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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Pomona Once More

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"Has he been killed?" I thought, and, for a moment, I wished that I was a large family of brothers--all armed.

But on my way to the barn I met a person approaching with a lantern and a dog. It was Pomona, and she had a milk-pail on her arm.

"See here, sir," she said, "it's mor'n half full. I just made up my mind that I'd learn to milk--if it took me all night. I didn't go to bed at all, and I've been at the barn fur an hour. And there ain't no need of my goin' after no man in the mornin'," said she, hanging up the barn key on its nail.

I simply mention this circumstance to show what kind of a girl Pomona had grown to be.

We were all the time at work in some way, improving our little place. "Some day we will buy it," said Euphemia. We intended to have some wheat put in in the fall and next year we would make the place fairly crack with luxuriance. We would divide the duties of the farm, and, among other things, Euphemia would take charge of the chickens. She wished to do this entirely herself, so that there might be one thing that should be all her own, just as my work in town was all my own. As she wished to buy the chickens and defray all the necessary expenses out of her own private funds, I could make no objections, and, indeed, I had no desire to do so. She bought a chicken-book, and made herself mistress of the subject. For a week, there was a strong chicken flavor in all our conversation.

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This was while the poultry yard was building. There was a chicken-house on the place, but no yard, and Euphemia intended to have a good big one, because she was going into the business to make money.

"Perhaps my chickens may buy the place," she said, and I very much hoped they would.

Everything was to be done very systematically. She would have Leghorns, Brahmas, and common fowls. The first, because they laid so many eggs; the second, because they were such fine, big fowls, and the third, because they were such good mothers.

"We will eat, and sell the eggs of the first and third classes," she said, "and set the eggs of the second class, under the hens of the third class."

"There seems to be some injustice in that arrangement," I said, "for the first class will always be childless; the second class will have nothing to do with their offspring, while the third will be obliged to bring up and care for the children of others."

But I really had no voice in this matter. As soon as the carpenter had finished the yard, and had made some coops and other necessary arrangements, Euphemia hired a carriage and went about the country to buy chickens. It was not easy to find just what she wanted, and she was gone all day.

However, she brought home an enormous Brahma cock and ten hens, which number was pretty equally divided into her three classes. She was very proud of her purchases, and indeed they were fine fowls. In the evening I made some allusion to the cost of all this carpenter work, carriage-hire, etc., besides the price of the chickens.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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