Parnassus on Wheels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 108 pages of information about Parnassus on Wheels.

By the time I neared Bath the hands of my watch pointed to supper.  I was still a bit shy of Mifflin’s scheme of stopping overnight at farmhouses, so I thought I’d go right into the town and look for a hotel.  The next day was Sunday, so it seemed reasonable to give the horse a good rest and stay in Bath two nights.  The Hominy House looked clean and old-fashioned, and the name amused me, so in I went.  It was a kind of high-class boarding-house, with mostly old women around.  It looked to me almost literary and Elbert Hubbardish compared to the Grand Central in Shelby.  The folks there stared at me somewhat suspiciously and I half thought they were going to say they didn’t take pedlars; but when I flashed a new five-dollar bill at the desk I got good service.  A five-dollar bill is a patent of nobility in New England.

My! how I enjoyed that creamed chicken on toast, and buckwheat cakes with syrup!  After you get used to cooking all your own grub, a meal off some one else’s stove is the finest kind of treat.  After supper I was all prepared to sit out on the porch with my sweater on and give a rocking chair a hot box, but then I remembered that it was up to me to carry on the traditions of Parnassus.  I was there to spread the gospel of good books.  I got to thinking how the Professor never shirked carrying on his campaign, and I determined that I would be worthy of the cause.

When I think back about the experience, it seems pretty crazy, but at the time I was filled with a kind of evangelistic zeal.  I thought if I was going to try to sell books I might as well have some fun out of it.  Most of the old ladies were squatting about in the parlour, knitting or reading or playing cards.  In the smoking-room I could see two dried-up men.  Mrs. Hominy, the manager of the place, was sitting at her desk behind a brass railing, going over accounts with a quill pen.  I thought that the house probably hadn’t had a shock since Walt Whitman wrote “Leaves of Grass.”  In a kind of do-or-die spirit I determined to give them a rouse.

In the dining-room I had noticed a huge dinner bell that stood behind the door.  I stepped in there, and got it.  Standing in the big hall I began ringing it as hard as I could shake my arm.

You might have thought it was a fire alarm.  Mrs. Hominy dropped her pen in horror.  The colonial dames in the parlour came to life and ran into the hall like cockroaches.  In a minute I had gathered quite a respectable audience.  It was up to me to do the spellbinding.

“Friends,” I said (unconsciously imitating the Professor’s tricks of the trade, I guess), “this bell which generally summons you to the groaning board now calls you to a literary repast.  With the permission of the management, and with apologies for disturbing your tranquillity, I will deliver a few remarks on the value of good books.  I see that several of you are fond of reading, so perhaps the topic will be congenial?”

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Parnassus on Wheels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook