Port Vigor is a fascinating old town. It is built on a point jutting out into the Sound. Dimly in the distance one can see the end of Long Island, which Mifflin viewed with sparkling eyes. It seemed to bring him closer to Brooklyn. Several schooners were beating along the estuary in the fresh wind, and there was a delicious tang of brine in the air. We drove direct to the station where the Professor alighted. We took his portmanteau, and shut Bock inside the van to prevent the dog from following him. Then there was an awkward pause as he stood by the wheel with his cap off.
“Well, Miss McGill,” he said, “there’s an express train at five o’clock, so with luck I shall be in Brooklyn to-night. My brother’s address is 600 Abingdon Avenue, and I hope when you’re sending a card to the Sage you’ll let me have one, too. I shall be very homesick for Parnassus, but I’d rather leave her with you than with any one I know.”
He bowed very low, and before I could say a word he blew his nose violently and hurried away. I saw him carrying his valise into the station, and then he disappeared. I suppose that living alone with Andrew for all these years has unused me to the eccentricities of other people, but surely this little Redbeard was one of the strangest beings one would be likely to meet.
Bock yowled dismally inside, and I did not feel in any mood to sell books in Port Vigor. I drove back into the town and stopped at a tea shop for a pot of tea and some toast. When I came out I found that quite a little crowd had collected, partly owing to the strange appearance of Parnassus and partly because of Bock’s plaintive cries from within. Most of the onlookers seemed to suspect the outfit of being part of a travelling menagerie, so almost against my will I put up the flaps, tied Bock to the tail of the wagon, and began to answer the humourous questions of the crowd. Two or three bought books without any urging, and it was some time before I could get away. Finally I shut up the van and pulled off, as I was afraid of seeing some one I knew. As I turned into the Woodbridge Road I heard the whistle of the five o’clock train to New York.
The twenty miles of road between Sabine Farm and Port Vigor was all familiar to me, but now to my relief I struck into a region that I had never visited. On my occasional trips to Boston I had always taken the train at Port Vigor, so the country roads were unknown. But I had set out on the Woodbridge way because Mifflin had spoken of a farmer, Mr. Pratt, who lived about four miles out of Port Vigor, on the Woodbridge Road. Apparently Mr. Pratt had several times bought books from the Professor and the latter had promised to visit him again. So I felt in duty bound to oblige a good customer.