Friday, April 30, 2010

EBENEZER FINDS A HOME! by Henriette Forester; April 1935; part 7

When they reached the station Eben said, "Say, where's the package and the basket?"

"Oh, Eben! I couldn't bring home that basket empty. Besides it belonged to Ebenezer and so did the clothes. I told the directress to give them to him."

They entered the tall station and passed the black wicket once more. As they started down the wide marble steps for the train shed a man went just ahead of them, carrying a basket.

Myrtle caught her breath in a choked sob, "Look Eben! There's our basket now...Do you suppose that could be the baby and his father going home?"

Eben looked at the man's back. He saw a good blue suit, shiny behind, yet stiff with unusedness and the calloused hand gripping the basket looked familiar. But how straight the man walked...much straighter than the man Eben had met in the Home Cooking restaurant that morning and asked to go into business with him...No doubt about the basket, though.

The man looked about for the people he had come to meet. He saw Mr. Paulson with his wife beside him, both of them staring at the basket in open-mouthed amazement.

"Mr. Paulson?"

A broad smile began at both corners of Eben Paulson's mouth and stretched across his face, "So you brought the baby."

"Why said...that is," The new hired man had time for no more. Myrtle reached both hands for the basket.

"Let me see him!" If the baby's eyes were closed she would still know him by the blessed curve of his lips and his dark tuft of hair.

Gingerly the new hired man slipped the handle of the basket from his arm. "You take him Ma'am. I'm not onto this fancy rigging. Maybe you know how it works."

"I know," said Myrtle. With deft fingers she unwound the silk coverlet she had made. Inside his basket Ebenezer slept.

"Pretty neat basket," said the hired man. "Looks as if somebody put a heap of work into that."

"I guess they did," roared Eben with a helpless guffaw.

"Sh!" scolded Myrtle. "Can't you see he's sleeping?"

"He's an awful poor traveler," confided the baby's father.

Myrtle tucked the silk coverlet over the baby's middle, hugging the basket within the crescent of her arm as though she would never let it go. "He'll sleep tonight in a lower berth with sheets and curtains and electric lights."

"We'd better git aboard," said Eben softly. "This train won't wait, not even for Ebenezer."