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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

In which two New Friends disport themselves

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"About five o'clock in the afternoon, when it was a nice time to take a walk under the trees, we meandered quietly down to a corner of the back wall, where Jone thought it would be rather convenient to get over. He hunted up a short piece of board which he leaned up ag'in the wall, an' then he put his foot on the top of that an' got hold of the top of the wall an' climbed up, as easy as nuthin'. Then he reached down to help me step onto the board. But jus' as he was agoin' to take me by the hand: 'Hello!' says he. 'Look a-there!' An' I turned round an' looked, an' if there wasn't Mrs. Andrew Jackson an' General Tom Thumb a-walkin' down the path.

"'What shall we do?' says I.

"'Come along,' says he. 'We aint a-goin' to stop for them. Get up, all the same.'

"I tried to get up as he said, but it wasn't so easy for me on account of my not bein' such a high stepper as Jone, an' I was a good while a-gettin' a good footin' on the board.

"Mrs. Jackson an' the General, they came right up to us an' set down on a bench which was fastened between two trees near the wall. An' there they set, a-lookin' steady at us with their four little eyes, like four empty thimbles.

"'You appear to be goin' away,' says Mrs. Jackson.

"'Yes,' says Jone from the top of the wall. We're a-goin' to take a slight stroll outside, this salu-brious evenin'.'

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"'Do you think,' says she, 'that the United States Bank would be open this time of day?'

"'Oh no,' says Jone, 'the banks all close at three o'clock. It's a good deal after that now.'

"'But if I told the officers who I was, wouldn't that make a difference?' says she. 'Wouldn't they go down an' open the bank?'

"'Not much,' says Jone, givin' a pull which brought me right up to the top o' the wall an' almost clean down the other side, with one jerk. 'I never knowed no officers that would do that. But,' says he, a kind o' shuttin' his eyes so that she shouldn't see he was lyin', 'we'll talk about that when we come back.'

"'If you see that team of little oxen,' says the big man, 'send 'em 'round to the front gate.'

"'All right,' says Jone; an' he let me down the outside of the wall as if I had been a bag o' horse-feed.

"'But if the bank isn't open you can't pay for it when it does come,' we heard the old lady a-sayin' as we hurried off.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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