“Where do you suppose we shall go?” asked Elizabeth Eliza.
“I have often wondered what became of a procession,” said Mr. Peterkin. “They are always going somewhere, but I never could tell where they went to.”
“We shall find out!” exclaimed the little boys, who were filled with delight, looking now out of one window, now out of the other.
“Perhaps we shall go to the armory,” said one.
This alarmed Mrs. Peterkin. Sounds of martial music were now heard, and the noise of the crowd grew louder. “I think you ought to ask where we are going,” she said to Mr. Peterkin.
“It is not for us to decide,” he answered calmly. “They have taken us into the procession. I suppose they will show us the principal streets, and will then leave us at our station.”
This, indeed, seemed to be the plan. For two hours more the Peterkins, in their carriage, and Agamemnon and Solomon John, afoot, followed on. Mrs. Peterkin looked out upon rows and rows of cheering people. The little boys waved their caps.
“It begins to be a little monotonous,” said Mrs. Peterkin, at last.
“I am afraid we have missed all the trains,” said Elizabeth Eliza, gloomily. But Mr. Peterkin’s faith held to the last, and was rewarded. The carriage reached the square in which stood the railroad station. Mr. Peterkin again seized the lapels of the coachman’s coat and pointed to the station, and he was able to turn his horses in that direction. As they left the crowd, they received a parting cheer. It was with difficulty that Agamemnon and Solomon John broke from the ranks.
“That was a magnificent reception!” exclaimed Mr. Peterkin, wiping his brow, after paying the coachman twice his fee. But Elizabeth Eliza said,—
“But we have lost all the trains, I am sure.”
They had lost all but one. It was the last.
“And we have lost the cats!” the little boys suddenly exclaimed. But Mrs. Peterkin would not allow them to turn back in search of them.
The Peterkins’ excursion for maple sugar.
It was, to be sure, a change of plan to determine to go to Grandfather’s for a maple-sugaring instead of going to Egypt! But it seemed best. Egypt was not given up,—only postponed. “It has lasted so many centuries,” sighed Mr. Peterkin, “that I suppose it will not crumble much in one summer more.”
The Peterkins had determined to start for Egypt in June, and Elizabeth Eliza had engaged her dressmaker for January; but after all their plans were made, they were told that June was the worst month of all to go to Egypt in,—that they would arrive in midsummer, and find the climate altogether too hot,—that people who were not used to it died of it. Nobody thought of going to Egypt in summer; on the contrary, everybody came away. And what was worse, Agamemnon learned that not only the summers were unbearably hot, but there really was no Egypt in summer,—nothing to speak of,—nothing but water; for there was a great inundation of the river Nile every summer, which completely covered the country, and it would be difficult to get about except in boats.