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truck and butter, and mayhap some milk, I could load the waggon
“Oh, Pomona,” interrupted Euphemia, "you don't mean to say that you were thinking of doing anything like that?”
"Well, I was just beginning to think of it,” said Pomona “But, of course, I couldn't have gone away and left the house. And you'll see I didn't do it.” And then she continued her novel. “But while my thoughts were thus employ-ed, I heard Lord Edward burst into bark-ter's
At this Euphemia and I could not help bursting into laughter. Pomona did not seem at all confused, but went on with her reading.
"I hurried to the door, and, look-ing out, I saw a waggon at the gate. Re-pair-ing there, I saw a man. Said he, “Wilt open the gate?” I had fasten-ed up the gates and remov-ed every stealable ar-ticle from the yard.'”
Euphemia and I looked at each other. This explained the absence of the rustic seat and the dipper.
“Thus, with my mind at ease, I could let my faith-ful fri-end, the dog, for he it was, roam with me through the grounds, while the fi-erce bull-dog guard-ed the man-si-on within. Then said I, quite bold unto him, “No. I let in no man here. My em-ploy-er and employ-er-ess are now from home. What do you want?” Then says he, as bold as brass, “ I've come to put the light-en-ing rods upon the house. Open the gate.” “What rods?” says I. “The rods as was ordered,” says he. “Open the gate." I stood and gaz-ed at him. Full well I saw through his pinch-beck mask. I knew his tricks. In the ab-sence of my em-ployer, he would put up rods, and ever so many more than was wanted, and likely, too, some miser-able trash that would attract the light-en-ing, instead of keep-ing it off. Then, as it would spoil the house to take them down, they would be kept, and pay demand-ed. “No, sir,” says I.
“No lighten-ing rods upon this house whilst I stand here,” and with
that I walk-ed away, and let Lord Edward loose. The man he storm-ed with pas-si-on. His eyes flash-ed fire. He would e'en have scal-ed the gate, but when he saw the dog he did forbear. As it was then near noon, I strode away to feed the fowls; but when I did return, I saw a sight which froze the blood with-in my veins
“The dog didn't kill him ?” cried Euphemia.
“Oh, no, ma'am !” said Pomona. " You'll see that that wasn't it. At one cor-ner of the lot, in front, a base boy, who had accompa-ni-ed this man was bang-ing on the fence with a long stick, and thus attrack-ing to hisself the rage of Lord Edward, while the vile intrig-er of a light-en-ing rodder had brought a lad-der to the other side of the house, up which he had now as-cend-ed, and was on the roof. What horrors fill-ed my soul! How my form trembl-ed ! This," continued Pomona, “is the end of the novel," and she laid her foolscap pages on the porch.
Euphemia and I exclaimed, with one voice, against this. We had just reached the most exciting part, and, I added, we had heard nothing yet about that affair of the taxes.
“You see, sir,” said Pomona, “it took me so long to write out the chapters about my birth, my parentage, and my early adventures, that I hadn't time to finish up the rest. But I can tell you what happened after that jus' as well as if I had writ it out." And so she went on, much more glibly than before, with the account of the doings of the lightning-rod man.
“There was that wretch on top of the house, a-fixin' his old rods and hammerin' away for dear life. He'd brought his ladder over the side fence, where the dog, a-barkin' and plungin' at the boy outside, couldn't see him. I stood dumb for a minute, and then I know'd I had him. I rushed into the house, got a piece of well-rope, tied it to the bull-dog's collar, an' dragged him out and fastened him to the bottom rung of the ladder. Then I walks over
to the front fence with Lord Edward's chain, for I knew that if he got at that bull-dog there'd be times, for they'd never been allowed to see each other yet. So says I to the boy, 'I'm goin' to tie up the dog, so you needn't be afraid of his jumpin' over the fence,'— which he couldn't do, or the boy would have been a corpse for twenty minutes, or maybe half-an-hour. The boy kinder laughed, and said I needn't mind, which I didn't. Then I went to the gate and I clicked to the horse which was standin' there, an' off he starts, as good as gold, an' trots down the road. The boy, he said somethin' or other pretty bad an' away he goes after him; but the horse was a-trottin' real fast, an' had a good start.”
"How on earth could you ever think of doing such things?" said Euphemia. "That horse might have upset the waggon and broken all the lightning-rods, besides running over I don't know how many people.”
“But you see, ma’am, that wasn't my look-out,” said Pomona. "I was a defendin' the house, and the enemy must expect to have things happen to him. So then I hears an awful row on the roof, and there was the man just coming down the ladder. He'd heard the horse go off, and when he got about half-way down an' caught a sight of the bull-dog, he was madder than ever you seed a lightnin’-rodder in all your born days. “Take that dog off of there!' he yelled at me. No, I won't,' says I. "I never see a girl like you since I was born,' he screams at I guess it would 'a' been better fur you if you had,' says I; an' then he was so mad he couldn't stand it any longer, and he comes down as low as he could, and when he saw just how long the rope was—which was pretty short—he made a jump, and landed clear of the dog. Then he went on dreadful because he couldn't get at his ladder to take it away; and I wouldn't untie the dog, because if I had he'd 'a' torn the tendons out
of that fellow's legs in no time. I never see a dog in such a boiling passion, and yet never making no sound at all but blood-curdlin' grunts. An' I don't see how the rodder would 'a' got his ladder at all if the dog hadn't made an awful jump at him, and jerked the ladder down. missed your geranium-bed, and the rodder, he ran to the other end of it, and began pulling it away, dog and all. 'Look-a-here,' says I, we can fix him now;' and so he cooled down enough to help me, and I unlocked the front door, and we pushed the bottom end of the ladder in, dog and all; an' then I shut the door as tight as it would go an' untied the end of the rope, an' the rodder pulled the ladder out while I held the door to keep the dog from follerin', which he came pretty near doin', anyway. But I locked him in, and then the man began stormin' again about his waggon; but when he looked out an' see the boy comin' back with it-for somebody must 'a' stopped the horse—he stopped stormin' and went to put up his ladder ag’in. 'No, you don't,' says I; “I'll let the big dog loose next time, and if I put him at the foot of your ladder, you'll never come down.' But I want to go and take down what I put up,' he says; 'I ain't a-goin' on with this job.' No,' says I, you ain't; and you can't go up there to wrench off them rods and make rain-holes in the roof, neither.' He couldn't get no madder than he was then, an' fur a minute or two he couldn't speak, an' then he says, * I'll have satisfaction for this.' An' says I, ‘How?' An' says he, 'You'll see what it is to interfere with a ordered job.' An' says I, “There wasn't no order about it;' an' says he, “I'll show you better than that;' an' he goes to his waggon an' gits a book, "There,' says he, 'read that.' What of it?' says I; 'there's nobody of the name of Ball lives here. That took the man kinder back, and he said he was told it was the only house on the lane, which I said was right, only it was the next lane he oughter 'a' gone