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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPeck's Bad Boy And His Pa - Chapter 32. His Pa's Marvelous Escape...
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Peck's Bad Boy And His Pa - Chapter 32. His Pa's Marvelous Escape... Post by :LizTomey Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :1541

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Peck's Bad Boy And His Pa - Chapter 32. His Pa's Marvelous Escape...

CHAPTER XXXII. HIS PA'S MARVELOUS ESCAPE--THE GROCERY MAN HAS NO VASELINE-- THE OLD MAN PROVIDES THREE FIRE ESCAPES--ONE OF THE ESCAPES TESTED--HIS PA SCANDALIZES THE CHURCH--"SHE'S A DARLING!"-- WORLDLY MUSIC IN THE COURTS OF ZION


"Got any vaseline," said the bad boy to the grocery man, as he went into the store one cold morning, leaving the door open, and picked up a cigar stub that had been thrown down near the stove, and began to smoke it.

"Shut the door, dum you. Was you brought up in a saw mill? You'll freeze every potato in the house. No, I haven't got vaseline. What do you want of vaseline?" said the grocery man, as he set the syrup keg on a chair by the stove where it would thaw out.

"Want to rub it on Pa's legs," said the boy, as he tried to draw smoke through the cigar stub.

"What is the matter with your Pa's legs? Rheumatiz?"

"Wuss nor rheumatiz," said the boy, as he threw away the cigar stub and drew some cider in a broken tea cup. "Pa has got the worst looking hind legs you ever saw. You see, since there has been so many fires Pa has got offul scared, and he has bought three fire escapes, made out of rope with knots in them, and he has been telling us every day how he could rescue the whole family in case of fire. He told us to keep cool, whatever happened, and to rely on him. If the house got on fire we were all to rush to Pa, and he would save us. Well, last night Ma had to go to one of the neighbors, where they was going to have twins, and we didn't sleep much, cause Ma had to come home twice in the night to get saffron, and an old flannel petticoat that I broke in when I was a kid, cause the people where Ma went did not know as twins was on the bill of fare, and they only had flannel petticoats for one. Pa was cross at being kept awake, and told Ma he hoped when all the children in Milwaukee were born, and got grown up, she would take in her sign and not go around nights and act as usher to baby matinees. Pa says there ought to be a law that babies should arrive on the regular day trains, and not wait for the midnight express. Well, Pa he got asleep, and he slept till about eight o'clock in the morning, and the blinds were closed, and it was dark in his room, and I had to wait for my breakfast till I was hungry as a wolf, and the girl told me to wake Pa up, so I went up stairs, and I don't know what made me think of it, but I had some of this powder they make red fire with in the theatre, that me and my chum had the 4th of July, and I put it in a washdish in the bath-room, and I touched it off and hollered fire. I was going to wake Pa up and tell him it was all right, and laugh at him. I guess there was too much fire, or I yelled too loud, cause Pa jumped out of bed and grabbed a rope and rushed through the hall towards the back window, that goes out on a shed. I tried to say something, but Pa ran over me and told me to save myself, and I got to the back window to tell him there was no fire just as he let himself out the window He had one end of the rope tied to the leg of the washstand, and he was climbing down the back side of the shed by the kitchen, with nothing on but his nightshirt, and he was the horriblest looking object ever was, with his legs flying and trying to stick his toenails into the rope and the side of the house."

"I dont think a man looks well in society with nothing on but his nightshirt. I didn't blame the hired girls for being scared when they saw Pa and his legs coming down outside the window, and when they yelled I went down to the kitchen, and they said a crazy man with no clothes but a pillow slip around his neck was trying to kick the window in, and they run into the parlor, and I opened the door and let Pa in the kitchen. He asked me if anybody else was saved and then I told him there was no fire, and he must have dreamed he was in hell, or somewhere. Well Pa was astonished, and said he must be wrong in the head, and I left him thawing himself by the stove while I went after his pants, and his legs were badly chilled, but I guess nothin' was froze. He lays it all to Ma, and says if she would stay at home and let people run their own baby shows, there would be more comfort in the house. Ma came in with a shawl over her head, and a bowl full of something that smelled frowy, and after she had told us what the result of her visit was, she sent me after vaseline to rub Pa's legs. Pa says that he has demonstrated that if a man is cool and collected, in case of fire, and goes deliberately at work to save himself, he will come out all right."

"Well, you are the meanest boy I ever heard of," said the grocery man. "But what about your Pa's dancing a clog dance in church Sunday? The minister's hired girl was in here after some codfish yesterday morning, and she said the minister said your Pa had scandalized the church the worst way."

"O, he didn't dance in church. He was a little excited, that's all. You see, Pa chews tobacco, and it is pretty hard on him to sit all through a sermon without taking a chew, and he gets nervous. He always reaches around in his pistol pocket, when they stand up to sing the last time, and feels in his tobacco box and gets out a chew, and puts it in his mouth when the minister pronounces the benediction, and then when they get out doors he is all ready to spit. He always does that. Well, my chum had a present, on Christmas, of a music box, just about as big as Pa's tobacco box, and all you have to do is to touch a spring and it plays, 'She's a Daisy, She's a Dumpling.' I borrowed it and put it in Pa's pistol pocket, where he keeps his tobacco box, and when the choir got most through singing Pa reached his hand in his pocket and began to fumble around for a chew. He touched the spring, and just as everybody bowed their heads to receive the benediction, and it was so still you could hear a gum drop, the music box began to play, and in the stillness it sounded as loud as a church organ. Well, I thought Ma would sink. The minister heard it, and everybody looked at Pa, too, and Pa turned red, and the music box kept up, 'She's a Daisy,' and the minister looked mad and said 'Amen,' and the people began to put on their coats, and the minister told the deacon to hunt up the source of that worldly music, and they took Pa into the room back of the pulpit and searched him, and Ma says Pa will have to be churched. They kept the music box, and I have got to carry in coal to get money enough to buy my chum a new music box. Well, I shall have to go and get that vaseline or Pa's legs will suffer. Good day."

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