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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Wet Blankets

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"Thank you," said Mrs. Atkinson, "but we must go."

"Yes, we must be going," said the captain. "Good-bye. If it rains I'll come down after you with an umbrella."

"You need not trouble yourself about that," said I. "We shall rough it out, rain or shine."

"I'd stay here now," said Euphemia, when they had gone, "if it rained pitch."

"You mean pitchforks," I suggested.

"Yes, anything," she answered.

"Well, I don't know about the pitchforks," I said, looking over the creek at the sky; "but am very much afraid that it is going to rain rain-water to-morrow. But that won't drive us home, will it?"

"No, indeed!" said she. "We're prepared for it. But I wish they'd staid at home."

Sure enough, it commenced to rain that night, and we had showers all the next day. We staid in camp during the morning, and I smoked and we played checkers, and had a very cosy time, with a wood fire burning under a tree near by. We kept up this fire, not to dry the air, but to make things look comfortable. In the afternoon I dressed myself up in water-proof coat, boots and hat, and went out fishing. I went down to the water and fished along the banks for an hour, but caught nothing of any consequence. This was a great disappointment, for we had expected to live on fresh fish for a great part of the time while we were camping. With plenty of fish, we could do without meat very well.

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We talked the matter over on my return, and we agreed that as it seemed impossible to depend upon a supply of fish, from the waters about our camp, it would be better to let old John bring fresh meat from the butcher, and as neither of us liked crackers, we also agreed that he should bring bread.

Our greatest trouble, that evening, was to make a fire. The wood, of which there was a good deal lying about under the trees, was now all wet and would not burn. However, we managed to get up a fire in the stove, but I did not know what we were going to do in the morning. We should have stored away some wood under shelter.

We set our little camp-table in the tent, and we had scarcely finished our supper, when a very heavy rain set in, accompanied by a violent wind. The canvas at one end of our tent must have been badly fastened, for it was blown in, and in an instant our beds were deluged. I rushed out to fasten up the canvas, and got drenched almost to the skin, and although Euphemia put on her waterproof cloak as soon as she could, she was pretty wet, for the rain seemed to dash right through the tent.

This gust of wind did not last long, and the rain soon settled down into a steady drizzle, but we were in a sad plight. It was after nine o'clock before we had put things into tolerable order.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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