Robert Allison mechanically reached out his hand for the glass of milk which the solicitous porter held out to him and dutifully drank it, while the porter hovered over him like an anxious hen, clucking out a constant stream of encouraging remarks.
The porter and the glass finally disappeared down the aisle, and Robert Allison, now wide awake and flooded with returning energy, remembered with a whimsical smile the illusion that had overtaken him at midday. He glanced boldly down the aisle to assure himself that his mind was now free from phantoms. The heavy foliage along the mountainside, through which they had been passing, and which had created a twilight atmosphere in the car, had given way to wide open fields, and the long corridor was flooded from end to end with glaring June sunlight. Robert Allison caught his breath with a start and dug his thumb-nail into the palm of his hand to make sure he was awake. For the illusion of a moment ago was not an illusion at all; she was a flesh and blood girl; she had left her shadowy foothold in the far end of the car and was coming down the aisle toward him. Spellbound, he waited as she approached, slim as a fawn, erect as an arrow, moving as lightly as the ripples that danced upon the surface of the river along whose banks they were rolling. Whether or not she was the image of the vision in his fever dream he would never be table to tell, for already the dream phantom was fading from his mind and the reality taking its place; the Laughing Water of his boyhood fancy had come to life in the person of this slim young girl who was moving down the aisle toward him.
Stupidly he had thought she was coming directly to him, and he experienced a shock of surprise when she passed him with no more than a casual glance. Even with her indifferent passing a thrill seemed to go through him; his blood began to sing in his veins, and through his mind there flashed again the lines which had stirred his boyhood fancy years ago:
“She the moonlight, starlight, firelight,
She the sunshine of her people,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water!”
IN THE TRAIN
Sahwah the Sunfish came tripping blithely down the Pullman aisle to rejoin the Winnebagos after a sojourn on the platform with the brakeman, whom she left exhausted with answering questions. When Sahwah traveled she traveled with all her might and there was nothing visible to the naked eye that she did not notice, inquire about, and store up for future reference. She observed down to the last nail wherein a Pullman differed from a day coach; she found out why the man ran along beside the train at the stations and hit the wheels with a hammer; why the cars had double windows; what the semaphore signals indicated; why the east-bound freight trains were so much more heavily loaded than the west-bound; she noticed that there were no large steamboats running on the Susquehanna,