The pilot-boat had already transferred Mrs. Coburn and Ruth and their baggage to the cutter, and she now steamed up the bay, carrying the passengers, crew, and all that had been saved from the good ship Wildfire.
This disaster to his ship, which would have been so terrible had it happened out at sea instead of almost in port, as it did, obliged Captain May to remain in New York several days. Of this Mark and Ruth were very glad, for it gave them an opportunity to see some of the wonders of the great city of which they had read so much, and which they had longed so often to visit.
Mrs. Coburn, who had at one time lived in New York, and so knew just what was best worth seeing, took them to some new place every day. They saw the great East River Bridge that connects New York and Brooklyn, they took the elevated railroad, and went the whole length of Manhattan Island to High Bridge, on which the Croton Aqueduct crosses the Harlem River, and on the way back stopped and walked through Central Park to the Menagerie, where they were more interested in the alligators than anything else, because they reminded them so of old friends, or rather enemies.
They visited museums and noted buildings and stores, until Ruth declared that she wanted to get away where it was quiet, and she didn’t see how people who lived in New York found time to do anything but go round and see the sights.
They were all glad when Captain May was ready to leave, and after the noise and bustle of the great city they thoroughly enjoyed the quiet night’s sail up Long Island Sound on the steamer Pilgrim.
At Fall River they took cars for Boston, where they stayed one day. From there they took the steamer Cambridge for Bangor, where they arrived in the morning, and where “Uncle Christmas,” as jolly and hearty as ever, met them at the wharf.
“Sakes alive, children, how you have growed!” he said, holding them off at arm’s-length in front of him, and looking at them admiringly. “Why, Mark, you’re pretty nigh as tall as a Floridy pine.”
He insisted on taking the whole party to dine with him at the hotel, and at dinner told Mark that that little business of theirs had got to wait a while, and meantime he wanted him to run over to Norton, and stay at Dr. Wing’s until he came for him.
This was just what Mark had been wishing, above all things, that he could do, and he almost hugged “Uncle Christmas” for his thoughtful kindness.
After dinner the happy party bade the old gentleman good-bye, and took the train for Skowhegan, where they found the same old rattlety-bang stage waiting to carry them to Norton.
As with a flourish of the driver’s horn and a cracking of his whip they rolled into the well-known Norton street, a crowd of boys and girls, who seemed to have been watching for them, gave three rousing cheers for Mark Elmer, and three more for Ruth Elmer, and then three times three for both of them.