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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPeck's Sunshine - Paralysis In A Theatre
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Peck's Sunshine - Paralysis In A Theatre Post by :Mikeyf Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :1421

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Peck's Sunshine - Paralysis In A Theatre

Inasmuch as there seems to be no other business before the house, we desire, Mr. Speaker, to arise to a personal explanation. There was something occurred at the Opera House, the last night that the Rice Surprise Party played "Revels," that placed us in a wrong position before the public.

Mr. Gunning, the scene painter, had prided himself that the transformation scene that he had fixed up for the play was about as nice as could be, and as we confessed that we had only got an imperfect view of it, the night before, from one side of the house, he insisted that we take a seat right in front of the stage, in the parquette, and get a good view of it.

There were a good many legs in the show, and we didn't want to sit right down in front all the evening, so we compromised the matter by agreeing to sit in the dress circle until it was about time for the transformation scene, and then, after the giddy girls had all been behind the scenes, we would go down and take a front seat, right back of the orchestra, and take in the transformation scene.

Well, they had got through with the high kicking, and all gone off, except one girl, a gipsy, who was going to sing a song, and then a bell would ring and the whole stage effects would change as if by magic. When she had got to the end of her song and had waltzed off to the left, we got up and walked down in front, and took one of a whole row of vacant seats, put on our spectacles, and were ready. Do you know, every cuss in that audience saw us go down there? They all thought we had gone there to be nearer the dizzy tights, and they began to clap their hands and cheer. We think Chapin, the lawyer, who doesn't like us very well, started it, and every kid in the gallery took it up, and the house fairly rung with applause at the sight of our bald head well down in front. We never felt so mean since we quit stealing sheep.

The crowd laughed and hi-hi'd, and the stage manager took the applause for an _encore_, and ordered the girl to go out and sing some more. She knew better, knew they were guying the bald-headed man in front, and all the troupe knew it, and the girls put their heads out from the wings and laughed; but the girl came out and sung again. If she didn't wink at us when she came out, then we don't know what a wink is, and we have been around some, too.

She sang some confounded love song, such as "Darling, Kiss My Eye Winkers Down," or "Hold the Fort," or something, and kept looking at us every moment, and smiling like a church sociable. The crowd took it all in, too. Her dress was cut decolette, or low necked at the bottom, and we were nearer to the angelic choir than a bald headed man of family ever ought to be, but there was no help for it. She was the only girl in the troupe that wore black tights, and we thanked our stars for that, but even with all those mitigating circumstances in our favor the affair had a bad look, and we admit it. Of course any one would know that we wouldn't go out of our way to see any black stockings, but it looked as though we had, to the crowd.

We have faced death on many a field of carnage, but we never knew what it was to want to be away from a place quite so much as then. If you know how a man feels when he is stricken with paralysis, or a piece of a brick house, you can imagine something about it. We tried to put on a pious look, a deaconish sort of expression, like a man who is passing a collection plate in church, but the blushes on our face did not look deaconish at all. We tried to look far away, and think of the hereafter, or the heretofore, but that Gipsy warbling "Darling Eyes of Marine Blue," and forty girls in the wings making up faces, and five hundred people back of us having fun at our expense was too much, and we just wanted to die. If there had been a trap door to let us down into the beer saloon below, we would have taken passage on it in a minute.

But she finally got through singing, the transformation scene came on, and we went back to our seat in the dress circle, a changed man, and we never looked at a person in the audience after that, but when the performance was over and we came out, and Chapin said, "Hello, old man, guess we got even with you that time," we felt like murdering somebody in cold blood and feathers. Hereafter if anybody ever catches us taking a front seat at a leg drama, they can take it out of our wages. Mr. Speaker, we have spoken.

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