Eastern philosophy, it's called karma. In Texas, the concept is often reduced
to "what goes around comes around." |
Late in his colorful life, Dr. John
Hunter, then living at La Feria, wrote and self-published a memoir he called "Strange
Incidents." In it, he devoted a page-and-a-third to a recollection revolving around
a practical joke he once instigated.
Back when Fort
Worth only had 600 or so residents, Hunter and another doctor, a fellow he
referred to only as "Hunting" visited the town. The two physicians soon found
themselves as co-honorees at a dance held at one of the town's hotels.
"The crowd was slow in gathering," Hunter recalled, "and when a few couples had
arrived I planned a joke on them."
With Hunting as his co-conspirator,
the joke called for Hunting to tell everyone he could that his partner, though
a nice enough fellow, occasionally suffered from dangerous fits. Fortunately,
the doctor continued, the attacks came with sufficient warning: Hunter would rise
if seated, turn around, and sit back down again without as much as a pause in
whatever he might be saying at the time.
The third time it happened, Hunting
went on, Hunter "would become wild and scatter persons and things to the four
winds."--------------------- Soon, either out of sympathy or curiosity, most of
the people at the dance gathered around the seizure-prone doctor.
wrote, "I jumped up, turned around and sat down again without appearing to realize
what I had done."
When he sat down, some of the crowd casually drifted
to the other side of the ballroom.
"In a few minutes I arose and turned
again," he continued. "Quickly everyone left me except two ladies who were seated
immediately next to me, one on each side. They exhibited dire distress, but I
held them by not lagging in conversation."
But when Hunter stood the third
time, the two women flew "like frightened swallows to the outer door. The rest
of the crowd followed in reckless haste, almost climbing over each other…."
For a moment, Hunter stood alone in the room. Then he started laughing and the
party goers returned.
"Some took the joke kindly, others laughed hysterically,
while others were hard to convince that such a joke, without foundation in fact,
could be played with such a straight face."
couple of nights after leaving Fort Worth, the two doctors had camped in some
brush on the edge of a stream. Hoping to avoid the dew, they had spread their
bedding beneath their buggy.
"About 2 o'clock in the morning we were
aroused from a deep sleep by the sound of horses' hoofs," Hunter wrote. "We concluded
a herd of stampeded horses was passing, but as we were a little way from the road
and our animal was chained to a tree, we felt quite safe."
But as the
horses splashed across the creek, the two medical men heard a loud Indian war
whoop. "Along with the whoop…came a rain of bullets and arrows, and we glided
into the thickest of the brush near by."
After the riders disappeared,
the two doctors went back to their buggy. By moonlight, they saw one spoke of
one of the wagon's rear wheels had been broken by a bullet. And an arrow had pinned
their blankets together beneath the vehicle.
"Notwithstanding the danger
had passed," Hunter wrote, "we did not sleep any more that night."
the notion of pay-back crossed his mind, he chose not to admit it in his book.