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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
Treating of a Novel Style of Girl
|Page 2 of 6||
After dinner that evening, when I went up on deck with Euphemia to have my smoke, we saw the boarder sitting on the bulwarks near the garden, with his legs dangling down outside.
"Look here!" said he.
I looked, but there was nothing unusual to see.
"What is it?" I asked.
He turned around and seeing Euphemia, said:
It would be a very stupid person who could not take such a hint as that, and so, after a walk around the garden, Euphemia took occasion to go below to look at the kitchen fire.
As soon as she had gone, the boarder turned to me and said:
"I'll tell you what it is. She's working herself sick."
"Sick?" said I. "Nonsense!"
"No nonsense about it," he replied.
The truth was, that the boarder was right and I was wrong. We had spent several months at Rudder Grange, and during this time Euphemia had been working very hard, and she really did begin to look pale and thin. Indeed, it would be very wearying for any woman of culture and refinement, unused to house-work, to cook and care for two men, and to do all the work of a canal-boat besides.
But I saw Euphemia so constantly, and thought so much of her, and had her image so continually in my heart, that I did not notice this until our boarder now called my attention to it. I was sorry that he had to do it.
"If I were in your place," said he, "I would get her a servant."
"If you were in my place," I replied, somewhat cuttingly, "you would probably suggest a lot of little things which would make everything very easy for her."
"I'd try to," he answered, without getting in the least angry.
Although I felt annoyed that he had suggested it, still I made up my mind that Euphemia must have a servant.
She agreed quite readily when I proposed the plan, and she urged me to go and see the carpenter that very day, and get him to come and partition off a little room for the girl.
It was some time, of course, before the room was made (for who ever heard of a carpenter coming at the very time he was wanted?) and, when it was finished, Euphemia occupied all her spare moments in getting it in nice order for the servant when she should come. I thought she was taking too much trouble, but she had her own ideas about such things.
"If a girl is lodged like a pig, you must expect her to behave like a pig, and I don't want that kind."
So she put up pretty curtains at the girl's window, and with a box that she stood on end, and some old muslin and a lot of tacks, she made a toilet-table so neat and convenient that I thought she ought to take it into our room and give the servant our wash-stand.
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Frank R. Stockton
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