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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Lord Edward and the Tree-man

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"Yes," said Pomona. "I seen them in the book. But they must grow on a ground-vine. No tree couldn't hold such pears as them."

Here Euphemia reproved Pomona's forwardness, and I invited the tree-agent to get down out of the tree.

"Thank you," said he; "but not while that dog is loose. If you will kindly chain him up, I will get my book, and show you specimens of some of the finest small fruit in the world, all imported from the first nurseries of Europe--the Red-gold Amber Muscat grape,--the--"

"Oh, please let him down!" said Euphemia, her eyes beginning to sparkle.

I slowly walked toward the tramp-tree, revolving various matters in my mind. We had not spent much money on the place during the winter, and we now had a small sum which we intended to use for the advantage of the farm, but had not yet decided what to do with it. It behooved me to be careful.

I told Pomona to run and get me the dog-chain, and I stood under the tree, listening, as well as I could, to the tree-agent talking to Euphemia, and paying no attention to the impassioned entreaties of the tramp in the crotch above me. When the chain was brought, I hooked one end of it in Lord Edward's collar, and then I took a firm grasp of the other. Telling Pomona to bring the tree-agent's book from the house, I called to that individual to get down from his tree. He promptly obeyed, and taking the book from Pomona, began to show the pictures to Euphemia.

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"You had better hurry, sir," I called out. "I can't hold this dog very long." And, indeed, Lord Edward had made a run toward the agent, which jerked me very forcibly in his direction. But a movement by the tramp had quickly brought the dog back to his more desired victim.

"If you will just tie up that dog, sir," said the agent, "and come this way, I would like to show you the Meltinagua pear,--dissolves in the mouth like snow, sir; trees will bear next year."

"Oh, come look at the Royal Sparkling Ruby grape!" cried Euphemia. "It glows in the sun like a gem."

"Yes," said the agent, "and fills the air with fragrance during the whole month of September--"

"I tell you," I shouted, "I can't hold this dog another minute! The chain is cutting the skin off my hands. Run, sir, run! I'm going to let go!"

"Run! run!" cried Pomona. "Fly for your life!"

The agent now began to be frightened, and shut up his book.

"If you only could see the plates, sir, I'm sure--"

"Are you ready?" I cried, as the dog, excited by Pomona's wild shouts, made a bolt in his direction.

"Good-day, if I must--" said the agent, as he hurried to the gate. But there he stopped.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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