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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The Baby at Rudder Grange

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For some reason, not altogether understood by me, there seemed to be a continued series of new developments at our home. I had supposed, when the events spoken of in the last chapter had settled down to their proper places in our little history, that our life would flow on in an even, commonplace way, with few or no incidents worthy of being recorded. But this did not prove to be the case. After a time, the uniformity and quiet of our existence was considerably disturbed.

This disturbance was caused by a baby, not a rude, imperious baby, but a child who was generally of a quiet and orderly turn of mind. But it disarranged all our plans; all our habits; all the ordinary disposition of things.

It was in the summer-time, during my vacation, that it began to exert its full influence upon us. A more unfortunate season could not have been selected. At first, I may say that it did not exert its full influence upon me. I was away, during the day, and, in the evening, its influence was not exerted, to any great extent, upon anybody. As I have said, its habits were exceedingly orderly. But, during my vacation, the things came to pass which have made this chapter necessary.

I did not intend taking a trip. As in a former vacation, I proposed staying at home and enjoying those delights of the country which my business in town did not allow me to enjoy in the working weeks and months of the year. I had no intention of camping out, or of doing anything of that kind, but many were the trips, rides, and excursions I had planned.

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I found, however, that if I enjoyed myself in this wise, I must do it, for the most part, alone. It was not that Euphemia could not go with me--there was really nothing to prevent--it was simply that she had lost, for the time, her interest in everything except that baby.

She wanted me to be happy, to amuse myself, to take exercise, to do whatever I thought was pleasant, but she, herself, was so much engrossed with the child, that she was often ignorant of what I intended to do, or had done. She thought she was listening to what I said to her, but, in reality, she was occupied, mind and body, with the baby, or listening for some sound which should indicate that she ought to go and be occupied with it.

I would often say to her: "Why can't you let Pomona attend to it? You surely need not give up your whole time and your whole mind to the child."

But she would always answer that Pomona had a great many things to do, and that she couldn't, at all times, attend to the baby. Suppose, for instance, that she should be at the barn.

I once suggested that a nurse should be procured, but at this she laughed.

"There is very little to do," she said, "and I really like to do it."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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