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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
The Boarder's Visit
|Page 1 of 7||
For the rest of the afternoon, and indeed far into the night, our conversation consisted almost entirely of conjectures regarding the probable condition of things at the house. We both thought we had done right, but we felt badly about it. It was not hospitable, to be sure; but then I should have no other holiday until next year, and our friends could come at any time to see us.
The next morning old John brought a note from Pomona. It was written with pencil on a small piece of paper torn from the margin of a newspaper, and contained the words, "Here yit."
"So you've got company," said old John, with a smile. "That's a queer gal of yourn. She says I mustn't tell 'em you're here. As if I'd tell 'em!"
We knew well enough that old John was not at all likely to do anything that would cut off the nice little revenue he was making out of our camp, and so we felt no concern on that score.
But we were very anxious for further news, and we told old John to go to the house about ten o'clock and ask Pomona to send us another note.
We waited, in a very disturbed condition of mind, until nearly eleven o'clock, when old John came with a verbal message from Pomona:
"She says she's a-comin' herself as soon as she can get a chance to slip off."
This was not pleasant news. It filled our minds with a confused mass of probabilities, and it made us feel mean. How contemptible it seemed to be a party to this concealment and in league with a servant-girl who has to "slip off!"
Before long, Pomona appeared, quite out of breath.
"In all my life," said she, "I never see people like them two. I thought I was never goin' to get away."
"Are they there yet?" cried Euphemia.
"How long are they going to stay?"
"Dear knows!" replied Pomona. "Their valise came up by express last night."
"Oh, we'll have to go up to the house," said Euphemia. "It won't do to stay away any longer."
"Well," said Pomona, fanning herself with her apron, "if you know'd all I know, I don't think you'd think so."
"What do you mean?" said Euphemia.
"Well, ma'am, they've just settled down and taken possession of the whole place. He says to me that he know'd you'd both want them to make themselves at home, just as if you was there, and they thought they'd better do it. He asked me did I think you would be home by Monday, and I said I didn't know, but I guessed you would. So says he to his wife, 'Won't that be a jolly lark? We'll just keep house for them here till they come. And he says he would go down to the store and order some things, if there wasn't enough in the house, and he asked her to see what would be needed, which she did, and he's gone down for 'em now. And she says that, as it was Saturday, she'd see that the house was all put to rights; and after breakfast she set me to sweepin'; and it's only by way of her dustin' the parlor and givin' me the little girl to take for a walk that I got off at all."
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Frank R. Stockton
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