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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Pomona's Novel

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"O, Pomona," interrupted Euphemia. "You don't mean to say that you were thinking of doing anything like that?"

"Well, I was just beginning to think of it," said Pomona, "but of course I couldn't have gone away and left the house. And you'll see I didn't do it." And then she continued her novel. "But while my thoughts were thus employ-ed, I heard Lord Edward burst into bark-ter--"

At this Euphemia and I could not help bursting into laughter. Pomona did not seem at all confused, but went on with her reading.

"I hurried to the door, and, look-ing out, I saw a wagon at the gate. Re-pair-ing there, I saw a man. Said he, 'Wilt open this gate?' I had fasten-ed up the gates and remov-ed every steal-able ar-ticle from the yard."

Euphemia and I looked at each other. This explained the absence of the rustic seat and the dipper.

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"Thus, with my mind at ease, I could let my faith-ful fri-end, the dog (for he it was), roam with me through the grounds, while the fi-erce bull-dog guard-ed the man-si-on within. Then said I, quite bold, unto him, 'No. I let in no man here. My em-ploy-er and employ-er-ess are now from home. What do you want?' Then says he, as bold as brass, 'I've come to put the light-en-ing rods upon the house. Open the gate.' 'What rods?' says I. 'The rods as was ordered,' says he, 'open the gate.' I stood and gaz-ed at him. Full well I saw through his pinch-beck mask. I knew his tricks. In the ab-sence of my em-ployer, he would put up rods, and ever so many more than was wanted, and likely, too, some miser-able trash that would attrack the light-ening, instead of keep-ing it off. Then, as it would spoil the house to take them down, they would be kept, and pay demand-ed. 'No, sir,' says I. 'No light-en-ing rods upon this house whilst I stand here,' and with that I walk-ed away, and let Lord Edward loose. The man he storm-ed with pas-si-on. His eyes flash-ed fire. He would e'en have scal-ed the gate, but when he saw the dog he did forbear. As it was then near noon, I strode away to feed the fowls; but when I did return, I saw a sight which froze the blood with-in my veins--"

"The dog didn't kill him?" cried Euphemia.

"Oh no, ma'am!" said Pomona. "You'll see that that wasn't it. At one corn-er of the lot, in front, a base boy, who had accompa-ni-ed this man, was bang-ing on the fence with a long stick, and thus attrack-ing to hisself the rage of Lord Edward, while the vile intrig-er of a light-en-ing rod-der had brought a lad-der to the other side of the house, up which he had now as-cend-ed, and was on the roof. What horrors fill-ed my soul! How my form trembl-ed! This," continued Pomona, "is the end of the novel," and she laid her foolscap pages on the porch.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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