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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
Treating of a Novel Style of Girl
|Page 1 of 6||
One afternoon, as I was hurrying down Broadway to catch the five o'clock train, I met Waterford. He is an old friend of mine, and I used to like him pretty well.
"Hello!" said he, "where are you going?"
"Home," I answered.
"Is that so?" said he. "I didn't know you had one."
I was a little nettled at this, and so I said, somewhat brusquely perhaps:
"But you must have known I lived somewhere."
"Oh, yes! But I thought you boarded," said he. "I had no idea that you had a home."
"But I have one, and a very pleasant home, too. You must excuse me for not stopping longer, as I must catch my train."
"Oh! I'll walk along with you," said Waterford, and so we went down the street together.
"Where is your little house?" he asked.
Why in the world he thought it was a little house I could not at the time imagine, unless he supposed that two people would not require a large one. But I know, now, that he lived in a very little house himself.
But it was of no use getting angry with Waterford, especially as I saw he intended walking all the way down to the ferry with me, so I told him I didn't live in any house at all.
"Why, where DO you live?" he exclaimed, stopping short.
"I live in a boat," said I.
"A boat! A sort of 'Rob Roy' arrangement, I suppose. Well, I would not have thought that of you. And your wife, I suppose, has gone home to her people?"
"She has done nothing of the kind," I answered. "She lives with me, and she likes it very much. We are extremely comfortable, and our boat is not a canoe, or any such nonsensical affair. It is a large, commodious canal-boat."
Waterford turned around and looked at me.
"Are you a deck-hand?" he asked.
"Deck-grandmother!" I exclaimed.
"Well, you needn't get mad about it," he said. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings; but I couldn't see what else you could be on a canal-boat. I don't suppose, for instance, that you're captain."
"But I am," said I.
"Look here!" said Waterford; "this is coming it rather strong, isn't it?"
As I saw he was getting angry, I told him all about it,--told him how we had hired a stranded canal-boat and had fitted it up as a house, and how we lived so cosily in it, and had called it "Rudder Grange," and how we had taken a boarder.
"Well!" said he, "this is certainly surprising. I'm coming out to see you some day. It will be better than going to Barnum's."
I told him--it is the way of society--that we would be glad to see him, and we parted. Waterford never did come to see us, and I merely mention this incident to show how some of our friends talked about Rudder Grange, when they first heard that we lived there.
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Frank R. Stockton
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