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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

In which two New Friends disport themselves

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"The nex' mornin' was fine an' nice," continued Pomona, "an' after our breakfast had been brought to us, we went out in the grounds to take a walk. There was lots of trees back of the house, with walks among 'em, an' altogether it was so ole-timey an' castleish that I was as happy as a lark.

"'Come along, Earl Miguel,' I says; 'let us tread a measure 'neath these mantlin' trees.'

"'All right,' says he. 'Your Jiguel attends you. An' what might our noble second name be? What is we earl an' earl-ess of?'

"'Oh, anything,' says I. 'Let's take any name at random.'

"'All right,' says he. 'Let it be random. Earl an' Earl-ess Random. Come along.'

"So we walks about, I feelin' mighty noble an' springy, an' afore long we sees another couple a-walkin' about under the trees.

"'Who's them?' says I.

"'Don't know,' says he, 'but I expect they're some o' the other boarders. The man said he had other boarders when I spoke to him about takin' us.'

"'Let's make-believe they're a count an' count says I. 'Count an' Countess of--'

"'Milwaukee,' says he.

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"I didn't think much of this for a noble name, but still it would do well enough, an' so we called 'em the Count an' Countess of Milwaukee, an' we kep' on a meanderin'. Pretty soon he gets tired an' says he was agoin' back to the house to have a smoke because he thought it was time to have a little fun which weren't all imaginations, an' I says to him to go along, but it would be the hardest thing in this world for me to imagine any fun in smokin'. He laughed an' went back, while I walked on, a-makin'-believe a page, in blue puffed breeches, was a-holdin' up my train, which was of light-green velvet trimmed with silver lace. Pretty soon, turnin' a little corner, I meets the Count and Countess of Milwaukee. She was a small lady, dressed in black, an' he was a big fat man about fifty years old, with a grayish beard. They both wore little straw hats, exac'ly alike, an' had on green carpet-slippers. "They stops when they sees me, an' the lady she bows and says 'good-mornin',' an' then she smiles, very pleasant, an' asks if I was a-livin' here, an' when I said I was, she says she was too, for the present, an' what was my name. I had half a mind to say the Earl-ess Random, but she was so pleasant and sociable that I didn't like to seem to be makin' fun, an' so I said I was Mrs. De Henderson.

"'An' I,' says she, 'am Mrs. General Andrew Jackson, widow of the ex-President of the United States. I am staying here on business connected with the United States Bank. This is my brother,' says she, pointin' to the big man.

"'How d'ye do?' says he, a-puttin' his hands together, turnin' his toes out an' makin' a funny little bow. 'I am General Tom Thumb,' he says in a deep, gruff voice, 'an' I've been before all the crown-ed heads of Europe, Asia, Africa, America an' Australia,--all a's but one,--an' I'm waitin' here for a team of four little milk-white oxen, no bigger than tall cats, which is to be hitched to a little hay-wagon, which I am to ride in, with a little pitch-fork an' real farmer's clothes, only small. This will come to-morrow, when I will pay for it an' ride away to exhibit. It may be here now, an' I will go an' see. Good-bye.'

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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