A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 64
American baby foods , induced me to send to England for a food called Allenbury’s. The little fellow flourished on it. That doctor was one of the most tragic figures we were to know in Tonopah. Dr. and Mrs. “ Gable,” as I shall call them, were very English, very charming, very entertaining. They lived among us for several years before the scandal from which they had fled crashed on their heads. Official inquiries came from England asking if a Dr. Gable was residing in Tonopah with a woman and a little boy. The doctor’s wife in London was attempting to contact him to offer a divorce in exchange for custody of the boy. Although he was the child of the common- law wife, as the son of the doctor he was direct heir to a title. The doctor’s legal wife proposed to adopt the boy and rear him as her own, a proposition that Dr. Gable rejected. Gradually we learned that the doctor had been chief obstetrical surgeon in a large industrial hospital, a man of superb skill. He had fled from England with “ the woman he loved” after their son was born, but he could not escape the inexorable laws of the social structure. After their story became common knowledge, the doctor’s practice disappeared, and their gayety fell away. Mrs. Gable made no effort to keep alive the devotion of the man who had suffered disgrace for her, and the doctor took refuge in drugs. At last my husband and Tasker Oddie collected a few hundred dollars with which the pair left town. Later we heard that the doctor had died in some wretched rooming house in San Francisco. What became of Mrs. Gable and the boy I never knew. My heart has carried a sympathetic ache for these two in their disgrace and lonely death far from home. Of the few doctors who were in Tonopah, I think the only one who came for the professional experience the camp offered was Dr. P. D. McLeod. Long before the time when two world wars challenged surgeons to salvage mutilated men, Dr. McLeod was interested in repairing the bodies of men injured in mine accidents. Doctors who came to Tonopah had a way of attracting gossip. One, so it was whispered, was a drug addict in Alaska; one was said to have fled from the publicity of a murder trial in which he had been accused of being an accessory after the fact, assisting in the disposal of the body. Another was a dashing, handsome soldier of fortune, who died of blood poisoning. Gossip on the street reported he had cut his finger while operating. When his nurse pulled off the punctured glove, he said to her, “ I’ll be dead in a week.” “ Just as if he was looking for a way to die,” she was reported to have said. I can’t vouch for this story, but I do know that in a very short time the doctor was certainly dead.
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