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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of a Novel Style of Girl

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Our boarder took the greatest interest in her, and sometimes watched her movements so intently that he let his pipe go out.

"What a whacking girl that would be to tread out grapes in the vineyards of Italy! She'd make wine cheap," he once remarked.

"Then I'm glad she isn't there," said Euphemia, "for wine oughtn't to be cheap."

Euphemia was a thorough little temperance woman.

The one thing about Pomona that troubled me more than anything else was her taste for literature. It was not literature to which I objected, but her very peculiar taste. She would read in the kitchen every night after she had washed the dishes, but if she had not read aloud, it would not have made so much difference to me. But I am naturally very sensitive to external impressions, and I do not like the company of people who, like our girl, cannot read without pronouncing in a measured and distinct voice every word of what they are reading. And when the matter thus read appeals to one's every sentiment of aversion, and there is no way of escaping it, the case is hard indeed.

From the first, I felt inclined to order Pomona, if she could not attain the power of silent perusal, to cease from reading altogether; but Euphemia would not hear to this.

"Poor thing!" said she; "it would be cruel to take from her her only recreation. And she says she can't read any other way. You needn't listen if you don't want to."

That was all very well in an abstract point of view; but the fact was, that in practice, the more I didn't want to listen, the more I heard.

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As the evenings were often cool, we sat in our dining-room, and the partition between this room and the kitchen seemed to have no influence whatever in arresting sound. So that when I was trying to read or to reflect, it was by no means exhilarating to my mind to hear from the next room that:

"The la dy ce sel i a now si zed the weep on and all though the boor ly vil ly an re tain ed his vy gor ous hold she drew the blade through his fin gers and hoorl ed it far be hind her dryp ping with jore."

This sort of thing, kept up for an hour or so at a time, used to drive me nearly wild. But Euphemia did not mind it. I believe that she had so delicate a sense of what was proper, that she did not hear Pomona's private readings.

On one occasion, even Euphemia's influence could scarcely restrain me from violent interference.

It was our boarder's night out (when he was detained in town by his business), and Pomona was sitting up to let him in. This was necessary, for our front-door (or main-hatchway) had no night-latch, but was fastened by means of a bolt. Euphemia and I used to sit up for him, but that was earlier in the season, when it was pleasant to be out on deck until quite a late hour. But Pomona never objected to sitting (or getting) up late, and so we allowed this weekly duty to devolve on her.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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