February 15, 1909
"Hello! Hello! Is this Liberty? The gymnasium of William Jewell college, I mean?"
"You mean the pest house, don't you?" said the man at the other end. "You do? I thought so."
"Well, how is everything at the pest house today?"
"Fine and dandy. Eight new patients brought in this morning, and they're doing fine. What's that? The Sunday dinner? Great, only Doc has put the lid on meat diet, and there was nothing doing in the chicken line. Smallpox patients, you know, are not allowed to eat flesh meat."
"Any excitement today?"
"Excitement? Surest thing you know. We had Sunday school at 9:30 this morning and preaching at 11."
"Who did the preaching?"
"Yours truly, the speaker, The Journal's regular correspondent at Liberty. Knew I was in the smallpox jug down here, too, didn't you?"
"Well, that is interesting; what did you preach on?"
" 'As He Thinketh in His Heart So is He.' "
"Yes, young people's meeting this afternoon. The topic: 'What I Have Learned from the Life of Job.' Yes, and maybe we don't sympathize with that well known and popular character, too. Tee-hee."
The William Jewell college is still in quarantine, but the William Jewell pesthouse, so-called, is one of the jolliest spots in Liberty. For several days past the "gym" of William Jewell has been dedicated to Red Cross purposes, and some forty students, down with a mild attack of smallpox, have been having the best time they have experienced since the football season closed.
Information from the William Jewell "gym" must come by long distance telephone. The Journal's correspondent is among those present and vaccinated, and he is doing his little best under the difficulties.
In addition to the baseball teams, the handball flives, the quartet and band, the smallpox victims are seriously considering the advisability of establishing a detective bureau, with a view to ascertaining who is the guilty mark that brought the dread disease to Liberty.
In times past William Jewell students, after their Christmas vacation, have brought back some funny things, but the student who brought back this fairly well developed case of smallpox probably was not trying to spring a joke. That some student did bring the malady back among his home products is nearly certain. But who did it?
The pesthouse band was not working yesterday, the day being given over mainly to religious exercises, but the strenuous and merry programme will be inaugurated again this morning.
Last Saturday night the pesthouse boys had a time that made the unafflicted on the outside world green with envy. One student delivered an oration on "The Romans in Carthage (Mo.)"; the pesthouse quartet sang several popular and classic songs and the pesthouse band made a melodic disturbance that could be heard as far east as Main street.
There have been so many beds added to the "gym" that they are shy on floor space and the basketball games will have to be abandoned. The weather may put a damper on the ball games, and as the college authorities put the ban on pinochle and seven-up, the students will be forced to chess and checkers for excitement unless the sun comes out and gets busy.
The several love-sick students in confinement are having the sorriest time of it all. They can write letters to their sweethearts afar, but as the nervous heroine has often said: "Now that I have written the note, who shall take it?"
It was Hocksaw himself who used to say: "I will take the note," but Hockshaw wasn't in quarantine.
One young man who doesn't care particularly who knows his business dictated a letter over the telephone to a friend downtown, the friend copying the letter with violet ink and mailing it to the nerve-strained, restless maid who had been vainly waiting at the other end of the romance and wondering what had happened.
There are sixty cases of smallpox in William Jewell by actual count. It is the intention of the faculty to reopen the college a week from today and students in the "gym" have likewise been notified to get well. Reports indicate that they have been having entirely too good a time.
Dr. W. B. Hooser is in charge of the patients. "Doc," as he is affectionately addressed by every one of his patients, has had the smallpox, so that he is not in danger. He has also won the vote of every afflicted man by giving the positive assurance that there will be no pox marks on the face or body.