In work and study the winter passed quickly and happily for Archie, who now felt quite at ease amid his elegant surroundings. His only wish was that he might go home, and as spring approached Mr. Depaw promised him that he should have a short vacation. The suggestion of Mr. Depaw that Archie’s mother come to New York for a week was heartily accepted by Archie, but when he wrote home Mrs. Dunn replied that she would rather wait for Archie at home. She had never visited New York, and felt that she wouldn’t like it.
Bill Hickson came over very often from the navy yard, and was always a welcome visitor at Mr. Depaw’s office. He didn’t seem to care for his work in Brooklyn, however, and Archie finally requested a place for him about the elegant new station which the road had just constructed in the city. Mr. Depaw very readily gave him an excellent position, one which he could keep always if he so desired. And Bill was highly pleased with his new work, so much so that he surprised them all one day in the spring by leading into the once a young lady whom he introduced as his wife. Of course Archie was very much pleased at this new development, for he had often thought that his friend must be very lonely, living in a boarding-house.
The days were all busy ones for Archie now. He had learned the work so thoroughly that he was given more than ever to do, and he still continued to write, too, for the Enterprise. He worked too hard, however, and in April he looked so thin that Mr. Depaw sent him home for a week’s rest.
Decides to visit
home— A great reception in
the town— A public
character now— dinner to the hut club— demonstration at the town hall—
A telegram from his employer leaving for Europe.
It was a beautiful April day. There had been a light shower in the morning, and now everything looked as fresh and green as possible all along the railway. Archie lay back in his comfortable Wagner seat, admiring the beauties of spring, and thinking, too, of the days he spent in walking along this very road. It seemed hard to believe that he was now secretary to the president of this railroad, and that he was returning home, after a year and a half, a very successful young man. He had much to think of in the hours it would take him to reach the little town. He tried to remember everything about the place, and his mother as he saw her last, and it wasn’t at all difficult for him to do so. But, oh, how he hoped that things had not changed! He almost dreaded going home for fear he would find things different.
He had changed, that much was sure. He knew that he had grown to look much older than his years, and he knew that he was not looking particularly strong. He used to be so sturdy, and he had such a splendid colour in his cheeks. Mother would be sorry to see him now, but of course he would be sure to improve very much during the week he was to remain among old friends.