Click here to Download Penrod PDF Book by Booth Tarkington English having PDF Size 1.7 MB and No of Pages 100.
Penrod sat morosely upon the back fence and gazed with envy at Duke, his wistful dog. A bitter soul dominated the various curved and angular surfaces known by a careless world as the face of Penrod Schofield. Except in solitude, that face was almost always cryptic and emotionless; for Penrod had come into his twelfth year wearing an expression carefully trained to be inscrutable.
Penrod PDF Book by Booth Tarkington
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Since the world was sure to misunderstand everything, mere defensive instinct prompted him to give it as little as possible to lay hold upon. Nothing is more impenetrable than the face of a boy who has learned this, and Penrod’s was habitually as fathomless as the depth of his hatred this morning for the literary activities of Mrs. Lora Rewbush—an almost universally respected fellow citizen.\
A lady of charitable and poetic inclinations, and one of his own mother’s most intimate friends. Mrs. Lora Rewbush had written something which she called “The Children’s Pageant of the Table Round,” and it was to be performed in public that very afternoon at the Women’s Arts and Guild Hall for the benefit of the Coloured Infants’ Betterment Society.
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And if any flavour of sweetness remained in the nature of Penrod Schofield after the dismal trials of the school-week just past, that problematic, infinitesimal remnant was made pungent acid by the imminence of his destiny to form a prominent feature of the spectacle, and to declaim the loathsome sentiments of a character named upon the programme the Child Sir Lancelot.
After each rehearsal he had plotted escape, and only ten days earlier there had been a glimmer of light: Mrs. Lora Rewbush caught a very bad cold, and it was hoped it might develop into pneumonia; but she recovered so quickly that not even a rehearsal of the Children’s Pageant was postponed. Darkness closed in.
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Penrod had rather vaguely debated plans for a self-mutilation such as would make his appearance as the Child Sir Lancelot inexpedient on public grounds; it was a heroic and attractive thought, but the results of some extremely sketchy preliminary experiments caused him to abandon it. There was no escape; and at last his hour was hard upon him.
Therefore he brooded on the fence and gazed with envy at his wistful Duke. The dog’s name was undescriptive of his person, which was obviously the result of a singular series of mesalliances. He wore a grizzled moustache and indefinite whiskers; he was small and shabby, and looked like an old postman. Penrod envied Duke because he was sure Duke would never be compelled to be a Child Sir Lancelot.
He thought a dog free and unshackled to go or come as the wind listeth. Penrod forgot the life he led Duke. There was a long soliloquy upon the fence, a plaintive monologue without words: the boy’s thoughts were adjectives, but they were expressed by a running film of pictures in his mind’s eye, morbidly prophetic of the hideosities before him. Penrod PDF Book
Finally he spoke aloud, with such spleen that Duke rose from his haunches and lifted one ear in keen anxiety. A stout man in blue overalls passed through the hallway muttering to himself petulantly. “I reckon they’ll find that hall hot enough now!” he said, conveying to Penrod an impression that some too feminine women had sent him upon an unreasonable errand to the furnace.
He went into the Janitor’s Room and, emerging a moment later, minus the overalls, passed Penrod again with a bass rumble —“Dern ’em!” it seemed he said—and made a gloomy exit by the door at the upper end of the hallway. The conglomerate and delicate rustle of a large, mannerly audience was heard as the janitor opened and closed the door; and stage-fright seized the boy.
The orchestra began an overture, and, at that, Penrod, trembling violently, tiptoed down the hall into the Janitor’s Room. It was a cul-de-sac: There was no outlet save by the way he had come. Despairingly he doffed his mantle and looked down upon himself for a last sickening assurance that the stockings were as obviously and disgracefully Margaret’s as they had seemed in the mirror at home. Penrod PDF Book
For a moment he was encouraged: perhaps he was no worse than some of the other boys. Then he noticed that a safety-pin had opened; one of those connecting the stockings with his trunks. He sat down to fasten it and his eye fell for the first time with particular attention upon the trunks. Until this instant he had been preoccupied with the stockings.
Slowly recognition dawned in his eyes. The Schofields’ house stood on a corner at the intersection of two main-travelled streets; the fence was low, and the publicity obtained by the washable portion of the family apparel, on Mondays, had often been painful to Penrod; for boys have a peculiar sensitiveness in these matters.
A plain, matter-offact washerwoman’ employed by Mrs. Schofield, never left anything to the imagination of the passerby; and of all her calm display the scarlet flaunting of his father’s winter wear had most abashed Penrod. One day Marjorie Jones, all gold and starch, had passed when the dreadful things were on the line: Penrod had hidden himself, shuddering. Penrod PDF Book
The whole town, he was convinced, knew these garments intimately and derisively. And now, as he sat in the janitor’s chair, the horrible and paralyzing recognition came. He had not an instant’s doubt that every fellow actor, as well as every soul in the audience, would recognize what his mother and sister had put upon him.
For as the awful truth became plain to himself it seemed blazoned to the world; and far, far louder than the stockings, the trunks did fairly bellow the grisly secret: whose they were and what they were! Most people have suffered in a dream the experience of finding themselves very inadequately clad in the midst of a crowd of well-dressed people.
And such dreamers’ sensations are comparable to Penrod’s, though faintly, because Penrod was awake and in much too full possession of the most active capacities for anguish. A human male whose dress has been damaged, or reveals some vital lack, suffers from a hideous and shameful loneliness which makes every second absolutely unbearable until he is again as others of his sex and species. Penrod PDF Book
And there is no act or sin whatever too desperate for him in his struggle to attain that condition. Also, there is absolutely no embarrassment possible to a woman which is comparable to that of a man under corresponding circumstances and in this a boy is a man. Gazing upon the ghastly trunks, the stricken Penrod felt that he was a degree worse then nude; and a great horror of himself filled his soul.
At the close of the afternoon services he did not go home, but proceeded to squander the funds just withheld from China upon an orgy of the most pungently forbidden description. In a Drug Emporium, near the church, he purchased a five-cent sack of candy consisting for the most part of the heavily flavoured hoofs of horned cattle, but undeniably substantial.
And so generously capable of resisting solution that the purchaser must needs be avaricious beyond reason who did not realize his money’s worth. Equipped with this collation, Penrod contributed his remaining nickel to a picture show, countenanced upon the seventh day by the legal but not the moral authorities. Penrod PDF Book Download
Here, in cozy darkness, he placidly insulted his liver with jaw-breaker upon jaw-breaker from the paper sack, and in a surfeit of content watched the silent actors on the screen. One film made a lasting impression upon him. It depicted with relentless pathos the drunkard’s progress; beginning with his conversion to beer in the company of loose travelling men.
Pursuing him through an inexplicable lapse into evening clothes and the society of some remarkably painful ladies, next, exhibiting the effects of alcohol on the victim’s domestic disposition, the unfortunate man was seen in the act of striking his wife and, subsequently, his pleading baby daughter with an abnormally heavy walking-stick.
Their flight—through the snow—to seek the protection of a relative was shown, and finally, the drunkard’s picturesque behaviour at the portals of a madhouse. So fascinated was Penrod that he postponed his departure until this film came round again, by which time he had finished his unnatural repast and almost, but not quite, decided against following the profession of a drunkard when he grew up. Penrod PDF Book Download
Emerging, satiated, from the theatre, a public timepiece before a jeweller’s shop confronted him with an unexpected dial and imminent perplexities. How was he to explain at home these hours of dalliance? There was a steadfast rule that he return direct from Sunday-school; and Sunday rules were important, because on that day there was his father, always at home and at hand, perilously ready for action.
One of the hardest conditions of boyhood is the almost continuous strain put upon the powers of invention by the constant and harassing necessity for explanations of every natural act. Proceeding homeward through the deepening twilight as rapidly as possible, at a gait half skip and half canter, Penrod made up his mind in what manner he would account for his long delay.
And, as he drew nearer, rehearsed in words the opening passage of his defence. “Now see here,” he determined to begin; “I do not wished to be blamed for things I couldn’t help, nor any other boy. I was going along the street by a cottage and a lady put her head out of the window and said her husband was drunk and whipping her and her little girl, and she asked me wouldn’t I come in and help hold him. Penrod PDF Book Download
So I went in and tried to get hold of this drunken lady’s husband where he was whipping their baby daughter, but he wouldn’t pay any attention, and I TOLD her I ought to be getting home, but she kep’ on askin’ me to stay——” At this point he reached the corner of his own yard, where a coincidence not only checked the rehearsal of his eloquence but happily obviated all occasion for it.
A cab from the station drew up in front of the gate, and there descended a troubled lady in black and a fragile little girl about three. Mrs. Schofield rushed from the house and enfolded both in hospitable arms. They were Penrod’s Aunt Clara and cousin, also Clara, from Dayton, Illinois, and in the flurry of their arrival everybody forgot to put Penrod to the question.
It is doubtful, however, if he felt any relief; there may have been even a slight, unconscious disappointment not altogether dissimilar to that of an actor deprived of a good part. The returning students, that afternoon, observed that Penrod’s desk was vacant—and nothing could have been more impressive than that sinister mere emptiness. Penrod PDF Book Free
The accepted theory was that Penrod had been arrested. How breathtaking, then, the sensation when, at the beginning of the second hour, he strolled—in with inimitable carelessness and, rubbing his eyes, somewhat noticeably in the manner of one who has snatched an hour of much needed sleep, took his place as if nothing in particular had happened.
This, at first supposed to be a superhuman exhibition of sheer audacity, became but the more dumfounding when Miss Spence—looking up from her desk—greeted him with a pleasant little nod. Even after school, Penrod gave numerous maddened investigators no relief. All he would consent to say was: “Oh, I just TALKED to her.”
A mystification not entirely unconnected with the one thus produced was manifested at his own family dinner-table the following evening. Aunt Clara had been out rather late, and came to the table after the rest were seated. She wore a puzzled expression. “Do you ever see Mary Spence nowadays?” she inquired, as she unfolded her napkin, addressing Mrs. Schofield. Penrod PDF Book Free
Penrod abruptly set down his soup-spoon and gazed at his aunt with flattering attention. “Yes; sometimes,” said Mrs. Schofield. “She’s Penrod’s teacher.” “Is she?” said Mrs. Farry. “Do you—” She paused. “Do people think her a little—queer, these days?” “Why, no,” returned her sister. “What makes you say that?” “She has acquired a very odd manner,” said Mrs. Farry decidedly.
“At least, she seemed odd to ME. I met her at the corner just before I got to the house, a few minutes ago, and after we’d said howdy-do to each other, she kept hold of my hand and looked as though she was going to cry. She seemed to be trying to say something, and choking——” “But I don’t think that’s so very queer, Clara. She knew you in school, didn’t she?”
“Yes, but——” “And she hadn’t seen you for so many years, I think it’s perfectly natural she——” “Wait! She stood there squeezing my hand, and struggling to get her voice—and I got really embarrassed—and then finally she said, in a kind of tearful whisper, ‘Be of good cheer—this trial will pass!’” “How queer!” exclaimed Margaret. Penrod PDF Book Free
Penrod sighed, and returned somewhat absently to his soup. “Well, I don’t know,” said Mrs. Schofield thoughtfully. “Of course she’s heard about the outbreak of measles in Dayton, since they had to close the schools, and she knows you live there——” “But doesn’t it seem a VERY exaggerated way,” suggested Margaret, “to talk about measles?”