By The Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Riding in the Cars
Laura could hardly believe that the time had arrived for them to board the train and catch up with Pa. Plum Creek and the house they knew so well was now gone. They stood on the sunny platform near the ticket window, all of their clothing packed into two satchels. On that September day they were dressed in their finest as they sat and waited for the train to arrive. Mary could feel Carrie fidgeting, she also sensed and made it known that Laura too was fidgeting. "I can tell it without seeing," Mary smiled. Seemed they were all very nervous. "Pa will meet us?" Carrie asked concerned. Pa had to drive a day from camp but Ma reassured her he would be there.
When the train finally arrived at the station they took each other's hands and proceeded to board the very last car. A man in a dark suit helped them aboard and then grabbed their satchels. The red velvet seats on the train were filled with lots of people. Ma sat with Grace and Carrie, while Laura and Mary took the empty seats in front of them. Laura became Mary's eyes and proceeded to describe the train's interior in great detail. "I see," Mary said.
The engine whistled and the cars lurched forward. As the train built up speed the outdoor scenery flew by their windows. In one hour that train would go twenty miles; as far as the horses would have traveled in a whole day. A man in a dark blue suit with lots of buttons collected their tickets and punched each of them. The hat he was wearing told them he was the Conductor. Laura explained all this to Mary.
"I will see the people now," Laura told Mary. A boy came down the aisle carrying a basket on his arm. People took things out of his basket and gave him money. Ma purchased a little box of Christmas candy for ten cents. "We must celebrate our first train ride," Caroline said and she gave it to the girls to share. They each ended up with two pieces.
It was noon when they arrived in Tracy. "I hope you girls haven't spoiled your dinner with that candy." Ma then told them they would be eating their dinner in the hotel that night.