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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The New Rudder Grange

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"Well," said he, "I first thought of cutting a hole in the partition wall at the foot of the bed, for her to put her feet through."

"Never!" said his wife, emphatically. "I would never have allowed that."

"And then," continued he, "I thought of turning the bed around, and cutting a larger hole, through which she might have put her head into the little room on this side. A low table could have stood under the hole, and her head might have rested on a cushion on the table very comfortably."

"My dear," said his wife, "it would have frightened me to death to go into that room and see that head on a cushion on a table--"

"Like John the Baptist," interrupted Euphemia.

"Well," said our ex-boarder, "the plan would have had its advantages."

"Oh!" cried Euphemia, looking out of a back window. "What a lovely little iron balcony! Do you sit out there on warm evenings?"

"That's a fire-escape," said the ex-boarder. "We don't go out there unless it is very hot indeed, on account of the house being on fire. You see there is a little door in the floor of the balcony and an iron ladder leading to the balcony beneath, and so on, down to the first story."

"And you have to creep through that hole and go down that dreadful steep ladder every time there is a fire?" said Euphemia.

"Well, I guess we would never go down but once," he answered.

"No, indeed," said Euphemia; "you'd fall down and break your neck the first time," and she turned away from the window with a very grave expression on her face.

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Soon after this our hostess conducted Euphemia to the guest-chamber, while her husband and I finished a bed-time cigar.

When I joined Euphemia in her room, she met me with a mysterious expression on her face. She shut the door, and then said in a very earnest tone:

"Do you see that little bedstead in the corner? I did not notice it until I came in just now, and then, being quite astonished, I said, 'Why here's a child's bed; who sleeps here?' 'Oh,' says she, 'that's our little Adele's bedstead. We have it in our room when she's here.' 'Little Adele!' said I, 'I didn't know she was little--not small enough for that bed, at any rate.' 'Why, yes,' said she, 'Adele is only four years old. The bedstead is quite large enough for her.' 'And she is not here now?' I said, utterly amazed at all this. 'No,' she answered, 'she is not here now, but we try to have her with us as much as we can, and always keep her little bed ready for her.' 'I suppose she's with her father's people,' I said, and she answered, 'Oh yes,' and bade me good-night. What does all this mean? Our boarder told us that the daughter is grown up, and here his wife declares that she is only four years old! I don't know what in the world to make of this mystery!"

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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