Archie couldn’t imagine what his mother did think. He had remembered her every minute during the last few days, and was anxious to write her, so he decided to ask the woman for some paper and a pencil. These were gladly given him, and he sat down and told his mother that he was almost to New York and that he had been having a splendid time. He was careful not to say anything about his experience with Farmer Tinch, or the night he spent with the tramps. He knew these things would only make her unhappy, and it was just as well that she should think everything was smooth sailing for him. His letter was filled with his enthusiasm and his hope for the morrow, so that when good Mrs. Dunn received it she was overjoyed, and hurried over to show it to the Widow Sullivan, who enjoyed it thoroughly and said “I told you so.” Poor Mrs. Dunn had been having a very miserable time of it. She was hardly surprised that morning when she awoke and found Archie gone, but she was naturally much worried for fear some accident would happen to him before he reached New York. Once there, she felt that she needn’t worry much about him, for, strange to say, Mrs. Dunn had a firm belief in the ability of city policemen to take care of every one, and she knew that Archie would not be allowed to suffer for want of food and a place to sleep. And when she received this letter, saying that Archie was nearly to New York, and had even been so successful as to earn some money, she felt more comfortable than for some time, Of course she supposed that he would be home before long. She was positive that he wouldn’t be able to get any work in the city, and knew that as soon as his money gave out he would return. “It’s all for the best,” she said to Mrs. Sullivan. “The habit of running away from home was born in the boy. His father left home when he was no older than Archie, and no harm ever came to him. So I’m not going to worry, Mrs. Sullivan.” And then Mrs. Dunn would go back to her home, and at sight of Archie’s old hat or some of his football paraphernalia, would burst into tears.
The good woman who gave Archie his supper refused to let him start out again on the road that night. She told him that he must remain with them, for they had an extra bed up over the kitchen which was never needed, and that he might just as well sleep there as not. So for the first time in nearly a week Archie slept comfortably, and, as he heard the familiar sounds in the kitchen below him in the morning, it was hard for him to make up his mind that he was not at home, and that it was not his mother who was grinding the coffee in the kitchen below. He heard the ham frying in the skillet, and the rattle of the dishes as his hostess set the table, and then he dressed himself and hastened downstairs, feeling ready for a good day’s walking.