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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The New Rudder Grange

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"I would rather figure on a cheaper house than that for a country place," I interrupted.

"Well then, say two thousand dollars. You get masons, and carpenters, and people to dig the cellar, and you engage them to build your house. You needn't pay them until it's done, of course. Then when it's all finished, borrow two thousand dollars and give the house as security. After that you see, you have only to pay the interest on the borrowed money. When you save enough money to pay back the loan, the house is your own. Now, isn't that a good plan?"

"Yes," said I, "if there could be found people who would build your house and wait for their money until some one would lend you its full value on a mortgage."

"Well," said Euphemia, "I guess they could be found if you would only look for them."

"I'll look for them, when I go to heaven," I said.

We gave up for the present, the idea of building or buying a house, and determined to rent a small place in the country, and then, as Euphemia wisely said, if we liked it, we might buy it. After she had dropped her building projects she thought that one ought to know just how a house would suit before having it on one's hands.

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We could afford something better than a canal-boat now, and therefore we were not so restricted as in our first search for a house. But, the one thing which troubled my wife--and, indeed, caused me much anxious thought, was that scourge of almost all rural localities--tramps. It would be necessary for me to be away all day,--and we could not afford to keep a man,--so we must be careful to get a house somewhere off the line of ordinary travel, or else in a well-settled neighborhood, where there would be some one near at hand in case of unruly visitors.

"A village I don't like," said Euphemia: "there is always so much gossip, and people know all about what you have, and what you do. And yet it would be very lonely, and perhaps dangerous, for us to live off somewhere, all by ourselves. And there is another objection to a village. We don't want a house with a small yard and a garden at the back. We ought to have a dear little farm, with some fields for corn, and a cow, and a barn and things of that sort. All that would be lovely. I'll tell you what we want," she cried, seized with a sudden inspiration; "we ought to try to get the end-house of a village. Then our house could be near the neighbors, and our farm could stretch out a little way into the country beyond us. Let us fix our minds upon such a house and I believe we can get it."

So we fixed our minds, but in the course of a week or two we unfixed them several times to allow the consideration of places, which otherwise would have been out of range; and during one of these intervals of mental disfixment we took a house.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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