“I want ye should go, though; it’s a great chance fer ye, and don’t forget ter write, Randy. I couldn’t stand that,” and Mrs. Weston’s voice had in it a suspicion of a sob.
“Oh, I could not forget you all,” said Randy, then with a kiss and a clinging embrace she clambered into the wagon to a seat beside her father, and her mother’s waving handkerchief and Prue’s little face with its quivering lip were photographed upon her mind as she rode to the Centre to take the train.
They talked but little on the way to the depot. Randy found it a task to keep her tears from falling, and the expression of her father’s face told more plainly than words what this parting cost. When her trunk had been taken charge of and Randy had chosen a seat, her father bent to kiss her, saying as he did so,
“God bless ye, child! I never knew ’till ter-day what it meant ter say good-bye ter ye. I only hope the visit will bring ye joy enough ter repay ye fer this partin’ and then I shall be satisfied. Write often to us, that we may know ye are safe, and spend the money I put in yer little wallet.
“Ah, don’t say a word, Randy, I could well afford it, an’ I put it there jest fer a little surprise.”
As Randy was about to speak, the conductor entered saying, that those persons who intended leaving the train must do so at once, as it was about to start.
With a hasty kiss and embrace, Randy saw her father leave the car and she waved her hand to him as he stood upon the platform, then in a sudden panic of desolation she hid her face in her handkerchief and cried like a little child. A long time she crouched upon the seat, her head against its plush back and her eyes hidden by her handkerchief, but after a time it occurred to her that she was not doing as her father would wish.
“I’m crying like a child,” thought Randy, “and father and mother have done every generous thing which they could think of to make me enjoy the long ride and the visit.
“Father would wish me to be brave, and mother would not like to see me crying.”
Accordingly she sat up, and wiping her tears, made a determined effort to look as she felt sure that a girl should look who was starting out for a delightful visit.
As she looked from the window and saw the flying landscape, it seemed as if the rumbling wheels were saying, “Going away, going away,” and again the tears lay upon her lashes, but after a time the novelty of the situation dawned upon her, and her sunny disposition found much that was amusing in what was going on about her.
Mrs. Weston had put up a tempting lunch in a pretty basket, so when a boy came through the car bearing a large tray covered with doubtful looking viands, and shouting in stentorian tones:
“Poy, coiks, tawts an’ sanditches,” Randy was not tempted to buy, but she watched the boy and wondered how he had the courage to walk the aisle loudly bawling his wares.