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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The Boarder's Visit

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"But what have you done with the child?" exclaimed Euphemia.

"Oh, I left her at old Johnses."

"And so you think they're pleased with having the house to themselves?" I said.

"Pleased, sir?" replied Pomona; "they're tickled to death."

"But how do you like having strangers telling you what to do?" asked Euphemia.

"Oh, well," said Pomona, "he's no stranger, and she's real pleasant, and if it gives you a good camp out, I don't mind."

Euphemia and I looked at each other. Here was true allegiance. We would remember this.

Pomona now hurried off, and we seriously discussed the matter, and soon came to the conclusion that while it might be the truest hospitality to let our friends stay at our house for a day or two and enjoy themselves, still it would not do for us to allow ourselves to be governed by a too delicate sentimentality. We must go home and act our part of host and hostess.

Mrs. Old John had been at the camp ever since breakfast-time, giving the place a Saturday cleaning. What she had found to occupy her for so long a time I could not imagine, but in her efforts to put in a full half-day's work, I have no doubt she scrubbed some of the trees. We had been so fully occupied with our own affairs that we had paid very little attention to her, but she had probably heard pretty much all that had been said.

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At noon we paid her (giving her, at her suggestion, something extra in lieu of the midday meal, which she did not stay to take), and told her to send her husband, with his wagon, as soon as possible, as we intended to break up our encampment. We determined that we would pack everything in John's wagon, and let him take the load to his house, and keep it there until Monday, when I would have the tent and accompaniments expressed to their owner. We would go home and join our friends. It would not be necessary to say where we had been.

It was hard for us to break up our camp. In many respects we had enjoyed the novel experience, and we had fully expected, during the next week, to make up for all our short-comings and mistakes. It seemed like losing all our labor and expenditure, to break up now, but there was no help for it. Our place was at home.

We did not wish to invite our friends to the camp. They would certainly have come had they known we were there, but we had no accommodations for them, neither had we any desire for even transient visitors. Besides, we both thought that we would prefer that our ex-boarder and his wife should not know that we were encamped on that little peninsula.

We set to work to pack up and get ready for moving, but the afternoon passed away without bringing old John. Between five and six o'clock along came his oldest boy, with a bucket of water.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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