He was very anxious to see his boy friends, the members of the Hut Club, and the boys and girls who were in his class at school. He had telegraphed his mother that he was coming, so she would probably tell the boys about it. He was sure they would be there.
Now the stations looked more familiar. This one just passed was near the Tinch farm, and Archie remembered the days he spent working for old Hiram, and how he had suffered. He wondered if the farmer had ever seen any copies of the Enterprise. It would be very interesting to him to know that his chore-boy was now a secretary to a millionaire. This next station he remembered very well indeed, because he used to come here every fall to visit the county fair, where he marvelled at the wonderful things he saw in the side-shows.
And now the train was entering the limits of his own town. Here was the old elevator, and the machine shop near the railway track. And, oh, there was his own home, looking green and pleasant as the train sped by. It almost brought tears to Archie’s eyes to think that he was so soon to see his mother. Now they had reached the station, and he stood upon the car platform ready to alight. My, what a crowd there was! and why did they cheer as he made his appearance? All at once it dawned upon him that all these people were here to meet him, and to bid him welcome home. He could hardly speak as he found himself in his mother’s arms, and then he began to shake the hands of the big crowd. They were all old friends, and then there was the mayor, and the superintendent of schools, and quite a delegation of leading citizens. How nice it was of them to welcome him in this way!
After awhile the handshaking was over, and the mayor was able to get a few minutes with Archie. “We are all very proud of what you have accomplished,” he said, “and we want to give you a public reception to-morrow night in the town hall, if you don’t object.” Archie stared blankly at the mayor, and it was several moments before he realised the meaning of the words. Then he was almost overcome. It was almost too good to be true, it seemed, but he warmly thanked the mayor, and told him how he appreciated the honour which they had done him. He said that he would be glad to attend the reception.
The crowd was scattering now, and Archie, wild to reach home, took his mother to a carriage, in which they drove rapidly out to the little house among the trees and arbours. The old town looked beautiful in every way. The great maple and oak trees along the road were green with new leaves, and every dooryard was bright with snowballs and yellow roses. “This is the very best time of the year,” he said to his mother, “and I am the very happiest boy in all the world.”
“And I am the happiest mother,” was the answer. Then they sat in silence until they reached the old home. They entered by the kitchen door, and, once inside, and seated in the old cane rocking-chair, Archie bowed his head in tears of joy at being home with mother once again.