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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

In which we take a Vacation and look for David Dutton

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"What are ye goin' to do?" asked the driver, very much interested, for it was not every day that he had passengers who had lost their destination. "Ye might go on to Lowry's. He takes boarders sometimes."

But Lowry's did not attract us. An ordinary country-tavern, where stage-passengers took supper, was not what we came so far to find.

"Do you know where this house o' Dutton's is?" said the driver, to the man who had once taken either dinner or supper there.

"Oh yes! I'd know the house well enough, if I saw it. It's the fust house this side o' Lowry's."

"With a big pole in front of it?" asked the driver.

"Yes, there was a sign-pole in front of it."

"An a long porch?"


"Oh! well!" said the driver, settling himself in his seat. "I know all about that house. That's a empty house. I didn't think you meant that house. There's nobody lives there. An' yit, now I come to remember, I have seen people about, too. I tell ye what ye better do. Since ye're so set on staying on this side the ridge, ye better let me put ye down at Dan Carson's place. That's jist about quarter of a mile from where Dutton used to live. Dan's wife can tell ye all about the Duttons, an' about everybody else, too, in this part o' the country, and if there aint nobody livin' at the old tavern, ye can stay all night at Carson's, and I'll stop an' take you back, to-morrow, when I come along."

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We agreed to this plan, for there was nothing better to be done, and, late in the afternoon, we were set down with our small trunk-- for we were traveling under light weight--at Dan Carson's door. The stage was rather behind time, and the driver whipped up and left us to settle our own affairs. He called back, however, that he would keep a good lookout for us to-morrow.

Mrs. Carson soon made her appearance, and, very naturally, was somewhat surprised to see visitors with their baggage standing on her little porch. She was a plain, coarsely dressed woman, with an apron full of chips and kindling wood, and a fine mind for detail, as we soon discovered.

"Jist so," said she, putting down the chips, and inviting us to seats on a bench. "Dave Dutton's folks is all moved away. Dave has a good farm on the other side o' the mountain, an' it never did pay him to keep that tavern, 'specially as he didn't sell liquor. When he went away, his son Al come there to live with his wife, an' the old man left a good deal o' furniter and things fur him, but Al's wife aint satisfied here, and, though they've been here, off an' on, the house is shet up most o' the time. It's fur sale an' to rent, both, ef anybody wants it. I'm sorry about you, too, fur it was a nice tavern, when Dave kept it."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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