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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Pomona takes a Bridal Trip

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"'My grandfather,' said he, 'was a rich and powerful Portugee, a-livin' on the island of Jamaica. He had heaps o' slaves, an' owned a black brigantine, that he sailed in on secret voyages, an', when he come back, the decks an' the gunnels was often bloody, but nobody knew why or wherefore. He was a big man with black hair an' very violent. He could never have kept no help, if he hadn't owned 'em, but he was so rich, that people respected him, in spite of all his crimes. My grandmother was a native o' the Isle o' Wight. She was a frail an' tender woman, with yeller hair, and deep blue eyes, an' gentle, an' soft, an' good to the poor. She used to take baskits of vittles aroun' to sick folks, an' set down on the side o' their beds an' read "The Shepherd o' Salisbury Plains" to 'em. She hardly ever speaked above her breath, an' always wore white gowns with a silk kerchief a-folded placidly aroun' her neck.' 'Them was awful different kind o' people,' I says to him, 'I wonder how they ever come to be married.' 'They never was married,' says he. 'Never married!' I hollers, a-jumpin' up from my chair, 'and you sit there carmly an' look me in the eye.' 'Yes,' says he, 'they was never married. They never met; one was my mother's father, and the other one my father's mother. 'Twas well they did not wed.' 'I should think so,' said I, 'an' now, what's the good of tellin' me a thing like that?'

"'It's about as near the mark as most of the stories of people's lives, I reckon,' says he, 'an' besides I'd only jus' begun it.'

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"'Well, I don't want no more,' says I, an' I jus' tell this story of his to show what kind of stories he told about that time. He said they was pleasant fictions, but I told him that if he didn't look out he'd hear 'em called by a good deal of a worse kind of a name than that. The nex' mornin' he asked me what was my dream, an' I told him I didn't have exactly no dream about it, but my idea was to have somethin' real romantic for the rest of our bridal days.

"'Well,' says he, 'what would you like? I had a dream, but it wasn't no ways romantic, and I'll jus' fall in with whatever you'd like best.'

"'All right,' says I, 'an' the most romantic-est thing that I can think of is for us to make-believe for the rest of this trip. We can make-believe we're anything we please, an' if we think so in real earnest it will be pretty much the same thing as if we really was. We aint likely to have no chance ag'in of being jus' what we've a mind to, an' so let's try it now.'

"'What would you have a mind to be?' says he.

"'Well,' says I, 'let's be an earl an' a earl-ess.'

"'Earl-ess'? says he, 'there's no such a person.'

"'Why, yes there is, of course,' I says to him. 'What's a she-earl if she isn't a earl-ess?'

"'Well, I don't know,' says he, 'never havin' lived with any of 'em, but we'll let it go at that. An' how do you want to work the thing out?'

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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