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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

The New Rudder Grange

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It was not the end-house of a village, but it was in the outskirts of a very small rural settlement. Our nearest neighbor was within vigorous shouting distance, and the house suited us so well in other respects, that we concluded that this would do. The house was small, but large enough. There were some trees around it, and a little lawn in front. There was a garden, a small barn and stable, a pasture field, and land enough besides for small patches of corn and potatoes. The rent was low, the water good, and no one can imagine how delighted we were.

We did not furnish the whole house at first, but what mattered it? We had no horse or cow, but the pasture and barn were ready for them. We did not propose to begin with everything at once.

Our first evening in that house was made up of hours of unalloyed bliss. We walked from room to room; we looked out on the garden and the lawn; we sat on the little porch while I smoked.

"We were happy at Rudder Grange," said Euphemia; "but that was only a canal-boat, and could not, in the nature of things, have been a permanent home."

"No," said I, "it could not have been permanent. But, in many respects, it was a delightful home. The very name of it brings pleasant thoughts."

"It was a nice name," said Euphemia, "and I'll tell you what we might do: Let us call this place Rudder Grange--the New Rudder Grange! The name will do just as well for a house as for a boat."

I agreed on the spot, and the house was christened.

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Our household was small; we had a servant--a German woman; and we had ourselves, that was all.

I did not do much in the garden; it was too late in the season. The former occupant had planted some corn and potatoes, with a few other vegetables, and these I weeded and hoed, working early in the morning and when I came home in the afternoon. Euphemia tied up the rose-vines, trimmed the bushes, and with a little rake and hoe she prepared a flower-bed in front of the parlor-window. This exercise gave us splendid appetites, and we loved our new home more and more.

Our German girl did not suit us exactly at first, and day by day she grew to suit us less. She was a quiet, kindly, pleasant creature, and delighted in an out-of-door life. She was as willing to weed in the garden as she was to cook or wash. At first I was very much pleased with this, because, as I remarked to Euphemia, you can find very few girls who would be willing to work in the garden, and she might be made very useful.

But, after a time, Euphemia began to get a little out of patience with her. She worked out-of-doors entirely too much. And what she did there, as well as some of her work in the house, was very much like certain German literature--you did not know how it was done, or what it was for.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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