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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The Boarder's Visit

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We declined this invitation, as we had so lately dined. I looked at Euphemia with a question in my eye. She understood me, and gently shook her head. It would be a shame to make any explanations which might put an end to this bit of camp-life, which evidently was so eagerly enjoyed by our old friend. But we insisted that they should come up to the house and see us, and they agreed to dine with us the next evening. On Tuesday, they must return to the city.

"Now, this is what I call real hospitality," said the ex-boarder, warmly grasping my hand. I could not help agreeing with him.

As we walked home, I happened to look back and saw old John going over the fields toward the camp, carrying a little tin-pail and a water bucket.

The next day, toward evening, a storm set in, and at the hour fixed for our dinner, the rain was pouring down in such torrents that we did not expect our guests. After dinner the rain ceased, and as we supposed that they might not have made any preparations for a meal, Euphemia packed up some dinner for them in a basket, and I took it down to the camp.

They were glad to see me, and said they had a splendid time all day. They were up before sunrise, and had explored, tramped, boated, and I don't know what else.

My basket was very acceptable, and I would have stayed awhile with them, but as they were obliged to eat in the tent, there was no place for me to sit, it being too wet outside, and so I soon came away.

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We were in doubt whether or not to tell our friends the true history of the camp. I thought that it was not right to keep up the deception, while Euphemia declared that if they were sensitive people, they would feel very badly at having broken up our plans by their visit, and then having appropriated our camp to themselves. She thought it would be the part of magnanimity to say nothing about it.

I could not help seeing a good deal of force in her arguments, although I wished very much to set the thing straight, and we discussed the matter again as we walked down to the camp, after breakfast next morning.

There we found old John sitting on a stump. He said nothing, but handed me a note written in lead-pencil on a card. It was from our ex-boarder, and informed me that early that morning he had found that there was a tug lying in the river, which would soon start for the city. He also found that he could get passage on her for his party, and as this was such a splendid chance to go home without the bother of getting up to the station, he had just bundled his family and his valise on board, and was very sorry they did not have time to come up and bid us good-bye. The tent he left in charge of a very respectable man, from whom he had had supplies.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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