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0105_001E Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

In which an Old Friend appears, and the Bridal Trip takes a Fresh Start

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"He kinder laughed at this, as we walked away, an' then he turned around an' come back, and says he, 'Have you been to any the-ay-ters, or anything, since you've been in town?' 'No,' says I, 'not one.' 'Well,' says he, 'you ought to go. Which do you like best, the the-ay-ter, the cir-cus, or wild-beasts?' I did really like the the-ay-ter best, havin' thought of bein' a play-actor, as you know, but I considered I'd better let that kind o' thing slide jus' now, as bein' a little too romantic, right after the 'sylum, an' so I says, 'I've been once to a circus, an' once to a wild-beast garden, an' I like 'em both. I hardly know which I like best--the roarin' beasts, a-prancin' about in their cages, with the smell of blood an' hay, an' the towerin' elephants; or the horses, an' the music, an' the gauzy figgers at the circus, an' the splendid knights in armor an' flashin' pennants, all on fiery steeds, a-plungin' ag'in the sides of the ring, with their flags a-flyin' in the grand entry,' says I, real excited with what I remembered about these shows.

"'Well,' says he, 'I don't wonder at your feelin's. An' now, here's two tickets for to-night, which you an' your husband can have, if you like, for I can't go. They're to a meetin' of the Hudson County Enter-mo-logical Society, over to Hoboken, at eight o'clock.'

"'Over to Hoboken!' says I; 'that's a long way.'

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"'Oh no, it isn't,' says he. 'An' it wont cost you a cent, but the ferry. They couldn't have them shows in the city, for, if the creatures was to get loose, there's no knowin' what might happen. So take 'em, an' have as much fun as you can for the rest of your trip. Good-bye!' An' off he went.

"Well, we kep' straight on to the doctor's, an' glad we was when we got there, an' mad he was when we lef' Mrs. Jackson an' the General on his hands, for we wouldn't have no more to do with 'em, an' he couldn't help undertaking' to see that they got back to the asylum. I thought at first he wouldn't lift a finger to get us our trunk; but he cooled down after a bit, an' said he hoped we'd try some different kind of institution for the rest of our trip, which we said we thought we would.

"That afternoon we gawked around, a-lookin' at all the outside shows, for Jone said he'd have to be pretty careful of his money now, an' he was glad when I told him I had two free tickets in my pocket for a show in the evenin.'

"As we was a-walkin' down to the ferry, after supper, says he:

"'Suppose you let me have a look at them tickets.'

"So I hands 'em to him. He reads one of 'em, and then he reads the other, which he needn't 'a' done, for they was both alike, an' then he turns to me, an' says he:

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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