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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Pomona Once More

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Our delight and interest in our little farm increased day by day. In a week or two after Pomona's arrival I bought a cow. Euphemia was very anxious to have an Alderney,--they were such gentle, beautiful creatures,--but I could not afford such a luxury. I might possibly compass an Alderney calf, but we would have to wait a couple of years for our milk, and Euphemia said it would be better to have a common cow than to do that.

Great was our inward satisfaction when the cow, our OWN cow, walked slowly and solemnly into our yard and began to crop the clover on our little lawn. Pomona and I gently drove her to the barn, while Euphemia endeavored to quiet the violent demonstrations of the dog (fortunately chained) by assuring him that this was OUR cow and that she was to live here, and that he was to take care of her and never bark at her. All this and much more, delivered in the earnest and confidential tone in which ladies talk to infants and dumb animals, made the dog think that he was to be let loose to kill the cow, and he bounded and leaped with delight, tugging at his chain so violently that Euphemia became a little frightened and left him. This dog had been named Lord Edward, at the earnest solicitation of Pomona, and he was becoming somewhat reconciled to his life with us. He allowed me to unchain him at night and I could generally chain him up in the morning without trouble if I had a good big plate of food with which to tempt him into the shed.

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Before supper we all went down to the barn to see the milking. Pomona, who knew all about such things, having been on a farm in her first youth, was to be the milkmaid. But when she began operations, she did no more than begin. Milk as industriously as she might, she got no milk.

"This is a queer cow," said Pomona.

"Are you sure that you know how to milk?" asked Euphemia anxiously.

"Can I milk?" said Pomona. "Why, of course, ma'am. I've seen 'em milk hundreds of times."

"But you never milked, yourself?" I remarked.

"No, sir, but I know just how it's done."

That might be, but she couldn't do it, and at last we had to give up the matter in despair, and leave the poor cow until morning, when Pomona was to go for a man who occasionally worked on the place, and engage him to come and milk for us.

That night as we were going to bed I looked out of the window at the barn which contained the cow, and was astonished to see that there was a light inside of the building.

"What!" I exclaimed. "Can't we be left in peaceful possession of a cow for a single night?" And, taking my revolver, I hurried downstairs and out-of-doors, forgetting my hat in my haste. Euphemia screamed after me to be careful and keep the pistol pointed away from me.

I whistled for the dog as I went out, but to my surprise he did not answer.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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