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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

In which we take a Vacation and look for David Dutton

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It was about noon of a very fair July day, in the next summer, when Euphemia and myself arrived at the little town where we were to take the stage up into the mountains. We were off for a two weeks' vacation and our minds were a good deal easier than when we went away before, and left Pomona at the helm. We had enlarged the boundaries of Rudder Grange, having purchased the house, with enough adjoining land to make quite a respectable farm. Of course I could not attend to the manifold duties on such a place, and my wife seldom had a happier thought than when she proposed that we should invite Pomona and her husband to come and live with us. Pomona was delighted, and Jonas was quite willing to run our farm. So arrangements were made, and the young couple were established in apartments in our back building, and went to work as if taking care of us and our possessions was the ultimate object of their lives. Jonas was such a steady fellow that we feared no trouble from tree-man or lightning rodder during this absence.

Our destination was a country tavern on the stage-road, not far from the point where the road crosses the ridge of the mountain-range, and about sixteen miles from the town. We had heard of this tavern from a friend of ours, who had spent a summer there. The surrounding country was lovely, and the house was kept by a farmer, who was a good soul, and tried to make his guests happy. These were generally passing farmers and wagoners, or stage-passengers, stopping for a meal, but occasionally a person from the cities, like our friend, came to spend a few weeks in the mountains.

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So hither we came, for an out-of-the-world spot like this was just what we wanted. When I took our places at the stage-office, I inquired for David Dutton, the farmer tavern-keeper before mentioned, but the agent did not know of him.

"However," said he, "the driver knows everybody on the road, and he'll set you down at the house."

So, off we started, having paid for our tickets on the basis that we were to ride about sixteen miles. We had seats on top, and the trip, although slow,--for the road wound uphill steadily,--was a delightful one. Our way lay, for the greater part of the time, through the woods, but now and then we came to a farm, and a turn in the road often gave us lovely views of the foot-hills and the valleys behind us.

But the driver did not know where Dutton's tavern was. This we found out after we had started. Some persons might have thought it wiser to settle this matter before starting, but I am not at all sure that it would have been so. We were going to this tavern, and did not wish to go anywhere else. If people did not know where it was, it would be well for us to go and look for it. We knew the road that it was on, and the locality in which it was to be found.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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