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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPeck's Sunshine - Illustrating The Assassination
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Peck's Sunshine - Illustrating The Assassination Post by :Javier Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :3703

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Peck's Sunshine - Illustrating The Assassination

It is singular how a great calamity like the attempted assassination of the President will bring people together on terms of familiarity, and cause them to discuss things that they never knew anything about before. People who never thought of such things before, except during the cucumber season, have become familiar with their livers and internal improvements, and talk as glibly of the abdomen, the umbilicus--as well as the cuss who shot him--the peritonitis, the colon, the ilium, the diaphragm, the alacumbumbletop and the diaphaneous cholagogue as though they had been attending a Chicago meat cutting match at a students' dissecting room. Men talk of little else, and this is noticeable more particularly among men who have nothing to do.

There were two old men who loaf a good deal around a grocery, discussing the wound of the President, and one was trying to illustrate to the other how it was. He put on his glasses and took up a butter tryer and walked up to a lady customer who was leaning over the counter smelling of some boarding-house prunes. She was a large lady, and perhaps as good a subject as could have been found. The first old man called the other up behind the woman, and said:

"There, the assassin stood about as you do, and looked, probably, the same as you do. Now, you take this spigot and point to the woman, about here--" and he put the butter tryer on her back, near the belt.

"Yes, I see," said the second old man, as he nibbled a piece off a soda cracker, and pointed the wooden spigot at the woman, with his finger on the trigger. The woman was busy looking to see if there were any worms in the prunes, and she didn't notice what was going on.

"There," said the first old man, as he pushed the end of the butter tryer a little harder against the woman. "The bullet went in here, and went around here close to the liver, though probably it didn't touch the liver, passed through the thin membrane, and is probably lodged in here," and he reached around the woman with his left hand to where her apron was tied on. "Now, if they cannot extract the ball the great danger is from peritonitis--"

At this point the woman observed what was going on, and she was about as mad as a woman can be. Seizing a codfish that was on the head of a sugar barrel by the tail she whacked the first old gent, who held the butter tryer, over the head, and said:

"Peritonitis is beginning to set in, you bald-headed old villain, and general prostration will be the result. I will teach you to put your arm around me. I am no manikin. Do you take me for a dissecting room? Put down that gun, you idiot," said she, as she wafted the codfish toward the second old man, who still held up the spigot.

The grocery man, who was cutting a cheese, came around the counter with the cheese knife in his hand, and said he hoped there would be no more bloodshed, and asked the old man to put down the butter tryer and go out. The two old men went out on the sidewalk, when the woman told the grocery man that no woman was safe a moment when those old reprobates were allowed to run at large, and when she got so low down as to allow people to practice assassination on her with wooden faucets and butter tryers she would join a circus. When the two old men got out on the walk the second one said to the first:

"Didn't you know the woman?"

"Know her? No. I didn't think it was necessary for a formal introduction in a trying time like this, when we all want all the information we can get about the great tragedy. There is no accommodation about some people. But she has gone out now, so let us carry back the spigot and butter tryer, and may be the grocery man will treat to the cider."

And the two old setters went in and sat down on the barrels and talked about how they had known people along in 1837 to be shot all to pieces and recover.

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