By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - End of the Rails
When the train pulled into the depot Pa wasn't there. The brakeman offered to take Ma and the girls to the hotel as soon as he unfastened the engine. It seems he was heading there himself. The girls stood bewildered as they watched the steel rails under the engine slowly turn in a circle. Laura was so amazed she couldn't tell Mary. The unhooked engine then passed the remaining train cars and then backed up to be connected to what was previously the last train car. The entire train was now ready to head back east. The brakeman laughed at them in a friendly way and told them "that's the turntable, at the end of the rails something has to turn the train back around".
Finally after all the rail cars were unloaded, Ma and the girls were followed by the men that worked the rails. Once they spotted the girls though they cleaned up their salty language. They had to hurry along because they had just heard the dinner bell chime.
The man who rang the chimes told Ma he had plenty of room for her and the girls. He then allowed them to wash up in a small room next to the dining area. After scrubbing the dusty soot from their hands and faces, they joined the men in the dining room. They were left spots at the end of the table so they could all sit together. There was all kinds of food and every platter was covered by a wire screen to keep the flies off and at each table setting was a slice of pie. Everyone was very kind and passed each platter around for the offering. There was so much food to eat, but the excitement took away the girls' appitite. The dinner cost them twenty five cents.
After they finished their meal, the young girl clearing the tables offered them the parlor where they could sit and wait for Pa. Ma sat in the rocker with Grace on her lap. Carrie took the chair near Ma and Laura and Mary sat on the couch. The girls were told to be quiet and still, so Grace could take her afternoon nap. Carrie and Ma dozed off for a spell themselves. It was a long afternoon before Laura finally spotted Pa's wagon.