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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

We Camp Out

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We told old John, who was digging potatoes, and was also very much surprised to see us so soon, about our unexpected trouble in finding a spring.

"No," said he, very slowly, "there is no spring very near to you. Didn't you tell your gal to bring you water?"

"No," I replied; "we don't want her coming down to the camp. She is to attend to the house."

"Oh, very well," said John; "I will bring you water, morning and night,--good, fresh water,--from my well, for,--well, for ten cents a day."

"That will be nice," said Euphemia, "and cheap, too. And then it will be well to have John come every day; he can carry our letters."

"I don't expect to write any letters."

"Neither do I," said Euphemia; "but it will be pleasant to have some communication with the outer world."

So we engaged old John to bring us water twice a day. I was a little disappointed at this, for I thought that camping on the edge of a stream settled the matter of water. But we have many things to learn in this world.

Early in the afternoon I went out to catch some fish for supper. We agreed to dispense with dinner, and have breakfast, lunch, and a good solid supper.

For some time I had poor luck. There were either very few fish in the creek, or they were not hungry.

I had been fishing an hour or more when I saw Euphemia running toward me.

"What's the matter?" said I.

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"Oh! nothing. I've just come to see how you were getting along. Haven't you been gone an awfully long time? And are those all the fish you've caught? What little bits of things they are! I thought people who camped out caught big fish and lots of them?"

"That depends a good deal upon where they go," said I.

"Yes, I suppose so," replied Euphemia; "but I should think a stream as big as this would have plenty of fish in it. However, if you can't catch any, you might go up to the road and watch for Mr. Mulligan. He sometimes comes along on Mondays."

"I'm not going to the road to watch for any fish-man," I replied, a little more testily than I should have spoken. "What sort of a camping out would that be? But we must not be talking here or I shall never get a bite. Those fish are a little soiled from jumping about in the dust. You might wash them off at that shallow place, while I go a little further on and try my luck."

I went a short distance up the creek, and threw my line into a dark, shadowy pool, under some alders, where there certainly should be fish. And, sure enough, in less than a minute I got a splendid bite,--not only a bite, but a pull. I knew that I had certainly hooked a big fish! The thing actually tugged at my line so that I was afraid the pole would break. I did not fear for the line, for that, I knew, was strong. I would have played the fish until he was tired, and I could pull him out without risk to the pole, but I did not know exactly how the process of "playing" was conducted. I was very much excited. Sometimes I gave a jerk and a pull, and then the fish would give a jerk and a pull.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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