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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of a Novel Style of Burglar

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An important fact in domestic economy was discovered about this time by Euphemia and myself. Perhaps we were not the first to discover it, but we certainly did find it out,--and this fact was, that housekeeping costs money. At the end of every week we counted up our expenditures--it was no trouble at all to count up our receipts--and every week the result was more unsatisfactory.

"If we could only get rid of the disagreeable balance that has to be taken along all the time, and which gets bigger and bigger like a snow-ball, I think we would find the accounts more satisfactory," said Euphemia.

This was on a Saturday night. We always got our pencils and paper and money at the end of the week.

"Yes," said I, with an attempt to appear facetious and unconcerned, "but it would be all well enough if we could take that snow-ball to the fire and melt it down."

"But there never is any fire where there are snow-balls," said Euphemia.

"No," said I, "and that's just the trouble."

It was on the following Thursday, when I came home in the evening, that Euphemia met me with a glowing face. It rather surprised me to see her look so happy, for she had been very quiet and preoccupied for the first part of the week. So much so, indeed, that I had thought of ordering smaller roasts for a week or two, and taking her to a Thomas Concert with the money saved. But this evening she looked as if she did not need Thomas's orchestra.

"What makes you so bright, my dear?" said I, when I had greeted her. "Has anything jolly happened?"

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"No," said she; "nothing yet, but I am going to make a fire to melt snow-balls."

Of course I was very anxious to know how she was going to do it, but she would not tell me. It was a plan that she intended to keep to herself until she saw how it worked. I did not press her, because she had so few secrets, and I did not hear anything about this plan until it had been carried out.

Her scheme was as follows: After thinking over our financial condition and puzzling her brain to find out some way of bettering it, she had come to the conclusion that she would make some money by her own exertions, to help defray our household expenses. She never had made any money, but that was no reason why she should not begin. It was too bad that I should have to toil and toil and not make nearly enough money after all. So she would go to work and earn something with her own hands.

She had heard of an establishment in the city, where ladies of limited means, or transiently impecunious, could, in a very quiet and private way, get sewing to do. They could thus provide for their needs without any one but the officers of the institution knowing anything about it.

So Euphemia went to this place, and she got some work. It was not a very large bundle, but it was larger than she had been accustomed to carry, and, what was perfectly dreadful, it was wrapped up in a newspaper! When Euphemia told me the story, she said that this was too much for her courage. She could not go on the cars, and perhaps meet people belonging to our church, with a newspaper bundle under her arm.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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