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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
Treating of a Novel Style of Boarder
|Page 4 of 5||
"Happened!" I gasped.
"Look here," cried the boarder, clutching me by the arm, "what a condition you're in. Did you fall in?"
"Fall in!" said I.
Euphemia and the boarder looked at each other. I looked at them. Then I opened my mouth in earnest.
"I suppose you don't know," I yelled, "that you have drifted away!"
"By George!" cried the boarder, and in two bounds he was on deck.
Dirty as I was, Euphemia fell into my arms. I told her all. She hadn't known a bit of it!
The boat had so gently drifted off, and had so gently grounded among the reeds, that the voyage had never so much as disturbed their games of checkers.
"He plays such a splendid game," Euphemia sobbed, "and just as you came, I thought I was going to beat him. I had two kings and two pieces on the next to last row, and you are nearly drowned. You'll get your death of cold--and--and he had only one king."
She led me away and I undressed and washed myself and put on my Sunday clothes.
When I reappeared I went out on deck with Euphemia. The boarder was there, standing by the petunia bed. His arms were folded and he was thinking profoundly. As we approached, he turned toward us.
"You were right about that anchor," he said, "I should not have hauled it in; but it was such a little anchor that I thought it would be of more use on board as a garden hoe."
"A very little anchor will sometimes do very well," said I, cuttingly, "when it is hooked around a tree."
"Yes, there is something in that," said he.
It was now growing late, and as our agitation subsided we began to be hungry. Fortunately, we had everything necessary on board, and, as it really didn't make any difference in our household economy, where we happened to be located, we had supper quite as usual. In fact, the kettle had been put on to boil during the checker-playing. After supper, we went on deck to smoke, as was our custom, but there was a certain coolness between me and our boarder.
Early the next morning I arose and went upstairs to consider what had better be done, when I saw the boarder standing on shore, near by.
"Hello!" he cried, "the tide's down and I got ashore without any trouble. You stay where you are. I've hired a couple of mules to tow the boat back. They'll be here when the tide rises. And, hello! I've found the gang-plank. It floated ashore about a quarter of a mile below here."
In the course of the afternoon the mules and two men with a long rope appeared, and we were then towed back to where we belonged.
And we are there yet. Our boarder remains with us, as the weather is still fine, and the coolness between us is gradually diminishing. But the boat is moored at both ends, and twice a day I look to see if the ropes are all right.
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Frank R. Stockton
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