The dinner was well eaten, and it was well paid for, as Dabney remarked when he paid his share and half of Dick’s; and then they were all in the street again, marching along, and “sight-seeing,” towards the Grand Central Railroad Depot.
THE FIRST MORNING IN GRANTLEY, AND ANOTHER EXCELLENT JOKE.
Ford Foster was the only one of those six boys who had ever seen the great railway-building, and he confessed that it looked a little large, even to him. Frank Harley freely declared that he had seen nothing like it in India; and Dick Lee’s eyes showed all the white they had to show, before he had seen the whole of it.
Their first errand was to the baggage-room; and they were on their way when Dab Kinzer thoughtfully remarked,—
“Now, Joe, here we’ve dragged you and Fuz away up here, miles and miles out of your way.”
“That’s so,” said Ford, “but they can take a street-car down. They’ve got hours of time to spare.”
“No hurry,” said Joe: “we’ll see you off.” But Fuz whispered to him,—
“Time’s up, Joe. Joke’s got to come out now.”
It came out at the baggage-room; for there were the trunks of the Hart boys, and they had to go with the others to the ticket-office for their tickets, before they could get their checks.
“Do you mean you’re to go right on now, with us?” said Ford in some astonishment. “I thought you were going home first.”
“No. We got a letter three days ago, telling us what to do. Our other things’ll be sent on by express.”
The “joke” was out, and the two jokers were laughing as though it were a remarkably good one in their estimation; but Ford nodded his head approvingly.
“Uncle Joseph is a wise and careful man about his children,” he said slowly. “He didn’t mean you should make the trip alone. I’m much obliged to him for such an expression of his confidence in me.”
The laugh somehow died away, as if a sudden fit of sickness had carried it off, while a broad smile widened on the faces of the other boys, notably including Dick Lee; but the baggage-checks were to be looked after, and there were seats in the sleeping-car to be secured. The lost joke could hide itself easily in all that hurry and excitement.
“The sleeper’ll carry us the best part of the way,” said Ford, when at last they took their seats; “but we’ll have a doleful little ride on a small railway, early in the morning.”
“But that’ll take us right up north to Grantley,” added Dab, with a long-drawn breath of expectation. The remaining hours of that Friday were largely spent by all six of them in looking out of the windows. When they were not doing that, it was mostly because Joe or Fuz was telling some yarn or other about Grantley and its academy.
They agreed perfectly in their somewhat extravagant praise of Mrs. Myers and her daughter Almira. “She’s such a good, kind-hearted, liberal, motherly woman,” said Joe.