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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Wet Blankets

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"We can't sleep in those beds," said Euphemia.

"They're as wet as sop, and we shall have to go up to the house and get something to spread over them. I don't want to do it, but we mustn't catch our deaths of cold."

There was nothing to be said against this, and we prepared to start out. I would have gone by myself, but Euphemia would not consent to be left alone. It was still raining, though not very hard, and I carried an umbrella and a lantern. Climbing fences at night with a wife, a lantern, and an umbrella to take care of, is not very agreeable, but we managed to reach the house, although once or twice we had an argument in regard to the path, which seemed to be very different at night from what it was in the day-time.

Lord Edward came bounding to the gate to meet us, and I am happy to say that he knew me at once, and wagged his tail in a very sociable way.

I had the key of a side-door in my pocket, for we had thought it wise to give ourselves command of this door, and so we let ourselves in without ringing or waking Pomona.

All was quiet within, and we went upstairs with the lantern. Everything seemed clean and in order, and it is impossible to convey any idea of the element of comfort which seemed to pervade the house, as we quietly made our way upstairs, in our wet boots and heavy, damp clothes.

The articles we wanted were in a closet, and while I was making a bundle of them, Euphemia went to look for Pomona. She soon returned, walking softly.

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"She's sound asleep," said she, "and I didn't think there was any need of waking her. We'll send word by John that we've been here. And oh! you can't imagine how snug and happy she did look, lying there in her comfortable bed, in that nice, airy room. I'll tell you what it is, if it wasn't for the neighbors, and especially the Atkinsons, I wouldn't go back one step."

"Well," said I, "I don't know that I care so particularly about it, myself. But I suppose I couldn't stay here and leave all Thompson's things out there to take care of themselves."

"Oh no!" said Euphemia. "And we're not going to back down. Are you ready?"

On our way down-stairs we had to pass the partly open door of our own room. I could not help holding up the lantern to look in. There was the bed, with its fair white covering and its smooth, soft pillows; there were the easy-chairs, the pretty curtains, the neat and cheerful carpet, the bureau, with Euphemia's work-basket on it; there was the little table with the book that we had been reading together, turned face downward upon it; there were my slippers; there was--

"Come!" said Euphemia, "I can't bear to look in there. It's like a dead child."

And so we hurried out into the night and the rain. We stopped at the wood-shed and got an armful of dry kindling, which Euphemia was obliged to carry, as I had the bundle of bed-clothing, the umbrella, and the lantern.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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