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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of an Unsuccessful Broker and a Dog

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He was a heavy load, and we may have bumped him a little, but his sleep was not disturbed. Then we drove him to the express office. This was at the railroad station, and the station-master was also express agent. At first he was not inclined to receive my parcel, but when I assured him that all sorts of live things were sent by express, and that I could see no reason for making an exception in this case, he added my arguments to his own disposition, as a house-holder, to see the goods forwarded to their destination, and so gave me a receipt, and pasted a label on the ex-broker's shoulder. I set no value on the package, which I prepaid.

"Now then," said the station-master, "he'll go all right, if the express agent on the train will take him."

This matter was soon settled, for, in a few minutes, the train stopped at the station. My package was wheeled to the express car, and two porters, who entered heartily into the spirit of the thing, hoisted it into the car. The train-agent, who just then noticed the character of the goods, began to declare that he would not have the fellow in his car; but my friend the station-master shouted out that everything was all right,--the man was properly packed, invoiced and paid for, and the train, which was behind time, moved away before the irate agent could take measures to get rid of his unwelcome freight.

"Now," said I, "there'll be a drunken man at the police-station in Hackingford in about half-an-hour. His offense will be as evident there as here, and they can do what they please with him. I shall telegraph, to explain the matter and prepare them for his arrival."

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When I had done this Euphemia and I went home. The tramp had cost me some money, but I was well satisfied with my evening's work, and felt that the township owed me, at least, a vote of thanks.

But I firmly made up my mind that Euphemia should never again be left unprotected. I would not even trust to a servant who would agree to have no afternoons out. I would get a dog.

The next day I advertised for a fierce watchdog, and in the course of a week I got one. Before I procured him I examined into the merits, and price, of about one hundred dogs. My dog was named Pete, but I determined to make a change in that respect. He was a very tall, bony, powerful beast, of a dull black color, and with a lower jaw that would crack the hind-leg of an ox, so I was informed. He was of a varied breed, and the good Irishman of whom I bought him said he had fine blood in him, and attempted to refer him back to the different classes of dogs from which he had been derived. But after I had had him awhile, I made an analysis based on his appearance and character, and concluded that he was mainly blood-hound, shaded with wolf-dog and mastiff, and picked out with touches of bull-dog.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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