She knew it was the Cameron carriage, for Wilford had said it would meet them; but she had not expected it to be just what it was, and she bowed humbly to the polite coachman greeting Wilford and herself so respectfully. “What would our folks say?” she kept repeating to herself as she drove along the streets, where they were beginning to light the street lamps, for the December day was dark and cloudy. It seemed so like a dream that she, who once had picked huckleberries on the Silverton hills, and bound coarse, heavy shoes to buy herself a pink gingham dress, should now be riding in her carriage toward the home which she knew was magnificent; and Katy’s tears fell like rain as, nestling close to Wilford, who asked what was the matter, she whispered: “I can hardly believe that it is I—it is so unreal.”
“Please don’t cry,” Wilford rejoined, brushing her tears away. “You know I don’t like your eyes to be red.”
With a great effort, Katy kept her tears back, and was very calm when they reached the brownstone front, far enough uptown to save it from the slightest approach to plebeianism from contact with its downtown neighbors. In the hall the chandelier was burning, and as the carriage stopped a flame of light seemed suddenly to burst from every window as the gas heads were turned up, so that Katy caught glimpses of rich silken curtains and costly lace as she went up the steps, clinging to Wilford and looking ruefully around for Esther, who had disappeared through the basement door. Another moment and they stood within the marbled hall, Katy conscious of nothing definite—nothing but a vague consciousness of refined elegance, and that a handsome, richly-dressed lady came out to meet them, kissing Wilford quietly, and calling him her son—that the same lady later turned to her, saying, kindly: “And this is my new daughter?”
Then Katy came to life, and did that at the very thought of which she shuddered when a few months’ experience had taught her the temerity of the act—she wound her arms impulsively around Mrs. Cameron’s neck, rumpling her point lace collar, and sadly displacing the coiffeur of the astonished lady, who had seldom received so genuine a greeting as that which Katy gave her, kissing her lips and whispering softly: “I love you now, because you are Wilford’s mother, but by and by because you are mine. And you will love me some because I am his wife.”
Wilford was horrified, particularly when he saw how startled his mother looked as she tried to release herself and adjust her tumbled headgear. It was not what he had hoped, nor what his mother had expected, for she was unaccustomed to such demonstrations; but under the circumstances Katy could not have done better. There was a tender spot in Mrs. Cameron’s heart, and Katy touched it, making her feel a throb of affection for the childish creature suing for her love.