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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of a Novel Style of Girl

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"He's crazy!" ejaculated Mrs. Blaine, with an air that indicated "policeman" as plainly as if she had put her thought into words.

A low murmur ran through the crowd of women, while the thin clerk edged toward the door.

I saw there was no time to lose. I stepped back a little from the tall savage, who was breathing like a hot-air engine in front of me, and made my explanations to the company. I told the tale of "Rudder Grange," and showed them how it was like to a stationary wash-tub--at certain stages of the tide.

I was listened to with great attention. When I had finished, the tall woman turned around and faced the assemblage.

"An' he wants a cook to make soup! In a canal-boat!" said she, and off she marched into the back-room, followed closely by all the other women.

"I don't think we have any one here who would suit you," said Mrs. Blaine.

I didn't think so either. What on earth would Euphemia have done with that volcanic Irishwoman in her little kitchen! I took up my hat and bade Mrs. Blaine good morning.

"Good morning," said she, with a distressing smile.

She had one of those mouths that look exactly like a gash in the face.

I went home without a girl. In a day or two Euphemia came to town and got one. Apparently she got her without any trouble, but I am not sure.

She went to a "Home"--Saint Somebody's Home--a place where they keep orphans to let, so to speak. Here Euphemia selected a light-haired, medium-sized orphan, and brought her home.

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The girl's name was Pomona. Whether or not her parents gave her this name is doubtful. At any rate, she did not seem quite decided in her mind about it herself, for she had not been with us more than two weeks before she expressed a desire to be called Clare. This longing of her heart, however, was denied her. So Euphemia, who was always correct, called her Pomona. I did the same whenever I could think not to say Bologna--which seemed to come very pat for some reason or other.

As for the boarder, he generally called her Altoona, connecting her in some way with the process of stopping for refreshments, in which she was an adept.

She was an earnest, hearty girl. She was always in a good humor, and when I asked her to do anything, she assented in a bright, cheerful way, and in a loud tone full of good-fellowship, as though she would say:

"Certainly, my high old cock! To be sure I will. Don't worry about it--give your mind no more uneasiness on that subject. I'll bring the hot water."

She did not know very much, but she was delighted to learn, and she was very strong. Whatever Euphemia told her to do, she did instantly with a bang. What pleased her better than anything else was to run up and down the gang-plank, carrying buckets of water to water the garden. She delighted in out-door work, and sometimes dug so vigorously in our garden that she brought up pieces of the deck-planking with every shovelful.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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