Randy had enjoyed her sojourn in the city with all the enthusiasm of her nature, but now her face was turned toward home, and with a smiling face she said to Jotham,
“I have you for company, and the day is sunny, I have my gifts, too, and best of all, I shall soon see every one at home. O, Jotham, are you as glad as I am, to-day?”
There was a suspicious tremor in his voice as he replied,
“I am every bit as happy as you are, Randy; I have worked very hard this winter and been cheered by Professor Marden’s genuine interest in me. He has been kindness itself, and the letters from home have been a great comfort. I am already looking forward to next season’s study, and in the meantime I shall enjoy the summer vacation. I’ll show father that while he is kind enough to allow me to spend my winter in study, I have not forgotten how to help in the summer work upon the farm.”
“Look, Randy,” continued Jotham, “the little towns and villages look more like home as we ride away from the city.”
Randy looked from the window and noticed that the houses were farther and farther apart, the broad fields in which cows were grazing, the winding rivers dazzling in the sunlight, the hills blue and hazy and over all the blue sky and fleecy clouds.
When Randy opened the little parcel containing Nina’s gift, she was delighted to find a photograph, encased in a silver frame of exquisite workmanship. Nina’s card was fastened to the frame with a bit of ribbon, and upon the card appeared this message: “You now see that I can be with you always.”
“Nina knew that I would rather have her picture than any other thing,” said Randy.
How swiftly the hours flew! At noon the car was very warm, for it was late in May, and it seemed almost like June sunshine which lay in long bars upon the red plush seats.
Later, the air became cooler, and Randy had tired of the flying landscape until aroused by Jotham, who exclaimed,
“Look out, Randy! This is the next town to ours.”
“Do you mean that we are so near home?” asked Randy, with sparkling eyes. Just at this point the brakeman’s voice announced the station, and proved that Jotham had spoken truly.
How beautiful were the orchards, with their blossom-laden trees! “Ah home is home after all,” thought Randy.
* * * * *
As she stepped from the car a shrill little voice cried,
“O Randy, my Randy! I thought you’d never come, but you did.”
Randy held her little sister closely, and laid her cheek against the soft curls. Then she turned to her father and saw a wealth of love in his eyes as he said,
“Now the home will be complete. It has been ’bout half empty with ye away, Randy. I’m glad ye’re home again. I ain’t able to say how glad, an’ Jotham, my boy, I’m glad to see ye, too. Ah, here’s yer father. I haven’t a right ter a minute more er yer time.”