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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Lord Edward and the Tree-man

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"There is nothing, sir," he said, "that would so improve your place as a row of the Spitzenberg Sweet-scented Balsam fir along this fence. I'll sell you three-year-old trees--"

"He's loose!" I shouted, as I dropped the chain.

In a second the agent was on the other side of the gate. Lord Edward made a dash toward him; but, stopping suddenly, flew back to the tree of the tramp.

"If you should conclude, sir," said the tree-agent, looking over the fence, "to have a row of those firs along here--"

"My good sir," said I, "there is no row of firs there now, and the fence is not very high. My dog, as you see, is very much excited and I cannot answer for the consequences if he takes it into his head to jump over."

The tree-agent turned and walked slowly away.

"Now, look-a-here," cried the tramp from the tree, in the voice of a very ill-used person, "ain't you goin' to fasten up that dog, and let me git down?"

I walked up close to the tree and addressed him.

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"No," said I, "I am not. When a man comes to my place, bullies a young girl who was about to relieve his hunger, and then boldly determines to enter my house and help himself to my property, I don't propose to fasten up any dog that may happen to be after him. If I had another dog, I'd let him loose, and give this faithful beast a rest. You can do as you please. You can come down and have it out with the dog, or you can stay up there, until I have had my dinner. Then I will drive down to the village and bring up the constable, and deliver you into his hands. We want no such fellows as you about."

With that, I unhooked the chain from Lord Edward, and walked off to put up the horse. The man shouted after me, but I paid no attention. I did not feel in a good humor with him.

Euphemia was much disturbed by the various occurrences of the afternoon. She was sorry for the man in the tree; she was sorry that the agent for the Royal Ruby grape had been obliged to go away; and I had a good deal of trouble during dinner to make her see things in the proper light. But I succeeded at last.

I did not hurry through dinner, and when we had finished I went to my work at the barn. Tramps are not generally pressed for time, and Pomona had been told to give our captive something to eat.

I was just locking the door of the carriage-house, when Pomona came running to me to tell me that the tramp wanted to see me about something very important--just a minute, he said. I put the key in my pocket and walked over to the tree. It was now almost dark, but I could see that the dog, the tramp, and the tree still kept their respective places.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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