“You’ll want to buy a few little things too, my dear.”
A few little things. Kit wondered if he had any idea at all of how little cash had figured in the purchasing of home gifts at Greenacres the past two years.
THE DEAN SEES THE STAR
They arrived at Nantic a little past noon, after leaving Washington on the midnight express. There was no stop-over at New York in the morning, the train going straight through to New England, and here they found the first snowstorm.
“There are the old gray rock walls, bless them,” exclaimed the Dean, delightedly, “and the evergreens. The west may keep its towering white pines, but give me the old hemlocks and junipers, with the birches and oaks behind them.”
Kit was so glad to see Mr. Briggs’ smiling face on the platform at Nantic that she almost threw her arms around him, as she jumped from the platform of the train.
“Well, well,” he ejaculated, “didn’t expect to see you around so soon, Miss Robbins. Come to stay a while? Brought company with you, too, didn’t you? Home folks or just visitors?”
“Home folks,” said the Dean, directly behind them, as he extended his hand, “who haven’t been home in thirty years.”
“You don’t say so,” Mr. Briggs smiled at him, curiously. “Well, you won’t find many things changed around here in only that time. Want me to ’phone over for a rig to take you up? The Robbinses are settled in the Hall now. Shouldn’t wonder if it was kind of damp there yet. Had quite a spell ’round here of rainy weather before the frost set in. Looks as if ’twas going to stay in for a spell of snow now, though. Some boxes came up from New York yesterday for your folks, but I couldn’t tell what was in ’em off-hand. Felt sort of hefty, though.”
“It seems so good,” Kit said, fervently, as he moved away from them out of hearing, “to be around where even the baggage man knows all about you, and takes an interest in everything. People don’t do that out west, do they, Uncle Cassius? Not even in a little place like Delphi. I wonder if any one will remember you.”
Perhaps the Dean was wondering the same thing as they drove up through the old hill road towards Gilead. One by one he recognized the old familiar landmarks and farms as they passed them, but Miss Daphne was far too engrossed in watching the Dean’s own face to care for familiar spots on the landscape.
It was not until they got up near the Peckham mill that they met any of the old neighbors, but here Mr. Peckham himself came leisurely down from the mill path to the bridge and hailed Kit.
“Howdy, Kit. Home for Christmas?” he called cheerily, then taking a good look at the other occupants of the old station surrey, “Well, Cass Peabody, who in creation ever thought of seeing you around these parts again.”
The Dean leaned forward, peering over the tops of his glasses with almost the smile of a boy.