Then they all laughed, and before they got through laughing they all cried except Ham.
He put his hands in his pockets, and drew a long whistle.
The ponies were at the door now. The light wagon was a roomy one; but, when Dab’s trunk had been put in, there was barely room left for the ladies, and Dab and Ham had to walk to the station.
“I’m kind o’ glad of it,” said Dab.
It was a short walk, and a silent one; but when they came in sight of the platform, Dab exclaimed,—
“There they are,—all of them!”
“The whole party?”
“Why, the platform’s as crowded as our house was last night.”
Mrs. Kinzer and her daughters were already the centre of a talkative crowd of young people; and Ford Foster and Frank Harley, with Joe and Fuz Hart, were asking what had become of Dab, for the train was in sight.
A moment later, as the puffing locomotive pulled up in front of the water-tank, the conductor stepped out on the platform, exclaiming,—
“Look a-here, folks, this ain’t right. If there was going to be a picnic you ought to have sent word, and I’d have tacked on an extra car. You’ll have to pack in now, best you can.”
He seemed much relieved when he found how small a part of that crowd were to be his passengers.
“Dab,” said Ford, “this is your send-off, not ours. You’ll have to make a speech.”
Dab did want to say something; but he had just kissed his sisters and his mother, and half a dozen of his school-girl friends had followed the example of Jenny Walters; and then Mrs. Foster had kissed him, and Ham Morris had shaken hands with him; and Dab could not have said a word to have saved his life.
“Speech!” whispered Ford mischievously, as Dab stepped upon the car-platform; but Dick Lee, who had just escaped from the tremendous hug his mother had given him, and had got his breath again, came to his friend’s relief in the nick of time. Dick felt, as he afterwards explained, that he “must shout, or he should go off;” and so, at the top of his shrill voice he shouted,—
“Hurrah for Cap’n Kinzer! Dar ain’t no better feller lef long shoah!”
And then, amid a chorus of cheers and laughter, and a grand waving of white handkerchiefs, the engine gave a deep, hysterical cough, and hurried the train away.
Three homesteads by the Long Island shore were lonely enough that evening, and they were all likely to be lonelier still before they got fairly accustomed to the continued absence of “those boys.”
It was well understood that the Fosters had determined to prolong their “summer in the country” until the arrival of cold weather, they had found all things so pleasant; and the Kinzers were well pleased with that, as Samantha remarked,—
“If it’s only to compare letters. I do hope Dabney will write as soon as he gets there, and tell us all about it.”