Edna may march.
Mark, Ruth, and Edna hurried on deck, and reached it in time to see Captain May load to its muzzle the small brass cannon that was carried on the schooner for firing signals.
How beautiful and peaceful everything looked! The tide, with which they had come up, filled the river to the brim, and it sparkled merrily in the light of the rising sun. The ferry-boat lay moored to the bank just in front of the schooner, and they could see the tin horn hanging to its post, and the very card on which were the ferry rates that Ruth had printed so many months before. The house was hidden from their view by a clump of trees, but over their tops rose a light column of smoke, and they knew Aunt Chloe was up and busy, at any rate.
Suddenly, flash! bang! the small cannon went off with a roar worthy of a larger piece, and one that woke the echoes for miles up and down the river, disturbed numerous wild water-fowl from their quiet feeding, and sent them screaming away through the air, and set all the dogs in Wakulla to barking furiously. In the midst of all the clamor the children heard the loud bark of their own dog, Bruce, and in another moment he came bounding down to the landing, and was the first to welcome them home.
At the same time a number of colored people, among whom the children recognized several familiar faces, came running down to the opposite bank of the river, where they stood rubbing their eyes and staring at the big schooner, the first that had been seen in their river in many years.
The children did not pay much attention to them, however, for a landing-plank was being run ashore, and they were eager to go to the house. As Mark reached the wharf, and was holding out his hand to Ruth, who followed, there was a loud hurrah behind him, and before he could turn around Frank March had thrown his arms round his neck, and was fairly hugging him in his joy.
“I knew you’d come when we weren’t expecting you! I knew you’d surprise us! and I told ’em so last night when they were worrying about you,” shouted the boy, dancing about them, and almost inclined to hug Ruth as he had Mark. But he didn’t; he only grasped both her hands, and shook them until she begged for mercy. As soon as she regained possession of her hands, she said,
“And here’s Edna, Frank. Miss Edna May, Mr. Frank March.”
“I’m awfully glad to see you, Miss Edna,” said Frank; and “How do you do, Mr. March?” said Edna, as they shook hands and looked at each other curiously.
Then Frank was introduced to Uncle Christopher, who said, “My boy, I’m proud to make your acquaintance. So you didn’t expect us, eh?” and the old gentleman chuckled as he thought of the quality and size of the joke they had played on the inmates of “Go Bang” by surprising them.
Captain May and the gentlemen from Aroostook had not left the schooner when the others turned towards the house, talking so fast as they went that nobody understood, or even heard, what anybody else was saying.