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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Our Tavern

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At this I burst into a roar of laughter; my wife stood pale and determined, and the man drew back, looking first at one of us, and then at the other.

"Am I to understand--?" he said.

"Yes," I interrupted, "you are. There is nothing more to be said on this subject. You may go now. You came here to annoy us, knowing that we did not entertain travelers, and now you see what you have made by it," and I opened the door.

The man evidently thought that a reply was not necessary, and he walked out without a word. Taking up his valise, which he had put in the hall, he asked if there was any public-house near by.

"No," I said; "but there is a farm-house a short distance down the road, where they will be glad to have you." And down the road he went to Mrs. Carson's. I am sorry to say that he sold her a "Flora and Fauna" before he went to bed that night.

We were much amused at the termination of this affair, and I became, if possible, a still greater admirer of Euphemia's talents for management. But we both agreed that it would not do to keep up the sign any longer. We could not tell when the irate driver might not pounce down upon us with a customer.

"But I hate to take it down," said Euphemia; "it looks so much like a surrender."

"Do not trouble yourself," said I. "I have an idea."

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The next morning I went down to Danny Carson's little shop,--he was a wheelwright as well as a farmer,--and I got from him two pots of paint--one black and one white--and some brushes. I took down our sign, and painted out the old lettering, and, instead of it, I painted, in bold and somewhat regular characters, new names for our tavern.

On one side of the sign I painted:


And on the other side:


"Now then," I said, "I don't believe any of those people will be traveling along the road while we are here, or, at any rate, they won't want to stop."

We admired this sign very much, and sat on the piazza, that afternoon, to see how it would strike Bill, as he passed by. It seemed to strike him pretty hard, for he gazed with all his eyes at one side of it, as he approached, and then, as he passed it, he actually pulled up to read the other side.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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