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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Wet Blankets

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"No," said he, "I'd rather make the fuss before you begin. My horse is skittish," and he drove off.

This man annoyed me; but as I did not, of course, wish to frighten horses, I left the road and made my way back to the tent over some very rough fields. It was a poor day for birds, and I did not get a shot.

"What a foolish man!" said Euphemia, when I told her the above incident, "to talk that way when you stood there with a gun in your hand. You might have raked his wagon, fore and aft."

That afternoon, as Euphemia and I were sitting under a tree by the tent, we were very much surprised to see Pomona come walking down the peninsula.

I was annoyed and provoked at this. We had given Pomona positive orders not to leave the place, under any pretense, while we were gone. If necessary to send for anything, she could go to the fence, back of the barn, and scream across a small field to some of the numerous members of old John's family. Under this arrangement, I felt that the house was perfectly safe.

Before she could reach us, I called out:

"Why did you leave the house, Pomona? Don't you know you should never come away and leave the house empty? I thought I had made you understand that."

"It isn't empty," said Pomona, in an entirely unruffled tone. "Your old boarder is there, with his wife and child."

Euphemia and I looked at each other in dismay.

"They came early this afternoon," continued Pomona, "by the 1:14 train, and walked up, he carrying the child."

"It can't be," cried Euphemia. "Their child's married."

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"It must have married very young, then," said Pomona, "for it isn't over four years old now."

"Oh!" said Euphemia, "I know! It's his grandchild."

"Grandchild!" repeated Pomona, with her countenance more expressive of emotion than I had ever yet seen it.

"Yes," said Euphemia; "but how long are they going to stay? Where did you tell them we were?"

"They didn't say how long they was goin' to stay," answered Pomona. "I told them you had gone to be with some friends in the country, and that I didn't know whether you'd be home to-night or not."

"How could you tell them such a falsehood?" cried Euphemia.

"That was no falsehood," said Pomona; "it was true as truth. If you're not your own friends, I don't know who is. And I wasn't a-goin' to tell the boarder where you was till I found out whether you wanted me to do it or not. And so I left 'em and run over to old John's, and then down here."

It was impossible to find fault with the excellent management of Pomona.

"What were they doing?" asked Euphemia.

"I opened the parlor, and she was in there with the child,--putting it to sleep on the sofa, I think. The boarder was out in the yard, tryin' to teach Lord Edward some tricks."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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