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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
Pomona Produces a Partial Revolution in Rudder Grange
|Page 3 of 5||
"Where is Pomona?" I said, endeavoring to stand on the hill-side of the deck.
"I don't know," said he, "but we must get the things out. The tide's rising and the wind's getting up. The boat will go over before we know it."
"But we must find the girl," I said. "She can't be left to drown."
"I don't think it would matter much," said he, getting over the side of the boat with his awkward load. "She would be of about as much use drowned as any other way. If it hadn't been for that hole she cut in the side of the boat, this would never have happened."
"You don't think it was that!" I said, holding the picture and the chair while he let himself down to the gang-plank.
"Yes, it was," he replied. "The tide's very high, and the water got over that hole and rushed in. The water and the wind will finish this old craft before very long."
And then he took his load from me and dashed down the gang-plank. I went below to look for Pomona. The lantern still hung on the nail, and I took it down and went into the kitchen. There was Pomona, dressed, and with her hat on, quietly packing some things in a basket.
"Come, hurry out of this," I cried. "Don't you know that this house--this boat, I mean, is a wreck?"
"Yes, sma'am--sir, I mean--I know it, and I suppose we shall soon be at the mercy of the waves."
"Well, then, go as quickly as you can. What are you putting in that basket?"
"Food," she said. "We may need it."
I took her by the shoulder and hurried her on deck, over the bulwark, down the gang-plank, and so on to the place where I had left Euphemia.
I found the dear girl there, quiet and collected, all up in a little bunch, to shield herself from the wind. I wasted no time, but hurried the two women over to the house of our milk-merchant. There, with some difficulty, I roused the good woman, and after seeing Euphemia and Pomona safely in the house, I left them to tell the tale, and ran back to the boat.
The boarder was working like a Trojan. He had already a pile of our furniture on the beach.
I set about helping him, and for an hour we labored at this hasty and toilsome moving. It was indeed a toilsome business. The floors were shelving, the stairs leaned over sideways, ever so far, and the gang-plank was desperately short and steep.
Still, we saved quite a number of household articles. Some things we broke and some we forgot, and some things were too big to move in this way; but we did very well, considering the circumstances.
The wind roared, the tide rose, and the boat groaned and creaked. We were in the kitchen, trying to take the stove apart (the boarder was sure we could carry it up, if we could get the pipe out and the legs and doors off), when we heard a crash. We rushed on deck and found that the garden had fallen in! Making our way as well as we could toward the gaping rent in the deck, we saw that the turnip-bed had gone down bodily into the boarder's room. He did not hesitate, but scrambled down his narrow stairs. I followed him. He struck a match that he had in his pocket, and lighted a little lantern that hung under the stairs. His room was a perfect rubbish heap. The floor, bed, chairs, pitcher, basin--everything was covered or filled with garden mold and turnips. Never did I behold such a scene. He stood in the midst of it, holding his lantern high above his head. At length he spoke.
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Frank R. Stockton
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