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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

We Camp Out

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We found it very difficult to make this decision. There were thousands of places where people went to camp out, but none of them seemed to be the place for us. Most of them were too far away. We figured up the cost of taking ourselves and our camp equipage to the Adirondacks, the lakes, the trout-streams of Maine, or any of those well-known resorts, and we found that we could not afford such trips, especially for a vacation of but fourteen days.

On Sunday afternoon we took a little walk. Our minds were still troubled about the spot toward which we ought to journey next day, and we needed the soothing influences of Nature. The country to the north and west of our little farm was very beautiful. About half a mile from the house a modest river ran; on each side of it were grass-covered fields and hills, and in some places there were extensive tracks of woodlands.

"Look here!" exclaimed Euphemia, stopping short in the little path that wound along by the river bank. "Do you see this river, those woods, those beautiful fields, with not a soul in them or anywhere near them; and those lovely blue mountains over there?"--as she spoke she waved her parasol in the direction of the objects indicated, and I could not mistake them. "Now what could we want better than this?" she continued. "Here we can fish, and do everything that we want to. I say, let us camp here on our own river. I can take you to the very spot for the tent. Come on!" And she was so excited about it that she fairly ran.

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The spot she pointed out was one we had frequently visited in our rural walks. It was a grassy peninsula, as I termed it, formed by a sudden turn of a creek which, a short distance below, flowed into the river. It was a very secluded spot. The place was approached through a pasture-field,--we had found it by mere accident,--and where the peninsula joined the field (we had to climb a fence just there), there was a cluster of chestnut and hickory trees, while down near the point stood a wide-spreading oak.

"Here, under this oak, is the place for the tent," said Euphemia, her face flushed, her eyes sparkling, and her dress a little torn by getting over the fence in a hurry. "What do we want with your Adirondacks and your Dismal Swamps? This is the spot for us!"

"Euphemia," said I, in as composed a tone as possible, although my whole frame was trembling with emotion, "Euphemia, I am glad I married you!"

Had it not been Sunday, we would have set up our tent that night.

Early the next morning, old John's fifteen-dollar horse drew from our house a wagon-load of camp-fixtures. There was some difficulty in getting the wagon over the field, and there were fences to be taken down to allow of its passage; but we overcame all obstacles, and reached the camp-ground without breaking so much as a teacup. Old John helped me pitch the tent, and as neither of us understood the matter very well, it took us some time. It was, indeed, nearly noon when old John left us, and it may have been possible that he delayed matters a little so as to be able to charge for a full half-day for himself and horse. Euphemia got into the wagon to ride back with him, that she might give some parting injunctions to Pomona.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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