The Search (Chapter 2, page 1 of 7)

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Chapter 2

Ruth Macdonald drew up her little electric runabout sharply at the crossing, as the station gates suddenly clanged down in her way, and sat back with a look of annoyance on her face.

Michael of the crossing was so overcareful sometimes that it became trying. She was sure there was plenty of time to cross before the down train. She glanced at her tiny wrist watch and frowned. Why, it was fully five minutes before the train was due! What could Michael mean, standing there with his flag so importantly and that determined look upon his face?

She glanced down the platform and was surprised to find a crowd. There must be a special expected. What was it? A convention of some sort? Or a picnic? It was late in the season for picnics, and not quite soon enough for a college football game. Who were they, anyway? She looked them over and was astonished to find people of every class, the workers, the wealthy, the plain every-day men, women and children, all with a waiting attitude and a strange seriousness upon them. As she looked closer she saw tears on some faces and handkerchiefs everywhere in evidence. Had some one died? Was this a funeral train they were awaiting? Strange she had not heard!

Then the band suddenly burst out upon her with the familiar wail: There's a long, long trail awinding, Into the land of our dreams,-and behind came the muffled tramping of feet not accustomed to marching together.

Ruth suddenly sat up very straight and began to watch, an unfamiliar awe upon her. This must be the first draft men just going away! Of course! Why had she not thought of it at once. She had read about their going and heard people mention it the last week, but it had not entered much into her thoughts. She had not realized that it would be a ceremony of public interest like this. She had no friends whom it would touch. The young men of her circle had all taken warning in plenty of time and found themselves a commission somewhere, two of them having settled up matters but a few days before. She had thought of these draft men, when she had thought of them at all, only when she saw mention of them in the newspapers, and then as a lot of workingmen or farmers' boys who were reluctant to leave their homes and had to be forced into patriotism in this way. It had not occurred to her that there were many honorable young men who would take this way of putting themselves at the disposal of their country in her time of need, without attempting to feather a nice little nest for themselves.

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