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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Our Tavern

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"Well," said Euphemia, "we are not keeping this house for profit, and you can't force us to make anything out of you. If you will be satisfied to pay us just what it cost us to entertain you, I suppose we shall have to let you do that. Take a seat for a minute, and I will make out your bill."

So the artist and I sat down and talked of various matters, while my wife got out her traveling stationery-box, and sat down to the dining-table to make out the bill. After a long, long time, as it appeared to me, I said:

"My dear, if the amount of that bill is at all proportioned to the length of time it takes to make it out, I think our friend here will wish he had never said anything about it."

"It's nearly done," said she, without raising her head, and, in about ten or fifteen minutes more, she rose and presented the bill to our guest. As I noticed that he seemed somewhat surprised at it, I asked him to let me look over it with him. The bill, of which I have a copy, read as follows:

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July 12th, 187-


To the S. and S. Hotel and F. and M. House.

To 1/3 one supper, July 11th, which supper consisted of:

   1/14 lb. coffee, at 35 cts.               2 cts.
     "  "   sugar,  "  14  "                 1  "
    1/6 qt. milk,   "   6  "                 1  "
    1/2 loaf bread  "   6  "                 3  "
    1/8 lb. butter  "  25  "              3 1/8 "
    1/2 "  bacon    "  25  "             12 1/2 "
   1/16 pk. potatoes at 60 cts. per bush  15/16 "
    1/2 pt. hominy at 6 cts                   3 "
                                         27 1/16

                               1/3 of total      09 1/48 cts.

To 1/3 one breakfast, July 12th (same as
above, with exception of eggs instead of
bacon, and with hominy omitted),
                                          24 1/6

                                 1/3 total       08 1/48  "

To rent of one room and furniture, for one
night, in furnished house of fifteen rooms
at $6.00 per week for whole house                 05 3/8  "
                              Amount due       22 17/24 cts.

The worthy artist burst out laughing when he read this bill, and so did I.

"You needn't laugh," said Euphemia, reddening a little. "That is exactly what your entertainment cost, and we do not intend to take a cent more. We get things here in such small quantities that I can tell quite easily what a meal costs us, and I have calculated that bill very carefully."

"So I should think, madam," said the artist, "but it is not quite right. You have charged nothing for your trouble and services."

"No," said my wife, "for I took no additional trouble to get your meals. What I did, I should have done if you had not come. To be sure I did spend a few minutes preparing your room. I will charge you seven twenty-fourths of a cent for that, thus making your bill twenty-three cents--even money."

"I cannot gainsay reasoning like yours, madam," he said, and he took a quarter from a very fat old pocket-book, and handed it to her. She gravely gave him two cents change, and then taking the bill, receipted it, and handed it back to him.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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