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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

We Camp Out

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"I'll have to stop a bit to put up the fences, ma'am," said old John, "or Misther Ball might make a fuss."

"Is this Mr. Ball's land?" I asked.

"Oh yes, sir, it's Mr. Ball's land."

"I wonder how he'll like our camping on it?" I said, thoughtfully.

"I'd 'a' thought, sir, you'd 'a' asked him that before you came," said old John, in a tone that seemed to indicate that he had his doubts about Mr. Ball.

"Oh, there'll be no trouble about that," cried Euphemia. "You can drive me past Mr. Ball's,--it's not much out of the way,--and I'll ask him."

"In that wagon?" said I. "Will you stop at Mr. Ball's door in that?"

"Certainly," said she, as she arranged herself on the board which served as a seat. "Now that our campaign has really commenced, we ought to begin to rough it, and should not be too proud to ride even in a--in a--"

She evidently couldn't think of any vehicle mean enough for her purpose.

"In a green-grocery cart," I suggested.

"Yes, or in a red one. Go ahead, John."

When Euphemia returned on foot, I had a fire in the camp-stove and the kettle was on.

"Well," said Euphemia, "Mr. Ball says it's all right, if we keep the fence up. He don't want his cows to get into the creek, and I'm sure we don't want 'em walking over us. He couldn't understand, though, why we wanted to live out here. I explained the whole thing to him very carefully, but it didn't seem to make much impression on him. I believe he thinks Pomona has something the matter with her, and that we have come to stay out here in the fresh air so as not to take it."

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"What an extremely stupid man Mr. Ball must be!" I said.

The fire did not burn very well, and while I was at work at it, Euphemia spread a cloth upon the grass, and set forth bread and butter, cheese, sardines, potted ham, preserves, biscuits, and a lot of other things.

We did not wait for the kettle to boil, but concluded to do without tea or coffee, for this meal, and content ourselves with pure water. For some reason or other, however, the creek water did not seem to be very pure, and we did not like it a bit.

"After lunch," said I, "we will go and look for a spring; that will be a good way of exploring the country."

"If we can't find one," said Euphemia, "we shall have to go to the house for water, for I can never drink that stuff."

Soon after lunch we started out. We searched high and low, near and far, for a spring, but could not find one.

At length, by merest accident, we found ourselves in the vicinity of old John's little house. I knew he had a good well, and so we went in to get a drink, for our ham and biscuits had made us very thirsty.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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