“O husband!” exclaimed Mrs. Foster, “are you sure none of them were injured?”
“So the telegraphic report said; not a bone broken of anybody, but the pig that got in the way.”
“How I wish he would come!” groaned Annie. “Have you any idea, father, how Ford could get to the city?”
“Not clearly, my dear,” said her father; “but you can trust Ford not to miss any opportunity. He’s just the boy to look out for himself in an emergency.”
Ford Foster’s father took very strongly after the son in whose presence of mind and ability he expressed so much confidence. He had just such a square, active, bustling sort of body, several sizes larger; with just such keen, penetrating, greenish-gray eyes. Anybody would have picked him out at a glance for a lawyer, and a good one.
That was exactly what he was; and, if anybody had become acquainted with either son or father, there would have been no difficulty afterward in identifying the other.
It required a good deal more than the telegraphic report of the accident, or even her husband’s assurances, to relieve the motherly anxiety of good Mrs. Foster, or even to drive away the shadows from the face of Annie.
No doubt, if Ford himself had known the state of affairs in his family circle, they would have been relieved earlier; for, even while they were talking about him, he had reached the end of his adventures, and was already in the house. It had not so much as occurred to him that his mother would hear of the disaster to the pig and the railway-train until he himself should tell her; and so he had made sure of his supper down stairs before reporting his arrival. He might not have done it perhaps; but he had entered the house by the lower way, through the area door, and that of the dining-room had stood temptingly open, with some very eatable things spread out upon the table.
That had been too much for Ford, after his car-ride, and his smash-up, and his long walk.
Now, at last, up he came, three stairs at a time, brimful of new and wonderful experiences, to be more than a little astonished by the manner and enthusiasm of his welcome.
“Why, mother,” he exclaimed, when he got a chance for a word, “you and Annie couldn’t have said much more if I’d been the pig himself!”
“The pig!” said Annie.
“Yes, the pig that stopped us. He and the engine won’t go home to their families to-night.”
“Don’t make fun of it, Ford,” said his mother gently. “It’s too serious a matter.”
Just then his father broke in, almost impatiently, with,—
“Well, Ford, my boy, have you done your errand? or shall I have to see about it myself? You’ve been gone two days.”
“Thirty-seven hours and a half, father,” replied Ford, taking out his watch. “I’ve kept an exact account of my expenses. We’ve saved the cost of advertising.”
“And spent it on railroading,” said his father, with a laugh.