Story type: Literature
To the Honorable Mayor of New York:
SIR–I suppose you are mayor of this whole town, and if so you are the mayor of the hosspitals as well as of the municipality of New York. I am a citizen of this place that has always been square towards every man and paid my bills as they accrewed. I now ask you, in return for same, to intervene and protect me in my rights. The millishy has never been called out to suppress me. I have never been guilty of rebellyun or open difyance off the law, and yet I am unable to get a square deal and I write this brief note and enclose a two-cent stamp, to ascertain whether, as mayor, you are for me or agin me.
Three years ago I entered your town from a westerly direction. I done so quietly and I presume that few will remember the sircumstans, yet such was so. I had not been here two weeks when I was run into, knocked over and tromped onto by the bay team of a purse-proud producer of beer. I was dashed to earth and knocked galley west on Broadway st. looking north by sed horses and I was wrecked while peasably on my way to my place of business. When I come to myself I was in a large, cool hosspital which smelt strong of some forrin substans. The hed doctor had been breathing on me and so I come too. When I looked around me I decided to murmur “Where am I at?” which I did.
I soon learned that I was in a hosspital, and that kind friends had removed one of my legs. I will not take up your time, sir, by touching on my sufferings. Suphice it to say that I went foarth at last a blasted man, with a cork leg that don’t look no more like my own once leg which I was torn away from, in spite of the Old Harry. It is too late to repine over a wooden leg, unless it is a pine leg, but I come to you, sir, to interfear on behalf of another matter which I will now aprooch. Sorrows at that time come on me thick and fast. During that fall I lost my wife and two dogs by deth. This was the third wife I have been called on to bury. It has been my blessed privilidge to mourn the loss of three as good wives as I ever shook a stick at. I have got them all in one cool, roomy toom, with a verse on the door of same and their address, so that they will not delay the resurrection. Under the verse that was engraved on the slab, some low cuss has wrote three verses of poetry with a chorus to each verse which winds up with the words:
Tit, tat, toe, three in a row.
But all this is only introductory. Sir, it has long been my heart’s desire that all my beloved dead should repose together. I have a large lot in the semmetery, and last week a movement was placed on foot to inter my late leg by the sides of my deceased wives. I applied to the hosspital for said leg, having got a permit to bury same. I was pleasant and corechus to the authoritis there, saying that my name was Gray and I was there to procure my leg, whereupon a young meddicle cuss said to the head ampitater:
“Here’s de man that wants to plant Gray’s l-e-g in a churchyard.”
He then laughed a hoarse laugh and went on preserving a polapus in a big glass fruit can with alkohall in it. Wherever I went I met with a general disposition to fool with a stricken and one-legged man. I went from ward to ward, looking at suffering and smelling kloryform till I was sick at heart. I was referred from Dan to Beersheby, from the janiter up to the chief tongue inspector, and one place where I went into they seemed to be picking bone splinters out from among a gentleman’s brains. I made bold to tell my business, but with small hopes.
“This is the man I told you about, Doc,” said a young man who was filing and setting a small bone handsaw. “This is that matter of Gray, the man who wants his leg.”
“Damn your Gray matter,” says this doctor, whereupon the rest bust into ribald mirth.
I was insulted right and left for a whole forenoon, and came away shocked and pained. Will you assist me? There is no reverence among doctors any more and they have none of the finer feelings. Some asked me if I had a check for my leg. Some said they thought it had escaped from the hosspital and gone on the stage, and one feller said that this hosspital would not be responsible for the legs of guests unless deposited in the office safe. I like fun just as well as anybody, Mr. Mayor, but I don’t think any one should be youmerous over the cold dead features of a leg from which I have been ruthlessly snatched.
I now beg, sir, to dror this hasty letter to an untimely end, hoping that you will make it hot for this blooming hosspital and make them fork over said leg. Yours, with kindest regards,
A. PITTSFIELD GRAY.
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