Rose and Rosebud

Thirty-six hours later the Albany train, running smoothly across the green levels beyond the Mill Dam, brought the travellers to Boston.

Katy looked eagerly from the window for her first glimpse of the city of which she had heard so much. `Dear little Boston! How nice it is to see it again!' she heard a lady behind her say, but why it should be called `little Boston' she could not imagine. Seen from the train it looked large, imposing, and very picturesque, after flat Burnet with its one bank down to the edge of the lake. She studied the towers, steeples, and red roofs crowding each other up the slopes of the Tri-Mountain, and the big State House dome crowning all, and made up her mind that she liked the look of it better than any other city she had ever seen.

The train slackened its speed, ran for a few moments between rows of tall, shabby brick walls, and with a long, final screech of its whistle came to a halt in the station. Everyone made a simultaneous rush for the door, and Katy and Mrs Ashe, waiting to collect their books and bags, found themselves wedged into their seats and unable to get out. It was a confusing moment, and no comfortable; such moment never are.

But the discomfort brightened into a sense of relief as, looking out of the wow, Katy caught sight of a face exactly opposite, which had evidently caught sight of her - a fresh, pretty face, with light, waving hair, pink cheek' all a-dimple, and eyes which shone with laughter and welcome. It was Rose herself, not a bit changed during the years since they parted. A tall young man stood beside her, who must, of course, be her husband, Deniston Browne.

`There is Rose Red,' cried Katy to Mrs Ashe. `Oh, doesn't she look dear and natural? Do wait and let me introduce you. 1 want you to know her.'

But the train had come in a little behind time, and Mrs Ashe was afraid of missing the Hingham boat, so she only took a hasty peep from the window at Rose, pronounced her to look charming, kissed Katy hurriedly, reminded her that they must be on the steamer punctually at twelve o'clock the following Saturday, and was gone, with Amy beside her, so that Katy, following last of all the slow-moving line of passengers, stepped all alone down from the platform into the arms of Rose Red.

`You darling!' was Rose's first greeting. `I began to think you meant to spend the night in the car, you were so long in getting out. Well, how perfectly lovely this is! Deniston, here is Katy; Katy, this is my husband.'

Rose looked about fifteen as she spoke, and so absurdly young to have a `husband', that Katy could not help laughing as she shook hands with Deniston, and Ms own eyes twinkled with fun and evident recognition of the same joke. He was a tall young man, with a pleasant, steady' face, and seemed to be infinitely amused, in a quiet way, with everything which his wife said and did.

`Let us make haste and get out of this hole,' went on Rose. `I can scarcely see for the smoke. Deniston, dear, please find the cab, and have Katy's luggage put on it. I am wild to get her home and exhibit baby before she chews up her new sash or does something else that is dreadful, to spoil her looks. I left her sitting in state, Katy, with all her best clothes on, waiting to be made known to you.'

`My large trunk is to go straight to the steamer,' explained Katy, as she gave her checks to Mr Browne. `I only want the little one taken out to Longwood, please.'

`Now, this is cosy,' remarked Rose, when they were seated in the cab with Katy's bag at their feet. `Deniston, my love, I wish you were going out with us. There's a nice little bench here all ready and vacant, which is just suited to a man of your inches. You won't? Well, come in the early train, then. Don't forget. Now, isn't he just as nice as I told you he was?' she demanded, the moment the cab began to move.

`He looks very nice indeed, as far as I can judge in three minutes and a quarter.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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