The early days of June registered very little work excepting piano practice. Bill and I walked, drove, and partied. Eric took me for boat rides on the lake and to the theatre. In between times there were final recitals and dormitory farewells. The Beta Picnic had cut teeth of sophistication for me and, when the decks were covered with petting couples, Bill and I hunted up the pilot’s house and helped to steer the boat into Evanston. (Those that wanted it could take it but I was not one of them.)
Dell Eberhard had decided to make the trip to Springfield with us and we spent the day together in Chicago for last-minute shopping.
The train left at night and I had dinner with Bill by shaded candles, quite to my liking. He had left his father who had proudly come to commencement to see his son receive the Harris Hundred Dollar Prize for his political economy thesis.
When the train bell began to ring, Bill shook hands with me. When he turned to Mother she kissed him. At that moment I started forward and said, “Won’t you tell me goodbye too?” and, surprised and touched, he kissed me and hurried down the aisle.
Mama had told me to kiss him but I hadn’t wanted to until I thought of all the nice times he had given me and then my feelings changed. Mr. Thomas, who had come to see Dell off, was amused. Dell laughed and teased me and said, “Noonie, Noonie!” That was too much and I settled into my seat and cried softly.
As soon as the train had pulled out of the shed I braced up and, when Mary said, “Well, I suppose you’ll be getting married now,” I replied with a stilted superiority, “Well I guess Mother would like to see her daughters sensibly married.” After that the shaft of wisdom had found its objective and we settled down in our reclining seats (we couldn’t afford Pullman) to the click of the rails and the whistle’s siren cry. At that moment, in the darkness, my future had taken a turn for the worse. Perhaps by “dawn’s early light” it would look less forbidding.
The train trip, complete with open windows letting in dry dust and cinders, was unpleasant and our shirtwaist collars were proof that the climate of Springfield had not changed in the nine months we had been away. The locusts were wheezing as if they had not stopped since last September when we had so hopefully climbed aboard the train.
Word had reached Springfield before me that I was engaged to be married and I was surprised to find that it had lifted my stock. There was no accounting for tastes. In a few days Frances Boxer and her wedding party arrived and, to my great excitement, at the last minute Bill arrived to take the best man’s place. Bill was eager to see me. My family was eager to see Bill and I was eager for… I didn’t know what! I only knew that I was by no means indifferent to Bill.
After the usual run of parties we married Frances off, threw our old shoes at her, and riced her onto the train with her groom. Bill lingered long enough to win my family and then returned to the bank position he had taken in St. Louis.