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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Lord Edward and the Tree-man

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The man, who had not attempted to interrupt Pomona's speech, now began again to implore me to let him down, while Euphemia looked pitifully at him, and was about, I think, to intercede with me in his favor, but my attention was drawn off from her, by the strange conduct of the dog. Believing, I suppose, that he might leave the tramp for a moment, now that I had arrived, he had dashed away to another tree, where he was barking furiously, standing on his hind legs and clawing at the trunk.

"What's the matter over there?" I asked.

"Oh, that's the other fellow," said Pomona. "He's no harm." And then, as the tramp made a movement as if he would try to come down, and make a rush for safety, during the absence of the dog, she called out, "Here, boy! here, boy!" and in an instant Lord Edward was again raging at his post, at the foot of the apple-tree.

I was grievously puzzled at all this, and walked over to the other tree, followed, as before, by Euphemia and Pomona.

"This one," said the latter, "is a tree-man--"

"I should think so," said I, as I caught sight of a person in gray trowsers standing among the branches of a cherry-tree not very far from the kitchen door. The tree was not a large one, and the branches were not strong enough to allow him to sit down on them, although they supported him well enough, as he stood close to the trunk just out of reach of Lord Edward.

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"This is a very unpleasant position, sir," said he, when I reached the tree. "I simply came into your yard, on a matter of business, and finding that raging beast attacking a person in a tree, I had barely time to get up into this tree myself, before he dashed at me. Luckily I was out of his reach; but I very much fear I have lost some of my property."

"No, he hasn't," said Pomona. "It was a big book he dropped. I picked it up and took it into the house. It's full of pictures of pears and peaches and flowers. I've been lookin' at it. That's how I knew what he was. And there was no call for his gittin' up a tree. Lord Edward never would have gone after him if he hadn't run as if he had guilt on his soul."

"I suppose, then," said I, addressing the individual in the cherry-tree, "that you came here to sell me some trees."

"Yes, sir," said he quickly, "trees, shrubs, vines, evergreens,-- everything suitable for a gentleman's country villa. I can sell you something quite remarkable, sir, in the way of cherry-trees,-- French ones, just imported; bear fruit three times the size of anything that could be produced on a tree like this. And pears-- fruit of the finest flavor and enormous size--"

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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