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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
We Camp Out
|Page 6 of 8||
But that fish was splendid! The very smell of it made us hungry. Everything was good, and when supper was over and the dishes washed, I lighted my pipe and we sat down under a tree to enjoy the evening.
The sun had set behind the distant ridge; a delightful twilight was gently subduing every color of the scene; the night insects were beginning to hum and chirp, and a fire that I had made under a tree blazed up gayly, and threw little flakes of light into the shadows under the shrubbery.
"Now isn't this better than being cooped up in a narrow, constricted house?" said I.
"Ever so much better!" said Euphemia. "Now we know what Nature is. We are sitting right down in her lap, and she is cuddling us up. Isn't that sky lovely? Oh! I think this is perfectly splendid," said she, making a little dab at her face,--"if it wasn't for the mosquitoes."
"They ARE bad," I said. "I thought my pipe would keep them off, but it don't. There must be plenty of them down at that creek."
"Down there!" exclaimed Euphemia. "Why there are thousands of them here! I never saw anything like it. They're getting worse every minute."
"I'll tell you what we must do," I exclaimed, jumping up. "We must make a smudge."
"What's that? do you rub it on yourself?" asked Euphemia, anxiously.
"No, it's only a great smoke. Come, let us gather up dry leaves and make a smoldering fire of them."
We managed to get up a very fair smudge, and we stood to the leeward of it, until Euphemia began to cough and sneeze, as if her head would come off. With tears running from her eyes, she declared that she would rather go and be eaten alive, than stay in that smoke.
"Perhaps we were too near it," said I.
"That may be," she answered, "but I have had enough smoke. Why didn't I think of it before? I brought two veils! We can put these over our faces, and wear gloves."
She was always full of expedients.
Veiled and gloved, we bade defiance to the mosquitoes, and we sat and talked for half an hour or more. I made a little hole in my veil, through which I put the mouth-piece of my pipe.
When it became really dark, I lighted the lantern, and we prepared for a well-earned night's rest. The tent was spacious and comfortable, and we each had a nice little cot-bed.
"Are you going to leave the front-door open all night?" said Euphemia, as I came in after a final round to see that all was right.
"I should hardly call this canvas-flap a front-door," I said, "but I think it would be better to leave it open; otherwise we should smother. You need not be afraid. I shall keep my gun here by my bedside, and if any one offers to come in, I'll bring him to a full stop quick enough."
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Frank R. Stockton
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