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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
Treating of a Novel Style of Dwelling-house
|Page 4 of 8||
We were beginning to be discouraged, at least Euphemia was. Her discouragement is like water-cresses, it generally comes up in a very short time after she sows her wishes. But then it withers away rapidly, which is a comfort. One evening we were sitting, rather disconsolately, in our room, and I was reading out the advertisements of country board in a newspaper, when in rushed Dr. Heare--one of our old friends. He was so full of something that he had to say that he didn't even ask us how we were. In fact, he didn't appear to want to know.
"I tell you what it is," said he, "I have found just the very thing you want."
"A canal-boat?" I cried.
"Yes," said he, "a canal-boat."
"Furnished?" asked Euphemia, her eyes glistening.
"Well, no," answered the doctor, "I don't think you could expect that."
"But we can't live on the bare floor," said Euphemia; "our house MUST be furnished."
"Well, then, I suppose this won't do," said the doctor, ruefully, "for there isn't so much as a boot-jack in it. It has most things that are necessary for a boat, but it hasn't anything that you could call house-furniture; but, dear me, I should think you could furnish it very cheaply and comfortably out of your book."
"Very true," said Euphemia, "if we could pick out the cheapest things and then get some folks to buy a lot of the books."
"We could begin with very little," said I, trying hard to keep calm.
"Certainly," said the doctor, "you need make no more rooms, at first, than you could furnish."
"Then there are no rooms," said Euphemia.
"No, there is nothing but one vast apartment extending from stem to stern."
"Won't it be glorious!" said Euphemia to me. "We can first make a kitchen, and then a dining-room, and a bedroom, and then a parlor-- just in the order in which our book says they ought to be furnished."
"Glorious!" I cried, no longer able to contain my enthusiasm; "I should think so. Doctor, where is this canal-boat?"
The doctor then went into a detailed statement. The boat was stranded on the shore of the Scoldsbury river not far below Ginx's. We knew where Ginx's was, because we had spent a very happy day there, during our honeymoon.
The boat was a good one, but superannuated. That, however, did not interfere with its usefulness as a dwelling. We could get it--the doctor had seen the owner--for a small sum per annum, and here was positively no end to its capabilities.
We sat up until twenty minutes past two, talking about that house. We ceased to call it a boat at about a quarter of eleven.
The next day I "took" the boat and paid a month's rent in advance. Three days afterward we moved into it.
We had not much to move, which was a comfort, looking at it from one point of view. A carpenter had put up two partitions in it which made three rooms--a kitchen, a dining-room and a very long bedroom, which was to be cut up into a parlor, study, spare-room, etc., as soon as circumstances should allow, or my salary should be raised. Originally, all the doors and windows were in the roof, so to speak, but our landlord allowed us to make as many windows to the side of the boat as we pleased, provided we gave him the wood we cut out. It saved him trouble, he said, but I did not understand him at the time. Accordingly, the carpenter made several windows for us, and put in sashes, which opened on hinges like the hasp of a trunk. Our furniture did not amount to much, at first. The very thought of living in this independent, romantic way was so delightful, Euphemia said, that furniture seemed a mere secondary matter.
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