of heart, espousing our just claims for recognition. We need the support and influence of the coming young men for our great cause, 'Women's Rights,' but we regret your confessed 'change of life' at so early an age."
Miss Friend still recalls with amusement some of the conditions as they existed then. At that banquet, she told me, the women had to come in sidewise because their huge Floradora hats could not pass through the door opening. When the men were introduced they stood immovable, not daring to move Jest their feet and the women's trains become entangled. While thus stationary, the men exercised their prerogative of looking about for the most beautiful women - but, oh! those bouffant sleeve projections. After the guests were seated, the waiters went into a huddle. How was a plate to be squeezed between them?
Miss Friend said the program dwelt upon "The Restoration of the Old Stone Fort at Nacogdoches." Tom Connally, then a "cub politician," wanted to know how many of the clubwomen present had come out of that long past age. Nobody answered him. At that time, he still had lots to learn about "politicking" with Texas clubwomen, so he said later.
I know of only two women outside of Marlin present at that meeting who are still living. They are Miss Kate Friend and Miss Kate Daffan of Ennis, both of whom have been very remarkable characters, with strong individuality and exceptional literary attainments.
Miss Decca Lamar West, a good friend for many years, who was present at that meeting, has passed on, God bless her soul. With all due humility and appreciation I quote a poem written by her on the occasion of my birthday, and hereby acknowledge that I have not always "gone gaily through the days":
"Along through all
the fruitful years,
In bright or stormy weather,
You have gone gaily through the days -
Your soul and you together.
You take no notice of the storms;
All days to you are bright;
You carry cheer throughout the year;
May others see the light."
-Decca Lamar West.
* * *
Love fills our hearts with gladness;
Makes living here worth while;
It drives away our sadness,
And brings a joyous smile;
It is the star in Heaven's own blue -
The beck'ning angel peeping through.
During the year 1904, and the beginning of 1905, while we lived with Mrs. Chambers at the Maybell Inn, we had established a business of our own, in partnership with Dr. Cook, but we did not have a home. Our hearts naturally longed for a "home" - one that belonged to us alone. So we purchased a residence from Mr. Samuels, just opposite the present post office, and moved there in January, 1905.
We expected the birth of a child, and hoped it would be a boy. Promptly at the scheduled time we called in Dr. Harrington, our staunch friend, of Waco, and Dr. Ward of Marlin, to assist in this happy event. Of course my sister-in-law, Mrs. Brooks of Caldwell, was on hand to welcome the arrival of our young son, June 2, 1905.
It is not necessary to recount the mixture of joy and anxiety, of troubles and responsibilities that come to every parent. The memory of every father or mother can recall these at will. The days passed swiftly, the warm summer nights were conducive to sleep - and sometimes we got it.
In September I went away, as usual, for a little vacation, but of course the wife and baby could not go along. But my rest period was cut short on the third day by an urgent call from home saying that the baby, John Walter, Jr., had become ill. The worry and apprehension that came to me at that time has been the common experience of everyone who has had children. Soon, however, this trouble was happily over and life went on smoothly, for the bright little fellow was the joy of our home. On the sixth month, when he might have been expected to have his first tooth, two came through.
When our son was ten months old, he was able to hold on to a chair and dance to the music of my fiddle. He was always happy and smiling, and of course was one of the most beautiful babies, we ever had seen. At the beginning of his second summer he developed a case of colitis, which was very severe. Many were the hours that we thought his condition was hopeless - many the days and nights we prayed and did whatever we could think of to restore him, but consultation and treatment seemed of no avail. Finally, the old-fashioned remedy recommended in the book by Dr. Osler, was used, and nitrate of silver solution, 25 grains to a pint of water, about 3 ounces were injected into the colon through a catheter. He soon improved and after several weeks became strong again.
The parents of an only child know what a responsibility it is to rear it with no brothers and sisters with whom to contend and develop. John Walter, Jr., never talked baby talk, but early in life could use such a word as stethoscope. When I would be reading in my room at night, with the door shut, he would tap gently on the door and say, "Dr. Torbett! Dr. Torbett! This is your little investigator. He wants to come in and see what you are doing."
In my treasure box of memories many other of his childhood sayings and doings are stored, but I will not open the lid at this time to reveal them, and it would require too much space to go into such detail. Every parent who has known the joy of having children will understand and appreciate the fond recollections that remain through the years. My young son was always glad to be allowed to come down to the office and meet the visitors, who called him "Little Sunshine," because he was so happy and friendly.
When our little boy was two years of age, I took my first trip away to attend the meeting of the Medical Association in Boston, September, 1907. At that inspiring meeting I met Dr. Martin of Battle Creek and we became friends, remaining so as long as he lived. When he came to Texas to visit his daughter, who married a Mr. Spencer of Waco, he immediately came on down to Marlin to see me. We were together many times after that.
My stay in Boston was most enlightening, as I visited many places of historical interest, as well as the homes of celebrated writers of bygone days. Such famous authors as Louisa M. Alcott, who wrote "Little Women"; Henry W. Longfellow, the great American poet who produced "Evangeline" and many other masterpieces of verse; Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, my favorite author of both poems and prose classics. I stood on the spot near Harvard University where Holmes paused as he and his sweetheart walked through the Commons and asked, "Which way shall we go home - the short way through the park, or the long way around the park-the way that will last throughout life ?" That was how he proposed, and his sweetheart replied, "Oliver, I guess we'll go the long way." They were married soon and brought children into the world who became distinguished men and women, among them Chief Justice Holmes, who lived to be ninety years of age and rendered invaluable service to his country.
Of course I had to buy something to take home to my little boy, who had been telling people, "My Daddy's gone to Boston Town, and he's going to bring me some presents." A gay red coat was among my offerings. He kept it for many years and it was always significant of the trip I made to Boston.
The next year we went to Colorado and took John Walter, Jr., with us. He had a great time in that new atmosphere of adventure and sight-seeking. He rode the little burro that was 47 years old, while I climbed the hills and saw the grave of Helen Hunt Jackson, the writer, which brought a thrill of poetic friendship and sympathy.
Late each summer we would journey somewhere, usually to Battle Creek, Michigan, where for fourteen years I wrote my reports as chairman of the Section of Dietetics of the American Electro-Therapeutic Association. Then we would go on to where the Association was held-sometimes in New York City, sometimes Atlantic City, Philadelphia or some other place.
Among the happiest anticipations of Walter's young life were the spending of the Christmas holidays with his maternal grandparents in Caldwell. In his letters to Santa Claus, the good Saint Nick would be instructed to bring Walter's presents to Caldwell. The attic was a storehouse of magic secrets not subject to the activities of our "little investigator."
Great were the preparations for the homecoming in Caldwell. Aunt Johnnie would work for weeks and even months to get the place in readiness. Several large fruit cakes, products of Grandma King's culinary skill, would be in course of toothsome production - home-made cookies, candies, turkeys, ham, chicken, country sausage - nothing was forgotten that would gladden the hearts and the "tummies" of the children, as well as the grown-ups.
There were always two large holly trees at the Methodist church just across the street. The Christmas programs consisted of cantatas and other religious exercises, and these the youngsters had to endure before the crowning event, the distribution of the presents at which they had been looking longingly all the evening. Of course the adults of the family were pressed into service to help transport the gifts home.
The next exciting moment of the occasion was the hanging of the stockings around the large open fireplace, ample enough to accommodate even the best-fed Santa Claus. And there was much merriment when the stockings were emptied of their contents in the early morning. The spacious ten- room colonial home of the Kings has housed five generations; it is not only a home, but a tradition in the King family. Decked with holly, yupon and other festive decorations - even a sprig of mistletoe here and there - it was a Yuletide dream to carry down from year to year.
Those present for the reunions were: Grandpa and Grand- ma King, Uncle Ivy and Aunt Johnnie King Brooks, Lois and Charles King Brooks, my wife, Nannie King Torbett, John Walter, Jr., and myself. Uncle Charles and Aunt Cora King often came from Detroit, Michigan, and Los Angeles, California.
Walter began taking music lessons at the age of six years from that splendid teacher, Mr. Anton Earnst, a very earnest and exacting instructor, whose pupils progressed rapidly. I remember the first program that our little boy took part in. He was playing "America" on his trumpet and was going along very nicely until he came to a very high note. He tried it several times and failed to make it; but he kept on trying until finally he hit the note and held it, long and loud, much to the joy of us all, and the laughter and applause of the audience.
Our neighbors, I am sure, can testify to his frequent hours of practice, both alone and with his neighbor and friend, Conoly Bartlett. As students, they were outstanding musicians at A. & M. College, and Walter was also a member of an orchestra while attending the University of Texas. Later he organized an orchestra at Baylor Medical College, where he studied medicine.
When quite young our son became a seasoned traveler, going somewhere every September. One year, we made a boat trip from new Orleans to New York on a large steamer. We made visits to Detroit and Chicago, and spent several weeks in Washington, D. C., seeing the places of great historical and national interest in our nation's capital, and returning by way of Asheville, North Carolina and Lookout Mountain.
When Walter was ten years old we visited California, going first to Los Angeles to see the movie colony, the principal attraction for a growing youngster. He knew most of the noted actors at sight, and sometimes we ate dinner at the same place as his favorites. We went to San Diego to the Fair being held there. Next, we attended the Fair in San Francisco, where we saw many interesting and unusual things. Also, we went to Berkeley and heard President Taft speak in the Hearst Greek Theater, a part of the University of California's beautiful campus.
After graduating from Marlin High School, our son attended A. & M. College one year, and afterward the University of Texas, as I have mentioned. He entered Baylor Medical College in Dallas, where he received his M.D. degree. By a coincidence, it was on the same day that Southern Methodist University bestowed on me the honorary degree of LL.D. We are both members of the American College of Physicians.
Dr. J. W. Torbett, Jr., served his interneship of eighteen months in the King's County Hospital, New York. During that time he wrote many interesting letters concerning his work there. After serving his interneship, he was appointed house physician and remained there a year.
After Walter came home he was married to Miss Virginia Park of Waco. He went back to New York and finished his work there, then returned to Marlin, where he became a member of the staff of the Torbett Clinic and Hospital. Two sons were born to them, John Walter III and Donnell Park Torbett.
Later, Dr. J. W. Torbett, Jr., went to the University of Iowa to specialize in Roentgenology. He now has an office in Beaumont, where he is practicing Roentgenology. He and his wife, the former Dorothea Nance, who is his very efficient secretary and a great help to him in his profession, live in their own home there. After office hours he spends much time beautifying the yard with the choicest flowers and shrubs. Another hobby which he has been developing for several years is the use of a candid camera. He has become quite proficient in taking pictures, and also in developing them.
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Pause for meditation. Write down every thought that comes into your mind, chronologically and rapidly. Note those that come slowly. Psychoanalyze yourself. There may be basic thoughts of some psychic shock, a shock that took place long ago, that lingers in your subconscious mind, and these thoughts may be the cause of your nervousness and sickness. Search your memory for such occurrences, root them out with faith and prayer and thus restore your health. Get Farrow's Self Psychoanalysis, price $2.00, from the Methodist Publishing Company, 1910 Main Street, Dallas, Texas, and any other book that you may need.
Lincoln's Secretary of State once wrote a very caustic letter to some of his maligners. After he had written it, he read it to President Lincoln and asked him what he thought about it. Lincoln told him it was a very fine letter.
"Well, Mr. President," asked the Secretary of State, "what do you think they will say and do when they read it?"
"Read it' Don't send it to them at all. Burn it up and forget it. Get the hatred out of your system, that's all you need."
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AN AUTO - A STENO
When the first automobiles were put on the market, about 1904, I, being the progressive young doctor that I tried to be, must have the first automobile in town. I found, however, that two other doctors had ordered one each. Three Pope Hartford machines were delivered in the same rail- road car, for Dr. Allen, Dr. Sneed and myself. Mine was a beautiful bright red, with seating capacity for five, and a back entrance and side crank. It was a one-cylinder model, and made more noise than a threshing machine. When I went for a ride, I had to take along a man with strong arms and a strong back to crank it, in case it should go dead on the road. Every horse that we came near would rear up on his hind feet and try to run away. I always got as scared as the horses.
Miss Pauline Battle drove a large black horse that would cut up high-jinks every time we would pass. She would hold the reins tightly, showing no fear, and would make him pass us with greater speed than the auto could make. The speed limit of that high-powered machine was twenty miles an hour.
One Christmas morning when I went out in my car to enjoy the crisp morning air, I met a young lady with her mother in a buggy near the long bridge that spans the I. & G. N. railroad. The horse plunged frightfully, and looked as if he were going to run away. The old lady fainted, and the girl jumped out of the buggy and shouted frantically, "You've killed my mother' You've killed my mother!"
I leaped from the automobile, ran to the woman, and slapped her. She soon came back to life. The horse had quieted down and was looking askance at the monster that had frightened him, while I had visions of a suit - not a tailored suit, but a court suit for damages. The fright and anxiety that came with that experience more than counterbalanced the pleasure of the ride. I have never forgotten that Christmas morning.
Horses and mules are about as scarce now as cars were in those days. Airplanes in this modern era are taking the place of automobiles, and many wilI be the disasters when immature youths become pilots.
Along the upward path of the doctor's progress occurred another innovation - a stenographer. One day in 1905 a little red-headed girl came into my office in a wheel chair and said she would like to consult with me. She said her name was Louise MacDonough and that she came here from Chicago, but had been living in Washington, D. C., doing government office work. In that trying climate she had developed rheumatoid arthritis, she told me. She had tried many places and treatments, but none had seemed to benefit her.
All right, little lady; we'll do what we can for you. We'll try our regular course of treatment-diet, baths, electricity, fresh air, and optimism." She won many friends here, among them the editor of the Houston Chronicle, Mr. C. B. Gillespie, a very brilliant man who appreciated her talent. Senator Churchill Bartlett also thought her very intelligent and interesting.
Louise became my secretary, and was with me for seven years. She could write my letters with only one or two words as a lead. She could write beautiful poetry, having come from a family of literary people. Her father was for many years editor of a paper, The Nebraska Watchman. It was brilliantly conducted, and its influence was felt beyond the borders of Nebraska.
Early in life, Louise had imbibed much literary education to add to her natural talent. Her brother Robert was editor of the Chicago Record-Herald, and her brother-in-law, Carl Smith, succeeded Eugene Field as columnist of "Fired at Random," in a Chicago newspaper. He had married her sister Eve, a very original character, and they had two children, Dorothy and Paul.
Once I saw Louise discouraged on account of her affliction. I told her a joke about a man who said he had never known an Irishman to commit suicide, because they didn't have the courage.
Pat, who was
listening, said to a friend, "Bedad, I think I'll hang myself and show
him." He went down to the barn, and as he did not return immediately, the
joker followed him presently and saw him dangling from the rafters- with the
rope around his waist.
"Why, Pat," he asked in astonishment, "what in the world are you doing?"
"Faith, and I'm hangin' meself."
"But why don't you put the rope around your neck?"
"Be jabers, I did, but I couldn't breathe," Pat replied.
After listening to this, Miss MacDonough regained her composure and laughed.
A Mr. Berry came to Marlin for his health, and became very much interested in my secretary. He had considerable money and wanted to leave it to her, so they were married. After two years he died and Louise went to the drier climate of California, to live near her sister and family. Her niece, Miss Dorothy Smith of San Diego, writes beautiful letters about her Aunt Louise:
"My darling little Aunt Louise! I cannot do credit to her great soul and enchanting personality. Even when she was here she was not of this earth, for her perspective swept far beyond our limiting horizons. Even a lifelong prison term in a crippled body could not put manacles on her freeborn soul. I believe she was, like you, one of those rare persons of whom it can be said truly that 'none who meet them ever forget them.' I have never known anyone who got more from life.
"In the last year she was never free from pain, but not a word of complaint crossed her lips. How she used to love to hear from you, and your verses did her so much good. She was so proud of you, and loved to show your books to her friends. In fact, all our friends know about the wonderful Dr. Torbett with the million-dollar personality and the heart of gold. Eve and Lonnie were certainly high-powered publicity agents for those they loved and admired. They so often talked of old times in Marlin and of the old Bethesda.
"Your friend Mr. Miner from here, who was recently in Marlin, told me that you were writing a book. With all the rich and colorful panorama of your brilliantly successful life to draw from, it should be an immediate and outstanding success. No one can say of you, Dr. Torbett, that you did not make your mark in life and leave your impress upon your times. I don't think anyone who ever met you will forget you.
"You have accomplished three or four men's work in a single lifetime, and you did it, not anxiously or hurriedly, but as if you loved and relished the work. You have lived zestfully, and yet have never lost the compassionate heart that understands lesser men.
"I hope you have many, many years of full living yet. But if, by any chance, you pass over before I do and see dear Eve, as I'm sure you will, because she and Lonnie will be among the first to welcome you, dear Dr. Torbett, will you do a great favor for me? Will you tell Dearie, 'Dot's so sorry.' She'll understand what you mean. Thank you for that, and for all the years of friendship."
Faith is the power of confidence
That robs the soul of sorrow;
That takes away each day's suspense
And brings a bright to tomorrow;
That looks beyond the somber shroud
And sees the heaven behind the cloud.
-From Practical Poems for Daily Use.