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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of an Unsuccessful Broker and a Dog

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Every morning and night I fed that dog, and I spoke as kindly and gently to him as I knew how. But he seemed to cherish a distaste for me, and always greeted me with a growl. He was an awful dog.

About a week after the arrival of this animal, I was astonished and frightened on nearing the house to hear a scream from my wife. I rushed into the yard and was greeted with a succession of screams from two voices, that seemed to come from the vicinity of the wood-shed. Hurrying thither, I perceived Euphemia standing on the roof of the shed in perilous proximity to the edge, while near the ridge of the roof sat our hired girl with her handkerchief over her head.

"Hurry, hurry!" cried Euphemia. "Climb up here! The dog is loose! Be quick! Be quick! Oh! he's coming, he's coming!"

I asked for no explanation. There was a rail-fence by the side of the shed and I sprang on this, and was on the roof just as the dog came bounding and barking from the barn.

Instantly Euphemia had me in her arms, and we came very near going off the roof together.

"I never feared to have you come home before," she sobbed. "I thought he would tear you limb from limb."

"But how did all this happen?" said I.

"Och! I kin hardly remember," said the girl from under her handkerchief.

"Well, I didn't ask you," I said, somewhat too sharply.

"Oh, I'll tell you," said Euphemia. "There was a man at the gate and he looked suspicious and didn't try to come in, and Mary was at the barn looking for an egg, and I thought this was a good time to see whether the dog was a good watch-dog or not, so I went and unchained him--"

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"Did you unchain that dog?" I cried.

"Yes, and the minute he was loose he made a rush at the gate, but the man was gone before he got there, and as he ran down the road I saw that he was Mr. Henderson's man, who was coming here on an errand, I expect, and then I went down to the barn to get Mary to come and help me chain up the dog, and when she came out he began to chase me and then her; and we were so frightened that we climbed up here, and I don't know, I'm sure, how I ever got up that fence; and do you think he can climb up here?"

"Oh no! my dear," I said.

"An' he's just the beast to go afther a stip-ladder," said the girl, in muffled tones.

"And what are we to do?" asked Euphemia. "We can't eat and sleep up here. Don't you think that if we were all to shout out together, we could make some neighbor hear?"

"Oh yes!" I said, "there is no doubt of it. But then, if a neighbor came, the dog would fall on him--"

"And tear him limb from limb," interrupted Euphemia.

"Yes, and besides, my dear, I should hate to have any of the neighbors come and find us all up here. It would look so utterly absurd. Let me try and think of some other plan."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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