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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of an Unsuccessful Broker and a Dog

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"Whew!" said I. "Have you been giving him whisky?"

"No," whispered Euphemia, "of course not. I noticed that smell, and he said he had been cleaning his clothes with alcohol."

"They needed it, I'm sure," I remarked as I turned away. "And now," said I, "where's the girl?"

"This is her afternoon out. What is the matter? You look frightened."

"Oh, I'm not frightened, but I find I must go down to the station again. Just run up and put on your bonnet. It will be a nice little walk for you."

I had been rapidly revolving the matter in my mind. What was I to do with this wretch who was now asleep in my outer kitchen? If I woke him up and drove him off,--and I might have difficulty in doing it,--there was every reason to believe that he would not go far, but return at night and commit some revengeful act. I never saw a more sinister-looking fellow. And he was certainly drunk. He must not be allowed to wander about our neighborhood. I would go for the constable and have him arrested.

So I locked the door from the kitchen into the house and then the outside door of the kitchen, and when my wife came down we hurried off. On the way I told her what I intended to do, and what I thought of our guest. She answered scarcely a word, and I hoped that she was frightened. I think she was.

The constable, who was also coroner of our township, had gone to a creek, three miles away, to hold an inquest, and there was nobody to arrest the man. The nearest police-station was at Hackingford, six miles away, on the railroad. I held a consultation with the station-master, and the gentleman who kept the grocery-store opposite.

They could think of nothing to be done except to shoot the man, and to that I objected.

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"However," said I, "he can't stay there;" and a happy thought just then striking me, I called to the boy who drove the village express-wagon, and engaged him for a job. The wagon was standing at the station, and to save time, I got in and rode to my house. Euphemia went over to call on the groceryman's wife until I returned.

I had determined that the man should be taken away, although, until I was riding home, I had not made up my mind where to have him taken. But on the road I settled this matter.

On reaching the house, we drove into the yard as close to the kitchen as we could go. Then I unlocked the door, and the boy--who was a big, strapping fellow--entered with me. We found the ex-broker still wrapped in the soundest slumber. Leaving the boy to watch him, I went upstairs and got a baggage-tag which I directed to the chief of police at the police station in Hackingford. I returned to the kitchen and fastened this tag, conspicuously, on the lappel of the sleeper's coat. Then, with a clothes-line, I tied him up carefully, hand and foot. To all this he offered not the slightest opposition. When he was suitably packed, with due regard to the probable tenderness of wrist and ankle in one brought up in luxury, the boy and I carried him to the wagon.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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