“Oh, mother,” cried Archie, “I’ll promise anything. Only let me go this once, and I’ll promise to stay at home all the rest of the summer.”
“All right, then,” said Mrs. Dunn. “You shall go on the first train Monday morning, and Uncle Henry will join you at Heddens Corner. Run along to bed now.”
Archie went up-stairs almost dumb with delight Was it really true that he was to see the great city at last? He had heard some of the boys at school telling what their fathers saw there, but he had never even hoped that he would see it for himself so soon. Of course he had determined to see it all some day, but that was to be far in the future. The lad could hardly sleep for the joy of it all, and when he did finally lose consciousness, it was only to dream of streets of gold, and great buildings reaching to the skies.
Sunday passed slowly by. At Sunday school, Archie told the boys that be was going to New York on the morrow, and from that moment he was the hero of the class. The boys looked at him with wondering admiration, and seemed scarcely able to realise that one of their number was to go so far from home. The city was in reality little more than a hundred miles, but to their boyish minds this distance seemed wonderfully great.
Early on Monday morning Archie was at the depot waiting for the train. His mother was there to see him off, and there were tears in her eyes at the thought of parting with her only child, if only for a day or two. And Archie was radiant with delight at the glorious prospect ahead of him. He walked nervously up and down the platform, and wished frequently that it were not so early in the morning, so that some of the boys might be there to see him off. Finally, the great hissing locomotive drew up, with its long train of coaches, and Archie was soon aboard, hurrying off to Heddens Corner and the city. In a few minutes Uncle Henry was with him, a tall, fine-looking man, with an air of business. Uncle Henry kept the general store at the Corner, and was an important person in the neighbourhood. He was of some importance in the city, too, for his name was known in politics, and his custom was always desired at the wholesale stores. So Archie was going to see the city under good auspices, if his uncle would only have time to take him about with him.
After a couple of hours, during which Archie kept his face glued to the window-pane, watching the flying landscape, the great train pulled through a long, dark tunnel, and finally entered an immense shed, covered with glass where it came to a final stop. Crowds left the coaches, and passed out of the station, where they were swallowed up in the great rush of traffic. Some drove away in cabs and carriages. Some entered the street-cars, and some went up a stairway and entered what seemed to Archie a railway train in the air.
Uncle Henry told Archie to follow him carefully, and they, too, were soon flying away from the neighbourhood of the terminal, past hotels, stores, and dwellings, until they finally left the trolley-car, and passed through a cross street into a long, quiet thoroughfare which looked old enough to have been there for a hundred years. The houses were built far back from the street, with pillars in front, and into one of these quaint old dwellings went Archie and his uncle.