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  Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

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In this delightful way of living, only one thing troubled us. We didn't save any money. There were so many little things that we wanted, and so many little things that were so cheap, that I spent pretty much all I made, and that was far from the philosophical plan of living that I wished to follow.

We talked this matter over a great deal after we had lived in our new home for about a month, and we came at last to the conclusion that we would take a boarder.

We had no trouble in getting a boarder, for we had a friend, a young man who was engaged in the flour business, who was very anxious to come and live with us. He had been to see us two or three times, and had expressed himself charmed with our household arrangements.

So we made terms with him. The carpenter partitioned off another room, and our boarder brought his trunk and a large red velvet armchair, and took up his abode at "Rudder Grange."

We liked our boarder very much, but he had some peculiarities. I suppose everybody has them. Among other things, he was very fond of telling us what we ought to do. He suggested more improvements in the first three days of his sojourn with us than I had thought of since we commenced housekeeping. And what made the matter worse, his suggestions were generally very good ones. Had it been otherwise I might have borne his remarks more complacently, but to be continually told what you ought to do, and to know that you ought to do it, is extremely annoying.

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He was very anxious that I should take off the rudder, which was certainly useless to a boat situated as ours was, and make an ironing-table of it. I persisted that the laws of symmetrical propriety required that the rudder should remain where it was--that the very name of our home would be interfered with by its removal, but he insisted that "Ironing-table Grange" would be just as good a name, and that symmetrical propriety in such a case did not amount to a row of pins.

The result was, that we did have the ironing-table, and that Euphemia was very much pleased with it. A great many other improvements were projected and carried out by him, and I was very much worried. He made a flower-garden for Euphemia on the extreme forward-deck, and having borrowed a wheelbarrow, he wheeled dozens of loads of arable dirt up our gang-plank and dumped them out on the deck. When he had covered the garden with a suitable depth of earth, he smoothed it off and then planted flower-seeds. It was rather late in the season, but most of them came up. I was pleased with the garden, but sorry I had not made it myself.

One afternoon I got away from the office considerably earlier than usual, and I hurried home to enjoy the short period of daylight that I should have before supper. It had been raining the day before, and as the bottom of our garden leaked so that earthy water trickled down at one end of our bed-room, I intended to devote a short time to stuffing up the cracks in the ceiling or bottom of the deck--whichever seems the most appropriate.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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