“What a big house it is! And painters at work on it too,” she exclaimed, just as Michael added a vigorous jerk of the reins to the “Whoa!” with which he stopped his nag in front of an open gate.
“Are you sure this is the place?”
“Yes’m; fifty cints, mum.”
By the time the trunk was out of the carriage and swung inside of the gate, the young lady had followed; but for some reason Michael at once sprang back to his place, and whipped up his limping steed. It may have been from the fear of being asked to take that trunk into the house, for it was not a small one. The young lady stood for a moment irresolute, and then left it where it was, and walked on up to the house.
No bell; no knocker. The workmen had not reached that part of their improvements yet. But the door was open; and a very neatly furnished parlor at the left of the hall seemed to say, “Come right in, please;” and in she went.
Such an arrival could not possibly have escaped the notice of the inmates of the house; and, as the young lady from the railway came in at the front, another and a very different-looking lady marched through to the parlor from the rear.
Each one would have been a puzzle to the other, if the elder of the two had not been Mrs. Kinzer, and the widow had never been very much puzzled in all her life. At all events, she put out her hand, with a cordial smile, saying,—
“Miss Foster, is it not? I am Mrs. Kinzer. How could he have made such a mistake?”
“Yes, Miss Annie Foster. But do please explain Where am I? and how do you know me?”
The widow laughed cheerily.
“How do I know you, my dear? Why, you resemble your mother almost as much as your brother Ford resembles his father. You are only one door from home here, and I’ll have your trunk taken right over to the house. Please sit down a moment. Ah! my daughter Samantha, Miss Foster. Excuse me a moment, while I call one of the men.”
By the time their mother was fairly out of the room, however, Keziah and Pamela were also in it; and Annie thought she had rarely seen three girls whose appearance testified so strongly to the healthiness of the place they lived in.
The flagman’s questions and Annie’s answers were related quickly enough, and the cause of Michael’s blunder was plain at once.
The parlor rang again with peals of laughter; for Dab Kinzer’s sisters were ready at any time to look at the funny side of things, and their accidental guest saw no reason for not joining them.
“Your brother Ford is on the bay, crabbing with our Dabney,” remarked Samantha, as the widow returned. But Annie’s eyes had been furtively watching her baggage through the window, and saw it swinging upon a broad, red-shirted pair of shoulders, just then; and, before she could bring her mind to bear upon the crab question, Keziah Kinzer exclaimed,—
“If there isn’t Mrs. Foster, coming through the garden gate!”