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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Our Tavern

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"I don't want the book," I said, "and I don't care to look at it."

"But if you were to look at it you would want it, I'm sure."

"That's a good reason for not looking at it, then," I answered. "If you came to get us to subscribe for that book we need not take up any more of your time, for we shall not subscribe."

"Oh, I did not come for that alone," he said. "I shall stay here to-night and start out in the morning to work up the neighborhood. If you would like this book--and I'm sure you have only to look at it to do that--you can deduct the amount of my bill from the subscription price, and--"

"What did you say you charged for this book?" asked Euphemia, stepping forward and picking up the volume.

"Three seventy-five is the subscription price, ma'am, but that book is not for sale. That is merely a sample. If you put your name down on my list you will be served with your book in two weeks. As I told your husband, it will come very cheap to you, because you can deduct what you charge me for supper, lodging, and breakfast."

"Indeed!" said my wife, and then she remarked that she must go in the house and get supper.

"When will supper be ready?" the man asked, as she passed him.

At first she did not answer him, but then she called back:

"In about half an hour."

"Good," said the man; "but I wish it was ready now. And now, sir, if you would just glance over this book, while we are waiting for supper--"

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

I cut him very short and went out into the road. I walked up and down in front of the house, in a bad humor. I could not bear to think of my wife getting supper for this fellow, who was striding about on the piazza, as if he was very hungry and very impatient. Just as I returned to the house, the bell rang from within.

"Joyful sound!" said the man, and in he marched. I followed close behind him. On one end of the table, in the kitchen, supper was set for one person, and, as the man entered, Euphemia motioned him to the table. The supper looked like a remarkably good one. A cup of coffee smoked by the side of the plate; there was ham and eggs and a small omelette; there were fried potatoes, some fresh radishes, a plate of hot biscuit, and some preserves. The man's eyes sparkled.

"I am sorry," said he, "that I am to eat alone, for I hoped to have your good company; but, if this plan suits you, it suits me," and he drew up a chair.

"Stop!" said Euphemia, advancing between him and the table. "You are not to eat that. This is a sample supper. If you order a supper like it, one will be served to you in two weeks."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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