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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The Boarder's Visit

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At this point I could not help thinking that Euphemia might have consulted me in regard to her determination, but she was very much in earnest, and I would not have any discussion before these people.

"Now, listen!" said Euphemia, addressing the down-cast couple, "we are going home, and you two are to stay here all this day and tonight, and take care of these things. You can't work to-day, and you can shut up your house, and bring your whole family here if you choose. We will pay you for the service,--although you do not deserve a cent,--and we will leave enough here for you to eat. You must bring your own sheets and pillowcases, and stay here until we see you on Monday morning."

Old John and his wife agreed to this plan with the greatest alacrity, apparently well pleased to get off so easily; and, having locked up the smaller articles of camp-furniture, we filled a valise with our personal baggage and started off home.

Our house and grounds never looked prettier than they did that morning, as we stood at the gate. Lord Edward barked a welcome from his shed, and before we reached the door, Pomona came running out, her face radiant.

"I'm awful glad to see you back," she said; "though I'd never have said so while you was in camp."

I patted the dog and looked into the garden. Everything was growing splendidly. Euphemia rushed to the chicken-yard. It was in first-rate order, and there were two broods of little yellow puffy chicks.

Down on her knees went my wife, to pick up the little creatures, one by one, press their downy bodies to her cheek, and call them tootsy-wootsies, and away went I to the barn, followed by Pomona, and soon afterward by Euphemia.

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The cow was all right.

"I've been making butter," said Pomona, "though it don't look exactly like it ought to, yet, and the skim-milk I didn't know what to do with, so I gave it to old John. He came for it every day, and was real mad once because I had given a lot of it to the dog, and couldn't let him have but a pint."

"He ought to have been mad," said I to Euphemia, as we walked up to the house. "He got ten cents a quart for that milk."

We laughed, and didn't care. We were too glad to be at home.

"But where are our friends?" I asked Pomona. We had actually forgotten them.

"Oh! they're gone out for a walk," said she. "They started off right after breakfast."

We were not sorry for this. It would be so much nicer to see our dear home again when there was nobody there but ourselves. Indoors we rushed. Our absence had been like rain on a garden. Everything now seemed fresher and brighter and more delightful. We went from room to room, and seemed to appreciate better than ever what a charming home we had.

We were so full of the delights of our return that we forgot all about the Sunday dinner and our guests, but Pomona, whom my wife was training to be an excellent cook, did not forget, and Euphemia was summoned to a consultation in the kitchen.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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