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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Pomona's Novel

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"That horrid bull-dog wouldn't let me come into the house! No matter what door I tried, there he was, just foamin' mad. I let him stay till nearly night, and then went and spoke kind to him; but it was no good. He'd got an awful spite ag'in me. I found something to eat down cellar, and I made a fire outside an' roasted some corn and potatoes. That night I slep' in the barn. I wasn't afraid to be away from the house, for I knew it was safe enough, with that dog in it and Lord Edward outside. For three days, Sunday an' all, I was kep' out of this here house. I got along pretty well with the sleepin' and the eatin', but the drinkin' was the worst. I couldn't get no coffee or tea; but there was plenty of milk."

"Why didn't you get some man to come and attend to the dog?" I asked. "It was dreadful to live that way."

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"Well, I didn't know no man that could do it," said Pomona. "The dog would 'a' been too much for Old John, and besides, he was mad about the kerosene. Sunday afternoon, Captain Atkinson and Mrs. Atkinson and their little girl in a push-wagon, come here, and I told 'em you was gone away; but they says they would stop a minute, and could I give them a drink; an' I had nothin' to give it to them but an old chicken-bowl that I had washed out, for even the dipper was in the house, an' I told 'em everything was locked up, which was true enough, though they must 'a' thought you was a queer kind of people; but I wasn't a-goin' to say nothin' about the dog, fur, to tell the truth, I was ashamed to do it. So as soon as they'd gone, I went down into the cellar,--and it's lucky that I had the key for the outside cellar door,--and I got a piece of fat corn-beef and the meat-axe. I unlocked the kitchen door and went in, with the axe in one hand and the meat in the other. The dog might take his choice. I know'd he must be pretty nigh famished, for there was nothin' that he could get at to eat. As soon as I went in, he came runnin' to me; but I could see he was shaky on his legs. He looked a sort of wicked at me, and then he grabbed the meat. He was all right then."

"Oh, my!" said Euphemia, "I am so glad to hear that. I was afraid you never got in. But we saw the dog--is he as savage yet?"

"Oh no!" said Pomona; "nothin' like it."

"Look here, Pomona," said I, "I want to know about those taxes. When do they come into your story?"

"Pretty soon, sir," said she, and she went on:

"After that, I know'd it wouldn't do to have them two dogs so that they'd have to be tied up if they see each other. Just as like as not I'd want them both at once, and then they'd go to fightin', and leave me to settle with some blood-thirsty lightnin'-rodder. So, as I know'd if they once had a fair fight and found out which was master, they'd be good friends afterwards, I thought the best thing to do would be to let 'em fight it out, when there was nothin' else for 'em to do. So I fixed up things for the combat."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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