The evening train came in through the little bend in the edge of the woods, and across the bridge over the pretty rapids, and slid to its stopping-place under the high arches of the other bridge that connected the main street of Z—— with its continuation through “And.”
There were lights twinkling in the shops, where they were making change, and weighing out tea and sugar, and measuring calico, although outside it was not yet quite dark.
The train was half an hour late; there had been a stoppage at some draw or crossing near the city.
Mr. Prendible was there, to see if his lodgers were come, and to get his evening paper; the platform was full of people. Old Z—— acquaintances, many of them, whom Desire and her mother were pleased, and Helena excited to see.
“There’s Kenneth Kincaid!” she exclaimed, quite loudly, pulling Desire’s sleeve.
“Hush!” said Desire, twitching away. “How can you, Helena?”
“He’s coming,—he heard me!” cried Helena, utterly impenitent.
“I should think he might!” And Desire walked off a little, to look among the trunks that were being tumbled from the baggage car.
She had seen him all the time; he had been speaking to Ruth Holabird, and helping her up the steps with her parcels. Mr. Holabird was there with the little Westover carryall that they kept now; and Kenneth put her in, and then turned round in time to hear Helena’s exclamation and to come down again.
“Can I help you? I’m very glad you are come,” he said, cordially.
Well; he might have said it to anybody. Again, well; it was enough to say to anybody. Why should Desire feel cross?
He took Helena’s bag; she had a budget beside; Mr. Prendible relieved Mrs. Ledwith; Desire held on valiantly to her own things. Kenneth walked over the bridge with them, and down the street to Mr. Prendible’s door; there he bade them good-by and left them.
It was nice to be in Z——; it was very sweet here under the blossoming elms and locusts; it was nice to see Kenneth Kincaid again, and to think that Dorris was coming by and by, and that the lanes were green and full of ferns and vines, and that there was to be a whole long summer; but there were so many people down there on the platform,—there was such a muss always; Ruth Holabird was a dear little thing, but there were always so many Ruths about! and there was only one cross, stiff, odd, uncomfortable Desire!
But the very next night Kenneth came down and stayed an hour; there was a new moon glistening through the delicate elm-tips, and they sat out on the piazza and breathed in such an air as they had not had in their nostrils for months and months.